373 PNW-USA

Index:

–Alaska: 1) Enviros file suit on 4 Tongass NF timber sales, 2) Save Roadless areas / Martens, 3) Tongass carbon sequestration calculations,
–Washington: 4) Clearcuts cause landslides / destroy public trust, 5) Cont. 6) Newspaper’s landslide measuring methods, 7) Elect Goldmark for public land’s commissioner, 8) No wolves in the Olympics means no predators for small tree eating critters, 9) Why we don’t want road repair in the Dosewallips, 10) Beetle wars with Pheromones, 11) Forced to destroy fish shade along levees to keep Fed dollars,
–Oregon: 12) Dissolution of a state’s county is the result of over overlogging, 13) Save Oswald West’s campground trees, 14) Dems more dangerous to forests than Reps.,
California: 15) Sudden oak death at Crystal Springs, 16) UC Berekely treesit, 17) Save Liberty Canyon Oak trees,
–Arizona: 18) Long Walk2 as related to San Francisco peaks
–Montana: 19) Plum’s newest fed swindle won’t be disclosed to county gov, 20) Obama on Plum’s swindle,
–Michigan: 21) Detroit fails to save itself by turning the N. woods into biofuels
–Wisconsin: 22) Global warming caused Tree migration limited by farms, ranches, etc.
–Indiana: 23) I-69 arrests / protests continue
–Ohio: 24) Wayne NF plan fails to maximize public benefits
–New Jersey: 25) Aerial survey results regarding Gypsy moth damage
–USA: 26) Habitat destruction means nation’s bird population is collapsing, 27) Wal-Mart hires WWF as its newest greenwasher, 28) Logging doesn’t really increase water flows so much as it degrades water flows 29) Famers wiping out conservation reserves, 30) Only good loggers need is exemption from the law / categorical exclusions, 31) What the heck is a FLAME act? 32) Forest issues roundup from Washington D.C.,

Articles:

Alaska:

1) Environmental groups sued the U.S. Forest Service in federal court today arguing that the agency has concealed impacts of old-growth logging to the environment and to subsistence hunting in four Tongass National Forest timber projects. At issue is whether environmental impact statements have thoroughly evaluated the effect of the projects on Sitka black-tailed deer – a species that is key to viability of the “Islands Wolf” (Alexander Archipelago wolf) and is among the most important subsistence foods in the area. The plaintiffs are Greenpeace and Cascadia Wildlands Project, both of which have offices in Alaska. They say the Forest Service has violated bedrock environmental laws by deliberately ignoring their legitimate criticisms of how impacts to deer were assessed in the decision process and not providing a “full and fair discussion” of their concerns. While not a plaintiff in the suit, the Alaska Department of Fish & Game has repeatedly challenged these same flaws. “The Forest Service has misapplied the science and has stonewalled all challenges,” said Greenpeace forest campaigner Larry Edwards. “We have sought resolution for years. Now the courts are the only recourse.” The lawsuit demands that the four logging projects be stopped and that supplemental analysis be ordered to fairly evaluate their impacts. Combined, the projects would take 33 million board feet of timber from 1,700 acres of old-growth forest and construct 9.5 miles of new, permanent logging roads. “Ancient forest logging reduces the ability of the forest to sustain deer in winter,” said Gabe Scott, Alaska field representative for Cascadia Wildlands Project in Cordova. “When old-growth forests are logged, deer become more vulnerable to population collapses during hard winters, and the Tongass has had recent record-setting snowfalls consistent with climate change factors for the region. Deer are a vital food source both for residents of the region and the Islands Wolf.” The Tongass, America’s largest national forest, has been a flashpoint of controversy for decades. It is the world’s largest remaining temperate rainforest that is still relatively intact. Even so, viability of Tongass wildlife species – the Islands Wolf prominent among them – is a well acknowledged concern. In 1997, the Forest Service avoided a ‘threatened’ listing of the Islands Wolf under the Endangered Species Act by including a protective standard in its then new Tongass Forest Plan. The standard was intended to protect both the wolf’s “viability and wide distribution” and the needs of families that depend on deer for food on the table. http://www.sflorg.com/ear/?p=200

2) Help us save martens and other forest wildlife! Urge U.S. Forest Service Chief Gail Kimbell to protect roadless areas and old-growth forests in the Tongass National Forest – and the martens and other forest wildlife that live there. Take action now at:
http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=ITXKAtZc3XGBT4HV09cUDg . The Bush plan sets the stage for logging 5 times the timber currently cut on the Tongass – including habitat for martens and many of the undisturbed old-growth stands that form the heart of the Tongass’s still trackless expanses. Logging deals a severe blow to martens, which cannot live in fragmented forests or cleared areas. Marten experts believe that these special forest mammals cannot live in areas without at least 50-60% canopy cover – a far cry from what would be left after a clearcut. But these unique coastal martens aren’t the only species threatened by the Bush plan for the Tongass. Giant grizzly bears, thriving salmon runs, bald eagles, Queen Charlotte goshawks, and the elusive Alexander Archipelago wolf would all lose important habitat under the plan. Speak out for wildlife in the Tongass. Send your message to the Forest Service now. Take action online at: http://action.defenders.org/site/R?i=7eZAfQUNBxMt3tCoURRzuQ . Defenders and its environmental partners have filed appeals asking the Forest Service to reconsider the Tongass plan, include protections for old-growth forests and roadless areas and acknowledge the impacts of climate change. The public comment period for demanding these protections ends on Tuesday, July 15th. http://newsblaze.com/story/20080711140233zzzz.nb/topstory.html

3) The Tongass National Forest (Tongass) is the largest national forest and largest area of old-growth forest in the United States. Spatial geographic information system data for the Tongass were combined with forest inventory data to estimate and map total carbon stock in the Tongass; the result was 2.8 ± 0.5 Pg C, or 8% of the total carbon in the forests of the conterminous USA and 0.25% of the carbon in global forest vegetation and soils. Cumulative net carbon loss from the Tongass due to management of the forest for the period 1900–95 was estimated at 6.4–17.2 Tg C. Using our spatially explicit data for carbon stock and net flux, we modeled the potential effect of five management regimes on future net carbon flux. Estimates of net carbon flux were sensitive to projections of the rate of carbon accumulation in second-growth forests and to the amount of carbon left in standing biomass after harvest. Projections of net carbon flux in the Tongass range from 0.33 Tg C annual sequestration to 2.3 Tg C annual emission for the period 1995–2095. For the period 1995–2195, net flux estimates range from 0.19 Tg C annual sequestration to 1.6 Tg C annual emission. If all timber harvesting in the Tongass were halted from 1995 to 2095, the economic value of the net carbon sequestered during the 100-year hiatus, assuming $20/Mg C, would be $4 to $7 million/y (1995 US dollars). If a prohibition on logging were extended to 2195, the annual economic value of the carbon sequestered would be largely unaffected ($3 to $6 million/y). The potential annual economic value of carbon sequestration with management maximizing carbon storage in the Tongass is comparable to revenue from annual timber sales historically authorized for the forest. “Effects of Management on Carbon Sequestration in Forest Biomass in Southeast Alaska” — Wayne W. Leighty, Steven P. Hamburg, and John Caouette

