SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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OVERSIGHT HEARING ON: HERGER-FEINSTEIN QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP FOREST RECOVERY ACT
SUBCOMMITTEE ON FORESTS AND FOREST HEALTH
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED SIXTH CONGRESS
AUGUST 30, 1999, WASHINGTON D.C.
Serial No. 10661
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPrinted for the use of the Committee on Resources
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/house
Committee address: http://www.house.gov/resources
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES
DON YOUNG, Alaska, Chairman
W.J. (BILLY) TAUZIN, Louisiana
JAMES V. HANSEN, Utah
JIM SAXTON, New Jersey
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOEL HEFLEY, Colorado
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
KEN CALVERT, California
RICHARD W. POMBO, California
BARBARA CUBIN, Wyoming
HELEN CHENOWETH-HAGE, Idaho
GEORGE P. RADANOVICH, California
WALTER B. JONES, Jr., North Carolina
WILLIAM M. (MAC) THORNBERRY, Texas
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCHRIS CANNON, Utah
KEVIN BRADY, Texas
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
RICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
JIM GIBBONS, Nevada
MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana
GREG WALDEN, Oregon
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
MIKE SIMPSON, Idaho
THOMAS G. TANCREDO, Colorado
GEORGE MILLER, California
NICK J. RAHALL II, West Virginia
BRUCE F. VENTO, Minnesota
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
PETER A. DeFAZIO, Oregon
ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American Samoa
NEIL ABERCROMBIE, Hawaii
SOLOMON P. ORTIZ, Texas
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
FRANK PALLONE, Jr., New Jersey
CALVIN M. DOOLEY, California
CARLOS A. ROMERO-BARCELÓ, Puerto Rico
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCROBERT A. UNDERWOOD, Guam
PATRICK J. KENNEDY, Rhode Island
ADAM SMITH, Washington
CHRIS JOHN, Louisiana
DONNA MC CHRISTENSEN, Virgin Islands
RON KIND, Wisconsin
JAY INSLEE, Washington
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
RUSH D. HOLT, New Jersey
LLOYD A. JONES, Chief of Staff
ELIZABETH MEGGINSON, Chief Counsel
CHRISTINE KENNEDY, Chief Clerk/Administrator
JOHN LAWRENCE, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health
HELEN CHENOWETH-HAGE, Idaho, Chairman
JOHN J. DUNCAN, Jr., Tennessee
JOHN T. DOOLITTLE, California
WAYNE T. GILCHREST, Maryland
JOHN PETERSON, Pennsylvania
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCRICK HILL, Montana
BOB SCHAFFER, Colorado
DON SHERWOOD, Pennsylvania
ROBIN HAYES, North Carolina
ADAM SMITH, Washington
DALE E. KILDEE, Michigan
OWEN B. PICKETT, Virginia
RON KIND, Wisconsin
GRACE F. NAPOLITANO, California
TOM UDALL, New Mexico
MARK UDALL, Colorado
JOSEPH CROWLEY, New York
DOUG CRANDALL, Staff Director
ANNE HEISSENBUTTEL, Legislative Staff
JEFF PETRICH, Minority Chief Counsel
C O N T E N T S
Hearing held August 30, 1999
Statements of Members:
Chenoweth, Hon. Helen, a Representative in Congress from the State of Idaho
Prepared statement of
Page 6 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHerger, Wally, a Representative in Congress from the State of California
Prepared statement of
Statements of witnesses:
Jackson, Mike, Quincy Library Group Steering Committee, Quincy, California
Prepared statement of
O'Sullivan, Dick, California Cattlemen's Association Public Lands Committee
Prepared statement of
Powell, Brad, Acting Regional Forester, Region 5, U.S. Forest Service, Vallejo, California
Roudebush, Fran, Plumas County Supervisor, District 1, Quincy, California
Prepared statement of
Stewart, Frank, Counties QLG Forester, Chico, California
Prepared statement of
Stewart, William, Chief, Fire and Resource Assessment Program, California, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, Sacramento
Prepared statement of
Spear, Mike, Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California
Prepared statement of
Terhune, George, Quincy Library Group Steering Committee, Quincy, California, accompanied by Linda Blum, Quincy Library Group, and Tom Nelson, Quincy Library Group, California
Prepared statement of
Additional material supplied:
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCCommunications received:
The Record of Decision, text of
OVERSIGHT HEARING ON: HERGER-FEINSTEIN QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP FOREST RECOVERY ACT
MONDAY, august 30, 1999
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Forests and
Committee on Resources,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9 a.m., in Redding City Council Chambers, 1313 California Street, Redding, California, Hon. Helen Chenoweth [chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Member present: Representative Chenoweth
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Subcommittee will come to order. The Subcommittee is meeting here today to hear testimony on the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act. Mr. Herger and I both want to thank you very much for making the time to come here today, and I am deeply grateful to all of you for participating in a historic event.
It is ironic that as I stepped out of my hotel today I smelled smoke of some of the 150 reported forest fires burning in Northern California. We also have new forest fires burning in Southern California. All we hear about is the hurricane on the national news.
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This is ironic because the very plan that we agreed on was designed to deal more effectively with the problem of forest fires, yet here we are, seven years later, and we are just beginning to implement the plan. I do not want to cast blame for this sad fact, and both Congressman Herger and I want to discuss the future with you. We want to discuss how to avoid the mistakes of the past and get on with conducting the pilot project that you struggle to promote for the forests, the wildlife, the people, who live throughout Northern California.
We want to discuss where things stand with implementation of the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act. We also want to discuss the recently issued record of decision as directed by that Act and your plans to work together to get this project started.
[The information may be found at the end of the hearing.]
[The Record of Decision follows]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Before we begin, though, congratulations are in order. We are now at a place and time, after seven long years for the Quincy Library Group, where the forest plan developed by diverse members and personalities of a rural California community can be legally implemented by your Federal Forest Service.
You have overcome substantial hurdles, and you put your heads together and came up with a plan that worked for everyone in your community. It worked for the ecologic integrity of the forest and the species that rely on the forests, including the human species.
You overcame administrative hurdles and legislative hurdles, tremendous hurdles. Your bill passed the House three timesonce 329 to 1 and once unanimously. It passed the Senate once. It was signed by the President. And I think this was the first major forest management bill signed by this President.
Your forest plan was scrutinized in a nearly 500-page environmental impact statement and a 16-page record of decision. Many people inside and outside of the Forest Service did not want the QLG plan to see the light of day, but many more did want to give it a chance. And so we are here today.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is because it is a plan that seeks to use man's knowledge and wherewithal to facilitate the ecological balance of forests that belong to everyone. It's a plan that acknowledges man's desire to provide an economic balance in the rural timber communities in this part of Northern California.
It is a plan that recognizes that human beings are good, and that we are not about destroying the forests that God has given us. It also acknowledges that people are part of nature, and that some parts of nature should also be left alone.
