[env-trinity] Sacramento Bee June 12 09
bwl3 at comcast.net
Fri Jun 12 18:57:01 PDT 2009
Sacramento meeting to kick off overhaul of federal forests plan
By Matt Weiser
A major overhaul of the federal government's plans to manage forest lands in
California is likely to affect recreation, logging and habitat for a
generation to come.
Yet the process is freighted with legal conflict and shifting political
winds stretching back to the Reagan administration.
The forest-plan makeover kicks off at a public meeting in Sacramento July 1,
at which the U.S. Forest Service will launch a three-year process to revise
the management plans for 14 national forests. All federal timberland from
the Sequoia National Forest north to the Oregon border is involved.
Four forests in Southern California are not affected because their plans
were updated in 2005.
"It's just important for people to understand that we're inviting them in at
all phases," said Ron Pugh, acting deputy planning director for the Forest
Service Pacific Southwest region.
The plans are supposed to be updated every 15 years, but many are overdue,
Pugh said. Like a city's general plan, they serve as policy guidance for all
activities in each forest, from camping and other recreation to habitat
restoration, stream management and logging practices.
The process begins at the regional level, and then shifts to each forest as
details are refined.
Changes to the National Forest Management Act in 2008 require the Forest
Service to adopt a more collaborative approach to public involvement.
But other changes prompted legal action by environmental groups.
Greg Loarie, an attorney at the nonprofit law firm Earthjustice, said the
Bush administration changed the law in 2001, removing a Reagan-era
requirement for each forest plan to be vetted by an environmental impact
This change, he said, eliminated requirements for each forest to meet clear
targets to improve habitat and water quality, for example. A federal lawsuit
is under way on this issue, and Loarie said it might not make sense to
revise plans while this conflict exists.
The July 1 meeting is from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the McClellan Wildland Fire
Training Center, 3237 Peacekeeper Way, at the former McClellan Air Force
Base. Attendees should register in advance by contacting Martha Maciel at
(916) 930-3994 or mmaciel at fs.fed.us
Byron Leydecker, JcT
Chair, Friends of Trinity River
PO Box 2327
Mill Valley, CA 94942-2327
415 383 4810 land
415 519 4810 cell
<mailto:bwl3 at comcast.net> bwl3 at comcast.net
<mailto:bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org> bleydecker at stanfordalumni.org
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