Habitat Conservation on State Trust Lands

What is the State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan?

Washington’s State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is an ecosystem-based forest management plan that helps DNR develop and protect habitat for at-risk species while carrying out forest management and other activities on the state trust lands it manages for revenue to build public schools, universities, and other state institutions. This long-term plan outlines how DNR will provide habitat for species such as the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and riparian-dependent species, such as salmon and bull trout, which are listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act.
Although the conservation plan applies to Washington’s forested state trust lands within the range of the northern spotted owl, it is designed as a multi-species plan because in protecting habitats needed by listed species, we also provide habitat for other species that depend on the same habitats — species that also may be declining in numbers. The plan also includes several thousand acres of conservation lands managed by DNR for their natural values, research opportunties, and low-impact recreation.

What does the Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan protect?

The core of the State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan is its four detailed conservation strategies for marbled murrelets; northern spotted owls; riparian areas, wetlands and salmon; and other species of concern and uncommon habitats. Through these conservation strategies, we provide protection for:
  • Habitat for northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and riparian-dependent species such as salmon
  • Habitat for other animal and plant species listed as threatened or endangered by the federal or state governments
  • Habitat for unlisted plant or animal species that might be declining in numbers or that could be listed at some future time
  • Uncommon habitats and habitat elements (talus fields, caves, cliffs, oak woodlands, large snags, balds, mineral springs, and large, structurally unique trees) that support the various species that depend on them
  • Old-growth forests in the five habitat conservation planning units in western Washington
  • Unstable slopes

Final Habitat Conservation Plan 1997

The State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) guides DNR’s management of forested state trust lands west of the crest of the Cascade Mountains and those on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, from the Canadian border to the Columbia River. To manage these areas more efficiently and effectively, the lands have been broken into nine planning units based primarily on large watersheds. The HCP enables us to comply with federal Endangered Species Act requirements by providing conservation objectives and strategies that provide habitat for listed and unlisted species. The HCP also provides DNR with greater certainty, flexibility, and stability in meeting its trust responsibilities to generate revenue for trust beneficiaries through activities, such as harvesting timber and other forest products.

Final Environmental Impact Statement (Merged Final EIS)

The trust lands HCP “merged” Final Environmental Impact Statement (Merged Final EIS) combines the Draft EIS and the Final EIS. This enables readers to identify where and why changes were made to the Draft — in response to public comment and new information — to create the Final. The merged Final EIS summarizes the comments received, by topic area, and details how DNR responded to them in making changes to the document.