Effective Date of Rule: Immediately.
Purpose: To modify forest practices rules affecting northern spotted owl habitat conservation.
Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending WAC 222-16-010 Northern spotted owl site center and 222-10-041 (4)(b).
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 34.05.350, 76.09.040, 76.09.050, 43.21C.120.
Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.
Reasons for this Finding: Since the forest practices board adopted rules to protect the habitat of the northern spotted owl in 1996, the amount of suitable habitat within spotted owl special emphasis areas, outside areas that are being managed under the aegis of a habitat conservation plan or similar agreement, has declined by an average of 16%. Furthermore, fewer plans to conserve northern spotted owl habitat at a landscape level have been developed than was anticipated when the northern spotted owl rules were adopted. With few landscape-level plans, the forest practices rules continue to rely heavily upon the regulation of timer harvest at individual spotted owl sites to provide habitat conservation. The forest practices board has determined that:
• In light of spotted owl population declines and reductions in the amounts of habitat in areas intended to provide conservation, it is not logical to continue the practice of counting habitat that has actually been harvested when calculating the amount of habitat remaining within a median home range circle (WAC 222-10-041 (4)(b)).
• Habitats recently occupied by spotted owls are potentially important to spotted owl recovery and should be maintained until a recovery plan has been completed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the board has had the opportunity to consider ramifications of decertifying additional sites in light of recovery strategies and goals (WAC 222-16-010 Northern spotted owl site center).
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 2, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: November 9, 2005.
Reviser's note: Agency did not supply amended text with this document. Refiled this document on July 31, 2006, as WSR 06-16-079.