OR Dept. of Forestry release – SALEM, Ore. – New rule changes aimed at providing regulatory certainty for harvesting timber and to better protect fish and wildlife will go into effect Jan. 1, 2024. The changes came about from legislation that supported the landmark Private Forest Accord which was an agreement between the timber industry, small forest landowners, and conservation groups. “These are the most sweeping changes to the Forest Practices Act (FPA) since it was enacted in 1973,” said Jennifer Ward, Forest Resources Division training coordinator. We are providing several training opportunities to help people better understand the changes and the possible impacts on their land. The main overview training is titled: Forest Practices Act changes—streams, roads and more. “The largest changes to the FPA are with stream buffers and the construction, maintenance and inventory of forest roads,” said Ward. “We will present these new rules and more importantly take the time to answer questions related to the rule changes.” The “other” part of the training will focus on programs specifically designed to help the owners of small acreage forestlands. “We will have our experts talk about the Small Forestland Investment in Stream Habitat Program (SFISH) grant program,” said Ward. “SFISH helps fund projects that improve fish habitat and reduce risks to natural resources from active or abandoned forest roads. The program provides up to 100 percent of the cost for these projects.” The training will also provide updates on the new Forest Conservation Tax Credit Program (FCTC). FCTC provides financial benefit to small forestland owners who support conservation and habitat protection by leaving a larger unharvested area next to streams as a conservation area for the protection of wildlife habitat. “This training is geared toward landowners and operators, including small forest landowners. Anyone is welcome to attend and learn more about these new rules,” said Ward. The FPA changes—streams, roads and more class will be held 9 a.m. to noon on the following dates and locations: Oct. 18—Coos Bay/North Bend, The Mill Casino/Salmon Room West, 3201 Tremont Ave, North Bend. Registration is available on the ODF website. e-Notification System (FERNS) New Changes will be held virtually. This class is designed to help landowners and operators better understand how to file notices to harvest timber on their land. The class will discuss new changes to the system, including how to self-certify, road requirements, after harvest completion notices, and more. The class will cover changes for all notifiers first, then will focus on small forest landowner notifications. The e-Notification System (FERNS) New Changes class will be held Nov. 16 at two different times. The first class is 9 a.m.-noon, use this Zoom link. The second class, with the same content as the first will be held 1-4 p.m., use this Zoom link. (No registration is required).