Speak Out on Forest Plans and Water Quality

Clearcut in the Siuslaw River watershed.\Photo by Rena Olson, with support from Lighthawk.

The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is accepting comments about both its Forest Management Plan (FMP) and its Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP).  Our colleagues with the North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection are asking for the public’s help in calling for change.  Since there’s a Board of Forestry (BOF) meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 8, ideally comments should be submitted to them before that time.  At the beginning of your message, state that it’s specifically for the BOF meeting on September 8.  There are new BOF members; therefore, this is a good time to catch their attention. 

These ODF plans cover dozens of forestland issues that are worthy of comment, but they do not prioritize safe drinking water.  Also, they fail to adequately recognize the role that forestry practices can play in threatening our water supplies.  They do not underscore the urgency many coastal residents feel as they experience less rainfall as well as more pollution in the water that we do have. Timber harvesting is ODF’s top goal, and protecting drinking water gets scarcely a mention.

You can see more about ODF’s plans here.

https://www.oregon.gov/odf  On that website, look under Hot Topics for: (1) Western Oregon State Forest Management Plan and (2) Habitat Conservation Plan.

To e-mail a message to BOF:  https://www.oregon.gov/odf/board/Pages/CommentsBoard.aspx.

You can send snail mail to:  Board Support Office; Department of Forestry; 2600 State St., Salem, OR 97310.  Their fax # is (503) 945-7512.

The North Coast Communities group encourages people to focus their comments on drinking water, to raise a red flag.  We must protect our watersheds.  Coastal water sources are particularly threatened, because of all the clear-cutting that is happening in our watersheds.  That directly affects both the quantity and quality of water that’s available for drinking.  After logging, watersheds are sprayed with untested combinations of pesticides.  They are asking for a two-year moratorium on the use of these chemicals in watersheds while we study and map water sources, and while we have independent analyses of water quality done. 

To contact the North Coast Communities, call Nancy Webster at (503) 355-2516, or go to North Coast Communities for Watershed Protection