Wildlife and last year’s eastern wildfires

“Endangered snail survives devastating fall wildfires” and other stories from the Smoky Mountains. The snail was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1978. Before the fires, the only place in the world it was known to exist was a 2-mile stretch the southern side of the Nantahala River Gorge in Swain County. After …

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Court buys FS interpretation of viability for bighorn sheep

On July 31, the federal district court for Wyoming found that the revised Medicine Bow National Forest Plan met the requirement of the 1982 planning regulations to manage habitat “to maintain viable populations of existing native and desired non-native vertebrate species in the planning area.”  At issue was the meaning of additional language in the …

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Forest Service wins A to Z

The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court denial of a preliminary injunction for the North Fork Mill Creek A to Z Project on the Colville National Forest, which has been discussed here. Of note, the question of contractor-NEPA was not addressed, although the court said that the Forest Service “reviewed and approved” the EA, and …

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Early seral wildlife species driving forest planning debate in the southeast

Here’s an in-depth article on the ongoing revision of the plan for the Nantahala-Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina, featuring the extent to which the Forest should provide early seral habitat (ESH). Many conservation advocates disagree over whether promoting this specific sort of habitat over others is desirable on a large scale. They also question …

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9th Circuit takes out NFMA diversity requirement

In a 2-1 decision, which allowed the Big Thorne timber project to proceed on the Tongass National Forest, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court opinion that the Forest Service had complied with NFMA when it adopted forest plan direction related to managing old growth forest for deer to support viability of …

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Wildlife in Managed Forests

In a previous post titled “The response of the forest to drought” the questions led to the opportunity to bring us up to date on the current state of elk and the role that sound forest management can play. Here are some quotes from various sources some of which contradict what we have heard on …

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Forest Service and BLM slightly lose sage grouse lawsuit in Nevada

The state of Nevada, nine counties, three mining companies, and a private ranch challenged the adoption of greater sage grouse conservation measures in Forest Service and BLM land management plans.  Most of the agency actions were upheld in Western Exploration v. USDI (D. Nevada), including compliance with FLPMA requirements of BLM for multiple use and …

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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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