Tuesday, September 30, 2003


Editorial: Hope for healthy forests While wildfires have been consuming large swaths of the West, a bipartisan group of senators have been consumed with finding a way to reduce the risk of such fires through an agreement on the president's Healthy Forests Initiative. The deal has not been set because a few details still need to be settled. However, the senators appear to have done so, following a long series of negotiations that began after the Senate Agriculture Committee passed the bill in July...The basic agreement is apparently based on trading greater protection for some forest acres in return for expediting the thinning of others. It provides the first-ever statutory protection for old growth trees, rather than the protections they have had by regulatory interpretation and presidential directive... Studies favor keeping Forest Service jobs in-house A first round of "competitive sourcing" studies has concluded that several types of maintenance jobs in the Forest Service should continue to be done by federal employees, the agency announced Tuesday...Column: Burn the Forest for the Trees The war in the woods has become the fight over the fire line. Before, timber interests, federal officials, and environmental advocates fought over which trees to cut. Now they fight over which fires to suppress, which forests to try to make "fire safe," and - it all comes around - which trees to cut, ostensibly to make sure they don't burn. That fight has become the latest flashpoint environmental issue as the Bush administration strives, under the rubric of "healthy forest" preservation, to undo a Clinton forest plan that drastically reduced cutting on federal land, where most of the remaining old growth is, and to undo three decades of environmental rules...Acting district ranger no stranger to Glenwood Jacque Buchanan is the current acting Glenwood District Ranger, replacing Larry Raley, who recently transferred to the Santa Catalina ranger district in Arizona. Buchanan is in her first days of a 120-day detail that started Sept. 21, but she is not new to the Glenwood Ranger District... Environmentalists sue over logging near Northern California wilderness An environmental group sued the U.S. Forest Service Tuesday over logging plans in a remote area of the Mendocino National Forest, saying the planned timber cut illustrates problems with the Bush administration's Healthy Forests initiative...Agreements give protection to rare frog in Nevada State, federal and local governments joined conservation groups on Tuesday in pledging to work together to save a rare, spotted frog from extinction in Nevada. The unlikely coalition agreed to a 10-year plan to monitor the Great Basin and Toiyabe subpopulations of the Columbia spotted frog and develop plans to ensure its survival...Group looking to protect springs in Burro Mountains Protection of springs and wetlands in the Burro Mountains, and limits on off-road-vehicle use, are the goals of a project sponsored by the Upper Gila Watershed Alliance...Quicksand found in recreation spot Forest officials put out about a dozen signs at Sabino Canyon warning visitors about quicksand accumulating on the side of the bridges along a creek. The quicksand can be traced to this summer's Aspen fire, which charred 85,000 acres on Mount Lemmon and destroyed more than 300 homes, cabins, and businesses...Group: Old-growth forest neglected An environmental group here says the U.S. Forest Service is intentionally neglecting old-growth forests and the wildlife that lives in those areas. The Ecology Center, which has been embroiled in a lawsuit with the federal agency over logging in northwestern Montana, said it has compiled a report on forest management in Montana and northern Idaho... Environmentalists call for protection of Black Hills snail A species of snail in the Black Hills National Forest of southwest South Dakota and northeast Wyoming should be protected under the Endangered Species Act, environmental groups said...Forest service leads Agenda 2020 western forestry research A partnership among industry, government, and the forest products industry is working to help the United States reduce its dependency on fossil fuels, increase carbon sequestration, and help promote sustainable development of global economic competitiveness in rural communities. In 1994, forest products industry leaders created a vision of the industry in 2020 and called it Agenda 2020. A collaborative research partnership also was formed by the Department of Energy and the American Forest and Paper Association to make the vision a reality. The Forest Service joined the partnership in 1999...Mother Nature messing with spawning ritual It's probably the warm temperatures keeping the kokanee salmon from making their yearly exodus from Lake Tahoe to Taylor Creek to spawn. Or it could be a bum year in the salmon cycle, said Jeff Reiner, an aquatic biologist at the U.S. Forest Service. But the 14th Annual Kokanee Salmon Festival will happen this weekend whether or not fish show up...Wasatch officials slam Forest Service When Forest Service officials attempted to calm Heber Valley