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Habitat Conservation Plan initiative

Photo of fish and bird 

Background

Like any landowner, ODF must comply with the federal and state Endangered Species Acts while managing to provide the social, economic and environmental benefits required by the Greatest Permanent Value rule (OAR 629-035-0020). ODF currently achieves this through a process called “take avoidance." This approach requires extensive and costly species surveys, resulting in shifting protections that, over time, is likely to limit the quality and durability of the habitat provided. It also creates more uncertainty around the long-term financial viability of managing state forests for the benefits required by law. An HCP potentially can improve certainty around outcomes for timber harvest, conservation, county revenues, and other public values articulated in greatest permanent value.

The Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) process seeks to explore an HCP as an opportunity to provide a more holistic and cost-effective way to comply with the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), while managing state forests for social, economic and environmental benefits.

This long-term plan would cover about 640,000 acres of ODF-managed land west of the Cascades, and does not include the Elliott State Forest. It would include conservation strategies for current and likely-to-be-listed species under the ESA, such as the Northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and the Oregon Coast and Lower Columbia River coho. If an HCP were approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries, ODF would be assured ESA compliance over a 70-year permit term so long as the terms of the HCP are followed. This assurance would create more certainty in harvest levels as well as certainty for perseverance of covered species over the long-term.

For more details on this plan, please see the HCP Frequently Asked Questions.

The Board of Forestry directed the agency to pursue options for achieving financial viability while increasing conservation outcomes, including pursuit of a programmatic Endangered Species Act compliance tool such as a Habitat Conservation Plan.

The HCP process has 3 phases, with decision points built in for the Board of Forestry to determine if it is in the best interest of the state to continue working toward an HCP. The first phase included a business case analysis to evaluate cost and revenue impacts of pursuing an HCP as an alternative approach to ESA compliance. Based on this analysis, the Board of Forestry directed the Division to continue to Phase 2: Strategy Development and Stakeholder Engagement. In October 2020, the Board of Forestry voted to advance the HCP into Phase 3: NEPA analysis and stakeholder engagement.

This phase will include a National Environmental Policy Act analysis and development of a companion Forest Management Plan.

ODF recognizes that state and federal wildlife agencies have a vested interested in the development of an HCP, as well as policy technical expertise that would strengthen this long-term regulatory document.  As such, the department formed a multi-agency governance structure consisting of a Steering Committee, which provides policy direction and oversight of the HCP process, and a Scoping Team of technical experts charged with developing the conservation strategies to be considered in a potential HCP. Each planning team has representatives from:

  • Oregon Department of Forestry
  • Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
  • Oregon Department of State Lands
  • Oregon State University
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • NOAA Fisheries

ODF convenes these planning teams to get insight and expertise from collaborating agencies. Ultimately, ODF is responsible for developing an HCP and submitting it to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries for an Incidental Take Permit. This permit would ensure compliance with the ESA, protection for covered species, and certainty in harvest levels over time. 

Habitat Conservation Plan

The public draft of the Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan is available to view: 

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The draft Environmental Impact Statement prepared by NOAA Fisheries is available to view:

NOAA Fisheries took public comment from March 18 - June 1, 2022. NOAA Fisheries also accepted comment via a virtual public meeting on April 6, 2022.

In 2021, NOAA held a comment period on the Notice of Intent to prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the HCP. The comments are posted on NOAA Fisheries' website.

Incidental Take Permit applications for federal consideration:

ODF is also developing a companion Forest Management Plan that incorporates the principles of the first Administrative Draft HCP and provides overall direction to manage state forestlands in the HCP permit area. Learn more about this process.

