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Policy Update Week of September 19, 2011


  1. SAF Supports a 10-Year Reauthorization of the Stewardship Contracting Authority

    On September 9th organizations including SAF, the National Association of Forest Service Retirees, The Nature Conservancy, Sustainable Northwest, The Pinchot Institute, Ecosystem Workforce Program, The Watershed Center, and others submitted a sign-on letter to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. The intent of the letter was to request a 10-year reauthorization of the Stewardship Contracting authority in the FY2012 budget. The undersigned organizations collectively agree that stewardship contracting reauthorization is essential to restore and foster healthy forest ecosystems and provide stability and employment to rural communities.

    To read the letter link to: http://www.eforester.org/fp/positionstatements.cfm#FFM

In the Administration

  1. Conservation Groups File Suit, Stop Logging/Restoration Project Near Seeley Lake
      KPAX.com, Published by Mark Holyoak, September 21st

    A collaborative effort to try to lessen the danger of wildfire north of Seeley Lake just hit a legal roadblock after four conservation groups filed suit to stop it. It's called the Colt Summit restoration project--a 2,000 acre logging plan the Forest Service says would improve forest health, reduce fuels, improve wildlife habitat and provide scenic vistas. But the new lawsuit left locals scratching their heads. "It's frustrating for me personally," said Seeley Lake Fire Chief Frank Maredeo. That's because as the Seeley Lake fire chief, Maredeo personally watched the 36,000 acre Jocko Lakes Fire burn structures and force hundreds of people from their homes in 2007. To read more of this article link to: http://www.kpax.com/news/conservation-groups-file-suit-stop-logging-restoration-project-near-seeley-lake/#!prettyPhoto/0/

  2. US Forest Service Seeks Five-Year Extension of Secure Rural Schools Act
      US Forest Service Press Release, September 23rd

    The 2012 President's Budget proposes a five-year-extension of the act that provides funding to historically forest-dependent communities that have been impacted over the last several decades by downturns in the forest-products industry. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act of 2000 was enacted to provide temporary funding to help rural communities make the transition through stark changes in the natural-resource economy, particularly in forest-dependent communities of the West. Under the act, rural counties receive funding from the federal government for schools, roads and other projects. It is scheduled to expire at the end of September. To read more of this article link to: http://www.fs.fed.us/news/2011/releases/09/secure-schools.shtml


This Week in Congress

  1. September 19th - The House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public lands held an oversight Field Hearing on "Restoring Public Access to the Public's Lands: Issues Impacting Multiple-use on Our National Forests." To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=258843

  2. September 21st - Senate National Parks Subcommittee held a hearing to consider a recently released report by the National Park Service: A Call to Action: Preparing for a Second Century of Stewardship and Engagement. To read more about this hearing link to: http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=4abf9036-a9c0-7d3e-8d1f-234f1267e579

  3. Witnesses: Forested Counties and Schools to Gain Stable Revenue Stream, Jobs Created Through Active Forest Management
      House Natural Resources Committee Press Release, September 22nd

    Today, the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands held an oversight hearing on draft legislation to provide vital funding for education, roads and infrastructure in rural counties with large portions of National Forest Service land. H.R. ___, the National Forest County Revenue, Schools and Jobs Act of 2011, addresses the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program and lays the framework for a long-term solution by restoring healthy forest management. "Restoring active management of our national forests, as this draft proposal does, would provide a stable revenue stream for counties and schools. It would create new jobs, strengthen rural economies, promote healthier forests, reduce the risk of wildfires, and decrease our reliance on foreign countries for timber and related products," said Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04). To read more of this article link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=261309

National News

  1. House Subcommittee Considers Forest Management
      OPB News, Published by April Baer, September 22nd

    Thursday morning the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands is scheduled to discuss how some federal forests are managed. The discussion holds great interest for Oregon and Washington counties who've historically relied on timber income. The subcommittee is taking up a proposal that would set up public trusts to manage parcels of land within the National Forest system. It was written by the subcommittee chair, Doc Hastings of Washington. The purpose of the trusts would be to raise money for timber-dependent counties. Oregon's Peter DeFazio is also a member of the subcommittee. He says the bill is so vague, it's hard to tell what effect it might have. To read more about this article link to: http://news.opb.org/article/house-subcommittee-considers-forest-management/

In the States: California, Delaware, North Carolina, and Utah

  1. State Subcommittee Hears Public Complaints Over Land Restrictions
      Recordnet.com, Published by Dana Nichols, September 20th

    Dirt bikers, loggers, ranchers and others speaking Monday at a special congressional subcommittee hearing in Sacramento said they are being squeezed out of California's national forests by overzealous enforcement of environmental rules. And they pleaded to the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands for reforms that would curtail such enforcement and make it harder for environmental lawsuits to delay or halt forest projects such as timber harvests. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay, whose newly redrawn district includes Calaveras County and the Stanislaus National Forest, is part of the subcommittee. To read more of this article link to: http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110920/A_NEWS/109200313/-1/A_NEWS14

