The Suwannee River Water Management District is pleased to announce that it has completed its first surveillance audit to maintain certification of its lands under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) Standard. The surveillance audit is given once a year and covers approximately 20 percent of District lands.
Certification to the SFI Standard assures the public that the lands are being managed in an environmentally and socially responsible manner, and the ability of the land to produce goods and services for future generations is not compromised.
“Maintaining certification is important because it reinforces the fact that we are doing a good job with managing the public’s assets,” said SRWMD Forester Randy Hall. “We are not only protecting the land, but enhancing the quality.”
In 2003 the District became a SFI participant, and in July 2008 the District became the first public entity in Florida to receive SFI certification.
To maintain certification, surveillance audits are conducted once a year and a full scale audit covering all District fee-owned lands is conducted every five years.
In addition to meeting the basic requirements, the District was also recognized for going above and beyond in the areas of rare species and communities management and harvest and site prep operations.
“These audits are rigorous, on-the-ground assessments of an organization’s operations,” said Hall. “It takes a lot of effort and hard work to maintain this certification.”
The SFI program is based on the premise that responsible environmental behavior and sound business practices can co-exist. SFI is the primary forest certification system adopted by the forest industry. It promotes responsible forest management in North America and responsible procurement globally. The program has 212 participants and 135 million enrolled acres across North America.