433 – Western North American Tree News

433 – Western North American Tree News
–Today for you 29 news articles about earth’s trees! (433rd edition) http://forestpolicyresearch.com
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Index:

–British Columbia: 1) Avoid arsenic that was once sprayed in the forest, 2) Forest destroyer mauled by Grizzly and they act like they don’t know why?
–Washington: 3) Citizen’s concerned over Forest Capital Partners LLC logging, 4) Bergstrom on clearcuts, 5) Write a letter for Canada Lynx Habitat, 6) Save Colville NF wilderness areas,
–Oregon: 7) Upper East Kelsey timber sale canceled! 8) A forest thinning that works according to BARK, 9) Boise buys logging rights on Mt. Emily, 10) Starkey experimental forest, 11) Elliot State Forest, 12) Long-term research on forest destruction learns how to do it worse than before, 13) Grant county tries to keep local mills alive at expense of Malheur National Forest, 14) Wading into Northwest Forest plan is like skinny dipping with Piranahs, ) Treesiting as a tactic has changed,
–California: 15) Lots of logs piling up for Humboldt Redwood Company, 16) San Joaquin River ParkwayNew iphone video game will help save trees, 17) Pet Earth video game, 18) State plans more parks, 19) Save Santa Cruz forests from City Council rulebreaking! 20) SPI discredited in fake newspapers, 21) Agriculture needs to help save forests & streams, 22) Analysis of this year’s fires in Northern part of the state,
–Montana: 23) More jobs, more timber and more wilderness? 24) Pyramid Mountain Lumber swindle in Seeley Lake area,
–Colorado: 25) More forest health planned for in Lower Blue, 26) Large-scale forest-health study in the Lower Blue, 27) Mass ORV and mountain bike destruction being planned in White River NF,
–South Dakota: 28) Satellite-based fuels management, 29) Fuels management disaster gets bigger and bigger,

Articles:

British Columbia:

1) The B.C. forests ministry has produced a map of thousands of trees that the public and loggers are urged to avoid due to arsenic residue from the application of a pine-beetle pesticide no longer used in Canada. Monosodium methanearsenate, or MSMA, was widely used in B.C.’s northern and Interior regions from the mid-1980s until 2004 with assurances at the time that the pesticide, sold under the trade name Glowon, posed little threat to the environment or to human health. By 2005, MSMA was no longer in use in Canada after the manufacturer allowed its permit to expire. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its intention to not re-register MSMA as an organic arsenic pesticide because it posed a cancer risk due to its potential to “transform to a more toxic inorganic form of arsenic in soil with subsequent transport to drinking water.” MSMA continues to be sold in the U.S. In 2008, published research by Environment Canada researchers in Delta warned that management practices such as the application of MSMA and large-scale salvage logging had the “potential to limit woodpecker populations” through direct toxicity, loss of food sources, and loss of habitat. Tim Ebata, a provincial forests health specialist, said in an interview Wednesday that despite such concerns, he had no evidence of any appreciable environmental or public risk associated with use of the pesticide to fight the pine beetle’s spread in the province’s commercial forests. http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/story.html?id=b9332bbb-1b27-46c1-89a5-026f1378af63

2) A 57-year-old man is in stable condition in Royal Jubilee Hospital after he was attacked yesterday morning by a grizzly bear at a remote logging operation on the Central Coast, said Port Hardy RCMP. The man was on the ground, assisting a helicopter removing shakes from a forest. “It was over within a minute and a half, if not less,” Olsen said of the attack. The victim called on his radio for help and walked out to meet the helicopter. He was in surgery yesterday afternoon to repair serious injuries to an arm.Wildlife experts are baffled by the attack because it happened so close to the disturbance of a helicopter at work: “Bears are usually avoiding that,” Olsen said. The 11:30 a.m. mauling occurred at a shake-and-shingle mill at Wyclese Lagoon near Smith Inlet on the mainland north of Port Hardy. The victim was flown in a logging company helicopter to Port Hardy and then transferred to Royal Jubilee Hospital by air ambulance, arriving about 1:30 p.m. “He indicated it was a surprise attack — it happened fast,” said Rod Olsen, operations manager for the Thompson-Cariboo conservation service. A team of conservation officers will be on site today to piece together what happened and try to find the bear. There’s no camp in the area and nothing to attract the bear, although the man might have packed food with him, Olsen said. It’s possible the bear was trying to protect a kill or it had a den nearby. The Central Coast is home to many grizzly bears, said David Connor, who runs seasonal bear-watching excursions out of Port Hardy. “People who work in the wilderness on a regular basis carry a shotgun and can of bear spray, or they have somebody on standby while they do their work,” Connor said. “Once bears become habituated with the presence of humans, it’s only a matter of time before one of them becomes brazen. http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/story.html?id=93547ad1-d047-4775-95d9-bb357b2f69a2

Washington:

3) This Thursday, a group of citizens who are concerned over the way the Forest Capital Partners LLC logging company is managing their lands will hold a meeting to explore the issue. However, the self-described “independent investment firm” has declined to attend the public meeting. Forest Capital spokesperson Brian Kernohan said the firm is “not sure that a public meeting is the best way to address the issue.” Instead, Forest Capital has offered to have a private meeting with neighboring landowners. That private meeting is set to take place and Forest Capital has declined to comment on the matter until after the private session. Kernohan was also reluctant to share any details about the company with the Statesman-Examiner because he said he was concerned that articles on the issue may fuel public misunderstanding. “It is our full intention to work with the community, but we declined to attend the public meeting because we aren’t certain what the format is going to be,” he said. “We feel any information about our company that is printed prior to the public meeting could be misconstrued, since we won’t be at the meeting to help explain it. Frankly, we are a bit surprised that a public meeting is still going to occur since we have a private meeting set up with landowners.” However, citizens like Mike Slater said they feel that public pressure on the company may be one of the last tools they have to influence the way Forest Capital manages the 2.2 million of acres of land they own in the area. “The Forest Capital land used to be managed by Boise Cascade until they sold it,” said Slater. “Many people were happy, for the most part,the way Boise was managing the land, but are concerned over what we are seeing now.” Some of the Forest Capital management practices that Slater and other landowners particularly object to include spraying an area with herbicides before they log it and then systematically clear-cutting the area. “We are not against logging, but we want sustainable logging,” said Slater who noted the spraying of Forest Capital lands adjacent to his home in Gifford have even killed new trees on his property. “Our area is dependent on logging and we want our kids and grandkids to have jobs. Just because the technology is out there today to rapidly take out timber doesn’t mean it should be done. “We would like to see some corporate responsibility toward future generations,” he added. Technically, the way Forest Capital is managing their lands isn’t illegal and meets the standards of the Washington Forest Practices Board, said Slater, but the techniques being used are rapidly changing the landscape and may negatively impact wildlife. http://www.statesmanexaminer.com/content/view/10234/1/

4) RICE – Connie Bergstrom has spent three decades roaming northeast Washington’s Huckleberry Mountains. The retired biology teacher knows which seeps hold enough water to quench the thirst of a horse and a dog during a dusty, August trail ride. She knows where to spot signs of bears. She knows which watering holes to avoid at dusk, because cougars linger there. Two years ago, however, Bergstrom stumbled upon a surprise. It was a clear-cut so stark, she thought the land had been stripped for surface mining. Not only were the trees gone, but the grasses and shrubs had been killed with a herbicide. “We all understand logging. We see the need for it,” said Bergstrom, 58, who describes herself as “not a knee-jerk environmentalist.” But that clear-cut and others that followed looked “like one of those pictures in National Geographic, where countries made deserts out of their mountains,” she said. They were startling, according to Bergstrom, even in a region steeped in commercial forestry. The bare spots on the hillsides are the signature of a new landowner. In 2005, Boise Cascade sold off 2.2 million acres of its timber holdings in multiple states to Forest Capital Partners, a timber investment firm with offices in Boston and Portland. The sale included roughly 270,000 acres in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties. Forest Capital is frank about its plans for the property. The company intends to clear-cut more acres, killing brush through aerial spraying. The exposed ground will be replanted with seedlings. The new regimen will produce more vigorous tree growth, said Tom Holt, general manager for Forest Capital’s western division, who bristles at comments like Bergstrom’s. Over time, the company expects a 30 percent to 75 percent increase in the volume of timber grown on its northeast Washington stands. “We’re probably leading some of the new thinking in the Inland region,” Holt said. After the purchase, Forest Capital spent millions of dollars inventorying former Boise Cascade lands. Holt said his company saw room for improvement in northeast Washington. http://www.spokesmanreview.com/breaking/story.asp?ID=17746

5) Canada lynx is extremely rare in the state of Washington and most of the US. The contiguous U.S. population of Canada lynx was designated as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in March of 2000. The lynx historic range occurred in the Cascades ranges of Washington and Oregon including that of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, the rocky mountain range in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and eastern Washington and Oregon; the great Lakes region, and in the northeast from Maine to New York. Now in the contiguous states, lynx exists only in a few strongholds in the Rocky Mountains, northern Minnesota, Maine, and in northern Washington State. However, the existence of lynx in Washington State is threatened by the limited areas designated for its protection. Under the ESA the US Fish and Wildlife Service must designate critical habitat areas for listed species. The original 2006 critical habitat designation for lynx was thrown out because of improper influence in the process. Since that time the US Fish and Wildlife service has come up with a new designation and are requesting comments through November 20th on the draft proposal. Although this draft proposal is an improvement over the last proposal it still excludes important areas of northeast Washington including the Kettle River Range which is vital to the recovery of lynx. The draft proposal should provide areas that ensure recovery of species including recovery of the species into its former range. Leaving out quality habitat in northeast Washington, areas identified by scientists for lynx recovery, does not ensure recovery of lynx in the Cascade range. Please send in letters to the US Fish and Wildlife Service by Thursday, November 20, 2008 at 5:00pm. The agency is not accepting e-mail or fax comments, but you can mail your letter to the address listed below or paste your comments into the federal rulemaking link:
http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=SubmitComment&o=090000648076b617 In your letters please urge the Fish and Wildlife to designate critical habitat needed to recover lynx across their range, including areas in northeast Washington. Sample letter to the US Fish and Wildlife Service: Public Comments Processing Attn: FWS-R6-ES-2008-0026 Division of Policy and Directives Management US Fish and Wildlife Service 4401 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 222 Arlington, VA 22203 http://www.gptaskforce.org

6) If you haven’t already done so, please take a moment now to visit Conservation Northwest’s website and send a quick comment to the Forest Service – and encourage your friends in Washington State and nationwide to do the same – before the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Currently, only a mere 3% of the 1.1 million acre Colville National Forest is protected as wilderness. Yet, these amazing forests are home to some of Washington State’s most fantastic wilderness trails in the Kettle Range, Sullivan Lake area, and Okanogan Highlands. They provide critical habitat for rare wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, lynx, wolverine, and the only remaining woodland caribou in the lower-48 states. Wilderness recommendations for the remaining wild areas provide a needed balance to a landscape that already sees activities including timber, mining, and motorized recreation. Wilderness is the best assurance that at least a few of these national treasures will remain wild, free, and safe from development and abuse for future generations of all Americans. This could be our best chance in nearly a quarter-century to secure added protection for very special places like the Kettle Crest and other critical areas. Please send in your letter or comment to the Colville National Forest today to ensure a heatlhy future for our northeast Washington wild lands and wildlife. Thanks for taking action and for keeping the Northwest wild! The deadline for public comment has been extended to Nov. 30th. Check out a map of these magnificent wild lands and a take a photographic virtual tour. http://www.conservationnw.org/slideshow/colville-roadless-areas http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1201/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=24512

