SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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REVIEW THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE NORTHWEST FOREST PLAN
SUBCOMMITTEE ON DEPARTMENT OPERATIONS,
OVERSIGHT, NUTRITION, AND FORESTRY
COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
JUNE 21, 1999, MEDFORD, OR
Serial No. 10623
Printed for the use of the Committee on Agriculture
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COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE
LARRY COMBEST, Texas, Chairman
BILL BARRETT, Nebraska,
JOHN A. BOEHNER, Ohio
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
NICK SMITH, Michigan
TERRY EVERETT, Alabama
FRANK D. LUCAS, Oklahoma
HELEN CHENOWETH, Idaho
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
JERRY MORAN, Kansas
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JOHN R. THUNE, South Dakota
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
KEN CALVERT, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCGIL GUTKNECHT, Minnesota
BOB RILEY, Alabama
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
MICHAEL K. SIMPSON, Idaho
DOUG OSE, California
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ERNIE FLETCHER, Kentucky
CHARLES W. STENHOLM, Texas,
Ranking Minority Member
GEORGE E. BROWN, Jr., California
GARY A. CONDIT, California
COLLIN C. PETERSON, Minnesota
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
EVA M. CLAYTON, North Carolina
DAVID MINGE, Minnesota
EARL F. HILLIARD, Alabama
EARL POMEROY, North Dakota
TIM HOLDEN, Pennsylvania
SANFORD D. BISHOP, Jr., Georgia
BENNIE G. THOMPSON, Mississippi
JOHN ELIAS BALDACCI, Maine
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
VIRGIL H. GOODE, Jr., Virginia
MIKE McINTYRE, North Carolina
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCDEBBIE STABENOW, Michigan
BOB ETHERIDGE, North Carolina
CHRISTOPHER JOHN, Louisiana
LEONARD L. BOSWELL, Iowa
DAVID D. PHELPS, Illinois
KEN LUCAS, Kentucky
MIKE THOMPSON, California
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
WILLIAM E. O'CONNER, JR., Staff Director
LANCE KOTSCHWAR, Chief Counsel
STEPHEN HATERIUS, Minority Staff Director
KEITH WILLIAMS, Communications Director
Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia, Chairman
THOMAS W. EWING, Illinois,
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
CHARLES T. CANADY, Florida
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
SAXBY CHAMBLISS, Georgia
RAY LaHOOD, Illinois
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJERRY MORAN, Kansas
JOHN COOKSEY, Louisiana
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
EVA M. CLAYTON, North Carolina,
Ranking Minority Member
MARION BERRY, Arkansas
BENNIE G. THOMPSON, Mississippi
VIRGIL H. GOODE, Jr., Virginia
DAVID D. PHELPS, Illinois
BARON P. HILL, Indiana
MIKE THOMPSON, California
GEORGE E. BROWN, Jr. California
DAVID MINGE, Minnesota
C O N T E N T S
Goodlatte, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from the State of Virginia, opening statement
Thompson, Hon. Mike, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, opening statment
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Walden, Hon. Greg, a Representative in Congress from the State of Oregon, opening statement
Barry, Cynthia, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior
Brown, James E., State forester, Oregon Department of Forestry,
Dimitre, Tom, Southern Oregon Forest Coalition
Graybeal, Nancy, Acting Regional Forester, Pacific Northwest Region, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Green, Peter, forestry advisor, Office of Governor John Kitzhaber
Kupillas, Sue, Jackson County commissioner
Phillippi, Lincoln, Rough & Ready Lumber Co.
Shipley, Jack, Grants Pass, OR
Weakley, Jeannie, Western Council of Industrial Workers
Bartuska, Ann, Director of Forest Management, memo of June 8, 1999, submitted by Mr. Goodlatte
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCMemo of June 10, 1999
Blake, Richard, Merlin OR, statement
Brunner, James R., arid lands ecologist, statement
Hanson, Jeff, Mt. Ashland Association, statement
Heiken, Doug, Oregon Natural Resources Council, statement
Herger, Hon. Wally, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, statement
Ingalsbee, Nancy J. executive director, Klamath Alliance for Resources & Environment, letter of June 28, 1999, submitted by Mr. Goodlatte
Merlich, Max, Columbia Helicopters, Inc., statement
Nelson, Peter, Pacific Crest Biodiversity Project, statement
Stewart, Ronald E., Deputy Chief, Programs and Legislation, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, additional information
Stubblefield, Ted C., Ridgefield, WA
Velasquez, Barbara, Rogue River, OR, statement
Velasquez, Don, Rogue River, OR, statement
REVIEW OF THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE'S MANAGEMENT OF NATIONAL FORESTS
MONDAY, JUNE 21, 1999
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Department Operations,
Oversight, Nutrition and Forestry,
Committee on Agriculture,
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9 a.m., at the Medford City Hall, Medford, OR. Hon. Bob Goodlatte (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Walden and Thompson.
Staff present: David Tenny, professional staff; Ryan Flynn, legislative assistant; and Danelle Farmer, minority consultant.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. BOB GOODLATTE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA
Mr. GOODLATTE. Good morning. This hearing of the Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry to review the implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan will come to order.
I am Bob Goodlatte, chairman of the subcommittee, and it is my pleasure to be here in Congressman Walden's congressional district and also with Congressman Mike Thompson, of the first district in California.
I have spent the last several days in the forest here of the Northwest, and it has been a very good experience; and you are wonderful folks out here. And I am just delighted that we could hold this hearing on the west coast to hear about the implementation of the plan that has a dramatic impact on the lives of so many of you.
This is a subject of great interest to me because I come from a district that is roughly two-thirds forest and half of that land, about a million acres. We have a much smaller district in the East, but about a million acres of that is in the George Washington and Jefferson National Forest in Virginia, and that is a substantial impact on my congressional district as well. Because of this, I am sensitive to many issues you face regarding how your forest should be managed and the impact of major decisions on your communities.
I am, however, a relative newcomer to the Pacific Northwest. For me, the Northwest Forest Plan is a case of first impression. To be candid, my first impression is that we are headed for a train wreck, and proactive forest management is tied to the tracks. Let me explain what I mean.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In 1993, President Clinton announced what could be termed a cease-fire in the Pacific Northwest ending the court injunctions that were first imposed in 1991. The Northwest Forest Plan announced the terms and conditions of that cease-fire as established by the administration. In reference to the plan, the President stated, quote, ''We could not permit more years of the status quo to continue where everything was paralyzed in the courts.''
We understand that we are all going to be better off if we act on the plan and end the deadlock of indecisiveness. The terms of the plan, as I understand them, were that 80 percent of the forest would be placed in reserves, 20 percent would be available for timber harvest. Harvests were reduced by 80 percent when those who depended on them were told they would have what the President called predictable and sustainable levels of timber sales. This, we were told, was sustainable forestry at its finest where ecological, economic, and social objectives were given balanced consideration and treatment. That was 5 years ago.
Where are we now? When I initially asked that question, I expected the answer to be that we are much better off than we were 5 years ago. To that end, I wrote Mr. Ted Stubblefield, a 36-year veteran of the Forest Service who had just retired as a Forest Supervisor on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, where he had served for 8 years. I asked Mr. Stubblefield to give me his unfiltered view of how the plan was working and whether it is achieving its stated goals. The response I will submit for the record, and it was disappointing.
[The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing:]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Let me quote a brief excerpt from his letter.
Due to the plethora of appeals, intents to sue, and the unnecessarily delayed interagency reviews of biological evaluation, the following impacts have occurred: We have not met our financed timber sale targets for several years, and the ability to do so is worsening; we have been held up in flood repair restoration work following the worse storm damage in 30 years; we have been unable to do erosion-minimizing trail maintenance work in a timely manner; we have been delayed implementing tree-thinning operations that are essential to enhancing a timber stand's ability to reach maturity and old growth characteristics at a faster pace as desired in the plan; any needed roads built, including reconstruction of the deteriorating transportation system, have been delayed or stopped entirely on any land base that even remotely has the appearance of being roadless; and even fish enhancement projects are being delayed routinely due to interagency paralysis due to differing interpretations of survey and managed species protocols and the basic plan's standards and guidelines.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Upon investigating this last reference to survey a managed species protocol, I learned that an obscure provision included in the plan at the last moment without the benefit of public notice and comment has now placed all forms of ground-disturbing management covered by the plan in jeopardy. Indeed, a consortium of environmental organizations has filed a lawsuit that could stop all management activities over the survey and manage issue.
My analysis would stop there were it not for a memorandum I recently discovered from the Washington office of the Forest Service to all regional foresters, which I will also submit for the record.
[The information appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. The memorandum, dated June 8, 1999, instructs regional foresters to stop all presale preparation and related activities on timber sales that are the subject of litigation or that could be added to litigation. This memo was withdrawn in writing on June 10 with notice that it will be reissued soon with further instructions.
Did I suspect the chilling effect of this directive has already begun to take its toll within the agency? Ladies and gentlemen, do you see what I see in this picture? It appears that the plan that was supposed to end the deadlock and divisiveness of the 1990's is well on its way to hastening the first train wreck of the new millennium. To make matters worse, the Forest Service appears intent to beat the court injunction by imposing an injunction of its own on every timber sale that might be affected by the survey of managed lawsuit or other subsequent legal action.
In the words of the immortal Yogi Berra, this is deja vu all over again. We are back to where we started. The only difference between now and then is that in 1991 we were talking about how much timber we should harvest. In 1999, we could very well be talking about whether we should proactively manage at all.
That is why I have called this hearing. We need to cut off the train wreck, and we need to do it together. In my judgment, the ball rests in the court of the Federal agencies represented here today who are preparing an EIS to address the survey and manage issue. You must, by working in good faith with each other and the affected stakeholders, prevent the train wreck and put the plan on a track that will achieve all, not just some, of its stated objectives. Your actions will determine whether the Northwest Forest Plan will be remembered as the blueprint for sustainable forestry or a prescription for zero management.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And to you who represent local communities, I welcome your valuable input. You are the innovators and the problem-solvers. You bring what the Western Governors Association calls the neighborhood solutions that break down barriers and makes government work. I look forward to hearing your recommendations and suggestions. So let's roll up our sleeves and put this train on the right track.
It is important to note that our Ranking Democratic Member of the subcommittee, Congresswoman Clayton, could not be with us today because she has other obligations, but we are delighted to have with us Congressman Mike Thompson of California. Congressman, would you like to say anything?
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. MIKE THOMPSON, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wasn't going to, but I may never again be the ranking member on anything, so I am going to take the opportunity just to say thank you to you for holding this hearing. Greg, thanks for making a great venue available in your district. And I want to thank everyone who is here to participate.
This is an issue that doesn't just touch Oregon, this is an issue that is very important in California as well. And we in California would like very much to find that point of resolve that the Chairman talked about, that point of resolve that will allow us to harvest timber and at the same time ensure that endangered species issues were addressed.
We have some experience of that in my district, most recently the Headwaters forest issue. And I can tell you, albeit I have only been in Congress for a short time, I don't think there is $450 million available to resolve every timber issue that comes around. So it is important that we figure out how to make this work, make sure that we have a survey and management program that actually works if that is the way we need to proceed, one that is appropriately staffed and will allow us to get the data that is necessary, And one that allows us to ensure that all species are addressed, most specifically salmon and steelhead, from my California perspective.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, Mr. Chairman, thank you, and I look forward to today's hearing.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mike. And Mike is a new Member of Congress, he is a veteran legislator of a number of years experience in the California Legislature, including serving as chairman of the natural resources committee. So we very much welcome your participation, and I, too, would like to thank the city of Medford for making this great facility available to us.
I feel like we are here to review the Medford City Center Plan. I think they have it better under control than maybe we do of this issue.
It is also indeed my pleasure toI think introduce is probably the wrong word, so I am guessing your congressional district, but someone who has been a great contributor to this subcommittee and someone who has followed in the footsteps of former Congressman Bob Smith, who is with us here today, and who has been in large part responsible for encouraging his successor to put the Forestry Subcommittee issues in the subcommittee that I chair.
So I very much thank Bob Smith for his leadership on these issues over the years and for sending us such a good successor as Greg Walden, who has been very dedicated to working on forestry issues. And Greg, I want to recommend you at this time.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. GREG WALDEN, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF OREGON
Mr. WALDEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Thompson, and thank you both for being here today, and thank you for agreeing to hold this hearing on this very important issue.
First let me extend you all a warm welcome to Oregon's beautiful Rogue Valley and the gracious city of Medford, who was kind enough to provide us with this wonderful room for the hearing today. And I especially want to thank Mayor Berryman and the other council members, too.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I appreciate the committee's willingness to come to Oregon and hear from some of our citizens. Southern Oregon plays a key role within the National Forest System and Northwest Forest Plan, and it is important we hear from those who are most affected.
Mr. Chairman, I asked you to hold this hearing because I believe that it is time that the President's Northwest Forest Plan had a checkup. It is a checkup in the sense that we need to step back and take a look at where the forest plan is today. Is the forest plan working as we had hoped and expected? Are there actions that we can or should take to increase the opportunity for the plan to achieve its stated objectives?
When the President attended the Portland Forest Conference, he held out the promise and expectations that we could have a balance between protecting the environment and maintaining a sustainable timber product. The President summed it up in one of his five guided principles in his book. The plan should produce a predictable and sustainable rate of timber sales and nontimber resources that will not degrade or destroy our forest environment.
Everybody walked away from that summit knowing that there would be significant reductions in timber harvests on our National Forests and certain economic upheaval in our rural timber communities. However, there was a sense of assurance that after a period of hardship and economic adjustments, our rural community would have a sustainable, albeit significant, reduction in supply. The timber supply would allow traditional forest-based economic activities to continue preventing our rural timber communities from slowly starving to death because of dwindling timber supplies.
I can honestly say that I actually agree with what the President had to say at the forest conference. This doesn't happen too often, being the President. The President said, first we must never forget the human and economic dimension of these problems. For sound management policies and to preserve the health of the forest land, sales should go forward.
Today we are 5 years out of the gate with the Northwest Plan. During this time we have gathered data on timber sales, rural economies and employment and on the environment. By now we should be able to determine whether the expectations and promises that we were given have been met. We can now ask ourselves, have the promises been kept?
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Timber communities were promised that they would receive a stable supply of timber of roughly 20 percent of where it was. The Forest Service determined that under the forest plan, that probable sale quantity of timber of the volume supposed to be sold in Oregon is 413 million board feet. Last year, according to estimates by the Timber Data Corporation, actual sold saw log volumes on these same lands amounted to 206 million board feet. That amounts to less than half the level we were supposed to harvest on this forest plan.
We are lucky if the accomplishments of the forest plan is providing a stable supply of timber to our rural communities. I would be interested in knowing why the agencies spoke to the volume offered for sale rather than what is actually sold for harvesting. Why are firewood and fence post sales included in the calculations? Accomplishments are being measured by how much timber is offered for sale rather than what is actually sold and harvested, which can be deceiving and difficult to actually gauge the success of the forest plan.
Let me put it another way. I am from Hood River Valley where we grow a lot of fruit, as we do here in the Rogue Valley. A farmer offers his fruit for sale in trees, but says you can only harvest the culls, the farmer is probably not going to sell much fruit.
The question whether a timber sale is really a timber sale is as much the value of the timber that has been removed from the sale that affects our bid. One of the underlying prefaces of the forest plan was that we would remove the cause of appeals of litigation we are facing. Has the forest plan done that, or has it spawned a new generation of lawsuits and appeals?
Let me give you three numbers: 63, 179, 322. Note that each number is almost double the previous. What are these numbers? They are the numbers I recently received from the Forest Service. The first, 63, is the number of appeals on the Northwest Forest Plan decisions in 1977. The second, 179, is the number of appeals in 1998. And the third, 322, is the projected amount of appeals that we will probably see this year. There have been 161 appeals in the first 5 1/2 months of this year. That is about one a day. With each appeals, Forest Service personnel are tied up, resources that are expected are not delivered, management activity to promote forest culls and wild fire safety is delayed.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To the Forest Service's credit, the hundreds of appeals the past 3 years, only five to six have been reversed or withdrawn, only five. However, new ways are being found to make appeals, and this is as far as the implication goes.
I ask again, is the Forest Plan providing even more opportunity to lock up our Nation's forest resources, or is it put in the way for improved management?
We also need to make sure the forest plan is improving the habitat of the spotted owl. Are we seeing improved numbers on spotted owls, or after putting the brakes on the timber harvests, do we continue to see a decline in the owl numbers? I will be interested in hearing from those who are managing forests similar to those managed by the Federal Government.
The State of Oregon, our counties, and our adaptive management areas have some of the most environmentally sound and commercially viable timber programs in the country. We need to look at how other public and private agencies and corporations manage their forestland, perhaps templates and models, to what we could do to do a better job on our Federal lands.
The forest plan is being touted by many as a success. To others it is a failure. Without interpretation there would be no logging in our forests today. But, in essence, is the forest plan taking us down a path towards zero cut or forcing us to abandon our National Forests or not?
As we give the President's forest plan its first checkup in 5 years, I hope we can take a step back and see how far we have come, what bumps or obstacles are in the way, and what we can do to improve the situation. We owe it to all of those on all sides of this issue to assess whether it has met all the expectations that were set. Maybe the expectations were too high; maybe the promises have been unfulfilled.
The answers we hear today may help set us on a correct course, one that will, quote, produce a predictable and sustainable rate of timber sales and nontimber resources and will not degrade or destroy our forest environment.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, I want to thank you, Mr. Chairman and Congressman Thompson, for joining us here today in beautiful southern Oregon. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Indeed it is.
