Northwest Forest Plan—The First 10 Years (1994–2003): Socioeconomic Monitoring of Coos Bay District and Three Local Communities

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Title: Northwest Forest Plan—The First 10 Years (1994–2003): Socioeconomic Monitoring of Coos Bay District and Three Local Communities
Author: McLain, Rebecca J. (Rebecca Jean); Tobe, Lisa; Charnley, Susan; Donoghue, Ellen M. (Ellen Mary); Moseley, Cassandra; Pacific Northwest Research Station (Portland, Or.)
Abstract: This case study examines the socioeconomic changes that took place between 1990 and 2000 in and around lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Coos Bay District in southwestern Oregon for purposes of assessing the effects of the Northwest Forest Plan (the Plan) on rural economies and communities in the Coos Bay region. The case study included an analysis of changes in the district’s programs, as well as socioeconomic changes that occurred within the communities of Coos Bay, Myrtle Point, and Reedsport. Data were gathered during 2003 and 2004 from multiple sources including U.S. census databases, county and state criminal justice and economic development databases, and BLM annual reports. Interviews with BLM employees and community residents provided additional insights on how the Plan affected local socioeconomic conditions and the district’s interactions with local communities. The study indicates that by the time the record of decision for the Plan was signed, the Coos Bay region’s timber sector had already lost a substantial portion of the wood products processing capacity and employment opportunities. Additionally, the changes in socioeconomic conditions that took place in the mid and late 1990s—an outflow of younger workers, inmigration of older workers and retirees, school closures, increased levels of educational attainment, declines in manufacturing sectors, and expansion of the services sector—are changes that took place during the same period in rural communities across much of the Western United States. It is thus likely that the types of overall socioeconomic changes observed in the Coos Bay region between 1990 and 2004 would have occurred with or without the Plan. Owing to legal challenges, the Coos Bay District was unable to provide a steady and predictable supply of timber from 1994 onward. District foresters shifted their focus toward developing thinning techniques for density management of stands less than 80 years old. Barring legal action, sales from these younger stands will enable the district to provide a predictable supply of smaller diameter timber in future years. In the post-Plan years, the Coos Bay District also significantly expanded its capacity to carry out multiple-use land management. It played a key role in community-based watershed restoration and recreation and tourism development efforts. As a result, the district is now in a much better position to provide the public, including residents of local communities, with a broad array of forest values and opportunities (i.e., improved fish habitat, more recreation sites, more cultural sites, etc.). Key factors in the success of post-Plan community-district partnerships included ongoing and substantial support from upper level leadership, a stable district budget (in marked contrast to the budget declines in neighboring national forests), and a relatively stable staffing level (in contrast to the downsizing that occurred in neighboring national forests).
Description: 160 p.Print copies of this title are available through the UO Libraries under the call number: KNIGHT SD11 .A4557 no. 675; and: SCA OrColl SD11 .A4557 no. 675
Date: 2006-07

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