FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 8, 2011
Report details compliance with Forest Practice Rules
Commissioner Goldmark not satisfied with results, wants improvement
OLYMPIA – The Forest Practices Board released a report today on the forest industry’s compliance with Forest Practices Rules. The report covers the two-year period between August 2006 and July of 2008. The Forest Practices Compliance Monitoring Program was established to assess whether forest practices are being conducted in compliance with the state Forest Practices Rules.
The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forest Practices Program is charged with protecting public resources such as water, fish and wildlife, and preventing landslides on more than 12 million acres of private and state-owned forests.
After timber harvests were completed, DNR field-verified the on-the-ground conditions from hundreds of forest practices activities statewide. These samplings took place from 2008 to 2009. The report found that:
- One third of streams labeled as non-fish bearing were inconsistently categorized and may indeed be home to fish. Such errors lead to less protected habitat for fish species.
- Thirty-eight percent of activities taking place near streams and wetlands on parcels of less than 20 acres were out of compliance.
- More field verification of small streams during the Forest Practices Application approval process would improve compliance rates.
“It is essential that forestry follow the rules in this state,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “This report shows that we are not where we want to be. I expect the next report, reflecting my tenure at DNR, will show improvement.”
“I have given my staff clear direction to come back to the next meeting with an action plan,” said Goldmark, who took office in January of 2009. “I am looking for specific steps we can take to ensure that forest landowners comply with the rules. I am also looking for quicker feedback so that we can address these issues sooner.” The Commissioner has asked for another report one year from today.
Forest Practices Board
The Forest Practices Board was established by the 1974 Forest Practices Act. Its job is to adopt rules that set standards for forest practices such as timber harvests, pre-commercial thinning, road construction, and forest chemical applications. The rules protect public resources such as water quality and fish habitat while maintaining a viable timber industry. The Commissioner of Public Lands chairs the Forest Practices Board.
The 1999 Legislature revised the Forest Practices Act to adopt the Forest and Fish Report and established a compliance monitoring program. The statute included the requirement that the Washington State Department of Natural Resources Forest Practices Program produce a biennial report regarding results of monitoring these forest operations.
Media Contact: Bryan Flint, Director of Communications and Outreach, 360-902-1023, firstname.lastname@example.org
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