(1) The department of natural resources shall establish and maintain a small forest landowner office. The small forest landowner office shall be a resource and focal point for small forest landowner concerns and policies, and shall have significant expertise regarding the management of small forest holdings, governmental programs applicable to such holdings, and the forestry riparian easement program.
(2) The small forest landowner office shall administer the provisions of the forestry riparian easement program created under RCW 76.13.120
(3) The small forest landowner office shall assist in the development of small landowner options through alternate management plans or alternate harvest restrictions appropriate to small landowners. The small forest landowner office shall develop criteria to be adopted by the forest practices board in rules and a manual for alternate management plans or alternate harvest restrictions. These alternate plans or alternate harvest restrictions shall meet riparian functions while requiring less costly regulatory prescriptions. At the landowner's option, alternate plans or alternate harvest restrictions may be used to further meet riparian functions.
The small forest landowner office shall evaluate the cumulative impact of such alternate management plans or alternate harvest restrictions on essential riparian functions at the subbasin or watershed level. The small forest landowner office shall adjust future alternate management plans or alternate harvest restrictions in a manner that will minimize the negative impacts on essential riparian functions within a subbasin or watershed.
(4) An advisory committee is established to assist the small forest landowner office in developing policy and recommending rules to the forest practices board. The advisory committee shall consist of seven members, including a representative from the department of ecology, the department of fish and wildlife, and a tribal representative. Four additional committee members shall be small forest landowners who shall be appointed by the commissioner of public lands from a list of candidates submitted by the board of directors of the Washington farm forestry association or its successor organization. The association shall submit more than one candidate for each position. The commissioner shall designate two of the initial small forest landowner appointees to serve five-year terms and the other two small forest landowner appointees to serve four-year terms. Thereafter, appointees shall serve for a term of four years. The small forest landowner office shall review draft rules or rule concepts with the committee prior to recommending such rules to the forest practices board. The office shall reimburse nongovernmental committee members for reasonable expenses associated with attending committee meetings as provided in RCW 43.03.050
(5) By December 1, 2002, the small forest landowner office shall provide a report to the board and the legislature containing:
(a) Estimates of the amounts of nonindustrial forests and woodlands in holdings of twenty acres or less, twenty-one to one hundred acres, one hundred to one thousand acres, and one thousand to five thousand acres, in western Washington and eastern Washington, and the number of persons having total nonindustrial forest and woodland holdings in those size ranges;
(b) Estimates of the number of parcels of nonindustrial forests and woodlands held in contiguous ownerships of twenty acres or less, and the percentages of those parcels containing improvements used: (i) As primary residences for half or more of most years; (ii) as vacation homes or other temporary residences for less than half of most years; and (iii) for other uses;
(c) The watershed administrative units in which significant portions of the riparian areas or total land area are nonindustrial forests and woodlands;
(d) Estimates of the number of forest practices applications and notifications filed per year for forest road construction, silvicultural activities to enhance timber growth, timber harvest not associated with conversion to nonforest land uses, with estimates of the number of acres of nonindustrial forests and woodlands on which forest practices are conducted under those applications and notifications; and
(e) Recommendations on ways the board and the legislature could provide more effective incentives to encourage continued management of nonindustrial forests and woodlands for forestry uses in ways that better protect salmon, other fish and wildlife, water quality, and other environmental values.
(6) By December 1, 2004, and every four years thereafter, the small forest landowner office shall provide to the board and the legislature an update of the report described in subsection (5) of this section, containing more recent information and describing:
(a) Trends in the items estimated under subsection (5)(a) through (d) of this section;
(b) Whether, how, and to what extent the forest practices act and rules contributed to those trends; and
(c) Whether, how, and to what extent: (i) The board and legislature implemented recommendations made in the previous report; and (ii) implementation of or failure to implement those recommendations affected those trends.
[2002 c 120 § 1; 2001 c 280 § 1; 2000 c 11 § 12; 1999 sp.s. c 4 § 503.]
Part headings not law—1999 sp.s. c 4:
See note following RCW 77.85.180