We engage with the Department of Natural Resources and the Board of Natural Resources, which sets the policies that guide DNR, on a variety of decisions to ensure that scientifically sound, forward-thinking management practices are implemented on these lands to keep our forests and communities healthy and conserve vital habitat for threatened and endangered species in the face of the climate crisis.
In January of 2020, WEC, Conservation Northwest, Olympic Forest Coalition, and local individuals filed a lawsuit calling on the Department of Natural Resources to manage public forests for the public good, including diverse economic and environmental values, in accordance with the state constitution.
The suit also underscores the need for trust beneficiaries, including rural counties and school districts, to have a more reliable source of funding, instead of being tied to unstable revenue flows and often unsustainable logging of public forests that frequently comes at the expense of other public benefits.
A carbon policy for our state forestlands
DNR does not currently have an official policy to guide how the state manages public forests with respect to carbon and climate. We are pushing the agency and Board of Natural Resources to develop and adopt such a policy, and to make a strong contribution to climate action on public lands by harnessing the carbon sequestration power of Washington’s forests.
Sustainable Harvest Calculation
Each decade, DNR is tasked with calculating how much timber they will cut over the next 10 years. WEC engages with the agency as they conduct this Sustainable Harvest Calculation and set the cut level, to ensure that ecological values are being adequately considered in the decision-making process.
WEC has engaged for years on DNR’s effort to develop a Long-term Conservation Strategy for the marbled murrelet–a small seabird that nests in the mature and old-growth trees of coastal forests. Federally-listed as threatened, and state-listed as endangered, the murrelet’s population is in steep decline due to the loss of vital nesting habitat, mainly from historic and ongoing logging. The final plan, adopted in 2019, does not go far enough to protect this vulnerable species from the agency’s timber harvests.
Sally Paul, Evergreen Forests Program Manager