Riparian Forest Restoration Strategy
A central component of DNR's State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is a riparian forest restoration strategy to maintain or restore freshwater habitat for salmon on DNR-managed lands, and to aid the conservation of other species that depend on aquatic and riparian areas.
The riparian strategy establishes riparian management zones (RMZs) on all salmonid-bearing streams and along non-fish bearing streams that are more than 2 feet (0.6m) wide at the ordinary high-water mark. In combination with wetland protection measures, the establishment of RMZs provides management guidance for between 20 percent and 30 percent of the lands covered under the HCP.
During the development of the HCP, we identified two conservation objectives for the riparian conservation strategy: 1) maintain or restore salmonid freshwater habitat on DNR-managed lands, and 2) contribute to the conservation of other aquatic and riparian obligate species. The riparian forest restoration strategy provides the guidance to help us meet these objectives through the use of both active and passive management techniques.
The choice between active management through making changes to tree stands and passive management will vary depending on how we expect the stand to develop. Where appropriate, the riparian forest restoration strategy specifies silvicultural treatments such as stand thinning to speed the development of complex forests without sacrificing short-term ecosystem function. In time, this approach will restore the structurally complex riparian forests that provide the ecological functions to meet conservation objectives.