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Policy Update Week of

January 30th


CFLR Coalition Excited by Announcement of CFLRP 2012 Projects
Secretary Vilsack announced 10 new Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program (CFLRP) projects and 3 additional projects that will be funded out of regular appropriations. All of the new projects were recommended by the CFLR Advisory Panel. SAF would like to thank the CFLR Steering Committee members and the 140 plus Coalition members who worked very hard to advocate and support funding for the CFLR program in Fiscal Year 2012. CFLR is positive step in the right direction for active forest management on landscapes, and one of tools that the Forest Service may use to create jobs and reduce wildfire hazard.

Steering Committee members of the CFLR Coalition include:
Rebecca Turner, American Forests
Peter Nelson, Defenders of Wildlife
Craig Rawlings, Forest Business Network
Laura McCarthy, The Nature Conservancy
Kelsey Delaney, Society of American Foresters
Maia Enzer, Sustainable Northwest
Scott Brennan, The Wilderness Society

The complete list of selected projects is below:
The following 10 new projects are approved for funding in 2012:
Burney-Hat Creek Basins Project, California - $605,000
Pine-Oak Woodlands Restoration Project, Missouri - $617,000
Shortleaf-Bluestem Community Project, Arkansas and Oklahoma - $342,00
Weiser-Little Salmon Headwaters Project, Idaho - $2,450,000
Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, Idaho - $324,000
Southern Blues Restoration Coalition, Oregon - $2,500,000
Lakeview Stewardship Project, Oregon - $3,500,000
Zuni Mountain Project, New Mexico - $400,000
Grandfather Restoration Project, North Carolina - $605,000
Amador-Calaveras Consensus Group Cornerstone Project, California - $730,000
The following three projects are considered high priority restoration and are approved for funding in 2012 outside of the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Act:
Northeast Washington Forest Vision 2020, Washington - $968,000
Ozark Highlands Ecosystem Restoration, Arkansas - $959,000
Longleaf Pine Ecosystem Restoration and Hazardous Fuels Reduction, De Soto National Forest, National Forests in Mississippi - $2,710,000
The following 10 Collaborative Forest Landscape projects were approved for funding in 2010 and will continue to receive funding in 2012:
Selway-Middle Fork Clearwater Project, Idaho
Southwestern Crown of the Continent, Montana
Colorado Front Range, Colorado
Uncompahgre Plateau, Colorado
4 Forest Restoration Initiative, Arizona
Southwest Jemez Mountains, New Mexico
Dinkey Landscape Restoration Project, California
Deschutes Skyline, Oregon
Tapash Sustainable Forest Collaborative, Washington
Accelerating Longleaf Pine Restoration, Florida

The full press release can be viewed using this link: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2012/releases/02/restoration.shtml

SAF to Host Technical Symposium February 17th : Examining the Effects of Responsible Forest Management on Watershed Health
The symposium will feature the Honorable Benjamin H. Grumbles (President, Clean Water America Alliance), and administrative, legal, and scientific panels in exploring forest connections to the Clean Water Act. The symposium will take place at the Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 210-212 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Participants are asked to RSVP by February 10, 2012. For more information, the symposium agenda, or to register, please contact the SAF Policy Department at policyi@safnet.org or (866) 897-8720, ext. 113.

SAF Policy Team and Committee on Forest Policy Release Position Statement on the Council on Environmental Quality's Draft NEPA Guidelines
The Council on Environmental Quality's (CEQ) recently released draft National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) guidelines aim to improve the NEPA process and increase efficiency of environmental reviews written under NEPA. SAF's Policy Team in conjunction with SAF's Committee on Forest Policy have released their comments on CEQ's guidelines, which commends CEQ for their efforts to clarify more confusing aspects of the NEPA process, but also recommends additional aspects of NEPA that would benefit from CEQ clarification. To read SAF's full comments link to: http://www.safnet.org/fp/documents/Comments_on_CEQ_Draft_NEPA_Guidelines.pdf

