The colder the water, the healthier the fish.
Oregon Department of Forestry has proposed changes in its rulemaking to increase stream buffers by 10 feet and approximately double the standards of trees left after harvest in order to protect salmon, steelhead and bull trout.
“The goal is to make the streams cooler than what they have been in the past,” said Jay Morey, stewardship forester with the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Roseburg office. “The stream buffers will be wider and there will be more trees left in the buffers, providing more shade and potentially cooler temperatures.”
This applies to small and medium fish-bearing streams west of the crest of the Cascades except the Siskiyou region. These streams include tributaries to the Umpqua River and must host salmon, steelhead or bull trout.
Those in favor of the proposed changes stress wider buffers will lead to cooler water and therefore better conditions for fish populations, while opponents point out that leaving trees behind means less trees can be logged for economic benefit.
“I think everyone has an interest in protecting the environment, so we encourage public involvement in our rule change processes,” Morey said.
ODF plans to hold public hearings and informational meetings across the state this month, including an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg.
The public may also submit comments through March 1 via RiparianRule@oregon.gov or by mail to Oregon Department of Forestry, 2600 State St., Salem, Oregon 97310, Attn: “Stream Rules.”
The Board of Forestry will consider final proposed rules in April.
For more information, visit Oregon Department of Forestry’s public website at www.oregon.gov/ODF under Proposed Laws & Rules, or call the Roseburg ODF office at 541-440-3412.