Memorandum of Understanding – Oregon Forest Practices Act
Today, February 10, 2020, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced a historic agreement between conservation groups and timber companies which is the first step in a process for the most significant update of Oregon’s Forest Practices Act in decades. Umpqua Watersheds, one of the principal participants of this agreement, releases the following statement:
“Umpqua Watersheds has been working hard for decades to improve the health of the Umpqua Watersheds Basin and eagerly embraces the opportunity to make major improvements in the Oregon Forest Practices Act that will help protect fisheries, wildlife, and aquatic habitat, as well as provide for improved quantity and quality of water. Such improvements are in the best interest of the citizens of the state of Oregon and here in the Umpqua Basin.
The Oregon Forest Practices Act of 1972, was significant at the time for forestry regulation but it has not evolved with our scientific understanding of our environment and the needs of society. Our neighboring states of California and Washington have better regulations that protect clean water, and wildlife habitat, while providing greater certainty to the communities that rely on the wood products industry.
The failures of the OFPA are apparent to Oregonians as they deal with the accumulation of environmental issues as a result of landslides, loss of aesthetic landscapes, declining fisheries and wildlife habitat, and lower water quality and quantity. The agreement outlined today is a mutually agreed upon departure from the inoperable status quo. Much time and resources have been spent to get to this point of compromise. Umpqua Watersheds looks forward to working together in good faith to improve our environment and ensure a healthy forest products industry through acceptable and transparent logging practices.
With this first step, we are hopeful that our watersheds will receive regulations to help improve our systems and sustain our communities’ multitude of resources. For the next 2 years, the work will focus on getting to that agreement and make the necessary changes that will move us forward to those goals.
Umpqua Watersheds would like to thank the extensive and persistent effort by those that made their voices heard over the last several decades. It is that effort and concern that has gotten us to this point of negotiation and is an inspiration to Umpqua Watersheds and the greater conservation community. Umpqua Watersheds wants to particularly thank those in the community who supported our river system summer low flow campaign. We ask those that are concerned to stay active and continue to be the watchdog of our community so we can improve the quality of our environment and our quality of life in the Umpqua Watersheds Basin and beyond.“