The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is inviting public comment on planned projects, timber sales and other management activities in state-owned forests in fiscal year 2021. From now through 5 p.m. on May 6, Oregonians can weigh in on draft Annual Operations Plans (AOP) for state forests, which lay out on-the-ground activities expected to take place in the coming fiscal year.
State forests by law must provide economic, environmental and social benefits to Oregonians. To achieve the legal mandate, these lands are managed to create healthy productive forests, high-quality habitat for native fish and wildlife, clean water, benefits and revenues to rural communities and timber-related economies, as well as recreation and educational opportunities. Overall management policies and management goals are established in long-range Forest Management Plans and Implementation Plans.
Annual Operations Plans describe activities to achieve the policies and goals laid out in the longer-range plans. ODF is seeking input on the draft AOP summary documents, which can be viewed online at https://www.oregon.gov/ODF/Working/Pages/StateForests.aspx and are also available at district offices upon request.
Common topics included in an Annual Operations Plan include: timber harvest operations; recreation improvement and maintenance projects; forest road construction, maintenance, and improvements; reforestation/replanting and young stand management activities; habitat improvement for native species; and invasive species management.
The most useful input speaks to these specific activities and whether they are consistent with longer-range plans, offers suggestions to improve efficiency or effectiveness, corrects errors, provides additional information, and is solution-oriented, understanding that state forests are working forests and by law must provide a variety of economic, environmental and social benefits. Activities that affect fish and wildlife habitat are reviewed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, while operations that may influence threatened and endangered species are shared with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
ODF is offering several convenient avenues to comment on AOPs:
• An online survey can be found at https://forms.gle/HCfsq9Je9TVXrJ2Y9
• Online comments are also received through ODF’s comments page: http://www.oregon.gov/ODF/AboutODF/Pages/Comment.aspx
• Comments can also be mailed to ODF Public Affairs, 2600 State St., Salem, OR 97310.