Mark Doumit talks about benefits of Washington’s Forests & Fish Law


This year marks the 15th anniversary of the landmark Forests & Fish Law, an innovative set of environmental protections that lays out how forestry is practiced in Washington. Since the law was passed, large forest landowners have improved tens of thousands of miles of forest roads, reopened nearly 3,300 miles of fish habitat and removed or replaced more than 5,100 stream blockages.Mark Doumit, the Executive Director of the Washington Forest Protection Association, went on Comcast Newsmakers this week to talk about how the groundbreaking law has made the state a better place to live. His four-minute interview will air on CNN Headline News intermittently over the next few weeks, and it’s also online.

As Doumit points out, the law set in place a 20-year plan (2001-2021) for landowners to improve forest roads and open up fish passages. But the law is much more durable than that. In 2006, the federal government endorsed the Forests & Fish Law by approving a 50-year habitat conservation plan that protects Washington’s native fish, several species of amphibians and 60,000 miles of streams. The plan is the largest multispecies habitat conservation plan in the country.

The law was passed with the support of the timber industry, the environmental community, tribes and state and local government, and that spirit of cooperation endures. Washington’s forest practices are evaluated on a monthly basis and are open to change based on the latest science. The state’s forest practices are judged by a committee of federal, state and local regulators, along with environmental groups, forestry industry leaders and tribes.

Here’s how Doumit described the adaptive management in his interview with Comcast host Sabrina Register:

Register: When it comes to monitoring, making sure that this is actually the case, that salmon are benefitting from all these (forest) practices, you are working with a lot of different players, including Native American tribes?

Doumit: Absolutely. This is a scientifically based program. We work with the state agencies — the Department of Ecology, the Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the (Department of Natural Resources), who manages the program, along with NOAA Fisheries of the federal government, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife. And then the tribes are very involved at the table and they actually help with a lot of the monitoring in the woods.

Doumit capped off his interview pointing out that the Forests & Fish Law gives Washington one of the toughest sets of environmental regulations in the world.

Register: Mark…you had said that you feel like forest practices in Washington, (you) can’t beat’em.

Doumit: I think they’re the best in the world. And our wood products are also the greenest products you can buy.

To watch the whole interview, go here. To learn more about the Forests & Fish Law, go here.