In February of 2020, Governor Brown brokered an agreement between 13 conservation and fishing groups and 13 timber and forest products entities to abandon a costly and divisive ballot initiative fight in exchange for proactive legislation supporting collaboratively developed changes to forest practices. This agreement, called the Private Forest Accord, led to bipartisan legislation that passed with overwhelming majorities in June 2020. The legislation codified the historic agreement, funded the negotiating process now underway, and enacted a set of significant reforms to the Forest Practices Act, some of which went into effect January 1. These new laws restrict helicopter applications of pesticides on forestland within 300 feet of homes, schools, and drinking water, and created a new, first-in-the-nation real-time neighbor notification and reporting requirement.
Portland Audubon was one of the 13 conservation signatories to the 2020 Private Forest Accord and is pleased to be one of the six conservation representatives on the current negotiating team. We view this effort as the most significant opportunity in decades to bring the Oregon Forest Practices Act up to modern science-based standards.
The conservation representatives are Bob Van Dyk (Wild Salmon Center), Sean Stevens (Oregon Wild), Chrysten Lambert (Trout Unlimited), Bob Sallinger (Portland Audubon), Joseph Vaile (Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center), and Dr. Kelly Burnett (aquatic scientist). For the timber sector the representatives are Adrian Miller (Rayonier), Diane Meyers (Weyerhaeuser), Cameron Krauss (Seneca Sawmill Company), Heath Curtiss (Hampton Lumber), Eric Geyer (Roseburg Forest Products), and Jim James (Oregon Small Woodlands Association). The State of Oregon is also engaging tribes through their sovereign-to-sovereign relationships, and conservation groups are reaching out as well.
As with any negotiation of this scale and complexity, there are no assurances of success, but we are hopeful that the next 18 months can deliver real results. Kudos in particular to Wild Salmon Center, Oregon Wild, and Crag, who laid the groundwork for this unprecedented effort.