CEQ's Draft Guidelines can be found here: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ceq/nepa_improving_efficiency_draft_guidance.pdf

New Forest Planning Rule Seeks to Restore the Nation's Forests through Science and Collaboration
USDA Forest Service News Release, January 26th

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today signaled the U.S. Department of Agriculture's intent to issue a new planning rule for America's 193-million acre National Forest System that seeks to deliver stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of our rural communities, by releasing online a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. Today's action honors the commitment made by Secretary Vilsack in his 2009 speech on forest management, and by the President in the America's Great Outdoors Report. USDA and the Forest Service carefully considered nearly 300,000 comments received on the proposed rule and draft environmental impact statement issued last February, to develop the agency's preferred course of action for finalizing the planning rule. This is included in the PEIS released today as USDA's preferred alternative. A notice of availability for the PEIS will be published in the Federal Register on February 3, 2012, and the Secretary will issue a record of decision selecting a final planning rule no less than 30 days afterwards. To read more of this article link to:

Washington Post quotes SAF's Michael Goergen on the new Planning Rule: January 26th

SAF Comments on the Draft Planning Rule: May 13th, 2011 http://www.eforester.org/documents/comment_forestserviceplanningdeis_May13.pdf

Forest Service Seeks Nominations for Planning Rule FACA Committee

Applications to serve on a newly-formed advisory committee to guide management of our national forests and grasslands are now available. Members selected to serve on the National Advisory Committee for Implementation of the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule will advise and give recommendations to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Chief of the U.S. Forest Service on matters related to the implementation of the new planning rule.

The 45-day nomination period closes Feb. 21, 2012. Additional details on the committee and the application form are available at the U.S Forest Service planning rule website, or by calling 202-205-0830. Further information is also available in the Federal Register Notice calling for nominations. (Note that the nomination period has since been extended to Feb. 21, 2012.

The committee will be comprised of up to 21 members with diverse backgrounds, who represent the full range of public interests in management of the National Forest System lands and who represent geographically diverse locations and communities, within each three categories of interests.


The Forest Resource Coordinating Committee (FRCC) is Filling Eight Vacant Positions

The 20-member committee was established by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on priorities and issues related to non-industrial private forest land.Candidates who wish to be considered for membership on the Forest Resource Coordinating Committee should submit an AD-755 application form, cover letter, and resume to the Secretary of Agriculture. Applications are to be postmarked by March 2nd, 2012. If interested in applying, please contact John Barnwell, barnwellj@safnet.org, 301-987-8720 Ext. 300, for more information about the committee and the specific qualifications necessary for appointment.

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. U.S. Forest Service Highlights Expansion of Restoration of National Forests and Funding For Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Projects
      USDA News Release, February 2nd

    Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a new report, Increasing the Pace of Restoration and Job Creation on our National Forests,that outlines a strategy and series of actions for management on 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. As part of the accelerated restoration strategy, $40 million for 20 forest and watershed restoration projects have been announced for the upcoming year. The funding includes ten new projects under the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration (CFLR) program, continued funding for the original 10 projects selected under the CFLR program in 2010, and an additional $4.6 million to support other high priority restoration projects. To read more of this article link to:

  2. Federal appellate court rejects Forest Service plan for Sierra
      The Sacramento Bee, Published by Denny Walsh, February 5th

    A federal appellate court has struck down as unlawful a 2004 management plan for Sierra Nevada national forests formulated by George W. Bush's administration, saying it lacks a required analysis of how fish will fare under the plan. A split three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held the Bush plan up next to a plan put in place in the dying days of Bill Clinton's administration, pointing out that the earlier plan includes an insightful and viable look at how fish will be affected by its provisions. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/05/4240045/federal-appellate-court-rejects.html


This Week in Congress

  1. February 1st - Sen. Debbie Stabenow [D-MI] announced the Farm Bill hearing schedule for February, March. To read more about these hearings link to:

  2. February 2nd - Sen. Lisa Murkowski [R-AK] introduced S. 2066, "A bill to recognize the heritage of recreational fishing, hunting, and shooting on Federal public land and ensure continued opportunities for those activities." To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-2066