So I think that congratulations are in order. I want to, first, congratulate my colleague Wally Herger. This Congressman has worked tirelessly on your behalf, both inside Washington, DC and outside. His energy is unbounded, and I am so very impressed. He serves as an inspiration to me.
I want to also congratulate George Terhune, Linda Blum. I want to congratulate Tom Nelson, and I want to congratulate Frank Stewart. Congratulations Michael Jackson, and congratulations Bill Coats, and one of my very favorite people, Rose Comstock. Congratulations to the QLG members. Congratulations Brad Powell, Kathryn Silverman, Mark Madrid, Steven Eubanks, and Dave Peters of the Forest Service. And congratulations to Mike Spear of the Fish and Wildlife Service.
I also want to thank my colleague in the Senate, my senior Senator, Larry Craig, for the part that he has played in this. And I want to thank California senior Senator Dianne Feinstein. You all made this plan and have brought it here today, ready for implementation.
Now, I realize that it is a rare occasion that I congratulate people in the Forest Service and in the Fish and Wildlife Service on the same day. But you all deserve a piece of the credit for belonging and bringing this community-based plan to a point where it can now be implemented as a pilot project. It offers hope to those of us who care deeply about balance in our national forests.
Page 10 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And while some of this hearing will focus on the specifics of the EIS and the record of decision, I very much look forward to hearing about the future, hearing about how you all plan to work together to make this project really finally happen and before this new century begins. We want to see work on the ground.
After seven years of work, the Plumas, the Lassen, and the Tahoe forests, and the species that depend on them, includingand in my opinion, very, very importantlythe human species, deserve nothing less than implementation this year.
Thank you all for coming, and now I turn to my colleague, Congressman Herger, for his opening statement.
[The prepared statement of Mrs. Chenoweth follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. HELEN CHENOWETH, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF IDAHO
Mr. Herger and I thank you for making the time to come here today. We want to discuss where things stand with the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act. We also want to discuss the recently issued Record of Decision as directed by that Act, and your plans to work together to get this project started.
Before we begin, though, congratulations are in order. We are now at a place and time, after seven long years for the Quincy Library Group, where the forest plan developed by diverse members and personalities of a rural California community CAN BE LEGALLY IMPLEMENTED BY YOUR FEDERAL FOREST SERVICE!
You have overcome substantial hurdles. You put your heads together and came up with a plan that worked for everyone in your community. It worked for the ecologic integrity of the forest and the species that rely on the forestincluding human beings.
You overcame administrative hurdles and legislative hurdles. Your bill passed the House three timesonce 429-1 and once unanimously. It passed the Senate once. It was signed by the President. I think this was the first major forest management bill signed by this President.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Your forest plan was scrutinized in a nearly 500 page Environmental Impact Statement and a 16 page Record of decision. Many people inside and outside of the Forest Service did not want the QLG plan to see the light of day, but many more did want to give it a chance.
That is because it is a plan that seeks to use man's knowledge and wherewithal to facilitate the ecological balance of forests that belong to everyone. It is a plan that acknowledges man's desire to provide an economic balance in the rural timber communities in this part of Northern California.
It is a plan that recognizes that human beings are good, that we are not about destroying the forests that God has given us. It also acknowledges that people are part of nature, but that some parts of nature should be left alone.
So I think that congratulations are in order. Congratulations Linda Blum. Congratulations George Terhune. Congratulations Tom Nelson. Congratulations Frank Stewart. Congratulations Mike Jackson. Congratulations Bill Coats. Congratulations Rose Comstock. Congratulations QLG members. Congratulations Brad Powell, Kathryn Silverman, Mark Madrid, Steven Eubanks and Dave Peters of the Forest Service. Congratulations Mike Spear of the Fish and Wildlife Service. Congratulations Wally Herger and Congratulations Senator Larry Craig and Senator Diane Feinstein. You all made this plan and have brought it here todayready for implementation.
Mr. HERGER. Madam Chairman, thank you for arranging this hearing today on the Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act. This legislation is a breakthrough for those of us interested in finding bipartisan and cooperative solutions to forest management issues. It has received the full support and backing of the forest products industry, local environmentalists, labor, local officials, and concerned citizens.
I'd like to take a moment to applaud Senator Dianne Feinstein for taking on the challenge to support this legislation on behalf of the people of Quincy and of California. I'd also like to thank her for standing behind her principles to support the Quincy Library Group. Her assistance is reflective of the spirit of coming together that epitomizes the QLG experience.
Page 12 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would also like to thank the Forest Service for their hard work in preparing this environmental impact statement, both the leadership at the regional level and the staff who worked diligently on the EIS. I commend them for supporting and selecting Alternative 2 in the face of opposition from certain extreme environmental organizations opposed to local consensus and collaboration. This is the correct decision and is consistent with the intent of Congress in overwhelmingly passing the Act.
I'd also like to express my deep appreciation to the Quincy Library Group. Focused on the realization that something had to be done to remove the gridlock that has prevented responsible forest management for the last 15 years, the members of the QLG set aside their differences and worked together to develop local, consensus-driven solutions. Through their hard work and dedication to this project, they have demonstrated an immeasurable commitment to improving the health and well-being of the communities and forests in which they live and work.
The selection of Alternative 2 gets us one step closer to actual implementation of this historic pilot project which is truly a win-win for our forests and our communities. This project is good for people, it is good for the environment, and it is good for the forests.
Currently, 39 million acres of our forestswestern forestsare at a frighteningly high risk of destruction from catastrophic fire. A recently released Government Accounting Office report called western national forests a ''tinderbox.'' In some areas, our national forests are two and three times denser than they were back in 1928. Thick undergrowth, combined with increasingly taller layers of intermediate trees, has turned western forests into deadly fire time bombs.
Now, when a fire starts, it quickly climbs up the dense tree growth like a ladder until it tops out at the uppermost or crown level of the forest and races out of control as a catastrophic fire. Because of their high speed and intense heat, crown fires are nothing like the normally healthy fires of the past, but have the capability of leaving an almost sterile environment in their wake with almost no vegetation, wildlife, or habitat left behind.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC This past week over 150 separate fire incidents, caused by more than 3,000 lightning strikes, have raged throughout my Northern California district, placing life and property at risk. This tragedy shows the constant and imminent threat of wildfire devastation facing our citizens and communities every day. It emphasizes what the QLG has stressed all alongthat we absolutely must address this wildfire risk immediately.
And it emphasizes the need to implement a plan such as that proposed by the Quincy Library Group on forests throughout the west. Experts believe that the window of opportunity for taking effective management action is only about 10 to 25 years before catastrophic wildfires become widespread.
The Quincy Library Group proposal uses the best science available to address this impending wildfire threat, while providing economic benefits to our struggling rural communities. It protects the Federal forest lands. It protects owls and other animals. It has the best chance of producing a fire-resistant forest. It is the most balanced alternative for community stability and jobs.
