NEMLC’s Areas of Continuous Improvement
While all Northeast MLC standards hold equal weight in the certification process and designation, we have learned over the eight years of developing this program that there are certain standards which set Master Loggers apart in the profession, and which merit some specific attention as you prepare your practices for Northeast Master Logger certification review. The following is a spotlight on areas where new companies typically need to pay special attention and sometimes make some modifications in order to meet Northeast MLC standards.
1. Water Quality – Crossings – Temporary Bridges
It is strongly recommended that Northeast MLC companies use temporary/portable bridges at each water crossing.
2. Written Safety Plan
All Northeast MLC candidates and companies MUST have a written safety plan on file. Sole proprietors are expected to operate according to OSHA regulations, even though they are not formally bound by them. Contact the Director of Harvest Certification for a fill-in template that meets this standard if you do not already have a written safety plan on file for your company.
3. Documentation of Harvest Planning
The Northeast MLC program has developed a Harvest Integrity System to help companies meet the standards for documentation of harvest planning. All candidates and companies must have harvest planning documentation on file for EACH of their harvesting jobs. Demonstrating your strategy on paper helps people to see what you know and what sets you apart from any person picking up a chainsaw. Increasingly, as landowners change in the Northeast, sealing the deal with a handshake is no longer enough to protect you, as a professional, in your agreements. Putting your agreements down in writing protects you from false accusations or from the consequences of a client’s changing desires. It also gives you a chance to educate the people you work with about your profession and what it takes to harvest land responsibly and with integrity.
4. Use of the Maine Natural Areas Program
The Northeast has a valuable resource in the Maine Natural Areas Program, and Master Loggers ne ed to use it. MNAP will provide you with maps and detailed information about any special areas that need to be protected on your harvests. Taking this step is another way that Master Loggers are set apart in their profession and it is in line with the Code of Ethics that each Master Logger signs-a pledge to harvest responsibly, in a way that protects the future of the forest and the livelihood. MNAP is easy to use:
Send a map of your harvest area and a short description of the project to the following postal address OR e-mail address. Typically, you will get a response within 10 business days.
Maps of your harvest can be sent for a review, free of cost, to:
Information Manager, Maine Natural Areas Program
State House Station #93, 17 Elkins Lane
Augusta, ME 04333
or by e-mail to: Maine.NAP@maine.gov
The service is free of cost and its use is required of all MLC companies as of June 2006.
You can also call (207)287-8044. The Northeast MLC program is working with MNAP to create a method for on-line submission of your review requests, but it is not available at this time. For even more information, you can visit: http://www.maine.gov/doc/nrimc/mnap/
5. Spill kits on machines, not just on site
When a spill happens, you need clean up materials as handy as possible. That’s why our standard requires you to carry a spill kit on your equipment, not just in your truck. For an affordable custom spill kit that comes in a useful yellow plastic box (around $16 for a skidder kit) and for custom kits for larger operations, we have found N.H. Bragg to be a good local provider. You can visit their store or call to have a kit delivered:
92 Perry Road
Bangor, ME 04402-0927
17 Patrick Drive, Suite 1
Westbrook, ME 04902
The goal of these standards is not to add unnecessary steps and paperwork to your already complicated job. Rather, the goal is to promote your work, protect your reputation, and prepare you for the demands of the new forest products markets. We’re glad to help with the process-if you’re experiencing any difficulty in documenting or performing checks, contact the Director of Harvest Certification for assistance:
Protect Your Northeast MLC Certification Number!
As we work on updating and revising Northeast MLC standards this year, we would like to bring special attention to a new standard we are adding concerning “Maintaining the Integrity of the MLC Program Group Chain of Custody (CoC) Certification” (see the draft below). The integrity of the Northeast MLC program has always relied on your ability to protect your Northeast MLC certification number from fraudulent use. Our databases provide a check and balance system if there are any inquiries about which number belongs to which logger OR if a number even exists. Unfortunately, we have had incidences of non-MLC loggers attempting to represent themselves as certified. We are able to correct the situation when we know it is going on, but we need your help too. Particularly since we have earned the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartLogging, Controlled Wood, and Group Chain of Custody (CoC) certification, we need to be even more vigilant about protecting these recognitions that you have earned. Your certification number belongs to you, and is connected to your company’s work. Your certification number SHOULD NOT BE USED TO BROKER NON-MLC WOOD-EVEN WHEN A BUYER REQUESTS YOU TO DO SO. Fraudulent use of Northeast MLC certification numbers can be tracked, and any evidence of brokering non-MLC wood with an MLC number will result in immediate decertification of the companies involved. It is up to each of us to protect the integrity and benefits of Master Logger Certification for all of the companies who earn it. Below is a preview of what the new standard might look like. You will receive a copy of the finalized version of the entire Northeast MLC Standard document when revisions are complete.
Goal 9: Maintain the Integrity of the MLC Program Group Chain of Custody (CoC) Certification
Harvest responsibility #1: Protecting Northeast MLC codes
9.1a Earned Master Logger Certification code numbers are not shared with non-Northeast MLC companies for use in the sale or transport of non-MLC harvested wood
9.1b Northeast MLC companies will not buy non-Master Logger wood and sell or otherwise represent it as Master Logger wood using their certification code
9.1c Fraudulent use of a Northeast MLC code is immediately reported to the Director of Harvest Certification
Harvest responsibility #2: Submitting annual data to the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestlands as requested
9.2a A signed consent/acknowledgement form regarding the obligations and responsibilities of group membership is submitted to the Trust to Conserve Northeast Forestland’s Certification Group Manager
9.2b Annual harvest data, as requested by the TCNF Certification Group Manager, is submitted in a timely fashion
Harvest responsibility #3: Maintaining CoC Certification Files
9.3a Each Northeast MLC company appoints a site manager to maintain files relevant to the company’s group CoC certification membership
9.3b The site manager maintains an up-to-date file of required certification information, including the SmartWood CoC guidelines and standards, training/orientation materials, the certification number, and annual auditing procedures.
Policy for Filing Forest Operations Notifications (FONs) with the Maine Forest Service
Northeast Master Logger Certification standards require all Master Loggers to be in compliance with local, state, and federal laws. Filing FONs with the Maine Forest Service is a significant state regulation that all Master Loggers must follow, and we want to be sure that you all understand the latest version of the rules in order to be in compliance.
Unless you OWN the land you are working on AND the you are conducting a clear cut under 2 acres or a partial cut under 5 acres, you MUST file a FON with the MFS. If you are not a landowner cutting on your own land, you must ALWAYS submit a FON.
If you have any questions or think that you may have failed to submit a FON when you should have, please contact Ted at (207) 688-8195 option 2 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information as soon as possible.