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


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

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


 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:



 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