Not all landslides are created equal. Photo: Conrad Gowell

Let's stop clearcut logging on steep slopes in state and private Oregon forests

Since the 1994 adoption of the Northwest Forest Plan, which regulates logging on federal land in Oregon, commercial logging in Oregon’s federal forests has fallen by roughly 90 percent. Over that same time, private land has been logged at roughly the same rate as it was 24 years ago. In fact, approximately 75 percent of all logging in Oregon now occurs on private forestland.

With a bird’s-eye view of an Oregon Coast Range forest, it’s easy see that logging dominates the landscape. Our “Landslides to Logjams” campaign aims to shed light on the state’s failure to regulate clearcut logging on steep, unstable slopes adjacent to rivers - a practice that has become all too common.

Unlike landslides that occur on forested slopes, which carry trees and other large woody debris into the river, landslides on clearcut slopes occur more frequently and with greater magnitude. In fact, studies show that landslides occur up to 24 times more frequently after an area has been logged. They dump massive amounts of sediment and, not surprisingly, little to no large wood into rivers. Moreover, the sediment dumped into streams by a clearcut landslide is more likely to impair water quality.

The native salmon, steelhead, and trout of Oregon’s North Coast depend on deposits of large woody debris to create and maintain logjams in their natal streams. Logjams protect juvenile fish from predators, offer shade during the summer when water temperatures spike, and create critical spawning habitat by trapping gravel. Clearcut landslides destroy spawning habitat by smothering spawning gravel with fine sediment. Sedimentation also reduces the available rearing space for juvenile salmonids by burying cobble and filling rearing pools. When sediment fills pools and creates broad, shallow channels, it deprives salmonids of vital overwintering habitat, disrupts feeding and rearing, and exacerbates stream temperature problems.

With the help of local and regional stakeholders, Native Fish Society is working to put an end to clearcutting on unstable slopes.

Take Action!

We need your help! If you see a landslide and below a steep slope clearcut, please take photos and send them to North Coast District Coordinator Doug DeRoy. You can send them by email at dougderoy@gmail.com, or post them on Instagram or Facebook along with the hashtag #LandslidesToLogjams.

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