Western Oregon BLM Forests
Western Oregon BLM forests surround our communities. People live next to BLM forests, we recreate in BLM forests, and we get our drinking water from BLM forests. Western Oregon BLM forests are our backyard forests and a part of our heritage.
The latest: On August 5, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed a management plan for western Oregon, largely ignoring a formal protest from 22 conservation and fishing groups. The BLM plan eliminates protections for streamside forests, increases clearcutting in wet forests, and removes 2.6 million acres of federally managed public forests from the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan. You can read the full contents of the protest here.
You can review the new Resource Management Plan on the BLM's website.
For the latest visit your new BLM Backyard Forests webpage: www.blmbackyardforests.org
BLM forests in western Oregon are where many people go out and explore nature, where we get our clean drinking water, and offer a place for wildlife. We need to get this right. The plans that affect these public lands need to take into account how we use these lands today, and how climate change will impact our forests and watersheds.
On August 5, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) signed a management plan for western Oregon, largely ignoring a formal protest from 22 conservation and fishing groups. The BLM plan eliminates protections for streamside forests, increases clearcutting in wet forests, and removes 2.6 million acres of federally managed public forests from the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan.
The plan proposes to increase logging levels by 37 percent, which could boost carbon emissions and make the forest less resilient to climate change and other disturbances. In addition, the plan fails to recognize healthy forests' non-timber economic benefits to the state, such as Oregon's $12.8 billion annual outdoor recreation industry, which supports 141,000 jobs and $955 million in state and local tax revenue. Fishing organizations are highly concerned about the reduction in streamside forest protection.
“The last, best salmon habitat in Oregon is within these BLM-managed forests,” said Glen Spain of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA), a major fishing industry trade association that also joined the petition. “Productive salmon streams are far more valuable for the salmon-related jobs they create than for the market value of the lumber you could generate from logging them. Stronger stream protection makes excellent economic sense, logging them does not!”
The BLM’s new plan revision cuts corners scientifically and legally. It has significant problems, including:
- The plan eliminates the strong water quality and habitat provisions of the Northwest Forest Plan, reducing streamside no-logging buffers by half or more (a loss of 300,000 acres of streamside reserves). These reductions threaten wild native fish, water quality, terrestrial species, and aquatic recreational opportunities.
- BLM's chosen plan represents the least ambitious carbon sequestration alternative analyzed. Over the next century, the status quo would sequester twice as much carbon.
- BLM’s plan focuses on more intensive, clearcut-style logging on nearly half a million acres of forests, abandoning the direction towards restoration of forests and watersheds under the Northwest Forest Plan.
While additional recreation areas are designated under the plan, in many of these areas logging and off-road motorized use take precedence.
“Over 1.8 million Oregonians rely on BLM lands for their drinking water,” said John Kober of Pacific Rivers. “Many of Oregon’s most iconic rivers, such as the Rogue, Umpqua and McKenzie are sustained by the highly effective aquatic protections that have been in place for over 20 years. Scrapping proven stream protections in order to increase timber harvest is simply too risky given the benefits that our rivers provide.”
More resources:KS Wild Position Paper