North Zone Fire Managers Prepare for Rx Fires

FREDONIA, Ariz. – North Zone fire managers are preparing for the upcoming prescribed fire season on the North Kaibab Ranger District, and anticipate starting these prescribed fire treatments as soon as weather and fuel conditions are favorable to do so.

Fire managers carefully develop a prescribed fire burn plan and implement this plan only when environmental conditions are ideal to assuring firefighter and visitor safety and to achieving the desired objectives of reducing accumulations of hazard fuels, maintaining the natural role of fire in a fire-adapted ecosystem, protecting sensitive cultural and natural resources, and decreasing risks to life and property.

Northwest Forest Plan 20-year monitoring draft reports released

USFS LogoPORTLAND, Ore. June 8, 2015. A set of draft reports analyzing 20 years of monitoring data under the Northwest Forest Plan has been formally released by the Regional Interagency Executive Committee (RIEC) today. The reports, which summarize the latest periodic monitoring data gathered since 1994, with a focus on the last 5 years, are available at http://www.reo.gov/monitoring/reports/20yr-report/.

“The 20-year monitoring reports are an important data set for all of those impacted by the Northwest Forest Plan,” said Jim Peña, Regional Forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region and Chair of RIEC, the interagency group that oversees the NWFP. “Twenty years of monitoring demonstrates our commitment to adaptive management and fulfilling our commitment to the principles of the plan itself.”

Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis released

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ARCATA, Calif. —The USDA Forest Service has released the Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis, a report that will serve as the scientific foundation for land management planning in northern California, western Oregon and western Washington.

One of the most significant findings of the Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis is that the plan has protected old-growth forests as habitat for important species. At the same time, the report found that restoration of fire and other active forest management activities at the landscape scales can promote ecological integrity and rebuild forest resilience to disturbance and stressors.

Obama Administration’s Lack of Wildfire Strategy Keeps Communities At Risk

house nrWashington, D.C. – White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Shaun Donovan and U.S. Forest Service (FS) leadership today hosted a national media call on wildfire activity in California and nationally. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) issued the following statement in response to the Administration’s flawed and lackluster priorities related to improving forest health and mitigating increasingly catastrophic wildfire:

ORI Roundtable Brings Leaders Together

Outdoor Recreation Industry RoundtableSENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIALS AND RECREATION INDUSTRY LEADERS DISCUSS RECREATION EXPANSION AND IMPROVEMENTS

Senior officials from the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and U.S. Forest Service met with more than 30 representatives of the outdoor recreation industry at Shenandoah National Park April 24 to discuss improving visitor experiences on America’s public lands and waters.  The meeting was hosted by the Outdoor Recreation Industry Roundtable (ORIR) at Skyland Resort – operated by National Park concessioner Delaware North. 

Plumas NF Prescribed burns planned

usfs-logoBurns reduce hazardous fuels and improve ecosystem health

Quincy, CA. - Plumas National Forest officials have started to conduct a number of prescribed burns this fall to reduce hazardous fuels and improve ecosystem health. "To the extent economically feasible, we've removed all merchantable materials prior to burning," said Earl Ford, Forest Supervisor. Planned projects include burning piled materials, low to moderate intensity understory vegetation burns on the forest floor, and moderate to high intensity broadcast burning of brush. The goals of these projects are to reduce the severity of future wildfires and provide added protection for communities in the wildland urban interface, to promote more diverse and resilient ecosystems, and improve habitat for wildlife.

Post-fire logging can reduce fuels for up to 40 years in regenerating forests, new study finds

usfs-logoWoody fuels reduced even when fuel reduction was not primary management objective

WENATCHEE, Wash. March 11, 2015. Harvesting fire-killed trees is an effective way to reduce woody fuels for up to four decades following wildfire in dry coniferous forests, a U.S. Forest Service study has found.

The retrospective analysis, among the first to measure the long-term effects of post-fire logging on forest fuels, is published in the journal Forest Ecology and Management.

