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Forest Practices

Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act


FRPA Briefing Paper (Word)

The Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act (FRPA, AS 41.17) (PDF) governs how timber harvesting, reforestation, and timber access occur on state, private, and municipal land. The FRPA was originally adopted in 1978. Major revisions were adopted in 1990 to address riparian management on private land, enhance notification procedures for timber operations, reorganize the Board of Forestry, and establish enforcement procedures. FRPA standards are tailored to the coastal forest (Region I), southcentral transitional forest (Region II), and interior boreal forest (Region III). Updates to the stream classification system and riparian management standards were adopted for Region I (1998), Region II (2006), and Region III (2003), and the Region II and III riparian forest management standards were updated in 2017.

Purpose

The Act is designed to protect fish habitat and water quality, and ensure prompt reforestation of forest land while providing for a healthy timber industry. The FRPA ensures that both the timber and commercial fishing industries can continue to provide long-term jobs.

Key provisions

The Act addresses these goals by:

  • Establishes a process for landowners to notify the state before beginning commercial timber operations. This is not a permit process. Tight timeframes are set for agency review of notifications, and timber operations can proceed if the agencies do not respond within the set time frame.
  • Sets standards for forest management along waterbodies, including buffers, and provides flexibility to harvest valuable trees within buffers when it can be done without harming fish habitat or water quality. Harvest within buffers requires agency approval. Buffers are tailored to the conditions in each region.
  • Sets standards to prevent erosion from roads and harvest areas into waterbodies.
  • Requires reforestation except where land will be converted to another use, or where the harvest area is significantly composed of dead or dying trees.
  • Provides one-stop shopping for forest operation compliance with state and federal clean water standards.
  • Authorizes DOF to enforce the Act through inspections, directives, stop work orders, and civil fines.
  • Establishes roles for DEC and ADF&G to ensure protection of water quality and fish habitat.
  • Establishes the Board of Forestry and the State Forest system.

Regulations and Best Management Practices

FRPA Regulations (PDF) adopted under 11 AAC 95 also establish best management practices for FRPA notifications, stream classification and riparian management, road construction and maintenance, timber harvesting, and reforestation. These standards are designed to prevent adverse impacts to fish habitat and water quality from timber operations and ensure successful reforestation.

The Division of Forestry has published a booklet called Implementing Best Management Practices for Timber Harvest Operations (PDF) that is used to ensure compliance with the Forest Resources and Practices Act and Regulations.

Regions and applicability

Alaska is divided into three forest practices regions. Region I comprises coastal forests from Southeast Alaska through Prince William Sound, the eastern Kenai Peninsula, the Kodiak Archipelago, and parts of the Alaska Peninsula. Region II is the boreal forest south of the Alaska Range. Region III is the boreal forest in the rest of the state. Standards for riparian management and reforestation vary by region.

The FRPA applies to commercial timber operations on forestland, including harvesting, roads, site preparation, thinning, and slash treatment operations on forest land. Operations must comply with the FRPA if they are larger than 10 acres in Region I or larger than 40 acres in Region II. In Region III, FRPA applies to operations larger than 40 acres for forest landowners that own more than 160 acres in total. All commercial harvest operations that encompass or border surface waters or a riparian area also must comply with the Act, regardless of their size.

Alaska Forest Resources & Practices Regions Map (PDF)

FRPA Training Materials

 

Monitoring FRPA Implementation and Effectiveness

The Alaska Forest Resources and Practices Act and Regulations contain the best management practices (BMPs) that guide timber harvest on state, municipal, private, and trust lands. The Board of Forestry, the state resource agencies, and the timber industry coordinate monitoring of the Act and regulations [11 AAC 95.830].

Monitoring includes compliance monitoring to ensure that the BMPs are properly and thoroughly implemented on the ground. Effectiveness monitoring assesses whether the BMPs adequately protect fish habitat and water quality if they are implemented properly. Briefing papers follow:

A decade of systematic compliance monitoring and extensive road conditions surveys demonstrates that forest operations have an excellent record of FRPA implementation. Monitoring has identified few problems, and where compliance is insufficient, the agencies and landowners have responded with training and remediation to fix the problems.

The effectiveness monitoring studies to date indicate that the BMPs are protecting fish habitat and water quality from adverse impacts of forest operations in Southeast Alaska, where most harvesting has occurred, and in Southcentral Alaska. Additional monitoring is needed in southcentral and interior Alaska. The Division of Forestry continues to coordinate with other agencies, landowners, and researchers to prioritize monitoring needs.

