Tree Frog Forestry News

Region Archives: US West

Business & Politics

Small fire breaks out at Columbia Forest Products

The Herald and News
May 7, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Although a small fire broke out at the Columbia Forest Products plant late Friday morning, no one was injured and plant operations have not ceased, the company said Monday. The fire started about 11:30 Friday morning and black smoke could be observed from the site, off Highway 97 just south of Klamath Falls. Plant Manager Randy Marsh said in a statement, “The company’s frontline suppression efforts were successful.” “Local fire departments were called in and verified that the fire was under control,” Marsh said. “No employees were injured and no operations were curtailed.” “The company appreciates the community concern over seeing an abnormal amount of smoke. But everyone in the facility is safe and busy.” The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Clearwater Paper Co. posts profit

By Elaine Williams
The Lewiston Tribune
May 2, 2019
Category: Business & Politics
Region: United States, US West

Clearwater Paper’s financial performance has rebounded, with the company earning money early this year after losing $144 million in 2018. The paperboard and tissue manufacturer, which is one of Lewiston’s largest employers, made a combined $3.8 million for the months of January, February and March, according to results reported Wednesday. “Both the paperboard and consumer businesses executed well and delivered solid results in the first quarter,” said company President and CEO Linda Massman.

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Wood, Paper & Green Building

Innovation to help builders do more with less

By Josh Kulla
The Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon
May 7, 2019
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US West

With the ongoing shortage of skilled labor showing little signs of abatement, contractors are eagerly seeking ways to increase efficiency. This is one reason why the use of panelized wood-framed wall systems and other methods of prefabrication are gaining popularity. …“There is a lot of automation and digitization of building information with BIM, so that’s a factor,” said Mike Steffen, director of innovation for Walsh Construction. “But the big factor that’s leading to its use now is the shortage of labor.”…One of the advantages of prefabrication is the reduction in the amount of on-site work required. By using three-dimensional digital models based on engineering and design documents, virtually any part of a project can then be shared with trade partners; then those aspects where prefabrication makes financial and practical sense can be tackled.

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Forestry

Attorney: Tongass old-growth logging “plain violation” of environmental law

By Grant Robinson
KTUU
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – The U.S. Forest Service now faces a lawsuit from eight environmental non-profits claiming the agency failed to follow federal regulations in creating its environmental impact statement for a project that includes old-growth logging on Prince of Wales Island. In March, Tongass National Forest Supervisor Earl Stewart signed a record of decision on the Prince of Wales Landscape Level Analysis project. …The suit claims the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the National Forest Management Act. …Tom Waldo, staff attorney with Earthjustice said, “this is a brazen attempt by the forest service to rewrite the rules for timber sales.”

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Stiff opposition from Maine timber to ban on aerial spray

By Patrick Whittle
Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
May 16, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Members of the Maine timber industry are pushing back at a proposal to prohibit aerial spraying of herbicides in the state’s forests. Herbicides are substances that destroy unwanted vegetation. They are used widely in agriculture, forestry and other industries. A bill proposed by Democratic Senate President Troy Jackson stated that it would ban the use of “aerial herbicide spraying for the purpose of deforestation.” Jackson’s proposal was scheduled Thursday to come before a legislative committee on agriculture, conservation and forestry. Several members of the timber industry have said the bill’s definition is far too broad, and enacting the proposal would take a valuable tool away from companies that harvest trees from Maine’s vast forests.

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Don’t revive logging in national forests

By Adam Kolton, executive director, Alaska Wilderness League
The Hill
May 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Nearly two and a half years ago, the U.S. Forest Service finalized an updated management plan for America’s largest national forest, the Tongass in Southeast Alaska. This plan recognized the importance of conservation in the Tongass by identifying high-value salmon watersheds, inventoried roadless areas and other conservation lands where logging should not occur. …Between then and now, however, Alaska state officials and the Alaska congressional delegation have attempted to force on local communities and the region’s economies something they don’t want or need: a revival of large-scale clear-cutting and an attempt to resurrect an industry that supports less than 1 percent of the region’s economy. …If Congress is willing to look long term, keeping the roadless rule in place will help maintain the health of our forests and the communities and wildlife that depend on them.

