Water Quality at the Virginia Department of Forestry

Forests provide a vital role in preserving water quality. The Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) inspects logging jobs to ensure that best management practices are being followed by loggers so that water quality isn't compromised by their logging activities. VDOF's Water Quality Monitoring reviews the status of VDOF's efforts to guard this resource through Best Management Practice (BMP) field audits on a quarterly basis and develops an annual report of these audit findings. VDOF also has a major role in protecting watersheds through riparian forest buffers. Riparian forest buffers reduce erosion and cleanse water entering streams.

Cover Image of Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality Field Guide
Virginia’s Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality Field Guide
– 06/2009 [ PDF format ]

Cover Image of Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality Technical Guide
Virginia’s Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality Technical Guide
– 03/2011 [ PDF format ]

To learn more about Virginia's water quality:

These activities are allowed under the Code of Virginia: Water Quality Law, Chapter 11, 10.1-1181.7

  • Conducting Best Management Practice (BMP) field audits on a quarterly basis and developing a yearly BMP Implementation report for Virginia.
  • Cooperating with the Southern Group of State Foresters Water Resources Committee (SGSF-WRC) on region-wide water quality issues and BMP reporting.

Inspect Timber Harvest Sites

Did You Know? Loggers must notify us of their timber harvests using this online form.

Disturbed soil associated with timber harvesting and other silvicultural activities can become sediment pollution in the waters of Virginia. VDOF water quality inspectors assist loggers and landowners with timber harvest planning and execution and encourage the use of appropriate site specific voluntary best management practices to keep streams free of silvicultural sediments. If loggers fail to apply necessary BMPs on harvest sites, sediment deposition may occur, and that can lead to civil penalties under the Virginia Silvicultural Water Quality Law (§10.1-1181.2).

BMP Technical Guide | BMP Field Guide

Monitor Streams and Conduct Audits

In Virginia, loggers are required to protect water quality, and the VDOF developed Best Management Practices (BMPs) as guidelines for proper timber harvesting for Virginia's loggers. To monitor voluntary implementation of these guidelines, the VDOF began conducting Best Management Practice Field Audits in 1993. Conducted four times a year and compiled in one annual report, the field audits provide a useful tool in gauging the status of Virginia's water quality protection efforts with regard to silvicultural activity.

Current BMP Audit Report

Help Landowners Conserve Water and Ensure Water Quality

Water Conservation

Earth's water is always in movement, and the water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth.


  • Chesapeake Bay Pollution. If you want to know where the pollutants that enter the Chesapeake Bay are coming from, visit the Chesapeake Bay Executive Order website.
  • Watershed Assessment of River Stability & Sediment Supply - from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Center for Watershed Protection provides local governments, activists, and watershed organizations with the technical tools for protecting our streams, lakes and rivers.
  • Virginia’s Draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan - Deadline for Comments is June 7, 2019 View and Submit Comments
    • The Office of the Virginia Secretary of Natural Resources, through the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), announces the release of Virginia’s Draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan for meeting the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (the Draft Phase III WIP) for public review and comment. Achieving Virginia’s 2017 reduction targets for nitrogen and phosphorus through successful implementation of the Phase I and Phase II WIPs demonstrates clearly that the goal of fully achieving Virginia’s state basin planning targets is within our reach. Yet, restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal tributaries will require significant action by federal, state and local governments, wastewater utilities, farmers and the agriculture and forestry industries, landowners and homeowners, lawn care companies, the general public and many more. The building blocks of our Draft Phase III WIP include new state initiatives as well as existing federal, state and local programs, and detailed local area plans provided by our planning district commissions and soil and water conservation districts.


Stormwater Runoff

Water Availability and Supply

Water Contamination and Pollution

Last modified: Wednesday, 12-Jun-2019 16:43:58 EDT