  3. February 2nd - Sen. Rand Paul [R-KY] introduced S. 2062, "A bill to amend the Lacey Act Amendments of 1981 to repeal certain provisions relating to criminal penalties and violations of foreign laws, and for other purposes." To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s112-2066

  4. February 3rd - The Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands met to discuss H.R. 3685: To amend the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act to extend and expand the scope of the pilot forest management project required by that Act. To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=276751

National News

  1. Tester wants accounting of groups reimbursed for suing government
      Missoulian, Published by Rob Chaney, January 31st

    Scrutiny of the Equal Access to Justice Act went bipartisan on Monday when Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., submitted a bill calling for a complete accounting of how much the fund pays people and groups that successfully sue the federal government. Last summer, House Republicans proposed their own EAJA overhaul, which would limit who can request reimbursements and also tracks the money paid out. Rep. Denny Rehberg, R-Mont., supported that measure. In an interview on Monday, Tester said EAJA has been blamed for funding environmentalist lawsuits without looking at the full picture of the fund's uses. To read more of this article link to: http://missoulian.com/news/local/tester-wants-accounting-of-groups-reimbursed-for-suing-government/article_ce40742a-4bba-11e1-baec-0019bb2963f4.html

  2. Forest Service, environmental group settle timber sale dispute
      The Daily News, Published by Tom Paulu, February 1st

    The Gifford Pinchot National Forest and a conservation group have settled a dispute over a 2,800-acre timber sale southeast of Mount St. Helens. On Wednesday, the Gifford Pinchot Task Force, a local conservation group, and the Forest Service announced an agreement to settle an appeal from a Federal District Court ruling in a lawsuit brought by the Task Force. In 2010, the group challenged the Wildcat Thin Timber Sale in the Muddy River and Pine Creek drainages. The area was clear-cut in the 1960s and 1970s, then replanted. The Forest Service planned the thinning sale because the area has become overgrown, and trees are dying or stunted from too much competition. But the GP Task Force filed an appeal, citing potential damage to habitat for bull trout, an endangered species. To read more of this article link to:

  3. U.S. Forest Service plans to boost timber production, forest health work
      The Missoulian, Published by Rob Chaney, February 3rd

    The U.S. Forest Service wants to speed up work on national forests, for both timber production and forest health. "Collaboration is most effective in getting forests managed in a proper way," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said during a conference call on Thursday. "We want to move beyond the conflicts in the past that slowed progress down. We're going to look to encourage environmentalists, folks in the forest industry, people who live in forest communities and other stakeholders to work for healthy forests." Vilsack pledged the Forest Service would boost its lumber production from 2.4 billion board feet in 2011 to 3 billion board feet by 2014. That would come through a 20 percent increase in forest acres treated over the next three years. To read more of this article link to:

  4. California national forests among the first selected as first to implement a new planning rule
      Lake County News, February 2nd

    The U.S. Forest Service Wednesday announced eight national forests that will be the first to revise their land management plans using a new National Forest System Planning Rule, after it is finalized in the months ahead. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest in Idaho, the Chugach National Forest in Alaska, the Cibola National Forest in New Mexico, El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico and California's Inyo, Sequoia and Sierra National Forests will begin revising their plans shortly after a final rule is selected. This announcement follows Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack's release last week of the agency's intended course of action for finalizing a planning rule, included as the "preferred alternative" in the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for the National Forest System Land Management Planning Rule. "These forests will demonstrate straight out of the gate what we've been talking about in terms of collaboration," said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. "People will see that under a new rule, public engagement increases and process decreases, all while provide stronger protections for our lands and water." The preferred alternative is grounded in science and public input, and seeks to deliver stronger protections for forests, water, and wildlife while supporting the economic vitality of our rural communities. To read more of this article link to:

In the States: Wyoming, Idaho, and Oregon

  1. Counties agree to move forward with Shoshone Forest planning talks
      Billings Gazette, Published by Martin Kidston, January 31st