We have an excellent panel of witnesses, and what I will do is go through and introduce each and every one of you, and then we will hear your oral testimony, and then we will have time for questions after that.
First, we are delighted to welcome Ms. Nancy Graybeal, the Acting Regional Forester, Pacific Northwest Region, Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Joining Ms. Graybeal is Mr. Mike Lunn of the Siskiyou National Forest, the Siskiyou National Forest Supervisor.
Ms. Cynthia Barry, Assistant Regional Director, Ecological Services, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Joining Ms. Barry is Mr. Craig Tuss, Field Supervisor, Southwest Oregon Field Office, Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mr. Mike Tehan, Chief, Oregon State Branch Office, Habitat Conservation Division, Northwest Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Joining Mr. Tehan is Mr. Frank Bird, Fishery Biologist, Northwest Region, National Marine Fisheries Service, Roseburg, OR; Mr. Peter Green, forestry advisor, Office of Governor John Kitzhaber; Mr. James E. Brown, State forester, Oregon Department of Forestry.
Ms. Sue Kupillas, Jackson County Commissioner; s. Jeannie Weakley, Western Council of Industrial Workers; Mr. Lincoln Phillippi, Rough & Ready Lumber Company; Mr. Tom Dimitre, Southern Oregon Forest Coalition; Mr. Jack Shipley of Grants Pass, OR.
I welcome all of you and tell you that your written statement will be made a part of the record. And we would be pleased to receive your testimony at this point and note for your use the light there. The green light will be turned on as we introduce each one of you, and it will stay on for 5 minutes.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And because of the large number of witnesses and the fact that we would like to ask a large number of questions, we would like you to limit your statement to 5 minutes and ensure you that your entire statement will be made a part of the record.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Ms. Graybeal, we are pleased to start with you. Welcome.
STATEMENT OF NANCY GRAYBEAL, ACTING REGIONAL FORESTER, PACIFIC NORTHWEST REGION, FOREST SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to be here today.
There are five key points that I would like to make about the forest plan this morning. The first is that the forest plan was accepted by Judge Dwyer's court as an acceptable conservation strategy for the conservation of the northern spotted owl. The shutdown amending existing activities in Federal forests in western Oregon, Washington, and California could not end until the court saw and agreed to a separate plan.
Second, the implementation of the plan has computed into the environment protection belonging to the northern spotted owl. It serves as a Federal lands conservation program for the recovery of fish and other listed seafoods and the expiration of waterfowl, seafoods, and the restoration of water qualities under the Clean Water Act. It is this plan that the State of Oregon uses as a foundation for the Oregon recovery plan.
Third, it is an active plan, resulting in timber production, watershed restoration, enhancement of Late Successional Reserves, rehabilitation of streams, fish, and wildlife, improvements that are needed, road decommission and stabilization work. Only through active management can the concept of jobs be there.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Fourth, the plan has improved intergovernmental cooperation, coordination, public cooperation and partnerships.
And last, the plan, like any plan, must be responsive to new issues and challenges. It is based upon the decision bill, new listing of threatened and endangered species, changing in public values and adaptations for public use. Numerous States have threatening endangered species, changing in public values and expectations for public land, new science findings and court decisions. It has been responsive to all.
Let me visit with you just briefly about some of the accomplishments of the plan, which could be defined as part of three categories, forest ecosystem management, economic assistance, and intergovernmental collaboration. The Northwest Plan directs managers to focus on ecosystems at the watershed scale. Because of this watershed approach, the Forest Service for the first time shared the same management direction.
Another first is the use of watershed analysis. This tool helps the managers to decide restoration and treatment priorities in the watershed so it can focus on various resources on the highest priority list. The Federal agencies completed Late Successional Reserve Assessments on 75 percent of Late Successional Reserves, making it possible to take appropriate action to benefit fish and wildlife and protect from overgrowth.
The aquatic conservation strategy is the most comprehensive riparian strategy in place on Federal lands today. Today we decommissioned approximately 1,400 miles of road. We have stabilized more than 5,000 miles of road, and 1,300 miles of fishing streams have been improved. Timber sales are an important component of the plan. The Forest Service has achieved its timber commitments over the past 5 years, and this will calculate into challenges to the future, but we have them in our communities.
Monitoring is a key to the plan's success. Monitoring teams evaluate timber sales, road restoration projects, and found a range of 95 to 99 percent of compliance of planning.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Intergovernmental coordination is significantly improved for the better, and governmental relationships in the Northwest are significantly improved as a result of this plan. At the regional level every 3 months representatives of the three States, tribes, and 10 Federal agencies come together to evaluate implementation, discuss challenges, and pool resources to be more effective.
Like the Alloe payment guarantees to counties, the Northwest Economic Initiative was designed to help ease the transition of communities adversely impacted by the introduction of timber production on Federal lands. Through this initiative, the resources of 12 Federal agencies and three State governments have combined to deliver more than $5 billion in assistance since 1994. The beneficiaries of this initiative have been hundreds of counties, tribes, and local governments.
Challenges. Time does not stand still for Northwest forestland. Appeals of projects and litigation continue at a fierce pace, drawing resources away from on-the-ground work. Timber sale work, fish enhancement can slow the delivery of jobs dependent on this project work.
The Forest Service and BLM is preparing a supplemental EIS for the plan to modify standards and guidelines for survey and managed species requirements. This is necessary because the complexity and learning occurred in the survey and national plan.
Other challenges include listing of new species. Since 1994, there have been two new listings by the Fish and Wildlife Service and 12 new listings by National Marine Fisheries Service. These listings are not unique in the Northwest Plan, do not result from the Northwest Plan, and having the Northwest Plan in place has eased the disruption that would normally occur. However, the major species consultation requirement must be met for projects to go forward.
A final challenge is the public's lack of agreement on expectations on public lands. Privacy and treaties from the National Forest are controversial especially in the areas around large urban centers in the Northwest. While greatly respecting the public's right to peaceful and lawful protest, controversial timber sales and other projects, through the issues of safety for the woodworkers and protesters alike, law enforcement presents challenges in the latest project implementations.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In closing, the plan is the best available science to ensure species viability, is the Federal recovery component, the Federal listing peak species; offers are much reduced by important timber supply for local economy and local market, has improved intergovernmental cooperation, and has assisted local communities to adjust.
Thank you for asking me to speak here today. And I look forward to a dialog later.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Graybeal appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you. Miss Barry, welcome.
STATEMENT OF CYNTHIA BARRY, ASSISTANT REGIONAL DIRECTOR, ECOLOGICAL SERVICES, FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Ms. BARRY. Mr. Chairman and members, on behalf of our director, Jamie Clark, I welcome this opportunity to discuss both the successes and challenges experienced by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a result of the role we play in implementing the Northwest Forest Plan. As a result of the Fish and Wildlife Service responsibilities under the Endangered Species Act, we play a major role in the implementation of this plan.
The ecosystem-based plan has led to a fundamental change in Federal agency relationships in the Northwest, as well as the Federal relationships with our partners in the States, tribes, and the general public. To date, no other large-scale management effort has been implemented to accomplish such diverse goals as those included in the Northwest Forest Plan, including long-term conservation benefits to over 1,000 species of plants and animals, among them the northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, and many at-risk salmonid species. This unique plan presents a whole new array of resource management opportunities and challenges.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Among the many important contributions the Fish and Wildlife Service has made toward plan implementation is the streamlining of the section 7 consultation process under the Endangered Species Act. This process relies upon the forest plan to encourage early interagency cooperation and the planning and implementation of actions that may affect listed species. The result is reduced impact to listed species, less controversy, and better use of government resources.
Through intensive interagency planning and collaboration, the Fish and Wildlife Service is completing forest-related formal consultations within 45 days and informal consultations within 20 days on average. This section 7 streamlining process is being used as a model in other parts of the country.
The Fish and Wildlife Service has also placed major emphasis on the development of habitat conservation plans with private landowners in the Northwest region. To date, we have completed 13 HCPs ranging in size from small to very large tracts covering over 3 million acres. In addition, over 30 HCPs covering another 4.5 million acres are in development. As part of an accepted HCP, the permittee receives ''no surprises'' assurances for each covered species and may include unlisted species as well for the duration of the permit. Our goal is to ensure the permittee will have no additional land use restrictions or financial compensation requirements for species covered by the permit.
With the recent listing of several salmon stocks in the Northwest as either threatened or endangered, coordination with the National Marine Fisheries Service on salmonid preservation and restoration is also a major focus.
Accomplishment of the plan's economic stabilization goals in the Northwest region are proceeding through implementation of the Jobs-in-the-Woods program. Over the past 5 years, $14 million has been appropriated by the Congress to the Fish and Wildlife Service through the forest plan's Economic Adjustment Initiative in support of projects to improve riparian habitat, restore watersheds, enhance fish passage, and promote forest ecosystem projects. The Service has leveraged an additional $9.3 million from our partners for project completion.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Activities in Southwest Oregon provide local examples of successful collaboration resulting from plan implementation. The Fish and Wildlife Service's Roseburg field office in southwest Oregon was collocated with the Forest Service's Umpqua National Forest supervisor's office and the National Marine Fisheries Service's field office. Federal and State agencies in Southwest Oregon are also developing a Memorandum of Understanding which will facilitate the dissemination of technical assistance to the local watershed councils, which are key local partners in ecosystem restoration.
The forest plan establishes provincial advisory committees, PAC, consisting of representatives from States, local and county governments, environmental and conservation groups, and tribes, which are chartered to provide input on plan implementation.
The Southwest Oregon PAC has been leading efforts for landscape scale analysis and to make local land management information available to the public. For example, the PAC has its own Internet Web page where citizens can access information on management activities associated with the forest plan in their area.
The service and its Federal partners through the Provincial Interagency Executive Committee are also developing a watershed restoration strategy addressing local river basins which will coordinate Federal and non-Federal activities.
While the successes highlighted in my testimony are noteworthy, challenges still abound. A commitment on the part of both the Service and Congress must be sustained over the long term. Implementation, as you recognize, Mr. Chairman, is only in the fifth year of a plan that looks ahead 100 years.
The very nature of the adaptive management approach dictates that we must anticipate change, rather than presume existing management approaches will remain adequate as new information becomes available. For example, large-scale ecosystem monitoring is emerging as an important component of the forest plan. However, past and current monitoring techniques will not meet future needs. New monitoring protocols are being developed which will include the use of new technologies. Sufficient funding for long-term monitoring is a necessity for successful adaptive management.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In summary, the Northwest Forest Plan represents a unique and major change in the way resources are managed. It addresses resource issues at a variety of scales and across a variety of ownerships, requiring new and innovative approaches. We look forward to working with our partners in seeing the forest plan implemented into the future. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Barry appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Tehan, I understand you don't have an opening statement but are prepared for questions and answers.
Mr. TEHAN. That is correct.
Mr. GOODLATTE. We will then go on to Mr. Peter Green.
Mr. Green, welcome.
STATEMENT OF PETER GREEN, FORESTRY ADVISOR, OFFICE OF GOVERNOR KITZHABER
Mr. GREEN. Thank you. Chairman Goodlatte, Congressman Walden, and Congressman Thompson, thank you very much for this hearing today, and the Governor sends his apologies for not attending the hearing.
The Northwest Forest Plan is the boldest effort in regional land management ever attempted in this country. It prescribes forest land management guidelines for millions of acres, blanketing the entire Federal forest system in western Oregon and western Washington and portions of Northern California.
The Northwest Forest Plan has changed the way the Federal forests are managed in the Northwest. This sea change in land management has had significant benefits for the State, but it has also had its drawbacks.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC By way of the plan's positive impacts, I would like to highlight the following. The plan has provided a unified mission for the forests of western Oregon and provided standards and guidelines by which they operate. Heretofore, each forest was run as a separate land management agency, with minimal coordinated guidance. These individual fiefdoms were subject to criticism because of the perceived undue influence by local communities on management decisions. More importantly, the inconsistent levels of protection provided to nontimber resources between forests provided ample opportunity for public skepticism and mistrust of the agencies.
Second, the stable and regional set of management guidelines provided by the plan has provided Oregon with an unparalleled opportunity to tier its own innovative species protection strategies off of Federal land. The importance of this can hardly be overstated. With the Northwest Forest Plan as a foundation, the State has been able to construct a broadly accepted salmon recovery strategy and avoid extensive Federal intervention to protect listed salmon species. The result is that private landowners have had tremendous opportunities to develop their own voluntary strategies for salmon recovery, knowing that the Federal lands will form the backbone of habitat for species recovery.
The plan has provided a much higher level of protection for late successional species and fish than has occurred through previous Federal management. Although we must await the results of the monitoring to learn if trends are upward for populations and habitat for threatened and endangered species, it is clear that prior forest management practices posed an unacceptable risk to sensitive species.
The plan has been a significant success in improving interagency coordination, as has been alluded to here today by the previous two speakers. The Forest Service and BLM are working together on many fronts in an effort to coordinate their land management decisions. In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Environmental Protection Agency seem much more willing to work in harmony with the States on larger ecosystem and landscape goals than has been their past history as regulatory agencies.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The plan has brought calm to the forests of the Pacific Northwest. The success the plan has had in withstanding court challenges has broken the gridlock that paralyzed Federal forest management for almost 5 years in the early 1990's.
I do want to emphasize, though, the plan has not been perfect and, in fact, suffers from a number of significant flaws. First, the plan has failed to deliver the timber supplies that it promised. We knew from the beginning that the 1.1-billion-board-foot-per-year target would be hard to achieve. With 80 percent of the harvest coming from old-growth forests, it was inevitable that protests and the requirements for complex and unfamiliar watershed analyses would slow this effort.
Second, much of the acreage that is being counted upon to provide late successional habitat is now in young stands that were planted with the objective of timber management. The result is that these overly dense forests will take decades or centuries to provide the needed older forest habitat. It is widely agreed that thinning will accelerate the desired habitat characteristics. Unfortunately, there is little incentive to manage in the LSRs because of the public controversy that would attend these efforts.
Third, reserves in certain fire-dependent ecosystems may be inconsistent with ecosystem restoration. In portions of eastern Oregon and even some drier sites in southwest Oregon, there are watersheds that evolved with a history of frequent low-intensity fires. The elimination of fire from these ecosystems over the last 90 years has moved them away from their historic structure. Placing these areas in reserve status where there is no opportunity for mechanical treatments or prescribed burning will tend to move them toward a less healthy condition.
The riparian reserves described in the record of decision may be more than is needed to achieve their purpose. There is opportunity within the record of decision for these areas to be managed so long as the activities promote riparian values. However, there is a hesitancy on the part of managers to propose treatments in these areas because of the added controversy and planning effort that is required.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Finally, the survey and manage requirements under the plan may not be achievable, and thus could put the entire plan in jeopardy. We are supportive of the plan's emphasis on protecting all creatures, great and small. Unfortunately, it has become apparent that the burden of the survey and management obligations may be so great as to not be achievable in the near term. We support efforts by the Federal agencies to identify opportunities, within existing law, to apply the survey and management requirements with enough flexibility to keep the plan strong while providing species with needed protections.
I would like to make two final points if I may, Mr. Chairman, regarding the future of the Northwest Forest Plan. The Northwest Forest Plan is inherently unstable and will need to evolve if it is to provide long-term guidance for Federal forest management in the Northwest. The science is clear and the record of decision is clear that any harvest of old-growth forest ecosystems will increase the risk to old-growth dependent species, including those listed under the Endangered Species Act. Yet the plan relies on extensive harvest of old growth, including that within roadless areas, to maintain the necessary timber harvest volume. There is tremendous internal tension here, and this tension will increase over time.
Every month we are receiving new science that talks about the importance of old-growth forests. At the same time, public demands for protection of these great forests seem to increase with each passing day.
The time will soon come when we will need to formally reexamine the forest plan. Some difficult questions will need to be asked, such as have we provided too much protection to riparian areas? Have we provided too little protection for older forests? Should we expand protection of roadless areas?
The second point, one of the key issues that has not been adequately addressed is what is the appropriate level of involvement by local communities in planning efforts? In this regard I would like to commend you to a process that the Western Governor's Association has given voice to and is calling Enlibra. This process is designed to integrate social, ecological, economic, and cultural dimensions to help find solutions to environmental problems and decision-making. In a nutshell, it endorses collaborative problem-solving and stewardship. There are eight principles. A few of them here are particularly relevant.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The first one, national standards and neighborhood solutions, speaks to the appropriateness of national standards, but also to the empowerment to other levels of government to come up with solutions that meet or exceed those standards without a set prescription.
The second principle, collaboration, not polarization, emphasizes using collaborative processes to break down barriers to find solutions. It recognizes that we are coming to the limits of making progress in achieving our environmental goals using regulatory tools. It also speaks to the possibility of pursuing our individual objectives in a way that builds community rather than disrupts it. Through broad, inclusive, open, and transparent processes, there is greater potential for acceptance and support for these decisions.
Change a heart, change a nation. The sixth principle states that environmental understanding is critical. It also emphasizes that we need individuals to understand what their relationship is to the environment and what their stewardship responsibilities are. If this happens broadly at the individual level, it has the potential for a profound effect nationally.
And finally, the eighth principle, solutions transcend political boundaries, addresses something that we have tended to gravitate to here in Oregon, using natural hydrologic units or other appropriate geographic boundaries for environmental problem-solving.
I think the Applegate partnership that you will be hearing about in a few moments here in southwest Oregon as well as some other examples in northern California and New Mexico can serve as an example for the type of collaborative relationship between local communities and the Federal land managers that we would like to see developed. Thank you for the opportunity.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Green appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you. Mr. Brown, welcome.
