AP Story: Board of Forestry boosts no-logging buffers along streams

By The Associated Press
NOV. 6, 2015

View article in the Washington Times

PORTLAND — Forest officials have voted to expand no-logging buffers along streams on private timberland in Western Oregon to keep water cool enough for salmon.

The Oregon Board of Forestry adopted the rules on Thursday, despite protests from logging interests. Riparian zone buffers would increase to 80 feet on medium-sized streams and 60 feet on small streams, with the option to not cut any trees or to do thinning on part of the buffer.

The new rules won’t apply in the Siskiyou region, which was left out of the buffer expansion.

Currently, trees must be left uncut 20 feet from streams on private timberland — though some additional feet are required where a number of trees must be maintained.

Removing too many trees leads streams to warm up, which can harm cold-water fish such as salmon, steelhead and bull trout. Logging near streams also eliminates downed logs, which help create deep pools for salmon to escape predators and hide from the heat.

The bigger the no-­logging buffers, the more shade, but the greater the economic impact on timberland owners.

Conservationists for years have been trying to get the board to boost the current buffers of 20 feet to 100 feet in order to meet the cold water standard. In recent years, record hot temperatures and drought have killed fish.

Earlier this year, federal regulators ruled that Oregon logging rules do not sufficiently protect fish and water in Western Oregon from pollution caused by clear-cutting too close to streams, runoff form old logging roads and other problems.

The Board of Forestry considered two proposals. One would have increased no-cut buffer zones to 90 feet, while the other would have left buffers unchanged, but would have require approaches such as thinning, sun-sided buffers or staggering harvests. The newly adopted rules were a compromise between the two.

“We feel it’s a modest step in the right direction, but we’re concerned it doesn’t go far enough,” said Bob Van Dyk with the Wild Salmon Center. Van Dyk said the new small stream buffers still won’t meet legal requirements to protect cold water for salmon.

Timber companies said the buffer increase would have big economic effects and is too expensive for loggers. Kristina McNitt, president of the Oregon Forest Industries Council, said the organization sees the new logging restrictions as political and arbitrary. The group represents private timberland owners.

“There is no evidence that modern forest practices harm fish,” McNitt said in a statement.

News Story: Logging Limits Added Along Streams In Oregon

by Cassandra Profita, OPB/EarthFix

Read this story on the OPB website

The Oregon Board of Forestry voted 4-3 Thursday to add logging restrictions along streams in the western part of the state.

After a failed vote of 3-4 on a less restrictive proposal, the board elected to more than double the stream-side shade requirements under the Forest Practices Act to protect cold water for fish. The rules bring Oregon closer in line with logging policies meant to keep streams cool in the neighboring state of Washington.

The new rules increase the size of the restricted areas along small and medium fish-bearing streams. They’re estimated to affect between 15,000 and 30,000 acres of forestland altogether.

On small streams they require a 60-foot buffer on both sides of small streams where logging is either not allowed at all or is restricted. That buffer is 80 feet on both sides of medium streams.

Many Oregon streams have been found to be too warm to comply with the cold water standard under the Clean Water Act, which limits how much human activity is allowed to raise the temperature of the water in streams.

Board member Cindy Williams, who has worked as a fish biologist, choked back tears while discussing fish population declines and urged the board to take stronger action to improve fish habitat.

“What we’ve been doing hasn’t been working,” she said. “It’s been a long, slow bleed and we’re continuing to bleed despite the fact that we have improved forest practices. Now is the time to not be timid or we’re not likely to retain much more than a zoo population of salmon and steelhead.”

Forest landowners said the decision would reduce their income while conservationists said they were hoping for more restrictions.

Dick Courter owns forestland in Columbia County that’s been in his wife’s family since the 1940s. He said he was stunned to hear the board’s final decision, which was more restrictive than one of the options board members had been considering.

”It’s going to affect me fairly severely,” he said. “This land has been an early retirement account for me and my wife and I don’t know how to tell her when I get back that part of it’s been taken away from us.”

Bob Van Dyk of the Wild Salmon Center said the new rules aren’t likely to get streams to the point of meeting the cold water temperature standard, but they are an improvement.

“It’s a significant step in the right direction,” he said. “The current rules lead to significant warming on small and medium streams well in excess of the limits allowed under the Clean Water Act.”

Washington made changes to its forest practice rules back in 2000 and even with these new rules Oregon still won’t measure up to Washington, Van Dyk said.

“We’re still far below Washington standards – even after this step,” he said.

