As mandated by Amendments to the Clean Water Act, and regulated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, forest roads in jurisdictional wetlands including “waters of the United States” must be constructed and maintained in accordance with 15 Mandatory Best Management Practices to retain Section 404 exemption status.
Because they are so important, please take a moment to review the 15 mandatory BMPs as stated in the Texas Forest Service BMP Handbook:
1. Permanent roads, temporary access roads, and skid trails in waters of the U.S. shall be held to the minimum feasible number, width, and total length consistent with the purpose of specific silvicultural operations and local topographic and climatic conditions.
2. All roads, temporary or permanent, shall be located sufficiently far from streams or other water bodies (except portions of such roads that must cross water bodies) to minimize discharge of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S.
3. The road fill shall be bridged, culverted or otherwise designed to prevent the restriction of expected flood flows.
4. The fill shall be properly stabilized and maintained to prevent erosion during and following construction.
5. Discharges of dredged or fill material into waters of the U.S. to construct a road fill shall be made in a manner that minimizes the encroachment of trucks, tractors, bulldozers, or other heavy equipment within waters of the 83 U.S. (including adjacent wetlands) that lie outside the lateral boundaries of the fill itself.
6. In designing, constructing, and maintaining roads, vegetative disturbance in the waters of the U.S. shall be kept to a minimum.
7. The design, construction, and maintenance of the road crossing shall not disrupt the migration or other movement of those species of aquatic life inhabiting the water body.
8. Borrow material shall be taken from upland sources whenever feasible.
9. The discharge shall 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. Discharges into breeding and nesting areas for migratory waterfowl, spawning areas, and wetlands shall be avoided if practical alternatives exist.
11. The discharge shall not be located in the proximity of a public water supply intake.
12. The discharge shall not occur in areas of concentrated shellfish population.
13. The discharge shall not occur in a component of the National Wild and Scenic River System.
14. The discharge of material shall consist of suitable material free from toxic pollutants in toxic amounts.
15. All temporary fills shall be removed in their entirety and the area restored to its original elevation.