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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The beginning of state management of national forests

A group of Western senators, including Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo, both R-Idaho, have introduced a bill to allow states to implement their own conservation plans to protect sage grouse and their habitats, in lieu of federal management. Congress would be allowing states to override the decisions by the Forest Service and BLM to …

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Resilient forests require change in “default” response to fire

Here is the key conclusion in an article published by the Ecological Society of America (the article specifically addresses “dry forests”): One of the most important and fundamental challenges to revising forest fire policy is the fact that agency organizations and decision making processes are not structured in ways to ensure that fire management is …

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Court protects frog from Freemont-Winema National Forest grazing

In a case with a long history, the Oregon district court enjoined grazing in a pasture on the Fremont-Winema National Forest to protect threatened Oregon spotted frogs and sensitive plant species. The frogs congregate in pools in late summer, and so do cattle.  The court found violations of both NFMA and ESA. The court held …

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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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National forest plans aid in removing bat from ESA list

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove the federally “endangered” status from the lesser long-nosed bat found in Arizona, New Mexico and Mexico.  Public lands play an important role in providing habitat, and federal land managers were among the “conservation partners anticipating that their 30-year recovery efforts have paid off.” In the …

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Lawsuit to stop federal highway on national forest lands

The Sierra Club filed the lawsuit to stop construction of the U.S. 70 Havelock bypass in North Carolina.  According to their attorneys, “The important thing here is that this part of the forest is one of the prime examples still of what used to be a very common landscape in the coastal plain, which is …

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IN SEARCH OF COMMON GROUND

It seems like an exercise in futility for the “New Century of Forest Planning” group to be discussing and cussing forest planning &/ policy when we haven’t even agreed to the scientific fundamentals that serve as the cornerstone and foundation for any such discussions. Below, I have developed a tentative outline of the high level …

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Do elk need trees? Maybe.

This is an update to a September 12 post “Do elk need trees?”  The Forest punted the issue to its forest plan revision: http://helenair.com/news/natural-resources/forest-service-withdraws-controversial-big-game-standard/article_e5e22d8b-41f3-535f-94e6-58e098c86958.html The first draft of the proposed Helena-Lewis and Clark revised forest plan punts elk security to project-level decision making. Here’s the draft guideline: “In order to influence elk distribution on NFS …

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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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