Backyard Conservation: Bringing Conservation from the Countryside to Your Backyard

There are nearly 2 billion acres of land in the conterminous United States. About 70 percent of that land is privately owned and its care is in the hands of those who live and work on it. Most of that land, 1.4 billion acres, is managed by farmers and ranchers. More than 92 million acres of land—an area the size of California—is privately developed and much of it is tended by homeowners. Farmers and ranchers use conservation plans to help them apply practices that meet their production objectives and protect soil, water, air, plant, and animal resources. You may want to develop a plan for your own backyard to help you apply conservation measures that fit your needs. Or maybe, for now, you’d like to try just a few of the activities in this book.

De-Coding the Language of Water Quality

As with many sciences, there are a lot of alphabetic abbreviations in the world of forestry and water quality. This Forestry Leaflet de-codes the alphabetic mix and helps you understand the impact of various water quality programs on forest management.

Explaining Streamside Management Zones

In North Carolina, forestry activities must establish and maintain a streamside management zone (SMZ) alongside certain types of streams and bodies of water. These requirements are defined within the statewide mandatory regulations called the Forest Practices Guidelines Related to Water Quality, or ‘FPGs’.

Maintaining the Forestry Exemption Under the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act

The North Carolina Sedimentation Pollution Control Act was passed in 1973. Its purpose is to prevent sediment from reaching streams by requiring the installation and maintenance of adequate sediment control measures during site-disturbing activities. The initial law provided a blanket exemption for agriculture and forestry. The 1989 North Carolina legislature amended the Sedimentation Pollution Control Act. The amendment maintains the forestry exemption but only on the condition that site-disturbing forestry activities be conducted in accordance with Forest Practices Guidelines.

Portable Bridges for Forest Road Stream Crossings

Stream crossings on forest roads frequently create problems for loggers and many landowners. Stream crossings are costly to build and time-consuming to install. They are also subject to failure during storms, and soil erosion from stream crossings is a major source of pollution in our streams.

Protecting Soil and Water Resources

Landowners who wish to practice stewardship on their lands need to assess the potential negative impact of their management activities on soil and water resources, both on and off their property. Soil and water conservation is focused on the prevention of erosion and off-site movement of sediments, nutrients and pesticides, the maintenance of normal water levels in wetlands, and the reduction of flood flows into estuaries.must adhere to minimum standards that include BMPs for soil and water conservation. These standards also promote timber, wildlife, recreational and aesthetic values. Landowners who have environmentally-sensitive forestlands with high erosion potential should design their management plans primarily to protect and enhance the soil and water resources. This includes lands

Riparian Buffers

A riparian buffer is vegetated land adjacent to a stream or water body. The vegetation benefits water quality and habitat by helping to regulate temperature, add organic matter (leaves and twigs), assist in pollution reduction and provide wildlife habitat.

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