Effort to establish blight-free American chestnut tree switches gears

Penn State Live; 1/27/2012
Excerpt:   “
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The three-decades-old initiative to restore American chestnut trees back into forests in the eastern United States has entered a new phase, according to an expert in Penn State’s College of Agricultural Sciences.
The primary focus of the project has transitioned from cross-breeding to testing and reintroduction into forests, noted Sara Fitzsimmons, northcentral region science coordinator for the American Chestnut Foundation and a research support technologist in Penn State’s School of Forest Resources……”
Read entire story at http://live.psu.edu/story/57440

Editorial: Forest blueprint is a balancing act

Denver Post; 1/28/2012
Excerpt:   “
The management plan is the product of significant collaboration. We hope it stands the test of time.
The Obama administration’s proposed blueprint for management of the nation’s 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands is a much-needed update that provides a sound guide for public land use and protection.
This broadly written document offers strong safeguards for the nation’s drinking water, about 20 percent of which comes from national forest lands, while allowing for recreational and commercial uses.
It’s a balancing act, to be sure, but one crafted with significant input from a variety of interested parties…….
Read entire editorial at  http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_19838057

How to Manage U.S. Forests, Version 3.1

New York Times; 1/27/2012
Excerpt:     “
In the high-tech world, new versions of programs are released to fix new bugs. In the federal regulatory world, new versions of management blueprints are released to address legal problems. Each is generally judged by a simple metric: did the fixes work, or will they have to be redone? By that standard, efforts to update a land management planning rule for the National Forest System have not exactly been a success.
The Bush Administration’s attempt to overhaul it were rejected by a federal judge who said it did not provide adequate safeguards for flora and fauna. When the Obama administration unveiled its first attempt at adjusting the rule 11 months ago, environmentalists criticized it as weak in terms of protecting water purity and biodiversity. So on Thursday, the administration released “a new version……”
Read entire article at  http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/27/how-to-manage-u-s-forests-version-3-1/?scp=1&sq=forest%20planning%20rule&st=cse

Obama administration releases new national forest management rules

Missoulian; 1/27/2012
Excerpt:   “
A proposed planning rule for managing national forests puts new emphasis on watershed health and recreation, but also strives to keep loggers in the woods, U.S. Forest Service officials said Thursday.
The national rule will guide local forest supervisors when they make their more specific forest management plans. Those plans govern where trees can be cut, the kinds of wildlife to watch out for, activities allowed in campgrounds and the backcountry, and how people can challenge forest decisions……
Read entire story at http://missoulian.com/news/local/obama-administration-releases-new-national-forest-management-rules/article_b1ad3ad6-4855-11e1-8b93-0019bb2963f4.html

Lawmaker: In face of fire threat, state, counties deserve sovereignty over forests

KTAR (Cronkite news) 1/27/2012
Excerpt:   “
PHOENIX – Facing devastating wildfires and inaction by the federal government, Arizona should declare its sovereignty and take control of its national forests, a state lawmaker contends.
“We have the constitutional right to exercise our police powers in the sovereign state in an emergency situation for the welfare and the public safety of our people,” said Sen. Sylvia Allen, R-Snowflake.
On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Border Security, Federalism and States Sovereignty, which Allen chairs, endorsed a resolution and a bill that she said would help prevent disasters like last year’s Wallow Fire…….”
Read entire article at   http://ktar.com/6/1493809/Lawmaker-In-face-of-fire-threat-state-counties-deserve-sovereignty-over-forests

Arizona: Forest Service grazing plan deemed illegal

Summit County Citizens Voice; 1/27/2012
Excerpt:   “
SUMMIT COUNTY — As so many times before, a federal court has overturned a U.S. Forest Service grazing permit because federal land managers violated the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
The court ruling at least temporarily blocks cattle grazing on 42,000 acres in the Fossil Creek watershed on the Coconino National Forest in central Arizona. The drainage is a stronghold for threatened Chiricahua leopard frogs. Download a copy of the ruling here……..”
Read entire article here  http://summitcountyvoice.com/2012/01/27/arizona-forest-service-grazing-plan-deemed-illegal/

Obama’s New Forest Planning Rule Fails to Satisfy Conservationists

Environmental News Service; 1/26/2012
Excerpt:   “WASHINGTON, DC, January 26, 2012 (ENS) – The Obama administration today proposed a new forest planning rule that will guide the management of 155 forests, 20 grasslands and one prairie in the National Forest System.
The rule provides the framework for U.S. Forest Service land management plans. Once approved, the final rule will update planning procedures that have been in place since 1982, creating a planning process that the the Forest Service says reflects the latest science and knowledge of how to create and implement effective land management plans.
But, although plans would be required to provide habitat for plant and animal diversity and species conservation, several conservation groups say the new rule weakens protections for wildlife on national forests……”
Read entire article at  http://www.ens-newswire.com/ens/jan2012/2012-01-26-091.html

Obama administration issues major rewrite of national forest rules

Washington Post; 1/26/2012
Excerpt:  “
The Obama administration finalized a rule Thursday governing the management of 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands, establishing a new blueprint to guide everything from logging to recreation and renewable energy development.
The guidelines — which will take effect in early March and apply to all 155 national forests, 20 grasslands and one prairie — represent the first meaningful overhaul of forest rules in 30 years. The George W. Bush administration had issued a management-planning rule for national forests in 2008, but a federal court struck it down the next year on the grounds that it did not provide adequate protection for plants and wildlife……”
Read entire story at http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/administration-issues-major-rewrite-of-forest-rules/2012/01/26/gIQAnquvTQ_story.html

Feds back off stream poisoning plan

Reno Gazette Journal; 1/26/2012
Excerpt:   “
Federal attorneys withdrew a challenge to a judge’s ruling against plans to restore one of America’s rarest trout by poisoning a remote Sierra stream, a move conservationists are calling a victory but which federal officials characterize as but another development in a lengthy dispute over a project they still intend to pursue.
On Monday, federal attorneys filed a motion for “voluntary dismissal of appeal” in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the case pitting a coalition of conservation groups against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Forest Service over plans to poison Silver King Creek south of Lake Tahoe…….”
Read entire article at  http://www.rgj.com/article/20120125/NEWS/301250044/Feds-back-off-stream-poisoning-plan

Timber industry files lawsuit against murrelet designation

Oregon Natural Resources Report; 1/26/2012
Excerpt:   “
The American Forest Resource Council (AFRC) brought suit against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) claiming the agency violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) when it designated millions of acres of forest land in Washington, Oregon and California as critical habitat for the marbled murrelet.
“There is nothing straight forward in how the FWS requires federal forest managers to deal with this bird,” said Tom Partin, President of AFRC. “Because humans almost never see the bird, the FWS seems to think it can throw a net over millions of acres of federal timber land that not only aren’t being used by the bird, but don’t even have the characteristics it is looking for when it flies inland to lay its eggs. Someone has to speak up about this violation of the limits of the ESA.”….”
Read entire article at http://naturalresourcereport.com/2012/01/timber-industry-files-lawsuit-against-murrelet-designation/