There is no question that forest practices have improved since the heyday of Oregon’s logging boom. The Oregon Forest Practices Act was in its time a revelation and placed Oregon at the forefront of forest stewardship. That was then . . . .
“Oregon’s forestry program lacks adequate measures for protection riparian areas of medium, small and non-fish bearing streams, high risk landslide areas, and for mitigating the impacts of legacy roads,” according to the EPA and NOAA who are tasked with approving Oregon’s Coastal Managment Plan. These are all items that bear on fish productivity.
The agencies have already approved the forestry portions of similar plans in Washington and California so apparently the EPA and NOAA are not asking the impossible.
“The fact is, California and Washington have riparian protections that are two to three times as strong as Oregon’s,” said Dave Powers, EPA’s regional manager for forests and rangelands. Others dispute the need for larger buffers pointing out that Oregon’s forest lands are home to the cleanest water in the state. Sorry to sound insensitive, but isn’t that like being the skinniest kid on a fat farm?
The bottom line is that if Oregon doesn’t come into compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act it could end up costing the state about fifty million in funding. Sounds like the feds are wielding a pretty big stick and it might help our fish–KM