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Strong support for responsible resource development in Southeast Alaska

By Jim Clark, formerly chief of staff to former Gov. Frank Murkowski
Juneau Empire
May 15, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Jim Clark

The theme of Southeast Alaska Conservation Council Executive Director Meredith Trainor’s recent My Turn is “there is no clamor for expanded logging and logging roads in Southeast; there are just a few outsized voices with access and influence, chasing after an outdated dream.” There are two recent events by which the accuracy of that claim can be measured. First, in 2014, SEACC and other environmental groups sued to enjoin the Big Thorne timber sale, which was intended to maintain the last remaining medium-sized sawmill on Prince of Wales Island. …Second, over the last few weeks, Alaska’s congressional delegation and Gov. Mike Dunleavy met or spoke with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to request that the Department of Agriculture reinstate its 2003 total exemption of the Tongass National Forest from the 2001 Roadless Rule. 

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New Mexico Forest Restoration Faces Challenge

By Susan Montoya Bryan
The Associated Press in US News
May 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A proposed effort to restore a wide swath of national forest land in southern New Mexico over the next decade or two is drawing fire from environmentalists who say the U.S. government needs to do more to determine the effects on endangered species and the land. The project would cover more than 218 square miles in the Sacramento Mountains. With a combination of prescribed fire, thinning and herbicides, forest officials want to create healthier stands of trees and reduce the threat of wildfire. …Foresters responsible for the Sacramento Mountains in their planning documents pointed to an overall decline in forest health in the area, evidenced by high tree mortality and increased risk for what they call uncharacteristic wildfire. They put most of the blame on insects and disease — the effects of which are exacerbated in times of drought.

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Crucial forest restoration effort hits the reset button – again

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
May 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Jeremy Kruger

Back into the breech, dear friends. The most ambitious, problematic, disappointing, hopeful forest restoration effort in human history has just hit the reset button.Again. It would be almost funny if the long-term survival of the forests of northern Arizona and every community in that forest didn’t hang in the balance. Newly appointed head of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative (4FRI) Jeremy Kruger struck an optimistic note about the future of a forest thinning and restoration project that remains nearly a decade behind schedule at a recent meeting in Phoenix focused on the restoration of native trout in the Southwest. “We’re very optimistic,” he said. “Nobody wants to see 4FRI fail. Everyone wants to see this effort succeed. It’s been going on for a decade and will continue for many more years.”

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America’s roadless rules are not protecting public wildlands from development

By Brett Haverstick, director of education/outreach, Friends of the Clearwater
The Missoulian
May 14, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Brett Haverstick

Four percent of the nation’s forested public wildlands remain undeveloped today. These landscapes are either designated wilderness or lands that qualify for designation. Many lands not protected as wilderness are called roadless areas. There are approximately 60 million acres of unprotected roadless lands on our national forests. They provide crucial fish and wildlife habitat and support some of the richest biodiversity in our country. …Friends of the Clearwater, a forest watch group in Moscow, Idaho, just published a well-researched report titled “The Roadless Report: Analyzing the Impacts of Two Roadless Rules on Forested Wildlands.” According to the agency’s own preliminary data, the U.s. Forest Service has authorized the development of 40,000-50,000 acres of roadless wildlands in Idaho and Montana combined. 

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Why prescribed burns are so important to Southern Arizona

KOLD News 13
May 13, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

TUCSON, AZ – Have you ever wondered why fires are intentionally prescribed to certain areas throughout Southern Arizona year after year? Prescribed fires are intentionally set by trained fire managers under predetermined environmental conditions to meet a wide variety of park management objectives including reducing the risks of unnaturally heavy fuel buildup, the potential for destructive wildfires, and the potential loss of life and property; and to perpetuate species that require the presence of fire for survival. Much like a doctor would provide a planned course of action for a sick patient, the fire managers prescribe a specific treatment to maintain a healthy ecosystem. …A burn prescription helps ensure that the objectives of the burn are met, as well as addressing safety issues. …The burn prescription determines the environmental conditions necessary for meeting resource objectives in a safe, effective manner. T

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Tale of two wildfire bills

By Kaylee Tornay
The Mail Tribune
May 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Jeff Merkley, Greg Walden

Oregon’s elected officials in Congress aren’t waiting for fire season to put heat on their colleagues to address recurring smoky summers in the West. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Hood River, and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat, are both pushing forest management legislation that they say will help mitigate wildfires and the smoke that repeatedly hits Southern Oregon especially hard. Both bills seek to bolster thinning and hazardous fuels reduction, but their focuses differ. While Merkley’s bill addresses federal collaborative programs and would funnel more money to counties based on forest thinning contract receipts, Walden’s bill takes aim at environmental review processes that he says slow down thinning work and looks to expand salvage logging.

