Mission and Goals

The goal of the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection’s Monitoring Study Group (MSG) is to develop and implement a long-term monitoring program that will provide timely information on the implementation and effectiveness of forest practices related to water quality that can be used by forest managers, agencies, and the public in California.


Background Information

The MSG has been an Advisory Committee to the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection (BOF) since January 2000. From 1989 to 1999, the MSG was an “ad hoc” committee which met periodically. The MSG has, and continues, to: (1) develop a long-term program testing the effectiveness of California’s Forest Practice Rules, and (2) provide guidance and oversight to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) in implementing the program. CAL FIRE has funded monitoring efforts designed to ascertain if forest practice rules protecting beneficial uses of water are being implemented and are effective since 1990.

Through 2000, the MSG’s monitoring program has largely consisted of: 1) hillslope monitoring data collected on Timber Harvesting Plans (THPs) randomly located throughout the state, 2) a pilot cooperative instream monitoring project in a 303(d) listed watershed—the Garcia River watershed, and 3) selected monitoring related projects.

Recently, the long-term monitoring program has been expanded, utilizing a somewhat broader combination of approaches to generate information on forest practice rule implementation and effectiveness related to water quality. The major components of the program include: 1) continuation of the existing Hillslope Monitoring Program—evaluating 50 THPs and NTMPs per year, 2) incorporation of the Modified Completion Report process—using CAL FIRE Forest Practice Inspectors to evaluate Forest Practice Rule implementation and effectiveness, 3) development of selected monitoring projects that can answer key questions regarding forest practice implementation and effectiveness, and 4) development of scientifically valid monitoring plans in 303(d) listed waterbodies, along with cooperative watershed monitoring projects in selected basins for long-term instream trend monitoring. For more detailed information on the long-term monitoring program, refer to the MSG’s Strategic Plan.

The primary reasons that the MSG is an Advisory Committee to the BOF are:

  1. Monitoring forest practices related to water quality is a long-term program which requires input from a broad-based steering committee;

  2. Frequent briefings are critical because information about the adequacy of the existing and potential new rules related to water quality is of the utmost importance to the BOF; and

  3. An Advisory Committee of the BOF generates greater acceptance of the program and its monitoring results—since there is a higher likelihood that all or most of the agencies and organizations will have been involved throughout the process (not just those with a current interest in the committee).

The MSG is made up of members of the public, resource agencies, and the timber industry. Each agency and organization is responsible for determining the appropriate person to serve as a representative on the MSG (i.e., the BOF does not make formal appointments to the MSG). All relevant organizations are invited to attend the meetings and these gatherings can be described as an open public forum to discuss monitoring issues. Meetings are generally held every two to three months, either on the North Coast of California or in Sacramento.

The MSG is chaired by a BOF member and staffed by CAL FIRE. For more information regarding the MSG, please contact Pete Cafferata, CAL FIRE, P.O. Box 944246, Sacramento, California 94244; (916) 653-9455; or pete_cafferata@fire.ca.gov.