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Policy Update Week of

November 21st and 28th, 2011


  1. SAF Members Selected for EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB) Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel

    October 4 - SAF is pleased to announce that five SAF members were chosen from a short list of 80 candidates to participate on the EPA SAB Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel. The EPA Advisory Board selected 18 scientists to evaluate the best available science and offer impartial, independent advice as the EPA drafts greenhouse gas accounting methodology for biogenic carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources.

    Robert Abt, Richard Birdsey, Marilyn Buford, Roger Sedjo, and Ken Skog will assist the EPA in the review and interpretation of relevant research materials, examine and provide suggested revisions to preliminary greenhouse accounting methodology drafts, and alert the EPA to innovative research projects and advances in the field.

    SAF is proud that the EPA determined that these individuals possess the integrity and leadership necessary to collaborate with other panel members to insure the greenhouse gas accounting methodology for biogenic carbon dioxide emissions from stationary sources is fair and addresses all potential concerns before the draft regulations are released in 2013. Congratulations to the five SAF members selected as well as the 17 other SAF members who were nominated for the panel. A link to SAB Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel member list is available on the web: http://yosemite.epa.gov/sab/sabpeople.nsf/WebExternalSubCommitteeRosters?OpenView&committee=BOARD&subcommittee=Biogenic Carbon Emissions Panel

    SAF Comments on the Washington Office Merger of the Forests and Woodlands Management and the Rangelands Resources Division

    SAF strongly values the BLM's support of our organization, and recognizes that BLM employees are an integral component of SAF's success. The Society was recently made aware of the Washington Office division merge. While we strongly support both professional forest and rangeland management, we are concerned that shifting resources and leadership from forestry will reduce the role of forestry in the Headquarters office. To continue the excellence required to effectively lead and manage BLM lands, we urge the agency to maintain strong forestry leadership and presence in Washington DC. To read the letter link here: http://www.eforester.org/fp/documents/SAFLtrtoBLM_Final.pdf

    The Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program Annual Report Released

    A national report released last week on first-year results of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) revealed beneficial returns for forests, jobs, water, and wildlife. The CFLRP was designed by the Forest Service as a tool to promote active management on the ground, and in 2010, $10 million was distributed among ten projects on National Forests throughout the country. The CFLR Coalition played an integral role is advocating for funding in fiscal year 2011, and support full funding on the program in the Fiscal Year 2012 budget.
    As identified in the report, one year the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program:

    • Created and maintained 1,550 jobs;
    • Produced 107 million board feet of timber;
    • Generated nearly $59 million of labor income;
    • Removed fuel for destructive mega-fires on 90,000 acres near communities;
    • Reduced mega-fire on an additional 64,000 acres;
    • Improved 66,000 acres of wildlife habitat;
    • Restored 28 miles of fish habitat;
    • Enhanced clean water supplies by remediating 163 miles of eroding roads.

    The CFLRP annual report was produced by the CFLRP Coalition, which is comprised of 144 member organizations that includes private businesses, communities, counties, tribes, water suppliers, associations, and non-governmental organizations. The CFLR Steering Committee members include American Forests, The Nature Conservancy, The Society of American Foresters, Sustainable Northwest, and The Wilderness Society. Copies of the 2010 CFLRP Annual Report can be requested from Jon Schwedler of the CFLRP Coalition at jschwedler@tnc.org.
    Information on CFLRP can be found at the U.S. Forest Service's website: http://www.fs.fed.us/restoration/CFLR/

    The SAF Task Force Report "Managing Forests because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy" is available to read online.

    To read the Task Force Report link to: http://www.safnet.org/documents/JOFSupplement.pdf

In the Administration

  1. US Forest Service Teams with the Society of American Foresters on Research to Help Land Managers Integrate Energy, Products and Land Management Policy
      USDA Forest Service News Release, November 16th

    U.S. Forest Service scientists contributed to a far-reaching report that will help land managers make decisions about how forests are best managed to help offset carbon emissions, including the use of forest biomass for energy. The report, "Managing Forests Because Carbon Matters: Integrating Energy, Products, and Land Management Policy," is published in the Society of American Foresters' Journal of Forestry. The report was compiled by the organization's Task Force on Forest Climate Change Offsets and Use of Forest Biomass for Energy, which also coordinated more than 25 external reviews of the report. "Congratulations to the Society of American Foresters for bringing together such a diverse team of scientists to evaluate this critical environmental and energy issue." said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "This report analyzes the most recent science on wood to energy initiatives as well as how trees can help solve the nation's carbon emission problems." To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2011/releases/11/landmanagement.shtml

  2. US Forest Service Spurs Environmental Investments in Great Lakes Region
      USDA Forest Service News Release, November 25th