STATEMENT OF JAMES E. BROWN, STATE FORESTOR, OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY
Mr. BROWN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman of the committee. I appropriate the opportunity to be here. You have my written statement, so I am not going to paraphrase that for you. I think what I will do is maybe contrast how we try to manage State forests here in Oregon to maybe help enlighten the discussion.
I have worked for a seven-member citizen board much like many States haveJim Garner in your State, Mr. Chairmanand we manage 786,000 acres of State-owned forestland that is in two different fiduciary ownerships, common State lands and lands that were tax-delinquent and then later deeded for the forestry to manage on behalf of the counties.
What I would like to do is highlight a few things that we have tried to do, because we are under the same tugs and pulls that the Federal forest managers are.
The first thing we did was we sat in the back and looked at what the law says, and then through administrative rules defined the purpose of the land. You can see that on page 6 of our testimony. Our feelings, our reason for doing that, was you interview it up front, or you are going to have that debate as part of the planning process and the invitation process.
We felt we needed to have that debate up front, so we did. We created a discussion in the board, and we ended up with the administrative rule that you see paraphrased in front of you. What we tried to do in that rule was to recognize that we needed to satisfy both the community and place, that is your local communities, as well as the communities in the broad public and meet their needs.
The second thing we have done is we have used what is called goal-oriented planning versus issue-driven planning, which has largely been used by the Federal agencies. And the reason we did that was by resolving issues against the goal, we are better able to get down to where you want to get.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If you use issue-oriented planning, you are largely going to divide the baby into mobile parts as you try to satisfy each of the agencies. So our goal was to achieve the greater value as we defined by our goal.
And, really, what we are trying to do is manage a portfolio of assets to enhance the entire portfolio as well as individual assets in the portfolio and thus provide the public with a broader array of social, economic, and environmental entities.
Third, we have operated on the principle of trying to find a win/win solution rather than using a setaside or approve approach management. And thus we are pursuing what is called structure-based management, which is an idea that came out of Chad Aldrin of the University of Washington, further using the sole postal system with the natural dynamics of the forest in order to provide early, mid, and late successful habitat for the species, and yet at the same time be able to go in and harvest timber; and we didn't necessarily think that those were incompatible.
Fourth, we have involved our sister agencies in the planning process from the beginning, specifically the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They accepted our goals, and we accepted their goals, and thus we have jointly developed the strategy for owls, murrelets, fish and other species, as well as timber projects.
We have jointly identified the management assumptions and the forest finding and the search and monitoring that is necessary to validate whether we have made the correct management decisions. In essence, we have developed a high level of trust with each other, which is key if you are going to be managing land.
And I would submit to you that on the Federal plan, they are operating on the basis of a high level of distrust, which has dual risk, and so to confirm what you see as the set of standards and guides that are so prescriptive that they can't accomplish real work.
Now, we will, as our volume, take your point of focuses of standard guide, we will do some data function as we implement the plan. You have to do that. But we will do it by local managers and a basis for the local citizenry rather than get some restrictive for that.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Actually, we have used up front good public involvement processes. Those are very difficult to do. We have had the public involved in every stage as we have gone through our decision-making processes as we put our plan together. But in the end, you get better answers. You get better answers that are going to stick by you involving the public up front.
We have taken our plans out for open scientific peer review and then made adjustments in our plans based on peer review. We thought through the integration of our planning process and our operational processes, and you can see that behind page 8 of my testimony, there is a table that shows you that.
Another feature that Oregon has done is we have harmonized our statutes, that is, our land use laws, our water quality laws, laws that I am responsible for implementing; so that in the end I am responsible for implementing those laws, and my feet are headed to the fire to see that I am implementing them rather than the responsibility being divided among a number of agencies.
Finally, we have thought through in all of our discussions with win/win or no deal. And this is in sharp contrast with what I see through the Federal regulatory agency, particularly at the policy level. At the technical level, it is quite easy to come to an agreement with that. At the policy level, they seem to be so closely aligned with their own view that they can't pursue one decision. And this in turn creates unintended consequences, such as serving many that damage the credibility to the programs of the processes. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Brown appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you very much, Mr. Brown. I will extend your regards to Jim Garner, who is a good friend of mine.
Mr. BROWN. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Ms. Kupillas, welcome.
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STATEMENT OF SUE KUPILLAS, JACKSON COUNTY COMMISSIONER
Ms. KUPILLAS. Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, welcome to Jackson County. Fifty percent of our land base is Federal forest, so this is very important to talk about forests here today.
There are serious problems with the Northwest Forest Plan. The serious problems cause significant impact on the social and economic structure of our community. The problems have a cumulative effect on these communities that may cost a valuable resource on infrastructure, and skills will disappear. Further, we may need the last vestige of the pioneer heritage that still exists in these rural communities.
The effects of the reduced timber supply that caused changes in here are massed on a scale inauguration by the Federal agencies. Moreover, the problems are not just with the cumulative effects on the communities, but with the potential of long-term harm to be caused to the forest.
Today I will talk about just a few of the problems, but then offer some solutions that are workable under the Northwest Forest Plan. The solutions will take a strong leadership to make sure that they happen.
To begin with, there is a problem with the mission that is outlined in the FEMAT plan, that is, the mandate to produce a plan to break the gridlock, and you have heard about this numerous times. It did not break the gridlock or stop the lawsuits. The protests, appeals, and lawsuits have continued, as well as the excessive requests.
And further, the plan added later to regulation like the surveys of managed species, which each forest now treats as though they were threatened and endangered. I counted them. There are 421 species that are presurveyed and managed. This causes a restrictive overlay that leaves the entire process open for appeals and lawsuits, moves even AMAs and matrix further from any kind of active management, and totally moves the system into gridlock, the exact opposite result of the mission of the President's Northwest Forest Plan.
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The solution is to assume that we survey as many species that exist in plenty of the undisturbed forest reserves. Look for them in reserves and exempt AMAs and matrix from the requirement, allow management in AMAs and matrix without these surveys.
The principle of goal three requires that the efforts be scientifically sound. However, there is an underlying assumption that less management will move the forest toward LSRs, that it is desirable to create all Late Successional Reserves, and that they will then preserve prime habitat for all species.
The plan is progressing in a way that would make one believe that to operate under those assumptions, it is progressing toward a no management status. It appears that way because the layers of additional requirements and lawsuits have to penalize actions taken on the course and award no one, no management. The assumption that no management is better is not scientifically sound.
In our area of southwest Oregon, the forests are becoming very overstocked, and with the addition of the down woody debris, the forests are candidates for stand replacement fires, real scorchers that destroy everything.
Southwest Oregon has a history of forest fires, not fires that stock new forest for environmental status, but just the opposite. So what if the assumptions we are acting on are wrong about how to replace the Federal reserve? What if we are only preparing our forest for smaller trees and larger fires that destroy the trees, soils and species? If we think this might be true and we don't insist that some areas have active management to show other alternatives, then we are by the no management incurring the highest risk management alternative. That is not scientifically sound.
The solution is to allow active management in the AMAs and matrix as inclusion by the Northwest Forest Plan. Create areas of research, pilot programs, and exempt them from general appeals.
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Another part of the solution is to amend the rest of the decision. Record of decisions of standards and guidelines tells more of what cannot be done than with what can be done. When it comes to timber production, they do not describe one proactive action that can be taken. It is impossible to implement a negative thus detractor of the ROD standard and guidelines toward eliminating active management even as AMAs and matrix lands. Amend it to require active management that includes cutting trees.
Another solution is to actively support viable solutions that reduce the overstocking of small-diameter trees and fire hazard reduction and improve safety in surrounding communities. We are doing a feasibility study that will do that and point out that it is a very important plan, and I would encourage you to pay attention as we do that.
The social and economic requirement is supposed to be met by a general large-scale reporting on a regional basis based on statewide and county participation. This is ineffective. The large-scale reporting masks the effect of what I call our primary communities, our rural communities. These are communities that are characterized by people who make their living from the land. They pride themselves by introducing the figures, introducing in their communities a product used by the community and in our country and responsible consumers; that is, they are taking the responsibility to produce here in their backyard, not transfer the extraction to other countries where they do not have the environmental protections.
The scale of reporting misses that jobs have changed from production to service, from local to distant, that the income in the community has diminished, that social programs have frayed, that housing and income are down, single-parent families have increased, and that drug and alcohol abuse is on a sharp rise in these rural communities. The skills of infrastructure are diminished or gone, and the heritage is becoming only important for future generations.
The large-scale analysis also hides the socioeconomic effect of early mill closures. When events happen slowly over time, it is difficult to actively assess the cause of the action and effect. This is the problem.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC There is a good reason to believe that the lack of Federal timber supply has caused the small family-owned mill to close. It is hard to believe, but it is common sense. Granted, there are a number of things that affect the closure of the mills, but without the timber supply from Federal lands, you can bet the mills could not finance the upgrade technology to compete.
The cost of these mill closures to the economy is one we can quantify, and if you ask me a question about it, I will tell you about a economic analysis that we did on that.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I will take that cue.
Ms. KUPILLAS. Additionally, because of the listings, the changes in management, the grazing allotments are being reduced drastically. This is no economic analysis of the decline in the industry as our cattle producers are being squeezed out of the Federal lands. Federal policy is not considering the cumulative economic effect of the changes. The Northwest Forest Plan can share responsibility for those management changes.
The solutions in making the Northwest Forest Plan legally responsible and address social and economic effects are that the BLM and the Forest Service be required to set up advisory committees for each forest to make sure the forest balances social, economic, and environmental input.
Interests of oversight from community members. That the payments to counties for purposes to the communities become stable and permanent. These payments would still contain language that would allow for the reverting to historic payments for timber cut if the Congress fails to continue safety net payments. This would preserve the county seat at the table where the decisions are made and preserve standing.
That contract for agency management activities gives preference to local contractors with knowledge in both areas. That would partially address the economic issues in the rural communities. Find and amend the recordkeeping to include the poor timber harvest; tell what can be cut.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I recommend also that the Chief of the Forest Service and BLM, prior to analyzing the cumulative economic effects from their actions on communities large and small, that is, analyze the economic effect of the reduction of harvest, reduction of cattle grazing allotments, decommissioning of roads, land trades and the reductions in forest payments to counties, including O&C payments.
Each forest should have an economist as well as a biologist. The LSRs, are they really scientifically sound? Have a balanced committee review the facts and insist on peer review of the work that the committee does.
To conclude, we do have bitter experience living in southwest Oregon, but the plan has fallen far short of the recommendations in forest health and in social and economic decisions in our rural areas. The third-year review being conducted now in the BLM office is a real opportunity to examine those final and private issues. I would ask you as our representatives, Members of Congress, and to direct the agency to commit to addressing the whole equation of social, economic, and environmental issues, that is, put people and communities back into the equation. Make the plan sustainable by addressing the economics.
I have covered this list of doable changes, and it will take congressional overtime to help make things happen, but that can all happen under the Northwest Forest Plan. Thank you.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Kupillas appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF JEANNIE WEAKLEY, WESTERN COUNCIL OF INDUSTRIAL WORKERS
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Ms. WEAKLEY. On behalf of the 20,000 men and women of the Western Council of Industrial Workers, I would like to thank the chairman and the members of the subcommittee for the opportunity to appear before you today to share our concerns as my fellow Oregonians and I discuss the Northwest Plan, its goals and the impact of implementation on our region and working families.
I am here to put a human face on the issue and share the concerns of the labor communities. For the last 22 years, I have been a millworker for Local 2949 in Roseburg, a local affiliate of the carpenters union representing over 2,400 lumber and sawmill workers. I am also a member of the Pulp and Paperworkers Recourse Council, a member of the grassroots network of over 300,000 union and nonunion forest product workers.
Over the last decade I have witnessed firsthand the devastation to rural communities, my fellow workers and their families inflicted by the crisis in the woods. At that time I decided to become active in the political process to make sure the worker's voice is heard in the debates surrounding the future of our land.
That crisis ignited with a series of court-ordered injunctions which brought the timber sales in Federal forests to a virtual standstill. Without an adequate supply of resources, hundreds of mills across the region came to a screeching halt, and tens and thousands of workers were sent to the unemployment line.
Local Union 2949 lost 600 members. A large portion of them were forced to pack up their belongings and leave their homes to find other jobs outside Oregon. The Northwest Plan was designed to bring much-needed relief to the region and to end the gridlock in the forests.
President Clinton made a promise to our communities that the plan would promote sustainability by balancing ecological, economical, and social concerns. The labor community was most concerned with the assurances of providing a sustainable timber economy, protecting and enhancing the environment, and supporting the region's people and communities during economic transition. The livelihoods of tens of thousands of forest product workers in the Pacific Northwest rely directly on timber harvesting.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Today, looking back at the progress of the Northwest Forest Plan, we can conclude that the promise to provide a sustainable level of timber supply fell short. The Northwest Forest Plan has not adequately balanced the ecological and economic concerns. Already our members have suffered greatly as the Federal timber sale program has declined by almost 70 per cent.
In the Umpqua National Forest in my hometown of Douglas County, harvest levels fell 466 million board feet in 1989, predicting that in board feet last year. The struggle continues as workers now face an onslaught of administrative actions severely restricting harvest levels, including the road moratorium which denies access to the forests, and the Forest Service statement that recreation is the best business of the future. These actions illustrate a complete shift in policy away from a sustainable timber economy.
Today we find ourselves at the verge of another impasse. The Forest Service is considering a proposal that would virtually check on the timber sale program. My union brothers and sisters question the administration's pledge to the region as harmful proposals are being introduced.
I would like to comment on the part of the Northwest Forest Plan that promised to provide economic relief to the local community. The Western Council has worked closely with the administration to implement the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative, NEAI. Through economic assistance and job retraining to displaced timber workers, the NEAI sought to provide a sustainable future to workers, communities, and business adversely impacted by declining timber harvests from the National Forests.
In December of 1997, our union reviewed the NEAI program and discovered serious problems with the manner in which the funds were distributed and ultimately the way the programs have been administered. For example, our investigation found that only 12 percent of the funds distributed under the Rural Cap have gone to programs even remotely associated with the woods product industry.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Other concerns include the fact that the NEAI programs were pilot programs, short-term solutions for a long-term dilemma. The Western Council continues to work closely with regional officials and community representatives to promote quality jobs in the woods and to expand the programs beyond a test campaign to a standard way of doing business.
As we look back today, it seems obvious why the Northwest Forest Plan did not successfully achieve all of its goals. It was a Federal mandate handed down during a period of political turmoil. The plan was not based on science, but on politics, and the result was economic and social devastation to hundreds of communities and tens of thousands of working families.
A deal is a deal, and the Northwest Forest Plan did not deliver an adequate balance of ecological, economic, and social sustainability.
I would also like to stress the important segments of the Northwest Forest Plan that do work: community involvement and local commitment. The NEAI effort, specifically, makes an excellent example of a collaborative, integrated process between all stakeholders. The Northwest Forest Plan set out to cultivate greater trust, coordination, and cooperation and improve relations among agencies, communities, and government officials. The Western Council is committed to strengthening this relationship. The Western Council hopes to continue to build from the Northwest Forest Plan to help us articulate a clear regional vision of what can and must be done to further our effort.
Currently we are collaborating with local communities, landowners, and other stakeholders to develop strategies regarding ecosystem health. Our partnership attempts to establish and maintain the processes, environment, and conviction necessary to moving the concept of ecosystem health forward.
The conclusion is simple: Local solutions work. Consider our neighbors to the south in Quincy, CA. A diverse mix of workers, timber companies, environmentalists, and public officials overcame years of heated debate to create a workable solution for the entire community. The Quincy Library Group Forest Management Plan, approved by Congress last year, is a true breakthrough, proving that communities can come together from all sides to create sound land management policy, from the ground up.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Decisions about how to manage National Forests should and must be made locally. We are the problem-solvers, and we need the opportunity to be self-sufficient. The commitment is here. Give us the chance to be successful. On behalf of the Western Council of Industrial Workers, I thank you again for inviting me to speak before the committee.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Weakley appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF LINCOLN PHILLIPPI, ROUGH & READY LUMBER CO.
Mr. PHILLIPPI. Chairman Goodlatte, thank you for asking me to comment on the effectiveness of the Pacific Northwest Plan. Our company, Rough & Ready Lumber, is a small family-owned business surrounded by the Siskiyou National Forest in Josephine County, Oregon. The company now employs 160, down from 225. It was founded in 1922 by my wife's grandfather, Lew Krauss, Sr. We have operated for three generations.
I am going to begin my testimony by quoting an important statement from the 1994 Record of Decision with the President's Northwest Forest Plan. This section explains an alternative knowing it was selected as the best choice to fulfill the goals outlined in the President's forest summit. This section reads: ''The selective alternative in the final ASI unit responds to multiple means, the two primary ones being the need for forest habitat and the need for forest products.''
I am struck when I read this that those two needs are stated in parallel phrases as equally important goals, the need for forest habitat and the need for forest products. The statement goes on to quote President Clinton at a previous forest conference: ''We must never forget the human and economic conventions of these problems.'' And he asks for a plan that would produce a predictable and sustainable level of timber sales and nontimber resources.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What stands out 6 years later and what was characterized as parallel needs at that time have ended up being handled in a very nonparallel fashion. The first of the two goals, forest habitat, has clearly been the focus of agency attention, but almost to the exclusion of the second need for forest products.