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Group disappointed after bill eliminates logging conservation licenses

By Larisa Casillas
NBC Montana
May 12, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Some 400 acres of trees on the Gallatin Front near Bozeman were the target of a logging project, but they will be able to stand tall for the next 25 years. It was made possible through a conservation license. A group of neighboring citizens stopped the Limestone West logging project, outbidding the highest bidder. “I would agree that management of forests can create forest health, but I also believe that there are special places that should be protected and kept roadless, and this Limestone West area is the last roadless area in the Gallatin Front,” said Ron Matelich, who sits on the board of Save Our Gallatin Front — the Bozeman group that paid for the license. But they’ll be the last group to do so. That’s because a Montana House bill aimed at stopping conservation licenses like it made its way to the governor’s desk.

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Oregon Becomes 1st State To Sharply Restrict Herbicide Linked To Tree Deaths

By Emily Cureton
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon is the first state in the nation to sharply restrict an herbicide known to kill trees, despite federal regulations still allowing the substance as roadside weed control. The product, known as Perspective, was effectively banned this week from wooded areas in Oregon. “This certainly could set a precedent; other states would have to look at their authority to regulate the use beyond the federal requirements,” said Dale Mitchell of the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s pesticide program. States are required to enforce federal pesticide regulations, but making the rules set by the Environmental Protection Agency any stricter is rare. If other places decide to adopt Oregon’s customized approach, they may soon run into federal roadblocks. …The die-off was high profile, with predominately old growth trees lost along a scenic road, and it triggered the state’s rule-making. 

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Gov. Bullock signs repeal of timber conservation license

By Michael Wright
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
May 10, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The law a local group used to block a logging project southeast of Bozeman is no more. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, a Democrat, on Thursday signed into law House Bill 441, which repeals a law that offered groups opposed to a timber sale on state land a chance to outbid timber companies to block logging for a certain time. His signature comes two months after Save Our Gallatin Front outbid a timber company to block logging on 443 acres of state trust land south of town for 25 years. The new law doesn’t affect that deferral. The bill was backed by the timber industry and passed by wide margins in the House and Senate. Bullock signed it despite the fact that Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation director John Tubbs lobbied against it at committee hearings in both the state House and Senate.

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Opinion: Oregon needs to step up and invest in more wildfire prevention tools

The Oregonian
May 9, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In summer 2017, Portland watched the beloved Columbia River Gorge go up in flames. Last summer, Southern Oregon suffered through six weeks of choking smoke. In November, we all watched from a distance as Paradise, California, a town much like others in Oregon, burned to the ground. It is clear that smoke and fire threaten the health, economy, and future of communities across the state. The gravity of our situation is reflected in the numbers. Oregon wildfires cost a whopping $514 million in 2018 and that half billion is not the end of our troubles. Fire seasons will grow longer each year. Wildfires will become more ferocious and less predictable — made worse by climate change. The impacts of fire and smoke on our lives will be more severe. Costs will increase. The National Interagency Fire Center has already predicted a heavy wildfire season for areas along the west coast.

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Washington, Federal Officials Sign Agreement To Protect Forests

By Courtney Flatt
Oregon Public Broadcasting
May 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

State and federal officials signed an agreement Wednesday to protect Washington’s forests and wildlife. The plan would combine resources to fight destructive wildfires, threats to forest health and challenges faced by salmon and orcas. …The Shared Stewardship Agreement was signed by officials from DNR, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the U.S. Forest Service and the regional forester. The plan “establishes a framework” to reach certain goals. It seeks to make forests less vulnerable to wildfires, insects, disease and droughts. It also would protect the waters of Puget Sound and protect fish and wildlife. The agreement would allow the various departments to take more of a landscape-based approach to conservation, said Kelly Susewind, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director.

