Property owners who are planning this summer to have loggers timber their properties are being advised to contact the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District before hiring a logging company.
There are rules which should be followed and the SWCD can advise on which loggers are Master Loggers versus the other companies that are out there.
We get many complaints from farmers and neighbors of timber properties about the logging activities that are going on in Trumbull County. So before you get in trouble, do some planning to protect not only your property, but the water sources around you.
Unlike many neighboring states, Ohio does not currently have a mandatory permit program regulating timber harvests. Voluntary implementation of best management practices (BMPs) is the foundation of Ohio's Pollution Abatement Law.
Farmers, landowners and logger's continued help is needed to protect Ohio's streams and reduce the need for future regulations.
One of the ways landowners who are looking into cutting down trees can help is by having their logger file a Timber Harvest Plan or a simple notice of intent (NOI) with the local Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD).
This plan can assist the harvesting landowner and logger against complaints and possible lawsuits from neighbors and others.
Timber Harvest Plans are based on the best management practices found in the book, BMPs for Erosion Control for Logging Practices in Ohio. This book is available from The Trumbull SWCD or online at ohioline.osu.edu/b916/index. html
The new Timber Harvest Plan form (which replaces the former Silvicultural Operation and Management Plan) even has handy page references to help you and your logger identify BMPs that are appropriate for your site. These BMPs helps to ensure compliance with Ohio's Agricultural Pollution Abatement Law.
Once completed, simply sign and send the Timber Harvest Plan to the SWCD in the county where logging is to occur. The SWCD will review the plan, make suggestions or request changes if applicable, and approve the plan at its next Board Meeting.
(Please note: SWCDs typically only meets every 30 days, so be sure and submit the plan prior to starting the timber harvest).
It's that easy. Once approved, the SWCD will return an a copy to you.
If for any reason you are unable to complete the entire Timber Harvest Plan, you should still consider filling out the Notice of Intent, which is the first page of the form and return it to the local SWCD. The NOI contains basic information such as contact numbers and harvest dates.
Unlike a complete Timber Harvest Plan, the NOI cannot be used as an affirmative defense against neighbors or complaints, but it is a great tool to help build a solid working relationship with your SWCD on conservation issues.
Mike Wilson is the executive director of the Trumbull Soil and Water Conservation District and is an associate member of both the Trumbull County Farm Bureau and Northeast Ohio Loggers Chapter.