WEC is a member of the Forests & Fish Caucus, which was formed by the environmental community to participate in the state’s collaborative Forest Practices’ Adaptive Management Program, with the goal of providing better habitat protections for salmon and other aquatic species on more than 9 million acres of state and private forestland.
Our work with the Adaptive Management Program aims to ensure forested buffers along stream banks keep water temperatures cool and sediment levels low, improve habitat, identify unstable slopes and protect them from erosion to reduce landslide risk, identify fish-bearing streams and remove fish habitat barriers like culverts. All this work aims to meet water quality standards established under the Clean Water Act and protect Washington’s aquatic species.
Cool temperatures in our headwater mountain streams are essential to providing suitable habitat for amphibians and downstream fish. Washington’s Forest Practice rules are designed to keep the temperature low in streams that are adjacent to timber harvests, but recent studies have found that water temperatures are increasing after harvests. Currently, WEC is engaged in efforts to address these studies and better protect Washington’s headwater streams.