Oregon:

7) Many of you have heard about the Zane Grey roadless area along the Wild Rogue River and the BLM’s plans to log old-growth is this incredible watershed. The Upper East Kelsey timber sale was the worst of a batch of timber sales designed in 2002 under a document known as “Kelsey Whisky.” The timber sale proposed to log more than 500 acres of old-growth forest and build roads into the largest forested roadless area on BLM land in America. This area is wild, rugged and critical habitat for northern spotted owls and other old-growth dependent animals. The creeks that flow through the forests targeted for logging are important tributaries to the lower Rogue River and provide essential habitat and vital cold water for salmon and other fish. KS Wild has been working numerous angles for more than five years to protect these irreplaceable wildlands. We are thrilled to announce that years of hard work and perseverance have paid off. In late September, KS Wild signed an agreement with the BLM to pull the Record of Decision for the Upper East Kelsey timber sale and cancel this old-growth timber grab!In 2002, KS Wild filed suit on a nearby old-growth timber sale called Mr. Wilson. Some folks might remember that sale as well. While the wheels of justice moved slowly on our lawsuit, the BLM sold Mr. Wilson and a timber company went in and clearcut the old-growth forest in 2003. A slice of a 440 year-old stump was taken from the timber sale and used as an education prop as it toured across the country with KS Wild staff and allies to let folks know that the BLM was still cutting old-growth on public lands. Fast-forward three years when the court determined that KS Wild was correct and the Mr. Wilson timber sale was indeed illegal. You might scratch your head at this point and wonder if you read that correctly. Yes, the timber sale was logged, and three years later a court determined the sale to be illegal. Thanks to the political savvy and unrelenting commitment of KS Wild to old-growth forests and their inhabitants, we negotiated the “remedy” for our Mr. Wilson legal victory that demanded the adjacent Upper East Kelsey timber sale be canceled. The cancellation of the Upper East Kelsey timber sale is a huge victory for the forest ecosystems and old-growth dependent critters of the Zane Grey roadless area. We deeply thank Ralph Bloemers and the Crag Law Center for representing us in the Mr. Wilson case and negotiating this settlement. We also thank our supporters, volunteers and allies who for years have helped raise the profile of the Zane Grey roadless area, made phone calls, came on field trips and spread the word about this special corner of the planet. Unfortunately, the BLM still hopes to log some of the other old-growth timbers sales in the Zane Grey roadless area. Count on KS Wild to do everything possible to protect your wildlands. http://kswild.org

8) This is a beautiful area, recovering well from recent thinning and well on its way to becoming an old growth forest. As Charlie Ferranti, a volunteer with Bark says, “we have a diversity of species, we have hardwood, we have a multi storied canopy, we have down woody debris, we have large snags…..this is a very diverse forest, and it is a very, very, very healthy forest…..right on the edge of becoming a fully functioning late successional forest.” “To come in here and take out half the trees is ridiculous.” Local residents have spend many hours making and maintaining forest trails, and they use the area for hiking, horse back riding, instructing their youngsters in the ways of Nature, and spiritual renewal. Having personally visited this area and talked with some of the local residents, it is my opinion that any further logging activity in this forest would not just be ridiculous, it would be criminal, a criminal act against OUR PUBLIC LANDS!!! For information about this sale, including photographs of the area http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2008/11/382730.shtml

9) LA GRANDE – Boise Building Solutions recently won a federal contract for nearly $850,000 to log 360 acres of the Mount Emily wildland urban interface area. The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s La Grande Ranger District awarded the $848,813 contract to the Idaho-based company, which submitted the only proposal to log small diameter and unhealthy trees in an area that includes national forest lands on the foothills and face of Mount Emily, directly along the private land boundary. Boise Building Solutions will use a helicopter to remove trees on 300 acres and ground-based logging equipment on the other 60 acres. Boise will use three primary haul routes across private lands and access county roads in the vicinity of Igo Lane, End Road and Dial Lane. http://www.eastoregonian.info/main.asp?SectionID=13&SubSectionID=48&ArticleID=85307&TM=16521.94

10) LA GRANDE — Opponents mounted signs on trees with Thomas’ face in a rifle’s scope sight. That’s mostly forgotten now, and the Starkey Project has dramatically influenced management of public lands across the Western United States. Starkey scientists demolished a popular myth that elk require “thermal cover,” trees 40 feet tall with up to 70 percent canopy closure, to survive frigid winters. That finding changed the way timber sales are laid out across the West. Relatively unknown to most Oregonians, the Starkey Project in northeastern Oregon’s Blue Mountains encompasses 40 square miles of alpine meadows and pine and fir forests surrounded by an 8-foot fence. It is open to the public from May until November or December. Field crews plan to spend much of this winter live-trapping and radio-collaring up to 40 Rocky Mountain elk and as many deer inside the fence, one reason the gates have been locked. He is the Starkey Project team leader and supervisory rangeland scientist at the U.S. Forest Service’s Forestry and Range Science Laboratory in La Grande. Field crews expect to feed 450 captive elk and 250 deer inside the fence over the winter. More than 300 tons of hay have been stockpiled against the likelihood of heavy snows. The project ranges from 3,500 to almost 5,000 feet in elevation. “We have to feed seven days a week. We’ll have to feed those elk every single day,” said Starkey biologist Brian Dick. The enclosure, 28 miles southwest of La Grande along Oregon 244, is a joint research effort of the U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. The fenced area is roughly equivalent in size to half of metropolitan Seattle. It has a $1.1 million annual budget and is staffed by three permanent scientists and a four-person field crew. Uncertainty now clouds its future, owing to changes in the makeup of Congress, the forthcoming Barack Obama presidency and the sluggish national economy. That’s nothing new to project administrators. The project was saved twice over the past decade by public and political pressure after President George W. Bush penciled it out of the federal budget. The idea for the enclosure came from Jack Ward Thomas, former chief of the U.S. Forest Service and onetime chief research wildlife biologist at the habitat laboratory in La Grande. woven-wire fence was erected in 1989 and was designed to have a springlike effect that gives when an elk or deer runs into it. Instead of suffering a broken neck, elk and deer bounce off unhurt, and bears and cougars easily climb over it and coyotes go under. At first, plans for the enclosure triggered dark speculation by conspiracy theorists. They feared it would be a concentration camp for political dissidents or a United Nations black helicopter base. Meanwhile, some conservationists objected that it was in the middle of Rocky Mountain elk and mule deer migration corridors. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/post_46.html

