Oregon Department of Forestry helping prepare landowners for Forest Practices Act rule changes
SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) is helping to prepare forest landowners for big changes to the Forest Practices Act (FPA) that go into effect Jan. 1, 2024. The changes were brought about by the landmark Private Forest Accord that brought together conservation groups and forest landowners that agreed to changes to the FPA to provide long-term regulatory certainty for landowners and new protections for wildlife with a focus on aquatic species.
The next important date is Dec. 1, when notifications can be made for forest operations that will take place in 2024 in the ODF’s E-Notification system (FERNS).
“There are no continuations of operations from 2023 into 2024,” said Scott Swearingen, ODF’s Forest Resources Division field support manager. “If operations this year are not completed, then a new notification must be filed for next year. All operations for 2024 will take place under the new rules.”
To help people understand those new rules the department has developed new webpages, factsheets, and technical guidance. These are available on the Forest Practices Act webpage.
“Our newest factsheet, simply titled New Forest Practices Rules, gives a good summary of key changes and dates,” said Swearingen.
The 11 other factsheets cover a specific topic area like forest roads, steep slopes, and stream rules.
ODF also gave a series of in-person training courses over the last several months around the state and recordings of some of those will soon be available on the FPA webpage too.
The ODF website offers 24/7 access to FPA information. People can also contact their local ODF forester for information about the new rules.
Finally, the legislation that supported the Private Forest Accord and the Forest Practices Act changes also set up a new Small Forestland Owner Office. This office has people and resources to help the owners of small tracts of forestland manage their land. The Small Forestland Owner Office can also provide assistance and answer questions through email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.