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25' buffer around ponds

Joseph Zorzin redoak at forestmeister.com
Tue Aug 11 21:16:46 EST 1998

In Massachusetts, our forest cutting practices law mandates NO logging
tops be left within 25' of a brook or pond.

Around a brook, maybe this is OK, maybe not. If it's a large stream with
a wide flood plain the buffer should be greater. If the stream is deeply
entrenched with high banks, in that area the stream isn't likely to ever
flood, so there is no reason to get religious about keeping tops 25'
from the water (horizontally that is).

Around ponds, it's nice to leave the pond looking good, but a rigid rule
that ALL tops must be 25' from the water is just plain nuts.

In a recent logging project- before the job started there was a great
deal of old top material near the water, lots of dead trees standing,
lots of Mountain Laurel, etc. You could hardly even walk around the

The logger probably removed 98% of the fresh tops from within that 25'
of the pond. And he actually removed much of what was there before he
showed up. But the state service forester, read in his little rule book
that there should be NO tops within that 25'. So he's busting our balls
to get every last twig.

This was a big project and the property has numerous steep ridges, lots
of vernal pools, a pond, streams to cross, neighbors land to cross over,
and numerous other complications. But the logger worked his butt off
doing a great job, except for a few twigs within that 25' of the pond.

And.... it's nuts to try to justify  that leaving a few branches near
the pond is some kind of forestry/ecological catastrophe. First of all,
brush piles are good for wildlife, and having some near the water is
even better yet. I even had the logger leave some dying trees with
wildlife holes in them near the water. But because of these twigs around
a pond with a mile frontage, the logger has to go back up there and
clean them up. And... the pond is held up by a dam so the water level is
fixed. The water isn't going to rise with that material getting into the
water. It AIN'T gonna happen. And... that material just isn't going to
wash into the pond. It never has, it never will.

Of course I'm not going to tolerate this. I'm going to ask that the
burro's bosses come to the lot and justify this nonsense. I'll waste
some of their time. And if they don't I'll demand from my state
politicians that they force the forestry bosses to waste their time as
long as I'm wasting mine.

Then again, my experience with state politicians is that they don't give
a dam about this stuff. There's no votes or money in it, just doing
what's right, and that doesn't count.

If my state politicians had the brains to grant REAL licensing to
foresters, we could dump the state guys entirely, saving a million bucks
a year. Then the consultants would bear the full responsibility, just
like any other REAL profession. But like I said, there's no votes or
money in it for the politicians. With REAL licensing, it would be up to
the consultant to use some good old fashioned Yankee common sense to
solve these problems, none of which even in the worse case scenario is
one millionth as destructive to the environment as the typical shopping
center that fouls up the aquifers with all that asphalt; such as one
built up on a mountain in one town here, with the full blessing and
approval of ALL the politicians. Then these hypocritical politicians
claim they're all for efficiency in state government, but when I give
them plenty of ammunition to get efficient with my state forestry
agency, that don't have the common decency to even reply to my letters.

I suspect that the politicians don't want to tamper much with the
bureaucracy because that's where they can find jobs for their friends
and relatives and jobs for the retired, burned out, or failed
politicians themselves.

If any of the politicians ever have the guts to reply to any of my many
messages, posted here- which I have cc'd to them, I'll post copies here.
Don't hold your breath waiting for any such proof of the decency of
these guys. After a quarter century, they have yet to reply to me. I
think this proves we don't really live in a democracy; which is a myth.
They are afraid to reply because they can't honestly answer the
questions I raise, without admitting the truth of what I say- then
they'd have to take action- which they of course won't do- which proves
my point about the myth of democracy.

Joseph Zorzin
"Still, after a year, the only forestry web page in the otherwise
sophisticated state of Massachusetts"

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