Habitat Conservation Plan
The public draft of the Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan is available to view:
As a landowner, ODF must comply with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The agency is also required to provide for the social, economic and environmental benefits required by the Greatest Permanent Value rule (OAR 629-035-0020). This stewardship approach to land management provides habitat for many threatened and endangered species across state forest lands. ODF currently strives to protect these species through a process called “take avoidance." This approach requires extensive and costly species surveys, resulting in shifting protections that, over time, are 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 economic benefits articulated in the Greatest Permanent Value Rule.
The Western Oregon State Forests Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) covers about 640,000 acres of ODF managed lands west of the Cascades. It provides an integrated, collaborative, ecosystem-based approach to species conservation across the landscape. These conservation measures are designed to offset potential impacts from forest management, ensuring species conservation and stability in harvest levels for a 70-year permit term. The HCP is a more holistic, cost-effective approach to complying with the ESA, while facilitating economic outcomes, as required in the Greatest Permanent Value Rule.
The HCP provides conservation measures to protect covered species. This is an important part of a larger suite of forest management activities such as harvest and reforestation, implementing recreation, education and interpretation programs, monitoring forest and watershed health, etc. State Forests is developing a new Forest Management Plan designed to implement the HCP as well as the full complement of management activities required for achieving Greatest Permanent Value.
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.
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.
Steering Committee meetings
Scoping Team meetings
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.