431 Western North American Tree News

–Today for you 31 news articles about earth’s trees! (431st edition) http://forestpolicyresearch.com

–To Subscribe / unsubscribe to email format send blank email to:
earthtreenews-subscribe@lists.riseup.net OR earthtreenews-unsubscribe@lists.riseup

–Deane’s Daily Treeinspiration texted to your phone via: http://twitter.com/ForestPolicy

Index:

–Pacific Northwest: 1) Economic reality,

–British Columbia: 2) Fish Hearts fail due to lack of streamside shade, 3) Pine Beatle and carbon sequestration, 4) Illegal community forest planning, 5) Letter to Minister Bell regarding forest issues, 6) Corporations make money off REDD,

–Washington: 8) Logging in Mount Spokane Park,9) Lake Whatcom Landscape Plan,

–Oregon: 10) Misusing forest science to argue for logging old growth, 11) Cont. by Gerge Wuernther, 12) State board to rewrite plan for more logging, 13) Industry and enviros agree? 14) Economy a threat to small woodlot owners, 15) Senator-elect Jeff Merkley speaks, 16) Note scrawled on a loader leads to terror scare, 17) WOPR treesit protest in Salem, 18) BARK is in the news again,

–California: 19) Green Diamond plans for 5000 houses on forestland, 20) UCSC treesit celebrates one year of resistance,21) Cont. 22) Save the Redwoods this Christmas, 23) 20 acres of old growth protected, 24) New Land acquisition in Humboldt county, 25) More park bond measures, 26) State’s official recommendations regarding fires in Santa Cruz, 27) 235-acre Timber Harvest Plan

–Montana: 28) 9th Circuit rejects enviro challenge of first healthy forest restoration act timber sale, 29) State wildlife officials propose removing insect-damaged trees from Mount Haggi,

–Colorado: 30) Lynx plan will reduce logging

–Southwest: 31) Mexican Spotted Owl

Articles:

Pacific Northwest:

1) Thanks to the recent financial crisis, somewhat an encore of a very similarly structured one that followed the transPacific lending, logging, building boom of the 1980s, and one with a lot of similarity the financial crises for Japan and America in the 1990s. I’ve been putting together a primer and field guide for anyone seeking answers to Kipling’s classic questions of what, when, where, why, how, and who. The Economist once asked whether we make the same financial mistakes again and again, or is each unique? The answer in both cases, The Economist concluded, is yes. We make the same mistakes over and over again, and every encore is unique. I think that’s so. But I also think that the basic script, played out on stages on both sides of the North Pacific and beyond, is a persistently repeated and spectacle where the forests fall first, and the banks fall just later enough to make the connection from forest to finance extremely difficult for the casual observer to perceive. This drama is escalated to boom scale by massive infusions of capital from the lending industry, and brings down banks galore. Knowing what I know or think I know about this drama after the past couple decades of watching and taking notes, I thinks it’s good enough for everyday discourse to say that the forests may as well fall directly on banks. But we all know that the crushing consequences have never stopped there. As became especially clear to Americans with the collapse of U.S. President George W. Bush’s much-touted “ownership society,” the forests may as well have also fallen directly on the dreams of millions of homebuyers, would-be retirees who knowingly or otherwise pinned their aspirations on the financial economy, and the millions ultimately forced to bail out fractured financial systems.For some, the very idea of any important, potent connection from falling forests to failing banks will forever be preposterous. I’ve done no credible poll, but my strongest hunch is that logging industry chieftains will likely insist that they had no reason whatever to suspect that, first from 1981 through 1988, and then again circa 2001 through 2008, the wood they were selling was headed straight for a debt-financed construction binge, and that there were risks to the finances of nations lurking out there on the horizon. Now, a sawyer or feller-buncher out in the woods might have high credibility if denying guilty knowledge of home foreclosures and bank rescues coming down the road. Well, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the crème de al crème in the elite corner offices of logging empires attempt the same confession of ignorance. http://redstaterebels.org/2008/11/of-lending-and-logging/

British Columbia:

2) UBC study establishes formula for predicting climate change impact on salmon stocks University of British Columbia researchers have found a way to accurately predict the impact of climate change on imperilled Pacific salmon stocks that could result in better management strategies. The findings, among the first to quantify a relationship between river temperature and salmon mortality rate, are published in the current issue of the journal Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. While climate change and rising river temperatures have been linked to dwindling salmon stocks, other factors have made it difficult to measure the exact impact – these including diseases, fisheries and man-made structures such as dams and fish ladders. “Calculating the affect of climate change on animal fitness has been particularly challenging for scientists,” says lead author Tony Farrell, who is jointly appointed in the Dept. of Zoology and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. “Animals have a thermal window, or high and low temperatures between which they are at their best for aerobic activities. Our study has shown that high temperatures push certain sockeye salmon stocks beyond their thermal window, resulting in cardiovascular failure and death,” says Farrell. Led by Farrell and Prof. Scott Hinch in the Dept. of Forest Sciences and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, the UBC team has been studying Pacific salmon using biotelemetry trackers for a decade. They have identified the optimal thermal windows for several species of Pacific salmon, which coincide with the historic temperatures the fish would have encountered while migrating in the river. In 2004, unusually warm river temperatures and earlier entry into the Fraser River system contributed to the “disappearance” of 70 per cent of the Weaver Creek sockeye stock. “We analyzed river temperature data and the sockeye’s migration dates and found that almost half of the population likely experienced temperatures that would cause a complete collapse of aerobic scope,” says Farrell. “In contrast, the Gates Creek sockeye stock, which have a higher thermal window, experienced few problems with the same high river temperatures that year.” In further investigations, the UBC team captured and placed individual fish in holding tanks of varying temperatures to simulate traversing different river temperatures before releasing them simultaneously back to the migratory run. Fish released from a high holding temperature were half as successful as those from colder environments at reaching their spawning grounds. In a separate study, fish were intercepted during migration and implanted with biotelemetry trackers. None of the tracked salmon survived after release at river temperatures above the thermal window (at 19.5 degrees Celsius). Fish released at a cooler river temperature – one within the thermal window – later in the summer had much greater survival rates. “This study shows that an increase over the past 50 years of 1.8 degrees Celsius in the Fraser River’s peak summer temperatures is too much too fast for some salmon stocks,” says Farrell. Contact: Brian Lin brian.lin@ubc.ca 604-822-2234

