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Nutrient Management Concerns
A Position of the North Carolina Division, Society of American Foresters


Position

The Society of American Foresters (SAF) promotes policies that encourage long-term investments in forests and forest resources. The society recognizes that both private and public forestlands provide products and amenities that benefit all Americans. The extent of, and fairness of rules governing the practice of forestry affects the degree to which private forest landowners are willing to make long-term investments in private forestlands to provide such products and amenities. The SAF believes that the conservation and enhancement of private forest resources relies on an equitable balance between the security of rights and the stewardship responsibilities associated with the ownership of private forestland.

The SAF believes that state and federal laws designed to protect the air, water soil, flora and fauna associated with forest ecosystems benefit the vast majority of Americans. However, some North Carolina private forest landowners are experiencing diminished property and/or commodity values due to the Neuse Temporary Rule for Riparian Buffers (NTR). These landowners believe they bear a disproportionate share of the societal costs resulting from the implementation of this rule. To remedy this situation, the North Carolina Division, Society of American Foresters (NCSAF) encourages the use of voluntary, non regulatory approaches, incentives, education and tax policies to encourage landowners to achieve public forest resource goals on private forestlands.

The Forest Practices Guidelines Related to Water Quality (FPGs) were developed in 1989 by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) which was established by the law which amended the forestry exemption to the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act (SPCA). The FPGs dealt primarily with sedimentation, but also with other potential pollutants. They are performance oriented standards, which are applied statewide in a uniform manner for all forestry site disturbing activities. At the request of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Forestry TAC was reconvened to address the issue of reduction of nutrient outflow from forestry site disturbing activities. The TAC crafted a proposed amendment to the FPGs that would deal with any nutrients that may move off site from forestry operations. This proposed amendment is consistent with the scientific data that there is very limited nutrient movement from any forestry operation.

The NCSAF strongly supports the adoption of a science based, performance oriented rule that would apply uniformly to all waters classified as "Nutrient Sensitive" by the Environmental Management Commission (EMC). Adoption of such a rule will allow legitimate forestry operations to continue, providing multiple benefits for private landowners and the general public. There will be much more confidence, within the forestry profession, of how to proceed when there is one rule to deal with in areas designated nutrient sensitive.