Oregon Forest Rules Impact 10 Million Acres

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The Oregon Board of Forestry has approved more than 100 changes to the Forest Practices Act. The changes will impact timber harvest activities on more than 10 million acres of private and non-federal forests in the state.
The rule changes, adopted in October, are a result of the mediated and groundbreaking Private Forest Accord (PFA) that brought together representatives from conservation groups and the timber industry.
“The rules we adopted are just one of a great many changes coming from the Private Forest Accord that will advance how Oregon protects its natural resources and responds to the climate change crisis, while also providing some stability for the communities and economies that rely on the forest products industry,” said Jim Kelly, board chair. “This agreement captures the spirit of cooperation and negotiation we have in this state, where we move past our differences to find solutions.”
The goal of the PFA and the Forest Practices Act rule changes is to provide long-term certainty to industry while providing enhanced protection to critical aquatic species.
“The timber industry is vital to many rural Oregon communities,”said Kelly. “This agreement balances these critical social and economic components with the need to better protect critical forest habitat, which is also incredibly beneficial for Oregonians.”
The Oregon Department of Forestry worked closely with the PFA authors to write the new rules, which cover several key areas, including:
–New and wider stream buffers to protect stream habitat that supports salmon, steelhead, bull trout, and amphibians.
–New design standards and requirements to inventory, maintain and manage forest roads, with an emphasis on replacing culverts on fish-bearing streams.
–Steep slopes will have more trees retained to improve slope stability and reduce sediment that can impact fish habitat.
–Enhanced monitoring to better evaluate rule compliance.
–A new adaptive management program to advise the Board of Forestry on future rule adjustments.
In addition to rule changes, recent legislation also funded the creation of a small forest landowner assistance office, establishment of tax credits to small landowners, started the development of a habitat conservation plan for aquatic species and made investments in training and outreach.