3) For many decades, he and thousands of others in this part of central B.C. have drawn their livelihoods from the forests, but those forests are dying. With the mountain pine beetle killing off virtually all of the pine in the area, Mr. Long calculated that the annual allowable cut will drop by 50% in coming years. His business as a forest policy consultant was at risk of dying with the trees. He needed something new, and others in the area did, too. So Mr. Long teamed up with a small group of colleagues and competitors to look for ways to resurrect profit from the forest carnage. What they came up with makes them the latest in a small but growing group of Canadians to spot opportunity in global warming. With the help of Jeff Calvert, an MBA student who devised the plan, Mr. Long and eight other industry players — including foresters, tree-planters, auditors and consultants — formed Borealis Carbon Offsets Ltd. Their mission: to sell their trees’ ability to suck greenhouse gases from the atmosphere into the fast-growing voluntary offsets market. “If you look at the amount of sales in carbon it’s skyrocketing. It’s so bright you don’t have to wear shades. You gotta wear welding goggles,” said Duane Maki, a partner in Borealis who serves as CEO of tree-planting company Spectrum Resource Group. “So we see lots of opportunity. And we believe this is going to take right off.” Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc, the British maker of products like Lysol and Clearasil, paved the way with a similar project in the area — it plans to plant two million trees over 15 square kilometres. And Borealis is not the first Canadian company to attach its hopes to the multi-billion-dollar market, which has leapt to prominence as companies seek to escape carbon penalties and burnish their environmental images. North Vancouver-based Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc., (ERA) which plants trees in the province’s Lower Mainland and sells offsets to Air Canada, rock bands and movie studios, is perhaps the best-known domestic competitor. Some carbon experts are skeptical of the claims made by those tree-planting for carbon — especially since the risk of fires and pests make it difficult to guarantee the carbon will really be sucked up over eight decades. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=95da9282-1df2-4eff-bbee-2398c1c571c2

4) We would like to comment on a recent article in the Creston Valley Advance (Community Forest Gets License Upgrade) concerning the Creston Valley Forest Corporation. It concerns your administration’s issuance of a contentious 99-year community forest license agreement within the boundaries of four community watersheds and Watershed Reserves, a license which we have reported on, criticized, and objected to for ten years. Two and a half years ago, in your prior portfolio as Minister of Agriculture and Lands, you received a copy of our book, From Wisdom to Tyranny: A History of B.C.’s Drinking Watershed Reserves. You were the only Minister, aside the Ministers of Forests and Environment, who sent us a written reply: “The exhaustive amount of effort you have put into this work is admirable. I have forwarded it to staff in the ministry for their review and reference.” (June 28, 2006) Within the book are copies of old Forest Atlas and Legal Survey maps of the Watershed Reserves (pages 113, 114) that are now within this community forest license. These Reserves, numbered at over three hundred in the early 1980s, were to legislatively protect community drinking watersheds from all dispositions, the same legislation that protected and protects the provincial Ecological Reserves. In fact Arrow Creek, which now makes up the majority of the community forest license tenure, was, under the banner of “No Timber Sales”, fortified under three separate protections: a Watershed Reserve; a Game Reserve; and a Health District. Sometime in the 1960s the designations of Game Reserve and Health District, which prevented human access, mysteriously disappeared under the Social Credit administration. Much of the scandals and controversies regarding the invasion of the provincial Watershed Reserves established under the Land Act are detailed in Chapter 8 of the book, details which derive from Ministries of Forests’ and Environment records. In that chapter is also a discussion of the regional planning process behind the East and West Kootenay Boundary Land Use Plans conducted in the early 1990s, in which new logging objectives in all the affected and protected community watersheds were set, including those community drinking water lands now held by the Creston Valley Forest Corporation. We discovered that provincial government planners who sat at the Land Use planning tables, who were legally bound to bring all information forward, secretly kept some information from reaching the planning table, by failing to inform the public about the Watershed Reserves. What we infer from this neglect, intentional or otherwise, that it rendered the Land Use Plans and related management planning illegal, from the perspective of lands bounded by these Reserves. http://www.alternatives.com/bctwa

5) Old growth forests on the southern BC coast have already been reduced to below the minimum required to maintain biodiversity and keystone habitat, and everyone living in reality recognizes that by now, I hope. The trouble is, this has immensely increased the pressure to harvest the second growth forests at lower elevations long before they have reached maturity, and this is perhaps an even greater economic and ecological disaster than the dwindling old growth. Why? Because second growth forests are also the future source of potential old growth habitat at low elevations, and the quality of wood needed for value-added manufacturing, at least the kind of value-added manufacturing that employs skillful woodworkers, continues to plummet. It’s impossible to make traditional high-value wood furniture, windows, doors, boats,  etc. out of the sappy young wood now being harvested in immature plantations. Since I make my living with wood, I really do see that the state of our forests continues to be one of incremental decline: not only in the quality of wood being produced by younger forests, but also in the amount of carbon being sequestered and stored per hectare, a crucial factor in  combating the dangerous climate changes looming on the horizon. Young trees and understory vegetation simply do not absorb as much CO2 as more mature forests, in spite of what Rick Slaco or the BC Competition Council says. After all, that’s what the forestry term “culmination age” really means. This on average is at least around 125+ years in managed Douglas Fir, somewhere around 250+ in managed Red Cedar. But Industry is now chopping it all down at 60 or less, eliminating the very best years of tree growth entirely, disturbing and eliminating carbon sinks, and dismantling critical forest structure for biodiversity as well. This is a crime of immense proportions, inflicted against present and future generations. Until government and industry make a strong legal commitment to end this premature extraction, and grow more mature forests on longer ecological rotations, we will continue to go rapidly downhill, both economically and ecologically, until the once-great forests of coastal BC are as thin as green paint. David Shipway, Secretary – Cortes Ecoforestry Society – cortecos@island.net

