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 …

Continue reading ‘IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND’ »

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. …

Continue reading ‘Even the 9th Circuit piles onto plaintiffs’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘Project complies with spotted owl recovery plan requirement in Shasta-Trinity forest plan’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘Wish you were on the Dixie?’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘Forest planning could promote efficiency by “standard work”’ »

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 …

Continue reading ‘Fish and Wildlife Service points forest planning towards less post-fire logging’ »

Tales of two trees

Whitebark pine is a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act (meaning that listing is warranted).  The U. S. Fish and Wildlife (and tree) Service has recently downgraded its priority for listing from 2nd priority to 8th. The primary threat to the species is from disease in the form of the nonnative white pine …

Continue reading ‘Tales of two trees’ »

Settlement: opening roads to motorized use requires NEPA (take 2)

It’s the Pike-San Isabel this time.  The issue appears to be “unauthorized and unanalyzed” routes.  It’s not clear whether those are two different things, but I think the point is that when a Motor Vehicle Use Map allows motorized use on user-created (“unauthorized?”) roads, the map becomes an authorization that triggers NEPA, ESA, NFMA consistency …

Continue reading ‘Settlement: opening roads to motorized use requires NEPA (take 2)’ »

California spotted owl listing process

As Larry mentioned a month ago, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made a positive 90-day finding on a petition to list the California spotted owl under ESA.  This means that listing may be warranted, and the agency is soliciting additional comments by November 17. The action was taken in response to a …

Continue reading ‘California spotted owl listing process’ »

Politicizing science – the view from the front lines

A survey from the Union of Concerned Scientists included employees of CDC, FDA, FWS and NOAA. A significant number of scientists (46 to 73 percent of respondents across agencies) reported that political interests at their agencies were given too much weight in their agencies.  Many scientists told us that scientific decisions were being swayed by …

Continue reading ‘Politicizing science – the view from the front lines’ »