BILL REQ. #: S-4138.1
|State of Washington||61st Legislature||2010 Regular Session|
Read first time 01/26/10. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources, Ocean & Recreation.
AN ACT Relating to creating the joint work group on small forest landowner sustainability; and creating new sections.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 (1) The legislature finds that providing for
long-term stewardship of nonindustrial forests and woodlands is an
important factor in maintaining Washington's special character and
quality of life.
(2) The legislature further finds that in order to encourage and maintain nonindustrial forests and woodlands for their present and future benefit to all citizens, Washington's nonindustrial forest and woodland owners' long-term commitments to stewardship of forest resources must be recognized and supported by the citizens of the state.
(3) The legislature further finds that the adoption of forest practices rules consistent with the forests and fish report, as defined in RCW 76.09.020, has imposed substantial financial burdens on small forest landowners.
(4) The legislature further finds that forest practices rules adopted since the forests and fish report have not provided small forest landowners with the alternate plan processes or alternate harvest restrictions that were intended by the legislature to lower the overall cost of regulation to small forest landowners while meeting the public resource protection standard set forth in RCW 76.09.370(3).
(5) The legislature further finds that in order to maintain the economic viability of eighty-nine thousand family forest owners, managing five million acres of forest land across the state, small forest landowners must be provided with incentives to keep their land in long-term forestry.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2 (1) The joint work group on small forest
landowner sustainability is established. Utilizing research conducted
by the school of forest resources at the University of Washington, the
joint work group shall report to the legislature, the commissioner of
public lands, and the governor on ways to remove regulatory barriers
and disincentives in order to encourage small forest landownership for
generations to come.
(2) The joint work group on small forest landowner sustainability consists of the members of the house of representatives agriculture and natural resources committee and the senate natural resources, ocean, and recreation committee. The joint work group shall consult with stakeholders and experts in the field of forestry. The joint work group may also request assistance from the department of natural resources, the department of ecology, the department of fish and wildlife, representatives of native American tribes, the environmental community, and the house of representatives office of program research and senate committee services.
(3) The joint work group will utilize existing legislative staff and resources and utilize teleconferencing and other communications methods to minimize travel and per diem expenditures for legislators and staff.
(4) In developing recommendations, the joint work group shall review and build upon reports related to small forest landowner economic viability, including reports completed for or by the rural technology initiative and the Northwest environmental forum.
(5) In developing recommendations, the joint work group shall consider:
(a) The long-term sustainability of the forestry riparian easement program defined in RCW 76.13.120 and ways to reform that program.
(b) Recommendations on how to address issues unique to small forest lands east of the Cascade mountains, including periodic insect and disease attacks, catastrophic wildfire, and replacement of historic species by shade tolerant species.
(c) Whether, how, and to what extent the department of natural resources has evaluated the cumulative impact of small forest landowner alternate management plans or alternate harvest restrictions on essential riparian functions as required by RCW 76.13.110.
(d) Whether, how, and to what extent the department of natural resources and the forest practices board have developed alternate plans or alternate harvest restrictions that meet riparian functions while requiring less costly regulatory prescriptions for small forest landowners, including recognition of or credit for improving the condition of public resources.
(e) The complexity of administrative rules for small harvests and relatively short stream reaches.
(f) Recommendations on ways the forest practices board and the legislature could provide more effective incentives to encourage continued management of nonindustrial forests and woodlands for forestry.
(6) The joint work group on small forest landowner sustainability shall deliver its report to the legislature, the commissioner of public lands, and the governor by September 15, 2010, including implementing legislation as necessary.