Demonstrating the Benefits of Portable Bridges for Forest Road Stream Crossings
The Pine Country RC&D Council has developed a portable bridge incentive program that makes portable bridges accessible and affordable for loggers and timber buying companies in Georgia to utilize. The objective of this project is to demonstrate that portable timber bridges can be used to provide ideal temporary stream crossings that protect water quality from non-point sources of pollution associated with forestry operations.
Background: The 2004 Georgia Forestry BMP survey evaluated 412 stream crossing sites comprising 43, 947 acres. The survey identified an 80% BMP implementation rate but only a 44% compliance rate. Stream crossings are the most critical aspect of a forestry road system. Failure of a stream crossing, due to improper planning or construction, can result in erosion and introduction of sediment into a stream, which can affect water quality. Types of acceptable crossings include main haul roads, culverts, fords, or bridges. The report identified the biggest concern and area for the greatest improvement is eliminating the skidder fords and debris and dirt crossings. Together they make up 33% of the total noncompliance.
Portable bridges are a preferred BMP because they minimize both short and long term detrimental impacts to the stream bank, stream bottom, water quality and aquatic biota.
The following guidelines have been established for the program:
- This incentive program is available statewide; however, the goal is introduce six sets of bridges in each of Georgia’s twelve River Basins for a total of 84 sets of bridges.
- Approved applicants will be reimbursed for 60% of the cost of the bridges up to $3,000 for wood bridges and $10,000 for steel bridges.
- Bridges have to meet the program specifications and must be maintained for 5 years.
- Upon approval, participants have 6 months to purchase and certify on-site bridge use.
- A “Participation Agreement” must be signed prior to purchasing bridges.
- The participant will be required to complete follow-up evaluations.
For more information and to receive an application, please contact the Pine Country RC&D Council office at 912-529-6652.