Oregon State Forester Doug Decker said the decision was a tough one and was bound to disappoint people on both sides.

“It’s a very delicate balancing act to on one hand address the protecting cold water standard but also not put landowners out of business and allow for investments on these lands in the future,” he said.

The rules exclude the Siskiyou region in Southern Oregon and allow lesser restrictions for landowners with more than 10 percent of their land affected.

Testimony before the Oregon Board of Forestry, November 7

BEFORE THE OREGON BOARD OF FORESTRY
Statement of Mary Scurlock for the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition
Agenda Item 3: FPA Riparian Rule Review
Mary.Scurlock@comcast.net
5 November 2015

Chair Imeson and members of the Board, my name is Mary Scurlock, representing the 23 conservation and fishing groups of the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition.

As you are well aware, we have consistently recommended adoption of at least 100 foot no cut buffers on all fish-bearing streams in western Oregon to meet the PCW.

Today, the Board has narrowed its options to two rule packages, neither one of which we believe will provide an adequately high level of certainty that the Protecting Coldwater Criterion will be met and is in fact the “maximum practicable” stream buffer.

But having put 100-120 foot buffers aside, Option 1 (90 foot buffers with equivalent variable retention prescription on SSBT streams plus 1000 feet upstream) is the only choice on the table whose stated objective is to meet the legal duty of this Board under the Oregon Forest Practices Act. The Department’s analysis demonstrates that this option is capable of meeting the PCW on average across the landscape, a relatively low bar in our view but one that seems to comport with the Board’s “working definition” of Maximum Extent Practicable.

In contrast, Option 2 is fatally flawed for at least the following reasons:

• Its objective is simply to reduce exceedances of the PCW, not to “insure” compliance “to the maximum extent practicable which is the standard this Board is legally obligated to meet.
• The 50 and 70 foot no cut buffers, where implemented, will not be effective to meet the PCW according to the ODF analysis. (See graph below). Thus, there is no science-based rationale in the record for choosing these buffers except that they equate to the overall extent of the current Riparian Management Area and would presumably have an acceptable level of economic impact in the view of some forest landowners.

testimony picture

•It fails to protect any reaches upstream of salmon, steelhead and bull trout habitat, even though this is a necessary part of the standard itself. Without these reaches, this option fails to meet the standard on this basis alone.
• It accepts a smaller buffer on small streams, although there is no distinction between small and medium streams in the analysis, and the PCW applies to these streams equally. The fact of Oregon’s outdated stream classification system does not provide a reason to continue it in this rule.
• It excludes the Siskiyou when public policy and science dictate that the new rule should apply to all streams where the PCW applies in all of Western Oregon. There is no basis to believe that current practices are not at least as inadequate in the Siskiyou as they are in Western Oregon in the body of information before you. Given that RipStream data are consistent with other studies in the region so should be the relationships these data describe between stream temperature and riparian buffer size. This conclusion is supported by EPA and DEQ testimony.

There is no real debate that larger stream buffers on private forestland will benefit native fishes

As a matter of aquatic ecology, it is beyond debate that the larger buffers needed to keep waters from heating in violation of current standards will also help salmon survive and populations to recover. The critical importance of streamside buffer protection to fish is exactly why stronger forest practices regulations feature so prominently in both the CZARA compliance determinations and the proposed federal recovery plan for Oregon’s Coast Coho, listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Oregon Coast Coho have a whopping 34% of their habitat on private lands, much of it managed for timber.

There are about 9500 miles of “small and medium” fishbearing streams on private forestlands in Oregon, at least 40% of which provide habitat for salmon, steelhead and bull trout. ODF analysis demonstrates that the buffers currently required on small and medium fish streams can lead to stream heating of as on average about 2.7 degrees F (1.45 C). We have heard evidence that these increments of warming can be biologically significant at individual sites, and that the main problem addressed by compliance with the PCW is magnification at river basin scale because warming can occur on multiple harvest sites across the privately held forest landscape – almost 7 million acres in western Oregon.

The Board’s duty is to the public, not to any particular economic interest

We remind the Board that this is a “policymaking” board that is accountable, through the Governor, directly to the public. Quoting from the Governor’s handbook for Boards and Commissions:

“It is important to keep in mind that all members have been appointed to the board to serve the public at large. The concerns and points of view of all interested parties must be represented and considered, but ultimately, the primary responsibility of every board member is to protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public.

