State DNR completes first Forest Land Planning effort
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State DNR completes first Forest Land Planning effort 
 


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE               
                                                                                                         
January 15, 2010
 
State DNR completes first Forest Land Planning effort
New forest management strategies for 166,000 acres of state trust lands near Seattle, Tacoma, Kitsap areas allows for FSC Green Certification 

OLYMPIA — The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has finalized  environmental review on forest land planning for the South Puget unit under the Habitat Conservation Plan. Throughout forested state trust lands in the greater central Puget Sound region, DNR will begin to implement a new approach which incorporated extensive public input.

“Enhancing habitat for northern spotted owls and other native wildlife, and increasing streamside forest complexity through active management are key components of this new approach, which also will generate funding for the public schools, universities and county services,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “The merits of these strategies helped DNR earn green certification for management of all forested state trust lands in this unit.”

Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, recognizing the agency’s forest management practices, requires a localized planning process that includes extensive public participation, silviculture practices based on the best available science, environmental safeguards, and identification and protection of rare, threatened and endangered species earning DNR green certification in South Puget HCP Planning Unit 
The newly developed forest land management strategies will help direct on-the-ground forest activities on the 166,000 acres* of forested state trust lands in the South Puget planning unit. The South Puget planning unit includes state trust ownerships in the I-90 corridor, including Tiger Mountain, the McDonald Ridge /Grass Mountain area; the Elbe /Tahoma area southeast of Tacoma; and the Kitsap Peninsula including Green Mountain and Tahuya State Forests. Key areas addressed through the strategies were:

  • Social & Cultural Benefits: Public use and visual management.
  • Forest Ecosystem Health & Productivity: Older-forest conditions and forest health.
  • Economic Performance: Product marketing, leasing, and land transactions.

In an environmental impact statement (EIS) carried out under the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), DNR examined the potential significant adverse impacts of three alternatives in order to accomplish ecological, economic, and social goals — while reflecting public, other agency, and tribal interests.

All three alternatives are designed to implement Board of Natural Resources policies, and forest management direction contained in both the 2006 Policy for Sustainable Forests and the 1997 trust lands Habitat Conservation Plan. Alternative A examines future forest conditions based on existing landscape management strategies, Alternative B identifies management strategies that also reflect local information gathered through this planning process, and Alternative C explores a range of management approaches designed to stretch the boundaries of existing policy.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is available on line at:  http://www.dnr.wa.gov/ResearchScience/Topics/SEPANonProject/Pages/amp_sepa_nonpro_flp_southpuget.aspx 
This EIS, like the Draft EIS before it, offers ample photos, illustrations and clear text to better assist the reader in understanding what DNR is trying to accomplish. 

*Of the 166,000 acres, 20,600 were added to the planning unit through the Plum Creek Land Exchange in September 2009; environmental analysis in Appendix J of the Final EIS.

Forest Stewardship Council
The Forest Stewardship Council is one of the largest ‘green certification’ organizations in the world. The FSC label represents a promise that harvesting of timber and non-timber products is conducted in such a way that the forest’s biodiversity, productivity and ecological processes are maintained, while providing strong incentives to local communities to sustain forest resources, and managing forest operations to be profitable. Consumers have a choice to purchase products that promote responsible management of the world's forests. Buying certified products provides an incentive for responsible forest management. 

DNR steward and land manager
Administered by Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark, DNR manages 2.9 million acres of state-owned trust lands, including forests, range, agricultural land, and commercial properties. Trust lands earn income to support schools, universities and other state institutions; and they help fund local services in many counties. Trust lands provide habitat for native plant and animal species, protect sources of clean water, and offer public recreation and educational opportunities statewide.

DNR is also steward of 2.6 million acres of aquatic lands, the bedlands under Puget Sound, the coast, including many beaches, and navigable rivers and natural lakes. These are managed on behalf of all Washington State citizens to protect fish and wildlife, and to facilitate commerce, navigation, and public access.

Media Contact:  Jane Chavey, Senior Communication Manager, 260-902-1721, jane.chavey@dnr.wa.gov

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