By James Fraser
Wild Steelheaders United is thrilled to announce that in the final days of the Oregon legislature’s “short session,” the Private Forest Accord package passed the Oregon House and Senate and now awaits Governor Brown’s signature.
As detailed in our Oregon Legislative Preview last month, the Private Forest Accord will significantly upgrade the Oregon Forest Practices Act requirements for logging on private lands and deliver major benefits for native steelhead and salmon.
The law applies to about 10 million acres of Oregon forests and includes substantially increased no-harvest riparian buffer requirements for streams, protections against erosion of steep slopes in logging areas, and a framework for accomplishing fish passage improvement projects.
TU’s Oregon director, Chrysten Rivard, represented TU in the years-long process that culminated in this historic legislation. “The Private Forest Accord and the bipartisan support for it shows the value of working in collaboration with the timber industry and other fishery and conservation stakeholders to find common ground,” said Rivard. “This is a massive advancement for Oregon’s rivers, fish and wildlife. We are grateful for Governor Brown’s leadership and the strong support of the state legislators.”
The next big steps in implementing the legislation are for the state to conduct rulemaking that carries out the details in the Private Forest Accord report and to develop a habitat conservation plan (HCP) for species described in the report. But for now, please join us in applauding Governor Brown for her leadership in making this happen, and the commitment of all the stakeholders in this process to improving timber harvest practices and stream protections in the Beaver State.