“Stick to the plan” is all we are saying.
While President Obama promises us that “the best available science will lead environmental policy under his administration”, a handful of Oregon’s state and county politicians are attempting to circumvent science and double the harvest from our state forests, putting the future of wild salmon and steelhead at risk. At the center of the debate are the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests, known as “The Tillamook.” The Tillamook encompasses 518,000 acres and is the largest continuous unprotected tract of coastal temperate rain-forest left in the lower 48 states. It is among the most productive and least protected forestland in North America. The 810-square-mile-area, is larger than Crater Lake National Park and the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area combined. Rainfall in excess of 150 inches per year feed the legendary salmon rivers of the Tillamook—the Nestucca, Trask, Wilson, Kilchis and Nehalem. These rivers are known for producing incredible sea-run fish, but populations have declined sharply in recent years. Some species are at serious risk, including spring chinook and chum salmon. But all of the Tillamook’s rivers still support sustaining runs of wild fall chinook and winter steelhead.
Oregon’s current Forest Management Plan (FMP), adopted in 2001, operates under the paradigm of managing the State Forests for their Greatest Permanent Value (GPV). Which allows for the “sustainable” harvest of up to 150 million board feet of timber per year from the Tillamook. In reality, harvest rates from 2002 to 2008 have bounced between 175 and 225 million board feet. Several county commissioners, backed by the timber industry, want more. The counties need more money to help pay for important public services and schools, and they see the Tillamook State Forest as their cash box. The timber industry wants to use the current economic crisis as a lever to ensure unbridled access to Oregon’s public forests.
Tim Josi, Tillamook County Commissioner and chair of the Forest Land Trust Advisory Committee, recently stated his belief that harvest levels should be raised to 300 million board feet, and together with some state legislators and the timber industry, is pushing a house bill (HB 3072) to force a dramatic increase of timber harvests from Oregon’s state forests. This bill would change the entire Forest Managment Plan to a maximum timber harvest. This is state forest owned by everyone , not a tree farm owned by the county. Im not going to get into the specifics of what this will do to our fisheries.
Forester managers disagree with the proposed increase. In fact, last November the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) recommended that logging be scaled back to 144 million board feet per year, explaining that coastal forests have proved to be less productive than had been expected.
Now is the time to act! Next Tuesday the 21st at 8am, there will be a hearing in the house of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Rural Communities for HB 3072 (the cut it all bill) . We need to generate as many comments and get as many guides and fisherman into the hearing room as possible. They will allow public two minutes to comment. This link for folks to submit comments to their State Rep. and Dave Hunt who is pushing for this blind sighted bill.
Less than one week left to stop this at its first hearing!!! Let me know if you are interested in attending I would like to arrange some car-pools to Salem and let them know how we feel. I am taking the morning off to give them two minutes of my mind. I encourage you all to do the same.
Much thanks to all who are helping out with this and who care about Oregon’s future.
Extra super big thanks to Rob “the man” Russell.
FYI-This is who will be hearing the bill in the House of Rep’s:
Membership of the committee:
Brian Clem, Chair (Salem)
Wayne Krieger, Vice-Chair (OR South Coast)
Suzanne VanOrman, Vice-Chair (Corbett to Hood River)
E. Terry Beyer (Springfield)
Vic Gilliam (Molalla)
Arnie Roblan (Coos Bay)
Mike Schaufler (happy Valley)
Matt Wingard (Wilsonville)
David Hunt (Gladstone-Oregon City)
Mary Nolan (SW Portland)
Brian Clem (Chair)
Arnie Roblan (past Chair)