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“Inside the Megafire” premiers May 8 on PBS

By Bill Gabbert
Wildfire Today
May 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

In this episode, NOVA reports from the front line of the Camp Fire, the deadliest wildfire in California history, and follows scientists racing to understand what’s behind the recent rise in record-breaking megafires—from forestry practices, to climate change, to the physics of fire itself. Just a few months after California’s devastating Carr Fire, another blaze became the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in the state’s history. As residents raced to evacuate, the Camp Fire devoured 150,000 acres and claimed 86 lives. But how did it get so big so fast? And why are megafires like these becoming more common? NOVA goes to the front lines of the deadliest fires of California’s 2018 fire season to hear from the people who had to flee—and the scientists racing to understand what’s behind these record-breaking infernos. 

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1,000 Northstate students attend Shingletown logging conference

KRCR TV
May 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SHINGLETOWN, Calif. — It was an exciting day for 1,000 Northstate students who attended the 2019 Sierra-Cascade Logging Conference In Woods Show in Shingletown on Wednesday. The eager little minds got to wear hardhats and experience logging and forestry in action at the Sierra Pacific Industries Timberland Lassen District, outside of Shingletown. The goal for the event is to share and inspire the local youth ranging from elementary to high school students to teach them different industrial equipment, science, and forestland. …Ted James, Former President of Sierra Cascade Logging Conference says seeing the kids faces as they watch loggers in action is the biggest gain for them and seeing the students gain the education from the experience.

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Republican Bruce Westerman proposes curbing western wildfires through forest management overhaul

By Josh Siegel
Washington Examiner
May 8, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Bruce Westerman

Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., introduced legislation Wednesday to expand the pace and scale of forest management projects meant to reduce the risk of wildfires that have become more destructive and common. The bill represents a continued push by Republicans backed by the Trump administration who argue poor forest management is contributing to the severity of wildfires in California and other parts of the western United States. “We have made significant gains, but there is a lot of work to be done,” Westerman said ahead of the bill’s official release. “I won’t be at all surprised if we continue to see fires as big as what saw in California last year. We probably need a decade or more of sound forest management.” Westerman’s “Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2019” aims to streamline environmental reviews so the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management can more easily conduct forest-thinning projects on federal lands to help relieve wildfires. 

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Lawsuit Challenges Trump Administration’s Massive Old-growth Timber Sale in Alaska National Forest

Center for Biological Diversity
May 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

JUNEAU, Alaska— Eight conservation groups sued the Trump administration today to stop its authorization of the largest logging project in the national forest system in a generation, including thousands of acres of old-growth timber in the Tongass National Forest. Today’s lawsuit says the U.S. Forest Service is violating the National Environmental Policy Act and failing to comply with the agency’s own management plan for the Tongass. The massive old-growth and second-growth logging project in America’s largest and wildest national forest will harm habitat and wildlife, hurt the region’s growing tourism industry and reduce people’s outdoor recreational opportunities. …“The uninformed approach by the Forest Service — approving this mammoth sale before even figuring out the details — is blatantly unlawful,” said Earthjustice attorney Tom Waldo. “This throwback to an old way of doing business is unacceptable and contrary to decades of court decisions.”

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The future of Washington’s small forestland

By TJ Martinell
The Lens
May 7, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A new study authorized by the state legislature will determine how much small forestland remains in Washington state, along with ways to encourage the industry. While an official figure doesn’t exist … much of that land in recent decades has been converted into other uses. One theme dominating the annual meeting of the Washington Farm Forestry Association (WFFA) was how to stop – and even reverse – that trend. “If we want to keep them forested and sustainably managed for generations to come, then we need to make sure their owners can make sound investments with sustainable financial returns,” U.S. Forest Service President Vicki Christiansen said at the summit. Christiansen is the former Washington state forester; she worked for the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for almost 30 years. WFFA estimates around 3.7-4 million acres of Washington’s 22 million acres of forestland is owned by small forestland owners…

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Logging imperils Humboldt marten

Letter by Sara Moriarty-Graves
The Times Standard
May 5, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A Humboldt marten denning in a large tree hole is awakened by the sound of logging trucks approaching. Her habitat is being removed and she is forced to relocate to a brand new unfamiliar place. This cat-sized mammal lives an elusive life tucked away in parts of northern California and is threatened by industrial logging practices. …The Humboldt marten’s low population numbers necessitate more protection. …One of the biggest threats to the marten’s growth is logging. …Green Diamond owns over 373,000 acres of land in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, approximately 11% of the total area. The company plans to log in marten habitat in Del Norte County. …However, the listing of Humboldt martens as endangered rather than threatened will further protect them from the destruction of their habitat from logging.