11) The Oregon Department of Forestry and the US Fish and Wildlife Service have crafted a new plan to log the Elliott State Forest, increasing harvests by 43% annually, and clearcutting 33,500 acres of forests and endangered species habitat over the next 50 years. They are asking for your comments before November 20. See below for address and talking points. The 93,282 acre Elliott State Forest, near Reedsport, contains some of the best habitat left on the Oregon coast for an endangered sea-bird, the marbled murrelet, which depends on the Elliott for big trees to nest in and raise their young. About half of the Elliott has never been logged before and contains rare, old coastal forests, a refuge to not only the murrelet, but also the spotted owl, coastal salmon, and other wildlife dependent on older forests. The Elliott State Forest is currently being managed under a 1995 “Habitat Conservation Plan” (HCP) that requires the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) to survey for murrelets before logging. If one if found, the area must be protected from logging. So many murrelets flock to the Elliott to raise their young, they severely interfere with the states logging plans. The new plan will allow murrelets and owls to be “incidentally taken” without surveys if the US Fish and Wildlife Service grants an Incidental Take Permit. Thus, the oxymoron “habitat conservation plan” gives the state permission to destroy, not conserve, endangered species habitat. Murrelet habitat would disappear 200% faster under the new plan. Northern Spotted Owls also depend on these forests. Areas that are currently protected in the Elliott by the 1995 HCP, like the Charlotte watershed above the Umpqua River, would lose that protection and see some of the heaviest logging under the new plan.After clearcutting, the State sprays herbicides, and then uses prison labor to replant, converting the diverse, native forests into fertilized, even-aged tree plantations. While the new plan speeds up the conversion to tree plantations, the existing plan is also problematic. 63% of the 35 spotted owl pairs have disappeared since it’s inception in 1995, so that in a 2003 owl survey, ODF found only 13 owl sites left, and in 8 sites, ODF found barred owls invading the Elliott. Barred owls, a non-native species, is considered a major threat to the survival of spotted owls. In May the USFWS recommended protecting “all of the older” forests on non-federal lands to counter the impacts of the barred owl. But the US Fish and Wildlife Service is ignoring their own recommendation. Email your comments to the US Fish and Wildlife Service:ElliottHCP@fws.gov and ElliottStateForest.nwr@noaa.gov. It’s all about the future — the climate, endangered species, salmon and clean water. Thank you for speaking up for your forests, wildlife and future generations. Francis Eatherington francis@umpqua-watersheds.org

12) In 1999, the Fall River Long-Term Site Productivity study began in coastal Washington to investigate how intensive management practices affect soil processes and forest productivity. By comparing conventional harvests to more intensive wood removal treatments, researchers are answering long-standing questions about how residual organic matter influences future growth. Also, by using herbicides to control competing vegetation, they are quantifying the influence other vegetation has on tree growth. Finally, they are measuring soil properties and tree growth on plots where the soil was not compacted during harvest and comparing results to those on plots that were either compacted by logging equipment or compacted and subsequently tilled to restore physical properties. Several interesting findings have emerged after 8 years of measurements: Nitrogen pools in these soils are so high that conventional clearcutting and whole-tree plus coarse-woody-debris removal only reduced the total site nitrogen pool by 3 percent and 6 percent, respectively. That’s a very small percentage reduction that is unlikely to affect long-term productivity. Vegetation control reduced competition for water during the dry growing season and doubled above-ground tree biomass at age 5 compared to the plots where vegetation was not controlled. Soil compaction did not reduce tree growth. These findings suggest that this site is very resilient to intensive forest management. http://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/sciencef/scifi107.pdfhttp://groups.google.com/group/alt.forestry/browse_thread/thread/c0471e46c598cfd1?hl=en

13) A Grant County delegation met with Regional Forester Mary Wagner last week, pressing their case to increase timber harvest on the Malheur National Forest and keep the local mills viable. Participants came away from the Nov. 14 session at the U.S. Forest Service Region 6 offices feeling more positive about the prospects for the future. “Progress was made. Our voices were heard,” said Don Bodewig, eastside manager for D.R. Johnson Lumber Company. The meeting was a follow-up to the timber roundtable convened last month by Rep. Greg Walden in the Northeastern Oregon community of Elgin. That session drew a standing-room-only crowd to talk about the timber shutdown in the Iron Triangle, an eight-county area touched by three national forests: the Malheur, the Umatilla and the Wallowa-Whitman. King Williams, who also made the trip to Portland, said the group wanted to reiterate the importance of keeping the timber industry alive in Grant County. “Without this manufacturing base, not only would Grant County experience severe economic and social decline, but the very infrastructure necessary to carry out the forest health improvement projects would disappear,” he said. Also making the trip were: Valerie Johnson, Johnson Holding Company board member; Mark Webb, Grant County judge; Dan Bishop, Prairie Wood Products, and Zach Williams, King Inc. Although Wagner couldn’t commit to specific funding level, she acknowledged a need to focus future appropriations on areas where the infrastructure is still intact, Bodewig noted. Valerie Johnson, daughter of D.R. Johnson, stressed in the meeting that her family’s company is ready to operate at a break-even or even less operation level on the short term, but needs some assurance of future timber volume to make that kind of commitment. The group wants the Forest Service to boost timber harvests to 50 million board feet a year – up from the current level of about 20 million board feet. “We think 50 million is do-able,” said Bodewig. That will require more funding from the Forest Service, however. The group provided pie charts showing that while the Malheur National Forest has 8 percent of Region 6’s non-wilderness forest, it is budgeted to receive just 5 percent of the region’s timber money in 2009. http://www.myeaglenews.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=13&ArticleID=18723&TM=63228.97

