Forest Image

History of the Forest Practices Effectiveness Program

  • 1970s:  Forestry practices in Washington state become legally enforceable.

  • 1988:   Timber, Fish and Wildlife (TFW) - Established a consensus-based negotiating process for stakeholders (i.e., private forest landowners, federal, state, and local governments, and certain Indian tribes) to meet habitat and water quality goals.

  • 1998:  In anticipation of listing several species of salmonids as threatened or endangered, negotiations for comprehensive revision of Washington forest practices resume.

  • 1999: Final recommendations of 1998 negotiations become the Forest and Fish Report (FFR). This report became the basis for the Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon (Joint Natural Resource Cabinet [JNRC], 1999) on both private and state lands not covered by habitat conservation plans (HCP).

  • 2000: Washington Legislature (Chapter 77.85 RCW - Salmon Recovery) strongly encourages Washington Forest Practices Board (WFPB) to follow recommendations contained in the FFR to develop new forest practice rules.

  • 2001:  Following preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS, WFPB, 2001), additional work by stakeholders, and consideration of public comments, WFPB approve final rules.

The new rules brought two sweeping changes.  One was to define forest practices on non-federal lands for the next 50 years to meet the following goals:

  1. Comply with the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
  2.  Satisfy the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).
  3.  Maintain the economic viability of Washington's timber industry.
  4.  Restore and support a harvestable supply of fish.

The second was to establish an adaptive management framework “to provide science-based recommendations and technical information to assist the WFPB in determining if and when it is necessary or advisable to adjust rules and guidance for aquatic resources to achieve resource goals and objectives.”  

 A mechanism to test new rule effectiveness, and modify or adopt additional rules, was thus established by using a feedback loop to test questions relevant to land management, then route results back to policy.  Effectiveness monitoring is a tier in this feedback loop.


JNRC (Joint Natural Resources Cabinet). 1999. Statewide Strategy to Recover Salmon - Extinction is not an Option. Governor’s Salmon Recovery Office, Olympia, WA. Available online at:

WFPB. 2001.  Final environmental impact statement on alternatives for forest practices rules for: aquatic and riparian resources. Washington Forest Practices Board, Olympia, WA.