Forest Practice Rules Adopted in 2001
Maintenance and Abandonment Plans
The Washington State Legislature passed HB2091 in 1999 that “strongly encouraged” the Forest Practices Board to follow the recommendations of the Forests and Fish Report to establish permanent rules. The lengthy Forests and Fish Report was negotiated through consensus of federal and state agencies, Governor’s Office, tribes, environmentalists, Washington Association of Counties (entered the process at a later date) and the timber industry.
Maintenance and Abandonment Plans for all state and private forest
roads are one of the requirements of the new forest practices rules adopted
by the Board in 2001.
2091 states that compliance with the rules and implementation of the
recommendations of the Forests and Fish Report was enacted into law on the
assumption that federal requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)
and the Clean Water Act (CWA) would be satisfied. Federal and state
administrative actions are designed to lead to an Incidental Take Permit by
June 30, 2003.
Maintenance and Abandonment Plans (RMAPs)
new RMAP rules state that all forest roads on state and private forest land
must be improved and maintained to new standards within 15 years. Work must
show even-flow progress throughout that time, but prioritized by “worst
first,” to address “the most benefit to public resources early in the
period.” (WAC 222-24-050 and WAC 222-24-051)
Forest Landowner: Landowners with less than 500 acres
of forestland in a DNR region must submit a RMAP with the first
forest practice application or notification and submit a RMAP for the
remainder of their ownership within one year. Those who do not apply for a
forest practice application must submit a RMAP before the end of 2005. DNR
staff plans to send letters to small forest landowners in 2004 so RMAPS can
be completed by 2005.
Forest Landowner: Landowners with 500
acres or more of forestland in a DNR region must submit a RMAP
that covers 20% of their roads or land base each year. RMAPS for the first
20% of their forestland became due on December 31, 2001. DNR letters to
large forest landowners are currently being made that state the first year
RMAPS are late and to contact DNR within 30 days.
RMAPS could become due at any time through the following exception listed at
the end of the rule: “If a landowner
is notified by the department that their road(s) has the potential to damage
public resources, the landowner must, within 90 days, submit to the
department for review and approval a plan or plans for those drainages or
road systems within the area identified by the department.”
maintenance is required on forest roads to prevent potential
or actual damage to “public resources.” The
work standards are described in the Forest Practices Board Manual,
Requirements and Agency Review/Approval: Each year on the
date the RMAP was submitted, landowners must report what work was done the
previous year and submit “a detailed description” of work that will be
done in the following year. Modifications to the work schedule must be
will review the plan with the Department of Ecology, the Department of Fish
and Wildlife, affected tribes and interested parties. DNR
will then review the plan with the landowner to see if it is being
implemented as approved. The plan will be approved or denied. If denied,
DNR’s concerns must be addressed within 45-days of the plans submittal.
The landowner must sign added plans.
If a landowner is out of compliance with the work schedule and DNR
determines that the work is “necessary to prevent potential or actual
damage to public resources” DNR will issue an order to comply or a stop
Obligations: (WAC 222-20-055) If land or timber rights are
sold, the seller is required to notify the buyer of the existence and type
of continuing forest land obligations under the Forest Practices Act and
rules. These obligations include reforestation, road maintenance and
abandonment plans, and harvest policy. The seller must have the buyer sign a
DNR form that states the buyer’s knowledge of the continuing requirements
and send the signed form to DNR at the time of sale or transfer.
the seller does not notify the buyer, the seller must pay the buyer’s
costs for continuing the land requirements, including all legal costs and
attorneys’ fees of the buyer for enforcement against the seller. The
seller’s failure to send the notice will be prima facie evidence, in an
action against the seller for costs of the continuing forest land
obligation, that the buyer was not notified of the continuing obligation
prior to sale.
Management Practices and Adaptive Management Process
Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plans must follow best management practices and adaptive management that may change the criteria and requirements for roads throughout the RMAP process.
There is strong concern that RMAPS completed by forest landowners become public records and can be obtained by individuals or groups who would use the information to sue the landowner. Completed and signed RMAPS define potential or actual “problems” according to DNR criteria. Multiple agencies, tribes and environmental interests are involved in the review of RMAPS.
Work Priorities: Prioritized “worst first” work based
for work within plans are:
that are abandoned must be to DNR standards and blocked to deny access to
listed below may be found at: http://www.mrsc.org/environment/forest/forest.htm
Reference Sources: ESHB 2091, WSR 01-12-042 – Permanent Rule
Documents: Forests and Fish Report (required by ESHB 2091)
Links: DNR, Washington Forest Protection Association
Darlene Hajny, Okanogan County Farm Bureau
Phone: (509) 422-4703
Fax: (509 422-5904
March 16, 2002
land" means all land which is capable of supporting a
merchantable stand of timber and is not being actively used for a use which
is incompatible with timber growing. (WAC 222-16-010)
practice” is defined as any activity conducted on or
directly pertaining to forest land and relating to growing, harvesting, or
processing timber, including but not limited to: Road and trail
construction; Harvesting, final and intermediate; Precommercial thinning;
Reforestation; Fertilization; Prevention and suppression of diseases and
insects; Salvage of trees; and Brush control. (WAC 222-16-010)
road" means ways, lanes, roads, or driveways on
forest land used since 1974 for forest practices or forest management
activities such as fire control. (WAC 222-16-010)
stand of timber” means a stand of trees that will yield
logs and or fiber: Suitable in size and quality for the production of
lumber, plywood, pulp or other forest products; Of sufficient value at least
to cover all the costs of harvest and transportation to available
markets.” (WAC 222-16-010
road” is a road or railroad grade that the forest
landowner has not used for forest practices activities since 1974. (RMAP
Guidance Form, DNR)
resources” means water, fish, and wildlife and in
addition shall mean capital improvements of the state or its political
subdivisions. (WAC 222-16-010)
“Road abandonment” means all activities that result in the stabilization of roads to a more natural state of self-maintenance. A road is considered to be abandoned once the department has determined that the following conditions have been met.
(a) Roads are outsloped, water barred, or otherwise left in a condition suitable to control erosion and maintain water movement within wetlands and natural drainages.
(b) Ditches are left in a suitable condition to reduce erosion.
(c) The road is blocked so that four-wheel highway vehicles cannot pass the point of closure at the time of abandonment.
Water crossing structures and fills on all typed
waters are removed, except where the department determines other measures
would provide adequate protection to public resources. (RMAP Guidance Form,
“Typed water” means seasonal and year-round flowing streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, nonforested wetlands, or bodies of salt water. (RMAP Guidance Form, DNR)
 The federal government has asked for time extension from June 30, 2003 to June 30, 2005 to issue the assured Incidental Take Permit (Washington State HB 2570, 2002)
 Personal Communication with Randy Nelson, DNR Colville Office
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