The 1993 Oregon Legislature added $.10 per thousand board feet to the Oregon Forest Products Harvest Tax rate for research through the Oregon Forest Research Laboratory (FRL) to provide new information about meeting the needs of fish and wildlife in managed forests of Oregon. The Fish and Wildlife Habitat in Managed Forests Research Program (F&W Program) was established on November 1, 1994, guided by recommendations from a Technical Advisory Committee comprised of fish and wildlife specialists and forest managers from government, industry, and non-industrial land owners to the FRL Director. The F&W Program is primarily conducted within the College of Forestry's Forest Engineering, Forest Resources, and the Forest Science Departments, with strategic collaboration from scientists residing in other OSU units and federal agencies.
Based on the harvest level at the time, the F&W Program was initially funded with $457,485 in increased Harvest Tax revenues annually. Research, technology transfer, and service activities were selected by College program leaders based on advice received from the Technical Advisory Committee and in consultation with key faculty. When the F&W program was initiated in 1994, the overall FRL research program already included numerous research projects on fish and wildlife in managed forests. These efforts were funded with revenues from the State and grants obtained from various sources. Unfortunately, the establishment of the F&W program coincided with reduced State appropriations to the FRL as a result of the passing of Measure 5 and decreased timber harvest on federal lands. Thus, in the first few years of the F&W Program, the revenues from the increased Harvest Tax rate were critical to ensuring the timely completion of those existing fish and wildlife studies and maintaining an adequate core of faculty expertise.
In recent years, all activities funded through the F&W Program are new efforts that address timely issues identified collaboratively by the Technical Advisory Committee, College program leaders, and the faculty. Since 2002, new projects have been selected with a priority towards those that contribute to the scientific information base that supports the Oregon Forest Practices Act. The Technical Advisory Committee currently meets with College of Forestry program leaders and faculty scientists in late winter each year to review progress from the previous year, review proposals for future activities, and to make recommendations on allocations of available funds for the coming fiscal year.
Many of the F&W Program's activities have been conducted with additional funds from several sources, making their "value" far greater than the funds from the Harvest Tax. This is not duplication of funding, but illustrates how Harvest Tax funds are leveraging other resources, making "the dollars go farther." Without the FRL funds AND the other funds, many of these projects would not be possible. Other FRL programs continue to contribute to or complement the goals of the F&W Program. Funded from a variety of sources, these activities are not included in documents describing this F&W Program because they are not explicitly part of the effort funded by the increase in Harvest Tax rate.