Forest Practices Act

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In Washington State, Forest Practices are regulated by means of the Forest Practices Act, established by the legislature, and by the rules established by the Washington Forest Practices Board (the Board). The Board is charged with establishing rules to protect the state's public resources while maintaining a viable timber industry. DNR staff provide support to this Board by implementing and enforcing the rules it adopts.

The Forest Practices Act applies to primarily all non-Federal and non-tribal forestland. Much of these forestlands contains habitat for aquatic and riparian-dependent species that have been listed (or may be listed in the future) under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The forest practices rules require the maintenance and restoration of aquatic and riparian habitat. As a result, this Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan (FPHCP) asserts that the rules and the program are a means of meeting the requirements of the ESA, as well as those of the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) for species included in the plan.

Through the FPHCP, the State of Washington seeks to provide long-term conservation of covered species, support an economically viable timber industry and create regulatory stability for landowners.


  • The Forest Practices Act in RCW 76.9 and defines board and the creation of the rules.
  • The forest practices board is empowered through WAC 222
  • WDNR implements a Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan. This defines a relationship between state regulated forest practices and compliance with the Endangered Species Act.
  • The HCP and modern forest practices were a result of the Forests and Fish Report 1999.
  • WAC 222-16-030 defines four water types which determine riparian management.
    • Type S includes “shorelines of the state”
    • Type F includes “fish habitat” waters
    • Type Np includes “non-fish, perennial” waters
    • Type Ns includes “non-fish, seasonal” waters
  • WDNR jurisdiction extends to "forestlands" therefor definition of forestlands drives DNR regulatory authority. This definition is ambiguous in agricultural landscapes, and appears to be driven by tree diameter (>8"). It is designed to address timber production for market, and does not necessarily address agroforestry managements strategies involving NTFP or coppice.
  • File:Zobrist et al 2004 riparian forest management templates.pdf describes challenges and strategies for management of small private forests in riparian landscapes.