Alternate Plans for Family Forests
Site-specific management opportunities
A landowner can write an alternate plan to achieve more management flexibility in certain situations than is allowed by the Forest Practices Rules. Here are some situations where an alternate plan may be useful. Please contact your local Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Region office for more information.
Obstruction in core zone
Excessive fuel loading
Other examples include, Individual and group selection, reverse slope to a non-fish bearing drainage within the riparian management zone on either side of a strea, stocking density and species composition incompatible with historic conditions.
Washington’s Forest Practices Rules have allowed landowners to develop alternate plans since the early 1980’s. Alternate plans are intended to provide landowners with a means to develop site-specific management plans for all timber activities regulated under state Forest Practices Rules. An alternate plan may alter the prescriptions outlined in the Rules as long as the plan provides protection to public resources at least equal in overall effectiveness to the protections offered by the Forest Practices Act and the Forest Practices Rules.
In 1999, when the new Forests and Fish Forest Practices Rules were being negotiated, additional alternate plan guidelines (WAC 222-12-040*) were developed to provide more flexibility to small forest landowners with the new riparian buffer regulations. The use of an alternate plan is not limited to riparian areas, however, and landowners may propose alternate management strategies for any forestry operation that is regulated by the state Forest Practices Rules.
A landowner submits an alternate plan as part of a forest practices application for timber harvest to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) region office that services the area where their forestland is located. The plan must describe how the proposed alternative prescriptions depart from the state Forest Practices Rules and how the proposal will provide sufficient resource protection. An application with an alternate plan may be submitted for either a two-year or a multi-year (5-year limit) period of time. Landowners may submit alternate plans as part of a single forest practices application or multiple applications if all harvest units covered by the applications have similar geographical and environmental characteristics. Private forestry consultants are available statewide to assist landowners in drafting alternate plans.
Appendix H, subsection H.2(a)(i) of the 1999 Forest and Fish Report states, "A landowner may propose, through an alternate plan, a site [specific] management strategy different from the basic rules that implement this Report, provided that when judged in its totality, the alternate plan must provide protection for public resources at least equal in overall effectiveness to the protection provided by the basic rules. If approved, the prescriptions in the alternate plan would be substituted for the prescriptions in the corresponding basic rules."
The new guidance for Alternate Plans was adopted into the Forest Practices Rules on May 17, 2001 and became effective on July 1, 2001 under WAC 222-12-040. WAC 222-12-040(2) reads, "The legislature has found that small forest landowners should have the option of alternate management plans or alternate harvest restrictions on smaller harvest units that may have a relatively low impact on aquatic resources. These alternate plans are intended to provide flexibility to small forest landowners that will still provide protection of riparian functions based on specific field conditions or stream conditions on the landowner's property."
Leaving a Legacy for Grandchildren and for Salmon
The Payne Family's Alternate Plan (798KB PDF)