  2. Del. Towns Transplant Adult Trees
      Chron.com, Published by Brian Shane, September 20th

    You're not losing your marbles when you wonder how a fully grown tree ended up on that street corner you last saw as empty. Lewes and Rehoboth Beach are benefiting from a state program that doles out grant money for towns to transplant adult trees to their backyards, parks and avenues. "Planting a tree creates a sense of community," says Bryan Hall, a state land use planner and certified arborist assisting Rehoboth with the program. It really brings people together, gets folks on a common ground to recreate that sense of neighborhood and a sense of community - and that gets people together to talk about more important things." To read more about this article link to: http://www.chron.com/news/article/Del-towns-transplant-adult-trees-2179755.php

  3. Relentless Approach of Beetle Threatens NC Ash Trees
      NBC17, September 20th

    There is a dangerous invader marching toward North Carolina. The Emerald Ash Borer is a tiny beetle- only about half an inch long - threatening to wipe out ash trees in this state. The beetle is only a half-inch long but is a menace that is no laughing matter. "It is a tree killer and it kills all species of ash," said Robert Trickel, head of the Forest Health Branch of the N.C. Forest Service. The beetles lay eggs in the bark of ash trees and the larva then burrow underneath the bark. Ash trees are found in all 100 counties in North Carolina, and make up about 2 percent of the trees in Tar Heel forests. So far, the Emerald Ash Borer has not been discovered in North Carolina. But experts say it's not a matter of "if" but "when." The beetle has been discovered in about a dozen states including Virginia and Tennessee. To read more of this article link to: http://www2.nbc17.com/news/2011/sep/20/relentless-approach-beetle-threatens-nc-ash-trees-ar-1401003/

  4. Utah's Spruce Forests Are Vanishing
      The Salt Lake Tribune, Published by Brandon Loomis, September 22nd

    Some three-toed woodpecker in these woods is pleasantly plump on beetles, but the buffet can't go on forever. It lasts only as long as the trees. The gluttony is written on and around a stocky spruce that looks green and mostly healthy to the untrained eye, except for the fact that it's pecked nude from the waist down. No bird harmed the tree, though. The damage was already done. "These trees are loaded with bugs," said Liz Hebertson, a U.S. Forest Service entomologist, down from Ogden to survey this year's spruce-beetle infestation in south-central Utah. Peeling back a neighboring spruce's bark confirms that larvae are maturing, readying for the short flight of their lives in search of new pine prey. To read more of this article link to: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52527987-75/spruce-utah-forest-tree.html.csp

Last Week in Congress

  1. September 13th - The U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on bills regarding the designation of national monuments. The bills include: the "Preserve Land Freedom for American's Act 2011," the "National Monument Designation Transparency and Accountability Act," the "Montana Land Sovereignty Act," the "Idaho Land Sovereignty Act," and the "Utah Land Sovereignty Act." To read more on this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=258136

  2. Members Call for Limitations on President's Authority to Unilaterally Designate National Monuments
      House Natural Resources Committee Press Release, September 13th

    Today, the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a legislative hearing on six bills that would limit the President's authority to use the Antiquities Act to unilaterally designate new National Monuments within certain states. Last year, an internal document from the Interior Department revealed 14 areas of federal land that the Obama Administration has identified as worthy of National Monument designation under the Antiquities Act. The proposed designations would lock-up millions of acres of public lands in the West, without local input or Congressional authority, and could restrict access for energy production, recreation, and other job-creating economic activities. To read more of this article link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/News/DocumentSingle.aspx?DocumentID=259618

  3. September 15th - The U.S. House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing on several public lands bills. The bills include: the "York River Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2011," the "North Cascades National Park Service Complex Fish Stocking Act," the "New York City Natural Gas Supply Enhancement Act," and the "Fort Pulaski National Monument Lease Authorization Act." To read more about this hearing link to: http://naturalresources.house.gov/Calendar/EventSingle.aspx?EventID=258402

Wildfire Update

  1. Timber Losses in Wildfires Valued at $97 Million
      Chron.com, Published by Jeannie Kever, September 23rd

    The worst East Texas wildfire season since people began keeping track has wiped out more than 207,000 acres of timber valued at $97 million. The Texas Forest Service puts the total economic impact at $3.4 billion, but the worst pain will be felt by individual landowners. "Even the old-timers are saying it's the worst they've ever seen," said Burl Carraway, sustainable forestry department head for the forest service. "Certainly the worst since anybody has been putting dollars to damages." Those figures don't include the devastating Bastrop wildfire. Carraway was with a team surveying the area Friday and described it as "almost a moonscape." Damage estimates for that fire will be out next week.

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