FEBRUARY 12-13, 1998, SEATTLE
USFS Region 6 (Pacific Northwest) Presentation
Nancy Graybeal - Deputy Regional Forester
Nancy Graybeal gave an overview of the development of the Forest Plans, and the evolution of the Northwest Forest Plan. She also described the Interior Columbia Basin Project, covering 74 million acres of federal land. Nancy outlined some dilemmas currently problematic to planning for national forest management, and a series of other laws and players affected by the National Forest Management Act.
Dennis Bschor, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest (Seattle, Washington), represented 14 "urban" national forests, and dealing with changes in public value systems. Sally Collins, Deschutes National Forest (central Oregon), described interim planning guidelines in place until the Interior Columbia Basin Project is complete, and the shift under the Northwest Forest Plan from an emphasis on timber production to ecosystem management. Jim Furnish, Siuslaw National Forest (Oregon coast), talked about how the Northwest Forest Plan affected the Siuslaw Forest Plan, and how levels of planning and decision-making affect issues unique to individual forests.
USFS Region 10 (Alaska) Presentation
Phil Janik, Regional Forester, described the Tongass Forest Plan as being science-based, with interagency involvement and an open public process. Beth Pendleton described the planning area as having very dispersed and diverse local residents, and 500,000 visitors per year. In addition, the Forest is diverse with islands, peaks, and muskeg (wet bogs in boreal regions). Fred Everest and Terry Shaw, both PNW research scientists, described the (separate) role of scientists in the planning process. Criticisms and lessons learned of integrating science into forest planning were summarized by the team. A process called a "science consistency check" was implemented that allowed all parties to consider whether: 1) science was correctly interpreted, 2) relevant science was considered, and 3) the Plan revealed risks.
Message on the Mission of the Committee of Scientists by Jim Lyons
Jim Lyons, Under Secretary of Agriculture, and his assistant Brooks Preston, outlined his commitment to produce draft regulations in Fiscal Year 1998. He re-emphasized the need to revise the NFMA regulations to meet current technology and methodology. Citing the mission of the Forest Service, "Caring for the Land and Serving People," Lyons highlighted some issues for the Committee to contemplate:
State Government Presentation
Peter Green, Natural Resource Staff of Oregon Governor Kitzhaber
Peter Green outlined four principles the Governor emphasizes: 1) Develop true collaboration with stakeholders, 2) Regional approaches are important, 3) Helping people to the right thing works better than forcing them, 4) Working across jurisdictional boundaries is essential. Using two of Kitzhaberís key efforts, Peter highlighted successes of regional approaches crossing jurisdictional lines. 1) The Eastside (Oregon) Forest Health Strategy was aimed at restoring the health of the forests, including streams and watersheds. A science team and a nine-member citizens panel participated in developing an 11 Point Strategy that called for active management applied first in non-controversial areas. The strategy was widely accepted by the public and the Forest Service. Made possible by the willingness of the Forest Service to cooperate with state and local governments, this strategy is being used as a bridge to the Interior Columbia Basin Project. 2) The Oregon Salmon Plan is aimed at avoiding regulatory control of the National Marine Fisheries Service by bringing all the players together. The effort involves using watersheds and watershed councils to plan for species needs across land ownerships. The NW Forest Plan provides a strong foundation for building on the cooperation of BLM and USFS.
Local Government Presentation
Dave Schmidt, Linn County, Oregon
Dave Schmidt gave a primer on county government: varied sizes, levels of technical expertise, financial abilities, and both elected and unelected officials. Indicated that the mission of the USFS is not well enough defined. Appeals processes are roadblocks; there should be a better way to attain some certainty for counties. Commitments with local government should be kept by the USFS. Bottom up consensus better - includes cooperation between feds and counties. Social/economic values should be equal to biological values.
Pat Wortman, Wallowa County, Oregon and Joan Frey, Klickitat County, Washington
Pat Wortman and Joan Frey, via conference call, discussed the relationship of counties to the Forest Service and other federal agencies. They indicated that drastic management changes will cause the USFS to lose support. Counties are a unique resource - stable and know what works in the local area; USFS should tap these resources. USFS needs to involve counties ahead of decisions; while counties are not interested in small details of USFS planning, they should be heard. They need representation separate from the state because their interests are quite different.
