BLM’s O&C Land Plans

Greenwire has this item today:

BLM: Draft plans will dictate timber harvests on 2.6M acres in western Ore.

The new plans to be released by BLM will identify late-successional reserves designed to promote the old-growth forest ecosystem favored by owls, in addition to protected areas along streams and “harvest land base.”

The draft EIS tentatively adopts alternative “B,” which would split the harvest lands into zones for uneven-aged timber management as well as low- and moderate-intensity timber areas with regeneration harvest with varying levels of tree retention. The alternative would also designate 114 areas of critical environmental concern, where mineral development, off-highway vehicle use and other activities would be restricted.

4 Comments

  1. Not being signed up for Greenwire, I went to the BLM website to see what this was about. It is about the replacement of the Northwest Forest Plan with something having a “different purpose.”(http://www.blm.gov/or/plans/rmpswesternoregon/)

    “The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is revising the resource management plans (RMPs) for its Coos
    Bay, Eugene, Medford, Roseburg, and Salem Districts and the Lakeview District’s Klamath Falls Field
    Office. The 1995 RMPs are consistent with the 1994 Northwest Forest Plan, which the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture adopted for Federal forests within the range of the northern spotted owl. This RMP revision would replace the 1995 RMPs and thereby replace the Northwest Forest Plan for the management of BLM-administered lands in western Oregon. The purpose and need for this RMP revision are different from the purpose and need for the Northwest Forest Plan. As such, the action alternatives in this Draft RMP/EIS do not contain all elements of the Northwest Forest Plan.

    “The BLM conducted plan evaluations, which concluded that a plan revision is needed to address the
    changed circumstances and new information that has led to a substantial, long-term departure from the timber management outcomes predicted under the 1995 RMPs. Moreover, the BLM needs to revise
    existing plans to replace the 1995 RMPs’ land use allocations and management direction because of new scientific information and policies related to the northern spotted owl.

    “The northern spotted owl population is under severe biological stress in much of western Oregon and has an even chance of being extirpated from the Coast Range within 35 years. This population risk is
    predominately due to competitive interactions between northern spotted owls and barred owls. Under
    current barred owl encounter rates, the BLM has no opportunity through habitat management in the Coast Range to reduce risks to the northern spotted owl during the next 50 years, and there are no substantive differences among the alternatives in their potential effects on those risks. However, in the western Cascades and Klamath Basin, the BLM would contribute to self-sustaining northern spotted owl populations during the next 50 years under all alternatives.

    “All alternatives would result in an increase in the amount of marbled murrelet high-quality nesting habitat and total nesting habitat in 50 years. Alternatives A, B, and C would result in the loss of 96, 12, and 210 future marbled murrelet sites, respectively, as a result of timber harvest in the Harvest Land Base in the absence of surveys.

    “The allowable sale quantity (ASQ) under the alternatives would range from 120 million board feet per
    year under Sub-alternative B to 486 million board feet per year under Alternative C. Non-ASQ timber
    harvest volumes in the first decade would range from 4 million board feet per year under Alternative D to 122 million board feet per year under the No Action alternative.”

    (The “total harvest land base” decreases from No Action in all but one alternative, while the “total late-successional reserve” area increases in all alternatives. There does not appear to be a preferred alternative.)

  2. Thanks for the link Jon…I got lost in the maze of the BLM website last night.
    Fascinating look at the PNW. Couple observations.
    –O&C = 2.6 million acres.
    –Average harvest last 20 years= 167 MMBF/year. 95% of it was “thinning plantations” (sound familiar). BLM states there is only 10 years of that left. BLM’s stated need for revision is they never met timber harvest goals set in 1995. ALT. B would harvest 332 MMBF/year (ASQ and NON ASQ). 40% of volume would come from “variable retention” harvest (clearcut with some trees left) to create future “complex multi-story”…and yet 40% of volume would be from trees under 11” small end. 22% of area would be “suitable”…the rest old growth reserves(riparian ect.). Oh well, Weyerhaeuser has been thinning their plantations for decades.
    –We can’t lie to ourselves. The following shows the intensity of logging in the Timber Basket. Around 25% is in the 20-40 year age class…25% in the 50-70 year age class. I have no doubt that if Andy and company hadn’t stepped in, our fathers generation would have converted another 25% to a “fully regulated” 0-20 year age class instead of the current 2%. Find it strange that with 50% younger than 70 years…only 22% is now in the suitable. Who needs to log old growth? The BLM’s goal is still to hurtle their forest into a future of “complex O.G..”…for a species that will die off of natural causes. Under Alt. B, early seral habitat will triple from the current 2%…in about 20 years.
    –Of course, our generation’s gluttony dwarfed our fathers with starter homes of twice the square feet. We just got it from Canada (and a pretty good junk from O &C lands… considering it took 20 years from Earth Day to Judge Dwyer…I’d say a pretty good junk). Without our demand…we wouldn’t have Mexican drug lords either. I don’t know where the emerging Chinese middle class will get their timber from to live the same lifestyle our generation has so enjoyed. Has anyone noticed the somewhat Canadian timber company exodus from the MPB Basket of B.C.. In the last 5 years Camfor and Interfor have been on a bit of a buying binge of U.S. sawmills in the south. Strange that they didn’t bid on that wonderful plentiful cheap stumpage that is the 4FRI. Now…they could have made it happen!
    —Forgive my trademark sarcasm…it truly is my alter ego.

  3. I haven’t read the plan but I wonder if there are any provisions to keep them from getting sued by the environmental corporations. Anyone remember the last plan they spent years doing that never got off the ground? How is this one any different?

  4. The original WOPR was withdrawn by the Obama administration after the Bush administration tried to adopt it without consulting under the Endangered Species Act, and got sued for not doing so. That procedural error would be easy enough to correct, but the website does not say if consultation will occur this time. Presumably there have been some substantive changes made in the proposal during the four years since it was withdrawn, but BLM hasn’t discussed that in an obvious place (though some have referred to this effort as WOPR Jr). Here is an article on what happened in 2011:
    http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2011/07/blms_withdrawal_of_western_ore.html

    It reminds me of what happened to the 2000 Planning Rule developed under the Clinton administration and withdrawn by the Bush administration (because it was “unimplementable”). As the Sierra Club put it in their news release on the WOPR withdrawal, “Elections do matter.”

    (Derek – thanks for ferreting out some of the important numbers.)

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