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Meridian Institute

Washington Forest Practices Adaptive Management Improvement Process

Related: Environment and Natural Resources

The state of Washington’s Forest Practices regulatory program takes a unique approach to the protection of fish, wildlife, and water quality. A 1987 Timber, Fish, and Wildlife Agreement laid the foundation for a collaborative approach to regulating state and private forestlands. Rather than creating a rule or policy through litigation, state natural resource agencies, tribes, landowners, and conservation groups agreed to work cooperatively to protect and restore public resources coincident with a viable timber industry. A Forest Practices Adaptive Management Program (AMP) is now in place to implement this approach.

In early 2018, Meridian Institute was asked by the Washington Department of Natural Resources to design and facilitate a process with agency staff and stakeholders across the state to identify and implement improvements to the AMP. The purpose of this process is to understand the various perspectives involved, identify obstacles and opportunities for improvement, and ultimately to engender a renewed spirit of cooperation and commitment to make the AMP successful.

At the onset of this process, Meridian conducted an assessment of the current AMP process through approximately 60 interviews between March-June 2018. Using the observations and recommendations collected through the assessment, Meridian is working with a Subcommittee of the Board of Forestry to develop an engagement process for key stakeholders involved in the AMP. From fall 2018 through spring 2019, Meridian will convene a series of meetings with representatives from the various sectors engaged in the AMP to explore the history of the process, how to operationalize commitments into the future of the program, and ultimately agree to, finalize, and communicate a renewed commitment to the spirit of the TFW Agreement.

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