Federal Agencies Presentation
Dave Wesley, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Portland)
USFWS administers national wildlife refuges, hatcheries, and other lands. Their opinion is that forest planning is not broken, but needs adjusting. Specific concerns: 1) species viability and what it means to national forests; 2) viability is the link to biological diversity, and includes all organisms, not just vertebrates; 3) management indicator species are not recognized by the scientific community for managing forest health, aquatic health, and ecosystem planning. Other points: The Northwest Forest Plan was positive in that it covers a broader scale. Need to emphasize adaptations for management, and need extensive monitoring. Require public participation and partnerships.
Robyn Thorson, USFWS (Alaska)
The Tongass Forest Plan yielded far superior document than the original 1987 plan because the State of Alaska participated as a full-time member of the planning group. Their emphasis on good science with consistency checks was good. Completed risk analysis and allowed the Regional Forester to do balancing.
Elizabeth Gaar, National Marine Fisheries Service (Portland)
This agency has responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act for potential of additional species listings. Early, active involvement is required to prevent listings. Points: 1) Retain and strengthen NFMA. 2) Should provide direction for viability on a long-term scale. 3) Planning regulations should provide clear direction on how to carry them out. 4) Continue the evolution away from project-by-project consultation; do programmatically - especially for fish (watershed scale). 5) Stay away from prescriptive approaches that may lose short-term needs for habitat or preclude conservation opportunities in the future. Other points: NMFS equates recovery and conservation to long-term survival. Implementing rights and trusts of Tribes who depend on resources depends on viability of species, and numbers maintained over a long timeframe. Have near unanimity in the scientific community on long-term survival depending on functioning natural ecosystems. Need to amend forest plans to include conservation strategies, e.g. the Aquatic Conservation Strategy. Explain tradeoffs of outputs. Must monitor and keep track of the baseline. Agencies need to standardize data.
Will Stelle, National Marine Fisheries Service (Seattle)
Within a year, listed endangered species will exist from British Columbia to Los Angeles. Scale and scope change radically. NFMA is not currently focused on important concepts - must build a multiple scale perspective and increase scope to multiple species habitat needs. Need to define standards - jeopardy or recovery? Survival and recovery are nonissues; viability over the long term vital. Protecting and conserving the viability of species is not just a federal job - meaningful role for nonfederal lands. If we are too myopic, we will miss the boat.
Bill Bradley, BLM
Mr. Bradley discussed the recent integration of BLM with the USFS, and positions zoned between the two agencies. Several interagency groups have been established under the NW Forest Plan - 12 provincial teams. Issues cross jurisdictional boundaries, e.g. grazing allotments that are on both BLM and USFS lands. Hard to address issues after budgets are finalized. BLM planning rules are much simpler than USFS rules; suggests taking a look at BLM rules. Their Plan maintenance process operates on three-year intervals. Joint decisions between BLM and USFS are difficult due to the appeals process.
Chuck Finley, Environmental Protection Agency (Seattle)
Focused on the Clean Water Act that evolved out of citizenís lawsuits. One measurement - total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) - is similar to requirements under the Endangered Species Act. The two Acts are complimentary and can be integrated into watershed analyses. Concerned about scale of planning efforts. Interior Columbia Basin Project was a good process with the best staff, but had difficulties due to its huge scale. Need to factor in the Tribal trust responsibilities more deliberately. Need common data standards.
Jim Milestone, National Park Service (Regional Ecosystem Office, Portland)
National parks need national forests. In the past, you could pick out the parks from satellite imagery - extensive logging along boundaries. The NW Forest Plan is the best bet for national parks. NPS embraces the regional ecosystem approach. National forests contain headwaters and extended habitat for national park streams and wildlife, e.g. owls and sensitive fish species. The Regional Ecosystem Office in Portland, est. under the NW Forest Plan, gives agencies the opportunity to be at the table. Representatives at that office work directly for agency executives who can make things happen. Province Interagency Executive Committees and Province Advisory Committees are enabling management of the landscape. Expectation that if agencies worked together, would not see national parks from satellite imagery. Need best management of old growth and consistent mapping across ownerships.
Keith Dunbar, National Park Service (Seattle)
The National Park & Recreation Act of 1978 requires each park to have a management plan that includes social and environmental carrying capacities. These plans have a 15-year lifespan. Would be good if USFS matched so forest planning could be done in conjunction with NPS planning. The two agencies should work together at the Regional Ecosystem Office and park/forest levels.
Public Comment Period
Fifteen members of the public spoke to the Committee for five minutes each. These individuals then formed an impromptu panel and answered questions from the Committee for approximately one hour.
