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Policy Update Week of

March 12, 2012

SAF ACTIONS

SAF Committee on Forest Policy Chair Dr. Robert Malmsheimer to Testify Before Congress - March 22nd
CFP Chair Dr. Robert Malmsheimer will be testifying on behalf of the Society of American Foresters at the upcoming House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Public Witnesses Hearing. The hearing will take place on March 22nd at 9:30AM.
For more information, link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277080

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. Peer Review of Scientific Findings in Draft Klamath Overview Report Now Available
      DOI Press Release, March 13th

    The Department of the Interior today publicly released the results from an independent peer review panel that evaluated the accuracy, clarity, thoroughness, and objectivity of the scientific findings in the draft Klamath Overview Report. The panel's detailed findings and recommendations will help inform the rigorous and transparent scientific process concerning the potential removal of four privately owned dams on the Klamath River. The peer review panel found generally that the report "connects to the sound science that underlies its conclusions, provides a depth of coverage suitable for the anticipated audience, and provides clearly stated concepts and conclusions," and further finds that the "science appears to be reliable for a Secretarial Determination." The panel also makes recommendations for how the final report can be edited to improve its effectiveness. To read more of this article link to: http://www.doi.gov/news/pressreleases/Peer-Review-of-Scientific-Findings-in-Draft-Klamath-Overview-Report-Now-Available.cfm

  2. Proposed Rule: Expanding Incentives for Voluntary Conservation Actions Under the Endangered Species Act
      The Federal Register, Published by the Fish and Wildlife Service, March 15th

    We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are considering proposals to amend the regulations that implement parts of the Endangered Species Act. By this notice, we are inviting public comment to help us identify potential changes to our regulations that would create incentives for landowners and others to take voluntary conservation actions to benefit species that may be likely to become threatened or endangered species. In particular, we seek comment on whether and how the Service can assure those who take such voluntary actions that the benefits of such voluntary conservation actions will be recognized as offsetting the adverse effects of activities carried out after listing by that landowner or others. This practice sometimes referred to as "advance mitigation" or "pre-listing mitigation," is intended to encourage early conservation efforts that could reduce or eliminate the need to list species as endangered or threatened. To read more of this article link to:
    https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2012/03/15/2012-6221/endangered-and-threatened-wildlife-and-plants-expanding-incentives-for-voluntary-conservation

This Week in Congress

  1. March 12th - House Committee on Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Oversight Field Hearing on "Explosion of Federal Regulations Threatening Jobs and Economic Survival in the West". To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=282979

Upcoming in Congress

  1. March 20th - House Committee on Appropriations: Budget Hearing - National Park Service - Director. To read more about this hearing link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277076

  2. March 22nd - Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests: Misc. Public Lands Bills. To read more about this hearing link to:
    http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=edec1618-2b93-42ea-88c4-7124f5b323dd

  3. March 22nd - House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Hearing: Public Witnesses To read more about this hearing link to:
    http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277080

National News

  1. Groups urge Congress to increase federal conservation funding
      Ridgefield's Hamlethub, Published by Highstead, March 9th

    Eighty-five organizations across the region today urged lawmakers to help meet New England's economic challenges by investing in the region's forests, outlining seven critical federal funding opportunities to conserve this vital resource and the green infrastructure it provides. The organizations submitted to congressional leaders A Policy Agenda for Conserving New England's Forests at a time when forest cover is declining in all six New England states, according to the major science-based report, Wildlands and Woodlands: a Vision for the New England Landscape. According to the 85 groups, federal conservation funding is a vital strategy to retain the many economic and environmental benefits of the region's forests. To read more of this article link to:
    http://hamlethub.com/ridgefield-life/cat/home-and-garden/8881-groups-urge-congress-to-increase-federal-conservation-funding

  2. Baucus' Rocky Mountain Front Act gets hearing next week
      Great Falls Tribune, March 12th

    U.S. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said Monday that the first hearing for his bill to add protections to federal lands on the Rocky Mountain Front is scheduled next week. The Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act will be heard at 12:30 p.m. March 22 before the Public Lands and Forests subcommittee of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. In a statement, Baucus called the act "a made-in-Montana bill" that would protect public access for recreation and grazing opportunities for ranchers. "Next week's hearing is a step in the right direction and I'm going to keep working to move the bill forward," Baucus said. To read more of this article link to: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20120313/NEWS01/203130315/Baucus-Rocky-Mountain-Front-Act-gets-hearing-next-week

  3. Forest gives final OK to logging project near Deep Creek
      The Helena Independent Record, Published by Eve Bryon, March 16th