Board of Forestry engagement

Steering Committee meetings

October 24, 2023 Meeting - Joint with Scoping ​​Team

August 22, 2023 Meeting

June 27, 2023 Meeting

Apr. 25, 2023 Meeting

Feb. 28, 2023 Meeting

Jan. 24, 2023 Meeting

Nov. 8, 2022 Meeting

Aug. 30, 2022 Meeting

July 19, 2022 Meeting

May 24, 2022 Meeting

March 29, 2022 Meeting

Jan. 18, 2022 Meeting

Oct. 26, 2021 Meeting

Aug. 24, 2021 Meeting

June 22, 2021 Meeting

April 27, 2021 Meeting

March 4, 2021 Meeting

Jan. 28, 2021 Meeting - Joint with Scoping Team

Dec. 9, 2020 Meeting

Oct. 28, 2020 Meeting

Sept. 29, 2020 Meeting

Aug. 27, 2020 Meeting

July 30, 2020 Meeting

June 25, 2020 Meeting

May 28, 2020 Meeting

March 31, 2020 Meeting

Jan. 23, 2020 Meeting

Dec. 6, 2019 Meeting

Aug. 29, 2019 Meeting

May 29, 2019 Meeting

April 30, 2019 Meeting

March 8, 2019 Meeting

February 7, 2019 Meeting

October 5, 2018 Meeting

Scoping Team meetings

October 24, 2023 Meeting - Joint with Steering ​Team

July 26, 2023 Meeting

April 26, 2023 Meeting

​Feb. 22, 2023 Meeting

Jan. 25, 2023 Meeting

Dec. 6, 2022 Meeting

Oct. 4, 2022 Meeting

Sept. 6, 2022 Meeting

Aug. 2, 2022 Meeting

July 18, 2022 Meeting

June 28, 2022 Meeting

June 14, 2022 Meeting

May 3, 2022 Meeting

April 5, 2022 Meeting

Jan. 11, 2022 Meeting

Dec. 14, 2021 Meeting

​Nov. 2, 2021 Meeting

Sept. 7, 2021 Meeting

July 6, 2021 Meeting

May 4, 2021 Meeting

April 6, 2021 Meeting

March 2, 2021 Meeting

Feb. 23, 2021 Meeting

Feb. 9, 2021 Meeting

Feb. 2, 2021 Meeting

Jan. 28, 2021 Meeting - Joint with Steering Team

Jan. 26, 2021 Meeting

Jan. 5, 2021 Meeting

Dec. 1, 2020 Meeting

Nov. 3, 2020 Meeting

Oct. 27, 2020 Meeting

Sept. 22, 2020 Meeting

Sept. 01, 2020 Meeting

Aug. 25, 2020 Meeting

Aug. 04, 2020 Meeting

July 28, 2020 Meeting

July 07, 2020 Meeting

June 23, 2020 Meeting

June 2, 2020 Meeting

May 26, 2020 Meeting

May 5, 2020 Meeting

April 28, 2020 Meeting

April 7, 2020 Meeting

March 18, 2020 Meeting

March 3, 2020 Meeting

Feb. 25, 2020 Meeting

Feb. 4, 2020 Meeting

Jan. 28, 2020 Meeting

Jan. 7, 2020 Meeting

Dec. 3, 2019 Meeting

Nov. 20, 2019 Meeting

Nov. 5, 2019 Meeting

Oct. 1, 2019 Meeting 

Sept. 3, 2019 Meeting

Aug. 6, 2019 Meeting

June 4, 2019 Meeting

May 7, 2019 Meeting

April 2, 2019 Meeting

March 5, 2019 Meeting

Feb. 13, 2019 Meeting

Dec. 11, 2018 Meeting

Oct. 19, 2018 Meeting

Public engagement

ODF has hosted meetings open to the public to provide an opportunity for the public, stakeholders, department staff and consultants to share concerns and ideas for improvement. Sign up to receive notifications and updates regarding the HCP process and upcoming meetings.

State Forester Cal Mukumoto hosted listening sessions to hear final thoughts from the public prior to making a recommendation to the Board of Forestry on a path forward for completing the draft Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan and Western Oregon State Forest Management Plan. View the virtual listening session held on Jan. 29, 2024.

​​​​Aug. 22, 2023 Western Oregon State Forests Management Plan meeting

Feb. 7, 2023 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan and companion Forest Management Plan meeting

Dec. 7, 2021 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan and companion Forest Management Plan meeting

Oct. 12, 2021 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan and companion Forest Management Plan meeting

Aug. 10, 2021 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan and companion Forest Management Plan meeting

May 6, 2021 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan and companion Forest Management Plan meeting​​

Sept. 16, 2020 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan meeting

July 13, 2020 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan meeting

March 30, 2020 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan meeting

Oct. 15, 2019 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan meeting

June 12, 2019 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan meeting

April 12, 2019 State Forest Management Plan revision and Habitat Conservation Plan revision public roundtable

March 21, 2019 Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan public kick-off meeting