Washington:

4) PE ELL, Lewis County — Last December’s big storms left Highway 6 in bad shape. A logged slope above the highway cracked and gave way, destroying one home, damaging another and blocking the road. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) spent $3.3 million and three months cleaning up the mess from the landslide, eventually hauling away 10,000 truckloads of debris from the road that links this southwest Washington town to the coast. For DOT geologists, the slide exemplified their frustration with state oversight of logging around the highways of southwest Washington, a region rife with unstable hillsides.The state Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which enforces forestry rules, can restrict clear-cutting when geological reviews indicate landslides could put public safety or public resources at risk. But near Highway 6 and other roadside logging sites, state foresters often have opted to skip these reviews when approving logging permits. DOT geologists never knew about the plans by a small landowner to log above Highway 6, so they never pushed for a site visit by a geologist certified by DNR as a qualified expert in unstable slopes. But they have raised concerns about logging at 20 other sites along state highways, asking the Natural Resources Department to require geological reviews, according to a DOT official. That happened at about half those sites, and state DOT geologists continue to spar with state foresters about logging plans above highways. "I don’t feel that there is a burden of responsibility that is taken seriously," said Tom Badger, a DOT geologist. "I really think there is a systemic problem." http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008050123_logging14.html

5) When Weyerhaeuser began clear-cutting the Douglas firs on the slopes surrounding Little Mill Creek, local water officials were on edge. Some of these lands had slid decades ago, after an earlier round of logging. They worried new slides could dump sediments into the mountain stream and overwhelm a treatment plant. Those fears came true last December when a monster storm barreled in from the Pacific, drenching the mountains around the Chehalis River basin and touching off hundreds of landslides. Little Mill Creek, filled with mud and debris, turned dark like chocolate syrup. More than three months passed before nearly 3,000 valley residents could drink from their taps again. "I have never seen anything like this before, and I hope I never do again," said Fred Hamilton, who works for the Boistfort Valley Water Corp. State forestry rules empower the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to restrict logging on unstable slopes when landslides could put public resources or public safety at risk. But in Little Mill Creek and elsewhere in the Upper Chehalis basin, a Seattle Times investigation found that Weyerhaeuser frequently clear-cut on unstable slopes, with scant oversight from the state geologists who are supposed to help watchdog the timber industry. The December storm triggered more than 730 landslides in the Upper Chehalis basin, according to a state aerial survey. Those slides dumped mud and debris into swollen rivers, helping fuel the floods that slammed houses, barns and farm fields downstream. Weyerhaeuser officials are hoping this was a rare, freak storm that won’t be seen again — at least in this corner of Southwest Washington — for hundreds of years. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008048848_logging13m.html

6) First, the Seattle Times obtained data on clear-cuts and landslides from the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Using mapping software, we overlaid the clear-cut sites with the landslides from the December 2007 storm. In the Upper Chehalis River and Stillman Creek watersheds, 732 landslides were identified from the storm. We analyzed where each of those slides occurred in the two watersheds, using landslide inventory data gathered in DNR aerial surveys. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of the landslides appear to have started near logging roads or in areas clear-cut in the last 15 or so years. (There are limitations to DNR’s surveys. Aerial surveys likely missed some landslides, especially in more heavily forested areas where landslides are harder to spot.) We then looked at some of the steepest clear-cuts in the watersheds by overlaying maps of "hazard zones," which were drawn up during an analysis of the watersheds in the 1990s by scientists from Weyerhaeuser, the state and elsewhere. That analysis assigned each zone a high, moderate or low rating for landslide risk. We limited our analysis to 87 clear-cuts that had at least half of their acreage in a moderate- to high-hazard zone. Nearly half those sites had landslides during the storm. Despite making up only 8 percent of the total acreage in the two watersheds, these 87 sites accounted for 30 percent of the total landslides. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2008048858_logginghow13.html

7) One of the races I haven’t paid nearly enough attention to this election season is Peter Goldmark’s incredibly strong challenge of two-term Commissioner of Public Lands Doug Sutherland (R-Weyerhaeuser). Goldmark is a farmer, rancher, molecular biology PHD, and former state Agriculture Director and WSU regent, who is not only exceptionally well qualified (and simply a great guy) but a rare opportunity for folks on the other side of the mountains to put one of their own in a statewide elected office. Sutherland, on the other hand, has proven himself to be a lax manager who has clearly sided with timber and mining interests over those of us ordinary citizens who actually own the public lands in his charge. Sutherland’s failure to effectively manage public lands and protect public resources and public safety was highlighted last December, when torrential rains led to over 730 landslides in the Upper Chehalis Basin alone, that wiped out roads, destroyed homes and contributed to flooding that caused more than $57 million in property damage in Lewis County. And as the Seattle Times reports in an extensive multi-part investigative series, 30% of the landslides were produced from steep sites that had been clearcut without proper oversight from Sutherland’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “State forestry rules empower the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to restrict logging on unstable slopes when landslides could put public resources or public safety at risk. But in Little Mill Creek and elsewhere in the Upper Chehalis basin, a Seattle Times investigation found that Weyerhaeuser frequently clear-cut on unstable slopes, with scant oversight from the state geologists who are supposed to help watchdog the timber industry.” http://www.horsesass.org/?p=5199

