Save the Elliott Rainforest

On December 10, 2013, the State Land Board voted to sell parts of the Elliott State Forest. Bids on the first 3 of 5 parcels were due on March 28, 2014. The state has said it will take "several weeks" before the bid information is public. Click here for more information, and to write the Governor a letter.

Background:
The 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest in the central Oregon Coast Range has rapidly become the “poster child” for regressive forest management practices, broken conservation promises, and lost opportunities in the realm of badly needed climate change mitigation.

The Elliott State Forest is between Reedsport and Coos Bay, and goes as far east as Loon Lake. About half of the Elliott has never been logged before, with big trees that grew back from an 1868 fire, providing valuable habitat for old-growth dependent wildlife.

Fueled by an unsustainable revenue expectation, state officials at the end of 2011 adopted a new Forest Management Plan that ramped up clearcutting and nearly doubled the allowable harvest rate within this impressive Coast Range forest. This plan could turn large sections of this diverse forest into herbicide-sprayed, plantation-style timber farms, be devastating to water quality and salmon and includes barbaric control measures for bears and beavers.
 
The new 2011 plan abandoned a nearly 20 year-old science-driven, "habitat conservation plan". It opened the northwestern part of the Elliott to clearcutting, previously set aside as a wildlife reserve. The abandoned conservation plan was part of a mitigation action that allowed for the "taking" of 43 federally-endangered northern spotted owls.  All those birds have been "taken" and now the state has excused itself from the agreement.
 
In addition to the spotted owl, other wildlife protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) that depends on the Elliott State Forest is the marbled murrelet and coastal coho salmon.
 
And lastly, as carbon emissions-driven climate change becomes more apparent and the very high carbon-sequestration potential of these temperate forests becomes better known, the question of using this land for carbon-offsets versus timber harvest becomes an important one. Even the clearcuts allowed under old Conservation Plan released as much carbon into the atmosphere as an additional 45,000 cars on highways every year. The new forest plan would double that.
 
In 2012 the Oregon Department of Forestry tried to implement the new management plan, but was foreced to stop all clearcutting of older forests (all logging) because of a lawsuit alleging ODF was harming wildlife protected by the ESA, in particular, the Marbled Murrelet. Currently ODF has an alternative plan to clearcut younger forests in 2013.
 
This will be a long and complex campaign.  Please see the below campaign updates and the action alerts to keep current on this issue to find out what you can do to help us bring sustainable management policy and practices to the Elliott. For more information on the Elliott State Forest, click here.
 
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