6) Robert Falls, CEO of Ecosystem Restoration Associates Inc., says he believes that his firm will get a major boost from a September meeting in New York — Protecting Rainforest Communities and Our Climate, which focused on the impact of deforestation on global warming. “The initial thing that came out of this is that it’s finally recognized that greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation is larger than emissions from vehicles, aircraft, ships and trains combined,” Falls, who attended the two-day event, said in an interview. “And we’re in the business of restoring and protecting forest ecosystems. This is critical for our company.” Falls said the event, which gathered together many global leaders (including two Nobel laureates: former U.S. vice-president Al Gore and and Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement), reinforced the idea that in addressing the challenge of climate change, “forest restoration and forest protection play an essential role in climate change mitigation.” Essentially, Falls said, his company ERA provides a “truly green climate solution” by implementing a system that generates carbon offsets through ecosystem restoration for local governments or organizations. The process, he said, combines tree planting and other land-restoration measures to increase biodiversity, remove invasive species and restore water systems without using taxpayer dollars. ERA maintains their work is important because the United Nations estimates that deforestation accounts for about 20 per cent of annual global greenhouse gas emissions. “The most viable way to remove large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere is through the photosynthetic action of healthy forest ecosystems,” Falls said. “ERA restores degraded forests and protects them for the long term.” http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/business/story.html?id=105d9ea2-4284-4b6b-89f6-6eb0cbe74fe5

Washington:

8) Forest “doctors” are using chainsaws this fall to improve the health of Mount Spokane State Park. The work is designed to enhance habitat while removing forest fuels that can cause dangerous wildfires. “We had a meeting up here Monday to show interested people what we were doing and that eased their fears,” said Steve Christensen, park manager. “They thought we were logging, but we’re just thinning, primarily small grand fir that’s taking over in some places.” Washington State Parks officials have been planning the forest health project in the 13,821-acre park since 2006, said Rob Fimbel, the agency’s chief of natural resource stewardship. Although only 50-60 acres will be treated this fall, plans call for thinning on about 1,000 acres primarily on the southwest side of the mountain, Fimbel said. “Most people won’t even know we’ve been in there,” Fimbel said. “Primarily, we’re removing small grand fir less than 5 inches in diameter that create a potential ladder for fire to climb into the forest canopy. “We’ll leave patches untouched with the goal to maintain or improve wildlife habitat as we go.” The planning effort surveyed 4,200 acres of the park, by about 75 percent of that area was considered too rugged or inaccessible to treat, he said. “Basically, we might cause more problems than we would solve by going in there,” he said. “In the future, we might prescribe small areas for fire.” First snow: Tuesday marked the first work day of the season for Mount Spokane State Park snow plows. “We had to get out and clear about three inches of snow off the roads,” Christensen said. Washington Sno-Park permits will be required on vehicles at park trailheads starting around Thanksgiving, he said. Nordic trail helpers: There’s still time to join volunteers meeting today at Mount Spokane starting at 9 a.m. and working into the afternoon for one last stab at clearing brush from the park’s cross-country ski trails before winter. The Spokane Nordic Ski Education Foundation has organized numerous work grips this fall to cut firewood and prepare the 30 kilometers of trails for snow-cat grooming. http://www.spokesmanreview.com/tools/story_pf.asp?ID=267214

9) In a more rational world, the Lake Whatcom Landscape Plan would be less controversial and no school district would have had to scramble for a slightly larger piece of a clearly inadequate pie. Nor would anyone try to tie the future of education – which seems likely to become more and more important – to the future of logging – which does not. The Lake Whatcom plan would be less controversial because. 1) Although the lands granted to Washington by the federal government must generate money for schools and other public institutions, I believe they don’t have to do so exclusively, to the detriment of environmental and other values. Article XVI of the Washington constitution states: “All the public lands granted to the state are held in trust for all the people.” That must mean something. Do you think the framers of our constitution really wanted the state to endanger a municipal water supply or the safety of its citizens in order to squeeze a few more bucks from timber that people of their era wouldn’t have bothered cutting? 2) The framers of the constitution did not expect those granted lands to produce maximum revenue. They received two petitions asking them to require maximum revenue. The framers of other state constitutions did. Ours didn’t. 3) Certainly, no one expects the granted lands to produce maximum revenue right now. A Chelan County Superior Court said unambiguously that “nothing in the law . . . requires the Department (of Natural Resources) to maximize current income.” 4) Forest board lands are a different story, of course – just not quite the story that some people assume. Net income from those lands must go to local government, but generating money for local government isn’t the purpose of the lands, The purpose is growing trees. You can look it up. The 1921 law allowing the state to take over forest lands from the counties said its purpose was to further the “acquirement [sic] and designation of lands . . . to be used for the development and growth of timber.” A similar law passed two years later referred to “the acquiring, seeding, reforestation and administering of lands for state forests.” Even in the good old days, the forests have never fully supported public schools. Washington’s forests made a lot of people rich, but they never made Washington public schools rich. And neither has anything else. This state has never managed to put its money where its mouth is. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/615/story/661798.html

Oregon:

10) Industry is misusing the Spies et al. paper for their agenda. No surprise. Bu the paper explicitly addresses only DRY forests and those dry forests in the NWFP are slivers of owl habitat on the east side of the Cascades and forests in Southern OR and N Calif – both areas that have had LOTS of fire. The thinning called for is important to owls who do not hunt easily in old stands packed with young trees. –Tom stumpsdontlie@googlegroups.com Threats to old-growth trees in the region’s federal forests have changed over the decade and a half since the Northwest Forest Plan went into effect in 1994. While logging of the big, old trees has dropped dramatically since the plan, wildfires are now consuming more acres of the valuable habitat. That switch, reinforced by numbers from a new study by U.S. Forest Service scientists and others, means forest managers need to take action across the landscape to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires, according to the authors. “There’s a widespread recognition of that need, but it needs to be repeated again and again, because there’s a lot of inertia,” said Tom Spies, a research forester with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis. “It’s not enough to go out and treat a few acres here and a few acres there; it has to be done in a pretty broad, strategic way.” The study is part of the Northwest Forest Plan’s monitoring program, Spies said, to gauge the success of the plan, which outlined how federal forests should be managed for the protection of spotted owl habitat as well as timber production. The researchers, including people from other federal research stations and Oregon State University, used satellite images from between 1972 and 2002 to track what was happening to forests with trees bigger than 20 inches across. They found that loggers cut an increasing amount of large trees on federal lands from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, but then activity abruptly fell off after the late 1990s. In the East Cascade region, which includes the western slice of the Deschutes National Forest, the researchers didn’t find a big drop in harvest rates since there wasn’t much to start with, the study stated. But in that East Cascade region, as well as in Southern Oregon, there was a noticeable difference in the number of fires — especially with 2002’s Biscuit Fire in southwest Oregon. “There’s been a dramatic increase in fire in the last decade, both in absolute terms and in relation to areas lost to harvest,” Spies said. Before the plan, he said, the area of large trees lost to wildfire was a small fraction of that lost to logging on federal lands. But in the decade after the plan went into effect, that flipped and wildfires caused 2.2 times as many acres of big, old trees to be lost than chain saws did. “We’re looking at the landscape, trying to prioritize where our treatments should go,” Allen said. http://www.bendbulletin.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081112/NEWS0107/811120389/1041&nav_category=

