Request for Posts: Ideas for a New Administration

It’s that time again… I’m looking for contributions on “ideas for a new administration”. A blog post is 500-700 words. I’m sure many of you have ideas. Why share them on The Smokey Wire?

We can help you refine your ideas through our usual vigorous exchange and review. My thinking is that any administration tends to hear from the folks on “their side” of issues, and they could potentially be limiting the ideas that they consider. We can also help you think of ways your idea could be implemented (statutory or rule change, etc.)

The Forest Service (as well as other institutions) is not always known as a place where creative ideas are greeted with enthusiasm, so any current employees may find a supportive environment for their creativity here.

Here are some possible ticklers:

(1) One candidate said that his goal is to unite people across partisan lines. Maybe the other candidate will decide to do that also? What programs or processes would you suggest to convert that idea from words to behavior? What metrics could we use to rate him on this in four years?

(2) What do you see as a “low hanging fruit” that would help save money or make things run better?

(3) What is something that could really help federal lands and the people who manage them, but neither party has been interested in. Possibly because politically there is no powerful group pushing for it and the political calculus doesn’t work out to push it. But.. it would help.

Please send potential posts to my email. It’s under the donate widget to the right. All can add more ticklers or brief ideas below. For whatever reason you might wish to do so, anonymous submissions are welcome.

10 thoughts on “Request for Posts: Ideas for a New Administration”

  1. One thing that remains very clear is that Americans need more education about our National Forests. “Forest Management” can mean many, many things, depending on the vegetation. I hope that Biden will provide targeted funding, rebuild USFS capacity and restore expertise. I did like how Obama/Biden didn’t ‘meddle’ in Forest Service issues, letting the experts try to craft solutions, under the severe limitations an enemy Congress imposed. Sadly, the Forest Service will not get the funding needed, under any scenario. “Pace and Scale”?… pshaw!

    • My experience was that the Obama administration was involved in FS issues, whether you liked the way they did it, and or their predilections or not.

      Example 1. When the 2001 Roadless Rule was enjoined, projects that would not have been allowed under it were sent to DC for approval, and they’d be approved if.. they met the requirements of the enjoined Rule.

      Example 2. 2012 Planning Rule. My experience was that planners were more left alone for the 2005 Rule and the opinions of key interest groups to the Admin dominated the 2012.

      Example 3. I particularly remember what seemed at the time to be a very tight rein and processes for hiring for a period of time, I think “draconian” was the word I thought but did not say.

      My point being that in some categories of work (both the goal and the way it was carried out), the Obama administration was more involved than the Bush administration. And each administration has the right to do that, I’m not saying it’s inappropriate.

      • Historically, I would say that Republican administrations have been more likely to leave the Forest Service alone because it (meaning all of its professional foresters that were in charge) tended to do what Republican donors wanted – active management that produced profits (and incidentally, jobs). While the make-up of agency leadership has changed, active management bias still predominates (they still learn that in school, but more importantly because that’s what gets them a budget). “Local control” still has a lot of influence the same direction on the agency. So I think it is still more likely that a Democratic administration is going to want a firmer hand on the tiller.

    • Thanks, Mike! That’s the exact kind of thing I was thinking. I’ll ask some LE folks for some ideas of what and how much exactly they need. If you know of anyone who might give us some ideas, please ask them to email me or post here.

  2. My answer to #2. “One size fits all” species conservation measures in multiple forest plans to save lots of time and work (and rework after litigation) on projects inventing their own kinds of wheels. If it’s usually a bad thing, just don’t do it. If it’s really that important to do something different, then it’s worth amending the plan.

    • You mean take a species, figure out the best approach, then get all the forests to adopt an amendment about the species (perhaps allowing for forests to be somewhat different based on a documented review of different conditions)?

      • Exactly. And most of the science work has been done for at-risk species, and conservation strategies written. They just need to be adapted to national forest management and approved in a public process. No surprise if this looked a lot like Canada lynx (where not all of the scientific recommendations were adopted, but arguably enough for the Fish and Wildlife Service to consider delisting).

        • We had some respected, wise and knowledgeable wildlife biologists negotiating this with FWS. If at the end of the day, the decision makes sense, it is because of their work.

  3. The FS should bring back the green sheet small sales contract to make it easier for FS to sell small amounts of wood products. I think they would be amazed what this would do stimulate the local economy.
    The FS should try harder to put fires out during July and August when they start and are small. They should also do more to try and contain them within the drainage where there start.


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