State receives federal grant to continue developing Habitat Conservation Plan for western Oregon state forests

Salem, Ore. — The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Forestry are pleased to announce the state has received an additional $750,000 federal grant to continue developing a Habitat Conservation Plan for state-owned forests west of the Cascades.

This is the third grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to support ongoing development of the Western Oregon State Forest Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The Oregon Department of Forestry has engaged federal, state and county partners, as well as Tribes, stakeholders and members of the public in this project since 2018. In October 2020, the Board of Forestry reviewed the first administrative draft of the HCP and directed ODF staff to move into Phase 3 of the project, which is review through the National Environmental Policy Act process. This involves substantial opportunities for public review and feedback, with the next meeting open to the public scheduled for October 12, 2021. Under the current timeline, the HCP would return to the Board of Forestry in 2023 for a final decision. 

By law and administrative rule, lands owned by the Board of Forestry must be managed for social, environmental, and economic benefits to Oregonians. The HCP would apply to 639,489 acres of state forestlands west of the Cascade Mountains and represents a holistic process for protecting threatened and endangered species. It would establish 70-year commitments for conservation with long-term assurances that other uses could continue, such as public recreation and timber harvesting to benefit counties and local taxing districts that provide important public services. The agency is also developing a companion Forest Management Plan that would guide implementation of the HCP.