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Washington State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan Compliance (12-WA-b)

The State of Washington has a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to assist in compliance with federal requirements of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). A HCP is a long-term land management plan authorized under the ESA to conserve threatened and endangered species. The plan allows for timber harvesting and other management activities, while simultaneously providing for species conservation as required by the ESA. Washington’s HCP applies to approximately 1.6 million acres of forest lands within the range of the Northern Spotted Owl and managed by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (WSDNR). While the HCP land area is based on the habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl, the HCP covers other species including the Marbled Murrelet, Oregon Silverspot Butterfly, Aleutian Canada Goose, Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Gray Wolf, Grizzly Bear, and Columbian White-tailed Deer.

State Trust Lands Habitat Conservation Plan Compliance Process

12-WA-b.1 to 12-WA-b.2 – Will the Project Affect Areas Covered by the Plan?

The Habitat Conservation Plan lands have been broken into nine planning units based primarily on large watersheds. The HCP guides WSDNR’s management of forested state trust lands west of the crest of the Cascade Mountains and those on the eastern slopes of the Cascades, from the Canadian border to the Columbia River. The developer must determine whether the project area is included in the lands covered by the HCP.

12-WA-b.3 – Review HCP for Compliance

The WSDNR must ensure that the HCP goals may be accomplished if the land is used, leased, or sold. This requires a review of the HCP habitat conservation strategies and objectives.

12-WA-b.4 – Conduct Annual Reporting of the Area, if Necessary

The WSDNR is required to report activities on trust lands covered by the HCP. Activities that must be reported include

  • Timber harvesting,
  • Road building,
  • Land transactions,
  • Acquisition and management of Natural Area Preserves and Natural Resources Conservation Areas,
  • Leasing for holiday greens harvest,
  • Communication sites, and
  • Mining and grazing.

The WSDNR will be required to report any disposition of lands covered by the HCP.

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