It is this lack of attention to the second goal that I would like to concentrate on today, specifically in terms of how it affected our family and community. While every one of the options considered in the President's plan would have been drastic changes in our industry, October 1989 was particularly distressful to us, and we began to feel our guys would be in very definite peril with Josephine County being 65 percent federally owned. We had always relied on government timber sales for almost all of our production needs.
Now with the new plan, suddenly 93 percent of the land base in our area was off limits to management for timber. But the silver lining for us we thought was that though it might be a small amount, at least a dependable level of timber would be sold. We began making major adjustments in our operation based on this new level of timber volume that would be available for purchase. Our only choice now was to supplement the volume we once derived from Federal lands or simply shut down.
Basically we mortgaged the farm and bought private lands that we knew wasn't enough to run our mill, but we took that risk because we had been assured that a predictable and sustainable level of timber sales would be available to round out our production needs. Though that mortgage that we took on is a very real burden to us, the timber we counted on from Federal lands has never materialized, leaving us in a very precarious position.
Our company had some previously purchased government contracts that carried us through until now when they are coming to an end, and the frightening thing is we see no new ones in sight. But even with the huge mortgage there to satisfy, the environmental community continues its protest as though there has been no change at all. The picture is often painted of our company, for instance, as a huge monolithic corporation ravaging the southern Oregon landscape instead as a small family-owned business which is the last remaining sawmill in Josephine County.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This all comes down to the question of balance. The imbalance began when 93 percent of our forest was put off limits to timber production, but with that in place, we find it puzzling when so much fear arises over logging activity on this 7 percent of matrix land. And what is particularly disappointing is that the Forest Service seems to respond to the cries of the local minority rather than standing up for their own good work and the need for forest products, a major goal of the plan.
A telling example is the recently proposed Layman timber sale on the Siskiyou National Forest. This sale was a promising effort to sell a volume of around 10 million board feet in a forest that had yet to come close to selling its PSQ of 25 million board feet.
We were encouraged that the planning document listed the purpose and need for action as the need to provide timber volume with the support of local and regional economies and to meet the demands for wood products. But that statement was accompanied by a list of constraints so formidable that it virtually ruled out timber harvest.
As a result of these constraints, it is not surprising that the initial volume predicted for the Layman timber sale was substantially reduced and that the sale is currently held up with surveys for the Del Norte Salamanders. If even a valiant attempt to provide a timber volume like the Layman sale can't make its way through the morass of endless requirements, it seems unlikely that we will see any significant volume sold from matrix lands within the current framework.
And we haven't even touched on what is probably the single most insurmountable regulation that confronts us currently, the survey and management provisions in the standards and guidelines. This requirement is so ambiguous and unwieldy that it has the potential of shutting down the entire timber sale program in the very near future.
The 80 species required to be surveyed are not even listed as threatened or endangered, and for the most part, very little is known about them. In fact, we understand that only a few can be identified by one or two people in the entire United States. And most of them don't even have the official protocol to get this survey for them.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On top of these problems, the agencies don't have the funds, personnel, technical expertise, or time to survey all these species, and they almost certainly will not be able to meet their timber sale loads.
What makes this requirement particularly frustrating is that the agencies are not making any effort to survey for those species outside of matrix areas and may possibly have ground-disturbing activities. Because of this we have no way of knowing if these surveys are a complete waste of time and money since the species in question could be plentiful in the remainder of the Federal forest land. The potential effect in timber sales on these species is therefore negligible, especially since each year only a fraction of the major land will see any ground-disturbing activity.
But the murky nature of the survey and manage provision is not surprising when you consider the evolution of the Northwest Forest Plan standard and guidelines in general. What were designed to be helpful tools in interpreting objectives of the plan quickly became literal requirements, and worst of all, each one represents the potential of appeal or lawsuit.
Today, rather than supporting the spirit of the standards, some environmentalists are literally walking off streams with tape measures trying to find where riparian buffer strips are narrower than those dictated by the plan. Within a sale where miles of stream exist, if one 10-foot-long segment is found to be 1 foot narrower than specified, there would be grounds for a lawsuit that could delay the sale for years. So much for certainty and predictability.
But in order not to close on a completely hopeless note, we still have some faith that all this could be handled in a more equitable manner. And I would like to recommend that you consider the following suggestions.
First, work to lift the requirement to survey for the 68 category II species on matrix lands that are not at risk due to ground-disturbing activities.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second, require the agencies to survey for all 80 category II species on reserve areas to assess the need for any further protection on matrix lands.
Third, perform an in-depth analysis of the riparian reserves to ascertain why the watershed analysis process has not led to any changes in the interim reserve widths as the plan envisioned.
Fourth, call for the agencies to meet their 10-year timber sale goals by adding the 2 billion-board-foot shortfall of the last 5 years onto the next 5-year targets.
And finally, as you have seen over the past 10 years, if we don't find ways to limit industry lawsuit and appeals, all further effort will be fruitless.
Chairman Goodlatte, on behalf of our company and the community that depends upon us, I thank you for the opportunity to testify on this most important subject.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Phillippi appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you very much.
STATEMENT OF TOM DIMITRE, SOUTHERN OREGON FOREST COALITION
Mr. DIMITRE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for the opportunity to speak today. I work for action-based Headwaters as a project analyst. Headwaters is a member of the Southern Oregon Forest Coalition, made up of groups that have been working to modern maturity to seek compliance with the Northwest Forest Plan.
Besides Headwaters, the coalition consists of the Dear Creek Valley Natural Resources Conservation Association from Selma, the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center in Williams, the Siskiyou Regional Education Project in Cave Junction, Rogue Group Sierra Club from Ashland, Provolt Grange, the Takilma Watershed Committee, and the Thompson Creek Residents for Ecology and the Environment located in the town of Applegate.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC First of all, I would like to say that we support the Northwest Forest Plan; however, we believe that it is not being fully implemented. Is it helping communities, creating jobs, and protecting wildlife including many rare and sensitive species. Increasingly communities around southern Oregon are saying no. The communities of Williams, Dear Creek, Takilma, the residents of Slagel Creek and Humbug Creek, Yellow Creek, Lake Creek, and Little Applegate are saying no to projects in their neighborhoods.
These residents and many others seem to be on the Forest Service continuing the old paradigm of getting the cut at any cost. Timber quotas reign. While communities need jobs, wildlife and clean water suffer. It has also occurred because we believe an intense pressure was brought on the agency to get the cut out, pressure brought on by county commissioners, the timber industry, and Congress. That is one reason why the coalition joins Oregon Governor Kitzhaber in supporting the full decoupling of county payments from timber harvested on public lands.
A few facts regarding what has occurred since 1994. Nearly 20 stocks of fish have been proposed for listing or listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Dozens of streams have been added to the DEQ's list of water-quality-limited streams. The recent report shows that northern spotted owl populations are still declining at a rate of almost 4 percent a year.
Over the last 2 years we studied every project in southwest Oregon. We found that the agencies are failing to abide by the Northwest Forest Plan when it comes to survey and management of rare species, protection of water and fish habitat, land allocation protection, and in many other ways.
I will discuss a few typical examples. Our research has shown that the agencies are failing to adequately survey and find rare and sensitive species. Survey protocols in the Northwest Forest Plan are weak, and required surveys are exempted and/or delayed.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On the Middle Thompson timber sale, a project in the Medford District of the BLM, three different biologists and an acknowledged salamander expert from another agency wrote to the manager stating that the project violated the forest plan. Finally, one biologist wrote to the manager and warned that the project is subjecting BLM to a lawsuit. The biologists were in order. The manager signed off on the project subjecting salamanders in the project area.
Land allocations such as Late Successional Reserves are not adequately protecting wildlife and their habitat. The proposed ski area at Pelican Butte near Klamath Falls is becoming the conservation community's poster child as an example of how the Northwest Forest Plan land allocations don't protect our most sensitive resources. Hundreds of acres would be clear-cut in a reserve where cutting is generally prohibited. Reserves were set up to ensure the viability of the northern spotted owl population; recently reanalyzed all of the timber sale projects in the Pacific Northwest for compliance with the aquatic conservation strategy. The plan was designed to protect fish and fish habitat. Hundreds of violations in the Northwest Forest Plan were found.
Here is a partial list of the recommendations of the report made and we are asking you to implement.
No. 1, prohibit logging, road construction, mining, and grazing in roadless areas greater than 1,000 acres.
No. 2, reduce road densities, especially of high-risk roads.
No. 3, abolish timber targets and institutional incentive and reward systems. Get rid of the pressure to overcut. Fully decouple county payments from public lands to timber harvesting.
We continue to be willing to work with the agencies to fully implement the Northwest Forest Plan. In the meantime, the pressure to overcut our public lands must be eliminated. The agencies must cancel projects that violate the plan, like the Middle Thompson, the Pelican Butte ski area, and others that violate the law and destroy habitat.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Just as importantly, we will continue to insist that the agencies begin following the law and protect wildlife and their habitats, protect water conclusion sedimentation, create sustainable jobs, and ensure sustainable communities. We have a moral and ethical responsibility to do so.
We also have a responsibility to leave our kids and grandkids a better world, a place where Chinook salmon, steelhead and cutthroat trout still swim the creeks and rivers, where the northern spotted owl still flies through forests seeking prey, where salamanders fill their niche in the ecosystem, and where sustainable jobs in the community still exist, and where the proper balance of nature is not destroyed. Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Dimitre appears at the conclusion of the hearing.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
STATEMENT OF JACK SHIPLEY, GRANTS PASS, OR
Mr. SHIPLEY. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the opportunity to speak. My comments will be limited to the Rogue River Basin, and most particularly the Applegate Valley where I have lived for the last 31 years.
The Applegate Valley in particular has been identified as an adaptive management area, one of 10 in the Northwest Forest Plan. Some 70 or 80 years ago when we made some management decisions relative to the exclusion of fire and special fire in our ecosystems, we lost our forest on a crash forward with ecological disaster particularly in those areas that are fire prone in Southwest Oregon, and even Oregon in particular.
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC What we are experiencing now are insect populations that are endemic levels to epidemic levels, and the fire advances that we are experiencing all are now catastrophic in scope rather than the lower impact that has historically occurred.
The Northwest Forest Plan was viewed as a compromise with the conflicting interests and an attempt to move beyond the conflict. We experienced some temporary relief from the ongoing conflict, but again are moving back into gridlock.
In November 1998, the Oregon voters overwhelmingly rejected ballot measure No. 64, which was an attempt to severely restrict forest management on private lands in Oregon. There are interest groups who have advocated a zero cut on public lands, and I think this was the first or one of the first to do the same on private lands. The zero cut on public lands mentality may be directly and socially viable, but I think it is ecologically indefensible.
The Northwest Plan has been something less than perfect, but it has been a huge step in the right direction. There have been some positive results. There has been an increase in cooperation of agencies at all levels, particularly between the BLM and Forest Service in particular. There has been an increase in the collaborative process between agencies and local communities, particularly where the State of Oregon and Federal agencies have been involved, and watershed councils in conjunction with the Oregon plan.
The Applegate AMA, the Applegate Adaptive Management Area, has been ultimately successful in terms of implementing some landscape transient-level management projects that move beyond just timber harvest processing. One of the benefits or one of the side benefits of these landscaping projects is since the implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan, there has been approximately 85 million board feet of timber harvested in the Applegate primarily in a thinning process.
Some of the problems, ecologically our forest ecosystems are still declining due to the lack of direction and conflicting values. Short-term trade-offs are necessary for real long-term ecological results, and we need to stay the course to get those. The survey and manage process is a train wreck about to happen.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The agencies don't have the technical expertise, the staff or funding to adequately address the increasing number of species that have been identified.
What are some of the solutions? I don't think there is a single silver bullet that is going to save us here. I think there has been a number of suggestions around the table today, any of which may be appropriate. We have a couple that we might suggest.
The agencies should aggressively embrace the adaptive management concept for experimentation and research to develop some new management alternatives. Let's use the adaptive management areas for pilot projects to address some of the more vexing issues. This might be an opportunity to develop an alternative or some options that are equally viable to the survey and manage problems we currently have. Not to say that we don't do survey and manage, but let's look at our options, let's look at the habitat in a general way rather than by species and species.
We have an opportunity, I think, in the adaptive management area to also look at alternative funding mechanisms and management to come in. We should experiment with those, whether it is the numbers of acres being managed and see what the byproduct is. And I think the Applegate is where we have been able to produce a byproduct to the landscape. We think there is an opportunity to develop a forest stewardship project in the local community, and I think that may address some issues that were brought up earlier.
We don't want to lose the Lew Krauss small operations that have been here for generations. When we lose that capacity and come to our senses someday, we are not going to have the resources available to do that.
I think that we also need to develop and sustain good research and monitoring programs if we are going to truly do adaptive management over the long haul. We think also that there is an opportunity for the agency, the Federal agency, to look at new ways in doing business in collaborative management. There has definitely been an increase in the cooperation between agency and agency.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC However, I think there is also an opportunity for collocation and further comanagement of landscape areas beyond what we have now. We believe that the solutions can be developed in the partnership of community. The Applegate has the capacity and the desire to work with the agencies and find the solutions.
We are currently working on a number of collaborative solutions with multiple agencies and, obviously, list a couple of these just for an example. We have an ongoing process in the Applegate where we were asked by the National Fisheries and Wildlife to help develop an integration process for the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act that would be more user friendly to private landowners and try to get them involved. More particularly when the private land amounts to about 80 per cent of viable habitat in the watershed.
We have embarked on multiparty or all party monitoring programs in the Applegate where all of the monitoring data becomes transparent and to both the community of the place and the community of the interest.
And finally, the last project which I think is quite innovative has been a project with the Josephine County Planning Department, the aggregate industry and the regulatory agencies around aggregate extraction and fish habitat activity in the Applegate where instead of damaging the aggregate industry, the aggregate industry can become a help in the habitat while at the same time manufacturing aggregate.
Your support for continued implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan is currently important for the social, economic, and biological well being of this region and Oregon as a whole. Thank you very much.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you, Mr. Shipley.
We will now turn to our questions. Ms. Graybeal, are you familiar with the lawsuit Oregon National Resources Counsel v. U.S. Forest Service presently pending before Judge Dwyer?
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GRAYBEAL. Yes I am.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Could you explain what the impact of this lawsuit would be if the plaintiffs were to succeed?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. We have seen a shift recently in a couple of our lawsuits, from certain project lawsuits that go to the need of satisfactory to lawsuits that really go to the heart of the Northwest Forest Plan and I think that's what the ONC lawsuit is about. Are we fully complying with survey requirements in our entire program. And so the outcome of that lawsuit, depending on which way it goes, will have a substantial impact on all the project work that we do.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Could it prevent any ground disturbing activity from going forward on several timber sales until the Forest Service finishes its species surveys setting a precedent that could shut down every claim management activity, again, in the Northwest Forest Plan?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Again, depending on the outcome, it could severely disrupt any projects scheduled to go forward, timber sale or others. We are dependent on the outcome of the forest decision.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Are you familiar with the June 8 memo referenced during my opening statement?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. No. I am not familiar with that.
Mr. GOODLATTE. The memo comes from the Washington office.
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Oh, that one, yes.
Mr. GOODLATTE. It requests all regional foresters to suspend all pre-sale activities of any timber sale that is either the subject of litigation or could be added to litigation.
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Yes.
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. You are familiar?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. I am familiar with that.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I understand that that memo has been withdrawn and will eventually be reissued; is that correct?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. That is my understanding.
Mr. GOODLATTE. If the memo is reissued with the same instructions, what would be the impact on the ground?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Well, I think the reason it was withdrawn is because of the severe impact on the ground and so my guess is when it is reissued, it would be altered substantially.
Mr. GOODLATTE. My concern is that when you consider that memo in relation to the Oregon National Resources Council lawsuit, you could be effectively shutting down operations before there is even any ruling on the part of the court.
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Again, that was the impact discussions that we had with the national office on that letter. It is very difficult for us to comply with the species act conservation requirements and daily requirements if we implemented the letter as it was written, so that is why it was effectively withdrawn.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Wouldn't that letter be an open invitation to every environmental attorney in the region to file suit?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Well, that letter was withdrawn.
Mr. GOODLATTE. We are concerned that it stay withdrawn. Wouldn't it be a legal gridlock that the Northwest Forest Plan is supposed to avoid?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. It would be a substantial impact on the projects. Again, it was withdrawn so we are hopeful.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Were you a party to the June 10 conference call that led to the memo withdrawal?
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GRAYBEAL. No, I was not.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Can you tell us who was in participation since you are actually the Acting Regional Forester and Supervisor on those most being impacted?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Yes, I can. And Robert Devlin is here today. He couldn't get a chair at the table but he is the Acting Deputy on Forestry and the Director for Natural Resources. He is here if you would like to visit with him about that. He is here.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, perhaps you could tell us. He reports directly to you, is that correct?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Yes.
Mr. GOODLATTE. What were the objections to the memo that led to its withdrawal?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Again, to lay out and do complete disclosure, we have to know a substantial amount about where the projects will be located and what the units will look like. And in order to conduct adequate consultations, there is a lot of daily requirements about the cases. So we are looking for adequate disclosure and for adequate consultation, we still need to know quite a bit of information about our sales in units and projects. And it seemed to us that the letter as written would not allow us to provide that kind of information.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Does the Washington office, the national office, and when I say Washington I am referring to Washington DC, know about the Oregon Natural Resource Council lawsuit?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. I am certain they do.
Mr. GOODLATTE. They are. In fact, I think the suit is being managed by the Office of General Counsel in the Department of Justice.
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Department of Justice.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Is it a common practice for the national office to issue directives without first consulting with their local management or considering the impact that such directives will have on ongoing or future litigation?