Although certain extreme organizations have misled the public during the course of this debate, portraying the QLG project as a logging bill and claiming that it would destroy owl habitat, in reality, the project has always been about addressing the extreme fire danger facing our rural communities and preserving our forest ecosystems for future generations.
The possibility that owl habitat could be lost entirely because of a devastating wildfire is too often overlooked. If we do not combat this risk now, we might not have anything left to save.
We have a historic opportunity before us to prove, through tangible, on-the-ground results, that economic stability and forest health are not mutually exclusive. This decision is an important first step. However, we must now put this EIS behind us and direct our energies toward proper implementation of the pilot project. The Forest Service must continue to collaborate with the QLG to ensure that on-the-ground activities are conducted as Congress and the QLG intended.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We must work to ensure that the activities are carried out on the scale and at the pace and will provide the full economic and ecological benefits envisioned. We must work to ensure that measures are put into place on the ground to effectively eliminate any potential negative effects on livestock grazing. The Forest Service must continue to place its good faith support behind the QLG proposal.
I believe the QLG project will provide the model for effective management of our western forests. This plan represents an entirely new approach to managing our national forests. It is history in the making. It is also an opportunity to reinforce that local coalitions, not Washington bureaucracies, are best at deciding what will work for their communities.
Thank you, Madam Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Herger follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. WALLY HERGER, A REPRESENTATIVE IN COGRESS FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
Madam Chairman, thank you for arranging this hearing today on the Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act. This legislation is a breakthrough for those of us interested in finding bipartisan and cooperative solutions to forest management issues. It has received the full support and backing of the forest products industry, local environmentalists, labor, local officials and concerned citizens.
I would like to take a moment to applaud Senator Dianne Feinstein for taking on the challenge to support this legislation on behalf of the people of Quincy. I would also like to thank her for standing behind her principles to support the Quincy Library Group. Her assistance is reflective of the spirit of coming together that epitomizes the QLG experience.
I would also like to thank the Forest Service for their hard work in preparing this Environmental Impact Statementboth the leadership at the Regional level and the staff who worked diligently on the EIS. I commend them for supporting and selecting Alternative 2 in the face of opposition from certain extreme environmental organizations opposed to local consensus and collaboration. This is the correct decision and is consistent with the intent of Congress in overwhelmingly passing the Act.
Page 15 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would also like to express my deep appreciation to the Quincy Library Group. Focused on the realization that something had to be done to remove the gridlock that has prevented responsible forest management for the last 15 years, the members of the QLG set aside their differences and worked together to develop local, consensus-driven solutions. Through their hard work and dedication to this project, they have demonstrated an immeasurable commitment to improving the health and well-being of the communities and forests in which they live and work.
The selection of Alternative 2 gets us one step closer to actual implementation of this historic pilot project which is truly a win-win for our forests and our communities. This project is good for people, it is good for the environment, and it is good for the forests.
Currently, 39 million acres of our western forests are at a frighteningly high risk of destruction from catastrophic fire. A recently released Government Accounting Office report called western National Forests a ''tinderbox.'' In some areas, our National Forests are 2 to 3 times denser than they were in 1928. Thick undergrowth, combined with increasingly taller layers of intermediate trees, has turned western forests into deadly fire time bombs. Now, when a fire starts, it quickly climbs up the dense tree growth like a ladder until it tops out at the uppermost, or ''crown,'' level of the forest and races out of control as a catastrophic fire. Because of their high speed and intense heat, ''crown fires'' are nothing like the normally healthy fires of the past, but have the capability of leaving an almost sterile environment in their wake with almost no vegetation, wildlife, or habitat left behind.
This past week, over 100 separate fire incidents, caused by more than 3,000 lightening strikes, have raged throughout my Northern California District, placing life and property at great risk. This tragedy shows the constant and imminent threat of wildfire devastation facing our citizens and communities every day. It emphasizes what the QLG has stressed all alongthat we absolutely must address this wildfire risk immediately. And it emphasizes the need to implement a plan such as that proposed by the Quincy Library Group on forests throughout the west. Experts believe that the window of opportunity for taking effective management action is only about 10 to 25 years before catastrophic wildfires become widespread.
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Quincy Library Group proposal uses the best science available to address this impending wildfire threat, while providing economic benefits to our struggling rural communities. It protects the Federal forest land. It protects owls and other animals. It has the best chance of producing a fire resistant forest. It is the most balanced alternative for community stability and jobs. Although certain extreme organizations have misled the public during the course of this debate, portraying the QLG project as a logging bill and claiming that it will destroy owl habitat, in reality, the project has always been about addressing the extreme fire danger facing our rural communities and preserving our forest ecosystems for future generations. The possibility that owl habitat could be lost entirely because of a devastating wildfire is too often overlooked. If we do not combat this risk now, we might not have anything left to save.
We have a historic opportunity before us to prove through tangible, on-the-ground results that economic stability and forest health are NOT mutually exclusive. This Decision is an important first step. However, we must now put this EIS behind us and direct our energies toward proper implementation of the pilot project. The Forest Service must continue to collaborate with the QLG to ensure that on-the-ground activities are conducted as Congress and the QLG intended. We must work to ensure that the activities are carried out on the scale and at the pace that will provide the full economic and ecological benefits envisioned. We must work to ensure that measures are put into place on the ground to effectively eliminate any potential negative effects on livestock grazing. The Forest Service must continue to place its good-faith support behind the QLG proposal.
I believe the QLG project will provide THE model for effective management of our western forests. This plan represents an entirely new approach to managing our National Forests. It is history in the making. It is also an opportunity to reinforce that local coalitions, not Washington bureaucracies, are best at deciding what will work for their communities.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Herger.
It is my privilege to be able to introduce our first panel now. Mr. Mike Jackson will be joining us first from the Quincy Library Group Steering Committee, Quincy, California; Mr. George Terhune, Quincy Library Group Steering Committee, also from Quincy, California; accompanied by Linda Blum of the Quincy Library Group, and Mr. Ed Murphy of Sierra Pacific Industries.
As explained in our first hearing, it is the intention of the Chairman to place all witnesses under oath. This is a formality of the committee that is meant to assure open and honest discussion and should not affect the testimony given by the witnesses.
I believe that all of the witnesses were informed of this before appearing here today, and that you all have been provided a copy of the committee rules.
Now, if you will just please stand and raise your right arm to the square.
The Chairman now recognizes Mr. Mike Jackson for testimony.
STATEMENT OF MIKE JACKSON, QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP STEERING COMMITTEE, QUINCY, CALIFORNIA
Mr. JACKSON. Thank you, Chairman Chenoweth. The words that you have spoken, the words that Congressman Herger have spoken, basically make all of the time worthwhile. And I really want to thank you for the steadfastness of your support and personal instructions that you have given each and every one of our members.
