Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program

The Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program (RHOSP) could provide a positive experience for Washington State forestland property owners who own land that is habitat for threatened and endangered species or located in a channel migration zone. RHOSP, formally known as the Riparian Open Space Program, is a conservation easement program funded by Washington State and managed by the Department of Natural Resources.

DNR would like to provide an opportunity for property owners to show the level of interest in this program. DNR is asking landowners that may be interested in applying to RHOSP to submit a “Notice of Intent” form. DNR will gather this information to gauge the level of interest and provide that information to the State budget makers.

Since 2002, when funding first became available, there were 16 easements purchased that protect important habitat. Unfortunately, at this time RHOSP is unfunded.

The Legislature established RHOSP  in 1999 as a part of legislation implementing the Forests and Fish Rule. RHOSP enables the State to acquire conservation easements from willing forest landowners. The easement program acknowledges the importance of forest landowners and the contributions they make to protect habitat in channel migration zones of large rivers and habitat of threatened and endangered species as designated by the Forest Practices Board. The forest land that is eligible is land containing specific habitat that is currently restricted from timber harvest. The program compensates forest landowners for those trees that the landowner is required to leave unharvested within these important habitat areas as a result of forest practices rules protecting Washington’s forests and fish.

Submit a Notice of Intent to Apply to the Rivers and Habitat Open Space Program Online.

Please contact Dan Pomerenk at 360.902.1427 for additional information.