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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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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Forest planning for federal land ownership

The Superior National Forest has received a notice of intent to sue over a land exchange that would allow development of a mine on the former national forest lands. The notice involves federally listed wolves and lynx. My question was whether the exchange is consistent with the forest plan as required by NFMA. The Superior …

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National forest plans aid in removing bat from ESA list

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove the federally “endangered” status from the lesser long-nosed bat found in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.  Public lands play an important role in providing habitat, and federal land managers were among the “conservation partners anticipating that their 30-year recovery efforts have paid off.” In the …

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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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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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Project complies with spotted owl recovery plan requirement in Shasta-Trinity forest plan

The Eastern California district court upheld the Harris Project on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest on Feb. 26. The project would treat about 2800 acres in northern spotted owl habitat. The Forest Service determined that the project would be “not likely to adversely affect” spotted owls, and the Fish and Wildlife Service concurred. The court found …

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Wish you were on the Dixie?

The Utah federal district court upheld the Dixie National Forest decision on the Iron Springs Project (argued at a hearing in July 2014) in Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Bulletts. The Project involves a range of vegetation management activities including intermediate harvest treatments, salvage of timber killed by or dying as a result of …

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Forest planning could promote efficiency by “standard work”

The Colorado Department of Transportation and U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service have developed a new process for protecting federally listed species. “When fully implemented, the improvements made through SWIFT will also save CDOT hundreds of hours of report writing and tens of thousands of dollars of consulting fees every year.” “SWIFT is a programmatic …

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Fish and Wildlife Service points forest planning towards less post-fire logging

Yesterday, the Center for Biological Diversity shared its displeasure with pending timber sales on the Klamath National Forest. It also cited a previous letter from the FWS making recommendations regarding the same project. Together they point out the importance of forest planning to recovery of listed species. Under the Endangered Species Act, each proposed project …

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