Public Lands Commissioner to appear at Belfair, WA to answer questions about RMAPs
State Public Lands Commissioner Doug Sutherland will be in Belfair at 6:30
PM on Thursday, May 9, at the Theler Center on Hwy 3, across from the
Belfair Elementary School.
1999 the WA State Legislature passed HB2091 requiring private property
owners to develop something akin to an EIS [Environmental Impact Study] for
any roads on their property. It
will be MANDATORY, like taxes, and ultimately affect owners of as small as
two acres by 2005. Currently it
targets those with 500 or more acres to have this done now... Robin Stice,
Okanogan County, WA http://www.citizenreviewonline.org/mar_2002/private_property_road.htm
Focus Group Meeting
by Mary Swoboda
McClelland, King District Manager (DM): The Legislature passed a change
in the forest and fish regulations, changing the forest practices rules.
It's a 15-year program to get the roads up to standard, to be fish friendly,
to have fish pass through. Landowners will be required to develop a plan and
will have 15 years to complete it. The reason why it's so long is because it
will cost hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars to upgrade a lot of
these roads to eliminate blockages for fish.
But you're talking about private property.
All state and private landowners. To small landowners it's a real big issue.
It's a very big issue for the state too. I think DNR is estimating it will
cost us about $250 million to upgrade our road system to improve fish
passage and fish protection. That's why it's 15 years, it's a lot of money.
They just did a culvert on our private road and it cost $40,000 just to put
a culvert in.
We replaced culverts 8 years ago with 4-foot culverts that are now being
replaced with 12-foot culverts.
So you [**taxpayers**] are paying for it, not the private property owners?
We didn't pay for it...
Large timber companies have large obligations but so do small forestland
owners. And there's real concern about the impact on all forestland owners
because the rules were written more for the timber industry and larger
landowners. You're probably reading something in the paper about the impact
on small forest landowners, those who have 20 acres, 40 acres, 80 acres,
something like that.
Or two acres?
Or two. ... How that's going to be implemented on very small landowners? I
don't think that's as big of an issue. I think they're talking about roads
that have been used for commercial forest removal. A driveway to your house,
that's not a forest road.
What about a guy who lives on Green Mountain and has 140 acres? He's going
to have a serious problem.
He'll have to do a road maintenance and abandonment plan. The Legislature
put in a requirement for wider buffers on streams when they are logged.
Small landowners have an exemption. They can use the existing rules and not
meet the higher standards, depending on how much land they own -- 500 acres
or less. Or, if they need a wider buffer, the state [**taxpayers**] will pay
for half of those trees. That's a program they give to small landowners.
I sent off for all that information, and it's really not quite that simple.
You have to give them a long-term lease on the land they're paying you half
the timber on. You can continue to use the land as long as everything you do
goes through DNR. So basically I have to lease the land that I get half the
timber from to DNR for a long-term lease. It ain't mine any more.
What happens if you try to sell it?
You can sell it, but whoever buys it is under the same lease because it's a
90-year or so long-term lease. It becomes part of your property deed. It
gets to where if a tree blows down in that strip that you lease to them, you
have to notify DNR and DNR has to evaluate what you can do with it before
you can do anything with that blow-down. There’s no way the average small
landowner is getting into that. It said in the paper that property owners
were going to get paid half the timber. ... They wouldn't let me cut on my
timber because it was on a Class 5 stream. Well, it isn't that simple.
Even worse than that, the Legislature only put about $3 million in the
statewide fund to pay for that [regulation of timber harvesting]. Lewis
County alone has about $15 million of timber that could be eligible. For
small landowners they said you can also use the existing rules. Small
landowners will be able to cut closer to the streams than a large timber
company or the state could.
What is a small landowner? How many acres?
Less than 500 acres.
of discussion on RMAP**
INFORMATION ON RMAP:
Agencies Action Plan Status Report for Fiscal Year 2000
Practices Program, FP-2 Private Forestland Conversions
boosts salmon funds, adopts new forest approach
The Legislature adopted a landmark "Forests and Fish" law (ESHB
2091) that will fulfill requirements of both the federal Clean Water Act and
the Endangered Species Act for forested areas across the state. ... Key
provisions of the law are summarized below: ... Certain DNR actions under
the Forest Practices Act are exempted from the environmental impact
statement (EIS) procedures of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).
Specific exempted actions are 1) approval of road maintenance and
abandonment plans; ...
Maintenance and Abandonment Plan
27, 2002 (Okanogan-NCBI)
The Department of Natural Resources has begun to notify some area
residents that they are required to file a "Road Maintenance and
The idea arose out of the Forest Practices Act in an apparent effort
to further protect our State natural resources. These "R-MAPS" as
they are being called however seem to focus primarily on fish. The new rules
state that all forest roads on private forestlands must be improved and
maintained to new standards within 15 years.
Up until now the DNR hasn't made any effort to notify the public of
these new requirements, instead choosing to deal with individual landholders
one on one.
The Okanogan County Farm Bureau organized Tuesday evenings meeting.
Bureau President Joel Kretz pointed out that one woman who sat on the Forest
Practices Board representing private citizens when RMAPS were written is
also a lobbyist for the Washington Environmental Council.
Kretz said, "That's not the kind of representation for citizens
that I want on there and I don't think it's good representation for the
people of this state."
Kretz said that members of the Farm Bureau are joining with other
citizen groups in an effort to mediate this new mandate. "It's my hope
that we can get the message to the DNR that this is un-doable, it's
unenforcible, and it's not affordable. I hope we can work with DNR in
Olympia to get some changes made."
Information on RMAPs
28, 2002 (Okanogan-NCBI)
On Thursday North Cascades Broadcasting News spoke with Randy Nelson
of the DNR. Nelson is responsible for implementing new RMAPS, (Road
Maintenance & abandonment plans) in the North East of the state.
Nelson told us that so far, 1,400 RMAPs have been submitted and
approved for residents in the 6 county region. He said there are now 150
such RMAPs in Okanogan County alone.
Nelson said the DNR is actively working to inform approximately
20,000 landholders that will need to file an RMAP. Yet he acknowledges that
the DNR has carried out only one public workshop that teaches landholders
about the details and how to file their document.
Nelson declined to allow us to record his answers to our questions,
instead referring those who need information to official Forest Practices
Roads that have the potential to carry sediment to any typed waters
or that might block fish passage will get attention first, according to the
Once a RMAP has been submitted, the DNR will review the plan with the
DOE, WDFW, affected Tribes and interested parties. Randy Nelson was unable
give us a definition of who those "interested parties" might be.
We also spoke with the general manager of the Washington Contract
Loggers Association, Bill Pickell. He contends that any request for an RMAP
should be precipitated by an application for a Forest Practices permit. And
then should be confined to only the specific acres where logging or other
work is to be performed.
"Otherwise it's a costly item that would put most people out of
business," Pickell said.
Mr. Pickell then spoke to what he feels is the basic problem with
RMAPs, "If it's so important for private landowners to protect a public
resource, how 'bout the rest of the state? The DNR admitted they have 14,000
miles of road. And to do what they have to do is gonna cost 'em 0 million
dollars over a fifteen year period. I can almost guarantee you the DNR have
not submitted their road plans yet. If private owners are required to do
this, the state should too!"
He said the Forest Service doesn't have the money for it. Private
Landowners don't have the money for it. And the counties don't have the
money it will take, ... to come into compliance with RMAPS.
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