Revised management plan for Columbia River Gorge approved

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A new management plan that will guide future decisions and address urgent issues like climate change has been approved for the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports the Columbia River Gorge Commission approved a revised Management Plan Tuesday, marking just the second time it’s been updated in 29 years.

The 292,000-acre Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is shared by Oregon and Washington. It supports endangered salmon runs, has five major ecosystems supporting 800 species of flowering plants and hosts a diversity of wildlife.

The revised management plan includes new policies like doubling the size of protective steam buffers for salmon habitat, requiring an analysis if any of the 13 urban areas within the designated scenic area wants to expand and placing limits on the amount of land that can be used for urban development. It also adds greater restrictions on new construction in forest zones to reduce fire risks.

For the first time, the management plan requires a climate action strategy to continue to protect the region and adapt to changing climate. It also requires the development of diversity, equity and inclusion policies to help diversify the commissions, its staff, and develop an equity lens to make sure all voices are heard in the decision making process.