water quality stream with trees

Forestry Best Management Practices

Best Management Practices (BMPs) are non-regulatory guidelines for silvicultural practices designed to protect water quality in Mississippi. The MFC conducts a statewide monitoring survey and publishes a report every three years. The purpose of BMP monitoring is to evaluate the use of voluntary BMPs by the forestry community.  By monitoring silvicultural activities, the overall integrity of water quality will improve as well as the restoration and protection of all watersheds. The guidelines set forth in “Silviculture Best Management Practices Implementation Monitoring:  A Framework for State Forestry Agencies” should be used to develop implementation monitoring procedures.    

Best Management Practices Handbook Fourth Edition, 2008


Biomass Harvesting Addendum

Biomass Harvesting Guidelines are designed to be used in conjunction with the “traditional” Mississippi’s Best Management Practices in Forestry, especially in the area of maintaining high water quality standards (MFC 2008) and in situations where more woody material is removed than during traditional forestry operations. 

Biomass Harvesting Guidelines Addendum, 2016


Forested lands are an important natural resource in Mississippi. They help protect and cleanse the water we need for drinking, residential use, irrigation, and industry.  According to the Southern Forest Resource Assessment (USDA Forest Service 2002), forested watersheds consistently yield lower sediment and nutrient contributions to surface waters and improve biological conditions. It is through the wise management of these lands that a multitude of benefits is generated.

Forests make important, positive contributions to the quality of life for Mississippians by providing almost 70,000 jobs, a wealth of forest products, livestock forage areas, open spaces, abundant wildlife habitat, scenic areas, recreational experiences, and other recreational and economic benefits.

The Federal Clean Water Act of 1987 requires proper steps be taken to prevent pollution to sources of drinking water and protect water quality. When conducting forestry operations, using Mississippi’s Best Management Practices (BMPs) satisfies the requirements of the Clean Water Act. BMPs are a group of voluntary practices used to reduce water pollution.

It is the responsibility of the landowner and/or timber owner to ensure that water pollution does not occur from forestry operations in Mississippi. The professional resource manager and the equipment operator working for a landowner also have an ethical responsibility to ensure that practices performed do not cause pollution under the Water Quality Act and state law. It is in the best interest of all parties involved with managing forest resources to ensure adherence to water quality standards, thereby maintaining site quality while protecting environmental conditions. The Mississippi Forestry Commission’s role in water quality is to monitor the use of best management practices.  Findings are reported to the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).  It is estimated that forest activity occurs on nearly 850,000 acres annually in Mississippi.  The Mississippi Forestry Commission works with landowners, forest industry, loggers, and others to help ensure that forestry practices are in compliance with the Water Quality Act and state laws.

Additional information concerning forest management activities and water quality is available in this brochure: The Forest Landowner and Water Quality 

Photo by Leslie Robertson, courtesy National Association of State Foresters

Water Quality and Forestry BMP Resources


For more information on this program, please contact:

Richard McInnis
Forest Management Chief
660 North Street, Suite 300
Jackson, MS 39202
Cell: (601) 927-8484
Email: rmcinnis@mfc.state.ms.us