Why we must pass Measure 34
Measure 34 is critical for the survival of our coastal fisheries and for the continued supply of clean water to 300,000 Oregon Families.
Every year, every stream that runs through the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forest is ranked by the Department of Environmental Quality as too warm for the succesful spawning and rearing of wild salmon. Five of Seven of our coastal fisheries have already been reduced to levels that disallow consumption. The number one reason cited by the DEQ for these troubles: the removal of trees and other shade-producing woody vegetation from stream banks.
The current department of forestry plan for these forests leaves only 25-ft no-cut buffer zones along these streams and rivers--less than Washington State and California require on private land--yet the Tillaomok is a public,state forest that is supposed to be managed according to "the greatest permanenent value" of all Oregonians.
These weak protections don't just affect fish, either. Over 300,000 Oregonians, including most of Washington County, recieve their drinking water from the Tillamook State Forest.
Measure 34 defines "greatest permanent value" in Oregon Statute, so that their is no discrepency about what it means. Right now, the state forester, under administrative rule, can determine what he feels achieves the GPV. Measure 34 defines GPV as "considering the conservation of land for drinking water, recreation, and fish and wildlife habitat to be as beneficial to the sttate as timber harvests."
Considering the Board of Forestry is stacked with timber-industry goons, and the Oregon Department of Forestry has a direct stake in cutting more trees, the only way we can get real change is through changing the laws under which these public lands are managed. Otherwise, we can preach to the Board of Forestry and ODF all day long, but we won't see any action taken.
You can help pass Measure 34 by getting in touch with the campaign by calling 503-248-0178 or emailing email@example.com. I know there is a lot of other important things going on, but this would be a critical win for Oregon's long term social, environmental, and economic health.
I hope you join me in voting Yes on Measure 34.
Longer Description of Measure 34 and the current State Forest Management Plan
The people of Oregon own a little bit of forestland between Portland and the coast (500,000 acres). These forests are known as the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. A series of fires, sparked by a logging accident, saw most of these forests burn down in the 1930's, 40's, and 50's. Thousands of Oregonians came together to re-plant the Tillamook Forest, and passed a statewide bond measure to finance the restoration (interestingly, the bond measure failed in Tillamook County)
In 2001, a management plan was developed for these maturing forests under an experimental concept of forestry known as "structure-based management." This type of mangement abandons the traditional concept of reserve areas (places in the forest set-aside from commercial logging) to protect water quality and fish and wildlife habitat. Rather, it suggests that active logging across the entire landscape can actually accelerate the production of healhty fish and wildlife habitat while creating jobs and revenue. However, the plan leaves only 25-ft no-cut buffer zones on streams (half as much protection along streams than California and Washington require for their PRIVATE lands, and 12 times Other than these buffers, no areas of the forest are set-aside from the chainsaw)
This plan was adopted despite vast public disagreement with such an emphasis on logging and against the advice of two scientific panels (the scientists argued for including reserve areas).
Measure 34 requires that the state re-think it's priorities in managing these forests--so that protectoin of clean drinking water, fish and wildlife habitat, and recreation are given equal footing with logging. It also asks scientists to designate 50% of the forest to be managed for the primary purpose of resource conservation and recreation, with the goal of restoring a native old-growth forest on that portion of the landscape.
Within the Measure, authority is given to the department of forestry to manage the forest to prevent catastrophic damage from wildfire and disease, and their are many necessary steps in restoring 50% of the landscape to a native old-growth forest (the Tillamook was replanted with primarily Doug Fir--not the native tree species in that abundance). Local school funding levels from timber revenue are maintained, and jobs in the timber industry will be maintained through continued, sustainable timber production. Also, jobs will be created in commercial and sport-fishing as well as recreation.
Basically, the point of the Measure is to have areas in the forest that are not managed for the purpose of commercial timber production--but instead for other values that Oregonians care deeply about--clean water, salmon habitat, and abundant recreational opportunities.
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