Before examining the impacts of forest management practices on surface erosion, it is appropriate to ask the question 'Why should we be concerned with surface erosion?' One of the most important impacts of surface erosion on forest lands is the decrease in site productivity caused by loss of nutrient-rich surface soil. In addition, surface eroded sediment deposited in upland draws or pockets will be susceptible to future surface erosion or mass wasting. Aside from these on-site problems associated with surface erosion, sediment may be transported off site and into stream systems. Stream studies in the Pacific Northwest and southeast Alaska have shown that porous streambed gravels provide an efficient 'trap' for fine sediment. These and other studies have indicated that this material can significantly reduce the survival of salmon and steelhead eggs. Sediment loads in stream systems can have a variety of negative impacts on such downstream users as municipalities, industries, agriculture, recreational users, and domestic water systems. For instance, the life of water pumps in an irrigation system will be considerably shortened by pumping sediment-laden water, not to mention the possible reduction in infiltration rate of land continually irrigated with such water. Although the relative costs of such downstream impacts are sometimes difficult to assess, usually the downstream users must bear this financial burden. Thus, it is important that best management practices be adopted in timber harvesting, road building, and site preparation in order to minimize surface erosion. The Forest Practices Acts for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho include regulation of non-point source pollution, such as surface erosion, from forest lands by encouraging best management practices. (Non-point source pollution is not traceable to a clearly identifiable point such as an industrial waste discharge pipe.) Technical education programs are needed for both timber operators and forest practice officers to insure the effectiveness of these Acts.