Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Washington Forest Protection Association
October 9, 1999
THE FORESTS AND FISH PLAN
Thank you for that introduction. It’s an honor to be here this afternoon to talk about an agreement that’s important for our state and will help one of our greatest natural resources, salmon.
I had the privilege on June 7 of signing into law the historic Forests and Fish Plan. This agreement helps preserve key natural resources. And it shows how competing interests can work together for the common good.
Only through cooperation can we protect the salmon and other natural resources in our state. And this cooperation must be forged among all effected people and interest groups in our state.
We can’t create lasting protection of our natural resources without considering all voices. That’s what cooperation is all about. The Washington Forest Protection Association is a leader in this effort. I can’t thank the association enough for its dedication, hard work, and determination to forge this agreement and to get it passed through the Legislature.
As someone who grew up in Washington, I know how much salmon and forests represent the vitality of our state. I’ve traveled around much of the country and other parts of the world. When people in other states and distant lands talk about Washington, they often mention the salmon in our rivers and streams and the lush, majestic forests.
But as you well know, these natural symbols of our state are in danger. Our salmon runs are especially at risk. That’s why this agreement is so important. The Forests and Fish Plan is the foundation for our Salmon Recovery Strategy.
But this agreement didn’t come easy. It took two years of tough negotiations. Owners of forestland, large and small, helped forge this agreement. The state’s tribes were involved, along with federal, state and county. The result is an agreement that’s a first in the nation. This agreement is the first to involve private landowners that meets the requirements of both the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act.
There are 20 million acres of forestland in our state. Eight million acres are in private hands. With this agreement, all 20 million acres now meet the requirements of the Endangered Species Act to protect salmon and bulltrout. No other state can boast of such an accomplishment.
Owners of forestland are showing how the state can reach out to the other major landowner in our state, the agricultural community. You are showing the agricultural community that we can create workable agreements that meet the needs of all interests.
The state is committed to creating an agreement that protects our salmon, protects our water, and maintains a thriving agricultural economy, in addition to a thriving forestry economy.
Thanks to your hard work, your creativity and your leadership, we have a successful model to learn from. The Forests and Fish Plan shows that competing interests can work together to preserve the natural resources in our state.
I’d like to give a special thanks to a number of people for their efforts to create this agreement. First, Bill Wilkerson for his leadership on behalf of the forest landowners. We’d have no agreement if the forest landowners had stayed away from the negotiating table, or given up in the Legislative deliberations. And there were many times when the Legislature seemed unwilling or incapable of enacting the agreement.
Thanks also to Kaleen Cottingham and Steve Bernath of the Department of Natural Resources, Dick Wallace of the Department of Ecology, John Mankowski of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Curt Smitch, who heads our salmon recovery team.
And thanks to Joe Dear, Marty Brown and Dick Thompson of my office who pushed the agreement through the Legislature.