IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND

It seems like an exercise in futility for the “New Century of Forest Planning” group to be discussing and cussing forest planning &/ policy when we haven’t even agreed to the scientific fundamentals that serve as the cornerstone and foundation for any such discussions. Below, I have developed a tentative outline of the high level …

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Lawsuit will question fuel breaks

The Los Padres National Forest has proposed the Santa Barbara Mountain Communities Defense Zone Project. “The desired condition for chaparral is to establish a diversity of shrub age classes in key areas near communities to improve the effectiveness of fire suppression operations. Adequate defensible space around communities could greatly reduce the risk of structure loss, …

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County job description for biologist: “help us combat the radical environmental influence”

This job interview of a former Forest Service employee by Tuolumne County Supervisors didn’t go well. Supervisor Evan Royce noted he wanted to be explicit with Boroski, trying to make sure they are on the same page, by saying, “I think we have experienced a lot of extreme environmental influence on public lands policy and in …

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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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