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New legislation introduced in Congress aims to strengthen Roadless Rule

By Elizabeth Jenkins
KTOO Public Media
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

A few states are in the process of challenging a federal rule that makes it difficult to build new roads through national lands, called the Roadless Rule. In Alaska, the debate centers on the Tongass National Forest, where Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski says more access is needed to timber, energy and mining opportunities. But on Thursday, U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., introduced legislation which could eliminate the possibility of an Alaska-specific exemption to the Roadless Rule. Under the Roadless Area Conservation Act, the U.S. Department of Agriculture wouldn’t have the authority to grant that exemption. Right now, the agency is on track to release a draft environmental impact statement this summer, including various options for road-building in the Tongass. An official decision is expected by 2020.

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How to help fireproof your home before the next big wildfire

By Lisa Boone
The Los Angeles Times
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As Los Angeles homeowners prepare to trim grass, weeds and trees for the annual brush clearance inspections, the L.A. County Fire Department’s Forestry Division advises moving beyond standard procedures when it comes to reducing wildfire risk. “The state is trying to pull away from the term ‘brush clearance’ and change the mind-set,” says Assistant Chief J. Lopez. …So what should homeowners do? “Harden your homes,” Lopez says. …Wood fences can easily ignite. If you can’t install… nonflammable fencing, Lopez advises installing a protective barrier made of stone or metal between any wood fencing and your house. …Replace wood shake and shingle roofs. …shredded rubber mulch burns most easily, while composted wood chips burned the least. …Keep decks clear of debris, enclose the area underneath decks with fire-resistant materials.

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Western forests have a ‘fire debt’ problem

By Courtney Schultz, Cassandra Moseley and Heidi Huber-Stearns
The High Country News
May 3, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

As spring settles in across the United States, Western states are already preparing for summer and wildfire season. And although it may seem counter-intuitive, some of the most urgent conversations are about getting more fire onto the landscape. …Humans have inextricably altered U.S. forests over the last century through fire exclusion, land use change, and now climate change. We cannot undo what has been done or suppress all fires – they are part of the landscape. The question now is where to invest in restoring forest conditions and promoting more resilient landscapes, while reducing risks to communities, ecosystems, wildlife, water and other precious resources. As part of a broader community of scientists and practitioners working on forest and fire management, we see prescribed fire as a valuable tool in that effort.

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Not all fire is bad fire – Creating healthy forests around Lake Tahoe

By Paula Peterson
The South Tahoe Now
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – Vegetation fires are natural and were normal before policies were created to suppress them for fear of uncontrollable and destructive wildfires as seen in the late 1800s. …It took until the 1960s for policies governing wildfire suppression changes once people recognized fire as a natural process necessary for new growth. Today, policies advocating complete fire suppression have been exchanged for those that encourage wildland fire use, or the allowing of fire to act as a tool, such as the case with prescribed burns. “Not all fire is bad,” said Cal-Fire Division Chief Chris Anthony. …In the Lake Tahoe Basin, agencies have been conducting prescribed fires and tree-thinning operations to bring back healthy forests and catch up on repairing the actions of pre-1960s. 

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New Oregon wilderness bill seeks protection of Rogue and Mololla, but wildfire concerns raised

By Zach Urness
Statesman Journal
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden isn’t finished trying to create new wilderness and recreation areas across the state. After passing legislation earlier this year that applied the highest form of environmental protection to 10,000 acres in the Coast Range and 250 miles of rivers, Wyden returned Wednesday with a new conservation bill. The Oregon Recreation Enhancement Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Jeff Merkley, would create new recreation areas around the Rogue and Molalla rivers, expand the Wild Rogue Wilderness and outlaw mining on 100,000 acres in southwest Oregon. Opponents of the bill said the legislation could make wildfires worse, especially in a southwest Oregon region hit hard by wildfire the past five years, while limiting timber supply. …“This bill recognizes these special areas in southwestern Oregon and on the Molalla need protections while maintaining proven forest management strategies that reduce the risk of wildfire,” said Wyden

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Bray Mill Fire in southern Oregon grows to 400 acres, marking third large wildfire of season

By Zach Urness
Statesman Journal
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The Bray Mill Fire burning in Southern Oregon north of Klamath Falls grew to 400 acres Thursday morning, according to the U.S. Forest Service. Fire teams are actively attacking the fire 4 miles northeast of the small town of Chiloquin, where warm conditions have already begun drying out the forest, officials said. The fire is currently around 25 percent contained and teams are hoping for full containment by Thursday night. “Things are looking good this morning,” fire information officer Angie Forbes said. “There is no forward momentum to the fire.”  The blaze marks the third large wildfire of the season. The Santiam Park Fire burned 189 acres near Lyons in March and while the Flynn Fire burned 162 acres last weekend near Adel. 

