California national monuments pay off, and are intact so far, but not DRECP

Here’s some anecdotal evidence supporting the economic arguments for national monument designation. Two years ago today, President Barack Obama created three new national monuments in the California desert: called Mojave Trails, Sand to Snow and Castle Mountains. Supporters held a community event to celebrate, noting that tourism to the area has increased significantly, as people …

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New Study About Forests Impacted by Extreme Mortality

http://academic.oup.com/bioscience/advance-article/doi/10.1093/biosci/bix146/4797261   Massive tree mortality has occurred rapidly in frequent-fire-adapted forests of the Sierra Nevada, California. This mortality is a product of acute drought compounded by the long-established removal of a key ecosystem process: frequent, low- to moderate-intensity fire. The recent tree mortality has many implications for the future of these forests and the ecological …

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Prescribed fire in wilderness

The Ten Cent Community Wildfire Protection Plan led to a fuel treatment proposal on the Umatilla and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests that included prescribed burning in the North Fork John Day Wilderness Area.  Objections included alleged violations of the Wilderness Act.  The objection decision included the following description of the process and requirements to conduct prescribed …

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Forest Service on the bandwagon to unprotect sage grouse

Time is running out to comment on the notice that initiated “the scoping process to solicit public comments on greater sage-grouse land management issues that could warrant land management plan amendments” on 15 national forests and grasslands.  (Comments are due Friday.)  The majority of sage grouse habitat is found on BLM lands (I think the …

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Forest Service to revise NEPA procedures

The Forest Service is proposing to revise its NEPA procedures (including its regulations at 36 CFR part 220, Forest Service Manual 1950, and Forest Service Handbook 1909.15) with the goal of increasing efficiency of environmental analysis. The Forest Service’s NEPA procedures were last reviewed in 2008 when the Agency moved a subset of its NEPA procedures …

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Review of collaborative restoration initiatives

The Forest Service funded a study (2 page summary here) of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program and the Joint Chiefs Landscape Restoration Partnership.  Of note (to me any way): Findings:  “Strong majorities said they had increased the pace and scale of restoration, improved ecological conditions, and reduced the threat of fire to communities.”  “61% said …

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What is Beyond the “Fog of War”?

There are scary and uncertain times ahead for our forests. There is just too much “Fog of War” going on for the public to sort out and fact-check for themselves. Even the ‘fact-checkers’ should be suspect, until proven reliable and bias-free. The rise of ‘fake news’ has blurred multiple lines, and many people, even in …

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Forest Service wins A to Z

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court denial of a preliminary injunction for the North Fork Mill Creek A to Z Project on the Colville National Forest, which has been discussed here. Of note, the question of contractor-NEPA was not addressed, although the court said that the Forest Service “reviewed and approved” the EA, and …

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Early seral wildlife species driving forest planning debate in the southeast

Here’s an in-depth article on the ongoing revision of the plan for the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, featuring the extent to which the Forest should provide early seral habitat (ESH). Many conservation advocates disagree over whether promoting this specific sort of habitat over others is desirable on a large scale. They also question …

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A conservation plan puts science ahead of politics

This story about the Pima County Arizona conservation planning effort isn’t directly about national forests, though there should have been (and probably was) coordination with the Coronado National Forest.  And my point here isn’t about the success of a conservation plan driven by the need to protect at-risk species (arguably an ESA success story).  It’s about the …

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