Natural Resources Policymaking
The Pacific Northwest is one of the world’s major timber producing regions with its regional capacity to produce wood on a sustained yield basis. Washington’s private forest landowners operate in a climate characterized by the public’s dominance and influence over the state’s natural resources. The political system, statutes, tribal treaty rights, and a reliance on cooperative management approaches to natural resources, all invite public involvement into natural resources policymaking. Since human perceptions of forest management practices may have substantial implications for how we manage forests, over the last century, WFPA has developed and evolved as an organization specifically designed to address this unique and complex operating environment. WFPA represents private forest landowners in a multitude of forums and processes; focusing on protecting private landowners’ property rights, ensuring fair taxation, and shaping the political and regulatory system affecting our industry.
Washington's 50-Year Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan (FPHCP)
In response to Endangered Species Act (ESA) fish listings, Clean Water Act (CWA) impaired streams and tribal treaty obligations, private forest landowners took a pro-active approach to define their environmental responsibilities to protect fish and water and maintain a viable timber industry. The 50-year HCP was based on the Forests & Fish Law, a consensus derived set of protections for fish habitat and water quality designed to meet four goals:
1) To provide compliance with the Endangered Species Act for aquatic and riparian dependent species on non-Federal forestlands;
2) To restore and maintain riparian habitat on non-Federal forestlands to support a harvestable supply of fish;
3) To meet the requirements of the Clean Water Act for water quality on non-Federal forestlands; and
4) To keep the timber industry economically viable in the state of Washington.
The FPHCP defined a baseline of environmental protections in exchange for federal regulatory assurances that forest practices meets the requirements of the ESA and CWA assurances. WFPA’s efforts concentrate on enforcement, defense, and protection of these baseline rights and regulatory assurances. WFPA works to attain the public, political, legal and scientific support necessary to uphold the assurances committed to in the 50-year HCP.