11) To: kramsayer@bendbulletin.com Dear Kate: Saw your article reporting that fires are now burning up more old growth than logging. I wanted to provide you some perspective on this issue. I’m the editor of Wildfire: A Century of Failed Forest Policy and an ecologist. I disagree with the TNC representative about the fires. We NEED large fires. What we are finding now is not unusual.  The forests are readjusting to changed climatic conditions. When someone like the TNC person says crown fires are bad or not the way it used to be–she is looking in a rear view mirror. That WAS the way fires burned, but that is not the way forests are today. The new climatic conditions are changing fire regimes in the West. There are some ecologists today that will tell you that we don’t have enough fires. That we need more snags. More dead trees, and so on.The major value of “old growth” trees is not the age of the trees, but the ecological function of the forest. It is the large boles, the snags, etc. that are the prime value of old growth. So long as we don’t salvage log, we will still have most of this function intact. Plus the view that fires are killing more old growth is a consequence of our short term perspective. If you take a long term view, the fires are we are seeing today are not out of the ordinary according to many long term studies. We are stuck looking back a few hundred years for the most part, but if you take a longer view (using other techniques to look at forest/fire history) you find that large crown fires are actually the “norm” A second thing to keep in mind is that most fires do not kill all trees. They burn in a mosaic so while we are seeing more crown fires, it’s not like all the trees are being killed inside the bounds of any burn area. So in some ways that study is misleading and over estimates the impacts of fires. George Wuerthner wuerthner@earthlink.net

12) SALEM — Oregon’s Board of Forestry agreed Thursday to rework a blueprint for the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests that hasn’t provided near the logging revenue that strapped coastal counties and the timber industry expected when the board adopted it more than seven years ago. That will officially reopen debate over how much logging is reasonable in the forests of the Coast Range that also provide a recreational playground for Portland and vital habitat for wildlife from salmon to the northern spotted owl. State officials also noted new interest in employing the forests to soak up greenhouse gases and as possible sites for wind farms. “You’re going to have to rebalance all those competing interests,” State Forester Marvin Brown told the board, noting that the forest management plan created in 2001 took years to develop. He cautioned that logging to create more revenue could leave less opportunity to promote large, older forests that serve as important habitat But board members did not specify how they would adjust the plan. They did not agree on whether to set new logging targets and did not endorse a recommendation by the Oregon Department of Forestry to boost logging slightly by relaxing some wildlife habitat goals. Most agreed they need to act quickly, however. The state forests have been in the center of a tug of war for years, with attempts in the Legislature to push logging levels up and a ballot measure trying to set more land aside for wildlife and other needs. Neither made much headway, but Gov. Ted Kulongoski has pushed the Board of Forestry to decide what to do with the troubled forest plan. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/state_to_remap_logging_in_till.html

13) The timber industry and environmental groups find themselves in the strange position of agreeing that the Bush administration failed to follow the Endangered Species Act when it developed a plan to boost logging on federal lands in Western Oregon. The American Forest Resource Council is afraid that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s failure to go through formal consultation with federal scientists over the potential harm to northern spotted owls and salmon will “derail” the Western Oregon Plan Revision, said Tom Partin, president of the timber industry group. The industry group filed a recent motion asking the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to uphold a 2003 agreement with the Bush administration that calls for increasing logging on 2.6 million acres of BLM lands in Western Oregon. Deadline for the plan is Dec. 31, just weeks before the Bush administration leaves office. The motion argues that failing to do the formal consultation will ultimately lead to a court ruling blocking the plan, making it unlikely for BLM to meet the deadline for completion set in the 2003 agreement. “We think there are going to be efforts (by conservation groups) to derail it,” Partin said. “We want to make sure we are operating in a positive manner so they don’t get derailed. It might look like we are working in a way to show it isn’t going to get implemented, but that certainly isn’t our bottom line.” Kristen Boyles, an attorney for the conservation public interest law firm Earthjustice, said the cases cited in the timber industry motion are the same cases conservation groups would be citing to make the same argument. “I think it’s an indication that Whopper is flawed — legally and scientifically — when groups as usually opposed as the environmental community and the timber industry are asking for the same thing,” she said, using the nickname giving to the Western Oregon Plan Revision. The Endangered Species Act requires that federal projects like timber sales be formally reviewed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Service for whether they will harm threatened and endangered species. http://www.oregonlive.com/newsflash/index.ssf?/base/news-27/122610834485220.xml&storylist=orlocal