It is a great honor to return to testify before this Subcommittee of Congress. The opportunity to participate in the noble experiment that is the subject of this hearing has been one of my most fulfilling personal experiences. While not all of the moments of the last seven years have been pain-free, basically I believe that democracy and law can work, and that the Quincy Library Group experience proves that fact.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Since George Terhune is also testifying, and since Linda and Ed are here to answer questions, they will cover the substantive parts of the Quincy program for you. But I feel free to limit my comments to the seven-year process of the program.
When we first set down to attempt to find common ground, we actually thought the source of the problems confronting our communities was local. We were wrong. While there were, and are, values and beliefs in the community that are different, those legitimate differences are not the source of the almost violent differences between the people of the west.
The substantive differences are more about means than ends, and the problems dividing us can be solved. The lack of scientific certainty about public land ecosystems will always leave room for different views about proper management, but there is no excuse for the present management paralysis.
The land has needs, the people who live in it have needs, and the great urban communities of the west have needs. How can they all be reconciled?
For the Quincy program, the Congress and the Forest Service have established a balance between these needs and the health of the forest. I still believe that that balance is approximately correct and feel validated by the Forest Service decision to proceed. I look forward to the monitoring and analysis that will finally tell us who was right and who was wrong about this particular solution to our problems in the Northern Sierra Nevada.
But today, because I think it will be instructive, I would like to talk about a tale of two citiesone small and rural, one large and urban. Quincy and San Francisco have a relationship much like rural and urban communities in the rest of the west. San Francisco is very liberal; Quincy is mostly conservative. San Francisco is very rich; Quincy is quite poor. San Francisco is politically powerful; Quincy is almost unknown in California and Washington, DC.
Most of San Francisco's property is private; most of the area around Quincy is national forest. Over the last 150 years, most of the damage in the local national forests have been done by San Francisco corporations and citizens. The mining and lumber industries were centered in San Francisco, and most of the profit from mining, logging, and agriculture has traditionally gone to San Francisco, in much the same way resources overseas have gone to the colonial power, not to the local people.
Page 19 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A quick comparison shows the power imbalance. San Francisco gets its water from Yosemite National Park, from the flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley. Quincy pumps local groundwater. San Francisco gets its power from Yosemite National Park as well, and a San Francisco corporationPG&Ehas dammed and destroyed all of the rivers of the Sierra Nevada for urban shareholder profit. Quincy gets part of its power from PG&E and part from a rural electric cooperative.
San Francisco controls another national park, the Presidio, with absolute local control. A private corporation rents commercial space to, among others, the Wilderness Society and the George Lucas Corporation. No one else in America gets any say in the management of this national park, and there is no opportunity for input since this operation was exempted from NEPA. Quincy has plowed ahead within all applicable laws and with thorough NEPA review.
So why are there two sets of rules about public land? Why is San Francisco allowed to destroy major parts of two national parks with not a word from the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club? But Quincy is accused of demanding local control of the nearby forests.
For the last seven years, I have been trying to understand what seems to be a double standard. Now that our program is through the hurdles placed in front of it by the San Francisco-based Sierra Club and Wilderness Society, I am still not completely sure why there is two sets of rules. All people are capable of hypocrisy, and I have certainly been guilty of it myself at times. But why can't the San Franciscans see it in themselves?
I think this is because this urban/rural debate is not about the environment. It's about power. The colonial attitude of the urban environmental movement is not new to San Franciscans, and the disrespect that the elitist movement types have for rural people would exist no matter what people in Quincy do now or in the future. There will never be a sharing of responsibility and authority as long as the movement is more important than either the local people or the environment.
Page 20 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The experience of the Quincy Library Group is different for every member. For me, the experience has taught me lifetime lessons. Some of them have been bitter, indeed, but most have touched my heart and thrilled my mind. Democracy works. The constitutional right to peaceably assembly with anyone of our choice to petition our government to redress our grievances is not just old dead words. These guarantees live today, and on behalf of my community I wish to thank the many great Americans who have gone out of their way to help us.
First, I want to thank President Clinton for motivating us at the Northwest Forest Summit in Portland in 1993 when he told all of us to get out of the courtroom and work out these problems. Next, I want to thank Congressman Herger and Senator Feinstein, both of whom have been brave and steadfast in our support under intense pressure from their own natural constituencies. I want to thank Congressmen Don Young and Sherwood Boehlert and Senators Craig, Lott, Murkowski, Gorton, Daschle, Reid, and Bumpers for their help and inspiration.
I also want to thank hundreds of government employees in the Agriculture, Interior, and Energy Departments with whom I have worked.
I believe that America enters the 21st century a great and proud nation, with capable and compassionate leadership in both parties and in government service. Lastly, I want to thank the members of this Subcommittee and the full Committee for your time and consideration.
I have only one further request for your consideration. When the next group of citizens comes forward, please give them the same time and consideration that you have given to us. You have proven to me that this is still a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Thank you, Chairman Chenoweth, for your service and for your willingness to consider our new ideas.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Jackson follows:]
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF MICHAEL B. JACKSON, ATTORNEY AT LAW, 429 WEST MAIN STREET, QUINCY, CALIFORNIA
It is a great honor to return to testify before this Committee of Congress. The opportunity to participate in the noble experiment that is the subject of this hearing has been one of my most fulfilling personal experiences. While not all the moments of the last seven years have been pain-free, basically I believe that democracy and law can work, and the Quincy Library Group experience proves that fact.
Since George Terhune is also testifying before the Subcommittee today, and will cover the substantive parts of the Quincy program for you, I feel free to limit my comments to the seven year process of the program. When we first sat down to attempt to find common ground, we actually thought the source of the problems confronting our communities was local. We were wrong. While there were, and are, values and beliefs that are different, those legitimate
differences are not the source of the almost violent differences between the people of the West. The substantive differences are more about means than ends, and the problems dividing us can be solved. The lack of scientific certainty about public land ecosystems will always leave room for different views about proper management, but there is no excuse for the present management paralysis. The land has needs, the people who live in it have needs, and the great urban communities of the West have needs. How can they all be reconciled?
For the Quincy program, the Congress and the Forest Service have established a balance between these needs and the health of the forest. I still believe that balance is approximately correct and feel validated by the Forest Service decision to proceed. I look forward to the monitoring and analysis that will finally tell us who was right and who was wrong about this particular solution to our problems in the Northern Sierra Nevada.
But today, because I think it will be instructive, I would like to talk about a tale of two cities, one small and rural, one large and urban. Quincy and San Francisco have a relationship much like rural and urban communities in the rest of the West. San Francisco is very liberal, Quincy is mostly conservative. San Francisco is very rich, Quincy is quite poor. San Francisco is politically powerful, Quincy is almost completely unknown in California and Washington. Most of San Francisco's property is private, most of the area around Quincy is national forest.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Over the last 150 years, most of the damage in the national forest has been done by San Francisco corporations and citizens. The mining and lumber industries were centered in San Francisco, and most of the profit from mining, logging and agriculture has traditionally gone to San Francisco in much the same way resources overseas have gone to the colonial power, not to the local people.
