WSR 07-13-055

PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY

FOREST PRACTICES BOARD


[ Filed June 15, 2007, 10:48 a.m. ]

Subject of Possible Rule Making: The forest practices board is considering permanent rule making to address decertification of northern spotted owl site centers.

Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 76.09.040.

Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: The forest practices board is considering rule making to address the duration and geographic scope of a moratorium on decertifying northern spotted owl site centers because:

1. The amount of suitable habitat within northern spotted owl special emphasis areas, outside areas that are being managed under the aegis of a habitat conservation plan or other agreement, has declined by an average of 16% since forest practices rules for habitat protection were adopted;
2. Habitats recently occupied by spotted owls are potentially important to spotted owl recovery and should be maintained until a federal recovery plan has been completed and the board has had the opportunity to consider ramifications of decertifying additional sites in light of recovery strategies and goals;
3. Fewer plans to conserve spotted owl habitat at a landscape level have been developed than was anticipated when this rule was adopted; and
4. With few landscape-level plans, the forest practices rules continue to rely heavily upon the regulation of timber harvest at individual spotted owl sites to provide habitat conservation.

Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: United States Fish and Wildlife Service administers the federal Endangered Species Act for upland wildlife, including the northern spotted owl. The board intends that the department of natural resources, which implements board actions, will work with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and other stakeholders, including the Washington state department of fish and wildlife, to develop recommendations for the board's consideration.

Process for Developing New Rule: Agency study.

Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Patricia Anderson, Forest Practices Board Rules Coordinator, Department of Natural Resources, Forest Practices Division, P.O. Box 47012, Olympia, WA 98504-7012, fax (360) 902-1428, e-mail forest.practicesboard@dnr.wa.gov.

June 19, 2007

Victoria Christiansen

Chairman

Washington State Code Reviser's Office