Oregon's Gov. John Kitzhaber has been trying to protect salmon on state and private land - and keep the fish off the endangered species list. Now, he says, the National Marine Fisheries Service threatens to upset his attempt at "managing our resources the Oregon way."
Plan would protect salmon through voluntary efforts by landowners.
By encouraging cooperation among agencies, scientists and the
timber industry, the state hopes to prevent the listing of coho
salmon under the Endangered Species Act.
National Marine Fisheries Service, the federal agency responsible
for managing endangered marine species, wants the state to impose
stricter standards, including 30-foot-wide unlogged buffer zones
for most streambanks.
The Fisheries Service's
approach has been loudly criticized by the governor's office and
the timber industry, who accuse the agency of going outside the
collaborative process. "Having a big news conference and saying
"the scientists have spoken" isn't very respectful of a
collaborative effort," says Jim Martin from the governor's
"They're saying "if you don't do this,
we'll list," " says Kelly Conover of the Weyerhaeuser Corp. "We
have a process in place to review their concerns, but they decided
this wasn't an adequate process."
"None of this
should be a surprise," responds Rob Jones of the Fisheries Service.
A year ago, the agency signed an agreement with Kitzhaber stating
that the Fisheries Service would recommend changes in forest
management. Jones says the proposal will now be submitted to the
Oregon Plan committee for further
Despite the controversy, Martin
believes "the Oregon way" will prevail. "People who say that this
is the death of the Oregon Plan have been a little premature. We've
hit a speed bump here, but the plan is stronger than any one