Protect and Restore Forests

The League of Women Votes of Washington supports natural resource management (pg. 13) that promotes an environment beneficial to life through the protection and wise management of natural resources in the public interest. Our positions can be seen in in Program in Action (pg. 27) . The League promotes resource conservation, stewardship, and long-range planning, with the responsibility for managing natural resources shared by all levels of government. The goal is to preserve the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the ecosystem with maximum protection of public health and the environment.

To apply these principles, the League adopted a Resolution to:

Protect all mature forests on public lands in Washington, as well as policy supporting;

  Acquisition of replacement land for the trusts, to maintain or expand the state trust land base with new land managed as working forests;
  Climate-smart forest management on replacement lands for more carbon sequestration and timber production; and
  Compensation to trust land beneficiaries to ensure essential local services are maintained.

Issue Team Chair: Kate Lunceford, Forests Issue Chair
  DOWNLOAD the Forests Issue Paper
Interested in getting involved with this topic? Contact Kate Lunceford

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Overview of the 2024 Legislative Session

Forest Legislation

Support conservation of mature forests and buy replacement lands for economically impacted rural counties. Last year, strong public support for conserving mature forests led the State Legislature to permanently protect 2,000 acres of mature forests with funds from the Climate Commitment Act (CCA). However, the demand from counties to protect their threatened mature forests far exceeded this original investment. This year, there is another opportunity to protect additional mature forests. Urge your legislator to continue to conserve mature forests and buy replacement lands for economically impacted rural counties using additional CCA funds in this year’s supplemental budget.

This kind of investment is a win/win solution for public lands and communities alike. Washington’s older state forests are among the most carbon-dense in the world, making them invaluable tools for fighting climate change. They are not only in their prime for carbon storage and sequestration, but they also provide essential ecosystem services that make us more resilient to the growing impacts of climate change. This funding is essential for conserving our best carbon sequestering forests that are at risk of being lost, while also purchasing replacement lands to add to the overall public lands base.

Support $8 million in capital budget funding for qualified projects at Morning Star, Blakely Island, Hamma Hamma Balds, Stavis Creek, Trout Lake and Middle Fork Snoqualmie. Forest conservation is a perfect fit for Natural Climate Solutions funding because forests sequester carbon. A small appropriation this year builds on the success we had last year revitalizing the trust land transfer program at DNR. Trust land transfer protects special state trust lands that are under-performing economically and contain ecologically valuable features. Communities and Tribes all over the state are excited by the prospect of an opportunity to have a real say in the future of public lands. Trust land transfer is a win-win-win, for conservation, trust beneficiaries, rural communities, and even working forests.

⚠️Tell your legislators you support this funding here by March 7.

The Governor's Proposed 2024 Supplemental Budget contains proposals LWVWA supports:

  • Develop forest carbon storage and sequestration projects: The Recreation and Conservation Office will establish a program to support private, Tribal, and local government landowners as they conduct management practices that go beyond regulatory requirements and increase long-term carbon storage. See page 42.
  • Upper Green River forest carbon storage: The Tacoma Public Utilities (TPU) main water source is the upper Green River watershed. A large private timberland holding has become available for purchase. TPU will begin to purchase these lands and manage older forests to protect water quality, increase carbon storage, and improve aquatic habitat for salmon. See page 42.
  • Community Forest Projects: LWVWA signed on to a letter to Governor Inslee asking for funding for two projects in Whidbey Island and Hoquiam. See page 46.

If there is a major update on a bill, action chairs may want to write up a report detailing changes or summarizing debate in committee.

2024 Forests Legislation

Priority Bills

Bills in green are supported. Bills in red are opposed by the League. Bills in black the League is watching.

No priority bills at this time.

Other Bills
Bills in green are supported. Bills in red are opposed by the League. Bills in black the League is watching.

HB 1078 Urban forest management ordinances. This bill was reintroduced. It concerns creating tree banks in urban areas.

HB 2243 Social equity land trust By Request: Department of Natural Resources. This bill would create a new trust beneficiary for supporting childcare. DNR could buy new land, harvest it or (potentially) sell it for conversion. It does not require use of carbon credits to create revenue. Childcare is an important public purpose that needs greater state and federal support. The new WA capital gains is earmarked in part for this purpose and just delivered $500 million to early learning. 

HB 2333 AN ACT Relating to assessing the carbon sequestration potential of state-owned lands for the purpose of generating offset credits under the climate commitment act. Assessing the carbon sequestration potential of state-owned lands for the purpose of generating offset credits under the climate commitment act. 

SB 6120 Concerning the Wildland Urban Interface Code. Wildland urban interface mapping would be eliminated. All counties, cities, and towns may complete their own map of areas at greatest risk from wildfire. Is there a consistent standard for choosing areas of risk in cities, towns, and counties? Could a city decide not to map a WUI area because it wants to develop it.

How To Be Involved

  • If you are interested in a particular bill, use the links above to go to the webpage for that bill. These pages include staff summaries and reports including who testified PRO versus CON on the bill. There is also information about how to access videos of hearings that have been held.
  • If your available time permits you to do nothing else, please scan the LWVWA Legislative Action Newsletter each week (it's distributed each Sunday during the legislative session) and respond to the Action Alerts.
  • If you have more time and are interested in a particular topic, we always appreciate and can use your assessments of bills, law implementation, and future concerns. For Forests topics send assessments of a few paragraphs to a few pages and include the sources of the facts you rely on. Send them to Kate Lunceford, Forests Issue Chair.
  • If you want to engage more in a current topic, such as Dept. of Natural Resources sustainable harvest calculation or other forest issues, one of our coalition partners probably has a focused action project underway that you can join. Contact me to discuss opportunities.

Kate Lunceford, Forests Issue Chair.

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