14) The state forests of Northwest Oregon are money in the bank in more ways than one. As it considers changes in policy, the Oregon Board of Forestry must keep the whole picture well in mind. Literally, the Clatsop and Tillamook state forests represent stored-up monetary value that benefits the two counties. Viewed as a harvestable natural resource, the trees of the Coast Range are tangible assets that belong to taxpayers. Though both counties fortunately also contain a lot of expensive real estate, there is no underestimating the importance of forests as a way of funding vital public services. Also on the economic side of the equation, even in these days of mechanized logging, forest management, harvest and processing provide some good-paying jobs. We need all the employment opportunities we can get, now more than ever. In a different sense, healthy forests are key to natural salmon production and to the well-being of an entire web of life in watersheds and coastal estuaries. It is probably safe to say that you can’t have truly thriving salmon runs without well-managed forests. Lucrative fisheries rely on the cool and clean waters that forests nurture. Humans, too, need the good drinking water that forests insure. Finally and maybe most critically, our forests are intrinsically valuable as natural habitat – for people and wildlife alike – and as a vast storage vault for carbon. Gone are the days when the only good tree was a harvested commercial log. It’s no secret that the market for logs has gone to the dogs in the past year. Not only has the national housing market collapsed, but there also is a glut of timber and pulp stemming from last year’s grossly destructive storms. It would be a classic mistake to try to play catch-up with falling prices by harvesting more, resulting in long-term changes in the composition and age-mix of the forests. As The Daily Astorian reported last week, state forestry research revealed that logging has already increased beyond the level deemed sustainable under the 2001 targets for fish and wildlife habitat protection. http://www.dailyastorian.info/main.asp?SectionID=23&SubSectionID=392&ArticleID=55893&TM=6341.735

15) Senator-elect Jeff Merkley speaks to a gathering Monday at the Higher Education Center in Medford, where he discussed his plans and hopes for his first term in Congress.Jim Craven November 11, 2008 Damian Mann By Damian Mann Mail Tribune Fresh off his campaign victory against Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkley vowed Monday that in his first year in office he would push to open national forests to sensible logging and continue a federal program to support timber-dependent counties. The Oregon Senator-elect appeared before about 50 campaign volunteers and Democratic leaders at the Higher Education Center in downtown Medford. State Sen. Alan Bates, an Ashland Democrat, introduced Merkley, saying his friend and colleague in the Legislature fought great odds in defeating an incumbent and even mortgaged his house to help finance his campaign. Statewide, Merkley won 49 percent of the vote to Smith’s 46 percent and in Jackson County, 43 percent to Smith’s 51 percent. Merkley said his priority would be to support President-elect Barack Obama’s efforts to improve the economy and the nation’s infrastructure. In his first year, Merkley said, he wants to see legislation that would protect old-growth forests while devising a way to thin overgrown forests to help the economy as well as protect against wildfires and disease. “I’ve gone through so many stands where I say, ‘This is a disaster,’ ” said Merkley, who describes himself as an avid hiker. “Let’s find a way to thin those forests.” http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081111/NEWS/811110317

16) The U.S. Forest Service is investigating a threatening note scrawled in red marker on a road grader at a logging site west of Sisters – signed with a heart and the letters ELF, which might indicate ties to the eco-terror group, the Earth Liberation Front. Ryan Wolfenbarger of the Lebanon-based logging firm Wolfco reported the discovery Tuesday to Deschutes County sheriff’s deputies and the U.S. Forest Service at a logging site near state Highway 242 and Forest Road 1012, also known as Cold Springs Road. The note, written in red felt marker, threatens damage to equipment if debris at the site is not cleaned up. It is signed “ELF,” said sheriff’s Deputy Sean Bell. However, no damage was found to the logging gear or elsewhere in the site, Bell said. “We’re not discounting” the threat, said sheriff’s Sgt. Vance Lawrence. “But based on prior training and knowledge, they (ELF) usually act, then take credit. That doesn’t mean it’s not (them), but it would be atypical for them to leave a note with a heart on it.” According to Wikipedia, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), also known as “Elves” or “The Elves,” is the collective name for anonymous and autonomous individuals or cells who, according to the now-defunct ELF Press Office, use “economic sabotage and guerrilla warfare to stop the exploitation and destruction of the environment,” commonly known as ecotage or monkeywrenching. The ELF was founded in Brighton in the United Kingdom in 1992 and spread to the rest of Europe by 1994. It is now an international movement with attacks reported in over a dozen countries and is widely regarded as the Animal Liberation Front’s younger sister, because of the relationship and cooperation between the two movements. http://www.ktvz.com/Global/story.asp?S=9333211

17) A 2005 North Salem High School graduate and current University of Oregon student of general science and landscape architecture, Zimmer-Stucky also is a member of the Eugene chapter of environmental group Rising Tide. When she descends Friday, it will be to join a noon rally at the Capitol. Activists hope to draw attention to the Western Oregon Plan Revisions (WOPR), which they regard as a “last gasp Bush administration plan” that would increase logging on federal Bureau of Land Management land in Oregon by 436 percent. About 15 to 20 organizers are involved with the Capitol-grounds pine-tree demonstration. The local spectacle is among numerous worldwide through Rising Tide, an international group based in the United Kingdom that is dedicated to drawing attention to and addressing climate-change issues. Topics include public transportation and cap- and-trade permits, among other broad issues. The Oregon group primarily is concerned with large-scale logging and the use of unliquefied natural gas. This event clearly is directed at timber policies. “We feel that WOPR provides a short-term gain for the few at the expense of long-term environmental and economical sustainability for all Oregonians,” Rising Tide organizer Samantha Chirillo said. Organizer Malcolm “Trip” Jennings III said the group would like to urge Gov. Ted Kulongoski to examine his 12-point plan regarding emission reductions and juxtapose those with the realities of opening up federal lands to increased logging. “We think that if he looks at it on paper right next to each other, he will see that (logging) and his goals don’t comply,” Jennings said. Jennings and Chirillo feel that money generated through harvesting timber is limited and short-sighted. They said longer-term solutions are vital to the economic well-being of Oregon counties hurt by diminishing timber revenues. Jillian Schoene, a spokeswoman for the governor, said that the logging plan has been presented to Kulongoski and it is being reviewed regarding its consistency with the governor’s 12-point plan, which includes goals of implementing forest strategies that are congruent with goals of reducing carbon emissions and protecting endangered species and fish and wildlife habitat. Schoene said the governor has 60 days to review the plan, a time span that ends sometime in early to mid-December. He will present his findings at that time. Meanwhile, Zimmer-Stucky, who is the daughter of former Salem City Councilors Rick Stucky and Jacqueline Zimmer, is bundling up against wind and rain to remind the governor and any passersby about concerns with the environmental aspects of the BLM plan. http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article/20081112/NEWS/811120430/1001/SILVERTON