If you were recommended by a professional association or special interest group, you will be expected to provide the board with your technical expertise, and to bring the point of view of the group to the board. However, you were not appointed to serve only as the representative of a specific group. When the group’s interest conflicts with that of the general public, your primary responsibility is to the public. All board members must work for the benefit of the public first, with the good of any particular profession, industry or special interest group taking a secondary position.”¹

¹Governor Kate Brown, Membership Handbook for Boards and Commissions, revised 2/15/15.

Download this testimony as a PDF 

Press Release: Board of Forestry to Vote on New Logging Rules to Stop Streams from Warming

3 November 2015

PRESS RELEASE

Contacts:
Mary Scurlock, OSPC, 503.320.0712, mary.scurlock@comcast.net
Bob Van Dyk, Wild Salmon Center, 503.503.8471, bvandyk@wildsalmoncenter.org

BOARD OF FORESTRY TO VOTE ON NEW LOGGING RULES TO STOP STREAMS FROM WARMING

Key step to meet Clean Water Act standards would affect less than 1% of Western Oregon private forestland

Salem, OR:  The Oregon Board of Forestry will consider new rules in order to bring the state into compliance with federal Clean Water Act standards.

Two options are under consideration.

They will be considered in Salem on November 5, between 9:50 am and 2:30 pm, with public comment occurring before lunch.

The proposed changes are designed to protect fish from warm water conditions such as those that occurred this summer. Removing too many trees near streams causes the water to heat up, which can harm cold-water fish like salmon and steelhead. (Conservation and fishing leaders detailed ongoing concerns with forest practices along streams in an opinion piece in September.)

The proposed changes for streams on private land would affect a small sliver of forestlands, according to a state analysis.  The widest setbacks formally under consideration – no logging within 90 feet of salmon, steelhead and bull trout streams in western Oregon– would affect just 0.5% of forestland in the region.

On an annual basis, that amounts to an average of only 300 acres of industrial land and 230 acres of non-industrial forest land removed from harvest per year in western Oregon.  (See state analysis here.)

Together, Oregon’s private landowners hold more than 10.3 million acres of forestland across the whole state.

A weaker proposal crafted by a timber representative on the Board suggests very small changes to current rules with a voluntary option.  Scientific analysis by the State of Oregon clearly shows that the timber-backed proposal would not meet the protection standard set by the Environmental Quality Commission to meet federal law.

“Oregon’s salmon and steelhead need more protection,” said Mary Scurlock, Coordinator of the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition comprising 23 conservation and fishing groups.  “The science clearly shows more than 100 feet is needed to be really confident that we are complying with the Clean Water Act.”

“Oregon’s forest rules to protect salmon lag far behind its neighbor in Washington State,” said Bob Van Dyk of the Wild Salmon Center.  “It’s time for us to catch up to the science-based rules Washington State passed 15 years ago.”

Learn more on this topic at the OSPC website:

http://oregon-stream-protection-coalition.com

 

Oregon Considers New Proposals For Limiting Logging Near Streams

September 26, 2015, AP

This AP story  is available on the OPB website.

Coho salmon. Rick Swart/Oregon Deparment of Fish and Wildlife

A subcommittee of the Oregon Board of Forestry has identified two proposals for new state logging rules to keep streams in western Oregon cool enough for salmon.

One proposal increases no-cut buffer zones to 90 feet. The other offers approaches such as thinning or staggering harvests. Currently, trees must not be cut within 20 feet from streams.

Conservation and fishing groups say neither proposal is sufficient. They say no-cut buffers should be 100-foot deep.

Removing too many trees leads streams to warm up, which can harm fish. Logging near streams also eliminates downed logs, which help create deep pools for salmon to escape predators and hide from the heat.

Logging operators say increasing buffers would impact their business. The Board of Forestry will consider the proposals on Nov. 5.

OSPC Press Release: Compromise proposals on new logging rules fail to protect cold water for salmon: Conservation and Fishing Coalition urges 100 foot or larger stream buffers

Download the full press release 

24 September 2015

PRESS RELEASE

Contacts:  Mary Scurlock, OSPC, 503.320.0712, mary.scurlock@comcast.net

Bob Van Dyk, Wild Salmon Center, 503.504.8471,bvandyk@wildsalmoncenter.org

COMPROMISE PROPOSALS ON NEW LOGGING RULES
FAIL TO PROTECT COLD WATER FOR SALMON

 Conservation and Fishing Coalition urges 100 foot or larger stream buffers

 Salem, OR:  A committee of the Oregon Board of Forestry is set to deliberate over new logging rules for streams in western Oregon at a public work session tomorrow September 25 from 9am to 1 pm in Salem.  The session’s goal is to identify one or two proposals that will be put to a vote of the full seven-member Board on November 5.

