Washington’s Working Forests January 2020 Newsletter

Everett Herald Editorial Board: “State should follow example of private forestlands”

The editorial board of one of  Washington’s largest daily newspapers recognizes private forest landowners’ leadership on salmon habitat and cool, clean water protection

Melissa Erkel, a fish passage biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, inspects a culvert along the north fork of Newaukum Creek near Enumclaw in June 2015. Washington is under a federal court order to fix under-roadway culverts that block migrating fish by 2030, but a budget passed by lawmakers badly shortchanges the work. That puts the state at risk of failing to meet the deadline and jeopardizes salmon recovery even as the Pacific Northwest’s endangered orcas are starving for want of them. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press File)

The work done by private forest landowners in the 20 years since the Forests and Fish Law was passed — efforts that mostly are undertaken in places the public never sets foot — often goes unnoticed.

The Everett Herald Editorial Board shone a very kind light on these efforts this month in a thoughtful January 7 editorial that applauded these leading efforts while calling to downstream land users and managers to catch up on this critical mission of saving regional salmon populations. They wrote:

Now 20 years on, the Washington Forest Protection Association reports, more than 8,000 culverts and other salmon barriers have been removed, opening up more than 5,200 miles of fish habitat with millions of acres of riparian buffer zones set aside to protect those streams. Unstable slopes have been addressed to limit landslides into habitat, and logging road drainage systems have been improved to cut down on sediments in streams.

The accomplishments seen on 8 million acres of private forestlands and another 1.3 million acres of state-owned forestlands are vital to saving salmon, but much more work is necessary.

The forestlands often represent the very end — and beginning — of salmon’s reproductive journey; there remain habitat and other impacts to salmon downstream from the forests as streams and rivers wend through agricultural land, through suburban and urban developments and industrial areas and into estuaries and bays.

While the work to replace culverts in forestlands is important, it’s dwarfed by the diminished habitat that remains downstream and is the responsibility of the state and local governments. …

“Everybody’s got to do their part in order for salmon to be able to swim and survive treacherous waterways through all these different land uses,” said Cindy Mitchell, director of public affairs for the Washington Forest Protection Association.

“The rallying cry,” Locke said regarding the Fish and Forest Plan, “was that extinction was not an option.”

Twenty years later, it’s still not an option that can be allowed.

We encourage you to read the entire editorial here on The Everett Herald website.

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What are “Working Forests?”

A Working Forest is professionally managed to provide a continuous supply of renewable, sustainable wood products for building materials — with a focus on protecting fish, water and wildlife. Using scientific practices and adhering to comprehensive state forestry laws, Washington’s working forests work to give back to our entire state. Growing working forests absorb carbon, wood products store carbon, and the forest sector taken as a whole currently operates with a negative carbon footprint that supports greenhouse gas reduction goals and rural economies across Washington, a fact that is recognized in state law.


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Sign up here to learn more about efforts underway to recognize working forestry’s role in providing a natural carbon solution.

did you know?

Forest landowners replant their forests as soon as the weather allows after timber harvest. Tree planting season is generally December – April, when the seedlings are dormant, as long as the ground is not frozen.
(Source: Dept. of Natural Resources

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How much do working forestry and wood products mean to Washington state?

An awful lot.


Our interactive map tells the whole story. Click to learn more.

did you know?


Did you know that 52 million trees are planted on average each year in Washington State’s working forests? That number represents the planting of 3 trees for each one that is harvested, a statistic that is at the core of sustainable practices for maintaining healthy working forested landscapes for the future.