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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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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New national forest multiple use clears local permitting hurdle

The Deerfield wind energy project on the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont is a step closer to reality.  I wonder about the special use permit requirement that permits may be granted only if the proposed use cannot reasonably be accommodated on non-National Forest System lands.

Timber numbers in revised forest plans

If there is one thing the Forest Service should have learned from the last round of forest planning, it is that they should put realistic projections of timber volume in their forest plans.  These numbers are going to create expectations for the timber industry and Congress that will translate into pressure to produce that amount. …

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Even the 9th Circuit piles onto plaintiffs

On May 6, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the Montana district court’s opinion in Alliance for the Wild Rockies v. Weber.  The Flathead National Forest Precommercial Thinning Project would thin about 500 acres a year in bull trout grizzly bear and arguably lynx habitat, and the decision was based on a categorical exclusion. …

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