State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan
Marbled murrelet conservation Strategy
DNR is working jointly with the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) on a long-term Marbled Murrelet Conservation Strategy.
DNR made commitments to protect marbled murrelet habitat in the Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). When the HCP was signed in 1997, managers had insufficient information to create a long-term conservation strategy. Marbled murrelet ecology and habitat use were not well understood, particularly in relation to nesting habitat in DNR-managed forests. So the HCP specified an interim strategy to be implemented while we conducted extensive surveys and research to support development of a long-term strategy. A general description of the interim strategy can be found in the HCP (p. IV-39) with related documents, including the minor amendment to the interim strategy, listed here.
Development is under way on the strategy for the six Western Washington HCP Planning Units: Straits, Olympic Experimental State Forest, South Coast, Columbia, South Puget, and North Puget.
The strategy will help conserve marbled murrelet habitat on state trust lands in western Washington, while allowing for timber harvest and other activities—activities that earn revenue for public schools, counties and other trust beneficiaries. With this strategy, we are committed to meeting our fiduciary responsibilities to trust beneficiaries, and to working with the FWS to support marbled murrelet conservation.
Public Participation and Environmental Review
Together, DNR and FWS will analyze the potential environmental impacts of proposed management alternatives for the conservation strategy and jointly publish a single Environmental Impact Statement. Throughout the process, we will provide regular updates, and there will be many opportunities for public involvement.
We are now in the early stages of the planning process, establishing the scope of environmental review under both state and federal processes. We are using an expanded ‘scoping’ process with two phases of public meetings and comment periods—the first phase, to get input on the project’s need, purpose, and objectives, the environmental impacts that should be considered, and existing environmental information relevant to analysis; the second phase, to get input on conceptual alternatives for the conservation strategy.
Phase One Scoping—Completed
Public meetings were held in late April and early May 2012 in the four DNR Regions that are included in the proposal—Olympia, Sedro-Woolley, Cathlamet and Forks.
Phase Two Scoping
Phase two scoping materials present alternative concepts that represent distinct conservation approaches to a long-term conservation strategy, each of which would be consistent with the approved Need, Purpose, and Objectives. A No Action concept will also be presented. These conceptual alternatives and the No Action are described in the phase 2 scoping notice. Scoping comment period to close July 1, 2013.
Phase Two Public Meeting Materials – New 06/06/13
Documents for review
As materials are ready for public review, they will be posted here and on the SEPA Center website. If you would like to be notified about opportunities to give input during the formal environmental review process for this proposal, send your e-mail address to email@example.com. If you are interested in general updates on the status of the planning process, send your name and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
NEPA Notice of Intent
to Conduct Public Scoping and Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement related to an amendment of the 1997 Washington Department of Natural Resources Habitat Conservation Plan for Forested State Trust Lands
Scoping comments will be summarized by joint lead agencies and presented to the Board of Natural Resources. Later, we will ask for input when the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is released. Public environmental review will meet both the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements.
Research and other documents
Photo credit: Nick Hatch, USFS PNW Research Station