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GRAYBEAL. No, it is not common practice. We tray to avoid it at all costs.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Was Chief Dombeck aware of this?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. I have no idea.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So you don't know whether or not he approved of this action?
Ms. Graybeal. The letter was signed by the Director of Forest Management, not by the Chief.
Mr. GOODLATTE. OK. Do you have any knowledge of when this memo will be reissued?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. No, I don't.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Now, here is my main concern about this. You've seen this memo issued from Washington, apparently without much consultation here in the Northwest. You've been told it would be reissued. That memo seems to telegraph the intent of the administration with regard to timber sales litigation. And I want to know what will be your policy on timber sales litigation between now and whenever that memo should be reissued?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. I guess I assume you are supposing that there are arrangements between the two. I have no knowledge that there are. In fact, I have been very, very happy with the kind of Department of Justice helping me get on the ONRC lawsuit. Again, they seem very eager and look forward to a very positive outcome in Judge Dwyer's Court.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well I appreciate that. But I am frankly astonished that folks in Washington would take this kind of action with such obvious implications for the entire workability of the Northwest Forest Plan. And I'd like to know what you would recommend to the Washington office with regard to the re- issuance of the memo with the same instructions.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GRAYBEAL. Well I am hopeful we will not have the same instructions for the impasse that we have already discussed with them. In order to do adequate disclosure, in order to do compensation work, we must be permitted to know locations and various specifics about the projects that we are proposing.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, a number of us in Congress will be your allies if what you are saying is you don't reissue that memo under the same instructions, same circumstances that it was issued in the first case.
My time has expired, I am sure we will have another round of questions. But we will go on to recognize Mr. Thompson.
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have some questions on the survey management process. And first I would like to know, it has been alluded to today that maybe we should exclude this on the matrix land, given the fact that it is, I guess, marginal in this process to begin with. Could someone give me some information on that? Does it make any sense to suspend that, the IS&M on a major fund?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Well, we are directed in the Record of Decision to do those survey management requirements. And the service has guidelines to do those surveys prior, particularly on a disturbing project on a number of species. And so that is the requirement and that is the standard and that is the one that we are currently using.
Mr. THOMPSON. Does it make any sense, though, given it is less than 10 per cent or is, in fact, marginal in the overall
Ms. GRAYBEAL. The issues that you bring up are the issues we have all talked about that create a lot of problems and so that is what we are looking at in the EIS. That is something in the EIS that we are currently working on. Live and learn, are there better ways, are there some different things we can do that will accomplish the same result, the protection of species dependent on ecosystems that may be more effective or cost efficient in the long run.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THOMPSON. Should the survey be done for any ground disturbing activity, not just timber?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. They are.
Mr. THOMPSON. For anything if a Federal entity
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Yes. It doesn't matter what kind of project, what the outcome of the project is for, any land disturbing activity such as fish habitat or
Mr. THOMPSON. It is the same level of activity?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. As far as I know, all the same on all of those.
Mr. THOMPSON. Should it be a different level of intensity given the ground disturbing activity if it is, say, clear cutting versus a thinning operation or a helicopter logging operations?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. I don't know if it should be,, that is in fact what the requirement is, and we just do the requirement.
Mr. THOMPSON. I understand that.
Ms. GRAYBEAL. We are looking at those issues.
Mr. THOMPSON. I understand that but I am trying to get your sense as a professional on the ground. Should it be different?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Would you like a professional on the ground to explain?
Mr. THOMPSON. Yes.
Mr. LUNN. I don't know if it should be or not and I think we are going to cover that in the EIS process, but one of the things that frankly doesn't make quite as much sense as others is where we go into thinning in LSRs, these are usually in managed stands that have been clear cut in the past, and going back we had the same requirements on that originally quality surveyed managed stands for the surveyed managed species. We ended up discarding parts of these units that had been clear cut previously because they had been reinhabited by the same creatures we were looking for. These are things that accelerate the management characteristics.
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. THOMPSON. Do we have the personnel and the funding to do an adequate and expeditious survey?
Mr. LUNN. I can speak from the Siskiyou standpoint on that and our cost, for example, when we were bringing the murrelet and owl back in 1991 and 1992, about $100,000, and that was a program based on 164 million board feet that we were trying to produce. This last year survey management costs are up to $520,000 and the program is only 24 million board feet of timber. We are unable to clear that volume because of litigation and the increased complexity of the management survey management process.
Mr. THOMPSON. If the survey finds that a specie that was thought to be less in number than it actually is, what happens then?
Mr. LUNN. We don't actually know how many numbers there are supposed to be because these are threatened generally and not a lot is known about them and their mere presence takes away the opportunity to continue the project.
Mr. THOMPSON. So to be determined, the action would be determined based on the numbers but there is no standard established?
Mr. LUNN. We have standard protocols when we find them in a project and we modify to check that out.
Mr. THOMPSON. So the modification happens based on what number?
Mr. LUNN. Just the mere presence.
Ms. GRAYBEAL. And these are not threatened, endangered, nor sensitive species. They aren't classified in any way, they are just species that very little information is known about all of them. And surveys have occurred whilethey are very intensive in data intrinsic to improving our knowledge.
Mr. THOMPSON. Let's see if I can come at it a different way. If you do the survey and you find the information that you need and there is no indication that there is a numbers problem about the specie, does that affect the cut number?
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LUNN. Again, the problem is we have no final numbers associated with the species throughout its range. The only place we look, the only place we have funding to look is specifically where the project activity is going to occur. If we find the species such as the Del Norte salamander in the otherthe projectthat part of the project is modified or eliminated.
Mr. THOMPSON. And that is without any consideration for the same specie in non-matrix land?
Mr. LUNN. Correct.
Mr. THOMPSON. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Walden.
Mr. WALDEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Now, Ms. Graybeal, is it true that a survey of national requirements in the forest plan are inserted in the record and single out any opportunity for public notice or comment?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. They are in the Record of Decision and they were not in the EIS that led up to that record decision.
Mr. WALDEN. So there is no opportunity for public involvement?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. They were in the Record of Decision but not in the media documents that preceded this that laid out the alternatives and disclosed the intent.
Mr. WALDEN. Do you know why the requirement that seems to be all characterized and troublesome in the process is that it was not given a public hearing?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. I am sorry, I don't.
Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Lunn, I would like to ask you a couple of questions. Do you know forest supervisor Ted Stubblefield?
Mr. LUNN. Yes, I do.
Mr. WALDEN. Would you regard him as a credible professional?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LUNN. Supervisor Stubblefield has a long and distinguished career, Greg.
Mr. WALDEN. In a letter to Chairman Goodlatte, he described a survey made of the requirement as, quote, unquote, exhaustive and, quote, creates huge workloads for all. Do you agree with Mr. Stubblefield?
Mr. LUNN. Yes.
Mr. WALDEN. Could you give the subcommittee your candid and unfiltered assessment of the impact that the survey management is having on these activities, and is survey management a tougher standard than the Endangered Species Act?
Mr. LUNN. First of all, it has several different effects on us. The cost, the labor or intensive nature of it, the uncertainty, the lack of protocol in some of these cases that we are taking forward now causing it to be a really difficult undertaking successfully clear through.
Along with that, I have, we run into the fact that it is probably a lawyer's dream in that it also provides a good underpinning for many lawsuits we are facing because of that same uncertainty and difficulty of process and those kinds of things because people don't agree on how it should be done.
In terms of how it comes out related to the Endangered Species Act, we have been able to work for a number of years now with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service wants to include consultation on these species. We have some pretty clear things that we do to be able to continue on the project and in terms of getting paid for this and whatever their biological opinions.
The survey managed species really. The only change we have is to remove the activity from that area or to modify it in such a way that it is no longer being threatened in that habitat.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WALDEN. So basically it stops anything from happening?
Mr. LUNN. Yes. Actually, it is no more of a barrier right now than the Endangered Species Act was.
Mr. WALDEN. I would caution you, too, about your comments about lawyers and attorneys; our subcommittee Chairman is one.
Mr. GOODLATTE. There are lawyers and then there are lawyers.
Mr. WALDEN. OK. Mr. Tehan, do you think it is appropriate to set a standard that is tougher than the ESA for species that are not even listed, merely to see if it is affecting fish and wildlife?
Ms. BARRY. I will just comment on that about the Fish and Wildlife Service. I think it is important to remember that the framers of the forest plan envisioned 5 years ago I guess it was, that there were some species that were linked to late special old forests and to maintain the viability of those species, they put them on a list and they said, let's survey for these species, let's plan for them when we see them.
Well, as time evolvedand one of the characteristics of the plan is what we have mentioned as adaptive management. Once indeed the purpose of the EIS is that we discovered maybe a better way of doing things and we may want to move those specie numbers to a different list and manage accordingly. So it was envisioned one way and we are adapting management and coming up with a supplemental EIS.
Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Tehan.
Mr. TEHAN. My agency doesn't have any quantity species on this stuff, I think it seemed to be a reasonable approach at the time as the way Ms. Barry said, lacking information that little was known about.
Our agency felt under the Endangered Species Act that had been passed trying to do status review for a large number of species and perhaps another venue that can be used to develop information about the status of species and listings. And we have been undertaking a very large status and doing all of the West Coast, some on stocks here for a number of years.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I think that some of it now is just the type of review that land agencies seem willing to make decisions about land management before they have kind of an official understanding of what those species stocks are.
Mr. WALDEN. But isn't there a difference between collecting information, when you find a new sub-specie, you don't stop any activity, do you, just because you have identified it?
Mr. TEHAN. That is correct. So there is definitely more risk in which approach you use.
Mr. WALDEN. Risk, or does it shut down any activity which is even more stringent than the ESA?
Mr. TEHAN. Definitely more stringent.
Mr. WALDEN. We don't know whether these are threatened or endangered species. Do we surveyMs. Graybeal, if youor whoever is best to address itare we doing the same sort of survey management on the other lands? Do we do this out in the forest or just on this 20 percent?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Well, there are broad requirements on the ground disturbing projects so that is the trigger, not the land that it occurs on. Since most of our projects are timber sales, are occurring in ARS or low risk management, that is where it is.
Mr. WALDEN. Do you know, are any of your services doing this sort of management survey anywhere else other than right here on lands that aren't currently at some protocol in place for what happens over here, where nothing happens over here, where something may have happened, some controls or is there just
Ms. BARRY. It is appropriate to be on the watch to make sure the species don't get on with anything else.
Mr. WALDEN. Sure.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. BARRY. To look for those that seem to be on the risk and put them on a candidate list for listing, but that is happening nationwide.
Mr. LUNN. And we do have one that is more limited and that is trying to determine its presence outside oftrying to change the boundary line where we survey for these species, we are supported by the Fish and Wildlife Service on that project and the Forest Service.
Mr. WALDEN. Quick one, Mr. Phillippi. What is the impact survey on management projects that you have? What have you seen?
Mr. PHILLIPPI. Well, what we see is that the Forest Service has been attempting to put up, I have, making legitimate attempts to try to put up timber sales. And I don't know if the species that are causing the timber sales to be withdrawn are actually survey managed species but I see them as being a constant tugging at reduction in any volume and it is prevalent on our local districts and throughout southern Oregon.
Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Shipley, would you agree, the same issue as it relates to the Applegate?
Mr. SHIPLEY. Well, I think that we have seen every project that I am aware of in the Applegate. I think what we are experiencing in the Applegate, and the agency folks will confirm this, but I think any project that has occurred in the Applegate happened inrelative to Forest Service activities has been repealed within the last year.
Mr. WALDEN. Commissioner, what effect would survey management have on your communities in this county?
Ms. KUPILLAS. It is hard to distinguish sometimes what is causing the reduction in potential timber harvest, but I know in speaking with each one of the supervisors or managers in this area, every time we hear from them, there is another reduction in the amount of the timber available for harvest, another reduction in the land base. And this one has been repeatedly a problem because it has so little definition that it effectively takes all the rest of the land out of production.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I sit on a conventional advisory committee for southwest Oregon and this has been a discussion with the members of that group also thatI guess they started optimistically but I am not feeling that there is very much optimism now. Part of it has to do with the fact that they are not peoplesurvey management people. People do not exist that have knowledge about them, so it is a problem.
Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Brown, if you had to implement survey and manage on the State forest lands, what impact do you think that would have on your ability to manage them the way you are today?
Mr. BROWN. Well, I think significant for the same as Nancy Graybeal has suggested to you. We have actually taken a different approach. We have sat down again with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and identified set strategies to deal with both game and non-game species, including the salamanders and things like that.
And the approach we have taken is what we have called, we have tried to identify the root assumptions that are contained in our plan and then rather than use survey, we are using search and monitoring to help us answer those questions of R&R practices having impact that we are coupling that then with the actual land management strategies in terms with preparing protection, protection of owls and murrelets as well as the active adaptive management. So we have used a very different strategy.
Now, you have to understand that is our land, we have old growth, it is all second growth as a result of a major fire in 1867 and a result of a subsequent fire. We are in a very different place.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Mr. Devlin, thank you for coming up. For the record, would you tell us your full name and your title?
Mr. DEVLIN. Sure. My name is Robert Devlin and I am Acting Deputy Regional Forester right now for region 6, my real job is Director of Management Resources for region 6.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you. Good. With regard to the June 8 memo, did you have any notice or did anybody in your office have any notice in advance that that was coming?
Mr. DEVLIN. I personally did not have any notice, I can't tell you whether anybody in my office had any notice.
Mr. GOODLATTE. What was your reaction when you got it?
Mr. DEVLIN. Surprise and more so, because the letter as I read it did not really spell out the context of what led up to the letter, so there were more questions in my mind I think and, in fact, I requested that it be addressed at the monthly conference call with the regional directors orthat included the timberland permit.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So the June 10 conference call, was that a regularly scheduled conference call?
Mr. DEVLIN. Yes, it was.
Mr. GOODLATTE. All right. And can you tell us who was participating in that call from Washington?
Mr. DEVLIN. Well, I have to admit I got on the call, I was late getting to it, 15 minutes, so I joined the call after the first 15 minutes. I know that Ann Bortuska I have the Director of Forest Management and the WO was on the call and some of her staff, and there were representatives from all of the regions. But I can't tell you who they all were. I know I was on and two or three of my staff in Portland were on the call.
Mr. GOODLATTE. During that conversation did it become apparent who had written the memo?
Mr. DEVLIN. I have no idea who wrote it. I know who signed it and that was Ann Bortuska and it was after Ann heard the comments in the regions that discussed both impacts and the questions that were raised by it, it was her advice to her staff to withdraw the letter until those impacts could be better adjusted. That is what they are planning to do now with full participation of the regions.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Ordinarily, wouldn't a memo of that significance require the approval of the Forest Chief, Mr. Dombeck?
Mr. DEVLIN. I am not sure. I don't know what ''ordinarily'' means anymore.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Nor do we.
Mr. DEVLIN. But I have to tell you from my personal opinion, and that is all it can be, listening on that conference call, I have full confidence that Ann Bortuska had no idea of what the impact of that letter was when she signed it.
And that, in my opinion, is one of the context questions that is also one of the staffing questions about how well that staffing advice that come from the regions.
And I think Ann, I think the world of Ann and I trust her as a professional. And I think she did the right thing by withdrawing the letter and setting up the process to include the regions in that discussion along with the Department of Justice. It is very important that we recognize the ODC and the DOJ are going to be at that table.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Are you confident that no one in the region 6 office made the recommendation for somebody in Washington that that memo be issued?
Mr. DEVLIN. The memo be issued?
Mr. GOODLATTE. Yes, initially.
Mr. DEVLIN. I have no knowledge that said we recommended it be issued. I know I recommended it be withdrawn.
Mr. GOODLATTE. And it was, and we applaud that recommendation.
Mr. DEVLIN. Wait until the second version before you applaud it.
Mr. GOODLATTE. OK. My concern is, and I don't want to cast dispersions upon any individual in the administration, but in my opinion, that memo was either an intentional effort to shut down any progress with the Northwest Forest Plan or it is the product of gross incompetence.
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I would like to get to the bottom of that. I am not sure how we do that. It may require us to make some further inquiries in Washington with regard to that; but I applaud your position in that, and Ms. Graybeal, that this memo should not be reissued in its current form. And I thank you for your testimony and your candor about that.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Let me address another area that I am tremendously interested in. Mr. Shipley, you seem like a very practical fellow.
Mr. SHIPLEY. My wife doesn't think so.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I had the opportunity over the weekend to visit an experimental project in the adaptive management area in California in the Goose Nest District; and it seemed to me to be a very practical way to address the balance that you folks are trying to achieve and that I think most people here want to try to achieve.
And that is a project in which they are trying to restore the forest to the late succession growth that apparently characterized these forests 100 years ago or more. And, basically, the effort is to go in and thin out the firs and allow the understory that create this huge fuel buildup, enormous fire risk, and they showed me an area that had not been treated and an area that was in the process of being treated where they go in and move that fir.
There is a substantial economic benefit for the community in terms ofon this one area, about 2,000 acres of an $8 million bid to undertake this project.
The Ponderosa pines are largely left standing so you thinned out, and then after that had been accomplished, you then go through and introduce fire, I take it, in an effort by man to imitate what may have been the natural occurrence in the forest like that in the 19th century and earlier.
And I wonder what you think about these adaptive management areas, and I know you have got some involvement in the Applegate, and what your thought is about that particular type of project, which if applied on a much larger scale throughout eastern Oregon and Washington and northern California could revive a failing industry and at the same time have a great ecological benefit for the environment by restoring the forest to the kind of health that we would like to see.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SHIPLEY. What you described in northern California in the Goose Nest is not dissimilar to what has been occurring in the Applegate, I believe. There has been some experimentation in the Applegate on a landscape level with Plenitiplow.
