According to a press release today from the U.S. Department of the Interior, the BLM has withdrawn its legally flawed plan for Western Oregon, the WOPR!
“We have carefully reviewed the lawsuits filed against the WOPR and it is clear that as a result of the previous Administration’s late actions, the plan cannot stand up in court and, if defended, could lead to years of fruitless litigation and inaction,” Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said today. “Now, at a time when western Oregon communities are already struggling, we face the fallout of the previous Administration’s skirting of the law and efforts to taint scientific outcomes. It is important that we act swiftly to restore certainty to timber harvests on BLM lands and to protect vital timber infrastructure in these tough economic times.”
Our Trout Unlimited chapter has been fighting this departure from the Northwest Forest Plan since it’s inception. While not perfect, the Northwest Forest Plan has had remarkable success in at least one regard: improving riparian conditions. It is no secret that salmon, trout and steelhead need cold clean water with complex habitat in order to thrive. The Aquatic Conservation Strategy implemented by the Northwest Forest Plan is a cornerstone of Oregon’s salmon recovery efforts and has been successful. Scientists have documented improvement in riparian conditions in over 64% of the streams sampled since implementation of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy. The new plan would eliminate this proven management tool on BLM land.
The BLM planned to reduce existing Northwest Forest Plan riparian buffer widths by 50% on fish bearing waters as well as on intermittent streams. This would have resulted in over 130,000 acres of previously protected riparian forest being opened to logging. This was not just an academic issue — it put the waters we love to fish at risk:
Thank you to everyone who helped fight this proposal.