Notice of Intent Enrollment Grows to Over 5 Million Acres
Florida has over 17 million acres of forests. Seventy-one percent of those acres are privately owned; the rest are owned by the public (29 percent) and forest industry (6 percent). These “Working Forests” are managed to produce a variety of wood and wood fiber products. In addition, these forests also support outdoor recreational opportunities for residents and millions of visitors to the state including important non-market based values, such as clean water, greenspace and other ecosystem services.
Florida’s forest products industry and private landowners contribute a wealth of support to many communities. Forestry is a $14.5 billion industry to Florida’s economy and the state’s forests provide a unique ecosystem serving many environmental benefits.
Protecting Florida’s diverse and unique natural resources is something that one way or another, involves every Floridian. Water is certainly one of those resources to top the list of importance.
Forestry best management practices (BMPs) are land management strategies designed to help forest landowners conduct forestry activities near waterbodies and wetlands in a manner which is environmentally sound, and does not compromise the quality or quantity of fresh water.
For owners of forest property in the state of Florida, the Florida Forest Service (FFS) is the lead agency responsible for administering the BMP program. Toward that end, the FFS adopted Rule 5I-6 F.A.C. to provide additional incentives for landowners to follow BMPs.
• Forestry Rule 5I-6 became effective February 11, 2004 to effect pollutant reduction through the implementation of non-regulatory BMPs.
• Forest landowners in the state can take advantage of incentives offered through Rule 5I-6 by submitting a Notice of Intent to use BMPs to the FFS.
The Silviculture BMP Notice of Intent (NOI) is a voluntary, one-time pledge indicating a landowner’s intent to adhere to Silviculture BMPs on their property. Once a landowner has signed and submitted the NOI to the FFS, they become eligible to receive a “presumption of compliance” with state water quality standards during future ongoing forestry operations – provided that BMPs are implemented. This means that a forest landowner who elects to comply with the rule and follows BMPs during forestry operations would not be subject to enforcement action for a water quality standards violation, should one occur.
Please feel free to contact the Florida Forest Service for more information about BMPs or visit http://www.freshfromflorida.com/Divisions-Offices/Florida-Forest-Service/Best-Management-Practices-BMP
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