8) Olympic National Park was created in 1938, in part “to preserve the finest sample of primeval forests in the entire United States” – but a new study at Oregon State University suggests that this preservation goal has failed, as a result of the elimination of wolves and subsequent domination of the temperate rainforests by herds of browsing elk. The extermination of wolves in the early 1900s set off a “trophic cascade” of changes that appear to have affected forest vegetation and stream dynamics, with possible impacts on everything from fisheries to birds and insects, the scientists wrote in their report, just published in the journal Ecohydrology. Members of the Press Expedition, hiking in 1890 through what is now Olympic National Park, found the banks of the upper Quinault River “so dense with underbrush as to be almost impenetrable,” they wrote at the time. Logs jammed the rivers, dense tree canopies shaded and cooled the streams, and trout and salmon thrived along with hundreds of species of plants and animals. “Today, you go through the same area and instead of dense vegetation that you have to fight through, it’s a park-like stand of predominantly big trees,” said Bill Ripple, a co-author of the study and forestry professor at Oregon State University. “It’s just a different world.” That world may still be quite beautiful with its jagged, glacier-covered peaks and towering old-growth trees. But it’s not the same one that so impressed President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909 that he created Mount Olympus National Monument – in large part to help protect elk herds that had been decimated by hunting. The Roosevelt elk, a massive animal that now bears his name, can weigh more than 1,000 pounds. With protection from hunters and extermination of wolves not long after that, elk populations surged, and OSU researchers say that in the intervening decades the very nature of Olympic National Park has changed dramatically. “Our study shows that there has been almost no recruitment of new cottonwood and bigleaf maple trees since the wolves disappeared, and also likely impacts on streamside shrubs, which are very important for river stability,” said Robert Beschta, lead author of the study and professor emeritus of forest hydrology at OSU. “Decreases in woody plant communities allow river banks to rapidly erode and river channels to widen.” http://www.sflorg.com/ear/?p=204

9) Out of hundreds of hikes in Olympic, few are less traveled these days than the Dosewallips (pronounced doh-see-WAH-lips) Trail in the southeast corner of the park. The trailhead sits at the end of Dosewallips River Road near the tiny town of Brinnon. In 2001, violent storms washed out a 300-foot section of the road just west of milepost 10, leaving a nearly 5-mile gap between the washout and the start of the trail. Because visitors now must walk those extra miles, many opt for more accessible hikes. Those fainthearted adventurers don’t know what they’re missing. Including the extra miles, the main trail follows the verdant Dosewallips Valley and climbs 20 miles to Hayden Pass, a spine of rotting shale named for Gen. John Hayden, who commanded Puget Sound’s harbor defenses in the early 20th century. On a visit last summer, I dragged a college buddy, Dave, up the Dosewallips for a three-day, guys-only escape. After obtaining our backcountry camping permits from the visitor’s center outside Port Angeles, we left my truck in a makeshift parking lot just east of the washout and tromped a surprisingly easy 12.5 miles to Camp Marion, a well-sheltered campground along the far side of burbling Deception Creek. Along the way, as we passed through stands of western white pine and Alaska cedar, we spied marmots, bald eagles and dozens of black-tailed deer. One species that was noticeably absent: humans. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/11/TRCF11EUUC.DTL

10) On the Chelan Ranger District, forest officials this spring dropped pheromone-soaked flakes on 100 acres of ponderosa pine trees weakened by last year’s Domke Lake Fire. The chemical is a hormone that the mountain pine beetle gives off to signal other beetles that a tree is already infested. Others get the message to fly on and find their own host trees, says Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest entomologist Connie Mehmel. The protection will only last for one or two years, but that will give the trees a chance to get stronger and withstand the next attack, she says. In some areas, the Forest Service is thinning ponderosa pine tree stands so they aren’t as stressed by lack of water and nutrients in a densely packed forest. They’re also thinning young tree stands to help prevent later attacks. On state Department of Natural Resources land, managers are attempting to integrate other species in the lodgepole pine forests to prevent the cycle of a massive beetle kill followed by wildfires, state officials say. "The DNR and the Legislature have recognized forest health as a problem that exists on too big a scale for us to do piecemeal solutions," says Aaron Everett, DNR’s forest health policy specialist in Olympia. He says the DNR has about $1.3 million to fight insects and diseases on the state’s forests during the 2007-09 biennium. Part of it will fund a pilot program in DNR’s northeast region in Colville to: 1) Look for ways to recognize where pine beetles and other insects might strike next. 2) Provide help to local landowners with bug problems. 3) Work on insect control with other agencies with lands that border DNR’s. http://wenatcheeworld.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080712/NEWS04/177986883/1002

11) Chop down riverside trees that provide shade for young salmon or lose millions in federal support to fix aging levees — that’s what the Army Corps of Engineers is telling King County. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina and devastating Midwest floods, the corps is taking a conservative approach to levee maintenance, forcing cash-strapped local governments to pull out the chain saws. King County officials would love to fix 14 damaged levees on their own, sparing hundreds of trees and protecting threatened salmon runs. But they can’t afford to."It’s hard for us to walk away" from the federal money, said Steve Bleifuhs, the county’s manager for rivers and floodplains. Levees — reinforced riverbanks built extra tall — can be all that stand between bloated rivers and disastrous floods. The county believes the best way to protect residents and businesses from flooding — plus help save salmon — is to plant native trees on the sloping riversides. During heavy rains when swollen rivers creep up their banks, it’s not the levees planted with native trees that are most damaged — it’s the ones covered in blackberry brambles, grass or not much at all, county officials say. "Vegetation on river banks is desirable," said Andy Levesque, a senior engineer with the county’s Water and Land Resources Division. "Properly designed, it can strengthen." With risks so high, corps officials say their strict standards are needed to ensure safety. Look to the recent events on the Mississippi and Missouri rivers to see the tremendous damage possible when levees are topped. Or New Orleans in 2005 and the lasting devastation caused by Katrina. http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/370358_levees11.html

Oregon:

12) How did Oregon arrive at a point where the dissolution of one or more of its counties is being contemplated and planned? The problem is tied to the state’s wealth of federal forests. For more than a century the federal government shared timber receipts with local governments, which rely in large part on property taxes to pay for services. Federal land is exempt from local property taxes. Following the decline of public lands logging in the 1990s, Congress passed the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act, which expired in 2007 but was renewed for one year. The 33 Oregon counties covered — three are not — under the law received their last payments seven months ago. Starting next month, Oregon’s counties will be out a combined $206 million a year in federal money. School districts will lose $31 million. Statewide, that means a cut of 12 percent to county discretionary general funds, which pay for programs such as sheriff’s patrols and libraries, and a 28 percent cut to road programs. But some counties will fare far worse than others. Coos, Curry, Douglas and Josephine counties will each lose at least half of their general funds, while others such as Union or Washington, will lose only about 1 percent. Many counties have already eliminated jobs or shut libraries in anticipation of the loss, although Oregon’s congressional delegation is still fighting for a renewal. http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/1215827707265720.xml&coll=7

