Voices of the Future (9) - Erosion & Sedimentation Plans are Necessary but can be Too Strict

by Zach Gentilesco
Forest Science Major, graduating May 2016

Over the breaks and a few weekends, I like to go back home from school to work in the woods for either of my uncles who are loggers. I first learned how to safely use a saw at 12 and learned how to operate a skidder before I learned how to drive a car. Working in the woods is something most of the males in my family are accustomed to.

This past winter break my uncle had a several-acre clearcut planned for us to do. Due to the strict environmental and sediment plan that was required we have yet to fell a single tree. This ordeal lasted several months and resulted in my uncle losing interest in the job. I guess I should mention now that the area that we were going to cut was not to be managed, but intended to be developed and have condominiums constructed.

The real work of logging is not felling and skidding. It is getting past all the red tape of erosion & sediment plans and getting bonds to use county roads for the single log truck my uncle owns. Life is already tough enough for the small time logger that is trying to put food on the table along with paying taxes and the never-ending battle with fixing equipment. In my opinion, I think that the tedious and strict e&s plans required to log should be loosened depending on the intentions of the landowner and the size of the operation. For instance, if a logger is only cutting down snags and hazard trees, he should not need to have an e&s plan. This idea is in practice in some areas, but is not practiced in my home county.

A logger should only have to focus on removing trees to the best of his or her abilities. They should not be put on hold due to a strict e&s plan that sometimes will make no difference due to the decision of the landowner. Should e&s plans be loosened all together? No, they shouldn’t for massive logging operations that cover an entire landscape, or for the companies that are doing the construction; but for small operations that will not do any harm to riparian zones or any open water, they are over the top.

People lose their minds if a little dirt falls in a stream, but no one seems to complain about all the salt that the state spreads on the roads during the winter. In the spring all the salt has to go somewhere and it is not into some containment area that safely stores the vehicle eating salt until next year. It goes into the streams that are near roads. I am not a wildlife and fisheries person, but I don’t think all that salt is good for the wildlife that live in or use those open water sources.

Below is a video that goes into great detail about the planning and precautions that go into an erosion and sediment control plan. All the work that goes into an e&s plan is a little over the top for a small time logger to complete.

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Anonymous said…
I've been a Consulting Forester for 40 years and it's been my experience that those logging firms that cut corners are typically not the folks we want to work with. Develop a way of thinking and a reputation for being the logging firm that landowners can count on to always to do everything to protect their property and our environment and you will most likely have more work than you can get done. Develop a reputation for whining about regulations and looking for ways to cut corners and the market will recognize you as well.

Zach, as professional forester there is no job you will have which is more important than the protection of our rights to practice and private landowners rights. Don't break the rules that you don't like. Work to change the rules to be fair for all service providers. Develop a reputation of being vigilant of unjust change and always work to protect landowners rights.
LenB said…
Hi Chuck

I was a Practicing Civil Engineer, founded and ran my own Firm in NY ( Bibbo Associates) for 37 years. Retired and returned to Practice here on Hilton Head Island for the past 17 years.

The young lad is whining over a matter he actually knows nothing about.

Erosion and Sediment control is as easy as covering your mouth before a yawn. To the smart educated Contractors, its a way of life. before you start a job, cut the trenches, dig the silt traps, put up the Silt Fence and stop the run off before it even starts.

THe agencies know who is in and who is out. It may take a little effort to convince them at first but you go along....they go along.

I had Japanese clients who so surpassed me in E & R thinking`it made my head spim. Because of the little land left to build on in Japan, they were so far ahead of the game....it was a way of life for them.

Any responsible Contractor client that I still have has no problem either...especially after I shame them with my Japan story.

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