18) If you haven’t already picked up today’s Willamette Week, find one at your nearest newsstand and read about Bark’s very own Amy Harwood, winner of the prestigious Skidmore Prize! Or visit the Give!Guide online to see Amy’s feature and to show your support for Bark. If you want to stop the Palomar Pipeline from clearcutting 40 miles across Mt. Hood National Forest… If you want to hold the Forest Service accountable for how it manages our public land… If you want to see a new administration stop logging Mt. Hood National Forest and start protecting our clean drinking water, recreation opportunities, and wildlife… Then please support Bark through the Give!Guide. In addition to enabling Bark to aggressively protect Mt. Hood National Forest, you receive great membership premiums in return. http://www.bark-out.org/index.php

California:


19) A local timber company has submitted a proposal to the Humboldt county planning department that calls for construction of 5,000 new homes and two major roads near Eureka. New logging plans submitted by Green Diamond, formerly Simpson Timber, reflect the company’s intention to convert existing North Coast forestland to residential development. The latest plan is for a forested area just west of the property known at the planning department as the McKay Tract. The timber harvest plan encompasses the lower Ryan Creek watershed on the east side of Eureka. The new plan calls for 49 acres of clearcutting and comes on the heels of a plan to log 60 acres adjacent to Cutten. Much of the 500-acre McKay Tract has already been slated for conversion from Timber Production Zone (TPZ) to residential development, including a proposal recently submitted by Green Diamond to develop 85 acres adjacent to Winship Middle School in Cutten. The company owns “Mid McKay” and “South McKay,” totaling 240 acres, which have already been removed from TPZ zoning. The McKay tracts are in the Ryan Creek water shed just above where the creek enters Ryan Slough. Fisheries biologists recognize Ryan Creek and Ryan Slough—which flow into Freshwater Slough—as the remaining coho overwintering habitat in the Humboldt Bay area. Green Diamond’s road system has been the subject of much restoration work to improve culverts and reduce sediment, all for the improvement of fish habitat. This work has been successful, with more than 220 adult coho observed in 2002 and nearly 5,000 coho smolts estimated in spring 2004. Conversion of the Ryan Creek forest to housing development could threaten this Coho population with ongoing erosion and impacts from residents, including leaching of garden and other chemicals used around homes. Ryan Creek also supports steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout. The watershed supports at least four northern spotted owl nest sites, as well as peregrine falcons, osprey, and other sensitive birds. These and other species are known to leave areas impacted by development. From EcoNews, November 2008 http://yournec.org/

20) A year after demonstrators climbed 75 feet into redwood platforms amid a clash with university police, UC Santa Cruz officials and protesters opposed to campus growth are still reluctant to answer how far they’re willing to go to end the standoff. See past video of UCSC tree sitters As early as the spring, work could begin to prepare Science Hill for construction of a new biomedical facility, which would require the felling of redwoods currently occupied by tree sitters and a certain breaking point for the protest. The university is not willing to say whether or how it will forcibly remove the demonstrators, and tree sitters have not said whether they will leave voluntarily if it seems they have no other choice. Demonstrators hosted a small celebration Friday to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the tree-sit. The crowd of less than 100 supporters was a far cry from the hundreds who marched in protest against the UCSC Long-Range Development Plan on Nov. 7, 2007, when the tree-sit was launched. Still, tree-sit spokeswoman Jennifer Charles said new students have joined the effort to halt campus development and that, by staying in the trees, “this is a group of people who are not going to be intimidated.” She said the tree-sit has drawn attention to the impacts of growth plans on native habitat, animals and water supply, and does not believe UCSC’s recent settlement with the city to limit impacts of expansion goes far enough. “Santa Cruz can’t grow indefinitely,” she said of the campus, adding that UC should place more students at other campuses as it grapples with an increasing demand to educate the state’s graduating high schoolers and community college transfer students. Last year, police arrested several people during the march as protesters took over a parking lot below the grove of redwoods, where demonstrators already had erected three platforms similar to those built in oak trees on the UC Berkeley campus. Over the next several weeks, police made further arrests of a professor and others who brought pies, coffee and equipment to the Science Hill site. In March, a judge granted an injunction against the tree-sit and anyone sending up food or equipment to the tree sitters. But the protesters did not leave and the university stopped patrolling the site regularly in the spring and summer, which created relative calm until classes began in recently. On Oct. 13, Scott Aposhian, 20, of San Diego, was arrested for refusing to identify himself to an officer and for violating the court order after he attempted to climb a tree, campus spokesman Jim Burns said. MacKenzie O’Brien, a 21-year-old UCSC student, was cited three days later for dumping a 5-gallon bucket of urine from tree sitters into the soil near the Science and Engineering Library. She was charged with illegal waste disposal and violating the court order. http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_10934442

21) “We haven’t had a relationship with the people in the trees,” UCSC spokesperson Jim Burns told City on a Hill Press in an e-mail. “They are not affiliated with the campus, and are knowingly violating a court order that clearly defines their actions as illegal.” Jennifer Charles, the go-between for the tree-sitters and the community, said that communication has improved. “We’ve talked a lot to faculty,” she said. “The faculty are amazing, radical people.” And while many claim that the development plan will put the city, as well as the student population, in jeopardy, Burns points out that the plan passed after settlements with county, city and citizen groups. “Our LRDP — reached after seven months of discussions — addressed community concerns about enrollment growth, and provided very specific ways in which the campus would mitigate its impacts on such issues as housing and traffic,” Burns said. “The tree-sitters were obviously not at the table for those discussions.” http://www.cityonahillpress.com/article.php?id=1433