    The U.S. Forest Service announced today it will award 22 grants to organizations in seven states to help restore urban and community forests, reduce toxic substances and prevent emerald ash borer as part of the multi-year, interagency Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. "Strong land management practices keep the Great Lakes great," said Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "This funding will help communities from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin make investments that will protect and preserve these American treasures. During the past two years, more than $10 million have been distributed by the initiative to clean up toxic waste, combat invasive species, protect watersheds from polluted run-off, restore wetlands and other habitats, and track progress with strategic partners. This year's grants total $3.7 million, and were awarded to organizations in Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New York, and Wisconsin. To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2011/releases/11/greatlakes.shtml


This Week in Congress

  1. Senate Proposes Cutting Wildland Fire Prevention Fund after Record Decade, and Year, of Destructive Fires
      National Association of State Foresters Press Release, November 28th

    A group of nine Western Senators are ringing the alarm about a 2012 proposal to cut support from two wildland fire prevention programs, the Hazardous Fuels and State Fire Assistance programs. These critical programs provide funding for work that makes people and forests safer, through thinning and controlled burn projects on National Forest System and state and private forest lands. Investments in the Hazardous Fuels and State Fire Assistance programs also save money, by offering preventative actions that limit costly emergency fires. Yet today we spend 4 times more money fighting emergency fires in our National Forests than we invest in preventing these destructive fires from occurring in the first place. The cuts are proposed on the heels of the nation's worst recorded fire decade, with record wildfires across the West and South. This most recent fire season burned more than 8 million acres of the nation's forests-an area larger than New Jersey and Connecticut combined. Only five times has the nation experienced more than 8 million acres burned in a year; all of these have occurred since 2004. To read more of this article link to: http://www.stateforesters.org/news_media/press_releases/senate_wildfire_cuts

  2. Crapo, Risch Urge Congress to Keep Collaborative Forest Funds
      IdahoStatesman.com, Published by Rocky Barker, November 29th

    Idaho's two U.S. senators have urged the Senate Appropriations Committee to keep $40 million in the budget for collaborative forest projects. The Clearwater Collaborative, a group of loggers, environmentalists, local officials and recreation groups attracted $3.5 million for projects in Northcentral Idaho from the $22 million available this year. But forest groups from the Boise and Payette national forests are hoping to get similar dollars. The projects range from thinning to habitat improvement. Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo joined Democrat Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico in writing the letter that was signed by 13 other senators from both parties including Idaho Republican Sen. Jim Risch. The senators said the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program saved or created 1,550 jobs, produced 107 million board feet of timber, improved 66,000 acres of wildlife habitat, treated 90,000 acres of hazardous fuel and restored 28 mile of fishing streams. The program generated $6 in labor income for every $1 spent on the program, the senators wrote. To read more of this article link to: http://voices.idahostatesman.com/2011/11/29/rockybarker/crapo_risch_urge_congress_keep_collaborative_forest_funds#ixzz1fg9vMtox

  3. Sen. Jeff Merkley Demands Reforms to Visa Program that Permitted Foreign Workers to be Hired for Jobs in U.S.
      The Oregonian, Published by Charles Pope, December 1st

    Sen. Jeff Merkley urged the Department of Labor and the White House Thursday to toughen regulations and oversight of a visa program that allowed foreign nationals to be hired for forest jobs in Oregon intended for unemployed Oregonians. Merkley made the demand in a letter to Labor Secretary Hilda Solis and Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget. It is the latest fallout from disclosure in October that the H-2B visa program was used to hire foreign workers for jobs financed by the federal stimulus law. "The unequivocal intent of Congress was to use funds in the Recovery Act to put Americans immediately to work while reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improving forest health," Merkley wrote, describing a collection of forest programs for Oregon underwritten with more than $7 million in stimulus funding. "Thus, it is extremely disconcerting that ... millions of dollars in Recovery Act funding were used to pay contractors who employed hundreds of foreign nationals through the H-2B program," the two-page letter says. To read more of this article link to: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2011/12/sen_jeff_merkley_demands_refor.html

  4. Udall Highlights Forest Service Findings to Manage Bark Beetle Epidemic
      Press Release, December 1st

    Today, Mark Udall announced the findings from a report he requested from the U.S. Forest Service to study the bark beetle epidemic that has consumed millions of acres of Western forests. The report looks at the conditions that contributed to the outbreak, the Forest Service response, ways to address it, and what to expect from the "new forest" as it regenerates. Udall plans to consider these results as he develops legislation that could reauthorize important mitigation and management tools, streamline the process to protect communities and watersheds in "insect emergency areas," and support the forest-management industry. "I appreciate the work done by the Rocky Mountain Region and the Rocky Mountain Research Station in compiling this report. As the mountain pine beetle epidemic continues to spread across our Western forests, it's clear that we need to address the problem more intensely and effectively. I will continue to fight for adequate funding for our forest-management agencies to help them protect our public safety, natural resources and local jobs," Udall said. To read more of this article link to: http://markudall.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1786