14) Wading into northwest forest policy is kind of like skinny dipping with piranha only more dangerous and probably dumber. Nonetheless, as anglers who care deeply about the health of our salmon and steelhead runs and the rivers that nurture them we can’t sit quietly by as the BLM puts great local rivers and the fish that inhabit them at risk. The Western Oregon Plan Revision is the BLM’s attempt to ramp up logging and dramatically reduce riparian protections on 2.6 million acres of land in the western part of the state managed by that agency. The timber industry asserted in a lawsuit that the Northwest Forest Plan cannot apply to Oregon BLM lands, most of which were acquired through the Oregon and California Railroad Act. Instead of defending itself, the agency rolled over and scrapped the Northwest Forest Plan in favor of the WOPR. Now, the Northwest Forest Plan is far from perfect and federal timber managers have at times had difficulty getting the cut out–but no parties are blameless in that regard. There is middle ground but industry, federal agencies, conservation interests and environmental groups have not always sought it. Despite its perceived shortcomings, the Northwest Forest Plan has had remarkable success in at least one regard: improving riparian conditions. It is no secret that salmon, trout and steelhead need cold clean water with complex habitat in order to thrive. The Aquatic Conservation Strategy implemented by the Northwest Forest Plan is a cornerstone of Oregon’s salmon recovery efforts and has been successful. Scientists have documented improvement in riparian conditions in over 64% of the streams sampled since implementation of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy. The new plan would eliminate this proven management tool on BLM land. http://thequietpool.blogspot.com/2008/11/wading-into-northwest-forest-policy-is.html

California:

15) Humboldt Redwood CEO Richard Higgenbottom said the Scotia mill has made some operational improvements and adjustments that have improved the quality of the lumber coming out of the mill. A solid log deck has been built up, ensuring a more consistent supply to the mill, he said. ”It’s quite a difference,” Higgenbottom said, comparing operations now to when the company first took over. But it’s the big picture — the one Humboldt Redwood or any other company has no control over — that’s troubling. Housing starts are near all-time lows, which especially affects the sale of Douglas fir lumber. The remodeling sector, which guides demand for redwood, is also in the pits, according to the Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. That’s due to less consumer spending because of job losses, and from reductions in home values, the center reported late last month. The slump is likely to last through 2009, said Joe Heitz, an associate editor for the trade publication Random Lengths. Sierra Pacific Industries is in the midst of a short shutdown at its Manila mill and its mill in Burlington, Wash. South Coast Lumber in Brookings, Ore. has announced limited curtailments. Georgia-Pacific’s Coos Bay operation has laid off nearly a third of its workforce. And the list goes on. The California Redwood Co. — formerly Simpson Timber — has been working one week on, one week off in Korbel recently, and will take its regularly scheduled downtime around the holidays, said spokeswoman Jackie Deuschle-Miller. The lumber business has always been cyclical, she pointed out. ”It’s an uncertain time,” Deuschle-Miller said. “It was a bad year last year and we’re forecasting that next year isn’t going to be any better.” That seems almost certain to be true. Housing starts are still declining from when they peaked in 2006, said Humboldt State University economist Steve Hackett. It may be awhile before that decline flattens out, Hackett said, and another six to seven months after that before an upswing can be expected. That has to do with a variety of factors, including banks becoming more willing to loan money, consumer confidence and unemployment figures. The housing sector will improve as the economy gets back on track, Hackett said. ”That’s going to take a lot of work,” he said. “That’s going to take a lot of time.” Until then, it’s likely to be tough times in the West’s softwood lumber industry, Hackett said. Asked if Mendocino Redwood is still happy that it invested hundreds of millions of dollars in the PL takeover, Higgenbottom said he remains satisfied that it was a good move. And, he said, the best thing to do to weather a downturn is to prepare to take advantage of the market when it improves. http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_11012097

16) Halfway isn’t Enough…for the San Joaquin River Parkway Since the inception of the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust 20 years ago, 3,500 acres of land along the San Joaquin River have been acquired and are protected under public ownership.But the River Parkway is only halfway complete…We need your help to ensure that all 6,000 acres of precious land planned for the Parkway are available to the public so that everyone can experience the natural wonders of our Valley. We need your help to create more safe outdoor places for families, with new trails, picnic areas and river access points. Join in the effort to complete the Parkway. http://riverparkway.org/

17) The California-based startup says it plans to make the videogame efforts real by donating portions of sales and advertising revenues to tree-planting nonprofit groups Arbor Day Foundation and Trees for the Future. “Planting trees makes a world of difference both for ‘Pet Earth’ and in real-life,” GoPlanit said in a release. Along with absorbing climate-changing carbon dioxide, trees provide shade, block wind, clean water, prevent soil erosion and block winds, the San Francisco-based startup notes. “Pet Earth” welcomes players by telling them they have adopted a “lovable six sextillion kilogram pet” and then unleashes floods, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions and other disasters they must thwart. For example, floods are dried up by tipping motion-sensing iPhones to channel water into drains and hurricanes are countered by blowing on Apple’s innovative handheld devices. Mini-mission victories are rewarded with virtual trees for improving the health of a pet Earth. “Catching polluters is also important,” GoPlanit explains in a release about the game. “Track polluters to their secret hideouts by following clues in the form of geography trivia questions.” In-game money is paid as bounties for polluters. “Pet Earth” is among the burgeoning ranks of iPhone games stocked at iTunes online shop. The full game is priced at 2.99 dollars and there is a free “lite” version. http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5iPaEC1QuUgnz45jRkjvnG_I-kVww

