The Oregon Outdoor Council is pleased to announce support for The Oregon and California Land Grant Act of 2013.
By Oregon Outdoor Council
History and Proposal
According to O&C Lands Act of 1937 the lands are to be managed “for permanent forest production, and the timber thereon shall be sold, cut, and removed in conformity with the principal of sustained yield for the purpose of providing a permanent source of timber supply, protecting watersheds, regulating stream flow, and contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities[i]”
However, according to testimony given to the (federal) Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 25, 2013 by:
Dr. K. Norman Jonhson, Dept of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University
Dr. Jerry F. Franklin, School of Environmental Forest Science, University of Washington
“The current strategy has a limited time-frame (perhaps 15 years) until it will exhaust harvest opportunities; also, it produces only very modest payments to the counties in which these forests lie.[ii]”
The O&C Act of 2013 essentially splits the O&C lands in two. Half will be managed with a goal of timber production and half will be managed with a goal towards conservation of old growth forest. While those in the “radical” environmental community find it troubling and those in the timber sector find it falls short of their desires[iii] – we at OOC find it a well balanced approach.
Current Forest Management (NWFP 1994)
Currently, the O&C lands are managed under the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) of 1994. Since the plan’s implementation, timber harvests have declined drastically. Statistically, federal forests in Oregon only harvest approximately 8% of the average annual harvest in the 30 years prior.
Blacktail Deer Declining 1% Annually
Furthermore, since the implementation of the NWFP, blacktail deer hunter harvest has declined from an average of 45,000 to less than 20,000.
The decline in hunter harvest is, in at least part, due to the blacktail deer population decline. In 1979 the blacktail deer population was estimated at 450,000 and as of 2012 is estimated at 300,000, which is a 33% decline.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) Blacktail Deer Management Plan of 2008 attributes the decline in deer population to the implementation of the NWFP, increased predation and disease[iv].
Increased logging will provide much needed early seral forage required for sustained deer populations. Again, according to the ODFW Blacktail Deer Management Plan of 2008, “black-tailed deer populations are dependent on the native food sources found in early successional stages of the forest (Miller 1966, Crouch, 1968, 1868b, Hines 1973, Verts and Carraway 1998). Changes in land management, timber management activities, and land use have contributed to a decline in early seral forb and shrub habitats available to deer.”
“Both forest clear-cutting and fires open up the forest canopy and promote shrub, forb, and grass communities. Fire, historically, was probably the single most important factor in maintaining and creating forage for black-tailed deer.”
Opponents of the Bill
The main opponents of the bill are Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild, The Sierra Club, Portland Audubon Society and the Center for Biological Diversity. These groups have been long time allies of Representative Peter Defazio. In a recent Oregonian article, Rep. Defazio calls these groups “radical environmental groups” that “want zero cut on federal land.[v]” Moreover, Cascadia Wildlands Executive Director Bob Ferris is guilty of attempting to discredit the hunting community by making false accusations about former OOC Executive Director Jerod Broadfoot. Mr. Ferris has made every attempt, including fabricating facts and printing erroneous information, to promote his agenda[vi].
Hunters Deserve Better
Radical environmentalists continue to claim to be “natural allies” of the hunting community while hurting huntable wildlife populations and attacking hunting community leaders. Hunters are contributing more than their fair share! In Oregon and across the nation, hunters are the original conservationists. Sportsmen have contributed $14.5 billion for preservation of wetlands, the national wildlife refuge system and wildlife management. Oregon sportsmen have a $1.6 billion economic ripple effect annually[vii]. We deserve a bigger voice in wildlife and forest management!
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