    A final decision has been issued by the Helena National Forest for a logging project east of Townsend near Deep Creek. The Cabin Gulch Vegetation Treatment and Project involves logging and burning trees on 2,891 acres over a 15,600-acre project area. It was first proposed in 2005 and went through about three iterations before the final decision was signed on March 6 by Kevin Riordan, the forest supervisor. "On a landscape scale, this project works toward the goal of reducing the risk of and increasing the resistance to wide-scale disturbance events from wildfire, insects and disease," Riordan said. "This project also supports a forest products program that ultimately provides goods and services to the local community." Barring an appeal, work could begin in 2012 and continue through 2020.To read more of this article link to: http://helenair.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/forest-gives-final-ok-to-logging-project-near-deep-creek/article_d612ce52-6f30-11e1-8f27-0019bb2963f4.html

In the States: Oregon, Montana and West Virginia

  1. Collaborative approach to forest health
      The Observer, Published by Katy Nesbitt, March 15th

    New opportunities for commercial thinning and firewood gathering that promote forest health will be available this summer in the Wallowa District of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. The Muddy Sled Vegetation Management Project, released this winter, was driven largely by the risk of catastrophic forest fires within the project area and especially around the Sled Springs Guard Station, an historic compound northeast of Wallowa. District Ranger Ken Gebhardt said he is pleased with the results of more than four years of collaboration with forest users, environmentalists, and the Nez Perce Tribe. That collaboration resulted in the Environmental Assessment receiving no appeals ---- paving the way for the management plan to be put into action.To read more of this article link to:
    http://www.lagrandeobserver.com/News/Local-News/Collaborative-approach-to-forest-health

  2. Road closure plan for Oregon's largest national forest targets a nearly 4,000-mile network
      The Oregonian, Published by Richard Cockle, March 15th

    Starting in June, passenger cars, ATVs, dirt bikes and four-wheel-drive rigs can no longer travel on almost 4,000 miles of roads in Oregon's largest national forest. The final plan for Wallowa-Whitman National Forest -- to be entered today into the Federal Register -- is already drawing opposition. People have 45 days to appeal. To read more of this article link to:
    http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2012/03/road_closure_plan_for_oregons.html

  3. Manchin pulls support for national park
      Saturday Gazette-Mail, Published by John McCoy, March 17th

    Almost as soon as it began, the federal government's exploration into a possible national park and preserve for West Virginia's Allegheny Highlands appears to be over. U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin dealt the initiative a potentially fatal blow recently when he withdrew his support of the National Park Service's "reconnaissance survey" into West Virginia's suitability for a park. Manchin apparently didn't get the right answers from Park Service superintendent Jon Jarvis. Manchin's Feb. 2 letter asked Jarvis to address how hunting, fishing and other outdoor and resource-related activities might be affected if 750,000 acres in and around northern Monongahela National Forest were to be placed under Park Service jurisdiction. To read more of this article link to: http://wvgazette.com/Outdoors/201203170120

  4. Public Campaign Against Roadless Release Bill Intensifies
      The Flathead Beacon, Published by Jolene Keller, March 18th

    Over the last month, outdoors groups and businesses across the state have intensified a public campaign in opposition to a bill that proposes to remove federal protections from roughly 43 million acres of backcountry wilderness study and inventoried roadless areas, including about 5.5 million acres in Montana. But bill proponents, including Montana Republican Congressman Denny Rehberg, are pointing to their own list of outdoors groups and other organizations in support of the legislation. The back-and-forth has given considerable attention to a bill that currently isn't moving in Congress. To read more of this article link to:
    http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/public_campaign_against_roadless_release_bill_intensifies/27106/

Last Week in Congress

  1. March 6th - Full Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources: FY13 Forest Service Budget Request. To read more about this hearing link to:
    http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/2012/3/full-committee-hearing

  2. March 6th - House Committee on Appropriations: Budget Hearing - Bureau of Land Management - Director. To read more about this hearing link to:
    http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277069

  3. March 7th - House Committee on Appropriations: Budget Hearing - Department of Agriculture - Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment To read more about this hearing link to: http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=282152

  4. March 8th - House Committee on Appropriations: Budget Hearing - National Park Service - Director. To read more about this hearing link to:
    http://appropriations.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=277076

  5. March 8th - House Natural Resources Committee: Subcommittee on National Parks, Forest and Public Lands Legislative Hearing on H.R. 752, H.R. 1415, H.R. 3377 and H.R. 3436. To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=282748

  6. March 8th - Introduced H.R. 4171 - Freedom from Over-Criminalization and Unjust Seizures Act of 2012: 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/bills/112/hr4171

  7. March 8th - Introduced H.R. 4193 - Land Acquisition to cut National Debt Act: To provide that there shall be no net increase in the acres of certain Federal land under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or the Forest Service unless the Federal budget is balanced for the year in which the land would be purchased. To read more about this bill link to: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4193

Wildfire Update

  1. There were no relevant wildfire updates last week.

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