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Protecting the environment by providing legal services for forest cases of statewide significance

Protecting the environment by providing legal services for forest cases of statewide significance.

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Washington Forest Law Center

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WFLC is a non-profit, public interest law firm dedicated to protecting the Pacific Northwest's private and state-owned forest lands.

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September 1, 2018

Thank you for visiting the Washington Forest Law Center website! We thank you for your interest in protecting the public’s fish, wildlife, social, and cultural resources that depend on Washington’s 10 million acres of state and private forests.

WFLC has recently made some changes to how we work and assist the public. We offer the following services:

Legal and Scientific Referral Services for Forest Practices

If a citizen has concerns about a specific “forest practice,” or a logging activity, within the State of Washington, please contact Kara Whittaker, WFLC Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst, at kwhittaker@wflc.org, or 206-223-4088 x. 5. Dr. Whittaker will conduct a free initial assessment of the proposed forest practice and will provide you with verbal and electronic information about it. Please remember that industrial forest practices, even environmentally-harmful ones, are legal in Washington and that there may or may not be a way to stop or limit a specific forest practice.

After Dr. Whittaker screens and reviews your forest practice concern, she will consult with Staff Attorney Peter Goldman, who will then contact you and refer you to an experienced public interest- oriented environmental lawyer who has experience in forestry issues who would be happy to assist you at the least cost possible.

Legal and Scientific Support Services to our Partner Environmental Organizations

Staff Attorney Peter Goldman and Senior Scientist and Policy Analyst Kara Whittaker work closely and regularly in partnership with other non-profit organizations whose missions include improved forest practices on state and private land. Examples of our partnership work includes:

  • WFLC participates in and advises the Forest and Fish Conservation Caucus, which works with other forest stakeholders to enforce and continually improve the forest practice rules governing aquatic species. Other Caucus partners include the lead organization Washington Environmental Council, Conservation Northwest, Wild Fish Conservancy, Olympic Forest Coalition, and Wild Salmon Center. The Caucus’ work includes protecting valuable salmon habitat, protecting the public from dangerous landslides, and improving the forest practice rules governing the direct and cumulative impacts of forest practices.

  • WFLC participates in and advises the Marbled Murrelet Coalition, a coalition formed to ensure that the State of Washington provides the most forest conservation-oriented protection and recovery on Washington State forests for this severely imperiled old forest-dependent seabird. Other coalition members are the Washington Environmental Council, Conservation Northwest, Olympic Forest Coalition, Defenders of Wildlife, and Seattle Audubon Society.

  • WFLC works with partner organizations to monitor and improve the State Board of Natural Resources’ and the Washington Department of Natural Resources’ state forest management policies, decisions, and practices. This work includes ensuring that Washington complies with its 1.8 million acre federal habitat conservation plan for the state forests, the calculation of the “sustainable harvest” on the State forests, and other state forest management decisions.

  • WFLC works with its partner organizations to monitor and improve the state-wide forest practice rules and board manuals before the Washington Forest Practices Board.

    Policy Expertise

    WFLC has more than 20 years of experience with the state forest practice regulatory scheme governing state and private forests, the state forest management scheme governing state forests, the independent “certification” of forest practices, and forest carbon sequestration policies. We also work with partner organizations in supporting ecologically-credible independent forest certification schemes governing forestry practices, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and we monitor the quickly-growing “green building” sector to make sure that “green building” lumber policies and products, such as cross- laminated timber, source their forest products from FSC-certified forests. WFLC’s experts are available to consult with and present to the public on all these topics.

    Direct Legal Services

    Beginning in September 2018, WFLC will not provide direct legal services to citizens for specific forest cases. Our role is to help you assess your case, provide you with options, and refer you to a cooperating lawyer willing and able to assist you. WFLC will limit its direct legal services to supporting its partner environmental organizations.

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