I know the initial project was started in the Applegate, had some shaded fuel breaks that were quite controversial, and there has been an evolution away, I think away from the shaded fuel breaks to something different since that initial project. And I think that these are very viable projects.
I think we need to seriously look at these overly dense, overly stocked stands, and we are starting to see the side effects of the exclusion of fire over this last 70 or 80 years. And I think what we experienced in 1987 and we have potentially every August or September is, again, a catastrophical event.
I think one of the examples, I think there are probably a number of examples, on the Boise National Forest, I think down in the Sierras in the Lolthan area, the cottonwood fire which was about 64,000 acres some years ago came through and basically was a devastating catastrophic event.
And there was a piece of private land that had been thinned from below, it had some commercial thinning, and when the fire hit that spot, went down to the ground, ran through on the ground and blew up on the other side on Federal lands. So it does work.
Mr. GOODLATTE. You think the Applegate should be given the same flexibility that the Congress gave the Quincy Library Group in California?
Mr. SHIPLEY. You want me to walk into that minefield? I don't want to go there.
One of the things when the partnership first stated early on and there were accusations from on high across the country that we were trying to usurp the law to undermine NEBA and these processes, and we have never advocated that. I think it is a very arduous journey.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I don't know how the folks in Quincy sustained that process back in Washington, DC. We have never asked for that, I think what we would really like to see is a collaborative process on the ground, including the agencies, around solution making. Part of the problem I think that occurred in Quincy, and I don't want to stand from afar and judge what occurred there from itthat intimately involved with it was that the agencies weren't going to be involved in the ground in the first place and there was a very adversarial role going on there. We have not created an adversarial role here.
Mr. GOODLATTE. With regard to the Goose Nest, it is my understanding that the survey management requirements came into being after the initiation of that project, and therefore we have a different standard.
What effect on these projects would the full implementation as we are hearing today of the system, the survey management requirement have on the ability to economically, in a viable way, undertake that kind of forest help decision?
Mr. SHIPLEY. Well, it would be my assumption that basically we would shut all the activity down.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Dimitre, what would you like to say about that project? Are you familiar with the Goose Nest?
Mr. DIMITRE. I am not sure what project you are talking about but I am a little bit familiar with projects over there. I think one of the things I would like to say is that any of the species that are required to be surveyed for, don't occur over there; for instance, the salamanders. I don't believe red tree bulls do either, so I am not sure they have the same requirement to survey very many species.
One thing I wanted to say though, the question came up earlier about are Early Successional Reserves good enough to keep salamanders and other species like that viable. And one of the things that was said before the Northwest Forest Plan came out was that the scientists were not sure that the reserves would keep these species viable, so that is why they have that kind of additional survey management requirement because so little is known that it is not even known if the Late Successional Reserves will keep these species viable.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So let me just say one other thing on the Middle Thompson timber sale over here in the Applegate that I was talking about. Out of probably 1,000 acres, 69 acres were found to be occupied by the Siskiyou Mountain Salamanders. So 69 out of 1,000, and those weren't even withdrawn, but if they withdrew that 69, that is a pretty low percentage of that project.
Mr. GOODLATTE. But we don't know anything about those acres that are reserved for non-timber harvesting. Should there be some concentrated effort to devise some kind ofwe are talking about species we have no idea whether or not they are endangered and placing an enormous burden on a very small percentage of our national forests.
Mr. DIMITRE. Yes, I think it is a funding issue. I mean, is there funding available to go out to the reserves and do surveys? From what I have heard today, there is not. We would support that.
One of the other things, especially about southwest Oregon, is there is a lot of endemic species here they don't find anywhere else. The Siskiyou Mountain salamander is found in a range of maybe, I don't know, 150 square miles, and that is it. The Del Norte salamander, that is a little bit bigger range. But a lot of these species are not found anywhere else in the world. So we would certainly support surveys and reserves.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Phillippi, do you want to say anything about that?
Mr. PHILLIPPI. Oh, I just thought I would. One problem is with the way we discuss the survey on the reserves which I fully support. But the problem is on these matrix timberlands that we are scrutinizing so closely, those lands were set aside in the forest plan as being managed for timber production. The AMAs were established and managed for new ideas on how to treat the forest.
Mr. Shipley has been a leader in that group, and I think he has done a great job. I just think that we overscrutinize a small percentage of our forest that doesn't need that scrutiny. And I think if we are going to put our money and our efforts into looking at a forest that nobody is looking at, and our Siskiyou National Forest is 93 percent and that forest is off limits to any timber production, that our efforts ought to be focused on that 93 percent and not on the small percentage we are trying to operate on.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. I agree.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Thompson.
Mr. THOMPSON. Well, I want to go back to this forestry issue which many people mentioned in the President's plan. Some folks have quoted what the President said.
I was in Portland when he made those statements and it seems to me, juxtaposing that day in the auditorium with what we are hearing about today about survey management, we can't get there from here.
And I can't understand how we are going to have any timber available in these designated areas with this survey management process the way it stands today.
So, Mr. Lunn, you may not agree with that but it sounds as if it really has a detrimental effect on taking out any of the timber that we originally thought that we could. Do you see any way we can change this process to achieve what it was we set out to achieve in 1993, I guess is when it was?
Mr. LUNN. Yeah, I think this is an important question not only for us here in the Pacific Northwest but also in the land in conservation around the world, because we simply cannot lock up resources when approaching the population we face. How do we do it?
First of all, we do need considerably more information about these species, as Mr. Dimitre indicated. Particularly in the Siskiyou Mountains we find the frog, we have some really neat habitat that exists nowhere else in the world, and we have 93 percent of the land base, approximately, if you take out all the withdrawals and stuff that are off limits.
So we look at the 100-year plan and 7 to 10 of 1 percent of any given land base on any given year might be an activity. The basis for the backbone of any kind of plan like the President's plan is the land use allocation that is put into place and provides a protective layer.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Still, what is enough? Is 93 percent enough? I don't know. It seems like that would provide us enough of a layer of protection except for maybe a few of the really key species that we could move forward some period of time to enable us to get the information to make wise and long-term decisions.
I think as we learned from, as Mr. Stubblefield indicated, I think we could with really minimal risk, the quality in the larger matrix area through logging, the matrix that we develop for habitats, that we have minimal risk for some period of time, we have less rigor and types of survey management.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. Dimitre, do you want to comment on that?
Mr. DIMITRE. I am not sure what Mr. Lunn is alluding to necessarily but I would question whether I guess not surveying would be credible right now. I think many people who are here today have said that there is very little known about these species and there needs to be more known.
Mr. THOMPSON. But how do you balance the need to know more about these species with the effect we want to have with regard to balancing the timber sustainability?
Mr. DIMITRE. I think it has been said today that generally where the species are surveyed for, there can be no management. First of all, I think that is incorrect.
For the Del Norte salamander, agencies are managing the Del Norte habitat all the time. They are not quite as rare as the Siskiyou Mountain salamander.
So to me, from what I have seen, the acreage that these species are occupying is not that great. I don't see it as a totally shutting down the matrix kind of issue.
Mr. THOMPSON. Well, we heard we didn't have the resources to do the survey on the matrix plan alone. And you yourself said that you would be supportive of additional resources to broaden the survey and that it is going to take a while for these resources, I think, to do that. I don't know how you can just sample in one area and get the information that we need.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It sounds to me as though certain management processes are going to have to be changed drastically in order to accomplish all of these needs. Part of it is going to be funding.
And I am one who believes that we ought to take some of the people in Washington who write these memos and put them out in the field where they can do some good. So I have got my own ideas about how we can increase your human resource.
Mr. DIMITRE. Would their memos out on salamanders be as reliable on their surveys on management? Again, I would suggest funding as an issue and if, possibly, enough knowledge is obtained about these species, certain areas could be set aside and then the others can be put back, I don't know.
Mr. THOMPSON. Is there a way to do it without shutting down the timber industry?
Mr. DIMITRE. Well, that is the way they did with the northern spotted owl, they said the reserves were out there to protect that and, basically, the spotted owls in the matrix are, they can take permits for those, so I assume it would be the same kind of model.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. Brown, is there a way to do it without shutting down the timber industry?
Mr. BROWN. Well, it is on a very different plane I think we are talking about. And for me, the model comes out of the international forestry discussions which have coined the terminology socially, economically, and environmental.
And the countries of the world, I understand Pakistan is an example, some of the countries in Africa have actually sat back and said, what roles do we want our different land ownerships to play and initially said that on their Federal lands they wanted them to largely provide the environmental values.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC On their non-Federal lands, private lands, private lands largely provide economic values and stigma because they don't have any place on the roles in between.
And I take the worry of the root of all these discussions go back to what role is it that we want our Federal lands to play? I mean everything stems out of that. And I think until we go back and address that question statutorily, I think agencies are getting caught in what you see going on here.
So that is not a direct answer to your question but to me that is where we have got to go if we are going to begin to solve this question. And it could be, as they have through the Northwest Forest Plan, set up a variety of roles that the Federal lands ought to play through the matrix, through the reserves, through the adaptive management areas. I mean, that is a legitimate thing to do.
But then get back in the line if those are the goals and we agree upon goals, we have to go back in the line and processes to allow the agencies to get that done. And what we have here, in my opinion, is a misalignment. Actually, a lack of agreement on goals but also a misalignment on the processes that they are required to use to implement it.
It is kind of all things to all people on all lands at all times, as opposed to a notion across the landscape over time. A little different.
Mr. THOMPSON. Well, I think if I owned a small mill and didn't have logs of my own to supply it, given all of the suggestions for getting out of this quagmire, I think I would be very fearful on how the small folks are going to be able to compete on the open market, purchase logs, and if we don't have some supply for them, I think we are going to see a real tragic end. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. You are welcome.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I just want to follow up on that. Mr. Lunn, as I listen to this discussion, wasn't it 7 percent, what was supposed to be available to lock up the other 93 percent? Wasn't that the whole concept here if we study this other in
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LUNN. Well, I think it includes all thatwe have to be careful of statistics because it is actually about 15 percent matrix. But then you have the ACS on top of that and you have some 15 percent so, anyway, there is oddball things about statistics. But the intent is to provide a technological brain pool of management in the Pacific Northwest. Protect the species to keep the other species currently listed. And that was the purpose of having these large areas of withdrawal is to provide that basic background to protect these species.
And it was recognized that parts of that needed to be able to move ahead with some assurance on the matrix acreage, I think which is about 7 percent available.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Should this survey management be done through the research side of the Forest Service or through the project side when it comes to budget?
Mr. LUNN. The problem with having it done through the project side is it is only single purpose to find out where we can do things if we find the species. We do not have the credibility, I don't believe, as administrators or specialists on management of the national forests to sustain theprovide the reliability of information that would be necessary to provide the management of all those other species. I think this is a research function.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So you would rather see it come out of there?
Mr. LUNN. Yes.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I have put a chart up for those who can see in this room, and then maybe Ms. Graybeal can comment. This is supposed to be the volume sold in relation to the annual project for region 6, The green bars being the budget for region 6, the brown bars being the timber sales, the actual sold volume over the last, what, 15 years.
If the harvest levels were increased as proposed by the forest plan, would that help you pay for additional survey management? Would it flow back here or not, do you know?
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. GRAYBEAL. If the harvest levels were increased, would we necessarily see that in terms of the region? No, not directly. The receipts go into the general Treasury, they don't come back necessarily to the Forest Service. Only through appropriations made, can make those commitments to us.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So your activities regarding forest harvest don't directly benefit you? So there is no motivation there to increase harvests to increase your budget?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Well, through our KB plans we are able to use that for areas that we do harvest and so we cut taxes through the harvest.
But no, there is no direct relationship between the amount that we offer and the returns we get.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So there is no driver there, in a sense, we cut more, we get more in real life?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. No.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Stories of people who run up tickets and
Ms. GRAYBEAL. [Nods in the negative.]
Mr. GOODLATTE. No.
Mr. THOMPSON. Mr. Chairman, I will yield back.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Areas that timber was supposed to be one of the primary functions of that area but really to the entire forest.
The Forest Service projects that we are producing about 16 billion board feet of timber in our national forests each year. There are those in other sources that predict it could be as high as 20 billion board feet of timber, and yet last year, nationwide, we harvested about 3 billion board feet of timber.
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, that produces a huge net growth in the amount of timber on our forestlands to continue year after year after year, and the result of that is what I saw in the Goose Nest. And, Mr. Dimitre, you didn't respond what you thought about that particular project but let's generalize a little bit more. Do you believe that timber harvesting serves a proper role in maintaining the health of our forests?
Mr. DIMITRE. Sorry I didn't answer that before. Let me just say, first, that I have been out on the Goose Nest on the ground many times and I have seen what they are doing out there, and the kind of thinning that they are doing I am supportive of. I think there is a place for that.
Mr. Shipley mentioned over in the Applegate and named some other places where Headwaters and the coalition is supportive; more of that and hopefully in developing secondary timber products out of it too. I mean, that is always another challenge, especially the AMA's. So yes, we do.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, I am glad to hear that. One of the concerns is that the way we make decisions about appropriate timber cut is the lowest common denominator, the cities make the cut. One person, not just in the area but they may be on a school project in Pennsylvania and file an appeal of a decision made by the Forest Service in a particular area.
And Mr. Walden cited some statistics of the rate of increase in the number of appeals. The cost of processing those appeals averages, I am told, somewhere around $10,000 for an appeal. And that is a tremendous amount of resources added to the burden from the ability of the Forest Service to do the type of survey that you would like to see and know more about what is in the forest, and it also diverts resources from the ability of the Forest Service to undertake projects like the one that I just described, that certainly Ms. Kupillas and Mr. Phillippi would welcome, because they also address not only the ecological certain but the need of the communities that they represent or the businesses and employees that Ms. Weakley represents.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I want to know what you think we are headed for, not just in the matrix area where we decided to allow this, but in the 80 percent overall, 93 percent in the Siskiyous, that are not getting any of that kind of attention.
Are we returning to the million acre forest fires of days of old and wasting a tremendous amount of resources and endangering many of those species that you have identified that could get toasted in a forest fire like that and are at a greater risk, it seems to me, than if they are put through a ground disturbing exercise like timber harvesting where there is obviously some risk to them, but not nearly as great as allowing their whole problem to go unattended for long periods of time?
Mr. DIMITRE. With regard to appeals, I think the Northwest Forest Plan came out 4 years ago and there was some language in there giving the agencies an opportunity to kind of ramp up to surveys; and since 1994 we have been advocating that happen. And we think that the agencies are still a little bit behind the curve on that.
So the appeals come because we try to work with the agencies. I have been out on the ground many times and we are a little frustrated.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So you shut down the whole process including the areas where we thought in good faith there was an effort to allow some timber harvesting, and don't you, in that process, by reducing the harvest by large amounts well below what is net growth?
And I would note that since 1950, according to my information from the Forest Service, there has only been 3 years since 1950 in which the harvesting of timber on our national forests has exceeded the net growth or the growth of timber so there was not a net growth in those years. The overwhelming majority of years there is a very, very substantial increase in the net growth, that without forest fires which we, I think, largely, wisely fight, especially the magnitude that occurred naturally in the past with the effect on communities and environment and so on with those fires, would be devastating. We fight those.
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Don't we need to have much more aggressiveness addressing the problems of the health of the forest relating to responsible timber management practices that would cull out the forest, and doesn't the general approach of the environmental community in fighting that and challenging that every step of the way threaten the health of our forest rather than promote it, which I am sure it is your intent to promote the health of the forest?
Mr. DIMITRE. Right. First of all, I would say from my perspective, the intent is not to shut down the forest, the intent is to get the surveys done. That is what we are looking for. If the surveys are done according to the Northwest Forest Plan, that is our issue with that.
As far as Late Successional Reserves, I don't know if you know about the Ashland Watershed Protection Project which is down here in the Rogue National Forest, but the municipal watershed in the city of Ashland, Headwaters is working with the Rogue National Forest to come up with a plan kind of similar to what you are talking about over in the Goose Nest and the Applegate where they do some thinning of the smaller trees, do some brush, things like that, to get the fire hazard down.
We don't support the cutting oF older trees in reserves, but we do support trying to reduce a fire hazard, keeping the lottery fuels out, cutting the brush, getting the small trees that are close together.
Mr. GOODLATTE. And that would include in the reserves as well as in the
Mr. DIMITRE. Right. That is in the reserves.
Mr. GOODLATTE. So you would go beyond the 7 percent of the Siskiyous, and what were the other areas? But the Siskiyous, there would be some timber management that would be appropriate?
Mr. DIMITRE. Yeah, I think you have to look at that on a case-by-case basis. But like I said, in the Ashland watershed, we are.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Ms. Kupillas, did you want to say something about that?
Ms. KUPILLAS. Yes, yes, I did. How did you know, do you read minds?
Mr. GOODLATTE. Elected officials sometimes, not always.
Ms. KUPILLAS. Well, I guess it sounds good what Mr. Dimitre said. That sounds good. He thinks we can do some timber harvesting and work hard, but we need some management in different areas. But we have experienced that here.
The HazRed sale that was in the Ashland watershed had a lot of people that protested it and it turns out that was a reduction of fire hazard. We have just been battling every single move that comes along with these different organizations. There may be individual organizations that agree with management in some individual areas but the result collectively is that every single action, it seems, is questioned.
The strategy for management, the proposed projects are changed so significantly that there is no economic value to even doing the timber harvests once you get the projects on the ground. And with these alterations, it makes them economically not feasible.
