2014 Farm Bill expands aid for forest health

Durango Herald 2/8/2014
Excerpt:      “
The Agricultural Act of 2014, or Farm Bill, that President Barack Obama signed into law Friday at Michigan State University is a five-year plan that provides more than $100 billion a year in federal funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture projects, including those done by the Forest Service.

Two of the measures introduced by Bennet, D-Colo., permanently reauthorize and expand programs previously in place in Colorado: state and private partnerships with the Forest Service.   …”
Read entire article at http://durangoherald.com/article/20140208/NEWS01/140209594/-1/s/2014-Farm-Bill-expands-aid-for-forest-health-

Government to spend $30M on forest restoration

Associated Press 2/9/2014
Excerpt:       “
HELENA, Mont. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend $30 million this year on forest restoration projects in 12 states to reduce the threat of wildfires, protect water quality and improve wildlife habitat for at-risk species.

Those first 13 projects will be the start of a multi-year initiative to improve the health of forests and watersheds on public and private lands, Agriculture Undersecretary Robert Bonnie said Thursday.  …”
Read entire article at http://www.timesnews.net/article/9073049/government-to-spend-30m-on-forest-restoration

House backs bill to speed logging of burned trees

Great Falls Tribune 2/6/2014
Excerpt:      “
WASHINGTON — The House approved a wide-ranging public lands bill Thursday that would speed logging of trees burned in last year’s massive Rim Fire in California.The measure also allows vehicular access to North Carolina’s Cape Hatteras National Seashore, extends livestock grazing permits on federal land in the West and lifts longstanding restrictions on canoes, rafts and other “hand-propelled” watercraft in Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks.  ….”
Read entire article at http://www.greatfallstribune.com/viewart/20140206/NEWS01/302060021/House-backs-bill-speed-logging-burned-trees

Idaho godsend: Farm bill boosts forest restoration

Idaho Statesman 2/5/2014
Excerpt:        “
Provisions that will allow the Forest Service to expand logging, thinning and other work supported by collaborative groups in Idaho were included in Tuesday’s sweeping measure.

The bill’s forestry segments brought praise from landowners, loggers and The Wilderness Society, a group seeking additional forest preservation. The projects offer the promise of jobs and healthier forests that are less susceptible to catastrophic fires…..”
Read entire article at http://www.idahostatesman.com/2014/02/05/3009517/idaho-godsend-farm-bill-boosts.html

Emails show confusion over timber payments, sequestration

Bend Bulletin 1/15/2014
Excerpt:        “
WASHINGTON — Although U.S. Forest Service and Department of Agriculture officials initially decided the mandatory cuts of sequestration would not apply to 2012 timber payments, the White House’s Office of Management and Budget later changed its determination after $323 million in payments had been dispersed, according to emails released Tuesday by the House Natural Resources Committee.

In a hearing Tuesday, the committee heard testimony and presented a report showing the confusion faced by federal agencies surrounding mandatory spending cuts called sequestration that went into effect on March 1, 2013.  ….”
Read entire article at http://www.bendbulletin.com/localstate/1685598-151/emails-show-confusion-over-timber-payments-sequestration#

Parts of Courthouse Creek spared logging

Asheville Citizen Times 12/16/2013
Excerpt:       “
WAYNESVILLE — Environmentalists reached a compromise with the government on Monday that will spare some of the most sensitive areas of Courthouse Creek from logging.   The agreement with the U.S. Forest Service means 54 acres of mostly high elevation trees in the Pisgah Ridge National Heritage Area are off the table.

The entire project, which the forest service has said is necessary for habitat improvement and forest health, will now included 368 acres in a bowl-shaped zone in the Pisgah National Forest visible from the Blue Ridge Parkway and Devil’s Courthouse.  ….”
Read entire article at http://www.citizen-times.com/article/20131216/NEWS/312160045/Parts-Courthouse-Creek-spared-logging

Collaboration conundrum Wilderness advocates sharply divided on ‘consensus’ proposals

Great Falls Tribune 12/15/2013
Excerpt:           “
At a June 8, 1997, gathering in Kalispell, former U.S. Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas foretold a vision of the future for national forest management in Montana.According to a newspaper account of Thomas’ address to the Montana Logging Association, President Bill Clinton’s former forest chief predicted a “golden decade of conservation” in which environmental groups and timber interests would work side by side to reach “consensus” on the future of management of federal forest land.  ….”
Read entire article (lengthy) at http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013312140020&nclick_check=1

Scientists Oppose Logging Bills in Congress

Associated Press 11/3/2013
Excerpt:      “
RENO, Nev. — More than 200 biologists, ecologists and other scientists are urging Congress to defeat legislation they say would destroy critical wildlife habitat by setting aside U.S. environmental laws to speed logging of burned trees at Yosemite National Park and other national forests and wilderness areas across the West.

The experts say two measures pushed by pro-logging interests ignore a growing scientific consensus that the burned landscape plays a critical role in forest regeneration and is home to many birds, bats and other species found nowhere else.   …”
Read entire article at http://www.flatheadbeacon.com/articles/article/scientists_oppose_logging_bills_in_congress/36344/

Forests: Does salvage logging in beetle-killed forests make economic sense for the Forest Service?

Summit County Voice 10/22/2013
Excerpt:       “FRISCO — A new Forest Service study confirms the conventional wisdom that, under current market conditions, salvage of beetle-killed timber in Colorado is not good for the agency’s bottom line.


The researchers evaluated potential potential revenues from harvesting standing timber killed by mountain pine beetle across the western United States. Positive net revenues are possible in regions with strong timber markets, including along the West Coast and in the northern Rockies.  The central Rocky Mountain states of Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming — which have the largest volume of standing dead timber — would not generate positive net revenues by salvaging beetle-killed timber, the study concluded.  ….”
Read entire article and find link to research report at http://summitcountyvoice.com/2013/10/22/forests-does-salvage-logging-in-beetle-killed-forests-make-economic-sense-for-the-forest-service/

New forest-restoration contract, same old problems

Arizona Republic Editorial 9/22/2013
Excerpt:     “
A new day is dawning for the nation’s most ambitious forest-restoration project.  Will it be as dismal, overcast and unproductive as all the previous days of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative? Despite ample reason for skepticism, we remain hopeful.

The U.S. Forest Service recently announced that after a two-month review, it has agreed to transfer the contract of a company hired to thin 300,000 forested acres in Arizona over 10 years. After nearly a year and a half on the job, the original contractor had thinned barely 1,000 acres and failed to secure financing to build a sawmill for its products.  …”
Read entire editorial at http://www.azcentral.com/opinions/articles/20130917forest-plan-needs-smarts-speed.html