Water Quality Protection

Water Quality Protection

Forests are vital for preserving and improving water quality. Studies have shown that the cleanest water comes from forested watersheds. These watersheds are critical sources of pure drinking water and provide habitat for fish and wildlife; they also offer recreational opportunities and contribute to our overall quality of life.

Two of DOF’s performance measures involve water quality. One focuses on BMPs on forest harvesting operations and protecting streams from sediment. The other focuses on protecting and improving watersheds through forest management and land conservation.

The Virginia Department of Forestry (DOF) is tasked with promoting and enforcing the Virginia Silvicultural Water Quality Law (Code of Virginia §10.1-1181.1 through §10.1-1181.7), developing best management practices (BMPs) for forest harvesting operations, and working cooperatively with agencies and landowners throughout the Commonwealth to manage and preserve riparian buffers and protect water quality. The first set of forestry BMPs for water quality were developed in the early 1970s, and since then, DOF has played an important role in the protection of our watersheds.

The origin of the agency’s water quality efforts is the harvest inspection program that began in the mid-1980s. This program provides one-on-one contact between DOF staff and the harvest operators, and offers unique opportunities to educate the operators about BMPs and the latest techniques in water quality protection.

In addition to working on BMPs for water quality during harvests, DOF also works to protect and improve water quality through forest management and land conservation. Trees play an important role in reducing runoff and preventing excess nutrients and sediment from entering our streams, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water. They also provide a plethora of “co-benefits,” such as habitat for terrestrial and aquatic wildlife, moderating stream temperatures and providing opportunities for recreation. By increasing the acres of riparian buffers, afforestation and urban tree canopy, the watershed forestry program aims to improve water quality across the Commonwealth.

Through these water quality protection activities, DOF helps Virginia to achieve the goals set forth in the Watershed Improvement Plan III to protect the Chesapeake Bay, ensures that Virginia’s forests continue to provide clean, plentiful drinking water, and supports habitat for fish and wildlife throughout the Commonwealth.



Water Quality Protection Resources

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ImageTitleIDDescriptionContent TypeViewhf:tax:document-categoryhf:tax:document-tagshf:tax:Media
Best Management Practices: Brush Matting and Vegetation - Examples
Best Management Practices: Brush Matting and Vegetation – ExamplesFT0041

Forestry topic information sheet shows examples of correct best management practices – brush matting and vegetation.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices forestry-topics logger-resources timber-harvestingpublication
Best Management Practices: Log Landings - Examples
Best Management Practices: Log Landings – ExamplesFT0043

Forestry topic information sheet shows examples of correct best management practices – log landings.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices forestry-topics logger-resources timber-harvestingpublication
Best Management Practices: Roads and Trails - Examples
Best Management Practices: Roads and Trails – ExamplesFT0046

Forestry topic information sheet shows examples of correct best management practices – roads and trails.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices forestry-topics logger-resources timber-harvestingpublication
Best Management Practices: Stream Crossings - Examples
Best Management Practices: Stream Crossings – ExamplesFT0042

Forestry topic information sheet shows examples of correct best management practices – stream crossings.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices forestry-topics logger-resources timber-harvestingpublication
Best Management Practices: Streamside Management Zones - Examples
Best Management Practices: Streamside Management Zones – ExamplesFT0044

Forestry topic information sheet shows examples of correct best management practices – streamsize management zones.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices forestry-topics logger-resources timber-harvestingpublication
Best Management Practices: Water Bars and Rolling Dips - Examples
Best Management Practices: Water Bars and Rolling Dips – ExamplesFT0045

Forestry topic information sheet shows examples of correct best management practices – water bars and rolling dips.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices forestry-topics logger-resources timber-harvestingpublication
Clearcutting Facts and Myths
Clearcutting Facts and MythsP00202

Brochure offers clarification of the facts and myths related to clearcutting, including the history of clearcutting, science behind clearcutting, and the benefits of clearcutting.

Viewwater-qualitytimber-harvestingpublication
Commonwealth of Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan
Commonwealth of Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan

This document represents Virginia’s Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) to achieve nutrient and sediment reductions needed to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries.This Phase III WIP relies on the continued support and engagement of all stakeholders in Virginia.

