ODFW and the Private Forest Accord

Working together to protect Oregon’s fish and wildlife on private forestlands

Setting aside their historic differences, the timber industry and conservation groups are coming together to protect and restore fish and wildlife populations and their habitats across Oregon while continuing to support forest management and a timber economy. With significant compromise and investments, the Private Forest Accord’s regulatory changes will help better protect Oregon’s fish and wildlife from the impacts of forest practices, and the new grant program will make a positive difference for Oregon’s fish and wildlife.

About the Private Forest Accord

The Private Forest Accord (PFA) is a compromise agreement made between representatives from Oregon’s timber industry, the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, and prominent conservation and fishing organizations, to modify portions of Oregon’s forest practice laws and regulations in a way that expands protections for fish and amphibians while also providing regulatory certainty for timber harvest and forest management. The changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act are aimed to avoid, minimize and mitigate the legacy effects of timber harvest and other private forest management activities have on  certain aquatic species and their habitats.

The Accord, which was signed in 2021 by 13 conservation and fisheries groups, 11 timber companies and the Oregon Small Woodlands Association, outlines key goals that should allow the Oregon Department of Forestry to receive federal approval for a Habitat Conservation Plan on private forestlands, and an accompanying incidental-take permit for these species.

Following 16 months of facilitated negotiations, the signatories of the Private Forest Accord proposed state legislation that passed and was signed into law in 2022, setting new standards for forest roads and culverts to remove barriers to fish passage, and expanding the width of required no-cut buffers along streams to help keep water cold and clean, among other regulatory changes aimed to enhance protections for aquatic habitat. The Oregon Department of Forestry is the lead agency on implementation of these new standards. For more information on the PFA, please visit Department of Forestry’s PFA web pages.

The PFA legislation also created a mitigation fund as a subaccount of the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund, designed to support aquatic habitat restoration and conservation projects that offset the impacts of the forest practices covered by the Habitat Conservation Plan. The legislation called for establishment of a grant program, administered by ODFW with projects reviewed and recommended by a new advisory committee and ultimately approved by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

ODFW’s Role in the PFA

ODFW has been tasked with four critical components of the PFA and they are:

  1. Establish and operate the Private Forest Accord Mitigation Fund to fund projects to offset the impacts of private forest practices on aquatic species and habitats covered by the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)
  2. Develop and maintain data layers describing fish use and the perennial stream network on private forest lands in Oregon, including establishing the threshold for stream flow permanence.
  3. Develop and provide training and certification on surveys for fish presence and stream perenniality
  4. Tracking take of beavers on private forests and providing support to land owners for non-lethal actions to reduce conflicts with beavers on private forests.
What is the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)?

The Private Forest Accord Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) is a planning document being prepared by the Oregon Department of Forestry in consultation with a steering committee. The purpose of the HCP is to meet the rules of the Endangered Species Act. The HCP will describe conservation measures to protect specific federally listed threatened and endangered species and some additional non-listed species (for an agreed upon term of 50 years for fish species and 25 years for amphibian species). With these conservation measures, Oregon Department of Forestry will seek to obtain a federal permit that allows incidental take when they engage in or authorize certain forest practices. Learn more about the HCP from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

Tailed Frog

The conservation measures outlined in the HCP are intended to protect the following Covered Species:

Wallowa River kokanee