July 8, 1998; TELECONFERENCE
Minutes of July 8th Teleconference Call with Committee of Scientists
Meeting with Secretary of Agriculture
Dr. Norm Johnson discussed the scheduled briefings for July 17th at 11 A.M. with Under Secretary Jim Lyons and Chief of the Forest Service Mike Dombeck and for July 17 at 1 or 1:30 P.M with Secretary of Agriculture, Dan Glickman,. The Committee should meet for breakfast July 17 at 8:30 A.M. in the hotel to review their presentation.
Topics for the presentation were discussed, including using the goals from Chapter 6 as the framework for the presentation, using the graphic from Chapter 4 to illustrate the proposed planning process and describing the diversity regulation to indicate what would be done at the assessment and planning levels in the process.
Later in the afternoon on July 17, Bob Cunningham would like the Committee to brief the NFMA-regulation writing team. Bob provided an overview of the schedule for this team. They will work for three weeks, from July 6 to July 26; present their draft report to the Advisory Team, coordinated by Bob Joslin; and take one week off. The team will resume work in August, and work in conjunction with the Advisory Team to prepare a regulation and preamble for OMB review by Labor Day. The regulations are to be ready for publication by September 30, 1998.
General Comments on Committee Report
The third draft of the Committee report was put on the Web site on July 7. The Committee discussed a few editorial concerns about their report, and agreed to send any hardcopy editorial comments to Dr. Norm Johnson at his work address. Norm will send a new edited version (Draft #3a) to the Committee on the morning of July 9, so it will be available for the July 10 teleconference call.
Regulation on Ecological Sustainability
Dr. Johnson led a discussion about the proposed ecological sustainability regulation described in Chapter 3A. The concept of ecological integrity, mentioned in this chapter, should be defined and included in Chapter 2 under the general discussion of ecological sustainability. Dr. Dale suggested that sidebars be used to highlight the definition of terms like this, and the report editor needs to ensure such terms are used consistently throughout the report. Dr. Hardesty, Dr. Dale and Dr. Noon will develop a definition of ecological integrity prior to the July 15 teleconference call.
Dr. Johnson raised a concern that the report was missing a discussion about how forest plans and proposed actions should be analyzed to determine their effects on the carbon cycle. This will be added to the next draft.
Committee Discussion of Chapters 1 through 3
Dr. Johnson summarized the changes to the Introduction, including the new section on current conditions of national forests, and asked the Committee to review it by July 10.
Charles Wilkinson summarized changes to Chapter 1. There was a suggestion to explain how the Committee report integrates with the criteria and indicators of ecological sustainability developed through the Montreal process.
Dr. Larry Nielson and Dr. Margaret Shannon summarized the changes to the "Social and Eonomic Sustainability" section of Chapter 2. The chapter now emphasizes that national forests cannot be expected to provide stable levels of goods and services forever given changes in ecological conditions. Dependency language was removed from the chapter and three new goals for sustainability were added: 1) develop community leadership to join in public planning processes, 2) foster stewardship capacity to conserve the national forests, and 3) act to improve the general well-being of communities by energizing them to take action.
Dr. Shannon presented a summary of a new section in Chapter 2, "Democratic Processes for Sustainability". The Committee asked that this section include some clarification on how these concepts would be applied, highlighting the differences between old (current) and new processes. The use of advisory boards was discussed and there was a question about whether criteria can be identified to determine when these boards might be needed.
Dr. Johnson discussed some of the topics in Chapter 3, Section A, Subsection G (Develoment and Evaluation of Conservation Strategies) should be clarified to explain that guidelines for future actions would be developed as part of planning, rather than during assessments which do not involve NEPA disclosures. There was discussion about how to integrate the concepts of watershed cumulative effects, described in Chapter 3, into the ecological sustainability chapter.
A few nonCommittee participants were given some time to comment on the report. There were suggestions for the July 17 presentation to Secretary Glickman--to include the purpose of planning, the proposed planning structure, diversity requirements and the public prticipation processes. Concerns were expressed about the need for agency flexibility and time for the Forests to experiment with implementing the concepts and ambitious expectations in the Committee’s report. Another concern was expressed about the lack of a forceful requirement to ensure species viability.