This article describes a lawsuit by the Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council over the East Deer Lodge Valley Landscape Restoration Management project on the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest in Montana. It is interesting that the project is “part of a restoration effort that began in 2006. That’s when the Forest Stewardship Program — made up of eight entities including the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Powell County commissioners; and Trout Unlimited — approached the Forest Service about the idea of working together to improve the banks of the Clark Fork River.”
The project area is about 40K acres, and commercial salvage and commercial thinning would occur on about 2,500 acres.
Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Native Ecosystems Council lay out their objections in detail in the complaint. They oppose the project for a number of familiar reasons — the harvesting, threats to grizzly bears and lynx, threats to water quality, and so on. What I’d like to know is this: If these two groups were the land managers, what would they do? Nothing. An objection letter states that “We recommend that the “No Action Alternative” be selected.” The groups describe significant environmental problems that already exist — sediment in streams from roads, low-quality wildlife habitat, etc. Have the groups proposed an alternative management plan, other than “no action”?