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Dr. K. Norman Johnson, Chair

Oregon State University

 

Dr. James Agee

University of Washington

 

Dr. Robert Beschta

Oregon State University

 

Dr. Virginia Dale

Oak Ridge National Lab.

Oak Ridge, TN

 

Dr. Linda Hardesty

Washington State Univ.

 

Dr. James Long

Utah State University

 

Dr. Larry Nielsen

Pennsylvania State Univ.

 

Dr. Barry Noon

Colorado State University

 

Dr. Roger Sedjo

Resources for the Future

Washington, DC

 

Dr. Margaret Shannon

Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs

Syracuse, NY

 

Dr. Ronald Trosper

Northern Arizona Univ.

 

Charles Wilkinson

University of Colorado

 

Dr. Julia Wondolleck

University of Michigan

MEMORANDUM

DATE: February 18, 1998

TO: The Committee of Scientists

FROM: K. Norman Johnson, Committee Chair

SUBJECT: Seattle Committee Meeting Notes

Enclosed are the notes from the third meeting of the Committee of Scientists Federal Advisory Committee held February 12-13, 1998 in Seattle, Washington. Our next meetings are planned for February 24-25 in Atlanta, Georgia; and March 3-5 in Sacramento, California. In addition, other meeting dates were discussed as noted at the end of this memo. Times and places will be announced in the Federal Register.

The purpose of the meeting in Seattle was to hear from USFS Regions 6 and 10, state and local government representatives, other federal agency representatives, American Indian tribal representatives, and two former Forest Service Chiefs. In addition, the Committee discussed future meeting dates and operational procedures.

Enclosed you will find:

Attendance from February 12-13, 1998

Meeting minutes

Meeting schedule

Potential agenda for February 24-25, 1998 in Atlanta.

Thank you for your participation in the meeting.

 

ATTENDANCE

FEBRUARY 12-13, 1998, SEATTLE

 

COMMITTEE OF SCIENTISTS

 

Dr. Norm Johnson, Chair

Guest Speakers

Dr. Jim Agee

Nancy Graybeal, USFS R6, Dep. Reg. Forester

Dr. Bob Beschta

Sally Collins, USFS Region 6

Dr. Virginia Dale

Jim Furnish, USFS Region 6

Dr. Linda Hardesty

Dennis Bschor, USFS Region 6

Dr. Jim Long

Phil Janik, USFS R10, Reg. Forester

Dr. Larry Nielsen

Beth Pendleton, USFS Region 10

Dr. Barry Noon

Terry Shaw, USFS R10, PNW Station

Dr. Roger Sedjo

Fred Everest, USFS R10, PNW Station

Dr. Ron Trosper

Peter Green, Gov. Office, Oregon

Charles Wilkinson, Prof. of Law

Dave Schmidt, Linn County, Oregon

Dr. Julia Wondolleck

Pat Wortman, Wallowa County, Oregon

Dr. Margaret Shannon

Joan Frey, Klickitat County, Washington

Bob Cunningham, Designated Federal Official

Bill Bradley, BLM

 

Jim Milestone, NPS

 

Keith Dunbar, NPS

 

Elizabeth Gaar, NMFS

 

Will Stelle, NMFS

Committee Staff Support

Dave Wesley, USFWS

Harriet Plumley, USFS

Chuck Finley, EPA

Ann Carlson, USFS

Robyn Thorson, USFWS, Alaska

Jonathan Stephens, USFS

Max Peterson

Joanne Hildreth, USFS

Jack Ward Thomas

 

Jaime Pinkham, Nez Perce Tribe

 

Charles Calica, Conf. Tribes Warm Springs

 

Bruce Davies, NW Fish Commission

 

Nels Lawson, USFS-R10 Tribal Liaison

 

Bob Nelson, USFS, Retired

 

Jim Lyons, Under Secretary of Agriculture

 

Brooks Preston, Assistant to U.Sec. Ag.


Audience *Made public comments.