Projects Accomplished through Partnership

Repaired foot bridge near Bear Creek on the WDRD.SPRINGVILLE, CA, April 17, 2017 – Located on 1,100 acres above Springville, SCICON is an outdoor school of science and conservation operated by the Tulare County Office of Education. The Sequoia National Forest and SCICON have developed a great partnership over the past couple of years.

With the construction of a new office at SCICON by the Tulare County Office of Education, the Forest Service can house a fire engine and staff at the facility, and when times are slow, they help with needed facility maintenance.

This winter, several foot bridges were damaged by high water and debris rushing down Bear Creek across the SCICON property.  Firefighters were able to clear the debris, secure the bridges, and make needed repairs in time for students to have safe access. 

Proposed Amendments to Greater Sage Grouse Land Management Plans Released

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(WASHINGTON – August 1, 2019) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service proposed changes to how the agency manages greater sage grouse in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming, and Utah after hearing concerns from states and land users. The changes strive to improve the clarity, efficiency, and implementation of the current sage grouse plans.

Recreation use to be surveyed

US Forest Service LogoNational Visitor Use Monitoring begins on Plumas National Forest

Quincy, CA - Starting in October, the Plumas National Forest will be surveying forest visitors for the National Visitor Use Monitoring (NVUM) program. Through an agreement with Plumas National Forest, staff from the Sierra Institute will conduct the surveys in developed and dispersed recreation sites and along Forest Service roads.  "These interviewers are gathering important information on visits to the Plumas National Forest, so please pull over for an interview if you get the chance," said Earl Ford, Plumas National Forest Supervisor.  "The survey is voluntary and all the information you give is confidential." Surveyors will be wearing bright orange vests and may be near a sign that reads "Traffic Survey Ahead."  They may be out in all kinds of adverse weather conditions.

Statement from Secretary Tom Vilsack on Ongoing Devastating Wildfire Season

usda-mastheadWASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2015 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:

"This year, we are experiencing yet another devastating wildfire season, particularly in the drought-ravaged West. Climate change, drought, fuel buildup, insects and disease are increasing the severity of unprecedented wildfire in America's forests and rangelands, which impacts the safety of people, homes and communities. Development close to forests has also increased the threat to property, with more than 46 million homes in the United States, or about 40 percent of our nation's housing, potentially at risk from wildfire.

Surveys of endangered Mount Graham red squirrel show decline due to impacts from the Frye Fire

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Mount Graham Red Squirrel

PHOENIX — An annual survey of the endangered Mount Graham red squirrel showed a significant decline due to the effects of the lightning caused Frye Fire in the Pinaleño Mountains of southeastern Arizona. 

The annual survey, conducted jointly by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), Coronado National Forest, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Arizona Center for Nature Conservation – Phoenix Zoo, and the University of Arizona, resulted in an estimate of only 35 squirrels. This is a significant decrease from the 252 squirrels estimated in 2016. Evidence of the Frye Fire was observed in 95% of the surveyed locations, 80% showed at least some habitat loss, and 44% were completely burned. 

TREES AND FORESTS: AMERICA’S CRITICAL GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE

National Association of State ForestersState forestry agencies and their federal partners including the USDA Forest Service are dedicated to working together to achieve national-level conservation and economic goals that are outlined in the Forest Action Plans.

The 2016 State & Private Forestry Report summarizes the review of the most recent information prepared by state forestry agencies to address these goals, including recent accomplishments as well as plans for the future. This analysis and summary report helps demonstrate the value of investment in state and private forestry programs as well as articulate future challenges and priorities based on 2015 Forest Action Plan progress reports provided by the state and territorial forestry agencies of the United States.

Update to the 2010 RPA Assessment

usfs logoThe Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment reports on the status and trends of the Nation's renewable resources on all forest and rangelands, as required by the Forest and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act of 1974. The USDA Forest Service has conducted natural resource analyses for over a century. The 1974 RPA legislation established a periodic reporting requirement and broadened the coverage to all renewable resources on U.S. forests and rangelands. The RPA Assessment includes analyses of forests, rangelands, wildlife and fish, biodiversity, water, outdoor recreation, wilderness, urban forests, and the effects of climate change on these resources.

