Planning to Cut Timber on Your Woodlot? – Call Before You Cut!

Did you know…when woodland owners sell timber, the landowners are legally responsible for preventing water pollution that might occur during and after a tree harvest? Under Ohio’s Agricultural Pollution Abatement law, which addresses impacts to the “waters of the State” resulting from timber harvests, responsibility rests with the landowner – not the logging company!

Sometimes, erosion or sedimentation problems aren’t obvious to the landowner until after the timber harvest is finished. By then it can be difficult to get the logging company to correct problems, especially if the company has gone on to another job. That’s why it is so important to choose a logger carefully, to insist on a written contract that requires the use of best management practices, and to file an Operation and Management (O&M) plan with the local soil and water conservation district (SWCD) before starting the harvest.

O&M plans are not mandatory, but they can help landowners and loggers head off problems. Filing a plan signals to the logger that the landowner takes erosion control seriously and lets the SWCD know a timber harvest is planned. If the SWCD sees a problem with the plan, the plan can be revised before the harvest starts and problems occur. A plan approved by the local SWCD can also help protect a landowner from nuisance lawsuits as long as the best management practices in the plan are being followed.

Landowners should first visit the website  or call 877-4B4- UCUT to learn more details about the program. If landowners decide to file a “Notice of Intent to Harvest” or an O&M Plan, they can then call the Clermont SWCD for further assistance.

Of course, just putting a plan on paper won’t ensure that best management practices are followed during a timber harvest. Unless the landowner has expertise in managing a timber harvest, it’s best to seek out professional help. Service Foresters from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry can advise landowners on woodland management, including best management practices for timber harvests and filing O&M plans.

Many landowners also rely on private consulting foresters, who can manage a timber sale and oversee harvests. Industry foresters employed by companies that use raw wood products might also be able to help landowners.

Bethel Tree Give Away

This May, Clermont SWCD was honored to partner with the OKI Regional Council of Governments and Taking Root to distribute 275 free trees to landowners in the Bethel area. The distribution was made possible by funding received through an Urban Forestry grant provided by the Ohio Division of Forestry.

As many know, Bethel and Tate Township have experienced significant tree loss due to the Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALB), and our goal with this project was to begin to help the community re-establish the tree canopy.

This fall, we will be distributing another 325 trees; all will be non-ALB host species and distributed in 5-7 gallon containers. Dates TBD – Landowners can watch our web site and Facebook page for details.