Board acts to reimburse timber counties for timberland set aside for habitat

The state Board of Natural Resources today took action to reimburse three western Washington counties a total of $3.2 million for the transfer of 442 acres of state-owned forestland to conservation status.
Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum counties will receive the money through the State Forest Land Replacement Program. The program compensates small, timber-dependent counties for forestlands that Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) manages for their benefit but which cannot be harvested because of federal endangered species restrictions.
“These transfers will help fund vital public services for these three counties while protecting endangered species habitat,” said Peter Goldmark, Commissioner of Public Lands, who chairs the Board of Natural Resources.
The transfers authorized were:
Pacific County: $1 million for 63.4 acres of marbled murrelet habitat that will be added to the Naselle Highlands Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA).
Skamania County: $1.27 million for 203.4 acres of northern spotted owl habitat that will become part of the Stevenson Ridge NRCA.
Wahkiakum County: $928,000 for 175.3 acres of marbled murrelet habitat that will added to the Skamokawa Creek NRCA.
The amounts that the three counties will receive are based on an appraised value of standing timber on the parcels being transferred into conservation status. The land value of the several parcels to be transferred — a total of $663,000 — will be used to purchase working forestland that DNR will manage to support services in the three counties.

State Forest Replacement Land Program
DNR plans to request $6 million to fund the State Forest Land Replacement Program in the 2017-19 state budget biennium. The Washington Legislature created the program in 2009 to help relieve the disproportionate impact of endangered species-related restrictions on small timber-dependent counties, namely Pacific, Skamania and Wahkiakum. The program allows DNR to acquire revenue-generating forest lands to manage on behalf of the affected counties while conserving habitat for endangered species.
Board of Natural Resources
The Board adopts policies, approves major commodity sales and makes decisions about transactions of state lands managed by DNR. Its membership represents the major beneficiaries of state trust lands, including public schools, universities and prisons as well as 21 counties that use trust land revenues to support hospitals, libraries and other services. Since 1972, DNR-managed state trust lands have provided nearly $8 billion in non-tax revenue to beneficiaries.