SEATTLE, Wash.— Port Blakely has been honored as the 2021 Industrial Forest Landowner recipient of the fish and wildlife stewardship award by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Board of Forestry. The award was presented during an online ceremony on Friday, April 22.
The company was recognized for its work providing enhanced protections for water quality and wildlife habitat on 30,000 acres of its forestland in Clackamas County under a voluntary stewardship agreement with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF). Under this stewardship agreement, Port Blakely is following an ODF-approved forest management plan that exceeds currently existing Forest Practices Act requirements in exchange for long-term regulatory certainty covering 50 years.
“This award is a tremendous honor for our team and a recognition of the positive impact our approach to stewardship forestry can have,” said Mike Warjone, President of US Forestry for Port Blakely. “Our thriving forests are proof that protecting and enhancing fish and wildlife habitat can go hand in hand with ensuring the economic sustainability of our forestlands, for our customers, employees, and family owners for generations to come.”
In parallel to the stewardship agreement, Port Blakely is also working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service on a complementary Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). The stewardship agreement and HCP contain forest management and conservation measures that provide enhanced protection for fish-bearing streams and aquatic water bodies, as well as creating and sustaining a mosaic of diverse habitats to meet the needs of many fish and wildlife species, including threatened and endangered species.
The stewardship award also recognized Port Blakely for their efforts to supplement fish and wildlife habitat following the historic 2020 Labor Day fires in northwest Oregon. The fires burned 8,000 acres of Port Blakely's forestlands in east Clackamas County, including 700 acres of stream adjacent forestland. To accelerate the recovery of important habitat and limit erosion, Port Blakely took steps to quickly distribute thousands of pounds of native seed along 24 miles of headwater streams during an aerial seeding operation — supplementing the natural recovery of native plants and trees. Besides providing forage for deer and elk, the habitat enhanced by this project will also benefit pollinators like bees and provide shade and root strength to keep stream environments healthy, which is critical for salmon and steelhead.
See this video for more about the reseeding project: Wildfire Restoration Project at Port Blakely