In Brief: Management under the Oregon Forest Practices Act
Private land owners are required to inform the state of intended logging plans, but the state does not have the authority to grant or deny approval. The logging plans must adhere to the Oregon Forest Practices Act. There is no opportunity for the public to engage in the development or approval of logging plans.
Aerial spraying of herbicides is common. There is a 60-foot buffer for aerial spraying on fish-bearing or drinking water streams, but it is difficult to prevent chemicals from drifting onto water-bodies. Small streams have no spraying buffer.
Most private timber land is clearcut on a regular rotation of 40-60 years. Replanting is required within 5 years. Clear-cuts of up to 120 acres in size are allowed by a landowner at any one time. Adjacent clearcutting is allowed after replanted trees are 4 years old or 4 feet tall, if they are buffered by 300 feet up unlogged land.
Water quality standards are set by Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).
Studies recently confirmed that stream protections on private lands were insufficient to meet minimal Clean Water Act requirements for stream temperature. More than 3000 miles of streams on private forestlands are non-compliant with water quality standards.
No-cut buffers on fish-bearing streams are 20 feet, with some logging allowed from 20-100 feet. Small, non-fish bearing streams may have a 0 to 20 foot tree buffer, with some logging allowed between 20-70 feet. Small intermittent headwater streams receive no protection from logging.
Enforcement & Accountability
Checks and citations are based on reports of violation only. State budgets for inspection have been severely reduced in recent years.