Federal requirements for forest roads in wetlands

The following 15 BMP's must be implemented in order to qualify for the silvicultural exemption from a federal section 404 permit when building a temporary or permanent road or skid trail in a wetland (33 CFR part 323.4). The silvicultural exemption is only applicable when the primary purpose of the road is for normal silvicultural purposes. This listing is an attempt to explain the 15 BMP's in lay language. The exact language of the law may be obtained by contacting the Army Corps of Engineers.

  1. Limit the number, length and width of roads and skid trails to the minimum necessary to accomplish the landowner's objective.
  2. Locate roads outside riparian management zones except at stream crossings. For more information, see the section on Riparian Management Zones and Ephemeral Streams.
  3. Road fill must be bridged, culverted, or otherwise designed to prevent restriction of expected flood flows.
  4. Properly stabilize and maintain road fill during and after road construction to prevent erosion.
  5. While building a road with fill material, minimize the use of road construction equipment in the wetland area that lies outside the boundaries of the road fill.
  6. Minimize disturbance of vegetation while designing, constructing and maintaining roads.
  7. Correctly design, construct and maintain wetland road crossings to avoid disrupting the migration or movement of fish and other aquatic life.
  8. Use fill from upland sources whenever feasible.
  9. Place fill in a way that does not take or jeopardize the continued existence of a threatened or endangered species (as defined under the Endangered Species Act) or adversely modify or destroy the critical habitat of such species.
  10. Avoid placing fill in breeding and nesting areas for migratory waterfowl, in spawning areas and in wetlands if practical alternatives exist.
  11. Fill shall not be placed near a public water supply intake,
  12. Fill shall not be placed in areas of concentrated shellfish production.
  13. Fill shall not be placed in waterbodies or on land regarded as part of the National Wild and Scenic River System.
  14. Use fill free from toxic pollutants in toxic amounts.
  15. Completely remove all temporary fills and restore the area to its original elevation.