2007 Annual Report

21st Century Vision for Sustainable Forestry

Collaborative Efforts Yield Successes in the Policy Arena

Legislative and regulatory achievements establish balanced forest policies and encourage investment

The WFPA model of working collaboratively with stakeholders was a guiding force this legislative session and enabled us to achieve passage of significant legislation during a busy session with a strong Democratic majority in both houses. The 2007 session saw almost 3,500 bills introduced, and the passage of a $33.4 billion budget. The 2006 elections gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives, Senate, and the Governor’s Office. The democratic majority is 63-35 in the House and 32-17 in the Senate. This is the largest Senate majority in more than 40 years.

Timber Tax Bill and Forest Health Bill Pass Unanimously in the State Legislature

Our Timber Tax Bill (House Bill 1513) passed both houses of the Legislature unanimously, and Governor Gregoire signed it into law on April 17. A unanimous vote by the Legislature and an early signature by the Governor signals strong support for our industry.

WFPA staff and other stakeholders joined Governor Gregoire to celebrate the signing of the Timber Tax Bill on April 17, 2007.

Bill signing

The Timber Tax Bill provided fixes to technical errors and unintended consequences of Senate Bill 6874, which was passed during the 2006 Legislature and was intended to provide a reduction to the B&O Tax for the forest products industry. House Bill 1513 also includes a small measure of relief to family forest landowners and prevents Real Estate Excise Tax issues.

WFPA was also successful in negotiating the Forest Health bill (Senate Bill 6141), which gives the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) the lead role in developing a comprehensive forest health program for the state. The law creates a three-tiered system for DNR to address emerging issues with forest health. This bill also passed unanimously in the Legislature.

Desired Future Conditions Proposal Accepted as a Second Alternative

After the Forests & Fish Policy committee reached cautious agreement on the substance of a WFPA sponsored Desired Future Conditions (DFC) rule proposal, the Washington State Forest Practices Board accepted the proposal as a second alternative for the rule change.

The WFPA proposal meets the DFC target established by adaptive management science at a significantly lower cost to landowners than the original staff proposal. It also includes a simplified commercial thinning standard that is designed to attract small and large landowners to this option in the riparian protection rules.

See our Desired Future Conditions Special Feature outlining our proposed approach.

Desired Future Conditions Graphic

Voluntary Support for Protecting the Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly Habitat

In a small, but significant action the Board agreed in September to a voluntary approach for protecting occupied Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly habitat. The alternative would have been to designate state critical habitat triggering Class IV Special status for forests around butterfly sites.

WFPA was able to work cooperatively with the Department of Fish and Wildlife and The Nature Conservancy getting their support for the voluntary recommendation. The key was convincing them that a cooperative planning approach rather than further restrictive regulation would yield greater opportunities for increasing the habitat needed for species recovery.

Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly

Photo of Taylor’s Checkerspot Butterfly