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Governor Protects Public Lands

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 00:00

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Salem, OR—In a unanimous decision, the State Land Board today agreed to proceed with a plan to maintain the Elliott State Forest in public ownership. Governor Brown reiterated her commitment to keep the Elliott in public hands and acknowledged Legislative support for leveraging the State's bond capacity to fulfill the fiduciary obligations to the Common School Fund, while also protecting diverse habitats and ensuring public access to the lands.

"We must change the way we own and manage the forest to fulfill our fiduciary obligation to the Common School Fund, and to protect the Elliott's diverse habitats and guarantee long-term public access to the lands," said Governor Brown. "This can be achieved while creating jobs by supporting the sustainable harvest of timber. I appreciate the shared vision of Land Board members and unwavering commitment to honor the Common School Fund, as well as Treasurer Read's innovative proposal to involve Oregon State University in an adaptive habitat management plan and future research focus of the forest lands."

Following today's vote, Land Board members directed Department of State Lands (DSL) to continue developing plans for a public option and consider Treasurer Read's recommended research partnership with Oregon State University. Additional directions given to DSL include: 

• A bond proposal will be developed to include up to $100 million in state bonding capacity to protect high value habitat, including riparian areas, steep slopes, and old growth stands.

• The Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) framework developed in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service establishes conservation and mitigation measures that meet the biological needs for the Elliott's native and endangered species.

• Collaboration with the Oregon State University College of Forestry to establish the Elliott as a research forest to study the relationship between active forest management and the conservation of the forest's diverse species and habitats. 

• Continue working with sovereign tribal governments to explore ownership or additional forest management opportunities. 

Details of the plan to keep the Elliott State Forest in public ownership are available here.