The Johnson Bar Salvage Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest has been approved by the Forest Service and the litigants. (Johnson Bar has been previously discussed here in several posts.)
Following the injunction, Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Cheryl Probert pulled the project and committed to a rewrite that was completed earlier this year. The environmental groups filed objections to the new logging plan, but those objections were resolved through negotiations between the agency, the environmental groups and timber companies.
“Nobody got 100 percent of what they wanted in this effort. But they have been really good about working through the process and understanding it’s in all of our best interests to get something done out there,” Probert said.
Bill Higgins of the Idaho Forest Group — one of the timber companies that successfully bid on the sale — estimated it will produce 25 percent to 40 percent of the original volume
“It’s not the best outcome,” he said. “The original project implementation on the schedule they were on was the desired outcome. This is making the best of kind of a bad situation.”
The project eliminates logging in areas that are visible from the river and places the groups feared were prone to erosion and landslides or areas that could degrade steelhead spawning habitat.
What’s not to like about this? Maybe only that they could have done this without the litigation step, but apparently the litigation step was needed to convince the Forest Service that it couldn’t just do what it wanted without a fight. (Anticipating Sharon’s argument, let’s assume that the timber purchasers and local governments were not formally “at the table,” but they were free to advise the Forest Service on what they wanted.)