Public Lands Commissioner to appear at Belfair, WA to answer questions about RMAPs


WA 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.


In 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



Tahuya Focus Group Meeting

RMAP Discussion

May 2, 2002

Notes by Mary Swoboda


woman1-Question: What do you know about Road Maintenance and Abandonment Program (RMAP)? You're the ones that are going to be enforcing it, I guess.


Doug 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.


woman1-Question: But you're talking about private property.


DM: 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.


woman2-Question: They just did a culvert on our private road and it cost $40,000 just to put a culvert in.


DM: We replaced culverts 8 years ago with 4-foot culverts that are now being replaced with 12-foot culverts.


woman1-Question: So you [**taxpayers**] are paying for it, not the private property owners?


DM: No...


woman2-Question: We didn't pay for it...


DM: 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.


woman1-Question: Or two acres?


DM: 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.


man1-Question: What about a guy who lives on Green Mountain and has 140 acres? He's going to have a serious problem.


DM: 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.


man2-Question: 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.


woman1-Question: What happens if you try to sell it?


man2-Question: 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.


DM: 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.


woman2-Question: What is a small landowner? How many acres?


DM: Less than 500 acres.


woman2-Question: That's small?


**End of discussion on RMAP**




State Agencies Action Plan Status Report for Fiscal Year 2000

Forest Practices Program, FP-2 Private Forestland Conversions

Legislature 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; ...

Road Maintenance and Abandonment Plan

Mar 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 Abandonment Plan".

  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."

More Information on RMAPs

Mar 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 rulebook.

  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 rulebook.

  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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