Tim Partin of AFRC reported that on July 20, AFRC members and staff met with Colville National Forest personnel to provide updates on the forest. In addition to the timber sale program, Forest Supervisor Rodney Smoldon reported on the progress or lack thereof on the Forest Plan Revision. New plans are not being reviewed at the Washington Office due to staff shortages. It will be October or later before the Washington office reviews and edits the Plan and publishes it in the Federal Register.
The Colville Forest, however, is doing fantastic work on its current and five-year timber sale program. In addition to the regular timber sale program of roughly 55 mmbf, the forest has asked for and received $170,000 from the regional office for the Block of Nine Good Neighbor Agreement project. The project will add about 5 mmbf of volume. Additionally, the Washington Office timber management program will contract out the work for the Trout Lake Insect and Disease categorical exclusion. This project is expected to yield 16 mmbf of additional volume in the near term as well.
With all the ongoing projects to be sold this year, including A-Z, the Colville Forest will be approaching a sales program of 90 mmbf, which is not bad for a forest of only 850,000 acres!
CAL FIRE announced a $4,072,000 California Climate Investment grant award to Pacific Forest Trust (PFT) for its multi-partner forest health and conservation project that will reduce the likelihood and intensity of fire spreading across the iconic Black Butte and Mount Shasta forests, reducing threats to the communities of Weed and Mount Shasta. Working with the family-owned Michigan-California Timber Company, PFT’s Mt. Shasta Headwaters Forest Health and Resilience Project will prevent development on the privately-owned Black Butte property, extend a major firebreak, thin hundreds of acres of young pine plantations, and establish permanent requirements to restore and sustain a more diverse, resilient forest.
The project’s benefits, including higher levels of carbon sequestration and more fire-resilient forests, will be secured by a permanent working forest conservation easement funded through CAL FIRE’s Forest Legacy Program and granted to Pacific Forest Trust on Michigan-California’s 5,000-acre Black Butte property. The project will allow this large forest tract, highly visible along Interstate 5, to remain available forever for sustainable timber production and outdoor recreation.
The California Climate Investment Program reinvests the revenue generated by the state’s cap and trade program to reduce climate pollution through a variety of projects that reduce greenhouse gases and help California prepare for climate change. Protecting healthy, resilient forests is a key tool in mitigating climate change.
For more information visit https://www.pacificforest.org/conserving-forest-blackbutte/
A hearing before the members of the Senate natural resources committee was held as fires continued to burn across Oregon, including the 4,579-acre Whitewater Fire in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness. Forest Service reports show that as of Aug. 1, a land area the size of New Hampshire has burned in the contiguous U.S.
The Bulletin reported that efforts to increase Forest Service funding stalled in the House, but Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and other members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee introduced a “wildfire fix” that is part of a larger bill that would address funding for floods and other natural disasters. The legislation would end “fire borrowing” by funding firefighting for the largest wildfires from a similar disaster account used to fund other natural disasters.
“It is very clear that the system is a broken, dysfunctional mess,” Wyden said. “Funding this is the longest-running battle since the Trojan War. Two hundred fifty groups have all endorsed the legislation. I asked the national fire chief the other day, what is the cost of inaction? He said $1 billion over a 10-year period.”
The fiscal 2017 budget for discretionary funding for the Forest Service is $4.9 billion, which is $787 million less than 2016. The Trump administration’s 2018 budget proposal would cut another $938 million from current spending.
On the Cover
Rob Keefe attaching a GNSS locator on a carriage with David Henderson Logging at a cedar pole sale near Headquarters, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Ann Wempe.
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