‘Last ditch’ effort for harvest plan consensus

By / TJ Martinell

It’s been five years since the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) first submitted its alternative harvest plan to the Forest Practices Board (FPB) as part of the 1999 Forests and Fish Law that would allow certain foresters to log more timber on their land without harming fish habitat.

However, last November that process hit a snag when the Timber, Fish, & Wildlife (TFW) Policy Committee overseeing the plan for eventual recommendation announced it would not consider the scientific research included with the proposal. After protests by forestry members, TFW last week formed a new technical work group composed of field experts from private, state and tribal organizations who will further examine most of the prescriptions for stream buffers contained in the harvest plan.

Ken Miller is a small forestland owner, past president for the Washington Farm Forestry Association and a member of TFW’s alternative harvest plan work group. He told Lens the new technical work group is a “last ditch” effort to reach consensus within TFW before it makes recommendations to the FPB.

“I don’t have a lot of hope,” he said. “But I have a lot of confidence in the people who’ve been selected for those (work group).”