The 2012 edition of the “Private Forest Landowners and the Oregon Plan” guide lists several voluntary measures that forest landowners can take, beyond the basic requirements in the Oregon Forest Practices Act, to accelerate improvements in stream health and promote conditions that can help potentially threatened and endangered fish species thrive.
Four categories of recommendations are offered: improvements within a stream, improvements on stream banks, upland improvements to ensure healthy watersheds, and improving forest road or stream crossings.
During the first decade of the Oregon Plan, Oregon’s private forest landowners have made $ 84 million in voluntary improvements to build better habitats for threatened and endangered fish species. Additional information about the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds is available here.
Last month I was fortunate to have the chance to tour the Chehalem Ridge Natural Area, a 1,100 acre property acquired last year by Metro near Gaston. It was a fascinating field trip led by Kate Holleran, who is responsible for directing forest management for Metro at Chehalem Ridge.
Kate described Metro’s management objectives, which include restoring oak woodlands through thinning and release from conifer competition; thinning the extensive, dense stands of young Douglas-fir to improve forest health, productivity, and forest structure; maintain the property’s extensive road network; and protect and improve fish and wildlife habitat. Kate hopes that Chehalem Ridge will be managed as a working forest, with revenues from product sales going back into forest management activities.
Chehalem Ridge is currently not open to the public except through guided tours. Luckily, Washington County Small Woodlands Association has arranged for a tour on August 27th. I look forward to seeing what develops at Chehalem Ridge in the coming years. I think it could be a great local resource to demonstrate forest management for multiple objectives.