Colville NF poised to set records as timber harvest, restoration increase

This article from the Spokane Spokesman-Review, “Colville National Forest poised to set records as both timber harvest, restoration increase,” notes that “The forest is expected to yield 120 million board feet of forest products in 2018, compared to 70 million board feet in 2017, said Colville forest supervisor Rodney Smoldon.”

“Compare that to the two years before 2017, when the forest’s output didn’t reach 50 million board feet; or since the late 1990’s, when it struggled to offer 40 million board feet per year.

“Those advances haven’t come overnight, and have spanned several White House administrations and leadership changes in Congress.

“Smoldon said he credits the advances to a mixture of local collaboration and use of innovative management tools Congress has provided, including those in the 2014 Farm Bill. Those resources were motivated, in part, by hopes of expanding forest restoration work necessary to reduce the risk of wildfire in northeast Washington.”

Lots to discuss in the article, including the words of Mike Garrity, executive director of the Wild Rockies Alliance: “corporate welfare.” His group lost in court, so far, on a challenge of the project.

Jeff Juehl, national forest chair of Upper Columbia River group of the Sierra Club, raises a good point: that the Forest Service doesn’t have the budget to monitor the contractors doing the work (Vaagen Bros.). Does the Northeast Washington Forestry Coalition do some monitoring?

FYI, I picked a year at random to check past volumes — 1988, when the Colville cut 127 million BF.

10 Comments

  1. The article says that Jeff Juehl says that he thinks the Forest Service doesn’t have the budget to do the monitoring (a little different than what Steve says above”. Would be interesting to know what he is basing that on.

    • It says “He said he is concerned the forest service doesn’t have the budget to monitor the contractors doing the work, and doesn’t believe the science used for restoration projects is sound.” That would be my question, too, MofT, everyone is entitled to an opinion, I guess, but it’s hard for me to imagine a timber sale without sale administrators, in fact I think it would be illegal.
      On a side note, what is it with capitalization in this article? Has copy editing gone the way of the dinosaur?

  2. To provide some perspective:

    Here are stats for the Colville for FYs 2015-16

    Net annual growth—– 45.8 MMcf
    Mortality———- ———-40.7
    Gross annual growth—86.5
    Annual harvest———– 8.5

    Sources: Growth and Mortality, USFS FIA FIDO custom search accessed Aug 10, 2017.
    Harvest, USFS annual cut and sold reports., 2015, 2017

    The Colville is cutting 10% of the annual growth while 47% of the growth dies.

    Sources:

  3. From the DEIS for plan revision:

    “Annual timber volume harvested from the Colville, excluding fuelwood, has declined dramatically,from a high of almost 135 million board feet per year during the late 1980s to about 44 million board
    feet. Harvest on all other ownerships has also declined during the same period.”

    “The 1988 Colville National Forest Plan describes the long-term sustained yield (LTSY) for the forest at 170.7 million board feet (MMBF) per year with an annual allowable sale quantity (ASQ) of 123 MMBF.”

    Proposed revised plan LTSY = 97.5 MMBF, ASQ = 67.6 MMBF, projected wood sale quantity = 62.1 MMBF, projected timber sale quantity (subject to ASQ) = 48.4 MMBF

  4. I was browsing through Google Maps, looking at the Colville National Forest. I ran across several spots that were interesting, to me.

    I saw this thinned patch of forest, and zoomed in, to get a better look. I’ve never seen such a thinning project using cable logging turn out so well!
    https://www.google.com/maps/@48.6754556,-117.6245328,196m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    The Forest has some spots with incredible densities.
    https://www.google.com/maps/@48.6804912,-117.6110673,137m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

    It certainly looks like the Colville has plenty of…. trees.

    • For whatever it’s worth, here’s a wider view of the spot “with incredible densities” that Larry wanted us to focus in on. Larry’s spot was pretty much where it says Colville NF on the map. Notice the tremendous amount of habitat fragmentation in the entire area. Also, many of the clearcuts on the left/west side of this image are on private land.

        • Seriously, though, I have no experience in a forest like on the Colville. I did learn that my experience in dry forests doesn’t often translate over to more northern forests. If fire resistance/resilience is a goal, they have a lot of work ahead of them. Biomass projects would be my guess as to what we should be making a priority. Maybe some creative packaging could bundle some commercial thinning units in with the biomass? The cable project probably took some merchantable trees, while leaving good trees with good spacing.

  5. The Colville name came from Andrew Colvile, a Governor of the Hudson Bay Company.   In 1872, an Executive Order identified the tribal confederation with the word “Colville. ” Elections Chairman and Colville Business Council member Jack Ferguson said today.

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