13) The closure is prompted by an ongoing review of the trees in and around the campground. Some trees are 200-400 years old and have been damaged by past storms or are simply near the end of their natural lives. One such tree—an 11-foot diameter spruce—fell without warning on June 24. No campers were injured, though the tree did fall across several campsites. OPRD natural resource staff have been reviewing the forested campground area, and made an initial judgment this week that a significant number of other mature trees are in declining health. "Closing the campground while we study the situation is a responsible precaution," says John Potter, OPRD assistant director of operations. "We need time to figure out what’s best for the forest and for camper safety." The campground closure will be effective until further notice while the agency completes an in-depth study on the health of the trees near the campground. The study will look at both the need to protect the old growth forest and the habitat it provides, and the kinds of recreation the park can support. OPRD plans to assess the situation and develop alternatives for public review. The 2,474-acre park was opened in 1931 near the border of Tillamook and Clatsop counties. Oswald West State Park is named for Oregon’s 14th governor (1911-1915), who protected the ocean shore for public use. The park hosted more than 15,000 campers and just under a million day visitors in 2007. Campers already in the park will be offered any available space at Fort Stevens, Nehalem Bay and other north coast state park campgrounds. Hiking, surfing and beachcombing are the most popular daytime activities. The campground closure will not affect any trails or access to the beach. http://www.kval.com/news/24272639.html

14) “The Democrats now represent a far greater danger to the environment than Republicans,” asserts Tim Hermach, director of the Native Forest Council in Eugene, Oregon. “Clinton and Gore damaged our cause more in eight years, than the Republicans did in twelve.” Similar sentiments course through the campfire conversations of environmental activists across the West, a region that has lacked a true environmental champion in the Congress since the defeat of Senator Frank Church in 1980. Green activists aren’t alone in their disgust with the two-party system. A poll in the Los Angeles Times disclosed that 54 percent of American voters support the rise of a third party. The support is strongest among liberals (64 percent) and Westerners (60 percent). Ironically, it took the end of divided government and the election to the presidency of a politician who came of age during the ascendancy of environmentalism as political force to fuel a discontent that had been smoldering for years. Most greens greeted the election of Bill Clinton and Al Gore with a queasy optimism. While the Clinton/Gore campaign placed environmental protection and public lands reform near the top of the agenda, Bill Clinton was something of a known quantity. His record as governor of Arkansas, fused with his neo-liberal rhetoric, suggested a governmental posture that would sacrifice environmental quality for political expediency or the appeasement of corporate backers. Even so, the pro-environment themes, expertly deployed during the 1992 campaign by Al Gore, played well across the country, particularly in the West, where Clinton captured seven crucial states. The Western Strategy, which proved pivotal to Clinton’s election, was decidedly green in tone. It appealed to the changing demographics of the New West: suburbanized, soft-tech, mobile and capitalizing on the environmental amenities, and not the extractable commodities, of the Western landscape. Within months of taking office, the Clinton administration began to beat a hasty retreat from its commitment to environmental protection. In March 1993, at the first hint of opposition from old-style Democratic politicians in the West, the administration backed off of its already timid proposal to reform archaic mining, timber and livestock grazing policies. An agitated Jay Hair, the usually temperate director of the National Wildlife Federation, condemned the betrayal as a case of political “date rape.” http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair07122008.html

California:

15) For reasons nobody quite understands, the disease known as Sudden Oak Death has colonized the forests surrounding Crystal Springs Reservoir with greater brutality than other areas of the county that also contain trees susceptible to the disease, such as Woodside, Portola Valley, or the county parks in the hills above Pescadero. Biologists have detected only a handful of affected trees in those areas, whereas hundreds of trees are visibly affected throughout the Crystal Springs watershed — and absent a cure, the number continues to increase. Experts have noticed the problem gaining momentum in San Mateo County this year in particular, Moore said. The results are there for all to see. "When you’re in there on the trail and you see a dead tree, that’s one thing. But if you’re on Highway 280 and you’re looking at the watershed, you see pockets, patches of dead trees. It’s summer — it’s not like they’re supposed to be dropping their leaves," he said. One of the most insidious aspects of Sudden Oak Death, which is thought to have spread from imported European nursery plants in Marin and Santa Cruz counties in 1994, is that its symptoms do not always manifest themselves until the very end, which makes it hard to stop it from spreading to other trees. And once a tree has contracted the disease, it cannot be cured. Short of clear-cutting whole sections of forest, there is not a whole lot that officials can do other than monitor the problem, Naras said. Right now he is particularly worried about dead branches raining on the heads of trail users and the fact that the dead trees provide excellent tinder for a forest fire. The Crystal Springs watershed has not had a large-scale burn in 50 years, and Naras says it is due. Forest officials have one tool available to them in the fight against Sudden Oak Death: a product called Agri-Fos developed in the laboratory of Matteo Garbelotto, a forest pathologist at UC Berkeley. The product, applied either to the bark or the roots of a tree, is designed to boost that tree’s natural immune system in the event it comes into contact with the disease. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission singled out a small grove of healthy tanoaks in a remote southwestern corner of the Crystal Springs watershed and applied the product this spring. It is too expensive to spray on an entire forest but can be used to protect choice species and heritage trees. http://www.mercurynews.com/breakingnews/ci_9881470?nclick_check=1

16) BERKELEY ? UC, Berkeley officials adjusted the type of food they are providing to tree sitters Wednesday in response to dietary recommendations made by the campus’ medical director, a university spokesman said. Each day, each of the tree-sitters will receive 1,800 calories, given in the form of three energy bars that contain 2,400 calories apiece, according to UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof. Campus medical director Dr. Brad Buchman determined the tree-sitters each need that amount to meet "essential requirements," Mogulof said. "While we want sustaining the protest to be difficult for them … we don’t want it to be dangerous," Mogulof said. The oak trees have been occupied by tree-sitters since Dec. 5, 2006, when a UC Board of Regents committee approved building a training center next to the football stadium near the grove of oak trees. The plan calls for cutting down many of the trees. Three of the four remaining sitters have been in the trees for at least several months. The fourth protester joined the ranks Sunday by climbing up a telephone pole near the barricade and over into a tree south of the tree where the three other protesters are living, according to Doug Buckwald, a spokesman for the tree-sitters. The newest protester, a man in his 30s who goes by the name Jeff, brought a backpack of supplies with him but accidentally dropped the backpack while climbing into the tree, Buckwald said. Jeff then yelled to the other protesters, who coached him on how to move over to the platform in their tree. Jeff made it to the platform Monday after several hours of careful climbing across the grove, according to Buckwald. Mogulof said he is glad the tree-sitters are in one tree. "We’d much rather have them in a single tree than spread out among the grove," Mogulof said. "It’s safer if they’re not traversing back and forth between the trees." The food and water being provided to the tree-sitters has not increased since Jeff joined the group; the only change was in the brand of energy bars they are being given, according to Buckwald. http://cbs5.com/local/new.tree.food.2.767347.html

