Hope for NC forest hemlocks comes in shape of tiny predator

Charlotte Observer 3/29/2015
Excerpt:     “

The granddaddy trees of North Carolina’s mountains are skeletons on many slopes.  Hemlocks that might have lived for 800 years can die in as few as five, victims of tiny, sap-sucking bugs.

Gray hemlock stands pock the Great Smoky Mountains, the most-visited national park, where 80 percent of the oldest trees are dead. More than half of North Carolina’s forest hemlocks have died in the past 15 years. But there’s hope amid the devastation.

The beetle Laricobius nigrinus, a native of the Pacific Northwest known as Lari, feasts on the aphid-like insects called hemlock woolly adelgids. Lari’s proving ground is Grandfather Golf & Country Club in Linville.  …”

Read entire article at http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article16532009.html

Consecutive harsh winters hammer hemlock-killing insect

WBIR 3/6/2015
Excerpt:     “(WBIR – Great Smoky Mountains) After one of the coldest months on record in East Tennessee, many people are more than ready for some warm weather. But the especially frigid winter has been a life-saver for some of the mightiest trees in the forest.

This winter’s sub-zero temperatures in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park have devastated the once unstoppable Hemlock Woolly Adelgid. …”
Read entire article at http://www.wbir.com/story/news/2015/03/06/winter-kills-hemlock-woolly-adelgid/24534047/

As West burns, local forests get scorched of resources

Asheville Citizen Times 3/7/2015
Excerpt:     “
Months into his Forest Service career, Danny Lee stood amid a vast, charred forest in Idaho where a wildfire had consumed a quarter of a million acres, its temperatures hot to enough melt glass bottles.

“I thought I was joining the Forest Service to swim around in the creeks and look at fish,” said Lee, who came to the agency as an aquatic biologist. “Given that fire is such a dominant disturbance agent on our landscape, if you want to understand what’s happening to the trees and the forest and the fish and wildlife that inhabit it, you have to understand fire.”  ..”
Read entire article at http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2015/03/07/west-burns-local-forests-get-scorched-resources/24558327/

US Forest Service chief: Demands are rising with staff numbers falling

Helena Independent Record 3/6/2015
Excerpt:      “
The U.S. Forest Service recognizes that it must significantly increase forest restoration work to alleviate threats from wildfire and to improve forest and watershed health, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell said.

Tidwell spoke at the regional conference of district rangers in Helena on Thursday. He then sat down with the Independent Record to discuss challenges and potential solutions for an agency that has seen funding for many programs drop while needs have continued to climb.  …
Read entire article at http://helenair.com/news/local/us-forest-service-chief-demands-are-rising-with-staff-numbers/article_1d787484-4899-58e4-a0e6-b066dc2c4080.html

Wyoming Legislature would terminate bighorn sheep herd in reprisal for Forest Service protection

Wildlife News Blog 3/5/2015
““We’re basically playing chicken with the feds. It’s basically more like extortion, . . .”
Rep. Dan Zwonitzer (R-Cheyenne)-
This session of the Wyoming legislature has been one to nurse grudges when it comes to livestock and efforts to curb its harmful side effects. …
Now it is close to passing legislation that would terminate a bighorn sheep herd about 60 miles SSE  of Jackson if the Forest Service reduces domestic sheep grazing on the Bridger-Teton National Forest, or if a court orders the Forest Service to reduce grazing. ”
Read entire article at http://www.thewildlifenews.com/2015/03/05/wyoming-legislature-would-terminate-bighorn-sheep-herd-in-reprisal-for-forest-service-protection/

U.S. Forest Service Chief Lays Out Strategy, Agency Priorities in Senate Testimony

Sierra Sun Times 2/27/2015
Excerpt:     “
February 26, 2015 – WASHINGTON – In testimony today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell cited five focus areas for the President’s proposed $4.9 billion Fiscal Year 2016 budget for the agency: restoring resilient landscapes, building thriving communities, managing wildland fires, promoting safety, and building diversity and inclusiveness.

“This budget will enable us to more effectively reduce fire risk, manage landscapes more holistically, and increase the resiliency of the Nation’s forests and grasslands as well as the communities that border them,” said Tidwell.  …”
Read entire article at http://goldrushcam.com/sierrasuntimes/index.php/news/local-news/2440-u-s-forest-service-chief-lays-out-strategy-agency-priorities-in-senate-testimony

Timber industry, conservationists forge partnership

Associated Press 3/1/2015
Excerpt:     “
JOHN DAY, Ore. – Logs are piled high in the yard of the Malheur Lumber Co. mill in this small town in northeastern Oregon, ready to be sawed into lumber. Steam pours out of the stacks. Trucks loaded with logs roll in.

John Day, a town of 1,700, almost died two years ago. Its lifeblood, the sawmill, was about to close. So few logs were coming off the nearby Malheur National Forest, the mill’s owners decided it was time to shut down.

But the mill and the town’s economy were rescued by a detente between the timber industry and environmentalists – foes since the battles over logging that erupted three decades ago in the Pacific Northwest. The sides uncovered a shared goal: thinning overgrown forests to prevent catastrophic wildfires.  …..”
Read entire article at http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/business/timber-industry-conservationists-forge-partnership-2805309

Tester lawsuit gaffe reveals real frustration with logging litigation

Missoulian 3/1/2015
Excerpt:     “
Anyone who’s worked a fire lookout knows it’s tough to tell a wisp of morning fog from the smoke of a fresh lightning strike.

Not to excuse last week’s “four Pinocchios” gaff Sen. Jon Tester made regarding timber lawsuits, but it’s really hard to figure out just what the U.S. Forest Service is up to.

And Tester’s misstatements about problems with national forest management may reveal a hotter issue: Congress’ fixation on changing the way people can challenge the agency in court.  ….”
Read entire article at http://missoulian.com/news/local/tester-lawsuit-gaffe-reveals-real-frustration-with-logging-litigation/article_cbcf3abe-21d1-5144-9e52-1084f0baf972.html



Peer Press Release 2/24/2015
Excerpt:       “
Washington, DC —While proposing a larger agency budget for the upcoming fiscal year, the U.S. Forest Service plans to decommission 133 law enforcement positions, according to documents posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Forest Service law enforcement officers say that this overall one-sixth (16%) force reduction coming on top of an earlier 15% funding cut will mean major cutbacks in security coverage for visitors, staff and the forests themselves.   …”
Read entire article at http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2015/02/24/forest-service-hatchets-law-enforcement/

Hunting dogs exempt from NC dangerous dog law

Asheville Citizen Times 10/22/2014
Excerpt:     “
ROBBINSVILLE – Bear hunting dogs involved in a prolonged attack that injured a camper and her two dogs in Graham County don’t fall under the state’s dangerous dog law, making the owners exempt from criminal prosecution.

Under North Carolina law, dogs “being used in a lawful hunt” are exempt from dangerous dog rules that otherwise require owners to take steps to prevent their animal from harming a person or another animal.   ….”
Read entire article at http://www.citizen-times.com/story/news/local/2014/10/22/hunting-dogs-exempt-nc-dangerous-dog-law/17723129/