Overview publications are listed below. Additional references are cited in the effectiveness monitoring briefing paper.

References

Forest Road Condition Survey on the forest road system within the Kenai Peninsula Borough


An overview of the 20-year study on Status and Trends of Fish Habitat Conditions is available at the following link.


The Division of Forestry has compiled two publications summarizing relevant research and effectiveness monitoring that are available at the following links.

 

FRPA Reviews and Updates

Region II and III Riparian Standards

Under direction of the Board of Forestry, the DNR Division of Forestry and ADF&G Division of Habitat reviewed the Forest Resources and Practices riparian standards to avoid or minimize impacts of mass wasting on forest resources. Each review process included a Science & Technical Committee (S&TC) which reviewed existing riparian standards, compiled an annotated bibliography of relevant research, and recommended updates to the Forest Resources and Practices Act and regulations to the Board of Forestry. The Board reviewed the S&TC recommendations and forwarded them to Implementation Groups of public and private stakeholders. The Board reviewed the recommendations from the Groups and directed the Division of Forestry to implement the recommendations with statute and regulation amendments. For each region, the legislature passed the recommended changes as FRPA amendments, and DNR amended the regulations. In Region III, changes to the FRPA went into effect in 2003, and the regulations were adopted in 2004. In Region II, changes to the FRPA went into effect in 2006, and regulations were updated in 2007.

The following documents compile the records of these processes. They cover the work of the Board of Forestry, Science & Technical Committees, and Implementation Groups including the bibliographies.

Region II Documents

Region II Riparian Standards Review Documentation (PDF)

Region II Forest Resources & Practices Riparian Management Annotated Bibliography, July 2004

Region II Science and Technical Committee-Stream Classification System and Recommended Buffers May 26, 2004 (PDF)

Region III Documents

Region III Riparian Standards Review Documentation (PDF)

Importance Matrix of Water Body Types and FRPA Habitat Components (PDF)

Region III Forest Resources & Practices Riparian Management Annotated Bibliography, August 2000

 

Landslides and Forest Practices

From 2007-2013, under direction of the Board of Forestry, the Division of Forestry conducted a review of Forest Resources and Practices standards to avoid or minimize impacts of mass wasting on forest resources. This process included a Science & Technical Committee (S&TC) review of the geographic extent of potential landslide risks to public safety in areas open to commercial timber harvesting under the Alaska Forest Resources & Practices Act. The S&TC produced scoping maps showing areas with potential for landslides in proximity to public roads or populated areas, compiled an annotated bibliography of relevant references, and forwarded recommendations for regulatory changes to the Board of Forestry. The Board reviewed the S& TC recommendations and forwarded them to an Implementation Group of public and private stakeholders. The Board reviewed the recommendations from the Group and directed the Division of Forestry to adopt the unanimous recommendations in regulation. Regulations implementing the recommendations were adopted and went into effect on September 25, 2013.

The following document compiles information on this process. It covers the work of the Board of Forestry, Science & Technical Committee (S&TC), and Implementation Group, including copies of the scoping maps and the bibliography.

Documentation of mass wasting review (PDF)

Separate copies of the scoping maps, a description of the model used to prepare the scoping maps, and the bibliography are also available at the following links.


Reforestation Standards Review - Regions II and III

Under direction of the Board of Forestry, the Division of Forestry conducted a review of Forest Resources and Practices standards to avoid or minimize impacts of mass wasting on forest resources. This process included a Science & Technical Committee (S&TC) review of the existing scientific information on reforestation and the prior standards. The S&TC compiled an annotated bibliography of relevant references, and forwarded recommendations for regulatory changes to the Board of Forestry. The Board reviewed the S& TC recommendations and forwarded them to an Implementation Group of public and private stakeholders. The Board reviewed the recommendations from the Group and directed the Division of Forestry to adopt the recommendations in regulation. Regulations implementing the recommendations were adopted and went into effect on March 9, 2017.

The following documents compile the records of this process. They cover the work of the Board of Forestry, Science & Technical Committee, and Implementation Group, including the bibliography.

Science and Technical Committee documents
Implementation Group documents

 

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Contact Information

For more information, contact Alison Arians, DNR Division of Forestry, 907-269-8467 or alison.arians@alaska.gov.