So while Mr. Dimitre and the coalition may collectively say, yes, we believe in timber harvest, I guess the jury is still out for the public and we can't actually move these projects forward because many individuals protesting on everything.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Do you believe that the appeals process should be changed?
Ms. KUPILLAS. Yes, I think that we should limit the appeals on some of the projects that are in the active management areas simply because we can't do the same management on every inch of the forest and observe every single value that everybody has on every inch of the forest. So the appeals should be restricted on the AMA and I would prefer that.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Would it be worthwhile to go out into some of the reserve areas and find some of the same species that concern has been expressed and knowing that there isn't going to be much, if any, timber harvesting in those areas and undertake the kind of programs that are necessary to preserve, at least some of those species and not focus so much resource on what little remains that is available to create an economically viable community?
Ms. KUPILLAS. Yeah, I think the interesting thing about looking for threatened and endangered species and the survey and manage, is that you should have to prove a negative. You have go out there looking to prove it isn't there, and that is very difficult to do. If you have ever tried to do something like that, go out and look at every inch of ground to prove that something isn't there. And nature moves all the time and things happen, and these animals and species move around, a lot of them do, and you can't prove a negative.
So, yeah, I definitely, to answer your question, I think that we should be doing some surveys with areas that are not disturbed. But I think we also need to look at that idea of survey and management of proving a negative. It is much more difficult than the threatened and endangered.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Ms. Weakley, we haven't given you too many opportunities to speak. Do you want to say anything about this in particular?
Ms. WEAKLEY. My latest concern also, I know we are all environmentalists, we are all good stewards of the land. We have learned from our past practices in the forests.
But, Congressman Walden, in your area alone, we stand to lose $126.5 million if there are zero cuts. The State of Oregon stands to lose $223 million. I understand that zero cuts could not ever happen but, what I have heard today, is coming very close. I understand that we have to go in and select log the brush and the fire hazards.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I understand that some of these jobs that are supposed to produce are called Jobs-in-the-Woods program and put our unemployed workers that are in our mills, our grocery clerks that are being laid off because of store closures also, a roundabout circle. Life is a full circle and I am just hoping that the solutions that we come across in Congress will have the job area and labor, not just unions, all labor, to stop our unemployment lines from being so big and our schools from being so small. I just wanted to say that.
Mr. GOODLATTE. OK.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Walden.
Mr. WALDEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to follow up with Ms. Graybeal and Mr. Tehan and Ms. Barry. Mr. Brown talked about sustainability in the forests. Do you agree with that definition? Maybe he needs to restate it for you in terms of sustainable forestry.
Mr. BROWN. Well, the international definition is meeting today's and tomorrow's needs socially, economically, and environmentally.
Mr. WALDEN. Did you or your agencies agree with that?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Yes.
Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Tehan?
Mr. TEHAN. Yes.
Mr. WALDEN. Ms. Barry?
Ms. BARRY. Yes.
Mr. WALDEN. Do you agree with President Clinton's agreement to maintain a, quote, sustainable and predictable on it too? Do you think that can be done with what we have heard today with this survey management on the 7 percent that is still out?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. Well, like we talked about, there is lots of issues here around this, we have got a supplemental EIS that is responding to those issues, the survey and management and interim strategy until we get some long-term knowledge about what we are working with, and I expect the EIS will recommend some changes. And so I am hopeful that with those changes we will be able to move forward as recommended. So I am hopeful. Now, that is not respecting what the Court decisions which we may get.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WALDEN. I guess that is what I am trying to figure out. And you talked about long-term knowledge and all that. Could you put this in a time frame based on your past experience with EIS's and others? What kind of time frame are we really looking at here before we get to a sustainable, predictable timber supply to those communities that they represent? I mean, I assume the EIS will be challenged in Court. Have you seen one yet that isn't?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. No.
Mr. WALDEN. OK.
Ms. GRAYBEAL. No, we all agree on that one, too, I am sure.
Mr. WALDEN. So givenand everythinghow many activities are going on the ground that haven't been appealed?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. We have about 500 that need decisions, that get made each year. It is averaging 140, 150 each year.
Mr. WALDEN. And you win most of those appeals, right?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. And most of those appeals are sustained and go forward.
Mr. WALDEN. But the delay is incurred in that process.
Mr. WALDEN. I want to switch to Mr. Brown. If the Northwest Forest Plan gives nearly exclusive importance to ecological sustainable forestry, can it really be properly characterized sustainable forestry in your definition?
Mr. BROWN. I would say, Congressman, not in and by itself, but in the larger perspective of the whole issue you and I talked about, yes.
Again, the United States is interesting and we have been so far unwilling to have that role discussed and other countries have. And I think that is something that the policy makers need to step back and think about. I mean, it is more than an abstract conversation. I believe the Northwest Plan was largely ecologically based. They took in little consideration of the social and economic impact.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Green, do you care to comment on that?
Mr. GREEN. I respect what Mr. Brown said and that is that we just can't look at the Federal forestlands alone and say are they balanced; I am sure we looked at private and the State lands as well. In the larger context maybe it does make sense thatmaybe not 93 percent but that the burden meets its impression on cull and land sold that our private landowners and State managers have the ability to manage.
Mr. WALDEN. What do we do in States like ours where there is such a high preponderance of Federal land, some counties at 70 to 80, almost 80 percent Federal land, that all gets set aside, there isn't that much private?
Mr. GREEN. That is a good point because it really does, there is a portion of the whole in some rural communities, I am hoping that the solution that may resolve that the chairman alluded to in the Goose Nest area and that there are opportunities to manage these forests and to produce some timber and actually benefit the watershed health rather thanwe have approached this a slightly different way rather thanI think we got the Governor at the same point, as Chairman Goodlatte is trying to get to, and that is can the non-management part of our ecosystem produce laws? We didn't approach it from the timber supply standpoint. That was clearly a dead end. We approached it from an ecological sustainability watershed helper perspective, we got the same point.
Instead of arguing about job, we argue about the benefit. In doing this the result was, and we are about to announce 2 million acres, not 1,000 acres, a 2 million acre demonstration in northeast Oregon where we will focus on understory thinning and we will, over the short term and long term, produce a project on the ground because we took an ecological perspective and we think the jobs will flow from that. So there are some opportunities there.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Let me follow up on that. Would you agree that that same principle needs to beyou talk about the burden of protection of species might be borne by the Federal lands. Nevertheless, those Federal lands change in character as time goes by and the ability to support a particular type of species changes along with it.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For example, we learned a lot about the spotted owls over the last two decades but one of the things we found out is that they can live in different types of environment, not just old growth.
And, second, that they utilize their own areas around them, some of which are naturally occurring meadows, some of which are meadows created by forest fire and some of which are created by clear cut. But they utilize those for hunting their prey and so on.
We also find that that is true of a number of other species and if you don't manage to take the place of forest fire and disease and insect infestation, you are going to endanger not only the health of the trees but also the other species that are to be found in those forests.
And, therefore, at some point in time, whether it is today or next year or 10 years from now, these same concerns that are being raised by environmentalists in the matrix area have slowed down our ability to harvest trees and sustain these communities, those same issues are going to have to be addressed in wilderness areas and other areas that have become almost sacrosanct; in terms of mankind, keep your hands off. But, mankind, keep your hands off can result in some disastrous consequences unless we just allow forest fires to run rampant.
Mr. GREEN. That was a very complex question, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. WALDEN. It was a statement.
Mr. GREEN. I understand. In general, I agree that if we sanction ecological restoration, we insist on restoration and even looking at what some historic resolutions were as a goal to resolve the immediate areas that you describe that by removing fire, in fact, we are actively managing it, if you are thinking to operate it the way it didn't operate.
Now, this is not true in northwest Oregon and including certainly the Northwest Peninsula, the fire doesn't play such a large role and not too difficult questions in areas. Out in eastern Oregon, you change things by fire and you need to think about what can we do to continue to operate.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WALDEN. Let's talk about recommendations to limit appeals in the matrix and AMAs. I believe that was the recommendation.
Mr. Green, do you think that would be something the State would be willing to support?
Mr. GREEN. I think we would be more interestedI wouldn't use the words limiting appeals, I would argue that by working quietly, the folks that have stayed in the appeals, sitting down at the table and talking about the appeals process.
But this conversation has occurred some years ago and a number of environmentalists, in fact, agreed to a streamlined process, they said this is the kind we need to do appeals, this is what it takes. Rather than take the 90 days, reduce it down, I think it might be a mistake to talk about limiting appeals.
Mr. WALDEN. We are now seeing, if the numbers I received from the forestry are correct, one a day being filed somewhere in the Northwest Forest Plan. Does that not lead us to some sort of gridlock?
Mr. GREEN. Well, it does but the issue again is the delay because 90 percent or more of them are upheld.
Mr. WALDEN. It is more than the delay, though, isn't it? At least you know what the costs are associated with in dealing with those delays.
And maybe I should move to Ms. Graybeal to explain to Mr. Lunn, both the cost direct of those appeals, and I have heard from people in the BLM and Forest Service about the enormous numbers of freedom of information requests that are coming in, and what costs does that have and does that take away from your resources to do survey management? Mr. Lunn? Ms. Graybeal?
Ms. GRAYBEAL. I am sure we would both agree absolutely. I don't want to indicate that we haven't normally had appeals, I mean, when we do have appeals, we respond to them, we are required to, and we want to. We do work with the parties in the appeal to see if they fully understand and ways we can reach agreement on those.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But, definitely, they cost us time and resources that could go to survey work, getting work done on the ground, jobs that come from that work; so, definitely, those come at a price.
Nonetheless, they also are our public's right to protest and appeal their government. So you are balancing the rights of citizens with the cost of on-the-ground kind of work and that is a balance we have been talking about all day. How do you reach the appropriate bounds to protecting citizens rights on appeal?
Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Lunn, do you have anything?
Mr. LUNN. No, I agree with what Nancy said and also agree with what Mr. Green said. The ideal thing would be to work these things out in communities but in the long term, issue of sustainability has to be sold and everyone has to be involved in the community.
On the appeals thing, what would be the difference is if we had the ability to look back at the appeals, they tend to be now aimed at stopping things in particular as opposed to maybe modifying the type of a decision made.
Over at Gold Beach, there was a real controversy with jet boats on the Rogue River. The community got together and worked out a solution to survive the appeal. The kind of appeals would be to get down to FYA things are extremely intensive staff work and really, I think, attempts to stop a project. And I agree with Nancy that the appeals project is a very viable thing.
Mr. WALDEN. Sure.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you. Mr. Lunn, let me close our questions starting with you, and that is to get a little specific information about the PSQ on your forests. Can you tell us what PSQ is and what it is on your forest?
Mr. LUNN. The probable sale clause is the amount of timber that we can develop sustainable given constraints in the plan. Right now, it is 24 million board feet. Going back to 1989 when the original forest plan was issued, it was 164 million board feet.
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. I take it you are referring to just one of the two forests, is that correct?
Mr. LUNN. That is correct. Yes, actually as of today I am also the supervisor on the Rogue River National Forest.
Mr. GOODLATTE. And that would combine being 64 million board feet?
Mr. LUNN. The Rogue River is 27 million.
Mr. GOODLATTE. 51. Under this PSQ, what percentage of the land base do you affect annually by timber sales?
Mr. LUNN. Less than one-tenth of 1 per cent.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Less than one-tenth of 1 percent is treated. And let's assume that the decisions you make about timber harvesting on those manpower, for the improvement of the health of the forest overall, whatever type of treatment you apply in that area, one-tenth of 1 percent, is that an ecologically sustainable percentage of the forest that gets treated each year?
Mr. LUNN. I think that is the problem being alluded to, we can't have healthy forests without providing some of these other outputs because we don't have any other way to treat the forestwe used to prescribe fire and logging, and all the tools that we use and, frankly, logging is one good way to effect fire hazard on large landscapes.
Mr. GOODLATTE. At one-tenth of 1 percent, that would mean it would take 1,000 years to treat the entire forests for poor health conditions whatever the source of those conditions might be, absent enormous forest fires and other naturally occurring things which we tend to fight butwe allow this fuel to build up, the risk of this fire to be even greater and the intensity and effect of these fires are going to be devastating, will they not?
Mr. LUNN. We don't ever intendaccording to the forest plan we are managing under right now, only about 10 percent on the two forests will ever be affected anyway. We won't go there, not for another 89 per cent.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. What will happen in that 89 per cent?
Mr. LUNN. I think normal processes will continue to operate. We will be faced with larger and larger fire and more intense fire behavior. If we don't treat them one way or the other, they are going to burn. That happens. It is not if, it is when, because they will burn.
Mr. GOODLATTE. And all these ecological concerns that we have about the distance of species and so on will be beyond our control.
Mr. LUNN. Well, the species here evolved through a couple of hundred billion years of different kinds, so I don't know howI think we give ourselves too much credit for affecting species sometimes.
Mr. GOODLATTE. I fully agree with that statement, absolutely.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Let me ask Mr. Tehan and Miss Barry, is helping Mr. Lunn achieve his PSQ a top priority for you?
Ms. BARRY. Well, we have certainly worked very closely at his local level with coalitions of our offices to help streamline our consultation process and to make sure those timber sales planned do not adversely affect that and so, yes, we work very closely in helping get his timber program plan so it will avoid the impact with the Endangered Species Act.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Tehan.
Mr. TEHAN. Yes, the National Marine Fisheries Service has also biologists located in Roseburg with the National Forest Office there and Fish and Wildlife Service and we did participate on those teams that helped design timber sales.
We did participate throughout the development of the forest plan, confident that the forest plan as presented is a sound strategy for fish. We certainly support the types of activities that are being discussed here as long as they are supported by the acts of local and also the watershed is set up based as a key community plan.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think there is been a lot of general discussion about fire hazard and forest health, and I think what we want to basically do in for participation is make sure that whatever types of treatments are being proposed in each individual watershed, it is the appropriate type of treatment that those stands need because as Mr. Green mentioned, there are a wide variety of ecological conditions throughout the forest plan area.
We have other types of stands that are driven by wind events and other types of natural disturbance so we are certainly involved and have no problem with the type of treatments that were being discussed here for long-term ecological health.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Let me ask Mr. Phillippi and Ms. Kupillas and Mr. Shipley how committed each of you are in helping Mr. Lunn achieve his PSQ. Mr. Shipley.
Mr. SHIPLEY. I am really intrigued with Mr. Green's comments relative to the management scenario that they embarked on relative to the ecological demands and back into the timber value issue. Am I interpreting that correctly?
Mr. GREEN. In my presentation, I alluded to that very concept to be used here in the adaptive management area. I think we have an excellent opportunity to set the PSQ aside and say in the Applegate Adaptive Management area, and let's back into an experiment, let's see what would actually prove out.
We are not talking about a significant land base across the landscape that might be an opportunity to experiment with, from the agencies to do this type of management in conjunction with the Oregon plan and see what the by-product really is. And I think we might be surprised, and I would ask that the environmental community stand side by side with us also.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Phillippi.
Mr. PHILLIPPI. I would say whereas we are not real happy with the PSQ level, the one it is faced with, it does represent a volume that
Mr. GOODLATTE. It is a predictable part, not a sustainable part?
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. PHILLIPPI. If they could sell 25 million. It represents a volume in our operation that is very important to our operation. It may be small in relation to the 160 million they sold over the lastbefore the President's plan, the forest roads, if I am not mistaken, somewhere 300 million board feet a year, they sell 25 million feet of that. They can't offer it to the purchasers. If I could help Mr. Lunn sell his 25 million feet, I would do whatever I can to get that volume sold; but they have a hard time reaching just that.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Ms. Kupillas.
Ms. KUPILLAS. I would support him and I would also add that my suggestion to limit appeals in order to be able to move forward with some projects would only limit appeals on a very, very small percentage of the land base.
What we need to understand is that as a county commissioner, we have land use actions. We have all sorts of actions and our government can be appealed at every stage and I support that. I think that is absolutely necessary to have an open dialog with the public; and when we are not doing things right, it should be appealed.
What I don't believe in is that a single individual can come in and disrupt the process. What I believe is that if the dialogue were to occur, we can actually sit down and talk about the projects, and if everybody in good faith would trust and walk away with an agreement, and that there is no one person that can absolutely trump the whole thing, then I would agree that that process would work better than limiting appeals. I haven't seen that happen yet. It has happened in isolated cases but there is always somebody who doesn't agree and that one person gets their way above everybody else's and it is my way or no way with them. There is no compromise.
You all are in the arena of politics. I think you understand compromise. And there are a few in your body probably that don't understand compromise and somehow they work themselves away from being at the table. They are not there anymore. And that is what that would be the only instance where I think limiting appeals. Where it is my way or no way and no compromise, those people can't trump the whole process.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think we can move forward in good faith with our communities. We have plenty of homeowners who are willing to sit down and talk out how to arrive at a solution that I think are really good. I will support Mr. Lunn.
In fact, I am real happy to have him as supervisor of both forests, and now I will only have one person to deal with and help. But I will support him in getting out, I think it is necessary for the health of our forests and for the socioeconomic return to our communities.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Thank you.
Mr. GOODLATTE. And finally, Mr. Dimitre, how committed are you to helping Mr. Lung achieve his PSQ?
Mr. DIMITRE. Let me just say that Mr. Shipley made the comment that over on the Applegate that they have this idea and that they are kind of dealing with the PSQ and see what the outputs are.
And, actually, Headwaters and other members of our coalition have been sitting down to meetings over the last year just trying to do that very thing with the Forest Service. So I think we support that idea.
