Conservation work in Oregon forests gets federal boost
The Tillamook State Forest as seen from the summit of King’s Mountain. Bare patches mark spots that have been clearcut. (Oregon Department of Forestry/Flickr)
Two state agencies have been awarded a $750,000 federal grant to continue work on a state plan for protecting endangered species and species that could become endangered in the next 70 years in Oregon’s northwest forests.
The Oregon Department of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife share the grant, which will be used for a habitat conservation plan under development since 2018.
The effort is directed at protecting 639,489 acres of state forests west of the Cascades, primarily in Clatsop, Tillamook and Washington counties. It is the third major grant the agencies have received from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to implement the conservation plan.
Endangered species that would get additional protection include the Northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet, a small bird that eats from the ocean and nests in old growth trees and forests.
The Department of Forests and the Oregon Board of Forestry must still allow economic and recreational use in state forests, but through the conservation plan and accepting the federal dollars, they are agreeing with the federal government to take measures to enhance and protect vulnerable species. The habitat conservation plan is still receiving public review and is scheduled to go to the Board of Forestry for final approval and implementation in 2023.
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