By Chris Thomsen, VDOF Western Regional Forester
Loggers in the Lower Cowpasture River Watershed now have two sets of portable bridges available for their use, thanks to the Virginia Department of Forestry (VDOF) and funding provided by a U. S. Forest Service Joint Chiefs Grant. This federal grant funds the Lower Cowpasture Restoration and Management Project and covers 117,500 acres of public and private lands in Alleghany, Bath, and Rockbridge Counties. The project area is located in the heart of the Ridge and Valley province of the Central Appalachians and the Upper James River drainage basin of the Chesapeake Bay.
Both bridge sets consist of three 4’ x 30’ panels and were purchased by VDOF from Long Island Lumber in Campbell County. The bridges will be stored at the WestRock Mill in Covington. They will be loaned out at no cost to loggers working in the targeted watershed area. Loggers wishing to use these bridges will need to obtain a pre-harvest plan recommending bridge use from VDOF and not have any unresolved water quality issues. Contact for obtaining a pre-harvest plan and / or bridge set is Senior Area Forester Patti Nylander at 434-962—8172 or Water Quality Specialist Andrew Vinson at 540-810-0153. VDOF will maintain a check-out list and communicate pick-up with WestRock in Covington.
Use of these bridges by area loggers will help protect the waters of the Commonwealth from excessive sedimentation. It is hoped that loggers unfamiliar with portable bridge use will see the value in using them and consider purchasing a set for their operation. Cost share may be available to assist loggers with the purchase of portable bridges. Additional information is available at http://www.dof.virginia.gov or by contacting your local VDOF representative.