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Riparian Management Zones (RMZ)

Areas adjacent to lakes, rivers, and streams are very important to maintaining water quality and to a wide variety of wildlife species. A crucial part of any timber harvest is identifying these areas and outlining them to ensure they remain undisturbed. In some circumstances, harvesting may occur near a steam, but there are state guidelines to follow that ensure water quality remains unchanged.

Sometimes, these management zones are clearly an area harvesting should not occur in, such as a marsh or wooded area with very wet soils. Other times, the soil conditions may allow for harvesting right up to the shoreline, but, keeping the water body’s best interest in mind, a Riparian Management Zone (RMZ) needs to be established for the protection of the water and aquatic life.

How wide an area needs to be left is dependent on many factors, a few of which are: size of the water body, slope of the ground leading to the water, the species of trees in the RMZ, and the soil type.

If you are considering a timber harvest for your property and have a water body nearby, it would be advised to have a forester assist in setting up the harvest to ensure the proper RMZ is established. The foresters at Steigerwaldt Land Services are always ready to assist landowners in reaching their property goals while also preserving our natural resources.

Austin Hopfensperger, Forester