A test of the 2014 insect and disease categorical exclusion

The Center for Biological diversity is suing the Tahoe National Forest for its decision on the Sunny South timber sale. The sale is designed to “reduce the extent and risk of insect infestations, as well as to reduce the negative effects of those infestations on forest health and resilience.” Plaintiffs allege, “Six (California spotted) owl territories …

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Should the Forest Service intervene on the side of environmental groups?

“Public interest groups filed a lawsuit Thursday, Sept. 15, challenging the city of Highland’s approval of the high-density Harmony development. The development sits at the confluence of Mill Creek and the Santa Ana River and is directly adjacent to San Bernardino National Forest lands and will bring more than 3,600 houses to 1,657 acres of …

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Another payoff from standards in forest plans

This time mandatory standards ensure that a proposed pipeline project will protect water quality: In Bath County, the Forest Service said an access road that impacts a wild brook trout stream, Laurel Run, “is unacceptable because it parallels the stream channel with the riparian corridor for much of its length and has numerous stream crossings.” …

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Natural Range of Variation in the southern Sierra national forests

So what did the Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo do to apply this planning rule requirement to terrestrial ecosystems?  I’ve just reviewed the draft plan and DEIS, and I don’t think I’ve got a good answer.  They don’t directly say what NRV is or how they determined it (at least in the places I’ve looked). The Bio-Regional …

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Remember the “Shovel Brigade?” Court unsettles settlement.

This was the Bundy gang of the 90s.  The Forest Service decided that it would not rebuild a washed out road along the Jarbridge River in Nevada to avoid impacting the now federally threatened bull trout.  The locals threatened to rebuild it themselves.  The issue in court became “who owns the road.” Under the Bush …

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Science consistency review on the southern Sierra national forests

The draft revised Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo national forest plans include aggressive restoration programs across the forest, including logging areas of existing old forest structure to protect old forests and associated wildlife species.  The Forest Service has asked (unidentified) reviewers to look at the draft forest plans and draft EIS and address these questions in the …

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Timber numbers in revised forest plans

If there is one thing the Forest Service should have learned from the last round of forest planning, it is that they should put realistic projections of timber volume in their forest plans.  These numbers are going to create expectations for the timber industry and Congress that will translate into pressure to produce that amount. …

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Court holds up mining project after fire affects sensitive plant

On July 11, the Idaho federal district court reversed a Forest Service decision to approve a mining exploration project on the Boise National Forest. The legal issues arose when the Grimes Fire burned habitat for the Sacajawea bitterroot (abbreviated “LESA”), in an area supporting the largest population of a plant designated as a sensitive species …

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Fire planning in the southern Sierras

This article describes the draft revised plans for the Inyo, Sierra and Sequoia national forests (from an ag industry perspective).  The way it characterizes the plans’ approach to fire, maybe this approach would make Robin Stanley happy: The preferred alternative, known as Alternative B, would replace wildland-urban defense and threat zones with a “risk-based wildfire …

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Even the 9th Circuit piles onto plaintiffs

On May 6, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Montana district court’s opinion in Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Weber.  The Flathead National Forest Precommercial Thinning Project would thin about 500 acres a year in bull trout grizzly bear and arguably lynx habitat, and the decision was based on a categorical exclusion. …

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