Viewwater-quality watershedwater-quality-protectiondocument
Cost-Share/AMP Project Amendment
Cost-Share/AMP Project Amendment3.11Viewfinance financial-assistance-water-quality financial-assistance-forest-health financial-assistance financial-assistance-forest-management forest-health forest-management water-qualitycost-share-programs eabt-program grant-programs lpfct-program lpr-program pct-program rt-programform
Farm Life 360
Farm Life 360

Video provides a 360° forestry experience on a timber harvest. Read the Fact Sheet or do the Activity Suggestion: Create a Tree.

Vieweducation forest-management water-quality public-informationkids-resources timber-harvestingvideo
Forestry Cost-Share or Grant Program Certification of Work Completed
Forestry Cost-Share or Grant Program Certification of Work Completed3.09Viewfinance financial-assistance financial-assistance-forest-management financial-assistance-water-quality financial-assistance-forest-health forest-health forest-management water-qualitycost-share-programs grant-programs lpfct-program lpr-program pct-programform
Harvest Notification
Harvest Notification18.01Viewwater-qualitylaw-enforcement water-quality-lawsform
Healthy Watersheds Forest Retention Project Phases 1 and 2 Final Report
Healthy Watersheds Forest Retention Project Phases 1 and 2 Final ReportViewwater-qualitypublication
Herd Health
Herd Health

Brochure by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation provides tips for keeping cattle healthy through better watering techniques.

Viewwater-qualityfarms water-quality-protectionpublication
Logger Best Management Practice (BMP) Cost-Share Program
Logger Best Management Practice (BMP) Cost-Share ProgramFT0047

Forestry topic information sheet provides program information about the Logger Best Management Practice (BMP) Cost-Share Program providing cost-share assistance to loggers for installation of best management practices.

Viewfinancial-assistance-water-quality water-qualitybest-management-practices cost-share-programs forestry-topics logger-bmp-program logger-resourcespublication
Logger Incentive Cost-Share Program - First Commercial Pine Thinning
Logger Incentive Cost-Share Program – First Commercial Pine ThinningFT0028

Forestry topic information sheet provides an overview of the Logger Incentive Cost-Share Program offering financial assistance for first commercial pine thinning as a part of the Pine Bark Beetle Prevention Program.

Viewfinancial-assistance-water-quality water-qualitycost-share-programs forestry-topics lpfct-program thinning timber-harvestingpublication
Logger Notification Log Book for Loggers
Logger Notification Log Book for Loggers

Log book is a booklet of timber harvest notification forms for use by loggers to keep track of their notifications. Printed copies available.

Viewwater-qualityharvest-notification logger-resources timber-harvestingpublication
Multiple Landowners Supplement
Multiple Landowners Supplement3.10Viewfinance financial-assistance-water-quality financial-assistance-forest-health financial-assistance financial-assistance-forest-management forest-health forest-management water-qualitycost-share-programs eabt-program grant-programs hemlock-woolly-adelgid-treatment-cost-share-program lpfct-program lpr-program pct-program rt-programform
Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)
Northern Long-Eared Bat (Myotis septentrionalis)

Virginia DWR information sheet provides information about the endangered northern long-eared bat.

Viewforest-management water-qualitynorthern-long-eared-batpublication
Rain Gardens
Rain GardensP00124

Brochure educates landowners on options available to resolve issues with excess drainage from roofs, gutters, sidewalks, and roads, eliminating soil erosion, improving the quality of water, and how to put nature to work for you. Printed copies available.

Viewurban-and-community-forestry water-qualityhomeowner-assistance landowner-resources rain-gardens stormwater-managementpublication
Rain Gardens: Technical Guide
Rain Gardens: Technical GuideP00127

Technical guide provides detailed instruction for homeowners, teachers, community leaders, gardeners and landscape architects on the planning and development of rain gardens to create a landscape feature that will solve drainage problems, address erosion problems, improve water quality, create wildlife habitat and create a garden focal point. Printed copies available.

