(1) Landowner option plans for the northern spotted owl.
Landowner option plans (LOPs) are intended to provide landowners with a mechanism, entered into voluntarily, to contribute to the protection of northern spotted owls by considering the needs of overall population maintenance or dispersal habitat across a defined geographic area. Forest practices applications that are in an area covered by an LOP, and that are consistent with the LOP, will not be classified as Class IV - Special on the basis of critical habitat (state) or critical habitat (federal) for the northern spotted owl. This does not preclude classification as Class IV-Special because of the presence of other factors listed in WAC 222-16-050
(a) Required elements of LOPs.
The level of detail to be included in a LOP will depend on the area of ownership involved, the time period for which the plan will be in effect, and the complexity of the management strategy. Nevertheless, each plan shall contain the elements set forth in this subsection.
(i) Goals and objectives.
The specific goals and objectives for the landowner's contributions proposed under the LOP shall be developed by the landowner and approved by the department in consultation with the department of fish and wildlife based on the following:
(A) Mitigation under the plan must be reasonable and capable of being accomplished;
(B) To the maximum extent practicable, the plan must minimize and mitigate significant adverse impacts caused by, and identified in, the plan on individual northern spotted owl site centers or the ability of the SOSEA to meet SOSEA goals. Specific short (one to five-year) and long (greater than five-year) term goals and objectives for the LOP should be clearly stated, where applicable; and
(C) LOPs should be designed to achieve an appropriate contribution from nonfederal lands toward meeting SOSEA goals and are intended to be an efficient and effective alternative to site-by-site management planning. In Eastern Washington, LOPs must also consider the need to protect the forests from catastrophic loss from wildfire, insects, and diseases.
(ii) Other required elements:
(A) A description of the planning area. The LOP planning area shall include a sufficient amount of the landowner's forest land within the SOSEA to meet the goals and objectives of the plan.
(B) A description of the physical features in the planning area (e.g., geology, topography, etc.).
(C) The current habitat status. Suitable spotted owl habitat should be categorized and mapped as old forest, sub-mature, young forest marginal, or dispersal.
(D) The current species status. All status 1, 2, and 3 northern spotted owl site centers and the associated median home range circles that overlap any of the landowner's ownership within the LOP boundary must be mapped.
(E) Management proposals and relevant operations plans.
(F) Projected suitable habitat development.
(G) A plan for training.
(H) A monitoring program.
(I) Reporting standards.
(J) The conditions under which the LOP may be modified.
(K) The term of the LOP and conditions for termination. The term of the LOP shall be sufficient to meet its goals and objectives. The conditions of the LOP run with the land unless the LOP specifies alternative means to achieve the LOP goals and objectives upon mid-term sale or transfer. In addition to any other termination provisions in the LOP, plans may be terminated by mutual agreement of the landowner and the department.
(b) Approval of LOPs.
Upon receipt of a landowner option plan, the department shall circulate the plan to the department of fish and wildlife, affected Indian tribes, local government entities, other forest landowners in the SOSEA, and the public for a thirty-day review and comment period. The department may extend this review period for up to thirty additional days. Within ninety days of receipt of the plan, the department shall review the comments and approve or disapprove the plan or submit the plan to the landowner to revise as appropriate. The department, after consultation with the department of fish and wildlife, shall approve the plan if:
(i) The plan contains all of the elements required under this section;
(ii) The plan is expected to be effective in meeting its goals and objectives;
(iii) The plan will not have a probable significant adverse impact on the ability of the SOSEA to meet its goals; and
(iv) The plan will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the northern spotted owl in the wild.
In making its determination under this subsection, the department shall consider the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of the plan; both the short-term and long-term effects of the plan; and whether local, state, or federal land management, regulatory, or nonregulatory requirements will mitigate identified significant adverse impacts. If the department does not approve the plan, or approves it over the objections of the department of fish and wildlife, the department shall set forth in writing a concise explanation of the reasons for its action.
(c) Enforcement of LOPs.
The department shall review all applications and notifications from the landowner, proposed within the plan area, for consistency with the plan. Any applications or notifications found to be inconsistent with the plan shall be returned to the landowner for modification. After landowner review, applications and notifications which are not consistent with the plan shall be classified as Class IV-Special.
(2) See WAC 222-16-105
[Statutory Authority: Chapter 34.05 RCW, RCW 76.09.040,[76.09.]050 , [76.09.]370, 76.13.120(9). 01-12-042, § 222-16-100, filed 5/30/01, effective 7/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 76.09.040 and chapter 34.05 RCW. 97-15-105, § 222-16-100, filed 7/21/97, effective 8/21/97. Statutory Authority: Chapters 76.09 and 34.05 RCW. 96-12-038, § 222-16-100, filed 5/31/96, effective 7/1/96.]