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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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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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 …

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Forest/BLM planning avoids sage grouse listing; states don’t like that

While the wisdom of Congress prevents the U. S. Fish and Wildlife from saying so, the agency’s draft of the decision to not list the greater sage grouse under ESA states: “The Federal Plans establish mandatory constraints and were established after notice and comment and review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Therefore, changes to the …

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Forest planning contributes to listing species under ESA

A recent federal court decision has invalidated the listing of the lesser prairie chicken.  A key reason for the court’s decision was that the Fish and Wildlife Service made an assumption that if it didn’t list the species, it would reduce the incentive for participation in a conservation plan.  The judge didn’t think that was …

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Forest Service actions lead to delisting threatened species

The Daniel Boone National Forest is being credited with securing recovery of the white-haired goldenrod.  Here is what the forest plan says: 1.C-Goal 2. Bring about the delisting of white-haired goldenrod. 1.C-Objective 2.A. Complete recovery plan recommendations relating to white-haired goldenrod sites. 1.C-Objective 2.B. Participate in the delisting procedure for white-haired goldenrod. That’s pretty simple, …

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Forest plans may prevent listings under ESA

Succinctly put by WildEarth Guardians:  “If the plans fall short of halting population declines and habitat destruction, then clearly the Endangered Species Act will be needed.” This story is about sage grouse, but the principle applies whenever public land management is an important contributor to an at risk species’ habitat.  That’s because one of the …

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