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Public comment period begins on Elliott State Forest management
Elliott State Forest looking west to the Pacific Ocean (ODF photo)
Elliott State Forest looking west to the Pacific Ocean
For immediate release
May 4, 2011                                         
Kevin Weeks   (ODF) 503-945-7427 
Julie Curtis      (DSL) 503-986-5298
The Oregon Department of State Lands (DSL) and Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) invite the public to submit written comments on the 2011 update of the long-range plan for managing the Elliott State Forest. The 95,273-acre state-owned forest is located in the Coast Range between Coos Bay and Reedsport.
Ninety-one percent (86,367 acres) of the forest is Common School Fund land, overseen by the State Land Board. The board oversees management of the forest to provide timber revenue for K-12 schools using sound techniques of land management. 

Proposed plan would take effect in January 2012
The proposed forest management plan would replace the current plan adopted by the State Land Board and Board of Forestry in 1994, and go into effect on January 1, 2012, after approval by both boards in the fall.
In 1995, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) approved an Elliott State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan, which included a 60-year Incidental Take Permit (ITP) for the northern spotted owl and a 6-year ITP for the marbled murrelet. The murrelet agreement expired in October 2001, and that expiration was the primary driver for revising the forest management plan and HCP.
Since 2000, a multi-agency group of foresters and scientists has provided guidance to ODF and DSL on updating the 1994 forest management plan and 1995 HCP.  After a decade of planning, the team has been unsuccessful in reaching agreement with the federal government on a revised Elliott HCP.    
In early 2010, the Land Board and Board of Forestry set December 31, 2011, as the deadline for completing approval of either a revised multi-species HCP, or terminating the 1995 HCP and implementing a “take-avoidance” forest management plan to protect threatened and endangered species within the Elliott State Forest. Forest management plans utilizing a take- avoidance approach are currently being applied on all other state-owned forestland managed by the ODF.   
The 2011 draft plan uses ODF take-avoidance policies to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act. The draft plan has a range of expected outcomes for three different forest stand types; designates portions of the forest as conservation areas; protects streams; and retains live trees, snags and downed wood to benefit wildlife over time in harvested areas.
The 2011 draft plan represents updates from further staff work and in consideration of the public comments received on the 2010 draft plan during the 60 day public comment period in 2010.

Public comment period and scheduled public hearings
The public comment period begins May 4, and ends August 1, 2011. It begins the Board of Forestry’s rulemaking process on the 2011 draft plan, which includes two public hearings.
Public hearings on the draft plan are scheduled on July 19 in North Bend and July 20 in Roseburg.
July 19, 2011 – North Bend Public Library, 1800 Sherman Avenue, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
July 20, 2011 – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, 4192 North Umpqua Highway, Roseburg, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
The hearing locations are accessible to persons with disabilities. Requests for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or other accommodations for persons with disabilities should be made at least 48 hours prior to the meeting. Questions about accessibility or special accommodations for the meeting can be directed to the Oregon Department of Forestry at 541-267-1740. Public comments along with staff responses and recommendations will be provided to the Board of Forestry and State Land Board for review prior to final plan approval. 

How to review the draft plan and comment
The Draft 2011 Elliott State Forest Management Plan is available online: www.oregon.gov/ODF/STATE_FORESTS/elliott.shtml#Forest_Management_Plan 
Comments may be addressed to the State Forests Planning Specialist, Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State Street, OR 97310, sent to ODFStateForestsComments@odf.state.or.us, or via FAX to 503-945-7376.
Written comments on the plan must be received by 5:00 pm, August 1, 2011.
The Elliott State Forest became Oregon’s first state forest when acquired in 1930, named for Francis Elliott, the first State Forester of Oregon. The State Land Board owns its common school lands, while the Oregon Department of Forestry manages the state forest through an agreement with the State Land Board and Department of State Lands. Timber harvest revenues, minus the cost of management, go to the Common School Fund to support the state’s 197 K-12 public school districts.

Additional information
The Oregon Department of Forestry manages 821,000 acres of forests in Oregon for the environmental, social and economic benefit of Oregonians.
Oregon Department of Forestry 
Common School Fund Lands Backgrounder 
Oregon Department of State Lands
Common School Fund