The Oregon legislature passing Senate Bill 1501 in March of this year set the stage for the Oregon Department of Forestry’s (ODF’s)‎ rulemaking process to implement a comprehensive set of changes to Oregon’s Forest Practices Act (FPA). The rulemaking process is now nearing its conclusion.

ODF held hearings and informational meetings on draft rules implementing changes to the FPA stemming from the Private Forest Accord Report throughout September. The specific proposed rule changes are available in both the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and text change comparison against the current rules published by ODF. Also, on September 1, the Oregon Board of Forestry issued a bullet-point divisional summary of the proposed changes to the FPA.

The most significant proposed changes are to the following divisions of the Forest Practice Administrative Rules: Adaptive Management (Division 603)Notification of Completion and Compliance Monitoring Program (Division 605)Small Forestland Owner (Division 607)Road Construction and Inventory (Division 625)Harvesting on Steep Slopes (Division 630)Stream Classification and Vegetation Retention (Divisions 635 and 643), and Enforcement and Civil Penalties (Divisions 670 and 672).

Under the current timeline (which is subject to further update), the Board of Forestry will meet on October 26, 2022, to consider the public comments received and approval of the rules. The deadline for the Board of Forestry to approve the FPA rule changes is November 30, 2022, per Senate Bill 1501. The State Fish and Wildlife Commission is also empowered to adopt, amend, or repeal rules as needed to conform to the State Department of Forestry rule package.

Following the Board of Forestry’s adoption of the rule package, rules related to fish buffers are set to begin applying to notifications of operation filed on or after July 1, 2023. The other rules are set to begin applying to notifications of operation filed on or after January 1, 2024, or before January 1, 2024, if the operation is not completed prior to December 31, 2023, with the possibility of a one-year extension.

For additional information related to Oregon Forest Practices Act rule changes see The Private Forest Accord: Oregon Legislature Paves the Way for Changes to the Forest Practices Act.

This article summarizes aspects of the law and does not constitute legal advice. For legal advice for your situation, you should contact an attorney.

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