17) A landmark oak tree on Liberty Canyon Road which just a few weeks ago had been facing the ax in order to make room for an office and medical center will most likely be spared. In May, the Agoura Hills City Council appealed the planning commission’s approval of a commercial development at Liberty Canyon and Agoura roads. Rather than deny the project, the council kept the public hearing on the project open until Aug. 13 to allow Behr Browers Architects of Woodland Hills to change its design and save the tree. The development calls for a new 9,660squarefoot, onestory office building, a 20,000square-foot two-story medical building, and the remodel of an existing building on the site. The design requires the removal of 12 oak trees, including the old heritage oak on Liberty Canyon. Another 27 trees would be affected by the development, said Mike Kamino, director of community development. "The beauty of that oak cannot be replicated by 12 young ones," Councilmember Harry Schwarz said. "It’s a sculpture we want to look at." Although 48 oak trees would be planted on the site and elsewhere in the city to make up for the loss of the existing trees, many residents want to save the oldest, largest oak tree that fronts Liberty Canyon homes, condominiums and town houses. The project requires Liberty Canyon Road to be widened to accommodate a driveway into the complex. Even if the street widening was decreased from 26 feet to 20 feet, the oak tree’s root system still would be compromised, said Kay Greeley, an environmental consultant. Although the tree is healthy, a seam found in the trunk indicates a structural defect, she said. That, coupled with encroachment, would make the tree vulnerable to sudden limb breakage, Greeley said, which would pose a hazard to drivers. Architect Francisco Behr said the city’s General Plan requires the road to be widened. http://www.theacorn.com/news/2008/0710/Front_page/003.html

Arizona:

18) In 1978, the original Longest Walk raised awareness about the threat to the San Francisco Peaks, a sacred site to over 13 Nations throughout the Southwest and culturally significant to another 22 or more Nations. This sacred mountain has significant spiritual and cultural values; it is the home of deities, the origin of human beings, the place of creation and emergence, and a place in which special offerings are made and rare medicinal herbs gathered. The holy mountain is a single living entity in which the health of the whole is dependent on the well being of each individual part. Thirty years later, the San Francisco Peaks are still threatened by the Arizona Snow Bowl ski resort, which is attempting to expand and utilize treated sewage effluent to make artificial snow. Snow Bowl operates the ski area by a permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service, which supports snowmaking and the plan to clear cut, grade, stump and smooth more than 100 acres of rare alpine ecosystem. The plan includes 14.8-mile long pipeline from Flagstaff to a 10-million-gallon storage pond used to create 205 acres of tainted snow. A study of Flagstaff’s “reclaimed water” known as the Endocrine Disrupter Screening Project found the presence of human and veterinary antibiotics, caffeine, codeine, oral contraceptives and other hormones, steroids, anti-seizure medication, solvents, disinfectants, flame retardants, moth and mosquito repellants, wood preservatives and cancer-causing agents such as Afrizine. And the list continues. As many Natives consider the Holy Mountain to be living, such contamination is clearly unacceptable. All along its journey, the Longest Walk 2 encountered many rivers, lakes and streams affected by the contamination caused by the logging industry. This industry affects the environment in multiple ways. In Virginia, the Occaneechi Saponi Tribe identified both logging and the logging industry’s reforestation practices as major problems. Local Tribal members compared the devastation of the loggers to that of a bomb detonation. They denounce the fact that non-indigenous tree species are being preferred by the industry over native species, to the extent that Virginia and other states are rapidly becoming one big pine plantation. http://www.sfbayview.com/News/Display_Front_page/8_000-mile_Longest_Walk_II_reaches_destination_
in_D.C.html

Montana:

19) Deputy Missoula County Attorney D. James McCubbin on Thursday appealed refusal by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which includes the Forest Service, to expedite processing of an information request the county filed on June 25 under the federal Freedom of Information Act. McCubbin said expedited handling was necessary for the county to share time-sensitive information with the public. The requested information includes records relevant to discussions between Plum Creek and Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey, who oversees the Forest Service. “We have determined that your request does not qualify for expedited processing because you have articulated no threat to public safety and because there has already been considerable publicity about the easements,” Rita Morgan, the USDA’s Freedom of Information Act officer, wrote on June 26.The private negotiations involve easements under which Plum Creek uses federal forest roads to access company timberlands. Representatives of some western Montana counties, including Missoula, say they worry the negotiations between the company and the Forest Service’s chief overseer will foster conversion of timberland into residential subdivisions, increasing the cost of rural services such as fire protection. Under the Freedom of Information Act, anyone has the right to request access to federal agencies’ records or information. Agencies must disclose records not covered by exemptions set forth in the law. It says agencies shall respond to requests within 20 business days, a period that begins when the request is received by the appropriate office. But an agency is not required to send documents by the 20th day; they can be released within “a reasonable time afterward,” according to the FOIA Reference Guide. In a telephone interview Thursday, McCubbin said county officials worry that the USDA will take more than 20 days to provide records, and that easement provisions discussed by Rey and Plum Creek will become final before the public can get information to which it is entitled. http://www.summitdaily.com/article/20080710/NEWS/777166544