A quick comparison shows the power imbalance. San Francisco gets its water from Yosemite National Park, from the flooded Hetch Hetchy Valley. Quincy pumps local groundwater. San Francisco gets its power from Yosemite National Park as well, and a San Francisco corporation, PG&E, has dammed and destroyed all the rivers of the Sierra Nevada for urban shareholder profit. Quincy gets part of its power from PG&E and part from a rural electric cooperative. San Francisco controls another national park, the Presidio, with absolute local control. A private corporation rents commercial space to, among others, the Wilderness Society and the George Lucas corporation. No one else in America gets any say in the management of this national park and there is no opportunity for input since this operation was exempted from NEPA. Quincy has plowed ahead, within all applicable laws and with thorough NEPA review.
So why are there two sets of rules about public land? Why is San Francisco allowed to destroy major parts of two national parks with not a word from the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club, but Quincy is accused of ''demanding local control'' of the nearby forests? For the last seven years, I have been trying to understand what seems to be a double standard. Now that our program is through the hurdles placed in front of it by the San Francisco-based Sierra Club and Wilderness Society, I am still not completely sure. All people are capable of hypocrisy and I have certainly been guilty myself at times, but why can't the San Franciscans see it in themselves?
I think it is because this urban-rural debate is not about the environment, it is about power. The colonial attitude of the urban environmental movement is not new to San Franciscans, and the disrespect that the elitist ''movement'' types have for rural people would exist no matter what people in Quincy do now or in the future. There never will be a sharing of responsibility and authority as long as the ''movement'' is more important that either local people or the environment.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The experience of the Quincy Library Group is different for every member. For me, the experience has taught me lifetime lessons. Some of them have been bitter indeed. But most have touched my heart and thrilled my mind. Democracy works. The Constitutional right to peaceably assemble with anyone of our choice to petition our government to redress our grievances is not just old dead words. These guarantees live today, and on behalf of my community I wish to thank many great Americans who have gone out of their way to help us.
First, I want to thank President Clinton for motivating us at the Northwest Forest Summit in Portland in 1993 when he told all of us to get out of the courtroom and work out these problems. Next I want to thank Congressman Herger and Senator Feinstein, both of whom have been brave and steadfast in our support under intense pressure from their own natural constituencies. I want to thank Congressmen Don Young and Sherwood Boehlert and Senators Craig, Lott, Murkowski, Gorton, Daschle, Reid and Bumpers for their help and inspiration.
I also want to thank hundreds of government employees in the Agriculture, Interior and Energy Departments with whom I have worked.
I believe that America enters the 21st century a great and proud nation, with capable and compassionate leadership in both parties and in government service. Lastly I want to thank the members of this Subcommittee and the full Committee for your time and consideration. I have only one further request for your consideration. When the next group of citizens comes forward, please give them the same time and consideration that you have given to us. You have proven to me that this is still a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Thank you, Chairman Chenoweth, for your service and for your willingness to consider our new ideas.
BIOGRAPHIOCAL SKETCH MICHAEL B. JACKSON
Michael Jackson graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law, in 1972. He practices water and environmental law and has represented environmental groups and local government agencies in many state and Federal actions, including State Water Resources Control Board hearings on the Bay Delta and many California rivers. Mr. Jackson is currently Water Attorney for the Regional Council of Rural Counties, a coalition of 27 rural California counties. He is also Special Water Counsel for Plumas County.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Jackson is a co-founder of the Quincy Library Group, a community collaborative effort designed to balance environmental health and economic recovery in Plumas, Lassen, and Sierra counties. He has been a lecturer and seminar participant for many American universities and for several private policy foundations on the subjects of natural resources, water, and the environment.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Jackson, for that outstanding testimony.
The Chair now recognizes Mr. Terhune.
STATEMENT OF GEORGE TERHUNE, QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP STEERING COMMITTEE, QUINCY, CALIFORNIA, ACCOMPANIED BY LINDA BLUM, QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP, AND TOM NELSON, QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP, CALIFORNIA
Mr. TERHUNE. Chairman Chenoweth, Congressman Herger, I am George Terhune, a retired airline pilot, and co-chairman of the QLG Pilot Project Consultation Committee. Thank you for this opportunity to address your Committee on behalf of our committee.
At this point, QLG is most interested in two thingssuccessful implementation of the pilot project and a reasonable outcome to the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment EIS now being developed in the Sierra Nevada conservation framework.
Regarding the pilot project, we first want to express our profound gratitude and admiration to Congressman Herger and his staff, to Senator Feinstein and her staff, and to this Committee and its staff, for their continuous rock-solid support during the two and a half years it took to enact the legislation and obtain a Forest Service decision to implement it.
QLG supports the decision to adopt Alternative 2 and will work diligently to help assure that it is implemented correctly and in a cost-effective manner. However, we must point out that this was a good decision but reached by some questionable processes that do need to be corrected.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC In my written testimony there are several specifics. At this time, I just want to emphasize two problem areas that were changes made by the Forest Service at the last minute.
First, they decided to implement a mitigation instead of following the California spotted owl guidelines that are specified in the Act. This mitigation says that activities will ''completely avoid suitable California spotted owl habitat, including nesting habitat and foraging habitat.''
QLG does believe it would have been preferable to implement the guidelines as required by the Act, and that the substitute mitigation is very likely to introduce some problems because there are no rigorous definitions provided for ''suitable California spotted owl habitat or nesting habitat or foraging habitat.''
And the wording implies that additional habitat other than nesting and foraging habitat is included in the prohibition. At the very least, we believe that the proper definition should be supplied and that the mitigation should be changed to say that the projects will avoid just the nesting and foraging habitat, because we believe that was the intention and the ambiguous wording might cause problems.
The second change has to do with the limited operating periodsthey are called LOPswhich are periods where activity is restricted in an area due to the presence of a rare animal or a bird at a sensitive time of its life cycle. Twelve species are on the list, and for 11 of them the LOP seems reasonable.
For example, for a sandhill crane it limits activity within half a mile of known nesting sites from April 1st through August 1st. However, for the 12th species on the list, the California red-legged frog, the LOP applies to ''all unsurveyed and occupied suitable habitat, starting on October 1st or with the first quarter-inch rain of the season and continuing until April 15th of the following year.''
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That is potentially a very long shutdown period. It is over very large areas where these frogs are almost certain not to exist at all.
The concern about thisI called and talked to Dave Peters about it briefly, and apparently some survey of this nature is already done routinely for projects. The problem is that this was listed in the final EIS as an amended forest plan direction, which indicates that there is something beyond that intended by it, a more comprehensive requirement for the surveys than what we believe would be warranted.
We believe that this LOP should be changed, at least to be as site-specific as possible, and that it should be related to actual known locations of these frogs, not to all unsurveyed potential habitat.
I would also like to put in a few words here about the fires recently experienced and still going on. It is too early at this time to determine whether one fuel reduction strategy or another would have worked better in this situation.