22) This holiday season, Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks make it possible for shoppers to give a gift that gives back to the environment for years to come. For a donation of $50 to Save the Redwoods League, gift-givers can have a redwood seedling planted in honor of a loved one in a California state park. Save the Redwoods League delivers a commemorative card featuring a photograph of an ancient redwood forest to the recipient to showcase the gift. All dedicated trees support forest restoration efforts in California State Parks. “With many shoppers looking to spend their dollars in a way that makes a positive impact, dedicating a redwood seedling is a meaningful way to support the environment this holiday season and beyond,” said Ruskin Hartley, executive director, Save the Redwoods League. “In addition, this partnership will allow us to restore and rejuvenate our forestlands that were once overharvested.” In 1850, there were nearly 2 million acres of ancient coast redwood forests in California. Today, less than 5 percent remains. Save the Redwoods League and California State Parks are leading a new movement to restore the complexity, diversity and ecological values of the remaining young redwood forest stands throughout their natural range so that one day they can begin to resemble an ancient redwood forest. “Once these fragile saplings are planted in a state park, they will always be protected so that they can grow strong and be still standing hundreds of years from now,” said Director Ruth Coleman of California State Parks. “In addition to providing shade and habitat, they reduce atmospheric carbon that contributes to global warming. New this year, we’re proud to expand the seedling program to include planting of other tree species, as needed, to best support healthy and diverse ecosystems within our parks.” Steve Horvitz, superintendent of North Coast Redwoods District at California State Parks, will ensure that genetically similar trees are planted together so that the delicate redwood forest can be restored as naturally as possible. While redwood seedlings are the first to be planted through the program, other trees species such as western hemlock, Sitka spruce, red alder, Douglas-fir and big leaf maple will be planted if no additional redwood seedlings are needed in an area. California State Parks staff will determine where trees will be planted to effectively promote the health and diversity of state park forests. http://www.prweb.com/releases/2008/11/prweb1588994.htm

23) Land Conservation Agreement Protects 20 Acres of Ancient Redwoods! With members’ financial support, Save the Redwoods League recently completed a land conservation agreement with The Annapolis Milling Company to protect a 20-acre stand of ancient redwoods in northern Sonoma County (pictured). This new conservation agreement will ensure that the redwoods, just south of Soda Springs Reserve, are permanently protected from possible timber harvest and vineyard conversion. The agreement is progress toward our goal of ensuring permanent protection for all old-growth redwood forest in the central region of the redwood coast. http://www.savetheredwoods.org/

24) New Land Acquisition Preserves View in Humboldt: Thanks to our members’ contributions, Save the Redwoods League recently acquired about 46 acres surrounded by Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The acquisition preserves the view along US Highway 101 for all to enjoy and protects the watershed and wildlife habitat in and around the park’s historic Bolling Grove (pictured). We protected the ancient Bolling redwood grove in 1921, one of the first of our more than 300 transactions that built the state park. Of course, there are still thousands of acres of unprotected ancient redwood forests and many more acres of redwood connecting lands that still need protection. Please see savetheredwoods.org/give to support our continued preservation work

25) Voters in East Bay Area counties showed the rest of America how to run a park district by passing Measure WW with a 71 percent yes vote. The measure allocates $500 million to the East Bay Regional Park District over the next 20 years, with 67 expansion and improvement projects already earmarked for funding. The projects include funding the Bay Trail along the shoreline of San Francisco Bay from Fremont to Martinez, buying land to expand parks already in place near Walnut Creek, Pleasanton and Sunol, and improving access to the unique Vasco Caves, which few people even know exist, among dozens of projects. The likely key to voter approval is that the measure did not increase tax rates, but extended a similar 1988 measure. That measure led to the purchase of 34,000 acres of open space and parkland, and funded hundreds of local park projects, including building more than 100 miles of new trails. The East Bay Regional Park District now has 65 parks, 98,000 acres and roughly 1,100 miles of trails, including 29 trails that connect parks. To pay for it, homeowners pay $10 per year per $100,000 assessed value, so owners of a home assessed at $500,000, for instance, would pay $50 per year. In turn, most of the parks have no entrance fees, so annual budgets are not at the mercy of fluctuations in visitation, such as with the state park system, or the state budget issues. This funding structure has become a model for park districts across America. “This is a major endorsement of the East Bay Regional Park District,” said Pat O’Brien, general manager of the park district. “Approval of this measure during this time of severe economic problems make this approval even more significant.” For information: http://ebparks.org

26) Just a quick note, I was told recently that CAL FIRE is still finding hot spots in the Summit Fire area, even after the first rains. The State Emergency Assessment Team (SEAT) report on the 2008 Summit and Martin fires was prepared by the State Office of Emergency Assessment (OES) at the request of Santa Cruz County. The mul ti-agency team conducted an intensive two-week field review using the federal government’s Burned Area Reflectance Classification (BARC), provided by the US Forest Service Remote Sensing Application (aerial flyovers) as a starting point for gathering information.  In true governmental fashion, the report makes a number of recommendations to both private landowners and the county, yet no funding is provided to implement any of these recommendations. Here is an excerpt from DFG’s input: Abbreviated recommendations: 1) Control sediment delivery into watercourses, erosion control measures on disturbed and burned slopes draining into watercourses should be conducted where feasible. 2) Existing season roads or new roads that were widened for dozer access should be monitored for the presence of invasive non-native plants.

3) To maintain fisheries resources, burned trees within 50 feet of a fish bearing stream should be retained for future large woody debris recruitment and to decrease solar radiation of stream waters. 4) In burned forested areas, burned large old tress should be retained. These trees provide habitat for many species, reduce soil erosion, and aid soil formation in a post fire environment. Additionally, 1) Monitor roads and skid trails, 2) Monitor and control non-native plants, 3) Culverts should be monitored, 4) In-stream woody debris should not be removed unless there is a risk of imminent threat of damage to life and/or property. 5) DFG should be contacted for a permit prior to any work that would affect bed, bank or channel of any stream. 6) Structures with in streams to control sediments are generally not recommended. Jodi Frediani, Chair, Forestry Task Force, Santa Cruz Group Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club JodiFredi@aol.com

27) This 235-acre Timber Harvest Plan (THP) in the Santa Cruz Mountains was rejected by CAL FIRE when first submitted, then accepted for filing on October 9, in spite of the fact that it neglected to include and review coho salmon, an endangered species, which have been found to occur in Soquel Creek downstream of the proposed harvest. Since then, at the urging of NMFS and DFG, the Registered Professional Forester (RPF) has agreed to abandon the idea of crossing the creek with temporary culverts, agreeing instead to use temporary bridges. However, the Pre-Harvest Inspection (PHI) is to be held tomorrow, November 14, even though the RPF has not yet responded to the First Review Questions, which included a request for new maps since the submitted maps are unintelligible. What a waste of agency time, going into the field without having been able to review the project area in advance. The RPF has had more than a month in which to prepare and submit his responses and new maps. CAL FIRE needs to insist that the RPF’s response to First Review Questions be submitted in advance of PHIs or they will be rescheduled. Jodi Frediani, Director Central Coast Forest Watch, JodiFredi@aol.com

