There are 24 million acres of national forests in the Northwest. These forests are at risk. We’re working to protect rivers and water on these lands and promote responsible logging.

These 24 million acres are managed under the Northwest Forest Plan. Within the Northwest Forest Plan is the Aquatic Conservation Strategy — the most successful and progressive aquatic conservation plan that we know of in the nation. The Aquatic Conservation Strategy has several key parts to help protect clean water, and recover threatened and endangered salmon and other aquatic species:

It designates and manages Key Watersheds for fish, wildlife, and drinking water.

It identifies which watersheds are in need of restoration.

It requires monitoring of our watersheds to help ensure consistent, reliable information (though funding for this is rarely sufficient).

It designates and protects a buffer of standing trees along rivers and streams wide enough to keep rivers cool and clean for fish, wildlife, and people’s drinking water. These are called Riparian Reserves.

It limits logging and road construction next to salmon streams and on steep slopes.

And it encourages the removal of old logging roads that send polluted runoff into rivers and streams.

Currently, the Northwest Forest Plan is being rewritten by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service. The timber industry is pressuring the agencies to allow more timber harvesting. And the only places the agencies can legally allow more harvest is near rivers and streams. We have seen it happen already in the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed changes. We are fighting those, and we are working closely with the Forest Service to keep the Northwest Forest Plan intact. Because the Northwest Forest Plan is the best shot we have of protecting watersheds for fish, wildlife, and people.

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