County job description for biologist: “help us combat the radical environmental influence”

This job interview of a former Forest Service employee by Tuolumne County Supervisors didn’t go well. Supervisor Evan Royce noted he wanted to be explicit with Boroski, trying to make sure they are on the same page, by saying, “I think we have experienced a lot of extreme environmental influence on public lands policy and in …

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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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Science consistency review on the southern Sierra national forests

The draft revised Sierra, Sequoia and Inyo national forest plans include aggressive restoration programs across the forest, including logging areas of existing old forest structure to protect old forests and associated wildlife species.  The Forest Service has asked (unidentified) reviewers to look at the draft forest plans and draft EIS and address these questions in the …

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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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Owls/logging/fire debate in ongoing “collaboration” in Arizona

This story seems to deal with some substantive and procedural questions that are popular on this blog.  Environmental groups are offering alternatives that the Forest Service doesn’t seem interested in. Elson, the Flagstaff District Ranger, acknowledged that some parts of the FWPP plan do fly in the face of the Mexican spotted owl recovery plan’s …

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Tongass roadless rule exemption: facts matter

The Ninth Circuit has reversed the exemption of Alaska from the Roadless Area Conservation Rule.  The case highlights some limits on the role of politics in agency decision-making. While the dissent correctly asserts that “elections have consequences,” so do facts.  While Congress may choose to ignore them, the administrative and judicial branches may not.  The …

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Forest Service Must Re-initiate Consultation With USFWS on Lynx

This looks to have far-reaching effects on those National Forests within the “core habitats”. This looks like a forced settlement situation, where the Forest Service will probably pay dearly for their loss in court. http://cdn.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2015/06/17/13-35624.pdf Interesting: Although the court granted summary judgment to Cottonwood and ordered reinitiation of consultation, it declined to enjoin any specific …

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Northwest Forest Plan successes (Geos)

Under the 2012 Planning Rule, the best available scientific information must be used to inform the assessment, which is then to be used to determine the need to change a forest plan.  The Geos Institute has gotten out ahead of the pack with its ‘assessment.’  I’m most interested in this: “Scientists involved in the Northwest …

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The Forest Service as Noah

High-elevation headwater streams that provide refuge for native bull trout and cutthroat trout would remain cold enough even under the worst warming scenarios to protect and support them. These streams, in places like Central Idaho’s White Cloud Mountains, can carry these native trout through the global warming bottleneck – when many species will disappear – …

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