Montana:

28) HAMILTON – The 2½ -year legal saga of Montana’s first Healthy Forest Restoration Act fuel reduction project may be over. A three-judge 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel on Thursday affirmed a Missoula District Court ruling that rejected a challenge by two environmental groups. Wildwest Institute and Friends of the Bitterroot sued the U.S. Forest Service in April 2006 to stop the Middle East Fork Hazardous Fuel Reduction Project. That plan involved thinning trees on about 5,000 acres of national forest lands about two miles east of Sula. The project was designed to reduce wildland fire threats to the Middle East Fork community and treat areas affected by a Douglas fir bark beetle epidemic. The groups claimed the agency violated federal law by: 1) Committing resources to the project before a decision was made, 2) Censoring contrary science, 3) Selectively excluding the public, 4) Not fully considering logging impacts to soils and some wildlife species. – Bitterroot National Forest Supervisor Dave Bull signed off on the project in March 2006. After U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy refused an initial request for an injunction, the agency sold the first of three stewardship timber sales included in the project. Molloy rejected the groups’ claims in a December 2006 ruling. The groups appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The groups could petition for another review from the appeals court or ask to take the matter to the Supreme Court. http://www.billingsgazette.net/articles/2008/11/07/news/state/37-fuelreduction.txt

29) HELENA – Proposed logging project advances Mont. (AP) State wildlife officials propose removing insect-damaged trees from the Mount Haggin area south of Anaconda. Money from sale of the timber, perhaps several hundred thousand dollars, would be used to improve habitat in the state-owned Mount Haggin Wildlife Management Area. A consultant hired by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks identified about 700 acres for logging. State officials say the timber money would help fund shrub and forest improvements beneficial to wildlife such as moose, deer and elk. State wildlife commissioners have supported the proposal. Preparation of an environmental assessment is among steps that must precede a final decision. http://www.kxmb.com/getArticle.asp?ArticleId=296010

Colorado:

30) SUMMIT COUNTY — Loggers will face tighter restrictions on clear-cutting and thinning as the U.S. Forest Service implements a new rule to protect threatened lynx. “It changes the mindset within the Forest Service on how they do vegetation management,” said Kurt Broderdorp, a federal biologist responsible for making sure lynx can thrive in Colorado and the rest of the southern Rockies. The new rule is part of a sweeping amendment to forest plans for the region, released by the Forest Service last week after eight years of preparation. It’s subject to a 45-day appeal period, and conservation groups may challenge the agency based on what they say are significant loopholes in the conservation plan. In initial reviews, conservation advocates said the rule is an improvement from an earlier draft, especially with regard to timber management. But the latest version waters down some protections for lynx by whittling away strict forest-plan standards — considered mandatory rules for forest managers — and replacing them with guidelines, which don’t have quite the same regulatory clout. The same conservation groups that initially forced the federal government to list lynx as threatened will carefully scrutinize the latest Forest Service plan and potentially challenge the draft rule if they believe it’s lacking, said Dave Gaillard, of the Predator Conservation Alliance. “We’d like to see something more over-arching,” said Page Bonaker, a staff biologist with the Center for Native Ecosystems, calling on the federal government to add parts of Colorado to the areas deemed critical habitat for lynx. http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20081110/NEWS/811099975/1078&ParentProfile=1055&title=New%20lynx%20plan%20changes%20logging%20rules

South West:

31) In February 2008, a federal judge reinforced a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision to designate 8,600,000 acres (34,800 km2) in Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico as critical habitat for the owl. The decision had been challenged by the Arizona Cattle Growers’ Association, but Judge Susan Bolton upheld the designation. Unlike most owls, Mexican spotted owls have dark eyes. The Mexican spotted owl is an ashy-chestnut brown color with white and brown spots on its abdomen, back and head. Its’ spots  are bigger than the spots of the other two cousins, California and Northern spotted owls, making the Mexican spotted owls appear lighter than their relatives. Their brown tails are marked with thin white bands. This owl is one of the largest owls in North America. Called the “owl of the west” and found from southern Utah, Colorado, through the mountains of Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas and the mountains of Central Mexico. Nearly 90% of known owl territories exist on Forest Service administered-lands in Arizona and New Mexico. The favorite foods of this owl include wood rats, mice, voles, rabbits, gophers, bats, birds, reptiles and arthropods. The owls prefer the coolest part of the forest, often choosing nest trees on the northern or eastern facing slopes. Nests on cliffs in Texas are at 5,000 to 7,000 feet elevation in deep, cool canyons. Most owlets (baby owls) leave the nest in June, about 35 days after hatching. Owlets are unable to fly very well when they first leave the nest, and their parents continue to feed them until they become fully independent, usually by October. The spotted owl has long served as symbol for environmentalists across the nation, and the Mexican spotted owl is the Southwest’s most famous old-growth resident. The species’ numbers are still declining as it continues to lose habitat to logging, development, mining, wildfire, starvation,  roadbuilding, and other forest development. It has also been negatively impacted by domestic livestock grazing and the widespread devastation grazing has had on the rare and invaluable ancient old growth riparian forests of the Southwest. Worsening the situation, the Forest Service and Fish and Wildlife Service and federal government have failed to develop and implement long-term population monitoring studies of spotted owl populations so no one knows how many owls exist today or what its population density is. The Mexican spotted owl is threatened by the loss of old growth forests (its preferred habitat) throughout its range, starvation and fire. They are also affected by Barred Owl encroachment, great horned owl predation, low reproductive success and low juvenile survival rates and logging, grazing and animal trade. loggers, cattle grazers, developers, and other organizations whose activities can affect forest cover. http://naturescrusaders.wordpress.com/2008/11/09/endangered-mexican-spotted-owl-symbol-ancient-forests/

Leave a comment

Your comment