18) To the surprise of local officials, California State Parks is holding a public workshop in Visalia on Wednesday to discuss the creation of three new parks in the Tulare basin: 1) 2,300-acre park at Rocky Hill in Exeter that would celebrate Native American culture, 2) 1,000-acre park at Deer Creek south of Porterville. 3) 500-acre water trail park on the Kings River in Fresno County. They just found out about it. Astonished local officials said they would have liked a little advance notice.”I haven’t been able to find anyone around here who knows anything about it,” said Paul Saldana, CEO of the Economic Development Corp. of Tulare County. The county first heard about it Thursday, he said. The workshop is intended to get public feedback on “Central Valley Vision: Outdoor Recreation for a Growing Population,” available online at fblinks.com/3rs655. It’s a draft implementation plan, which implies that the proposals are beyond the idea stage and are on their way to becoming a reality. Because city officials didn’t get enough notice, the Visalia City Council, which meets Monday night, will consider asking the state parks to put off the workshop so the city can study the document. Saldana said he sent a similar message. A state parks public information officer last week said a press release about the workshop was sent out Oct. 21. But it’s unclear how the parks system communicated the information to local government agencies. Also in the report are proposed improvements to Colonel Allensworth State Historic Park, expansion of the Tule Elk Reserve in Kern County and a possible Tejon Ranch park. The Tulare basin encompasses the southern San Joaquin Valley from the Kings River south to the Tehachapi Mountains, according to the state Department of Water Resources. The Bee in 2004 reported that California State Parks was seeking ideas from residents about worthy places for parks in the Central Valley. http://www.fresnobee.com/columnists/griswold/story/1015782.html

19) Measure J specified, as does the recently adopted ordinance, that “…the City Council shall not initiate an expansion of the City’s water service area or sewer service area with the State of California Local Agency Formation Commission unless authorized to do so by the approval of a ballot measure to this effect by City voters at a general or special municipal election.” However, the City Council is now doing precisely the opposite of what this ordinance requires and the voice of the Santa Cruz community is being ignored yet again. They have initiated an expansion of the City’s water and sewer service area with an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to amend their Sphere of Influence area for City services. Concurrently, UCSC has applied to LAFCO for permission to get these services. The City is the lead agency and will conduct an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for both applications. The EIR is required under the California Environmental Quality Act in order to assess the impacts of a construction project. Right now, Santa Cruz community members can submit their concerns about the way they are being ignored in this process and what they think is important to take into consideration before destroying the redwood and chaparral forest. It is vital to voice as many concerns as possible every step of the way to maintain the legal grounds for opposing the University’s devastating expansion plans. If you care about Upper Campus or the future of the city of Santa Cruz, please submit written comments about what should be studied and considered in this EIR no later than December 2, 2008 to: Ken Thomas, City of Santa Cruz Planning and Community Development Department 809 Center Street, Rm. 206 Santa Cruz, CA 95060 Or by email to: KThomas@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us There is also a public meeting where you can express any comments on Nov. 18, this Wednesday at 6pm at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. Again, the future of the forest and of Santa Cruz is at stake. Please do everything you can to save this precious place. The City Council is trying to ignore our voices, so let’s speak louder! Also, you can contact the City Council at citycouncil@ci.santa-cruz.ca.us. More info: lrdpaction.media@gmail.com

20) Recently, some of North America’s largest logging companies, including Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) were converging for the annual North American Wholesale Lumber Association (NAWLA) meeting at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Chicago. On the morning of November 7, 2008, ForestEthics dropped off 900 USA Today “mock-up” newspapers at the doors of Hyatt Guests with satirical headlines from the future–when SPI has vowed to protect California’s forests. We’re optimistic this USA today will look like the actual newspaper when SPI finally changes the way it does business! Read about more of our creative tactics to educate SPI’s peers and clientele. You can help save the Sierra! Sign up to get involved. http://forestethics.org/article.php?id=2244

21) An eclectic group of conservationists and hunters hosted an October 30 discussion by law enforcement and a fisheries biologist concerning the impact of agriculture on Mendocino County streams and forests. While few conclusions were reached, it was considered a landmark gathering, as many in the community asked what they could do to protect the environment. Nearly 100 local residents listened to the speakers and posed questions afterwards. As a result of the public interest, the Willits Environmental Center is planning to coordinate and organize future cleanup parties on area public lands to repair damage caused by illegal marijuana grows. Those interested in participating in local cleanups are invited to contact the center at 459-4110. Special Agent Ron Pugh of the National Forest Service spoke of the major expansion during the past five years by foreign-based drug traffickers growing large plantations of marijuana on public lands, not only locally but expanding into other regions of the country during the past two years. Because the problem has become so pervasive and is expanding so quickly, federal law enforcement resources dealing with marijuana growing in the California national forests have increased from 80 to 175 agents in the past 18 months. “The problem is now in our face,” says Pugh. “It is out of control.” The increased manpower has allowed the National Forest Service to change its investigation methods, now comprehensively investigating each newly discovered grow as a crime scene which includes pursuing the paper trails or cell phone records discovered at each location, says Pugh. Past practices focused solely on the eradication. The NFS is also trying to arrest all of the participants, although with most heavily armed and very familiar with the grow site, this has not been easy. Pugh says the strategy is to pursue all leads, with a team of agents devoted to pulling the information together in a comprehensive effort to identify and locate the leaders of the drug trafficking organizations and not settle for just the field workers. Pugh reports his agency is already finding links between grow sites in different areas of the country, which would have been missed in prior operations. The new “gardeners” are well armed and equipped to elude law enforcement, frequently having night vision goggles, scanners, GPS equipment and state of the art radios and cell phones. Most are in the country illegally with no ties to the area. http://www.willitsnews.com/ci_11022976?source=most_emailed