I think something has been kind of thrown out here that one or two people are stopping timber sales but you have to remember that we have got communities running appeals separate from the environmental list, we have got people in Takilma and Williams, Deer Creek, and other places that are running appeals.
On one of the projects, there were 600 letters written to the Forest Service to please do something differently and I think deservedly so.
I think that it is a misconception to say that there is one or two people who are responsible for stopping sales, and maybe you have heard or not but there is a lot of unrest about timber mills that are thrown on out there, and I think there are dozens and dozens of people for each sale who actually would like to see the sale and project done differently.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. GOODLATTE. Well, I want to thank all of you. Mr Thompson has, I think, correctly noted that this is a process that should continue not only here but also in Washington where some of those bureaucrats ought to be out here looking for salamanders, ought to be involved in hearing what you have said here today. So we intend to continue this effort in Washington.
I want to think Congressman Walden for initiating the request for this hearing out here. It is been very helpful to me, and I hope it will be helpful to Congress as a whole when we address these issues and to the administration with whom we must work to make sure that this plan works properly.
There is a whole host of other issues that we didn't get into today. I want to assure all of you here in the audience that there are a number of other issues that we are addressing in committee and we are concerned about the financial accountability of the Forest Service, we are concerned about the issue of decoupling of the 25 percent payments from timber production, we have held hearings on that and there is, I think, an outstanding coalition that even the National Education Association are very concerned about making sure that we not lose sight of thenot only the importance of that particular timber harvest on the community but of that social fabric of the community that it is dependent upon.
If you completely delete those funds from the community, you are doing two things: One, I think you are creating another Federal payment plan that is not related to economic reality and you are also creating a situation where communities are going to be set adrift and disconnected from what has been their way of life for generations.
So I want to assure you that we are concerned about these other issues and will continue to address them as well.
And I want to again thank all of you for your participation today. And I will, at this point, if I can find my notes, ask for unanimous consent
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Chairman, maybe it is
Mr. GOODLATTE. Here it is. Congressman Walden, did you have something?
Mr. WALDEN. Well, I was just going to thank you and Congressman Thompson for this hearing out here.
There is probably few issues that loom larger over our future economically and ecologically than our Federal lands in this district, especially in this region.
And I think this was long overdue that we did that we did a checkup on the forest plan. And I appreciate your willingness to do that. And I think we have all learned some interesting things from all sides.
And I especially wanted to thank the panel for being here as well. Your input has been very valuable and I think you are going to mention that the record will be open and people that attended here today or those who read about it or hear about it later on can submit comments to us.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Yes. And in that regard, I will ask for unanimous consent to allow the record of today's hearing to remain open for 10 days to receive additional material and supplementary written responses from witnesses to any question posed by a member of the panel. And without objection, it is so ordered.
And this hearing of the Subcommittee on the Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry Subcommittee of the Agriculture Committee is hereby adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 12:15 p.m. the subcommittee was adjourned, subject to the call of the Chair.]
[Material submitted for inclusion in the record follows.]
Statement of James E. Brown,
Chairman Goodlatte and members of the subcommittee:
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Welcome to southern Oregon. We appreciate the opportunity to testify on the President's Northwest Forest Plan.
In order to set the tone for my testimony let me first say that the State, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon Board of Forestry support the President's Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP). The Plan's conservation of habitat for late-successional species serves as the cornerstone of several state conservation and management strategies including the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, Habitat Conservation Plans for state and private forest lands, and management plans for the Elliott, Tillamook, Clatsop, Sun Pass, and Santiam State Forests.
Second, as Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber said in 1996, ''I believe we must protect the viability of the President's plan. It is the only practical solution offered to date to resolve the Northwest's Federal forest controversy.'' The NWFP remains the only game in town. As my testimony will point out, the plan is far from perfect, but now is not the time to start over.
After the NWFP was implemented, the Oregon Board of Forestry envisioned roles for Federal, state, and private forest lands in the 1995 Forest Program for Oregon (the Board and Department's five-year strategic plan):
The diversity of landowner objectives in and of itself leads to the diversity of forest types at the landscape level. Federal forests provide habitat for late-successional species through wilderness areas, parks, late-successional reserves for threatened and endangered species, and other administrative withdrawals. Non-Federal lands, particularly industrial forest lands, support early and mid-successional species conditions. State, county, and many private non-industrial forest lands provide habitat for early and mid-successional species as well, but often have non-timber resource and other value production objectives that retain some older stands.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We support the NWFP but acknowledge that it is not perfect. Some small change could be made within the management agencies, but many larger problems with the plan stem from larger thematic issues. These include a difficult regulatory and planning environment, weak strategic planning, and the need to consider the larger context of global forest issues. Although the Oregon Department of Forestry is a much smaller agency than the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, and manages a much smaller land base, we believe the Federal agencies can learn from our strategic planning efforts.
The subcommittee has asked us to evaluate if the NWFP has met the five specific goals of the NWFP, namely (1) to adhere to the nation's laws, (2) to protect and enhance the environment, (3) to provide a sustainable timber economy, (4) to support the region's people and communities during the economic transition, and (5) to ensure that Federal agencies work together. We believe the NWFP is moving toward achieving those goals and a broader discussion of the issues will add more detail.
(1) ADHERE TO THE NATION'S LAWS
We believe the agencies are doing the best they can in a difficult situation. Still, the history of litigation before and after implementation of the NWFP shows that the network of Federal land planning and management statutes (NFMA, MUSYA, O&C, etc.) and environmental regulatory statutes (ESA, Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, etc.) continue to be characterized by overlap, conflict and ambiguity. There remains a need to harmonize these laws. This need is clearly pointed out in the Society of American Foresters April 1999 report, ''Forests of Discord.''
Confusion over conflicting laws leads to risk-averse behavior by Federal managers. The specter of potential lawsuits often diverts managers from undertaking management treatments that make sense. Managers who choose to use flexibility written into the NWFP to undertake management based on site-specific information are characterized as renegades making an end-run around the plan's standards and guidelines to perpetuate older Forest Service values. Inaction is rewarded.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The recent report of the USDA Committee of Scientists making recommendations for Forest Service planning regulations assumed that since Congress probably would not act to streamline the laws, the Forest Service should assemble a planning process that does a better job of negotiating the legal and regulatory maze than do current planning regulations. Without harmonizing the laws, good ideas for a new Forest Service planning process put forth by the Committee of Scientists may never have a chance to succeed. We believe the Western Governors Association (WGA) position on the Endangered Species Act and the philosophical approach of the recent WGA Enlibra doctrine provide some ideas for harmonizing or improving implementation of environmental laws.
In 1996, the National Association of State Foresters endorsed initiation of a significant public dialogue to address needs to streamline environmental laws related to Federal land management. Other than some action in the Senate Energy Committee, we have seen little movement on such a dialogue. We believe Congress should work with the Western Governors Association public land law review efforts and other interested publics.
(2) PROTECT AND ENHANCE THE ENVIRONMENT
The NWFP is a sound conservation strategy, although it may be too risk averse and concentrate too much on species that utilize late-successional habitat. From an ecological perspective, the emphasis on passive management in the spotted owl's range is a valid option to restore late-successional conditions. However, east of the Cascades and in the southern portion of the owl's range, more active management may be needed to address wildfire risks and return forest conditions to a healthy state. On Oregon state forests, we are moving toward active, structure-based management to accelerate the creation of late-successional forest habitat. Structure-based management may be appropriate for the NWFP Adaptive Management Areas.
(3) PROVIDE A SUSTAINABLE TIMBER ECONOMY
This is unquestionably an issue of scale, but two basic points can be argued. One, the growth of the overall economy in the Pacific Northwest may have masked effects of the regional effects of decreased timber harvests; and two, the global implications of decreased Federal timber harvest in the Pacific Northwest were not addressed by the Federal Government when the NWFP was implemented.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The 80 percent reduction in Federal harvest in the region has global reverberations. The consumption of wood and forest products in the United States continues to grow. This is true for other countries as well, particularly developing nations. U.S. and global demand partially met by Northwest Federal timber is now being met by other sources. Harvest levels are increasing accordingly in the U.S. southeast and other countries. These areas do not feature the comprehensive environmental protection of forest practice regulations in the Pacific Northwest. Other demand is being met by the increasing use of non-renewable resources such as steel.
The position of the Oregon Board of Forestry and the Oregon Department of Forestry on timber supply on Federal lands is clear. Within the constraints of sustainability, ''the Board and the Department will encourage Federal agencies to maintain as large and as stable a commercial forest land base as possible, and to minimize future withdrawals from this land base.''
SUPPORT THE REGION'S PEOPLE AND COMMUNITIES DURING THE ECONOMIC TRANSITION
We believe the Northwest Economic Adjustment Initiative that accompanied the NWFP has helped many communities and workers make a transition to less dependency on Federal timber supplies. Nevertheless, as I'm sure you will hear today, many workers and communities are still suffering negative effects. It may get worse for several communitiesWestern Oregon counties will be affected by the sunset of the spotted owl safety net payment legislation.
Under the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds, watershed councils and other local consensus groups influence many land management decisions on non-Federal land. We welcome the Federal agencies working more closely with local groups on site-specific or watershed-specific actions. We applaud the Memorandum of Understanding the state has with Federal agencies on the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds and the creation of a reinvention laboratory related to natural resource management.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCENSURE THAT FEDERAL AGENCIES WORK TOGETHER
We believe Federal agencies have made great progress in working together, but there are still problems. Compartmentalized agency budgets have not been restructured to adequately account for significant amounts of staff time for consultation between agencies.
Although the streamlined consultation process has greatly improved between management and regulatory agencies for listed species under the Endangered Species Act, more improvement is possible. The consultation process is still unbearably long. Constant reinitiated consultation stemming from new listings seems inefficient. (The Forest Service in eastern Oregon estimates each project consultation costs about $40,000). We do not have enough expertise on Federal interagency consultation to determine how much of the delay is caused by legal requirements and how much is due to administrative procedures that could be changed within the law.
One problem with consultation pointed out by the SAF report is that it is difficult for agencies with incongruous missions to work together. Land management agencies consider ecological, social, and economic values while regulatory agencies focus more on species viability and habitat quality. This sometimes leads regulatory agencies to support zero-risk policies.
It is clear that in the NWFP, viability of spotted owls dominates all other considerations in the plan area. This may satisfy the species-by-species approach of the Endangered Species Act, but it certainly does not meet multiple use goals of several land management statutes.
A low-risk or zero-risk approach to species management by the regulatory agencies leads to disagreements between Federal agencies. These disagreements continue among state agencies and interest groups. Both the zero-risk ''inaction'' approach and the contention between stakeholders violate the spirit of the Enlibra (Principles for Environmental Management in the West) doctrine of the Western Governors Association. Enlibra is important in Oregon as it sets the philosophical context for the Oregon Plan for Salmon and Watersheds.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Other comments related to the NWFP do not fit neatly into the five goals above. I would like to focus on some specific problems with the NWFP, and then concentrate on the thematic issues of adaptive management and strategic planning. I believe Oregon has been successful in meshing strategic planning with operational planning. Strategic planning in the Oregon Department of Forestry may serve as a model for Federal agencies to consider.
SPECIFIC PROBLEMS WITH NWFP
The NWFP standards and guidelines are too comprehensive, too restrictive, and often conflict. Prescriptive standards and guidelines are the antithesis of the adaptive management process envisioned by the 1993 Forest Ecosystem Management Assessment Team (FEMAT) report. For example of the problems too much prescription can cause, a lawsuit over the well-intentioned, fairly innocuous language on developing assessment protocols for scarce and/or ephemeral ''survey and manage'' species may bring implementation of the NWFP to a halt.
There are a multitude of interagency and intergovernmental groups aimed at coordination and gaining input (a laundry list of the groupspardon the acronymsincludes the IAC, RIEC, OFED, RCERT, REO, IRICC, 12 PACs, 10 AMAs and several workgroups). They consume an immense amount of time and resources. It is appropriate to reexamine whether there are ways to streamline and improve cooperative/coordinating groups.
The Adaptive Management Area (AMA) concept has not been fully explored or adequately funded. Information derived from AMAs serves to adjust management of the entire NWFP area. Unfortunately, recent lawsuits require AMA projects to meet the same legal requirements of other NWFP allocations, thus reducing flexibility and innovation. The intent of the AMAs was to experiment and learn over a small part of the NWFP area. If AMA activities are hamstrung by too many restrictions, opportunities to learn and adapt will be lost. Congress should increase funding to AMAs and consider introducing legislation that will allow AMAs to operate as centers of experimental forestry.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT
Adaptive management in the NWFPa key component according to the Record of Decisionhas been almost forgotten. A 1998 internal Federal review of the NWFP by James Pipkin (The Northwest Forest Plan Revisited) acknowledges that adaptive management expectations have fallen short. A central management principle of the forest planning process envisioned by the USDA Committee of Scientists is adaptive management supported by adequate monitoring and public involvement. To move toward adaptive management, the NWFP needs to move from a process orientation to a focus on managing, learning, and adjusting. Monitoring is the key, but monitoring is still under-emphasized and under-funded. If the AMAs are not allowed to function as designed in the NWFP, adaptive management may never get off the ground.
A key feature of adaptive management is risk management. Risk management is essential to balancing environmental, social, and economic values. For example streamside rules in the Oregon Practices Act balance risk to aquatic and riparian species with economic goals (or economic risks). State agency decisionmakers chose a level of risk to species that they could live with.
In contrast, NWFP standards and guidelines and other agency policies such as PACFISH set streamside buffers with virtually zero risk to fish species, regardless of the effects of large buffers to other management objectives. Managing risks requires value-based decisions. We understand that the zero-risk approach is largely a result of lawsuits, but very conservative approaches have been taken in minimizing risks to late-successional species at the expense of other values.
We believe the NWFP should ultimately be amended to allow more adaptive management. The Pipkin report includes a good discussion of adaptive management and steps the agencies can take to improve the situation. The Federal land management agencies are moving more in the direction of adaptive management, provided they can establish accountability through monitoring and public input. As the NWFP pioneered landscape-scale management, it should also lead the way in terms of adaptive management.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTRATEGIC PLANNING AND GOAL-ORIENTED MANAGEMENT
A strong linkage between strategic plans and operational plans is critical. The Oregon Department of Forestry's strong strategic planning process allows the agency to make minor adjustments or course corrections in planning when new issues arise or social values change.
There has never been a strong link in the Forest Service between RPA strategic planning and forest plans. That is beginning to change as the agency's modern strategic plans evolve as directed by the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). We fully support Forest Service efforts to improve strategic planning under GPRA and other agency reform, but realize the agency may be a few years away from achieving a strong linkage between GPRA strategic plans, bioregional strategies, forest plans, and operations.
State Forests in Oregon effectively link strategic and operational planning through forest plans, HCPs, 10-year implementation plans, and annual operating plans (see attachment). Before the latest planning process was begun, the Department adopted a set of guiding principles. Key among the guiding principles is a ''greatest permanent value'' policy. The policy says
''greatest permanent value means healthy, productive, and sustainable forest ecosystems that over time and across the landscape provide a full range of social, economic, and environmental benefits to the people of Oregon. To secure the greatest permanent value of these lands to the state, the State Forester shall maintain these lands as forest lands and actively manage them in a sound environmental manner to provide sustainable timber harvest and revenues to the state, counties, and local taxing districts. This management focus is not exclusive of other forest resources, but must be pursued within a broader management context''
Once the principles are in place, forest plans are created from the bottom up. This top-down/bottom-up approach creates alignment within the agency between strategic planning and operations. By concentrating on understanding, acceptance, and support of planning processes at all levels of the agency, the probability of strategic planning leading to on-the-ground activities increases. In the Forest Service, it seems field staff that are not involved in the planning process, do not understand the plans, and do not support the plans are likely to manage according to the issue of the day.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC State forest plans are also enhanced by monitoring and feedback at all levels as well as a public involvement process that features significant opportunities to be involved early in the planning process.
Certainly the Forest Service's multiple use mandate differs from the state's trust responsibility. Still, the Forest Service does not have such a clear mandate for managing the National Forest System and this has caused great conflict over the purpose and use of national forests.
The SAF report recommends a new mission for the Forest Service, as have dozens of interest groups testifying before Congress. The current mission is an amalgam of ''caring for the land and serving people'' and the multiple-use mandate found in various statues. The implied mission then becomes ''everything for everyone on every acre.'' Surely an unattainable mission leads to unattainable goals and objectives, which leads to unattainable plans and activities.
The State Forest planning process is tiered to the Forest Plan for Oregon (FPFO), the Board and Department's five-year strategic plan. The FPFO clearly states a mission, a vision, values, objectives, issues, policies, and programs that direct agency management for land management, fire protection, forest practices, and technical assistance. The Forest Service's strategic plans do not clearly direct agency actions.
The NWFP should reflect national strategic planning just as the State of Oregon has meshed strategic plans with operational plans. The NWFP should focus on goal-oriented outcomes rather than highly prescriptive processes.
Once again, we would like to reiterate our support for the NWFP. As a cornerstone of recovery of listed species in the region, the NWFP assumes much of the recovery burden. We agree with Pipkin's statement that, ''The extensive habitat protection on Federal land under the plan has allowed the agencies that are responsible for enforcing the Endangered Species Act to permit more intensive economic utilization of nearby state and private lands than would otherwise have been possible.''
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCWe believe harmonizing environmental laws and agency processes that affect the region would improve NWFP performance. We believe this would eventually allow NWFP adjustments that would more efficiently balance resource values.
Thank you for the opportunity to testify. I will be happy to answer any questions.