The NCFP blog has been quiet of late. Maybe a discussion of salvage logging will stir things up. This brief article notes that 250 acres of 5,607 acres burned on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are proposed for salvage. Instead of debating the pros and cons of salvage, I’d like to hear your thoughts on the size of the project. Does 250 acres — the maximum that qualify for a a categorical exclusion under HFRA — justify more than a year of project scoping and planning? And the inevitable objections, etc.?
Excerpt and link to scoping letter below….
Fire salvage logging proposed at Mount Adams
By The Columbian
Published: December 1, 2015, 9:12 AM
TROUT LAKE — Comments are being sought by Dec. 20 on a proposal by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest to do salvage logging on approximately 250 acres that burned in this summer’s Cougar Creek Fire.
The five proposed salvage units are roughly between Aiken Lava Bed on the west and Snipes Mountain and Bunnell Butte on the east.
The fire burned 54,000 acres of which 5,607 were on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Almost 3,000 acres of mature forest burned on Forest Service land.
A Forest Service team will evaluate the proposal during this winter. A decision in expected by late winter 2016.
For more information, call Ben Hoppus, team leader of the project, at 509-395-3405 or email him at email@example.com.
From the scoping letter:
Purpose and Need
The primary purpose of this project is to recover the commercial value in the dead and dying trees and to offer them as wood products. Revenue from those wood products would support local jobs and the economy. Following fire, wood quality can degrade rapidly, and trees lose their value as lumber. For this reason, any commercially viable harvest needs to occur as soon as possible. This project would also enable the acceleration of reforestation to promote an assemblage of tree species that is more resilient to natural disturbances.
The proposed action is to salvage dead and dying trees on 250 acres of the area burned by the Cougar Creek Fire. To fit the salvage definition under the NWFP ROD, stands were chosen that were greater than 10 acres and experienced a stand-replacing disturbance. Most of the trees in these stands have died or will die as a result of the fire.
Trees expected to survive and existing large downed logs would be left. A portion of the standing dead and dying trees, including all ponderosa pine snags, would be left at levels to be determined to provide habitat for snag-dependent wildlife. Snags may be left in patches to better emulate natural conditions.