What we do know is that at least for the Plumas and Lassen forests we were very lucky. In many places it was only the relatively calm winds that saved us from catastrophe. The most worrisome thing about the situation we actually faced was an almost immediate indication that Forest Service suppression capability was stretched pretty much to its limit. There was no capability apparent to be able to handle wind-driven fires if the wind had come up.
The decisive advantage of fuel breaks is that in a bad fire situation the effectiveness of suppression forces is greatly increased. Now, we don't know at this time how well they will work, until the fuel break network is actually in place. So our job now is to implement the pilot project and monitor it closely to find out how well this will work in a truly potential catastrophic situation.
Now, I have saved one subject, perhaps the most important one, for last. The pilot project cannot succeed unless it continues to be supported by earmarked funding to carry it out in full. On this subject, it is important to note that the final EIS shows that implementation of Alternative 2 will greatly improve the ratio of Federal revenues of Federal costs and hugely increase both direct and secondary economic activity in the QLG area. Frank Stewart will be addressing this subject in more detail later.
Page 27 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But when you add the Federal and local economic benefits to the reduction in fire hazard, the improvements in forest health, and the previously unavailable information that this pilot project will give us, we believe it's a win-win-win-win-win situation, and we, therefore, ask you to continue your strong support for the pilot project, and that you continue to monitor it closely, and that you recommend its continued funding for the entire five years.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Terhune follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Terhune.
I want to thank both of the witnesses for your outstanding testimonyvery informative, very good.
Now the Chair recognizes Congressman Herger for his questions.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
Mr. Jackson, environmental groups have criticized your QLG plan and the QLG bill. They say it is bad for the environment. What is your reaction or response to this charge?
Mr. JACKSON. They are wrong. Basically, the environmental movement has been right many, many times in the past and has provided a great service for the people of the United States in acquainting us to the problems that we face. But they are not very good at solutions. And it is time to move past problem identification in the solution building.
In your district, as you know better than I, to 80 percent of the people want to take care of the environment, but only 20 to 25 percent of the people would let anybody label them an environmentalist. And that is the distinctionis the solutions are about including everybody in the United States. The movement is about dividing everybody in the United States.
Page 28 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so it is time for some of us in the movement to step up and say that it is time to learn from everyone, and it is time to share information with everyone, and it is time to get on with real solutions. And I do believe that this has been instructive for the environmental movement.
The normal demonizing that takes place when you disagree with the movement didn't work here, and it didn't work because the substance of the program was so good. And so I see this as very hopeful, and I believe that over time my environmental friends will be more interested in solutions than in simply advertising and propaganda.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you. I really believe what you have just stated is what literally makes this so historic in what we are doing. But I would like to follow this line of questioning just a little further, if I could, and would like to seek your reaction or response to the following allegations against the QLG. And we have read this in the media over and over againa number of theseand again I would like your response if we could.
The first one is that the QLG plan doubles logging.
Mr. JACKSON. The answer to that, as you well know, Congressman Herger, is from what base do we determine that it doubles logging? When I began to work in the environmental movement, the logging on the forests involved here was about 460 million board feet a year. This will be somewhere between 200 and 285.
The logging done in this program is completely different than the logging done in the 1980s when we clear cut all trees as the appropriate method, according to the Forest Service. That is all that they gave the loggers was clear cutting all trees.
This particular program is designed to improve habitat and to improve fire risk. So basically, I would say that this program is slightly less than what it ought to be over the next 40 years. But the idea that it doubles logging, you would have to use the numbers from a level that is in everybody's mind far too little to come up with the idea that this program doubled something.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC You can look at it either way. It is either 60 percent of what it used to be or more than the lowest level ever reached in history. But we don't think that the number is important. If we do the right thing on each acre of land, the number will take care of itself.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you. The next allegation: the QLG bill was passed as a rider.
Mr. JACKSON. As you know, Congressman, we had a healthy debate on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. We had a healthy debate in this Committee and in Congressman Young's full Committee. And George Miller, in both cases, did a magnificent job debating his position and his allies' position. And then we reached agreement between Congressman Young and Congressman Miller, and the vote was 429.
And we had 100 votes in the Senate. We won in the Senate Committee 11 to 0. And then my environmental friends began to play the games at which they are so capable, and we ended up with mysterious holes on our bill, and we sat in the Senate for almost a year. And if it had been brought up for a vote at any time within that year, we would have had at least 95 of the 100 Senate votes.
And because the Democrats, a few Democrats, played a very fine procedural game, we did, too. And we picked a bill that it was clear would have to be passed. And we went to the leadership in both parties, and the leadership in both partiesevery single leader had us on their list in both parties.
And I would like at this point to tell you that we would not have had that kind of skill to enable us to get around the procedural hurdles, if we were not led by a man who probably did more than any single human being to help us through the thicket in Washington. And he sits right there beside the two of you Congresspeople today, Duane Gibson, and I want to thank him for what he did to help us know how to handle Washington procedure.
Page 30 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [Applause.]
Mr. HERGER. For those of you who aren't aware of whetherand understand what Mr. Michael Jackson is referring to, a great staff person, Duane Gibson, who has worked so well. All of us know we are only as good as the people we have working with us, and we certainly have outstanding staff in Duane.
I want to thank you, and thank you for acknowledging that.
Also, just to mention that every single Democrat in the House of Representatives, including George Miller, voted for this when it was before the House.
Mr. JACKSON. I would also like to point out that because we are a stickler for procedure that one of the first people in the United States Senate to vote for our bill was Senator Barbara Boxer.
Mr. HERGER. The next allegation: the QLG bill is a hidden subsidy for logging corporations.
Mr. JACKSON. One of the things that has disturbed me in the years I have been an environmentalist is this question of corporations as somehow a bad word, and subsidy as somehow wrong when it is applied to a corporation. I have heard regularly about Sierra Pacific and Sierra Pacific's role in the Library Group, and they have been wonderful in the Library Group, along with the other companiesCollins Pine, Big Valley Lumber, Birney Forest Product. They have all worked quite well with the rest of us, and they have been very, very fair.
One of the problems that I have is that I was raised a liberal, and so I am kind of a watermelon. I am a little green on the outside and kind of pink on the inside. And I think some of my friends have lost the social argument, and this is one of the last places where we still talk a lot about capitalists and monopolists and all of those non-environmental words.
And so I try to keep my politics and my environmental views separate, and I wish my friends in the environmental movement would do that. This is not a subsidy. This will pay for itself. It will pay for itself in terms of market prices, and it will pay for itself in terms of improvement in the ecology.
Page 31 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So, basically, I am a little tired of hearing about monopoly practices in the forest when I have to go to computers that are run by Bill Gates. And if we are all going to worry about monopolies in this country, let us start with Windows
[continuing] because they are much more effective and much more powerful than anybody in the timber industry.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you. And then, if you could respond to this quote. We have read this in virtually all of the national newspapers and locally. ''Congress and local counties seem to feel the best way to subsidize industry is to cut down public forests. I think it is just indicative of the fact that the only way the United States Forest Service can get increases in logging approved is circumventing real democracy.''