20) “At a time when Montana’s sportsmen are finding it increasingly hard to access lands, it is outrageous that the Bush administration would exacerbate the problem by encouraging prime hunting and fishing lands to be carved up and closed off,” Obama said in a written statement. “We should be working to conserve these lands permanently so that future generations of Americans can enjoy them to hunt, fish, hike and camp.” As first reported by the Missoulian in April, Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey has been meeting with Plum Creek officials behind closed doors to redefine the timber company’s future use of easements across Forest Service lands. Those easements were thought to be limited for use by loggers – so the timber company could drive across public land en route to its own timber stands. Now, though, Plum Creek has reorganized itself as a real estate investment trust. So the negotiations are looking at whether the company can use the easements for other purposes, such as accessing subdivisions and backcountry homes. Plum Creek is the largest private landowner in Montana. The vast majority of the easements involve company timberland in western Montana. Rey, whose duties include oversight of the Forest Service, told the Washington Post last week that he expects to finalize the deal next month. Some state and county political leaders and others have come out against the negotiations, arguing they should have been conducted in public, for they deal with how vast acreages of western Montana will be used in the future. Some sportsmen also have come out against the change, saying they fear that placing homes on lands that were used temporarily for logging would harm fish and wildlife habitat and close public access to hunting and fishing grounds. U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., has asked the investigative arm of Congress to examine the negotiations to make sure they are legal. On Tuesday, Obama said he would support the use of tax incentives and other mechanisms to encourage private landowners to restore and protect wildlife habitat. About 320,000 acres of Plum Creek land will be protected through a provision that U.S. Sen. Max Baucus included in the latest farm bill, which has $250 million to back bonds to buy Plum Creek lands eyed for development. So far, the company has sold only 3,000 acres in Montana over the past five years. http://www.missoulian.com/articles/2008/07/10/news/local/znews04.txt

Michigan:

21) Michigan may have lost a lot of auto manufacturing over the past few decades, but much talent to develop a new generation of vehicles remains. Detroit’s automakers, which have been producing gasoline-powered vehicles for more than 100 years, are now turning their attention to developing cars and trucks that run on biofuels, electricity and talent. Boston-based Mascoma Corp. announced last month it plans to build a $250 million cellulosic ethanol plant in the Upper Peninsula, using a $15 million state grant. The plant, the first in the country, would produce 40 million gallons of ethanol a year by 2012. Mascoma’s $15 million state grant will come from the new Centers of Energy Excellence program, which was signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm on Tuesday. But aren’t we in danger of again wiping out the forests by producing fuel from trees? No, says Steve Pueppke, director of the Office of Biobased Technologies at Michigan State University. Pueppke says only about 30 percent of new forest growth annually is harvested, resulting in a rising inventory of forest land in the state. "Nobody’s talking about clear cutting forests," he told me. "There’s an awful lot of room for the sustainable harvesting of trees for biofuels." The Great Lakes have long served as an efficient transportation source for commodities such as lumber, grain and iron ore. Pueppke says the lakes could be used to ship Michigan-made ethanol to major ports, giving the state a logistical advantage over Iowa and other land-locked ethanol-producing states. Ethanol can’t be shipped through petroleum pipelines. http://www.mlive.com/business/statewide/index.ssf?/base/business-0/121560870833940.xml&coll=6

Wisconsin:

22) UW-Madison scientist David Mladenoff has been warning for years that some trees common to northern Wisconsin — balsam fir, spruce and jack pine — could disappear from the state as the climate warms. But now Mladenoff and fellow UW forest ecologist Robert Scheller are adding that it will be difficult for southern Wisconsin species — oaks and hickories for instance — to move northward to replace them. Why? Not only is warming expected to outpace the speed at which southern trees can migrate, but barriers to dispersal such as agricultural lands and urban areas also will delay progress, Mladenoff said. Consequently, the standing amount of forest up north could decrease. Currently filled-out forests could thin. "The trees that are there now will be experiencing less than optimal conditions, and the southern species aren’t going to fill in as quickly as we’d like," Mladenoff said. Trees move into new areas by producing seeds, which are carried over short distances by wind, birds or mammals. Under the right conditions, dispersed seeds then grow into seedlings and eventually mature trees, which produce their own seeds. It’s a slow process, but dispersal becomes even slower when forests are fragmented — broken up by farms, cities or suburbs. It can be difficult for seeds to cross such gaps. A wide band of agricultural land that runs across the middle of the state would be a major obstacle, he warned. Inter-species competition also might be a factor, with hemlock reducing dispersal of less shade-tolerant southern species. Scheller and Mladenoff used satellite information and forest inventory data to predict how landscapes will respond to climate shifts. They used climate predictions to examine probable forest succession, seed dispersal and tree growth during the 200 years since 1990, and their findings were published in the current issue of Climate Research. http://www.madison.com/tct/news/stories/296149

Indiana:

23) This morning, over 20 people opposed to the construction of Interstate 69 shut down work at the Haubstadt Asphalt Yard belonging to Gohmann Asphalt & Construction, Inc. Five of the opponents locked themselves together in a circle at the yard’s gate, accompanied by five others dedicated to keeping them as comfortable as possible in the face of summer heat and the threat of police violence. With construction slated to begin this week, opponents are demanding that Gohmann immediately drop their contract for work on I-69. Additionally they demand that Gohmann and their accomplices, Riverton Trucking, Inc., drop a spurious civil suit brought against the only I-69 opponent arrested at a previous lock-down at Gohmann Asphalt’s Haubstadt facility. Gohmann A&C is the primary contractor with the Indiana Department of Transportation for the construction of the first 1.77 miles of Section 1 of the proposed highway from Evansville to Indianapolis. Several weeks prior, five opponents chained themselves to a truck leaving Haubstadt Asphalt Yard belonging to Gohmann Asphalt & Construction, Inc.. The five-accompanied by twenty-five supporters-demanded that Gohmann drop their contract with INDOT or face continued opposition and work stoppages. The Indiana Department of Transportation is having a secret groundbreaking ceremony for I-69 this week. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not invited. The I-69 Listening Project and Roadblock Earth First! are putting on a counter-party to speak against the construction of this highway and work towards the construction of community. Landowers and activists will speak about how and why the construction of I-69 will be so destructive and about the seventeen-year-old campaign against this road. Come listen, learn, and spend time with us! We’ll set up a barbeque and bring a selection of side dishes and dessert. Bring food to throw on the grill and to share! Logistical info: July 20, 2008, 3 pm, at Werth Park on SR-64, just west of SR-57 near Oakland City. http://stopi69.wordpress.com/2008/07/13/new-flyers-up/

Ohio:

24) A new study commissioned by the regional forest protection organization Heartwood concludes that the U.S. Forest Service’s 15-year management plan for southern Ohio’s Wayne National Forest (WNF) ––Ohio’s only national forest––does not maximize net public benefits as required by law. Assessing costs and benefits of the plan, the 200-page study by GreenFire Consulting Group, LLC, concludes, “It is questionable whether the Wayne Management Plan provides any net benefits to the public.” The study’s authors, economist Christine Glaser, PhD, and Karyn Moskowitz, MBA, found that proposed management activities have substantial economic costs to the public while providing questionable public benefits. “The sum of extractive and destructive activities proposed in the 2006 Forest Plan will lessen the attractiveness of the forest and will negatively impact tourism. They will also diminish the capacity of the WNF to deliver ‘ecosystem services,’ such as water purification performed by the natural filtration systems of the earth and carbon sequestration provided by the trees and other forest plants. These ecosystem services have a much higher value to society than the timber that is taken out.” Calculations based on a wide body of literature put the value of forest ecosystem services––which also include air purification, water flow regulation, biodiversity, and recreation––at an average of $1,800 per acre per year compared to timber’s value of $250 or less per acre per year. Based on a value of $1,800 per acre per year, the study estimates that Wayne ecosystem services could be worth $381 million per year. (pp. 12-13) These services are diminished by the Plan, which designates 70 percent of the Wayne’s 238,000 acres suitable for logging and proposes to log 18,441 acres and burn more than 68,000 acres (over a quarter of the Wayne) over the next decade. 46,215 acres will be burned “for an unproven ‘oak regeneration’ program and 21,904 acres to reduce questionable ‘hazardous fuels’ risks.” (p. 9) The study critiques these burn programs and finds them economically as well as environmentally unsound. http://redstaterebels.org/2008/07/wasting-the-wayne-ohios-only-national-forest/

New Jersey:

25) The state Department of Agriculture announced the results of an aerial survey Monday that revealed 339,240 acres of trees defoliated by gypsy moth caterpillars this spring, compared to 320,610 acres in 2007. This yearÕs defoliation encompasses the largest total acreage since 1990, when more than 431,000 acres of trees lost their leaves to the hungry moth larvae. A number of southern counties, however, including Gloucester County saw a reduction in defoliation this year. "Our gypsy moth aerial spray program to suppress the avid caterpillars is working in the towns that participated in the program," said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Charles M. Kuperus. "We are seeing less damage in the areas that were sprayed and have seen a shift in the gypsy moth population from South Jersey to northwest areas of our state." Every spring, gypsy moth eggs hatch and the young caterpillar-like larvae begin devouring a variety of plant species. Two to three consecutive years of significant defoliation, which is defined as 75 percent or more, can kill an otherwise healthy tree. Last yearÕs defoliation resulted in the death of as many as 14,000 acres of trees due to consecutive defoliation by gypsy moth caterpillars, according to the state Department of Agriculture. In an effort to combat the hungry pest, about 94,000 acres in 17 counties were treated this year with the biological insecticide Bacillus thuringiensis, or Bt. Bt is a non-chemical, "minimal risk" insecticide that only kills caterpillars. It does not harm other insects, animals or humans, Kuperus said. http://www.nj.com/news/gloucester/index.ssf?/base/news-3/1216095933253020.xml&coll=8

USA:

26) Hundreds of species of birds, including many once-common songbirds such as the meadowlark and bobwhite, are in severe decline in the United States, falling in population by as much as 90 percent since the 1960s, scientists, government officials and conservation groups told Congress on Thursday. The chief cause is destruction of habitat, scientists told the House subcommittee on fisheries, wildlife and oceans. They said rising food prices and the push for alternative fuels are putting intense pressure on farmland set aside for conservation. Other killers include invasive plant species that take over native seed and nesting sources, wind turbines located near critical flyways, lighted and glass-encased buildings, lighted cell-phone towers, domestic cats, disease, pesticides and climate change, which also is shrinking habitat ranges.Farmers racing to plant corn for ethanol, which is subsidized by the federal government, and livestock feed are pulling millions of acres out of the nation’s largest private land conservation program, the 32 million-acre Conservation Reserve Program, in which the government pays farmers under 10- and 15-year contracts to keep fragile lands out of production. Rising food and energy prices are leading to political pressure from Congress on the Bush administration to allow farmers to break their conservation contracts without penalty. Even "green building" codes that aim to make structures environmentally friendlier, mainly by conserving energy, pay no attention to bird destruction, said Karen Imparato Cotton, a bird crash specialist at the American Bird Conservancy. Cotton said as many as 975 million birds are killed by crashing into buildings each year. Many migrating species of neotropical songbirds, which breed in North America and winter in the Caribbean and South America, are attracted to internal and external building lights as they migrate at night."The light fields entrap night-migrating birds," Cotton said. "They seem to be reluctant to leave these lit areas and tend to circle within them. As they pile up in the light field, circling the structure, they collide with each other, with the building, or they collapse from exhaustion." New green building codes often call for increased natural lighting that includes more glass, which also induces fatal bird crashes. Neither the private U.S. Green Building Council nor a new Senate bill that aims to promote green building by the federal government includes safe bird design features. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/11/MNO511N21T.DTL&type=printable

27) Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. joined the Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN), World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) initiative to save the world’s most valuable and threatened forests, WWF announced today. By joining the GFTN, Wal-Mart has committed to phasing out illegal and unwanted wood sources from its supply chain and increasing its proportion of wood products originating from credibly certified sources – for Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Clubs in the United States. Wal-Mart’s commitment to promoting responsible forestry builds on the company’s collaboration with WWF. Earlier this year, Wal-Mart committed to purchasing 100 percent of its wild caught salmon seafood sold in the U.S. from sources certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) within four years. About World Wildlife Fund For more than 45 years, WWF has been protecting the future of nature. The largest multinational conservation organization in the world, WWF works in 100 countries and is supported by 1.2 million members in the United States and close to 5 million globally. WWF’s unique way of working combines global reach with a foundation in science, involves action at every level, from local to global, and ensures the delivery of innovative solutions that meet the needs of both people and nature. Go to worldwildlife.org to learn more. http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/wal-mart-joins-wwfs-global-forest/story.aspx?guid=%7B6ED0
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28) A report out today by the National Academy of Sciences says that there’s a surprising amount we don’t know about how doing things like cutting down vast swaths of a forested watershed affects the water supply downstream. Requested by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Reclamation — which have to make decisions all the time about forests and the water supply they provide — offers: “Recent increases in fire, insects, and disease in forests have spurred adoption of forest management practices, such as thinning and salvage logging, whose effects on hydrology have received little study. The hydrologic effects of many of the new management practices and (best management practices) have not been studied, and dynamic forest conditions make it important to understand how contemporary practices influence water resources.” I didn’t realize until I read the report that there’s a notion that cutting down the forest increases the water supply downstream. The panel, which included input from enviros and scientists and the timber industry (did I forget anybody? let’s just say all the sides are represented) addresses this idea: “While it is possible to increase water yield by harvesting timber, water yield increases from vegetation removal are often small and unsustainable, and timber harvest of areas sufficiently large to augment water yield can reduce water quality.” Climate change, cumulative effects, and more all need careful study if we’re to keep our forests producing the water supply we all need, the panel concluded: “Forests are essential for the sustainable provision of water to the nation. It is incumbent upon scientists, policymakers, land and water managers, and citizens to use the lessons of the past and apply emerging research, technology, and partnerships to protect and sustain water resources from forested landscapes.” http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/environment/archives/143288.asp