Two draft proposals released before the work session have conservation and fishing groups worried, as neither proposal includes the option for 100-foot no-cut setbacks that state scientists found were needed to prevent warming of salmon streams.

Removing too many trees near streams causes the water to heat up, which can harm cold-water fish like salmon and steelhead.

Neither of the draft proposals has earned support from conservation and fishing groups.  “The proposal for a 90-foot buffer comes closest to providing adequate stream protection but it still falls far short of the mark and has some potentially gaping loopholes,” said Mary Scurlock, Coordinator of the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition comprising 23 conservation and fishing groups.  “The other proposal is a total nonstarter because it makes only minor improvements to current buffers and will still warm streams beyond legal limits. ”

The Board has a clear obligation to meet the Clean Water Act standards,” says Bob Van Dyk of the Wild Salmon Center, “and the science clearly shows at least a 100 foot buffer is needed to meet that standard.”

“Oregon’s forest rules to protect salmon lag far behind its neighbor in Washington State,” says Van Dyk.  “It’s time for us to catch up to the science-based rules Washington State passed 15 years ago.”

Learn more on this topic at the OSPC website:

http://oregon-stream-protection-coalition.com/oregon-board-of-forestry-riparian-rule-subcommittee-meeting-friday-september-25-at-9-am/

KEY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE PROPOSALS

 Size of the riparian buffer ((i.e. the streamside area subject to harvest prohibitions or limitations):

  • Package 1 calls for either a mandatory 90 foot no-cut buffers on small and medium streams OR a 100 foot buffer that could still allow logging as close as 20 feet.
    • Extends protection 1000 feet upstream from salmon, steelhead and bull trout reaches;
    • Includes all regions of western Oregon
  • Package 2 calls for either voluntary 50 foot buffers on small streams and 70 foot buffers on medium ones (same overall size as current buffers) OR a mandatory minimum option that includes the existing 20 foot no cut area within 50 and 70 foot buffers but requires more trees to be retained.
    • Salmon, steelhead and bull trout stream reaches only;
    • No change to rules in Siskiyou Region of Southern Oregon

Larger stream buffers will make for healthier salmon: Opinion in the Oregonian

Guest opinion published in the Oregonian 

coho.JPG
Dog Creek feeds the fish ladders at the hatchery in Clackamas County’s McIver State Park, where spring chinook and coho salmon are raised. (Kristyna Wentz-Graff/STaff)

 

By Liz Hamilton and Bob Van Dyk

In this dry, thirsty summer, a host of people sacrificed for salmon. Ordinary fishermen followed bans on afternoon fishing. Anglers, guides and the entire sportfishing industry suffered. Federal fisheries managers trucked salmon to cooler water. Farmers in the Klamath Basin sacrificed valuable surface water to save fish and wildlife.

Unfortunately, not everyone did their part.

After an eight-year, state-sponsored study clearly showed logging along streams raises water temperatures above the legal standard, Oregon’s Board of Forestry was finally poised to expand protective buffers along streams in July. Gov. Kate Brown’s adviser told the board, “to be truly sustainable, Oregon’s private forests need to do their part to meet water quality standards and protect our environment.”

We agree.

But after hearing concerns expressed by timber representatives in the audience and on the board, they delayed action once again. The board will now take up the topic in late September for possible action in early November.

Oregonians overwhelmingly believe that salmon are worth saving; they are our regional icon. To ensure the health of declining salmon runs, we invest hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars every year. Salmon stimulate more than a billion dollars annually in Oregon’s rural and urban economies — money flowing to small businesses, like sporting goods stores, guide services, manufacturers, restaurants and national and international commercial markets. As the Northwest climate continues to heat up, we need policies in place that ensure salmon survival alongside cities, agriculture and the timber industry.

Adequate stream buffers on private timberland are essential to sustainable salmon runs. Healthy standing forests along streams not only shade and cool water, they also supply downed trees to streams. These logs create jams and then deep pools, where juvenile and adult fish can ride out heat waves and escape predators. Heavy logging on private timberlands starves streams and salmon of cold water refuges.