Mike Anderson, The Wilderness Society*

George Buckingham, USFS

Mark Lawler, Sierra Club*

Jarvis H. Paul, House Science Committee

Bob Dick, NW Forestry Assoc.*

Mike Gippert, USDA-OGC

Mark Rasmussen; Mason, Bruce, & Girard*

Robert Simmons, USDA-OGC

David Zaber, Defenders of Wildlife*

Lisa Freedman, USFS

Niel Lawrence, Nat. Res. Defence Council*

Al Garr, USFS

Cara Nelson, NRDC*

Arnold Holden, USFS

Art Schick, Society American Foresters*

Hiko Katsuhisa, JAWIC

Bill Connelly, USFS-R6*

Jose Linares, USFS

Rick Brown, National Wildlife Federation*

Jack Capp, USFS

David Bayles, Pacific Rivers Council*

Jim Sedell, USFS PNW Research

Hal Kent*

Richard Pierson, Weyerhaeuser

Helen Ross, National Audubon Society*

Teena Reichgott, EPA

Kristen Boyles, Pacific Rivers Council*

Kay Gabriel, Sen. Slade Gorton Rep.

Joe Scott, NW Ecosystem Alliance*

Chris Risbrudt, USFS

Dave Barone, USFS

Charlie Raines, Sierra Club

Kurt Wiedenmann, USFS

Kelly Burnett, USFS PNW Research

Lisa Croft, USFS

Al Marmelstein, USGS

Tanya Hanson-Murray, USFS

Phyllis Reed, USFS

Allen Mibb, USFS

Terry Skarheim, USFS

John Gabrielson, EPA

Everett White, USFS

Lisa Andrews, Friends of the Earth

Terry DeGra, USFS

Eric Espenhorst, Friends of the Earth

Bob Ewrig

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.

Forest Supervisors

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:

  • Courts deemed science was lacking in the planning process. Need to build science into the decision-making process.
  • Regional planning and watershed analyses (assessments) create context for decisions made in other documents.
  • The role of politics concerns understanding and balancing public values.
  • Collaboration with partners and the public should occur during the planning process.
  • The enduring guidance of Gifford Pinchotís letter establishing the National Forests.

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)

  • Planning must be understandable to the public who use the lands. Be careful with words, e.g. Ďhealthí - and unhealthy (old) forest may be best for wildlife, and Ďlandscapeí - putting lawn and shrubs into your yard. Read Winston Churchill - public understood him.
  • Process should be 1) scientifically sound, 2) financially feasible, and 3) socially acceptable.
  • Recommend Art Cooperís document... "All parties must agree to work with the others..."

Points to consider:

  • The current process is vulnerable to appeal. Need to make appeals less attractive.
  • Deal with contradictory goals, e.g. stability of plans v. reflecting changing conditions like flood, fire, monitoring results (adaptability).
  • Regional guides allow us to address large-scale issues, e.g. the owl. However, adding too much detail dooms them.
  • Loosen budgets. They constrain plans. Do budgets by forest (Congress/Office of Budget Management do not know effects on forests).
  • NFMA does not affect statutory requirements of states. Illegal not to work with states. E.g. state responsibilities for fish and wildlife.
  • Look at new techniques for public involvement, e.g. responsive management, scientific polling. Much of what is now produced by USFS planning is unintelligible - map legends nobody can make sense of.
  • Challenge people to share the land. Some want to throw everybody else off. Need an agreement up front to ensure my use respects othersí uses. Develop a philosophical introduction on how we will share this land...invoke Aldo Leopoldís land ethic.
  • Need one plan for each unit of the national forest system. Develop assessments for larger areas. Fit in requirements from Multiple-Use, Sustained Yield Act: public involvement, NEPA, diversity, etc.

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.

Principles:

  • Donít assign technically impossible tasks, i.e. the diversity clause. New definition of viability includes birth/death rates, number of animals to maintain. Canít do for 300+ spp.
  • Donít require activities that wonít get funded, i.e. monitoring. Must be specific - at what level, and must be reasonable.
  • Recognize agency capability dramatically changed. Number of people, especially experienced people, reduced. None of the job reduced. Donít exacerbate.
  • Bringing together assessment teams has robbed research blind. They are worn out. We are burning out our best. If planning is complicated enough to require high level of participation, must be built into the regulations.
  • Regulations are not the place for achieving specifics and not the place to deal with conflict.
  • Judge Dwyer decreed that ecosystem management is mandatory. Pieces of the puzzle must make a picture. All plans must mesh.
  • Canít have stability. We are always one politician, fire, lawsuit...away.

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).

Committee Business

Meeting Schedule

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

Committee Business

Potential Agenda for Sacramento, March 3-5, 1998

Strategic Planning in Region 5

Oral Comments from Public

Committee Business

END OF MEETING NOTES