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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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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Post-Election Thoughts About Our Forests?

With a new Republican President and a Republican-controlled Congress, how will this affect the Forest Service and the BLM? Regarding the picture: I did some processing with a High Dynamic Range (HDR) program to get this artsy view. It is interesting that it enhanced the flames better than in the original scan, from a Kodachrome …

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Who gets the most legal fees from the federal government?

Environmental groups barely register.  And it’s a good bet that the partner-named law firms on this list are not doing much public interest litigation. The article this is taken from was about the novelty of Earthjustice being on the list, and its focus on EPA.  It added: “Garcia said these fee awards play no role …

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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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Do elk need trees?

For many years, it has been pretty much common knowledge, supported by science, that as the amount of hunting season open roads increases, there is more need for cover for elk to hide.  The Helena National forest plan (and others) have incorporated this relationship into standards for elk security.  (Full disclosure – I had something …

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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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Utah to sue to get federal lands

Or at least they’ve set aside the money to pay for it (the lawsuit, not the land).  So what are they waiting for?  Maybe they are hoping a Trump administration would make it unnecessary? (Some of you would probably also like Heartland’s take on forest fires.  “But now, the Department of the Interior misinforms us, …

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Court holds up mining project after fire affects sensitive plant

On July 11, the Idaho federal district court reversed a Forest Service decision to approve a mining exploration project on the Boise National Forest. The legal issues arose when the Grimes Fire burned habitat for the Sacajawea bitterroot (abbreviated “LESA”), in an area supporting the largest population of a plant designated as a sensitive species …

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