29) At issue is the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), under which the government has paid farmers to stop growing row crops, such as corn and soybeans, on 34 million acres across the country. Designed in the mid-1980s to hold down production and bolster commodity prices, the $1.8 billion-a-year program has turned into a major boon for conservation, with much of the acreage planted with perennial grasses or trees, or restored to wetlands. But the ethanol boom, widespread flooding and high prices for feed crops have changed the equation. Livestock producers have been howling about the high price of animal feed. Pork producers say they are losing $30 per pig. “We need more corn. That’s all there is to it,” said Dave Warner, spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council, one of many agricultural trade groups pressuring Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer to change the rules of the conservation program to release land into production. Industry observers expect Schafer to announce his decision imminently. Whatever he decides is certain to be controversial. Environmentalists are decrying the idea of renewing farming on the land, saying that the program represents a huge taxpayer investment in conservation and that expanded cultivation might exacerbate future flooding. “He’s got to choose between agriculturalists and environmentalists, and I’m not sure he wants to make that choice,” Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) said. Grassley has met with Schafer and urged him to let farmers out of their CRP contracts without paying a penalty, while also, as he put it in a letter to Schafer, protecting “the most environmentally sensitive lands.” Environmentalists argue that the short-term gains from additional row crops would be outweighed by long-term environmental damage. “The reason it’s in the Conservation Reserve Program, it’s environmentally fragile, it’s highly erodible land, and we’ve invested a hell of a lot of money in getting cover on this land and putting it to bed, basically,” said Ralph Heimlich, an environmental consultant to the Environmental Defense Fund and a former deputy director at the USDA. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/10/AR2008071002550.html

30) U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: 47:22: Salazar: Let me just say to you Undersecretary Rey and to Chairman Binghamton that I hope it is something that we can do, we have legislation from the Colorado delegation and Senator Binghamton does as well and maybe this is one of those issues that certainly is not a Republican or Democratic or political issue this is just a reality of a huge infestation that we have to deal with on the ground. 48:41: Craig: Chairman, thank you very much. Senator Salazar, with the help of the U.S. Forest Service and their scientists, and the whole other group of folks, we’ve prepared a set of amendments for the climate change bill that obviously is dead on arrival so it won’t happen. With what you’re asking and what we can do and will do in the future, is bulletproof in part categorical exclusions so we can do some of these things. Because, you know, the great untold story of my state and your state, when we took away the authority of the Forest service and gave it to the courts to manage our land was that what is green in a climax environment turns brown and dies. And if somebody’s not there to take it away, and create a new dynamic in the forest, Mother Nature comes along and burns it. And that’s what’s going to happen in your country, if we don’t get categorical exclusions so you can go in and clean up those watersheds and protect them and replant them. And create, assist mother nature in the cycle. http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=5a839fdf-aeaa-
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31) Assistance, Management and Enhancement (FLAME) Act. The passage of this bill is an important step towards establishing a federal emergency fund for the suppression of large and costly wildfires that often have devastating impacts on forests and communities. The fund will also allow federal land management agencies to reestablish more reliable funding for other vital land management programs. Costs associated with fire suppression have escalated dramatically in recent years. This trend is only likely to continue to grow as a result of hazardous fuels build-up, climate change, and increasingly populated wildland-urban interface areas. Wildfire suppression costs for the US Forest Service (USFS) have exceeded 1 billion dollars in six of the last eight years. The proportion of the USFS budget devoted to wildfire management activities increased steadily from thirteen percent of the total USFS budget in 1991 to forty-eight percent projected for fiscal year 2009. As wildfire suppression costs have escalated, other program funds have been dramatically reduced. As a result, funding has decreased for important land management activities such as forest restoration, reforestation, and community capacity building. According to American Forests’ Vice President, Gerry Gray, "funding for these types of programs is essential to address our current forest health crisis and the associated threats to communities over the long term." http://www.americanforests.org/news/display.php?id=190

32) On July 10, the Forest Landscape Restoration Act (HR 5263) was the subject of a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee. This legislation, introduced by Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), aims to restore damaged forest ecosystems by establishing a collaborative, science-based forest landscape restoration program that would prioritize and fund ecological restoration treatments for forest landscapes. — Companion legislation (S. 2593) passed through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by unanimous consent in May and is now included in the Omnibus Public Lands Package of 2008. — S. 2593, as passed by Committee, includes many important ecologically protective provisions that American Lands was able to secure. The House version of the bill does not yet incorporate those changes, but House Resources Committee staff assures us that those changes will be made when the bill is "marked-up" (amended) in Committee. — The Omnibus Public Lands Package of 2008, S. 3123, is over 700 pages long and includes wilderness designations, land conveyances, wild and scenic river designations, and National Park Service authorizations, amongst many other public lands bills. Click here for a complete list of all the bills included in the massive package. Also included in the bill is the Senate version of the Forest Restoration Landscape (S. 2593), referenced above. — The Omnibus bill has been purposefully crafted to not include any controversial provisions, so that it can pass through the Senate without delay. Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) would like to see the package move before the August recess, but insiders say that it is not a priority for Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), and until it becomes so, movement of the bill is unlikely. At present there are 149 cosponsors of HR 2516 in the House and 19 cosponsors of the Senate version S 1478. These bills seek to provide lasting protections for all inventoried roadless areas in the United States. Click to see if your Representative and Senators are cosponsors of this important legislation. If not, click here: http://americanlands.org/issues.php?subsubNo=1113510651&article=1184861319

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