residents last week by apologizing for the "inconvenience" of an intentional burn that exploded into a wildfire, some citizens felt it was exactly the wrong tack. The Cascade II fire that spread from a planned 600 acres to 8,000 acres before it was fully contained Monday night blanketed three counties in smoke and resurrected Heber Valley residents' memories of a 1990 conflagration when a Wasatch Mountain wildfire overran two volunteer firemen and destroyed homes... BLM standoff divides Kanab This town's fight over management of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is creating tension between those who say the issue has made Kanab a laughingstock and those who say the federal government is meddling. Kane and Garfield counties and monument officials have been at odds over grazing and road issues in the nearly 2 million-acre southern Utah monument since it was created by former President Clinton in 1996...Editorial: Forest invasion A silent but deadly invasion is underway, creating one of the gravest threats our national forests and other public lands have ever faced. Humans have introduced, deliberately or accidentally, new species against which natural ecosystems have no defense. Invaders include noxious weeds, foreign insects, contagious tree diseases, predators from other countries and even domestic animals gone wild...Endangered Species Act anniversary brings focus to conference In recognition of its 30th anniversary, the Endangered Species Act will take center stage at this year's Public Land and Resources Law Conference. Presentations Thursday and Friday at the University of Montana will examine the ecological, economic, legal, political and social consequences of the act over three decades of implementation in the West...Hunter mistakenly kills griz in Flathead A bowhunter shot a grizzly bear south of Kalispell last week, mistaking the animal for a black bear...Judge rejects dismissal of environmentalists' lawsuit A federal judge ordered the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday to propose critical habitat for the endangered willow flycatcher within a year. U.S. District Judge C. LeRoy Hansen rejected the government's motion to dismiss the case, filed by the Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity in March 2002...Hillary Clinton Says Bush Is Reversing Essential Regulations Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) accused the Bush administration of attempting to "undo the 20th century" by rolling back federal environmental regulations that she believes are essential for a healthy planet. Speaking at the League of Conservation Voters dinner in Washington, D.C., on Monday night, Sen. Clinton told a crowd of about 550 environmental activists that the Bush administration is determined to reverse more than just environmental regulations...Report finds strengths, weaknesses in Fish and Wildlife Service's endangered species program Congressional investigators generally approve of the way the Fish and Wildlife Service is putting science into its endangered species program but say improvement is needed in decisions to protect habitats needed for species to recover...Some areas losing wilderness status New guidelines issued Monday by the Bush administration could allow oil and gas companies and off-road vehicles on federal lands that had been off-limits to protect their natural qualities. The policy directives implement an agreement Interior Secretary Gale Norton struck with Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt in April to resolve a lawsuit the state filed against the department...New natural gas reports urge more access Environmentalists Tuesday challenged the validity of new reports urging greater access for the energy industry to public lands in the Rocky Mountains. The Wilderness Society and other green organizations told reporters they had objections to the methodology used to come up with the amount of natural gas the National Petroleum Council and other "industry representative" groups say is locked up by environmental restrictions...Rehberg pursues Breaks bill Montana Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg on Tuesday renewed his effort to pass legislation removing private property from the Missouri River Breaks National Monument. "The federal government's decision to include more than 80,000 acres of private land in the Monument's boundary sends one clear and unmistakable message to the families involved: Washington wants your land,'' Rehberg said...Ranchers forced to shoot hundreds of cattle Some Canadian ranchers are finding it cheaper to shoot their animals, or send them to slaughter at cut rates, than having to feed them during the winter while hoping for a rebound on prices ravaged by mad-cow disease...Disease destroys elk ranch Judith Harrington is giving up on her dream of raising elk in Colorado and moving back East. The reason is chronic wasting disease. She can't sell her animals because several states ban elk from Colorado. She is looking for people to shoot the animals for meat: $500 for a cow and $1,000 and up for a bull...

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