Precipitated by litigation in the 1980s-1990s, the Northwest Forest Plan has governed federal public forests in Washington, Oregon, and northern California since its adoption in 1994, but its protections were under attack throughout the Bush administration. The last shoe to drop in the attempt to dismantle the Northwest Forest Plan was its wholesale revision with respect to 2.6 million acres of Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") lands in Oregon.
Old growth forest. WOPR has been controversial since 2003, when the Bush administration settled a long dormant timber industry lawsuit with the promise to issue a new plan that dramatically increased logging. (USGS)
The Western Oregon Plan Revisions, known by the acronym WOPR, will quadruple old-growth forest logging and eliminate or substantially shrink all wildlife reserves, including the streamside buffers and key watersheds that are integral parts of the Northwest Forest Plan's salmon and clean water protections. While WOPR covers Oregon, its impact is region-wide, as it marks the end of the ecosystem-wide strategy that has protected northwest rivers, salmon and steelhead, northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, and other old-growth dependent species.
In early January 2009, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of thirteen conservation and fishing groups challenging BLM for its failure to use the best science, its failure to disclose environmental impacts, and its flouting of the consultation "look before you leap" requirements of the Endangered Species Act.