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Prioritize wildlife habitat, not logging

The public comment period for WDFW's proposed Forest Management Strategy is now closed. Thank you to the hundreds of concerned citizens who sent in comments this week!
Read our letter to the Washington Dept. Fish and Wildlife

Don’t let WDFW sell our public forests to the highest bidder

Some of the most important forest habitat in Washington state occurs on lands held by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Unlike most state lands, WDFW forests are principally dedicated to preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish and wildlife.

That’s an appropriate gold standard. But logging activities sanctioned in a proposed plan could cause substantial harm to the fish and wildlife habitat the agency should be protecting.

In direct conflict with its longstanding conservation goals, WDFW has drafted a Forest Management Strategy that could significantly harm public forests by promoting habitat degradation and destruction through logging. Under this proposal, the large and old trees, and snags and down wood which provide disproportionate ecological value as habitat, could be targeted for removal and sold to the highest bidder.

That’s wrong! And it marginalizes the substantial economic activity and direct license sales that activities like fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking provide for our state. Urge WDFW to revise its Forest Management Strategy to prioritize old growth forests and healthy fish and wildlife habitat, and not open the door to harmful resource extraction and the sale of our public inheritance.

For the benefit of those who recreate on our public lands, and for the benefit of future generations, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife lands must be managed to protect and perpetuate fish and wildlife and the healthy ecosystems they need to thrive.

Some of WDFW’s forests are degraded and may benefit from active management. This includes well-designed restoration projects subject to landscape-scale analysis that improve habitat and generate valuable logs as a byproduct. But the Department must not sell the public’s crown jewels to generate income, even when times are tough.

More information:
Draft Management Strategy for the WDFW’s Forests, April 21, 2014, WDFW
Notice and Determination of Non-Significance for WDFW’s Forest Management Strategy, WDFW
State Environmental Policy Act’s Checklist for WDFW’s Forest Management Strategy, WDFW

Direct contact:
Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator
WDFW Regulatory Services Section
600 Capitol Way North
Olympia, WA 98501-1091