Franz’s “Solutions Table” a new approach for jobs and the environment

State leaders will identify new opportunities for economic development and protection

As required under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA), the State Board of Natural Resources – chaired by Commissioner Franz – is developing a long-term conservation strategy for the marbled murrelet on state lands. That strategy includes conserving some state forestland for marbled murrelet habitat.

The conservation of forestland will likely impact timber industry jobs and state trust beneficiaries who receive revenue from state-managed working forests.

In addition, DNR’s trust obligations mean that only the forestland required to comply with the ESA will be protected. Broader, more holistic strategies – outside of the limited ESA process – will further protect the marbled murrelet.

“To move forward, we have to reject the notion that we are stuck in a zero-sum game, which forces us to choose between our environment and creating economic opportunity,” said Franz. “Instead, we need to develop bold, new strategies to lift up our communities and achieve shared success.

“This team has the know-how, community support, and commitment to advance meaningful, long-term solutions. Our rural jobs, schools and local government services deserve no less.”

Commissioner Franz’s nine Solution Table members represent community, conservation and economic interests:

* Dan Cothren, Wahkiakum County Commissioner, representing trust beneficiaries

* Paul Jewell, Kittitas County Commissioner, representing trust beneficiaries

* Brian Sims, Consultant, Washington State School Directors’ Association, representing trust beneficiaries

* Lisa Remlinger, Evergreen Forests Program Director, Washington Environmental Council, representing conservation interests

* Paula Swedeen, Policy Director, Conservation Northwest, representing conservation interests

* Patricia Jones, Executive Director, Olympic Forest Coalition, representing conservation interests

* Travis Joseph, President, American Forest Resource Council, representing economic interests

* Connie Beauvais, Commissioner, Port of Port Angeles, representing economic interests

* Jim Sayce, Executive Director, Pacific County Economic Development Council, representing economic interests

Preservation of wetlands and habitat is a lasting legacy. Photo: Morf Morford

Preservation of wetlands and habitat is a lasting legacy. Photo: Morf Morford

“It’s long overdue for diverse interests to come to the table to have a rational conversation about what we can do, collectively, for forest and community health,” said Travis Joseph, President, AFRC. “Clean air, clean water, healthy wildlife populations, local jobs, quality schools and public services, and a strong forest products industry can co-exist and thrive in Washington State. Through leadership, hard work, and meaningful collaboration, we can change the zero-sum, win-lose mentality that has dominated natural resources management for too long.”

“In order to achieve true success, we must take action to protect the marbled murrelet and create economic opportunities in our rural communities,” said Lisa Remlinger, Evergreen Forests Program Director, Washington Environmental Council. “I am confident the Solutions Table will lead to big ideas and that, in partnership, we will create win-wins for our environment and economy.”

“At the Solutions Table, we will put our heads together to find common ground and ways to help our counties and endangered species,” said Dan Cothren, Commissioner, Wahkiakum County.

In recognition of the fact that new policies may require engagement with Congress, federal and state agencies, nonprofits and industry groups, Solutions Table members have agreed to participate through 2019.

– Washington State DNR