Expanding current buffers from the current standard of as little as 20 feet to a minimum of 100 feet on fish-bearing streams would help bring Oregon into compliance with standards set by state and federal scientists. Oregon stream buffers would finally be on par with other Northwest states while affecting only an additional 2 percent of private forest acreages. Washington, where stream buffers are far larger than in Oregon, sustains a thriving, $8 billion timber industry. And expanded buffers would be an important step toward getting Oregon coho removed from the endangered species list.

Oregon’s broad coalition of salmon supporters have tried for two decades to make the incremental changes necessary for stream protection. Now it’s time for the timber industry to step up.

Gov. Brown can help protect cold water by asking the board to strengthen forest rules up to levels similar to Washington and California. She can provide further leadership by committing to assist the small portion of family forestland owners who might be unduly affected. By doing so, she will help protect our fishing economy, take an important step toward protecting our streams in the face of climate change, and help build better fish habitat for generations to come.

Liz Hamilton represents the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association and Bob Van Dyk represents the Wild Salmon Center.

Oregon Board of Forestry Riparian Rule Subcommittee meeting Friday, September 25 at 9 AM

The Oregon Board of Forestry Riparian Rule Subcommittee will meet at 9 a.m. Friday, September 25, 2015, in Salem at the State Forester’s Headquarters Office, Tillamook Conference Room, 2600 State St. Salem, Oregon 97310.

Download the agenda for the meeting.  Materials for the meeting are available at the following link: http://www.oregon.gov/odf/Pages/board/BOF_Subc_RipRules.aspx

Comments have been submitted by various organizations and government entities in advance of the subcommittee meeting.  Click to read the comments made by:

The Oregon Stream Protection Coalition with Science Advisors 

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association 

Oregon Wild

United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Willamette Week Story: Logrolling The timber industry is mighty in Oregon—thanks to tax dollars it spends on ads.

September 9th, 2015, The Willamette Week, by BEN DEJARNETTE

Although environmental groups have helped Democrats win big legislative majorities, the timber lobby trounced enviros in Salem once again this year.

A bill to regulate aerial spraying of timberland—the subject of a sobering investigative series inThe Oregonian—went nowhere. A bill to impede the export of raw logs met the same fate. 

Critics say that even as the timber industry’s tax burden has eased, a well-funded industry trade group has skillfully used a growing war chest to shape public perception—to the public’s detriment.  

Now those critics want to redirect those funds and revive a repealed tax on the industry.  

One recent timber industry-funded television ad shows fourth-generation logger Bob Luoto filling a glass with crystal-clear water retrieved from one of the forest’s streams.  

“Oregon has strong laws to help protect our watersheds,” Luoto explains. “Buffers of trees help ensure cool, shady streams that are great for fish and wildlife.”

The feds disagree with Luoto. Oregon’s stream-protection rules are so lax the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took the unprecedented step this year of nixing the state’s water-pollution plan.   

Nonetheless, in July, the Oregon Board of Forestry postponed a long-anticipated vote on whether to increase logging buffers along streams.  

Environmentalists such as Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild, point a critical finger at the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, a semi-independent state agency that spent $1.05 million in tax money on advertising last year.  

Officially, OFRI’s mission is to educate the public about forestry practices, but Pedery says the agency’s allegiance to timber interests is clear. OFRI receives its funding from a volume-based harvest tax paid by timber companies when they cut trees, and the agency’s commercials paint an idyllic portrait of forestry in Oregon, despite mounting criticism of state regulations.  

“People who see those ads think that Oregon has the strongest logging rules in the country,” Pedery says. “As much as I disagree with the policies OFRI advocates, I have to give them credit: Their propaganda has been highly effective.” 

OFRI’s tax-funded advertising campaign has put the agency at the center of a controversy over where the timber industry’s tax dollars go—and where they don’t.  

In the 1990s, lawmakers phased out what was called the “privilege tax” on timber. According to analysis by InvestigateWest, that decision has saved Oregon’s timber companies an average of $59 million each year, adjusted for inflation.

But even as lawmakers gutted the privilege tax, they approved increases for a different tax—one that is popular within the industry. Under the current distribution formula for the Forest Products Harvest Tax, 26 percent of revenue is earmarked for OFRI, while the other 74 percent is split between forestry research and education, wildfire protection for private timberland owners, and enforcement of the Forest Practices Act—all stuff the timber industry supports.  

“In effect, tax dollars go from the right pocket of the industry to the left pocket of the industry,” says Ernie Niemi, president of Natural Resource Economics. “Timber companies are serving their own interests.” 

