OLYMPIA, Wash., Nov. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jim Buck received the highest award from the forestry association at the Washington Forest Protection Association's (WFPA) 104th annual meeting last week. The award is in memory of the late Stu Bledsoe, a visionary and leader in the legislature, agriculture and forestry communities. The award goes to those "who have made a difference" in their careers, and in this case, made a difference in the future of forestry in Washington State.
Representative Buck, served six terms representing the 24th Legislative District on the Olympic Peninsula from 1995 to 2007, and was ranking member and chair of the Natural Resources Committee in addition to serving on the Appropriations Committee. He was known for his extensive research of issues in preparation for legislative actions on wide ranging topics such as health care, salmon recovery, forestry, rural economic development, job retraining or transportation issues.
The Association honors Jim for championing the 1999 Forests & Fish Law, which set into motion a 50 year contract between the state and federal government for how forestry will be managed to protect salmon and clean water in Washington State while protecting our rural jobs and ensuring timber operations have the certainty they need to continue operations. What resulted was the 50-year Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), a sweeping action encompassing 60,000 miles of streams on 9.3 million acres of state and private forestland.
The HCP has evoked real action in the forest. From 2001-2011, WFPA members have invested $155 million in forest road improvements resulting in removing 4,800 barriers to fish migration which restored nearly 2,700 miles of historic fish habitat. When added together with what the state and small landowners have done, a total of 5,000 barriers have been removed and 3,200 miles of historic fish habitat restored.
"We are all reaping the benefits of Representative Buck's leadership -- the fish, clean water, citizens, the timber industry and our environment. Because of the HCP, forest landowners have invested millions of dollars in salmon restoration, in upgrading their road systems and have established science as the underpinning of forest practices to meet the goals for clean water and healthy salmon habitat. This is the largest salmon recovery effort going on anywhere in the country," said Mark Doumit, Executive Director of the Washington Forest Protection Association.
Representative Buck was known for working across the aisle. He worked with his seat mate, Senator Debbie Regala, then representing the 27th Legislative District. This wouldn't have happened without working together. Representative Buck put the people and solutions first.
WFPA's mission is to promote balanced forest policies that protect the environment and the interests of people; the only way to sustain both is to have a balance of interests. It is our pleasure to honor one of the great legislative leaders that helped to set forestry on a trajectory for the next 50 years, which will strive for this balance. Video of WFPA's annual meeting will be available on www.tvw.org.
About the Washington Forest Protection Association. Founded in 1908, WFPA is a trade association representing private forest landowners in Washington State. Our members are large and small companies, individuals, and families who grow, harvest, and re-grow trees on about 4 million acres. Forestry provides nearly 120,000 family wage jobs in the state. www.wfpa.org and www.forestsandfish.com
SOURCE Washington Forest Protection Association