A conservation plan puts science ahead of politics

This story about the Pima County Arizona conservation planning effort isn’t directly about national forests, though there should have been (and probably was) coordination with the Coronado National Forest.  And my point here isn’t about the success of a conservation plan driven by the need to protect at-risk species (arguably an ESA success story).  It’s about the …

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Forest Service and BLM slightly lose sage grouse lawsuit in Nevada

The state of Nevada, nine counties, three mining companies, and a private ranch challenged the adoption of greater sage grouse conservation measures in Forest Service and BLM land management plans.  Most of the agency actions were upheld in Western Exploration v. USDI (D. Nevada), including compliance with FLPMA requirements of BLM for multiple use and …

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9th Circuit upholds EA for Shasta-Trinity logging project

The mantra I always use to hear was don’t use an EA if you might get sued.  Maybe things are different now?  Or maybe this was just one of those EAs that looked a lot like an EIS. The Project’s proposed treatment methods will retain all existing snags greater than 15 inches in diameter, “unless …

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Fremont-Winema wins sucker lawsuit

In Oregon Wild v. Cummins, the Oregon district court upheld the Fremont-Winema National Forest’s compliance with the requirement of INFISH to “modify grazing practices … that retard or prevent the attainment of [Riparian Management Objectives (“RMOs”)] or are likely to adversely affect inland fish.”   The court quoted a prior case for INFISH requirements: “INFISH contemplates …

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Mendocino N. F. loses HFRA project lawsuit

The Eastern District of California District Court has reversed a decision by the Mendocino National Forest to implement the Smokey Project, which would include fuel and vegetative treatments intended to further habitat and fire management goals and contribute to the MNF’s timber production goals (Conservation Congress v. U. S. Forest Service). The project was located …

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Custer-Gallatin wins salvage logging lawsuit

On Feb. 6, Judge Molloy in the Montana District Court upheld the Custer National Forest’s  use of the categorical exclusion applicable to projects not exceeding 250 acres for the Whitetail Salvage Project.  In Native Ecosystems Council v. Weldon he found that even though it was the third project in the area affected by the 2012 Ash …

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The beginning of state management of national forests

A group of Western senators, including Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both R-Idaho, have introduced a bill to allow states to implement their own conservation plans to protect sage grouse and their habitats, in lieu of federal management. Congress would be allowing states to override the decisions by the Forest Service and BLM to …

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Resilient forests require change in “default” response to fire

Here is the key conclusion in an article published by the Ecological Society of America (the article specifically addresses “dry forests”): One of the most important and fundamental challenges to revising forest fire policy is the fact that agency organizations and decision making processes are not structured in ways to ensure that fire management is …

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Court protects frog from Freemont-Winema National Forest grazing

In a case with a long history, the Oregon district court enjoined grazing in a pasture on the Fremont-Winema National Forest to protect threatened Oregon spotted frogs and sensitive plant species. The frogs congregate in pools in late summer, and so do cattle.  The court found violations of both NFMA and ESA. The court held …

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