22) That one massive storm – which hit Trinity County late June 20 and Shasta County June 21 – sparked thousands of fires that blackened more than a million acres in Northern California. The magnitude of destruction has sharpened the focus on questions that have long eluded easy answers: How did the north state wildlands become so vulnerable? What is it going to take, in terms of work on the ground and in the meeting room, to manage forests in a way that lessens fire danger? Who will pay to better manage forests? How? Do these management techniques need to be used across the landscape or only where forests and homes meet? Should fires even be fought at all if they are not threatening life or property? Who, be it members of the public, agency officials or elected representatives, needs to step up to guide forest management? Seeking answers to these questions, shortly before fire agencies around the north state declared an end to the 2008 fire season, the Record Searchlight gathered a panel of 10 fire and wildland experts. While no consensus was reached on how to manage the forests, and the fires that burn though them, participants raised many ideas on how to improve the situation. The ideas included: More thinning projects that reduce the amount of overgrown underbrush and thick canopies. A serious look at the possibility of wood-and-debris burning, or biomass, power plants. Development of fire management plans that weave together individual projects from different agencies and groups. Review of how and when fires should be allowed to burn and how control burns are used. Evaluation of existing homes and buildings, and planned developments, on fire-prone land in or near wildland. http://www.redding.com/news/2008/nov/23/burning-question-how-to-best-manage-our-forests/

Montana:

23) Thursday night, it was the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project that packed 100 people into the Seeley Lake Community Center. And the attitude was uniformly positive to the project’s vision of more jobs, more timber and more wilderness in the same piece of legislation. “We need to figure out what to do in this valley to keep the jobs here and keep the tourists coming,” said Robin Matthews, a real estate broker and former U.S. Forest Service employee who attended the meeting. “This is a pretty diverse group. They realize what it takes. We’ve got to protect forest health, water quality, the aesthetics of the valley – it all ties together.” The Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project needs federal legislation for three goals. One is funding for 10 years of special logging projects that combine timber harvest with landscape enhancement, wildlife habitat work and recreation improvements. Seeley Lake’s Pyramid Mountain Lumber Co. got one of the first such stewardship logging contracts in the nation back in 2001. Seeley Lake District Ranger Tim Love said the company’s success is the model for building the bigger project. The second part is funding for a co-generation plant that would burn the wood chips, slash and other unsellable wood for electricity and heat. The power plant might be built at Pyramid Mountain Lumber, covering most of its electricity needs and possibly lighting the community of Seeley Lake as well. And it would provide a use for the wood waste that area pulp mills are having trouble handling. The third part would add 87,000 acres to the Bob Marshall-Scapegoat and Mission Mountains wilderness areas. But the deal also includes updates that would show where snowmobilers could access play areas and where other motorized recreation could take place. Bob Ekey of the Wilderness Society said the project has followed the success of the Blackfoot Challenge, which brought folks from many walks of life together to manage their forestlands. If those partnerships can be replicated around Seeley Lake, they can convince Congress that the proposal’s many parts have strong public support. “The conservation community was a little wary of stewardship contracts at first,” Ekey said. “Now we think it’s a good thing. This builds on a lot of history.” http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/11/14/news/mtregional/news08.txt

24) Pyramid Mountain Lumber still holds influence in its hometown of Seeley Lake, even as the regional wood products industry drifts toward political irrelevance. Whatever clout the locally owned mill has left, it would like to use now. “When a mill goes down, it’s never, ever coming back,” says Gordy Sanders, Pyramid’s resources vice president. “Right now we’re at a balancing point here in Montana-we can have a fully integrated timber industry or we can have nothing.” Mill officials say a deal on the table could help them weather economic struggles and assist in the healthy management of forestland. In early 2007, a collection of interested parties unveiled the Blackfoot-Clearwater Stewardship Project as a cooperative approach to deal with issues in the Swan Valley’s panoramic wild interface. The plan seeks $12 million in federal appropriations to add 87,000 acres of new territory to three wilderness areas, subsidize the construction of Pyramid’s 3.2-megawatt biomass generator and finance proactive forest thinning. It would also effectively swap Pyramid’s cost-prohibitive logging turf for access to lower elevation forests. Virtually nothing has changed with the project since its birth almost two years ago, except the world around it. “We’re entering into what’s ultimately going to be a shutdown of the forest products industry,” says University of Montana natural resources economist Tom Power. He explains the downturn is to some degree just a segment of a cyclical process, but expects mills won’t have the capital for cooperative projects in the immediate future. “Right now there’s no demand to harvest trees,” he says. The most telling sign of the project’s new economic environment arrived in the form of a recent disclosure from Pyramid that the Seeley Lake mill currently lacks the capital to live up to its $2.5 million part of the deal. Pyramid officials revealed the shortfall at a well-attended Nov. 13 public meeting about the Blackfoot-Clearwater project. Critics say this only underscores concerns that the wood products industry is no longer sturdy enough to factor into long-term land management. Conservationist author George Wuerthner argues that stewardship project proposals are often chock full of promises to mitigate present and future logging damage. However, when the revenue fails to meet expectations, the good intentions count for naught. “What happens is the logs get cut but the things that are supposed to happen either don’t get done or they get done at a reduced level,” he says. Segments of the environmental community also wonder if appeasing logging interests remains necessary in creating new wilderness. http://www.missoulanews.com/index.cfm?do=article.details&id=B6C513A1-14D1-13A2-9F868040F6134CD1

Colorado:

