77.85.170  <<  77.85.180 >>   77.85.190

RCW 77.85.180

Findings.

(1) The legislature finds that the forests and fish report as defined in RCW 76.09.020 was developed through extensive negotiations with the federal agencies responsible for administering the endangered species act and the clean water act. The legislature further finds that the forestry industry, small landowners, tribal governments, state and federal agencies, and counties have worked diligently for nearly two years to reach agreement on scientifically based changes to the forest practices rules, set forth in the forests and fish report as defined in RCW 76.09.020. The legislature further finds that if existing forest practices rules are amended as proposed in the forests and fish report as defined in RCW 76.09.020, the resulting changes in forest practices (a) will lead to: (i) Salmon habitat that meets riparian functions vital to the long-term recovery of salmon on more than sixty thousand miles of streams in this state; (ii) identification of forest roads contributing to habitat degradation and corrective action to remedy those problems to protect salmon habitat; (iii) increased protection of steep and unstable slopes; and (iv) the implementation of scientifically based adaptive management and monitoring processes for evaluating the impacts of forest practices on aquatic resources, as defined in RCW 76.09.020, and a process for amending the forest practices rules to incorporate new information as it becomes available; (b) will lead to the protection of aquatic resources to the maximum extent practicable consistent with maintaining commercial forest management as an economically viable use of lands suitable for that purpose; and (c) will provide a regulatory climate and structure more likely to keep landowners from converting forestlands to other uses that would be less desirable for salmon recovery.
(2) The legislature further finds that the changes in laws and rules contemplated by chapter 4, Laws of 1999 sp. sess., taken as a whole, constitute a comprehensive and coordinated program to provide substantial and sufficient contributions to salmon recovery and water quality enhancement in areas impacted by forest practices and are intended to fully satisfy the requirements of the endangered species act (16 U.S.C. Sec. 1531 et seq.) with respect to incidental take of salmon and other aquatic resources and the clean water act (33 U.S.C. Sec. 1251 et seq.) with respect to nonpoint source pollution attributable to forest practices.
(3) The legislature finds that coordination is needed between the laws relating to forestry in chapter 76.09 RCW and the state salmon recovery strategy being developed under this chapter. The coordination should ensure that nonfederal forestlands are managed in ways that make appropriate contributions to the recovery of salmonid fish, water quality, and related environmental amenities while encouraging continued investments in those lands for commercial forestry purposes. Specifically, the legislature finds that forest practices rules relating to water quality, salmon, certain other species of fish, certain species of stream-associated amphibians, and their respective habitats should be coordinated with the rules and policies relating to other land uses through the statewide salmon recovery planning process. The legislature further finds that this subchapter is but one part of a comprehensive salmon strategy as required in this chapter, and this investment in salmon habitat will be of little value if a comprehensive state plan is not completed and fully implemented.
(4) The legislature recognizes that the adoption of forest practices rules consistent with the forests and fish report as defined in RCW 76.09.020 will impose substantial financial burdens on forest landowners which, if not partially offset through other changes in the laws and rules governing forestry, could lead to significantly reduced silvicultural investments on nonfederal lands, deterioration in the quality, condition, and amounts of forests on those lands, and long-term adverse effects on fish and wildlife habitat and other environmental amenities associated with well managed forests. Moreover, as the benefits of the proposed revisions to the forest practices rules will benefit the general public, chapter 4, Laws of 1999 sp. sess. suggests that some of these costs be shared with the general public.
(5) As an integral part of implementing the salmon recovery strategy, chapter 4, Laws of 1999 sp. sess. (a) provides direction to the forest practices board, the department of natural resources, and the department of ecology with respect to the adoption, implementation, and enforcement of rules relating to forest practices and the protection of aquatic resources; (b) provides additional enforcement tools to the department of natural resources to enforce the forest practices rules; (c) anticipates the need for adequate and consistent funding for the various programmatic elements necessary to fully implement the strategy over time and derive the long-term benefits; (d) provides for the acquisition by the state of forestlands within certain stream channel migration zones where timber harvest will not be allowed; (e) provides for small landowners to have costs shared for a portion of any extraordinary economic losses attributable to the revisions to the forest practices rules required by chapter 4, Laws of 1999 sp. sess.; and (f) amends other existing laws to aid in the implementation of the recommendations set forth in the forests and fish report as defined in RCW 76.09.020.
NOTES:
Part headings not law1999 sp.s. c 4: "Part headings used in this act are not any part of the law." [ 1999 sp.s. c 4 § 1403.]
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