Oregonian Exposé on Forest Chemicals: Lax Oregon Logging Rules Fail to Protect People as well as Fish and Water Quality

A major two-part investigative piece finds that Oregon’s regulations do less than neighboring states’ to protect people and the environment from herbicides.  This is a familiar refrain for the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition, whose members are trying to convince the  Board of Forestry to require that more trees be left near streams to prevent stream warming, regulate sediment, and provide the woody and other organic material needed to build healthy fish habitat and protect streamside soils.

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Scientific journal articles have also addressed the differences between Oregon Forest Practices Act rules and those in Washington, California, and in the federal Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP). Oregon’s rules are less protective of streams than those of Washington and the NWFP, and, to a lesser extent, California’s forest practices rules.

Specifically regarding Washington State, Oregon’s forest practices regulations require significantly less protection for streams than do their counterparts in Washington in several key respects: 1) the buffer size next to the stream; 2) how much vegetation is allowed to be removed within the stream buffer (i.e. retention requirements); 3) how much smaller streams, especially non fish-bearing smaller streams, are protected; 4) identification and protection of unstable slopes; and 5) road construction and maintenance rules to limit the adverse impacts of roads, and rules to restore old and degraded roads.

The following three articles include illustrative comparisons between the states as well as comparisons with the federal Northwest Forest Plan:

Cashore, Benjamin and Graeme Auld. 2003.
British Columbia’s Environmental Forestry Policy Record in Perspective.
Journal of Forestry. December: 42-47.

Olson, D.H., P.D. Anderson, C.A. Frissell, H.H. Welsh, Jr., and D.F. Bradford. 2007.
Biodiversity management approaches for stream-riparian areas: Perspectives for Pacific Northwest headwater forests, microclimates and amphibians.
Forest Ecology and Management, 246: 81-107.

H.H. Welsh, Jr. 2011.
Frogs, Fish and Forestry: An Integrated Watershed Network Paradigm Conserves Biodiversity and Ecological Services
Diversity, 3, 503-530.



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