A Resolution Encouraging Flexible and Clear Implementation of New Oregon Stream Rules. By The Oregon Logging Conference. February 25, 2016
WHEREAS, on November 5, 2015 the Oregon State Board of Forestry adopted new stream protection rules for all small and medium salmon, steelhead and bull trout (SSBT) streams, and
WHEREAS, buffers along these streams will be increased to 60 feet for small streams and 80 feet for medium streams. A 20 foot no cut buffer will be included for both stream classes and 110 square feet of basal area must be preserved for small streams and 184 square feet for medium streams in the expanded buffer, and
WHEREAS, the alleged reason for the expanded buffers is to maintain water temperatures at threshold levels established by the Oregon Department of Environmental quality and to enhance fish spawning habitat, and
WHEREAS, the rule as adopted includes language that will be subject to interpretation by enforcement officers including requirements that the retained basal area be “well-distributed” and that “minimum tree counts” per 1,000 foot stretches of streams also be “well-distributed” creating operational challenges for logging operations, and,
WHEREAS, how these subjective interpretations are made could pose serious safety issues for loggers and other forest contractors as they attempt to comply with the complicated prescriptions required by the new stream rules, and
WHEREAS, the Oregon Department of Forestry will spend much of the next year adding precision to the rule adopted by the Board of Forestry, interpreting the intent of the expanded buffers and establishing terms for implementation. How the agency makes its final decision will have a profound impact on forest landowners and logging contractors charged with complying with the new rules.
THEREFORE BE IT RESLOVED that the Oregon Logging Conference (OLC) go on record to encourage the Department of Forestry to finalize the new stream rules in a manner that affords flexibility for landowners and clarity for forest operators and recognize that not all landscapes will be able to safely accommodate the rule as currently written.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Oregon Department of Forestry recognized the added burdens on both landowners and operators in terms of value depletion and increased complexity of compliance, and thus resolve to adopt the least burdensome methods of implementing the new rules.