Public Lands2 302 by n26GQ3


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March 5, 2012

A Case Study in USFS planning: carrying out NFMA.

What is NFMA? It is legislation that requires all National
Forest's to develop a land use plan, which prescribes the
multiple uses which may occur on each acre, and which
defines how timber management shall occur.     It includes
prescriptions of logging techniques allowable in different
types of forest-use zones.

Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie N.F.

Years after initial goals for having these plans completed,
the USFS finally issued them, frequently with court
challenges to their adequacy, only to have the Spotted Owl
debate hit their doorstep.
NFMA required resource capability analyses, and then
development of plans for management based on these
capabilities. PowerPoint file shows the variety of topics
considered, but these are only a condensation of the
underlying   variables   considered.   Alternatives  were
conceptualized using the NEPA process.

The NEPA process for federal agencies (mirror at the state
and local level).

Process & Plan elements:

       •Formation of ID team (interdisciplianry team)

       USFS inventory of land qualities
            examples: OH of timber suitability
            OH - old growth by elevation

Draft EIS:    (Published in Dec. 1987)
CH I. Purpose and Need
•Identifies major issues, concerns, opportunities

CH II: Alternatives, including the proposed action
•Analyzes management strategies, allocation zones, defines
          benchmarks, and methods for opportunity cost and
          sensitivity   analysis.     Constraints  on  the
          formulation of alternatives are defined.

•The alternatives are defined.

•The    alternatives are compared, in terms of          resource
       outputs, inputs, and environmental effects.      Economic
       tradeoffs among the alternatives are defined.
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•Tradeoffs among the alternatives are discussed.

CH III - Describes the Affected Environment: ca 230 pp.

•Physical characteristics, botany, wildlife, fishery.
•Human      community,     native       american     values,
     archaeological/historic properties
•Scenery, recreation, trails, wilderness, wild & scenic
     rivers, research natural areas.
•Air quality, prescribed burning, fire.
•Land ownership, land use, built environment

CH IV - Environmental Consequences.    ca. 197 pp.

•Management activities, general effects.
•Effects common to all alternatives
•Effects which vary among alternatives - detailed discussion
     of elements of the affected environment - ca. 197 pp.
•Relationships between short-term uses of the environment
     and   maintenance   and    enhancement   of   long-term
•irreversable commitments of resources
•probable adverse environmental effects which cannot be
•environmental conditions unchanged by alternatives.

This    is followed by lists of preparers, and        agencies,
       organizations and individuals sent the DEIS.   A

A Process for identifying issues, concerns, opportunities

B    Description of analytical process (ca. 260 pp.)
       data   inventory,   forest  planning  model,   economic
       efficiency analysis, socioeconomic impact analysis,
       analyses   prior   to   formulation  of   alternatives,
       formulation of alternatives, estimated effects of
       benchmarks, constraints, and alternatives.

C. Analysis of Roadless Areas
D. Standards & Guidelines that differ from Forest Plan
E. Wild & Scenic Rivers
F. Selection of Harvest Cutting Method
G. Plans & Policies of other federal agencies, state & local
     governments, and indian tribes.
H. Mangement Requirements
I. Best Management Practices for Soil and Water Protection.

Subsequent to publication of the DEIS, public comment is
invited.   After a public comment period, the USFS then
prepares a Final Environmental Impact Statement.
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The Final EIS may have different alternatives than in the
DEIS; issues may arise that were not covered in the DEIS.
The Final EIS describes differences from the DEIS, and
includes another appendix: J. The Forest Service Response
to Comments.

HO: Description of Alternatives.

Order of alternatives in FEIS is from highest to lowest % of
the land suited for timber production allocated to that use.
(70% in A, 41% in G-Mod)

Overheads showing alternative treatment of the Mt. Baker

Alt. A - No action.
     Brown, timber management emphasis
     Orange, SOHA's. No scheduled timber harvest

Alt I.   Market Oriented, emphasizes market place resource
     values   for   timber,  anadromous   fish,  developed
     recreation & minerals.

     19: Mountain hemlock zone, to be tested for timber

     23: municipal watershed

     red: old growth for species such as marten, pileated

     yellow -foreground areas from highways.

     light green with slashes: nonwilderness managed                  as
     natural areas, dispersed recreation/wildlife.

     purple: deer &    elk   winter    range;   timber      manage   to
     provide forage.
B.   RPA - high levels       of    timber,   fish,   big    game,    and
     dispersed rec.

     more purple compared to I

     dark green: roaded recreation & timber management

     blue: unique   scenic,       biological,   botanic,     geologic

H.   Emphasis on unroaded recreation, protect foreground
     scenic values in heavily travelled corridors, more
     game, timber harvest in areas suitable and not assigned
     to other objectives (This was the DEIS preferred
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     Lots of   light   green,   yellow,   less   purple   (winter

J. Preferred alternative
     More trail miles, more wild & scenic river designation,
     increased emphasis on scenery & unroaded recreation;
     timber production on acres assigned to timber harvest

C.   Emphasis on primitive & semi primitive nonmotorized

     lots of light green, yellow
     also wild & scenic rivers.

G-Mod   Maintain natural ecosystems, diversity of plants &
     animals, timber production consistent with these goals.


Table S-2, summarizing      quantitative    resource      outputs,
     inputs, effects.

