Forest group offers highest award to former lawmaker

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JOYCE — Former state Rep. Rep. Jim Buck recently received the Stu Bledsoe Award from the Washington Forest Protection Association during the group’s 104th annual meeting.

The association’s highest honor, this award is presented in memory of the late Stu Bledsoe, a former director of the state Department of Agriculture.

It goes to those “who have made a difference” in their careers and, in this case, made a difference in the future of forestry in Washington state.

A Republican who lives with his wife in the Lyre River area west of Port Angeles, Buck served six terms in the state House, representing the 24th District in the state Legislature from 1995 to 2007.

The 24th District covers Clallam and Jefferson counties and a portion of Grays Harbor County.

Buck was the ranking member and chair of the House’s Natural Resources Committee in addition to serving on the Appropriations Committee. He was defeated for re-election by Kevin Van de Wege, D-Sequim, in 2006.

Buck was known for his extensive research of issues in preparation for legislative actions on wide-ranging topics such as health care, salmon recovery, forestry, rural economic development, job retraining and transportation issues, the association said.

Forests & Fish Law

The association recognized Buck for championing the 1999 Forests & Fish Law, which set in motion a 50-year contract between the state and federal government for how forestry will be managed to protect salmon and clean water in the state while protecting rural jobs and timber operations.

What resulted was the 50-year Forest Practices Habitat Conservation Plan, an action encompassing 60,000 miles of streams on 9.3 million acres of state and private forestland.

“We are all reaping the benefits of Rep. Buck’s leadership: the fish, clean water, citizens, the timber industry and our environment,” said Mark Doumit, executive director of the Washington Forest Protection Association.

From 2001-2011, Washington Forest Protection Association members have invested $155 million in forest road improvements, resulting in removing 4,800 barriers to fish migration, which has restored nearly 2,700 miles of historic fish habitat.

When added together with what the state and small landowners have done, a total of 5,000 barriers have been removed and 3,200 miles of historic fish habitat restored.

Last modified: November 17. 2012 5:32PM
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