Newsletter Stories

Tuesday, 01 April 2003
Astoria, Oregon Receives 'Well-Managed Forest’ Certification for City-owned Watershed Lands

Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) recently announced that it has granted certification under the FSC to the 3,700-acre watershed forest owned by the City of Astoria, Oregon. The City of Astoria retained SCS, an accredited certification body of the FSC, to conduct an evaluation of its watershed forest. The evaluation team determined that the City of Astoria practices exemplary forest management and meets the strict guidelines for certification. Certification allows the City to use the FSC logo, which is widely recognized and in demand in the wood products industry.

“We are very proud that an independent evaluation team has confirmed that we’re managing these lands in the best long-term interest of both the forest and the residents of Astoria," said Mitch Mitchum, Public Works Director, City of Astoria. “Because wood products coming from certified forests are in demand, the City is better able to offset management costs associated with these lands, which is fiscally responsible during tough economic times."

Since the 1890s, the City of Astoria has used the water originating in the watershed to supply the municipality. Often referred to as the Bear Creek Watershed, the forest is located approximately 10 miles southeast of the city in northern Clatsop County, Oregon. The forest is managed primarily for water quality and quantity, and forestry activities have been intermittent and restricted to thinning operations. Under the rules of the FSC, the lands are classified as a high conservation value forest because it shelters a community drinking water source.

“The City of Astoria has emerged as a leader on the West Coast for its responsible management of City-owned watershed lands," said Dr. Robert Hrubes, SCS’s Senior Vice President and a registered professional forester. “This certification demonstrates how land owners can use FSC certification to meet the sometimes competing demands of resource protection and economic necessities. The City has melded these two objectives to the benefit of both the forest and City residents."

As part of the evaluation, opinions regarding the City’s forest management were sought from local and regional stakeholders. Environmental groups, professional foresters, neighbors, contractors, and other members of the local community offered comments for the SCS team to consider. The evaluation team found that water quality was exceptional in the watershed due to a concerted effort by the City of Astoria to minimize sediment from roads, skid trails, and harvest units. As a matter of policy, the City of Astoria does not use herbicides or any other pesticides when managing forest lands in the watershed. Finally, the evaluation team found that the forest is not being overharvested and is contributing to local biodiversity and habitat protection by retaining key forest elements such as hollow trees, snags, and downed woody debris. The public summary portion of the certification report is available on the SCS website (