SALEM, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Department of Forestry have received a $750,000 federal grant to explore the possibility of a habitat conservation plan for state-owned forests west of the Cascades.
According to a news release from ODF, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service grant is paired with $250,000 in state matching funds. ODFW and ODF will use the funds to begin a three-year process of laying out new rules for protecting endangered species in 630,000 acres of land.
The plan would consider species including the spotted owl and marbled murrelet and set guidelines for timber harvesting and recreational use.
“By focusing on protecting vital habitat used by threatened and endangered species, a Habitat Conservation Plan may be a more holistic and cost-effective way to ensure these species are protected. Through this process, we aim to find out whether a Habitat Conservation Plan is in the best interests of Oregonians,” said Cindy Kolomechuk, HCP project manager for the Oregon Department of Forestry.
ODFW and ODF are establishing a steering committee that will consist of state and federal agency representatives, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA), the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of State Lands and Oregon State University.
A previous attempt to create a plan ended in 2008 without new guidelines being adopted.
ODF announced the funding Monday.