ODFW and the Private Forest Accord

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

 

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. The changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act are aimed to avoid and minimize the effects timber harvests and other forest management activities on private forestlands have on these species and the aquatic habitats they depend on. The PFA improves the protections of the stream network by relying on rigorous and modern scientific approaches to delineating the fish bearing and perennial stream networks to assure that streams are fully protected under the correct management system for the type of the stream and increased coordination with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). Further, it moves authority and responsibility for ODFW to develop and maintain stream layers describing fish use and perenniality.

Wallowa River kokanee

Resources for Forestland Owners

Private Forest Accord Biologists

Private Forest Accord (PFA) Biologists are your primary resource for technical assistance related to stream classification, stream habitat protection and restoration, and beaver conservation and management on private forest lands. Generally, these biologists have the following responsibilities.

  • Assist private forest landowners and the Oregon Department of Forestry with on-the-ground implementation of the Forest Practices rules, including determinations of fish presence, flow permanence, stream classification, and aquatic organism passage.
  • Provide training on surveys for fish presence and flow permanence.
  • Advise landowners on stream restoration priorities to enhance aquatic and riparian habitat on private forest lands.
  • Provide support to landowners to promote beaver conservation, as well as non-lethal actions to reduce conflicts with beavers on private forests.

Which Biologist Do I Contact?
The Forest Practices rules are administered by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Thus, landowners are encouraged to contact your local ODF Stewardship Forester before reaching out to your local ODFW PFA biologist.

The PFA Biologist Boundaries Map show the boundaries, names, and phone numbers for ODFW PFA Biologists. Please note that these boundaries are considered draft and may change over time. View the PFA Biologist Boundaries Map to help you identify which biologist is the right contact for your needs.

Fish Presence & Stream Classification

In Oregon, Forest Practices rules and prescriptions are tied to the type of stream adjacent to, or impacted by, the timber harvest. For example, fish bearing streams receive greater riparian buffers than streams without fish, and perennial streams receive different protections than seasonal streams. Because of these differences, correctly and fully identifying the extent and type of streams on the landscape is critical to implementing the full protections necessary to sustain aquatic ecosystems.

What You Need to Know:

  • Private forest landowners should submit fish presence and flow permanence survey results to their ODF Stewardship Forester.
  • The ODFW PFA Stream Biologist will review field surveys to ensure that protocol requirements are met. 
  • Until further notice, field surveys for fish must be conducted according to the protocol “Surveying Forest Streams for Fish Use” published by ODFW and ODF. ODFW is currently working on a revised Fish Use Survey Manual which will be available as soon as possible.

Streamflow Permanence
ODFW, in coordination with ODF, was tasked with overseeing several streamflow permanence-related components of the Private Forest Accord (PFA). Specifically, these include:

  • Development of a streamflow permanence survey protocol based on criteria agreed upon by the PFA authors. The protocol guides surveyors to identify and document specific water-related features on non-fish-bearing streams.
  • Review submitted streamflow permanence surveys.
  • Selection of a streamflow permanence model to classify summer streamflow conditions as either wet or dry by stream reach. The model predictions will be incorporated into Phase 2 of the PFA (no later than 7/1/25). ODFW is tasked with convening a scientific review committee to establish model thresholds for classifying reaches as wet or dry.
  • Develop and oversee a method to annually classify water years (Oct. 1- Sept. 30) as an abnormally wet, average, or drought year for regions within the state.
  • Flow Permanence Field Verification Protocol (Version 1.0) – valid for data collected through 6/30/2024
  • Flow Permanence Field Verification Protocol (Version 2.0) – data collected after 6/30/2024 must conform to Version 2.0. This is a field protocol developed by ODFW, in coordination with ODF, that describes terms and techniques for identifying and documenting streamflow permanence features as defined by the PFA. This is a protocol for Phase 1 of the PFA and will be updated for Phase 2, or when modifications are deemed necessary based on landowner, operator, or ODF/ODFW feedback.

Training & Certification
The PFA requires that ODFW establish requirements for the training and certification of field surveyors related to fish presence and flow permanence.

Certified Flow Permanance Survey Training Offered Spring 2024
The ODFW PFA Stream Biologists will conduct several training sessions in various locations within their respective areas. These training sessions will be free of charge and will include a classroom-based presentation, with plenty of time for questions, a field-based walkthrough to demonstrate how to conduct the survey, and a self-graded assessment. Looking ahead, ODFW intends to phase-in the training and certification of field surveyors over the next several years. 

Please fill out this training form to add yourself to the list of folks interested in training.
If you have any questions, please reach out to your PFA Stream Biologist. We look forward to meeting and working with you.

What’s included in the training?
Training will include a review of the revised Flow Permanence Protocol, background information on why flow permanence surveys are important, answers to frequently asked questions, walkthrough examples for a variety of field scenarios, survey tips, helpful handouts, and more! The sessions will consist of one full day of training tentatively from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Space will be limited to 15-30 participants per training session based on classroom and field site capacity. Surveyors are welcome to attend training at any location, although they are encouraged to attend one of the trainings that their regional PFA Stream Biologist conducts, so they get a chance to meet and work with the local Stream Biologist.

Additional Info to Consider:

  • Due to capacity limitations for the classroom/field portions for this training, it may not be possible for everyone to attend the training they prefer. Your PFA Stream Biologist will reach out to everyone who filled out the interest form shortly after April 26, 2024.
  • If you have a reserved spot, you will receive a confirmation using the email you provide in the form. Closer to the training date, you will also receive an email with details for the training (including meeting location, a finalized time schedule, and gear list).
  • To accommodate a broad audience and best fit the capacity limitations of some of our training locations, your PFA Stream Biologist may ask you to send fewer representatives from your organization or offer other locations that have more spaces available. If we are unable to accommodate you for your preferred training session, we will reach out to you after April 26, 2024 and will also update this form to reflect what sessions still have open spaces available. If you are unable to attend a training session at a different date/location or if all training sessions are full, we will keep your name and email on file for additional training sessions we may schedule.
Beaver Management

The Private Forest Accord requires ODFW to record and report on any take of beaver on all private forestlands. Through the PFA, ODFW received funding for two beaver biologists to manage beaver on private forestlands and to be a technical resource to help landowners resolve beaver conflict through nonlethal actions.

What You Need to Know:
All take of beavers on all private forestlands must be reported to ODFW. The PFA did not make changes to the ability of owners of small private forestlands to take beavers to address conflict.

Take of beaver by owners or their agents on large private forestlands is prohibited except if a beaver poses a threat to infrastructure and 30 days has passed since a request to the department to address the threat. However, if a beaver on privately owned forestland damages or imminently threatens infrastructure, the beaver may be taken by the landowner (or agent) without first submitting a request to the department.

Owners and managers of private forestlands are encouraged to contact the local ODFW district wildlife biologist to discuss options and limitations to address beaver conflict.

Additional Resources:
Action Plan for Beaver Modified Landscapes: Maximize beaver modified floodplain landscapes and ecosystem benefits on federally managed public lands. Improve the scale and breadth of data collection to provide for informed management responsiveness. Refine the targeting of management practices through monitoring and research to continue to increase their ability to identify and address limiting factors. Communicate benefits and opportunities, as well as appropriate regulatory and policy parameters to the public.