Private Forest Landowners are Making a Differencein Protecting the Environment
The results are clear. From 2001 through 2013, state and private forest landowners have removed 5,641 barriers to fish passage, opening up 3,893 miles of fish habitat on state and private working forest land. In addition, nearly 2.6 million acres of working forests have been permanently set aside for riparian buffers and to protect wetlands and steep slopes. Forest landowners are accomplishing the objectives outlined by the Forests & Fish Law the toughest environmental standards for forest practices in the nation.
Fish Habitat Protection
Private forest landowners are protecting water quality throughout the 60,000 miles of forested streams on their lands. Riparian buffers along streams maintain cool water temperature and protect stream banks, limiting the amount of sediment delivered to streams and keeping the water clean. These measures help maintain healthy, productive fish habitat.
Forest landowners have made significant progress toward the goal of bringing all roads into compliance with the forest practice standards outlined in the Forests & Fish Law. More than More than 240 Road Management and Abandonment Plans (RMAPs) have been developed by forest landowners and approved by the Department of Natural Resources. All state and private forest roads have been assessed and upgrades are being made. Through June 2011, 18,738 miles, or 72%, of forest road identified as needing improvement have been brought up to standards. New practices include careful road location, especially near stream crossings, better drainage to keep ditch water out of the streams and erosion control to minimize sediment delivery. In addition, more than 4,600 miles of roads have been decommissioned and restored to a natural forest condition.
Steep Slope Protection
Although landslides are naturally-occurring events in rain-soaked Washington, forest landowners are committed to ensuring that forest practices do not contribute to these events. Landowners are utilizing advanced technology and the best available science to identify the lands that are most vulnerable. To protect these high risk areas, landowners are retaining mature forests on potentially unstable slopes that are vulnerable to landslides.