Northwest Forest Plan Federal Advisory Committee continues work with winter meeting

(PORTLAND, OR)- The third meeting of the Northwest Forest Plan Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) was held from Jan. 30 – Feb. 1 at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The meeting focused on public testimony, forest manager presentations, and a review of subcommittee findings and perspectives on the plan’s update.

The Federal Advisory Committee is focused on providing input to improve the Northwest Forest Plan’s ability to reduce wildfire risk to communities and forested landscapes, conserve mature and old growth forests, support sustainable communities, incorporate more Indigenous knowledge in land management decisions, and address climate change impacts, according to a news release from the Forest Service.

The 21 members of the committee bring a range of experience and diverse perspectives on Northwest Forests to the amendment process.

“FAC members continue to work tirelessly together towards substantive, meaningful, and implementable consensus recommendations to modernize the Northwest Forest Plan,” said Travis Joseph, committee co-chair and CEO of the American Forest Resource Council.

“We’re grateful to the many members of the public and University of Oregon students for sharing their lived experiences with the Committee in Eugene this week. We are also indebted to the Southern Willamette Forest Collaborative, Sierra Pacific Industries, and the Willamette National Forest team for the time they took to host site visits that help the Committee ensure that recommendations are grounded in an understanding of their impacts. More work must be done, but I am hopeful and optimistic that we can help deliver meaningful change the public is asking for,” Joseph said.

Members of the public provided testimony and shared a range of perspectives and University student groups hosted an informal meet-and-greet session providing a unique opportunity for Federal Advisory Committee members to interact with students.

“We appreciated hearing from dozens of members of the public who urged us to center Indigenous voices, address the urgent need to tackle the climate and wildfire crises, conserve mature and old growth forests, and engage rural communities in the forthcoming Northwest Forest Plan amendment.” said Susan Jane Brown, committee co-chair from Silvix Resources. “The FAC heard these calls, and we will focus our attention on these pressing issues as we develop consensus recommendations for discussion at our April meeting.”

This was the first Northwest Forest Plan FAC meeting since Jacque Buchanan assumed duties as the new Regional Forester for the Pacific Northwest Region on January 14. During the meeting, it was announced that she would serve as the main liaison with the committee as the new Designated Federal Official.

“As I take on this role as Designated Federal Official, I’m committed to ensuring every voice is heard and valued,” said Buchanan. “The Northwest Forest Plan is more than a plan; it’s a promise to our communities, ecosystems, and future generations. By working together, we can navigate the complex challenges facing our forests and communities using science, traditional indigenous knowledge, and diverse perspectives as our guide.”

The Federal Advisory Committee’s next meeting is scheduled for April in the Redding, California area. All meetings are open to the public and include an opportunity for public comments. Details on upcoming meetings, including how the public can provide information to the committee, are posted on the Northwest Forest Plan.

This advisory committee does not replace the public involvement process or the public’s opportunity to engage directly with the Forest Service regarding Northwest Forest Plan amendment efforts during the planning process.