Monday, February 09, 2009

Alliance with feds proposed

From the Daily Inter Lake:

A plan to coordinate natural-resource planning between Flathead County and the U.S. Forest Service and ultimately make forest management more efficient was unveiled this week by the county's Natural Resource Committee. Committee members outlined operating protocols, a draft memorandum of understanding and a proposed letter that would be sent to Flathead National Forest Supervisor Cathy Barbouletos once the plan is adopted by the county. National forest land accounts for more than half the acreage of Flathead County and it's imperative, committee chairman Fred Hodgeboom said, for the county to promote increased active management on national forest land that will provide long-term sustainable revenue to the federal treasury and Flathead County. The committee cited several detrimental effects from the county's proximity to federal forest land, including increased catastrophic wildfires and exposure to unhealthy smoke levels; damage to watersheds, riparian zones, fisheries and water quality due to increased nutrients from smoke and soil erosion; wildlife losses; spiraling firefighting costs; and loss of income to county businesses from depreciated and ruined timber. A process for federal and local government coordination is outlined in numerous federal laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act, the committee noted. The letter to Barbouletos would formally "invoke" that under-utilized coordination process in those laws...

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