Viewurban-and-community-forestry water-qualityhomeowner-assistance landowner-resources rain-gardens stormwater-managementpublication
Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (Virginia Dept. of Accounts)
Request for Taxpayer Identification Number and Certification (Virginia Dept. of Accounts)W-9Viewfinance financial-assistance-urban-and-community-forestry financial-assistance-forest-health financial-assistance-water-quality financial-assistance-fire-and-emergency-response financial-assistance-forest-management fire-and-emergency-response forest-health forest-management urban-and-community-forestry water-qualitycost-share-programs eabt-program grant-programs hemlock-woolly-adelgid-treatment-cost-share-program lpfct-program lpr-program pct-program rt-program throwing-shade-va-programform
Riparian Buffer Tax Credit Application
Riparian Buffer Tax Credit Application18.08Viewwater-qualityriparian-buffer-tax-creditform
Riparian Buffer Tax Credit S-Corporation/Partnership Landowner Information
Riparian Buffer Tax Credit S-Corporation/Partnership Landowner Information18.09Viewwater-qualityriparian-buffer-tax-creditform
Riparian Buffers Tax Credit
Riparian Buffers Tax CreditP00123

Brochure described the Riparian Buffers Tax Credit program, including who is eligible, how to sign up, application requirements, application approval, Buffer specifications, noncompliance, and inspections. Printed copies available.

Viewwater-qualityriparian-buffer-tax-credit riparian-forest-bufferspublication
Riparian Forests for Landowners Program – Providing Flexible, No-Cost Forest Buffer Installation
Riparian Forests for Landowners Program – Providing Flexible, No-Cost Forest Buffer InstallationFT0066

Forestry topic information sheet provides information about the Riparian Forests for Landowners program for private landowners, including objective, eligibility, funding and requirements and how to apply.

Viewfinancial-assistance-water-quality water-quality watershedgrant-programs riparian-forest-buffers riparian-forests-for-landowners-programpublication
Services for Landowners
Services for LandownersP00112

Brochure provides information about the services available to landowners from the Virginia Department of Forestry, including forest management and forest health, timber harvesting and water quality, land conservation, tree seedling production, and resource protection. Printed copies available.

Viewfire-and-emergency-response forest-health forest-management forestland-conservation nurseries urban-and-community-forestry water-qualityagency-services conservation forest-health-impacts forest-planning land-planning landowner-assistance seedling-nurseries timber-harvesting water-quality-laws water-quality-protection wildfire-prevention wildfire-suppressionpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation - 2022
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation – 2022P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation - 2023
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation – 2023P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2007-2008
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2007-2008P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2009
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2009P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2010
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2010P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2011
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2011P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2012
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2012P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2013
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2013P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2014
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2014P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2015
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2015P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2016
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2016P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2017
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2017P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2018
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2018P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2019
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2019P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2020
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2020P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia - 2021
Silvicultural Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring for Virginia – 2021P00143

Annual report on the implementation of BMP monitoring in Virginia, including the audit methods and results of audits over the course of a year.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices timber-harvestingpublication
Temporary Bridge Cost-Share Program Application
Temporary Bridge Cost-Share Program Application18.12

Application form to be completed to apply for Temporary Bridge Cost-Share Program.

Viewfinancial-assistance-water-quality water-qualitytemporary-bridge-cost-share-programform
Timber Harvest Notification - Required by Law
Timber Harvest Notification – Required by LawFT0027

Forestry topic information sheet educated logger and landowners about the timber harvest notification that is required by Virginia law.

Viewwater-qualityforestry-topics harvest-notification logger-resources timber-harvesting water-quality-lawspublication
Timber Harvesting and Water Quality
Timber Harvesting and Water QualityP00132

Brochure educates landowners and harvesters about the impact of timber harvesting on water quality and the steps required to maintain compliance with applicable laws during pre-harvest planning, harvesting and tract closeout after harvesting. Printed copies available.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices landowner-assistance landowner-resources logger-resources timber-harvesting water-quality-lawspublication
Timber Harvests in Virginia Chart
Timber Harvests in Virginia Chart

Chart shows the number of timber harvests and the number of acres harvested in Virginia over time.

Viewforest-inventory-analysis forest-management resource-information water-qualitygraphics timber-harvestinggraphic
Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality: Field Guide
Virginia’s Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality: Field GuideP00134

Technical field guide provides a convenient pocket instruction guide for timber harvesters to protect water quality when harvesting timber and comply with applicable laws. Printed copies available.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices logger-resources pre-harvest-planning riparian-forest-buffers streamside-forests timber-harvesting water-quality-laws water-quality-protectionpublication
Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality: Technical Manual
Virginia’s Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality: Technical ManualP00104

Technical guide (5th edition) provides detailed instruction for timber harvesters to protect water quality when harvesting timber and comply with applicable laws. Printed copies available.

Viewwater-qualitybest-management-practices logger-resources pre-harvest-planning riparian-forest-buffers streamside-forests timber-harvesting water-quality-laws water-quality-protectionpublication

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