    Working against a tight deadline and a dwindling budget, the supervisor of the Shoshone National Forest asked cooperating partners Tuesday to help advance efforts to draft a new forest plan sooner rather than later. If they were unable to do so over lingering concerns about process, Joe Alexander told them, he would be forced to decide whether to end the planning efforts altogether, or find a way to move forward by excluding those who were holding the process back. "Your constituents don't care about process, they care about results," Alexander said. "The arguments and things we've been spending time on, we don't find terribly productive, and I don't think your constituents find it terribly productive, either." The showdown over commitment unfolded during Tuesday's daylong planning session, which the Shoshone had scheduled in hopes of reviewing a range of alternatives going into next week's planning talks in Thermopolis. To read more of this article link to:

  2. Ex-foes aim for common ground on Idaho forests
      Idaho Statesman, Published by Rocky Barker, January 31st

    The easy work for former adversaries in the Idaho timber wars was to start talking and develop trust. Now those environmentalists, foresters and loggers are testing the strong relationships they've forged in collaborative efforts state-wide. The Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership is tackling the hard issues about how much timber can be cut and thinned to restore healthy forests, and how that will be paid for. "So much of it comes down to what we are leaving behind," said Jonathan Oppenheimer, senior associate for the Idaho Conservation League. "More and more, we're having these discussions." The collaborators are in Boise this week for two days of conferences aimed at finding common ground on thinning or cutting the forests of North Idaho. To read more of this article link to:

  3. Conservationists suggest higher harvesting taxes
      The Associated Press, February 3rd

    Conservation groups are offering a different approach to the fiscal crisis facing timber counties in Oregon. Instead of just increasing timber production from 2.6 million acres of federal forests known as the O&C lands, they suggest that counties, the state of Oregon, and the federal government share the load. The Oregonian reported Thursday that the plan suggests the $110 million needed by the 18 rural counties could be generated by nearly tripling state harvest taxes on private timber, saving on forest management by transferring the O&C lands to the U.S. Forest Service, and calling on voters in timber counties to approve higher property taxes, which are among the lowest in the state. Conservation groups offered the plan as an alternative to one from members of Oregon's congressional delegation that would put half the O&C lands into a timber trust managed for maximum timber production and revenues for the counties. No specific bill has been published.To read more of this article link to: http://www.bendbulletin.com/article/20120203/NEWS0107/202030399/

  4. Plans for caribou sow conflict in NW
      The Associated Press, Published by Nicholas K. Geranios, February 4th

    Woodland caribou, rarely-seen creatures that with their antlers stand as tall as a man, are struggling to survive in the United States, precariously occupying one remote area of the Northwest as a final toehold in the Lower 48. The federal government has proposed designating about 600 square miles in Idaho and Washington -- roughly half the size of Rhode Island -- as critical habitat in an effort to save this last U.S. herd of fewer than 50 animals. But the plan has touched a raw nerve in this deeply conservative region, where the federal government is already viewed as a job destroyer because of restrictions on logging and other activities. To read more of this article link to: http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/02/04/plans_for_caribou_sow_conflict_in_nw/

  5. Seeing the forest for the trees
      The Albany Democrat-Herald, Published by Alex Paul, February 5th

    On a steep, south-facing mountain slope about 20 miles east of Sweet Home, two dozen people are talking ideas for the management of 1,600 acres of mostly 40- to 110-year-old Douglas firs. They represent the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State University, private timber land owners, environmental groups and loggers. Twenty years ago, such a meeting could have resulted in a shouting match or brawl. But this group - which took place last Monday and included both tree huggers and tree cutters - had a shared goal of determining how to help the area in the long term. At issue is theToll Joe Project, which calls for logging in 2014. To read more of this article link to: http://democratherald.com/news/local/seeing-the-forest-for-the-trees/article_63c70930-4fbe-11e1-a722-0019bb2963f4.html

Last Week in Congress

  1. No relevant actions were taken last week.

Wildfire Update

  1. There were no relevant wildfire updates from this week.

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