9th Circuit upholds EA for Shasta-Trinity logging project

The mantra I always use to hear was don’t use an EA if you might get sued.  Maybe things are different now?  Or maybe this was just one of those EAs that looked a lot like an EIS. The Project’s proposed treatment methods will retain all existing snags greater than 15 inches in diameter, “unless …

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Fremont-Winema wins sucker lawsuit

In Oregon Wild v. Cummins, the Oregon district court upheld the Fremont-Winema National Forest’s compliance with the requirement of INFISH to “modify grazing practices … that retard or prevent the attainment of [Riparian Management Objectives (“RMOs”)] or are likely to adversely affect inland fish.”   The court quoted a prior case for INFISH requirements: “INFISH contemplates …

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Forest Service wins 2

The Forest Service turned back a challenge on the Manti-La Sal National Forest to its management of a research natural area in Utah Native Plant Society v. U. S. Forest Service. The state of Utah had introduced mountain goats outside of the national forest boundary, over the objections of the Forest Service that they could …

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Mendocino N. F. loses HFRA project lawsuit

The Eastern District of California District Court has reversed a decision by the Mendocino National Forest to implement the Smokey Project, which would include fuel and vegetative treatments intended to further habitat and fire management goals and contribute to the MNF’s timber production goals (Conservation Congress v. U. S. Forest Service). The project was located …

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Custer-Gallatin wins salvage logging lawsuit

On Feb. 6, Judge Molloy in the Montana District Court upheld the Custer National Forest’s  use of the categorical exclusion applicable to projects not exceeding 250 acres for the Whitetail Salvage Project.  In Native Ecosystems Council v. Weldon he found that even though it was the third project in the area affected by the 2012 Ash …

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Court slams Forest Service wilderness decision

The federal district court in Idaho has ruled against the state’s use of helicopters to collar elk in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. In Wilderness Watch v. Vilsack it held that the Forest Service failed to consider the cumulative impacts of a one-year proposal when it knew the state intended this to be …

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Fracking on the Wayne protested

This would be the first approval of fracking on this national forest, and it required a supplemental information review of the impacts of fracking, because that was not addressed in the 2006 forest plan.  I was curious about how the analysis would address the potential for earthquakes, based on what has been happening in Oklahoma. …

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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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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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