In addition to the FEIS, there is also:

     The Forest Plan - detailed description of how alt J
would be implemented.

     Record of Decision - legal declaration by the Regional
Forester that the plan satisfies NFMA, and ordering it's

     Challenge record of decision, to
final EIS....

Revision of process due to so many challenges...(ongoing)
Such as: the Old Growth issue.....which has led to the
invocation of the Endangered Species Act provisions:
requirement for a plan to recover the species...

     General process

     Fish & Wildlife Service studies question of whether a
species is endangered: here read Northern Spotted Owl, and
indicator species found in old-growth forest environments.

     Appointment of an interdisciplinary committee             to
investigate issue....Jack Ward Thomas committee
ca. 2200 acres per breeding pair of owls -- ca. 4 sq. mi.,
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report to interagency committee

debates among environmental groups/industry groups and the
     administration on how to implement a recovery program

impact on ongoing NFMA/other programs, esp. timber harvest:
     Judge Dwyer's order barring timber sales in old-growth
     until a recovery plan is adopted....USFS/

Role    of President Clinton's Forest Conference, various
       senators, congressmen, governors, etc., in the juggle
       to bring some closure... Has led to strong reductions
       in timber output beyond that programmed in the Forest

drop of sales, backlog from NF's in PNW....mill closures
     resulting, exacerbated by recession in the early '90's.
       The continuing fight over roadless areas - Clinton's
       Rule-making regarding roading them.

So, currently (3/2012) we have a tug of war--leaving the
adopted Forest Plan in limbo--communities in limbo--forest
products industry w/o a supply of public timber....even at
levels programmed under the Clinton forest program level
(option 9).

Coming back to the 8      questions   regarding    management    of
National Forest lands:

1. whose interests should be considered, and how?        Local
residents vs. distant interested parties?

     2. How should present values/interests be considered
or weighed against those of future generations?

     3. How should interests organize or be "polled.?" At
present there is no systematic way of determining citizen
values on management of these lands....everything is totally
self selecting.

     4. Should planning be like RPA, tops down, or more
like the Alpine Lakes, bottoms up?

     5. Should Congress take an even stronger hand in
defining management of these lands, or has it gone too far,
and should agencies like the USFS or BLM have more
     6. Should these land management programs be
economically cost effective, or should other values be the
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guiding framework for programs? If so, how should these
values be measured? Who defines them?

    7.   How should irreversabilities be considered?

    8.   Other?
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Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie Forest Plan Alternatives

A: No change: based on 1963 timber management plans and subsequent changes,
but not with NFMA requirements.
A: No Action To comply with current plans, including NFMA

I. Market Place Alternative.
Developed to be responsive to the goals and objectives of the Public Land User's
Society, emphasizes those resources with an established price in the market
place: timber production, anadromous fish, developed recreation, and minerals.
Emphasis is also placed on enhancement of big game wildife and fish habitat,
and developing/maintaining an extensive trail system to accomodate a wide
vareity of users on a year-round basis. Other resources are managed at levels
that do not reduce the outputs from the market resources.

B: RPA program satisfaction.
Goals are to simultaneously produce high levels of timber, anadromous fish,
commonly hunted species of big game, and dispersed unroaded recreation.

H. DEIS Preferred Alternative
Emphasizes unroaded recreation, protection of scenic values in the foreground
and middleground of heavily travelled highway corridors; increasing big game
populations, plus emphasis on timber production on tentatively suitable acres
not assigned to other objectives.

J. FEIS Preferred Alternative
The preferred alternative was developed in response to public comments on the
draft EIS. Similar to H., but the preferrred alternative provides a considerable
increase in trail mileage, an increase in the number of rivers recommended for
addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers system, three Special Areas,
increased emphasis on unroaded recreation, greater protection of scenic values
on travel corridors, and timber production on suitable acres assigned to a harvest
prescription. Other resources are managed at levels commensurate with the
objectives of the alternative.

C. Semi-primitive/primitive dispersed recreation, fish, and wildlife emphasis.
Emphasizes      primitive    and     semi-primitive   nonmotorized     recreation
(accomplished through retention of existing roadless areas and, over time,
reversion of some roaded areas to unroaded condition); protects scenery, fish,
and wildlife habitat; protects sites and areas important to American Indians for
religious and cultural use.

Developed to be responsive to the goals and objectives of the conseravtion
liasion group, emphasizes natural ecosystems, diversity of native plants and
animals, providing uses not found on private land, an extensive trails system,
and timber production consistent with other goals.
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     Selected Measures of output across alternatives.

    Alternative: A        I      B      H     J        C            G-Mod


Timber % of
land suited       70%     65%    64%    60%   58%    43%            41%

Harvest - MMBF
Decade 1       149/204    129    127    116   108      66           87

Roads: miles
new arterial
& collector       26       34     28     11    15      15           13
Local roads      330      290    280   250    240   180             145

Roads closed      x        x      x     20     x    300              65

Roadless Areas
% in 50 years    60/82%   86%    87%   60%    91%      97%           96%

Wild/Scenic                              5    30/     all            all
River Designation none none     none   rivers 47    elig.           elig.

Spotted Owl
Habitat Area
(thousand acres) none     93     79    61     54           36         113

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