OFRI executive director Paul Barnum rejects criticism that OFRI is simply a mouthpiece for the industry. He says the agency’s advertising plays an important role in educating new Oregon residents. “We’re not making a statement that the laws are good or bad,” explains Barnum, a former communications director for Weyerhaeuser, a publicly traded timber company. “We’re making a statement that the laws exist.”

The harvest tax that funds OFRI and its advertisements is allocated by the Legislature and the OFRI board. They’ve repeatedly restricted the money to timber-related programs. That pool of money has been growing.  

Revenue from the harvest tax has more than tripled in the past 25 years, reaching an all-time high of almost $15 million a year ago. OFRI’s take of the harvest tax has increased on three occasions. 

Meanwhile, the industry’s overall tax contribution to the state has plummeted. InvestigateWest’s analysis found timber companies saved about $72 million last year thanks to the privilege-tax phaseout, even as they contributed more than ever to OFRI.   

“The industry is saying, ‘Woe is me, we can’t be forced to pay these taxes any longer because we’re so poor,’” Niemi says. “It’s sort of an astounding argument.”  

Enviros and loggers agree on few things. Among their disputes: whether timber companies are paying their fair share of taxes.

The unraveling of the privilege tax began in 1991, when the timber interests made the case that property tax relief for residential and commercial property owners under Measure 5 should be similarly applied to trees. The Republican-controlled 1999 Legislature finalized the phase-out of the tax.  

Linc Cannon of the Oregon Forest Industries Council says repeal of the privilege tax was fair.  

Since 1972, state law has required timber companies to replant trees after harvest, supporting their argument that timber is a crop—and like other crops, shouldn’t be subject to property tax.  

“The big source of confusion is that it takes 30 to 60 years for us to produce our crop,” Cannon says. “The bottom line is, we’re taxed like everyone else.” 

Environmental groups want to put timber taxes back on the table as part of a broader struggle over the future of Oregon’s publicly owned forests. Since 2012, Congress has been considering bills that would increase logging on the state’s federally owned public lands as a way to boost timber revenues for rural counties. And last month, the State Land Board approved selling off the 140-square-mile Elliott State Forest to raise money for public schools.   

Critics say restoring the privilege tax on private timber companies could provide nearly $50 million a year for schools and $25 million for Oregon counties (assuming the state kept the most recent distribution formula). 

OFIC’s Cannon calls it “disingenuous” for environmentalists to blame timber companies for state and county funding woes.  

Environmental groups successfully sued to block logging on most public lands in the state, cutting off a key source of revenue for schools and counties.  

Cannon says environmentalists want the private timber industry to foot the bill for a problem it didn’t create.  

“Why would private forest owners get taxed to make up for declining federal timber harvests?” he says. “Because they both have trees? That’s the only reason for it.” 

But as timber companies continue to funnel money into OFRI, even some timberland owners are beginning to question whether spending timber money on ads is good for Oregon. 

Sarah Deumling, who manages the 1,300-acre Zena Forest near Salem, is among a group of ecology-minded foresters who disapprove of the agency’s message. 

“OFRI aggressively represents a type of forestry that doesn’t represent me,” she says. “I don’t feel good supporting educational work that I think is inadequate and misleading.”  

Deumling and fellow forester Peter Hayes, owner of Portland-based Hyla Woods, plan to petition the agency for a tax refund next year, an option they say is permitted under state law.  

Deumling and Hayes say the timber industry—led by OFRI—has tried to bend public opinion its way through rose-colored advertising. It’s unclear how well it’s succeeding.  

Each year, the agency conducts polling to gauge public perception of Oregon’s forestry laws, asking questions like this one: “Does Oregon law require forest landowners to protect forest streams and water resources during timber harvest?”

The EPA answered with a resounding “not exactly” this January, when the federal agency determined that Oregon’s logging laws do not adequately protect fish habitat or drinking water. Public opinion appears to be moving in the same direction, if only modestly. In 2012, 79 percent of respondents answered yes to OFRI’s query. In 2013, the number fell to 76 percent. A year later: 71 percent. 

Despite the slipping poll numbers, OFRI isn’t giving up on its campaign. The agency’s most recent commercial, titled “Amazing,” touts the state’s logging rules, including the protections for drinking water and wildlife habitat. The commercial aired during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament this spring.  

“The industry was quite clever,” Hayes says. “They knew that if they could control the narrative, they could control the outcomes.” 

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