Sage grouse planning do-over

This article discusses the last Trump/Zinke twist in the effort to prevent sage listing of the greater sage grouse under ESA.  While sage grouse habitat on federal lands is mostly under BLM jurisdiction, the Forest Service is also a big player, and 20 forest plans were amended in 2015 to include conservation measures that were …

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Litigation bi-weekly October 6 & 13

Litigation Weekly Oct 6 New cases WildlandsDefense_v_Seesholtz  –  Challenge to the North and South Pioneer Salvage and Reforestation Projects on the Boise NF for its analysis of bull trout, including ESA consultation, and for compliance with forest plan standards for soils and salvage harvesting.  (D. Idaho) EarthIslandInstitute_v_Elliott  –  Challenge to the Bull Run Roadside Hazard …

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What is Beyond the “Fog of War”?

There are scary and uncertain times ahead for our forests. There is just too much “Fog of War” going on for the public to sort out and fact-check for themselves. Even the ‘fact-checkers’ should be suspect, until proven reliable and bias-free. The rise of ‘fake news’ has blurred multiple lines, and many people, even in …

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New lawsuit on Arizona copper mine and jaguars

The Coronado National Forest has been sued by the Center for Biological Diversity for approving the Rosemont copper mine.  The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also a defendant because the issues involve ESA consultation on the mine. The Rosemont Mine would “significantly impact a number of endangered species and their remaining habitat, including one …

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Forest planning for hunting

“A number of environmental groups, including the Endangered Species Coalition, want to keep hunters who use packs of dogs out of public lands in Wisconsin, including the state’s national forests.  The groups say the hunters and their dogs have made the public lands inhospitable, and they want the federal government to launch an investigation into …

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Fuel treatments to save an endangered species

The case of the Mount Graham red squirrel seems to be another example of where everyone agrees that fuel treatments make sense.  According to the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, loss of habitat to fire is the primary threat to this species.  The draft recovery plan was revised in 2011 largely due to unanticipated …

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Wildlife and last year’s eastern wildfires

“Endangered snail survives devastating fall wildfires” and other stories from the Smoky Mountains. The snail was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1978. Before the fires, the only place in the world it was known to exist was a 2-mile stretch the southern side of the Nantahala River Gorge in Swain County. After …

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Court buys FS interpretation of viability for bighorn sheep

On July 31, the federal district court for Wyoming found that the revised Medicine Bow National Forest Plan met the requirement of the 1982 planning regulations to manage habitat “to maintain viable populations of existing native and desired non-native vertebrate species in the planning area.”  At issue was the meaning of additional language in the …

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When the locals pay for national forest fuel reduction …

Everybody wins? “So were Flagstaff officials prescient when they proposed what, at the time, was one of the first municipal partnerships with a national forest to have lands outside city boundaries thinned at city expense?” “Hindsight is 20-20, but it sure looks that way to us. Armed with a $10 million budget, the Forest Service …

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Forest Service wins A to Z

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court denial of a preliminary injunction for the North Fork Mill Creek A to Z Project on the Colville National Forest, which has been discussed here. Of note, the question of contractor-NEPA was not addressed, although the court said that the Forest Service “reviewed and approved” the EA, and …

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