Protecting Forests and Wild Places
Just days before the quarterly meeting of the State Land Board, Governor Brown released a framework for her plan for the Elliott State Forest. Though not an action item on the agenda for the Tuesday, February 14, 2017 Land Board meeting, the Board is set to hear an update on the potential sale of the forest from the Department of State Lands. The DSL staff report on the issue again asks the Board for direction on whether and how to proceed with privatizing the Elliott State Forest as described in a proposal submitted by Lone Rock Timber in December 2016.
The Governor's plan would (1) keep the Elliott State Forest in public ownership, with either the state or tribes owning the land; (2) pursue $100 million in bonding to "immediately decouple a portion of the forest from Common School Fund trust lands," focusing on high value habitat, including riparian areas, steep slopes, and old growth stands; (3) pursue a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) with the Federal Services "that would allow for sustainable timber harvest while protecting endangered species," expecting to harvest an average of about 20 million board feet per year; and (4) "work with the tribes to regain ownership of their ancestral lands while protecting the Common School Fund."
Cascadia Wildlands is encourged by the Governor's leadership toward finding a lasting solution for the Elliott State Forest that maintains the forest in public ownership. There are still a number of details that need to be worked out and elaborated on, and we look forward to continuing to work toward a solution that safeguards all the public values of the forest, including protecting old growth and mature stands, wildlife habitat, clean air and water, and recreation.
by Gabe Scott, Cascadia Wildlands House Counsel
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495
Bob Sallinger, Portland Audubon, (503) 380-9728
“Today’s ruling has enormous implications for the state of Oregon’s efforts to dispose of the Elliott State Forest to private timber interests,” said Nick Cady, legal director at Cascadia Wildlands. “The state represented to these private timber interests that the forest could be logged without legal consequence, and this ruling establishes that private timber companies can no longer violate federal environmental laws with abandon.”
In 2012 the three groups sued the state of Oregon for illegally logging marbled murrelet habitat on the Elliott and other state forests. The state settled the suit in 2014, agreeing to drop 26 timber sales and stop logging in occupied murrelet habitat. But following the loss, the state sold three parcels totaling 1,453 acres, even though they contained mature and old-growth forests that are occupied by the murrelet, including the 355-acre Benson Ridge parcel.
The court’s preliminary ruling is one of several promising developments for the protection of old-growth forests in Oregon critical to the survival of murrelets and other imperiled wildlife. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently initiated a process to uplist the murrelet’s state protection status from threatened to endangered. The Oregon Board of Forestry recently decided to take up a petition to identify and develop rules to protect murrelet sites on state and private timber lands.
November 10, 2016
Will help inform forest management efforts in Pacific Northwest
Susan Jane Brown, Western Environmental Law Center, 503-914-1323, email@example.com
Photos by Jacob Ritley, Tongass Groundtruth Expedition, 2016. Thanks to LUSH Foundation for their generous support.
Southeast Alaska's Alexander Archipelago is made up of thousands of islands large and small. Small boats and floatplanes are the dominant modes of transportation.
Old-growth clearcutting is ongoing this summer on the Big Thorne timber sale, Prince of Wales Island.
September 30, 2016
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503-484-7495, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild, 503-283-6343 ext. 212
Bob Sallinger, Portland Audubon, 503-380-9728
On Sept. 9 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission granted a similar petition. The two agencies are required to work together to facilitate murrelet recovery and develop protection measures for occupied sites.
Press Release: Marbled Murrelet Moves One Step Closer to State Endangered Status, Stronger Protections
September 9, 2016
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, email@example.com
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, (503) 380-9728, email@example.com