Update to the 2010 RPA Assessment

US Forest Service and conservation groups reach agreement

usfs-logoVALLEJO, Calif. -- The U.S. Forest Service and environmental plaintiffs signed a settlement agreement on Oct. 9, ending a decade-long legal battle over the 2004 Sierra Nevada Framework Forest Plan Amendment, which affects management of the Sierra Nevada national forests in California. A coalition of conservation organizations led by Sierra Forest Legacy and including the Center for Biological Diversity, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club and The Wilderness Society, filed suit in early 2005 claiming that the 2004 Framework plan failed to adequately protect old growth forests and associated wildlife species and was not consistent with national environmental laws. They were represented by legal teams from Earthjustice and the Sierra Club.

US Forest Service to begin annual aerial surveys in early summer

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Tree mortality expected to climb from 2015

VALLEJO, California – With tree mortality rising to an estimated record-high 27.6 million trees in California in 2015, the U.S. Forest Service Aerial Survey team’s role in generating data for the agency and state and local partners is more critical than ever.

The U.S. Forest Service began doing aerial survey detection in the Pacific Northwest Region in the 1950s, with a small program in the Pacific Southwest Region (California) established in the 1990s. A dedicated team was assigned to the regional office in the early 2000s when Sudden Oak Death became more prevalent. In addition to detecting the Sudden Oak Death and conifer mortality, aerial survey flights first detected the Gold Spotted Oak Borer infestation in 2004. 

USDA Forest Service Announces New Strategy for Improving Forest Conditions

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Washington, D.C., August 16, 2018  — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) announced today a new strategy for managing catastrophic wildfires and the impacts of invasive species, drought, and insect and disease epidemics.

Specifically, a new report titled Toward Shared Stewardship across Landscapes: An Outcome-based investment Strategy (PDF, 3.7 MB) outlines the USFS’s plans to work more closely with states to identify landscape-scale priorities for targeted treatments in areas with the highest payoffs.

USDA Proposes Bold Moves to Improve Forests Management, Grasslands

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(Washington, D.C., June 12, 2019) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service (USFS) released proposed changes to modernize how the agency complies with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The proposed updates would not only give the Forest Service the tools and flexibility to manage the land and tackle critical challenges like wildfire, insects, and disease but also improve service to the American people. Revising the rules will improve forest conditions and make it simpler for people to use and enjoy their national forests and grasslands at lower cost to the taxpayer. The revised rules will also make it easier to maintain and repair the infrastructure people need to use and enjoy their public lands—the roads, trails, campgrounds, and other facilities.

USFS groundwater directive fails to recognize sole authority of states

U.S. Forest ServiceWestern Governors submitted comments this week to the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) about its proposed directive on groundwater resource management that details why the measure has significant implications for Western states and their groundwater resources.

"This proposed directive was developed without any state consultation of which the Western Governors' Association (WGA) is aware," the letter notes. "We invite the USFS to work through WGA, Western States Water Council, and individual states to facilitate dialogue on ways to improve this (and any future) proposed directive."

USFS Releases Effects of Drought for Forests and Rangelands

usfs logoNew Resource to Aid Land Managers in Adapting to Climate Change

WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2016 — The U.S. Forest Service today released a new report, Effects of Drought on Forests and Rangelands in the United States: A Comprehensive Science Synthesis, that provides a national assessment of peer-reviewed scientific research on the impacts of drought on U.S. forests and rangelands. This report will help the Forest Service better manage forests and grasslands impacted by climate change.

"Our forests and rangelands are national treasures, and because they are threatened, we are threatened," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "This report confirms what we are seeing, that every region of the country is impacted by the direct and indirect effects of drought conditions and volatile weather patterns. Sixty million Americans rely on drinking water that originates on our 193 million acres of national forest and grasslands. They support 200,000 jobs and contribute over $13 billion to local economies every year."

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