Wisdom from the Former Chiefs
Max Peterson (now Executive Vice President International Agency of Fish and Wildlife)
Points to consider:
Jack Ward Thomas, (now Boone and Crockett Professor U. of Montana School of Forestry)
Look at evolution of the intent of the laws - assumptions in NFMA that are no longer true:
USFS an independent body that could amend Plans quickly. Regulations badly need to be revised; current revision pretty good. Planning regs are a political document as well as a planning tool. Many attempts to revise them per a political agenda. COS being used as a "patina of legitimacy." Scientists are no less biased than anyone else. Guard your reputations. NFMA was developed under the philosophy of "Come and let us reason together." Today we have a conflict industry that does not reflect the people.
Northwest Tribal Representatives
Jaime Pinkham, Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee
Tribal respect and life depend on use of natural resources. Look at things holistically - including past and future. Must go further back than recent generations for guidance. Nes Perce cover N central Idaho, NE Oregon, SW Washington. Gather roots, berries; pasture livestock on unclaimed (fed.) lands. Natural resources are the mainstay of Indian lives (not income). Treaties claimed rights of future access (no end point). Treaties are fundamental law that predate other laws/acts. The Endangered Species Act was on a collision course with the Treaties, but in the Spring of 1997, Babbitt worked on coordinating American Indian Tribal Rights. Defined by negotiation, not consultation. Indian country a striking model of sustainability. No separation between Indians and the land. No one part of the ecosystem can be separated from another.
Charles (Jody) Calica, Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs
This Tribe is unique in that it is both a government and a corporation. One of three in the U.S. exempt from state jurisdiction. Lands: 1) reservation, 2) ceded (10 MM acres), 3) usual & customary area (parts of Willamette and Deschutes Rivers, southern Oregon and southern Washington), 4) common law principle lands (usury rights). Rights keenly interested in - how to read the river, how to fish. Must be careful interpreting and applying laws to Indian land. Lots of direction, little consistency, e.g. PIG, PACFISH, INFISH. Tribes want harvestable levels of fish - not included in USFS forest plans. Warm Springs Resource Management Plan blends new technology with ancient wisdom. Planning horizon 500 years. Can provide timely implementation planning in response to flood, fire, and blowdown events.
Bruce Davies, Northwest Fish Commission
NFMA does not address protection of trust/treaty resources or Tribal use of forest products. Recognize that USFS has responsibilities on these lands, and that includes providing harvestable levels of trust resources. Support cooperative monitoring efforts. Encourage government-to-government relationships/partnerships.
Nels Lawson, Alaskan Native and USFS Tribal Liaison
Ensure traditional ecological knowledge is incorporated into plans. Do a lot of public outreach. Need a mechanism for understanding. USFS managers cycle through. Tribal elders consistent. Title 8 of ANILCA hot issue. Work with federally-recognized Tribes to further knowledge of traditions. Advice: we are part of the world, not apart from it; never take more than you need.
Bob Nelson, USFS Director of Fish and Wildlife, NFMA Regulations Era
The viability clause in NFMA regulations (Nelson, Mealy, Salwasser) grew from desire not to extirpate species. Never intended to focus on detailed population analysis or numbers of animals. Best way - just keep them [animals] where they are. Management indicator species - are there any? Good concept, but a lot of judgment involved. Original intent of viability was to maintain species populations where they currently existed (do monitoring to determine whether they remain) thus maintaining distribution (but not numbers).
Meeting 1 - December 19, 1997; Location: Chigaco
Meeting 2 - January 22-23, 1998; Location: Denver (Region 2)
Meeting 3 - February 12-13, 1998; Location: Seattle (Regions 6 & 10)
Meeting 4 - February 24-25, 1998; Location: Atlanta (Region 8)
Meeting 5 - March 3-5, 1998; Location: Sacramento (Region 5)
Meeting 6 - March 31 - April 1 ; 1998; Location: Boston (Region 9)
Meeting 7 - April 14-15, 1998; Location: Albuquerque (Region 3)
Meeting 8 - April 22-23, 1998; Location: Missoula (Regions 1 & 4)
Potential Agenda for Atlanta, February 24-25, 1998
Strategic Planning in Region 8
Presentation from Art Cooper
Conference Call with Chief Dombeck
Oral Comments from Public
Potential Agenda for Sacramento, March 3-5, 1998
Strategic Planning in Region 5
Oral Comments from Public
END OF MEETING NOTES