To provide greater assurance of validity of BMPs monitoring in Michigan, the Michigan Forest Products Council Foundation (MFPCF), with support and funding issued by the State of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, issued a request for a proposal to complete a statistically sound analysis of statewide forestry BMPs. Steigerwaldt Land Services, Inc. (Steigerwaldt) completed phase 1 in 2015 covering the Western Upper Peninsula, and phase 2 in 2016 covering both the Eastern Upper Peninsula and the entire Lower Peninsula. The cost of both phases of the project covering the entire state was less than $450,000, with remaining grant funds used for publishing and other incidentals.
Steigerwaldt began by determining that a minimum of 68 sites per region were needed to assure 95% confidence that the results would be statistically valid, and choosing 100 sites per region as the basis for analysis. A large database of potential timber sales was then developed to support random selection. Sites were filtered by eliminating tracts less than 5 acres and those not completed between May 1, 2014 and April 30, 2016. Sales meeting the following criteria were eligible for the study: a mapped water feature (lake, river, stream, or wetlands) occurring within the quarter-quarter descriptions and a road accessible by a two-wheel drive vehicle occurring within one-quarter mile of the quarter-quarter description. Not surprisingly, non-industrial private forest (NIPF) owners proved to be the most difficult group from which to get permission to inspect lands.
Final sale selection was randomly done in proportion to the reported harvest activity by ownership class for each of the three regions, based on FIA-derived removals. (see Table 1)
Site Monitoring and Rating
Green Timber Consulting Foresters (GTCF) assisted Steigerwaldt as a project partner for both Phase 1 (2015) and Phase 2 (2016), and started with a full day training session to review the project scope and site inspection forms, and to calibrate the monitoring teams. Other consulting forester firms assisted with the project as well. Teams consisted of one Steigerwaldt or professional project forester, one Steigerwaldt or professional staff forester, and one local MI DNR or conservation district agency representative to provide local expertise and professional opinion from a third party. Teams were all outfitted with the following:iPad
- Field Worksheet
- 10 BAF Prism
- Cruise Manual
- Logger Tape
- Property and Cruise Maps
- Laser Range Finder
- BMP Manual
Steigerwaldt developed a proprietary tablet-based data recording application used on both Phase 1 & 2 to help streamline the data collection and review process. The application allowed the monitoring teams to efficiently record the final site ratings after agreement by the team, allowed for photos to be automatically linked to sites, and created efficiencies when analyzing the data. Electronic data entry and storage also provides data security and data quality benefits.
BMP rating methodology was thoroughly evaluated during the project design, and consistent scoring and usage of the ratings were conveyed during the training exercises. Following the download of site inspection data, each BMP question was examined in an editing process, evaluating final results for errors, editing record errors, and ensuring consistency amongst responses in the monitoring database. The data collection was consistent with previous BMP monitoring conducted by the MI DNR and the MI SFI Implementation Committee. Site monitoring rating are summarized as follows. (see Table 2)
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:
Combined results from both the 2015 and 2016 monitoring show that statewide BMPs were applied correctly 96.1 percent of the time in which they were needed. Acceptable variation to BMPs were noted another 1.7 percent of the time, those being instances where following guidelines may have been difficult, and other non-conventional solutions were effective in preventing erosion or water quality degradation. BMPs were not applied when needed or not applied correctly only 2.2 percent of the time. The net result is 97.8 percent total acceptable forestry BMP application.
Results from 2011 indicated 98.7 percent acceptable BMP application, and the 2014 survey showed 93.7 percent to be acceptable. However, the sample size for these earlier surveys was much smaller than the latest monitoring effort which included 299 sites. Statewide monitoring in 2011 was based on only 29 site surveys, and in 2014 was based on just 36 sites. Small sample size and high standard error of previous BMP surveys were deemed weaknesses that demanded a more rigorous audit process.
The six-member Oversight Committee was very pleased with the performance of Steigerwaldt in carrying out the 2015 & 2016 BMP Monitoring Project and the submitted reports on the Project. Of special note was the fact that the 2015 and 2016 audits visited nearly 10 times the number of sites of the two previous audits. Also important was the success toward incorporating a large pool of NIPF sites into the BMP monitoring and in having an adequate, representative sample of logging sites in proportion to the harvest levels indicated for each ownership category.
Steigerwaldt appears to have developed the methodology and tools for carrying out a large number of statistically valid BMP audits in a short period of time. Details of the 2015 and 2016 Monitoring Studies can be found at the following: 2015 Michigan BMP Study Report 2016 Michigan BMP Study Report
Michigan Forest Products Council Foundation
110 West Michigan Ave, Suite 100
Lansing, Michigan 48933
Forrest M. Gibeault,
Analysis and Investment Operations Director
Steigerwaldt Land Services, Inc.
856 North 4th Street
Tomahawk, WI 54487
Lake Sates Coordinator