Forest Planning Update – February 2022

 

High Ecological Value Areas (yellow) – Ashley National Forest

 

Sharon just posted the news that the Custer-Gallatin revised forest plan has been released.   Here’s a few other bits and pieces of planning news.

Custer-Gallatin forest plan revision.  Here is a counterpoint:  “We have worked hard, jumped through all their hoops, hoping for a reasonable and sensible plan that will facilitate long-term viability of the forest’s biodiversity. One can also hope to see a Unicorn.” (Is this one of those who “never had any intent of collaborating on anything?”)

Nantahala-Pisgah forest plan revision.  I was pretty sure there was a recent post on this, but I couldn’t find it.  Here’s a counterpoint from the Southern Environmental Law Center:  “There is a lot of consensus on what the forest service says they should be doing and where it should be doing it and if they would operate within that social license, then they could complete that level of timber harvest without creating any problems. They basically declined doing that.”

Sierra and Sequoia forest plan revisions.  The Forest Service released their periodic update on the status of these revisions:  “We have reviewed the more than 7,000 responses we received during the 2019 comment period and have been updating the final revised forest plans and EIS in response to comments received and considering recent large wildfires in the plan area. Release of the final revised forest plans and final EIS for the Sequoia and Sierra National Forests is anticipated later this year.” 

Ashley forest plan revision.  Conservation Science Partners has completed a report for The Pew Charitable Trusts that identifies the relative ecological value of lands outside of protected areas based on a collection of key spatial data sets, including climate resiliency and carbon sequestration.  The comment period for the draft plan and EIS closes February 17.  (The resulting map is shown above.)

Blue Mountains forest plan revision.  The restarted process for the Malheur, Umatilla, and Wallowa-Whitman National Forests is moving again with the submission of new proposed “desired conditions” for the forests to the Blue Mountains Intergovernmental Council. The Forest Service formed the BIC, made up of county officials, tribal members and other stakeholders from the Blue Mountain region, after the agency’s proposed 2018 management plan revision fizzled in the face of intense public scrutiny. The Eastern Oregon Counties Association had listed eight main objections, including economics; access; management area designation; pace and scale of restoration; grazing; fire and salvage logging; coordination between agencies; and wildlife. Craig Trulock, Malheur National Forest supervisor, said he is not sure when the revision process would begin.

Wayne recreation amendment. The Wayne National Forest has adopted a Recreation Amendment to its Forest Plan which takes out direction from the Forest Plan and allows the Forest Supervisor to determine closure dates, allowing biking and horseback trail use to be extended based upon “weather and other factors.”  (I’m in favor of this kind of seasonal criteria being forest plan guidelines due to different conditions year to year, but if there is no longer anything in the forest plan, the public won’t know what those factors are, or how they would be applied.)

 

7 thoughts on “Forest Planning Update – February 2022”

  1. “Coordination” is going even better with county governments for the Lincoln National Forest plan revision:
    “This plan is not established to help people, it’s established to take the right to the land away from people,” Griffin said. “Unfortunately, that’s why I call the Forest Service a terrorist organization and you don’t sit down across the table and negotiate with the terrorists. I’m adamantly against it. That’s why I haven’t been a part of the teleconferences or the communications to this point other than the one, the special meeting (on Jan. 26).” https://www.alamogordonews.com/story/community/2022/02/14/otero-county-nm-lincoln-national-forest-plan-debate/6757619001/

    Reply
    • Jon, there is a tendency in this country for news folks to focus on the most extreme members of a given group. The side aspect of this tendency is not to engage with the group’s more moderate members who often have a point of view worth hearing. Just something I’ve noticed. I don’t think it helps our mutual understanding to focus on these folks… on either side.

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      • I agree, Sharon, that focusing on extreme views or findings doesn’t help our mutual understanding, but if we don’t offer constructive criticism/rebuttal, the extreme views gain acceptance. A good example is with cross-laminated timbers (CLTs). Oregon Wild and other environmental groups/individuals oppose the use of public timber to make CLTs — it’s just another excuse for destructive logging, it’s a giveaway to the greedy timber industry, etc. But a wide range of other viewpoints and science — such as on carbon sequestration and substitution for less environmentally friendly materials (steel and concrete) — have sidelined many opposing views.

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        • Hmm.. A. I see that as a different kettle of fish (load of logs?).
          Oregon Wild seems to be quite consistent. They don’t seem to want trees removed for commercial purposes. So… they don’t want them removed for CLT. I would expect that if there were a market for tree nanofibers for large batteries for solar and wind, they wouldn’t want trees removed for those reasons either.

          They might be OK with personal use firewood, but not sure. To me it’s a philosophical issue which can’t really be resolved using technical information.

          But highlighting the most extreme (FS as terrorists) example of county officials glosses over the fact that most of them are generally decent folks- and some are concerned with having a voice in decisions that affect them.

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          • I don’t disagree with your point, but my point was this kind of extremism is what coordination, cooperation and collaboration with local governments are up against, and I think calling that out is important.

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  2. Regarding the Ashley National Forest evaluation described above, Pew has indicated that this would be done (and may have been done by now) for each national forest. Whether or not a forest would choose to use it to help identify lands for particular kinds of management, it is arguably scientific information that pertains to the climate-related effects of how they choose to manage particular areas of land, and they should acknowledge and respond to it in some way in their NEPA process. Here is another example from the GMUG National Forest:
    https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/articles/2021/10/29/in-a-national-forest-in-colorado-many-ecologically-valuable-areas-lack-protection

    Reply
    • Clarification: Pew is conducting this evaluation of many of the forests revising their plans, but not every national forest in the country.

      Reply

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