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Forest fires accelerating snowmelt across western US, study finds

By Portland University
Phys.org
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Forest fires are causing snow to melt earlier in the season, a trend occurring across the western U.S. that may affect water supplies and trigger even more fires, according to a new study by a team of researchers at Portland State University (PSU) , the Desert Research Institute (DRI), and the University of Nevada, Reno. It’s a cycle that will only be exacerbated as the frequency, duration, and severity of forest fires increase with a warmer and drier climate. The study, published May 2 in the journal Nature Communications, provides new insight into the magnitude and persistence of forest fire disturbance on critical snow-water resources. Researchers found that more than 11 percent of all forests in the West are currently experiencing earlier snowmelt and snow disappearance as a result of fires.

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Tongass National Forest timber sale nearing completion

The Associated Press in the Washington Times
May 2, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

JUNEAU, Alaska – The first phase of the largest timber sale in Tongass National Forest in decades is moving ahead, and the U.S. Forest Service is asking for public comment through May 13. The Forest Service has confirmed it plans to offer about 225 million board feet of Tongass old growth timber over 15 years, CoastAlaska reported Monday. More than a fifth of that could be in the next year alone. But the federal agency insists this is much more than a timber sale. The agency prefers calling it a “landscape level analysis” because it’s folded into other work. That work includes stream restorations and culvert replacements. There’s also improved recreation like trail building and new public use cabins and shelters that has strong local support.

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Helping build fire-resilient communities

By Mike McInally
The Albany Democrat-Herald
May 1, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

If it seems like we write this editorial earlier and earlier every year — well, that’s because we do. But it also seems as if the mid-valley enters wildfire season earlier and earlier every year — and that each fire season lasts longer, with the fires burning hotter and in more unpredictable ways. …In fact, the Oregon Department of Forestry already is reporting 31 fires thus far this year on lands protected by the state, and that number certainly will start to explode in the coming months. …But there are things that homeowners and communities in the widland-urban interface can do to reduce wildfire risks, and Wildfire Preparedness Day offers an opportunity to chip in with neighbors on projects designed to prevent wildfires or to limit their severity.

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Idaho governor says federal-state program may tame wildfires

By Keith Ridler
The Associated Press in the Idaho Statesman
April 30, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Brad Little

BOISE, IHAHO — Local, state and federal officials along with conservation groups and logging interests have to find common ground to reduce increasingly destructive wildfires in the U.S. West, Gov. Brad Little said Tuesday. He told several hundred participants at an Idaho Forest Restoration Partnership meeting that they have the chance to make a new federal-state program called the “shared stewardship” agreement a success. “We have got to get this done,” the Republican said. …Idaho signed the agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture late last year that allows state participation in federal timber sales and restoration work like prescribed burns and tree planting on private, state and federal lands.

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Tongass ‘timber sale’ nearing the finish line

By Jacob Resneck
Alaska Public Media
April 29, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Crews are spending the warmer months on Prince of Wales Island surveying vast areas of national forest land for potential logging. It’s part of the first phase of the largest timber offering in Tongass National Forest in decades is moving ahead. And the U.S. Forest Service is asking for public comment through May 13. The Forest Service’s has confirmed it plans to offer roughly 225 million board feet of Tongass old growth timber over 15 years. More than a fifth of that could be in the next year alone. The federal agency insists this is much more than a timber sale. “It’s not a timber sale,” Forest Service spokesman Paul Robbins Jr. in Ketchikan said. “That would be an inaccurate depiction of the project.” Rather, the agency prefers calling it a “landscape level analysis” because it’s folded into other work. 

