Wild Salmon Center will build an effective public outreach and advocacy campaign targeting the failure of the Environmental Quality Commission and the Oregon Board of Forestry to prevent degradation of water quality and aquatic habitats from private logging activities. The campaign’s goal is to compel state action to close the gap between existing forest practices and those practices needed to meet minimum water quality standards, allow recovery and prevent future listings of native aquatic species, and address climate change imperatives. We will develop specific Policy Actions needed and identify focus watersheds with high proportions of private forestland in the Columbia Basin to effectively illustrate the problems and the need for the policy changes we seek. Outreach and education efforts will target and mobilize affected local communities, citizens and policymakers.
We will work under the umbrella of the Oregon Stream Protection Coalition (OSPC), an statewide ad hoc partnership that is currently funded as a project of both Wild Salmon Center and Coast Range Association. Consulting policy analyst Mary Scurlock will coordinate the project with support from WSC staff and other coalition member groups. OSPC grew from the need for sustained conservation advocacy in multi-year, highly technical policy development process at the Oregon Board of Forestry from 2012-2017 that focused on strengthening stream buffers to prevent salmon and bull trout streams from warming in violation of water quality standards. Although this process resulted in the first significant change to stream protection under the Oregon Forest Practices Act in over 20 years, the result was only a modest increase in protection to a minority of stream reaches. The need remains to ensure that policymakers and the public understand the importance of further improvements to Oregon’s private lands logging practices.