25) “The Latin name is Dendroctunus, which means tree killer,” said Gregg DeNitto, a Forest Service entomologist in Missoula, Mont. “They are very effective.” To fend off the bugs, trees emit white resin, which looks like candle wax, into the beetle’s drill hole. Sometimes the tree wins and entombs the beetle. Often, though, the attacker puts out a pheromone-based call for reinforcements and more of the beetles swarm the tree. In a drought the tree has trouble producing enough resin, and is overwhelmed. The beetles will only be truly checked, experts say, if temperatures that used to reach 30 and 40 below for weeks return to the Rockies, temperatures that have not been seen in decades. The death of the forests worries the tourism industry. Many ski areas have cut down their forests because of the hazard of falling trees and have revegetated the land. At Vail Ski Resort, for example, which has been particularly hard hit, workers have removed thousands of dead trees and planted new ones. The dead trees that blanket the mountains are shifting ecosystems as well. In Yellowstone, for example, the beetles are killing the white-barked pine trees, which grow nuts rich in fat that are critical to grizzly bears in the fall. Biologists in Canada say streams will flash-flood because live trees will no longer catch snow and allow it to slowly melt, and it could injure salmon and destroy habitat. On the other hand, woodpeckers and other insect eaters will thrive. Wildfire is the biggest threat. Some towns like Steamboat Springs and Vail, Colo., are surrounded by dead forests, and the Forest Service and logging companies are clear-cutting “defensible space” so firefighters have a place to fight fires. The other major problem is large numbers of falling trees. In Colorado and Wyoming, officials have closed 38 campgrounds for fear trees could fall on campers. They have reopened all but 14. But there is a lot more to do. “We know they are going to fall,” Mr. Kyhl said. “And they are going to fall in the next 10 to 15 years. There’s campgrounds, thousands of miles of road, picnic areas, power lines and trails. How do we keep the facilities open for people to use?”The agency is faced with clearing a strip of 75 to 100 feet of dead trees along highways so they are not closed by blow downs. Then there is a question of what do with the wood. Sawmills have diminished in the West in recent years, and there are not enough mills to take all of the timber. In Colorado, entrepreneurs have been scrambling to find ways to use it. Two pellet plants have been built, which turn the trees into sawdust and then pack them into a clean-burning pellet used in wood stoves. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/18/science/18trees.html?pagewanted=2&_r=2

26) With many of the logging projects in the core of Summit County under way, the Forest Service is setting its sights on a large-scale forest-health study in the Lower Blue north of Silverthorne. To help the public understand the scope of the project, the agency is holding an open house on Tuesday from 3:30-6:30 p.m. at the Dillon Ranger District office at 680 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne. According to a Forest Service press release, drought, mild winters, and single-aged mature stands of pine trees have made the forest susceptible to pine beetle attacks across much of northern Colorado. The Lower Blue project is intended to salvage dead and damaged trees, prevent heavy fuel loading and hasten regeneration. The agency is looking at widespread logging and thinning operations across about 4,300 acres in the Lower Blue between Maryland Creek and Spring Creek.
Detailed information, including maps and aerial photos, are on the agency’s website at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/whiteriver/projects/lower-blue/index.shtml.

27) About 1,500 miles of roads and trails will be open for motorized uses and nearly 2,100 miles of routes will be open to mountain bikes in the White River National Forest under a final draft travel management plan. Nevertheless, U.S. Forest Service officials are braced for possible complaints over closures of about 1,500 miles of routes. “There will be some changes for some users who are used to participating in a certain activity in a certain area,” says the plan’s introduction. Once the plan is completed next year, it will define where people can walk, bike, drive, snowmobile and ski. “These routes, though not as numerous as the total amount that has been created on the landscape — either legally or user-created — will still provide for great opportunities and experiences,” the plan insists. Routes that aren’t specifically designated for use will be “decommissioned” and the terrain rehabilitated. In some cases, the routes are old logging roads that aren’t official roads but still invite use. In other cases, they are “bandit” trails created by mountain bikers, dirt bikers or some other forest user. The Forest Service didn’t have a breakdown for how many miles of closures are in the Aspen area. The agency released its final draft travel management plan earlier this month and is accepting comments from the public through Jan. 6. User groups ranging from the Roaring Fork Mountain Biking Association to Wilderness Workshop to the Pitkin County commissioners are wading through the detailed plan to assess how it affects them so they can make comments. The agency has tentatively planned public open house meetings in Aspen and El Jebel on Saturday, Dec. 13, to help the public understand the direction of the plan. Details about those meetings will be released as they are completed. The final plan will be released next year. http://www.aspentimes.com/article/20081119/NEWS/811189943/1077&ParentProfile=1058&title=Forest%20travel%20plan%20eyes%201,500%20miles%20of%20closures

South Dakota:

28) RAPID CITY – Research into the best ways to reduce the intensity and spread of forest fires in the Black Hills is being done at South Dakota State University. Mark Cochran is directing the project. He says satellite images are being used to study areas before and after fires. The research may provide insight into preventive measures, such as tree thinning and tinder cleanup. But Cochran says the wild card in wildfires is always the weather. No matter how well a forest is managed, he says extremely dry conditions and high winds will cause major fires. The research project will be finished in 2 years. http://www.kxmc.com/News/297423.asp

29) 38,300 acre thin in S Dakota The projects keep getting bigger, a lot of this is preemptive, log it before the beetles get it. Uses commodities timber sales, Stewardship contracting and service contracts. In the scoping phase now and comments being accepted. Check out the scoping map @ http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/blackhills/projects/nepa/public_docs/slate_castle_project/index.shtml Almost every square inch is entered.
Huge footprint, heavy thinning http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2008/E8-26797.htm How do we slow this destruction down?
Bill Barton Native Forest Council Field Operations 541-688-2600 bill@forestcouncil.org Stumps@lists.forestcouncil.org

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