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First-of-its-kind study documents impacts of beetle-kill on Colorado forest wildlife

By Liz Forster
The Colorado Springs Gazette
April 28, 2019
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Colorado researchers have published the first comprehensive study of the effects the bark beetles’ devastating march through the state’s forests have had on woodland wildlife, and the results are mixed. “There is such a huge impact by the beetles in terms of sheer aerial extent,” said the study’s lead researcher Jake Ivan. “That in of itself is reason enough to make it a high priority to figure out impacts of beetle on wildlife in Colorado.” Since 1994, the U.S. Forest Service estimates that mountain pine and spruce beetles have invaded more than 4 million acres of the southern Rocky Mountains. …Using wool soaked in peanut butter to lure animals toward one of 300 cameras mounted on trees, Ivan and his team photographed forests between 8,500 and 12,000 feet between 2013 and 2014. The scientists then employed the …photos documenting 26 species to model how the severity of and years since the outbreak influenced animals that historically called those ecosystems home.

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Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy

The level of carbon dioxide on Earth is highest it’s ever been since the existence of mankind

By Devika Desai
The National Post
May 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Data from a Hawaii observatory has recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide levels over 415 ppm, marking a historic precedent. There is more carbon dioxide on the planet than ever since the dawn of humanity, according to a Hawaii observatory. Data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has recorded atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at 415.26 parts per million (ppm), marking a historic precedent in the last 800,000 years, since before the evolution of homo sapiens. “Not just in recorded history, not just since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago. Since before modern humans existed millions of years ago,” tweeted Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist. “We don’t know a planet like this.”

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Yellowstone’s Grizzlies Wandering Farther from Home and Dying in Higher Numbers

By Johnathon Hettingg
Inside Climate News
May 14, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

…Over the past 200 years, these [Yellowstone National Park] forests provided a last refuge for grizzly bears in the contiguous U.S. from the westward expansion of towns, farms and ranches. In the high-altitude forests, the bears could rely on squirrels’ caches of whitebark pine seeds as an abundant and important food source. Today, the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is one of just two places—along with Glacier National Park—where large populations of grizzly bears can be found in the Lower 48. But those dying forests [pine beetle] signaled trouble for Yellowstone’s grizzly bears and their already diminishing food supply. As warmer winters allowed the beetles to spread and devastate the whitebark pines, the bears have been increasingly wandering out of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem’s high-altitude forests and into more human environments, and they are dying in greater numbers than they have in decades, federal data show.

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Inslee signs bill establishing 100% energy standard in Washington

By Erin Voegele
Biomass Magazine
May 8, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

Jay InsleeWashington Gov. Jay Inslee signed a suite of clean energy legislation into law May 7, including The Washington Clean Energy Transformation Act, which sets a goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2045. The bill, SB 5116, was introduced in January. …According to Inslee’s office, the bill aims to phase out all coal power by 2025 and achieve a carbon-neutral electricity supply by 2030. It also sets a goal for the state to transition to a 100 percent clean electricity supply by 2045. The bill’s definition of renewable resource includes renewable natural gas and biomass energy, including the organic byproducts of pulping and the wood manufacturing process, animal manure, solid organic fuels from wood, forest for field residues, untreated wooden demolition or construction debris.

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New paper: State’s cap-and-trade program is falling short of goals

By Will Kane
University of California, Berkeley
May 7, 2019
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: United States, US West

California regulators are overestimating the impact the state’s cap-and-trade system is having on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new policy brief from a researcher at UC Berkeley’s Center for Environmental Public Policy. …Barbara Haya argues that the California Air Resources Board has made rosy assumptions about a program protecting forests that may only have accomplished 18% of the emission reductions it claims have been made. The discrepancy could be as much as 80 million tons of carbon dioxide since 2013, which is equivalent to more than the total annual emissions from California’s entire electricity sector. …At issue is California’s U.S. Forest Projects offset protocol, an incentive program designed by the state to encourage forestland owners across the country to manage forests in ways that increase the amount of carbon stored in them.

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Health & Safety

Alta Mill boasts one year accident free

By Tannay Yeoumans
Bonners Ferry Herald
May 2, 2019
Category: Health & Safety
Region: United States, US West

NAPLES — Alta Forest Products, located in Naples, has reached the achievement of one year completely accident free. This is the first time that the company has reached this goal at the Naples facility, and the second time for any Alta facility, company wide. At the mill, there are three main departments: day shift production, swing shift production, and the maintenance crew. Each department, and the facility as a whole, has achieved the accomplishment of one year accident free, which also represents the first time that all three departments have worked as a whole to remain accident free. “I can’t say how proud I am of our employees,” said Jeremy Dineen, safety and human resources manager at Alta, Naples.

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