Negotiated Rulemaking for Forest Practices

Monday March 15, 2021

(Boise, Idaho) Rules for harvesting timber next to fish bearing streams may soon be easier to understand and follow. Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) will hold negotiated rulemaking for the Rules Pertaining to the Idaho Forest Practices Act. Two rules are recommended for revision to simplify implementation and to account for updated forest management technologies.  Rulemaking allows forestland owners, industry, and other members of the public to participate.

The rulemaking will be conducted in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order 2020-01, Zero-Based Regulation. Unnecessary rule language is proposed for removal, specific rule language is recommended to reduce verbiage and improve readability.

The current Shade Rule went into effect in 2014 and was established to protect the shading of fish bearing streams when timber is harvested. A study on the effectiveness of the rule was completed last year and showed the desired shade levels were being achieved. However, the rule is considered by many to be too complicated with numerous opportunities for error.

The Idaho Forest Practices Advisory Committee (FPAC) recommended language refining the definition of class one streams and simplifying the rule to promote rule understanding, make compliance easier and less costly, while maintaining the effectiveness of the rule. At this point, the rule verbiage has gone from about 492 words to 100.

FPAC also identified a need to update rules specific to the use of ground-based equipment on steep slopes.  Technology used in the industry has changed; machinery is now being used on steep slopes while tethered to an anchor with a specialized winch to improve traction. This traction-assistance allows the machine to operate safely on steep slopes while minimizing soil disturbance. Existing rule language does not allow for universal use of this new family of machines; modified rule language is needed to accommodate changing technology.

The rules will now go through a negotiated process with additional input. The following public meetings have been scheduled and the public may join in person, by telephone or by Zoom web conference.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

6 - 8 p.m. (PT)

Best Western Plus

477326 Highway 95

Ponderay, ID 83852

Thursday, April 22, 2021

6 - 8 p.m. (PT)

Best Western Plus

506 W Appleway Avenue

Coeur d’Alene, ID 83814

Thursday, April 29, 2021

6 – 8 p.m. (PT)

Best Western Lodge at River’s Edge

615 Main Street

Orofino, ID 83544

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

6 – 8 p.m. (MT)

Holiday Inn Express & Suites

210 N 3rd Street

McCall, ID 83638


For more information about these or additional meetings that may be scheduled, visit the IDL website at:

IDL administers the Idaho Forest Practices Act (Title 38, Chapter 13, Idaho Code), which sets standards for logging, road building, reforestation, streamside protection, and other forest activities. The Rules Pertaining to the Idaho Forest Practices Act set minimum standards to assure the continuous growing and harvesting of forest tree species and to protect and maintain the forest soil, water resources, wildlife, and aquatic habitat.

The Idaho Forest Practices Advisory Committee (FPAC) provides technical assistance to the IDL and the Land Board in matters relating to the Idaho Forest Practices Act and its rules.  FPAC is made up of nine voting members from across the state representing family forest owners, industrial forest owners, logging operators, general forest practitioners, and fisheries biology. There are also ex officio members from other state agencies and technical specialties.


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Media Contact: Sharla Arledge | PIO | 208-334-0286 |

Contact: Gary Hess | Regulatory & Stewardship Program Manager |(208) 666-8636 |