National News

  1. US Seeks to Protect Old-Growth Forests to Save Caribou
      Reuters.com, Published by Laura Zuckerman, November 29th

    The U.S. government proposed protecting old-growth forests in Idaho and Washington state on Tuesday to save the nation's dwindling population of mountain caribou, popularly known as wild reindeer. Under the plan, roughly 375,000 acres of mostly U.S. Forest Service land in the Selkirk Mountains in northern Idaho and northeastern Washington would be designated as critical habitat for the reclusive caribou. The estimated 46 mountain caribou in the Selkirks, which bridge the border between the United States and Canada, are all that remain in the country, said Susan Burch, branch chief in Idaho for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. To read more of this article link to: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/30/us-forests-caribou-idUSTRE7AT02K20111130

  2. Smokey Bear up in Smoke? House GOP Takes Aim
      The Washington Post, Published by Emily Heil, December 2nd

    Is nothing sacred? We get that House Republicans are dead serious in their efforts to trim federal spending and cut the national debt, but we had no idea how far they were willing to go...until now. They may be proposing giving the axe to none other than the beloved icons Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl. Yes, that's Smokey of "only you can prevent forest fires" fame and Woodsy, who charmingly warns schoolchildren to "give a hoot, don't pollute." Why, Smokey and Woodsy are national treasures! There's even a law protecting Smokey's integrity and an adorable brochure dedicated to making sure that he's portrayed properly. The cuddly creatures are among the children's education programs run by the Forest Service, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor put such programs on the chopping block in the latest installment of his "YouCut" contest in which he invites the public to identify federal spending to whack in the name of budget-balancing. To read more of this article link to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/in-the-loop/post/smokey-bear-up-in-smoke-house-gop-takes-aim/2011/12/02/gIQAv5AMLO_blog.html

In the States: Utah

  1. Forest Service Against Linking Two Utah Ski Areas
      Standard-Examiner, Published by Paul Foy, December 2nd

    The U.S. Forest Service told Congress Friday that a proposed ski lift connecting two Utah resorts would mar the alpine backcountry, split a roadless area in two and leave a narrow corridor of private land in the middle of a national forest. Acting deputy chief of staff Gregory Smith of the Forest Service said federal officials opposes legislation introduced last month by Utah's Republican delegation that would authorize the land sale for a two-mile-long gondola linking the Canyons Resort and Solitude Mountain Resort. Smith testified on behalf of the Forest Service's U.S. Agriculture Department at a hearing broadcast over the Internet by the House subcommittee on national parks, forests and public lands. To read more of this article link to: http://www.standard.net/stories/2011/12/02/forest-service-against-linking-2-utah-ski-areas

Last Week in Congress

  1. The US House of Representatives and Senate was on Recess until November 28th.

Wildfire Update

  1. Caughlin Fire: Blaze's Forward Progress Stopped, Reno Chief Says
      Los Angeles Times, Published by Ashley Powers, November 18th

    Firefighters have halted the forward march of the wind-stoked Caughlin fire on the outskirts of Reno, officials said Friday afternoon, potentially sparing thousands of houses and clearing the way for evacuees to return home Saturday. In 12 hours, the Caughlin fire destroyed or damaged 25 homes and chewed through 2,000 acres, clogging the sky with orange flames and smoke. A 74-year-old man fleeing his home died of heart failure, officials said, and more than a dozen people were transported to hospitals for heart and respiratory problems. Though gusts of up to 65 mph are expected to batter the area until 4 p.m. Friday, Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez said, crews had stopped the conflagration's progress. The blaze had chased nearly 10,000 people from their homes, closed dozens of schools and prodded Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to declare a state of emergency. To read more of this article link to: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/11/caughlin-fire-reno-fire-evacuations-blaze.html

  2. Funding Available for fire Prevention
      Krqe.com, Published by Gabrielle Burkhart, November 28th

    One of New Mexico's most at-risk areas for wildfires is trying to keep what happened this summer from happening again when Ruidoso residents had just seconds to flee as a fast moving fire demolished homes. The state wants people to be able to protect their homes before it's too late as more than $250,000 in state grant money is now available for Lincoln County residents to help fire-proof their property. Landowners can be reimbursed up to 70 percent of what it cost to thin trees and remove other fuels. Piles of forest materials left along roads are what some residents in Lincoln County are removing from their properties to make them safer. In Ruidoso, forest thinning projects are required. "The thinning the property, in my opinion, is probably just as important as having a fire station with firemen," said Director of Forestry for Ruidoso, Dick Cooke. To read more of this article link to: http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/environment/funding-available-for-fire-prevention

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