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Private Forest Accord

Summary

Timber and conservation groups agreed to recommend changes to the Forest Practices Act on Oct. 30, 2021. The changes will impact more than 10 million acres of private and non-federal forests. The changes give regulatory certainty and better protect natural resources. In June 2020, the Oregon Legislature held a special session and passed Senate Bill 1602. The law required mediated talks between conservation and timber groups. The bill passed both chambers with broad support. The talks led to the Private Forests Accord Report and three bills – Senate Bills 1501 and 1502 and House Bill 4055. These bills will:

  • Create a small forestland owner assistance office
  • Start development of a habitat conservation plan (HCP) for aquatic species
  • Offer tax credits 
  • Invest in training and outreach 
  • Set regulatory certainty 
  • Increase natural resource protections

Oregon Department of Forestry’s role

Oregon Department of Forestry's role is to draft rules for the Board of Forestry to consider. Here is what the new rules will do: 

  • Stream buffers will increase and add protections for streams. 
  • Forest roads will have new design standards. There will be new requirements to inventory, maintain, and manage roads. Funds will be available to replace culverts on fish bearing streams and improve roads for small forestland owners.
  • Steep slopes will have more trees retained to improve slope stability, reduce sediment, and provide long-term fish habitat. 
  • Fish and amphibian habitat will be more protected. Wider stream buffers will give more habitat to stream-dependent species. This will help salmon, steelhead, bull trout, and amphibians. Changes to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) regulations for managing beavers.
  • Compliance monitoring investments to better evaluate landowner compliance. 
  • Mitigation program sets up an ODFW committee to fund projects that help aquatic species. 
  • Adaptive Management Program is set up to inform the Board of Forestry as it determines whether to adjust rules to meet the goals of the HCP. The program includes a committee and independent research and science team to give science-based and technical information to help the Board of Forestry.  
  • Funds will be used to conduct rulemaking, update maps and databases, monitor forest practices, and administer the laws and programs.

Rulemaking timeline

The department must write the new rules, then the public will have opportunity to comment and participate in a public hearing. Finally, the board will consider public comments and the rules. The board must adopt the rules by November 30, 2022. Click on image below to view a printable version. 

Timeline graphic