Mr. JACKSON. Well, I don't know how you circumvent real democracy. When you develop something at a local level, you go through the House of Representatives, you go through the United States Senate, and you have the President sign the bill. And then you go through the National Environmental Policy Act, and you have a good strong view taken of the viability standard and the potential of an endangered species.
When you do all of that, it is really hard to think that you should give any credence whatsoever to the idea that we circumvented democracy. Congress is the democracy. The House of Representatives is the people's house.
And consequently, the idea that somehow it is more democratic for a group of us who have legal skills to intervene in every activity of the Congress, every activity of the agencies with litigation, and that that somehow is democratic, and the process we took step by step through the bill process is anti-democratic, seems to me to make one wonder whether the urban elite universities are still as good as they used to be.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you. And finally, in this line of questioning, if you could tell us about CASPO, the California spotted owl, requirements as they relate to QLG EIS, and when do they apply?
Page 32 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. JACKSON. The California spotted owl rules basically take what we know in terms of the science and apply it in as efficient a way as you can, given the uncertainty. They require that you not log any tree bigger than 30 inches dbh until it is clear what suitable habitat for the spotted owl and other old growth species really is.
We believe that that is a good rule because we know we need big trees, we know we need big down material in the forests, but we know very little else for sure. So the CASPO rules are a reasonable approach given the uncertainty, and we intend to obey them.
In the last days of the Library Group program, it became clear that there may be some new science about suitability of habitat. We do not want to avoid new science, but we want to make sure that the new science is an improvement on the old science before it gets applied to us. So we will monitor the new science in the framework document which is being prepared.
When I startedafter I had moved from Redding in 1977 to Quincy, and began to look at the question of habitat, it became clear to me in 1977 that we didn't know exactly what suitable owl habitat was. As I sit here in 1999, having read every document and gone to almost every meeting, I still don't know what suitable habitat is.
So I think that the Library Group approach is exactly the right approach to take, given the uncertainty. It is conservative and cautious, but it is activity and not the zero cut that some of the folks in the environmental movement want for policy reasons.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you.
Madam Chairman, I yield back to you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Herger.
I want to address this question to Ms. Blum. I am going to read to you from Public Law 105-277, which is the compliance section for the spotted owl. I want to read this into the record.
''All resource management activities required by subsection D shall be implemented to the extent consistent with applicable Federal law and the standards and guidelines for the conservation of the California spotted owl as set forth in the California spotted owl Sierra interim guidelines, or the subsequently issued guidelines, whichever are in effect.''
Page 33 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The information follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Now, this is the law relative to owl guidelines. Now, the Forest Service chose not to enter the owl habitat at all, instead of following the law. Now, I want to know, Ms. Blum, what your thoughts are for the record on that decision.
Ms. BLUM. I think the rules of the game got changed on us, and I think the rules are being changed, as Mike Jackson referred to, on the basis of some ''new science'' that hasn't been written up and published yet. It hasn't been subjected to scientific rigor and the normal kinds of debate, replication, and testing that is the hallmark of the scientific method.
Instead what we had wasinexplicably to us, I might addliterally after the draft EIS for the QLG project was released for public review, we heard about closed meetings among agency scientists at which they held discussions, and other agency scientists took those conversations as the ''new science'' and then attempted, in the last 60 days or so, to translate that into new science that would replace the California spotted owl interim guidelines.
It seems ironic to me that when we began this backand actually wrote up our community stability proposal and submitted it to the Forest Service -in 1993, it was a really big deal to have everybody say, ''Look, the CASPO interim guidelines are the rule. That is what we have to go with. We want to abide by them. We don't want to try to find loopholes in every instance and sort of push the envelope every time.''
At the time, the political climate was one in which the environmental movement was afraid that Congress would slap sufficiency language on everything, that agency actions would be governed by ''these laws, notwithstanding,'' the kinds of language. We wanted to go by the book. We naively at that time thought that the environmental movement would respect that adherence to rule and adherence to legal and scientific process.
Page 34 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC That has, unfortunately, not been our experience this summer. The environmentalists waited until the public comment period had begun on the draft EIS before they brought forth a whole raft of ''new information'' about the way timber sales and other land disturbing projects had been implemented by the Forest Service over the last seven to 10 years.
I don't personally believe that that information came to light after May of 1999. I think that they were building it for a long time, and I believe that they timed it to have the agencies go into a tizzy during the public comment period of trying to figure out how to avoid yet another species crisis under the Endangered Species Act.
And so we arrived at this place this summer where the Quincy Library Group, as a group, and the law that was passed by Congress all say, ''We will implement these until these CASPO interim guidelines are replaced following the process set up by law.''
And instead, we had the agency people working in the back rooms, trying to negotiate new management prescriptions, new standards of judgment about whetherthe extent of effects that can be tolerated under any management scheme, and we sort of arrived rocking and rolling at the last minute to cross the finish line and sign the record of decision.
I still firmly believeI have a reputation for hanging tightly onto the National Environmental Policy Act. I still believe very, very strongly in the scientific process. I believe very strongly in the legal process. I think it protects all of us and all of our interests as citizens to observe those processes.
What the real science is, what the true status of the California spotted owl is in the Sierra Nevada is still something that hasn't really been determined; there are a lot of questions. There are many, many ecological questions that haven't even begun to be discussed and debated publicly. There is a lot of research yet to be done, and yet we know enough to get started.
And I think that is where the Quincy Library Group has been, is we had hoped in this process to have whatever new science was out there brought forward, but that it would be subjected to rigor, public disclosure, and discussion. Hopefully, we can find a better way to move forward with this, both in the Framework and during the pilot project implementation.
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. It may surprise you, Ms. Blum, but I am one that likes to adhere very closely to NEPA, too, and for the very reasons that you have brought out in your comments.
Ms. BLUM. It works.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It works. And although it is cumbersome and slow, it ishas been the one framework that has brought our thinking together. And the fact is that today we find ourselves trying to reach solutions without the rule of law.
Ms. BLUM. Exactly.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And the Quincy Library Group legislation served as the rule of law, and yet we find that we still have situations where people are operating outside the rule of law. So there is no way we can come together in our thinking because it is too uncertain, as you have said.
This kind of intellectual and scientific dishonesty not only destroys communities but the very environment and the very force of wildlife populations, wildlife habitat, watershed stability, the quality of streams. It destroys these very things we are all working for.
So I am so impressed with your comments. They needed to be said. And we togetherlawmakers, citizensneed to require accountability and require that we operate under the rule of law. We may not always think alike within our own frame of reference, but we have the rule of law to come together under. So thank you very, very much.
I wanted to also turn to Mr. Terhune. You just thought you were getting out of a lot of questions, didn't you?
