Urge Board of Forestry to Adopt the Habitat Conservation Plan in 2024

As we close out 2023 we need to keep the pressure on the Board of Forestry to adopt the state forest Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) in 2024. It’s been a challenging year. Just this past September we thwarted an attempt to gut the HCP which would have opened up thousands more acres to clearcutting. Instead, with your help, the Oregon Department of Forestry began implementing many of the protections in the State Forest HCP that we’ve been fighting to move forward for years. We’re getting closer to realizing big new protections for wildlife habitat, mature forests, salmon and clean water in our state forests.

This week, the Department of Forestry issued new timber harvest estimates for the 70-year HCP. Under the revised estimates, timber harvest will be reduced to sustainable levels compared to the past 20 years of overharvesting state forests. This is needed to restore balanced management on our state forests. But the timber industry and their allies are using this information to try and dump the HCP.

The HCP is still at least one year away from federal approval. Now and in the months to come, we’ll need to keep the pressure high or risk losing the progress we’ve made in the last year. Right now, the Board of Forestry needs to hear loud and clear that we want the HCP finalized without further delay. 

A Northern Spotted Owl perches on a mossy branch, while looking up towards the upper tree canopy.
Northern Spotted Owl by Scott Carpenter

Take Action

Please speak up for an HCP in advance of the Board of Forestry special meeting on December 14.

There will be no oral testimony opportunity but you can send a written comment in by December 13 to BoardofForestry@oregon.gov.

Email Board of Forestry

Photo by Tom Spies

Talking points for public feedback:

We recognize the HCP isn’t perfect but it’s certainly a big improvement on current state forest management. Here are some talking points to help strengthen the HCP:

  • While the HCP protects all old growth forests and 70% of mature forests over 80 years old, it still leaves 30% of these mature forests unprotected – please considering including these additional mature forests within Habitat Conservation Areas
  • Important watersheds such as Cook Creek were left out of the HCP’s Habitat Conservation Areas. Future road building and clearcutting here would degrade habitat for threatened marbled murrelets and spotted owls and endanger vital coho and Chinook salmon habitat. Please include Cook Creek in a Habitat Conservation Area
  • Please adopt recommendations from the newest science: A recent peer-reviewed study conducted in Oregon shows that clearcutting 35 feet from small streams harms endemic amphibians.
  • We need to improve out-of-date laws that make counties dependent on unpredictable funds from timber revenue: counties deserve more stable funding for local services. 

Thank you for speaking up for Oregon’s forests!