Forest Practice Act Changes
Forest Practice Law Changes Adopted by the 125th Legislature 2014
The 125th Legislature enacted Public Law, Chapter 532, LD 1741, An Act To Streamline the Paperwork Requirements of the State's Forest Practices Laws.
1 – Repeal the sections in the Chapter 20 rule addressing the Forest Operations Notification (FON) process and place them in a separate rule. This was statutory housekeeping; nothing more. The FON now has its own separate rule, Chapter 26. This rule consolidates all MFS notification requirements (FON, LUPC, statewide standards, chop and drop) in one rule.
2 – Simplify the FON requirements for smaller acreages and for DEP-certified erosion control contractors under certain circumstances. The law also amended the exemption to the requirement to file a FON to limit it to harvesting *performed by the landowner* within a 12-month period *on 2 acres or less.* The exemption for five-acre partial harvests was repealed.
3– Remove the requirement that a licensed forester certify the regeneration of Category 2 and Category 3 clearcuts.
4 - Remove the requirement that a landowner report to MFS (with the certification mentioned in #3 above) the regeneration of Category 2 and Category 3 clearcuts.
The amended notification rule (Chapter 26) retains the existing FON exemptions for:
1) Removal of single trees or small groups of trees from residential yards, roadsides, and similar urban or suburban settings where the tree removal occurs on an area two acres in size or less, and is conducted for the purposes of hazard tree removal, right of way and driveway clearance, and lot clearance for the construction of residential dwelling units. This exemption applies only to land on which a person resides, or for lot clearing operations for a landowner who possesses a building permit, or where such lot clearance does not exceed the necessary construction footprint.
2) Timber harvests where the forest products harvested or processed are for personal use by the landowner.
The amended Chapter 26 rule also provides that DEP-certified erosion control contractors can have a “portable” FON under certain circumstances (individual harvests covering a footprint of 10 acres or less; solely for a change of land use; and, only if the person filing the notification is responsible for management of erosion and sedimentation control at the harvest site). Other requirements also apply. The list of certified erosion control contractors is found at: http://www.maine.gov/dep/land/training/index.html. We also will accept the certified companies listed on the site.
In Chapter 20 (the original clearcutting and notification rule), we updated definitions to reflect changes made over the last several years in other MFS rules adopted since the last Chapter 20 amendments in 1999.
Clearcutting standards are found in Chapter 20. There were no substantive changes to the clearcutting standards; only the paperwork requirements changed.
FON requirements are found in Chapter 26. The key changes are the 2-acre exemption and the FON portability for DEP-certified erosion control contractors under certain circumstances.