Mr. TERHUNE. I have been quiet as a mouse here.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I wanted to ask you, did the QLG plan or the QLG EIS deal at all with time restrictions on entry for fuel break construction concerning sensitive species? And you also mentioned in your opening statements about the frog, this little frog, the red-legged frog. Is that listed as a sensitive species or a threatened species or endangered?
Page 36 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. MURPHY. Endangered.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. It is? Okay.
Mr. TERHUNE. It has been for some time.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. Please proceed.
Mr. TERHUNE. I am not sure thatthe timing of thethe first question had to do with the timing.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Did the QLG plan or the QLG EIS deal at all with time restrictions on entry fuel break construction concerning the sensitive species?
Mr. TERHUNE. Oh, I see. Yes. Well, in the limited operating periods, it would have that effect. On that, the two that I mentioned, the limited operating period would putin some cases, if a species is found, it imposes a limited operating period. That could be a severe restriction because many of those operating periods span time when it is possible to get into those areas to work. A lot of it occurs during the summer period. So there would be some restrictions there, although we don't believe those would, for the most part, impose very much difficulty.
The difficulty with the one I mentioned, with the red-legged frog, is the uncertainty of the process more than anything else. It looks like it would be possible, not necessarily that it would occur, but it would be possible to use that language to insist on some rather onerous requirements for survey and proof that an almost nonexistent frog is not there. It is pretty difficult to do sometimes.
So there are concerns there. I mentioned those potential difficulties because they seem to be introduced with this and brought forward in the final environmental impact statement and the record of decision in a way that wasn't included in the draft EIS. And it seemed to be making a point about it, not the continuation of existing procedures, but something new to the process, and that is the worrisome part.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Murphy, I noticed you referring to either the plan or the ROD.
Mr. MURPHY. Sure.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Do you have anything to add?
Mr. MURPHY. Specifically, Mrs. Chairman, that the particular wording that came in the ROD really has no justification and is of concern to us. It says, ''Limited operating periods will be applied to unsurveyed habitat considered to be suitable for threatened, endangered, or sensitive species.'' That is fine.
Then it says, ''And to habitat considered suitable for any species for which viability may be a concern.'' What we have done is just in that one sentence included the problem that Judge Dwyer is dealing with in the northern forest plan, which was this open-ended, undeterminable list that anyone can then say, ''Well, there is a viability concern for deer,'' and we have to then stop until we survey for deer.
So there is this strangely worded opening that we feel has the potential to undermine the entire process. And I think that the pressing need for the starting and going forward and implementing the proposal without those worries in hand is made very evident by the existing map of what is going on right now. And I will just put it up really quickly.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Please do.
Mr. MURPHY. (Whereupon, Mr. Murphy used a defective lapel mike during the use of a map exhibit, reulting in the loss of a one minute and 32 second segment of his presentation.)
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And is today the first day that we have had winds?
Mr. MURPHY. Today is the first day in a week that we have had the wind.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. I wanted to ask you, Mr. Murphy, about fire modeling with regard to the new EIS and the ROD.
Mr. MURPHY. Well, thank you for that opportunity. That map is part of what wethe record of decision and the EIS process has gone through a very detailed section on fire modeling efforts. The Library Group was concerned after the SNEP project, which is the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, that came out just preceding itit has a whole section on fire, particularly large, catastrophic fires.
And we have here the map showing the two known large, catastrophic fires surrounding the area that we are talking about. And, in particular, the one in the southeast corner stopped when it ran into the desert. It is the lowest fuel loading area of the forest. In fact, if anything, there is a mountain between those two fires of increasing fuel.
And the modeling that was done basically decided in our EIS that fires end, or at least the modeling ended, at the end of 24 hours, and that no fire has exceeded 7,500 acres in size.
Now, in light of a 44,000-acre fire on the land base, a 64,000-acre fire sitting adjacent to the land base, and six statesthat is those two fires burned in a total of six burning periodsit is incongruous to us to understand why that level of analysis didn't include the potential for large, catastrophic fire.
And so if that analysis had been done, and if the models aren't supportive of doing that kind of analysis, the models are not capable of predicting these events, then what NEPA and the National Forest Management Act says is bring in the best experts.
Well, the best experts have just recently been convened in the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project, and they say the same thingthat there is a high risk of large fires, and that they recommend that the pilot project concept of defensible fuel profile zones needs to be rigorously tested and monitored. So it just seems odd that the EIS did not ever deal with this clear and present danger in terms of scale.
Page 39 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is a very good point. Do you think that a new model could be developed? What would that entail?
Mr. MURPHY. Well, I am not sure a new model necessarily. Sometimes nature, no matter how well we try to measure it, has its own way of dealing with these things. And certainly these events occur with combinations of wind and fire risk, weather, and so forth, that do not occur very often. I mean, as we see right now, we have many, many starts, and we don't have the wind. Well, the wind is coming, so, you know, the chances of this occurring are relatively low.
But the risk, the issue which we want to point out, is when it happensand clearly, in the last seven years it has happened twice, very, very close to usthat the amount of owl habitat and other species habitat that could be lost in a single three-day event swamps all of the potential risk of what our effort would do.
And also, there is a time scale here that is really important to be brought out. A large, catastrophic wildfire takes centuries to become owl habitat again. A defensible fuel profile zone is owl habitat withinin many cases, it is owl habitat the day it is finished. But it likely is only at most five to 10 years from becoming fully suitable nesting habitat again.
And so here we are looking at this minor adjustment in habitat in currently unoccupied habitat that the normal QLG proposal would have done, whereas the ROD now avoids owl habitat altogether. But we are looking at the alternate to that is removal of that owl habitat for a better part of the next century.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, your comments are so well taken. It makes me wonderthere are intelligent people inside the Forest Service, as we knowwhy can't they see this? There is a far greater impact in not implementing the Quincy Library plan than in just letting it exist as it is; the impact being we destroy the forests, the wildlife, the community.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Sometime we are going to have to come to grips, Congressman Herger, with what is really driving this because it isn't science, it isn't wildlife habitat, it isn't wildlife, it isn't forest health, because everything that is happening out there defies reasoning. We have highly intelligent people working in the agencies, and yet we see this kind of intellectual and scientific dishonesty still emerging that creates confusion.
There is something beyond this, and I am not able to get my hands on it.
Mr. Murphy, do you have any comments?
Mr. MURPHY. Well, I am not sure that there is an answer to that question. I think the best possible thing we can do is admit we do not know, and then, as the laws require, we go forward with a monitored pilot project of an experiment to test. And we have to test that experiment at the scale of the problem.
If the problem is anywhere from 40 to 190 million acres of the west, this million and a half acre area of an experiment is tiny in comparison, but it is absolutely crucial that we go forward with it quickly, that we have the monitoring in place so that we will know more than we know today, and we can begin to move beyond these what appear to be honest scientific disagreements.
But that is the only way I can see that we can go forward is to take carefully crafted, very restrictive controls to go forward with, and also really put in the monitoring that is necessary to be able to know those answers five years from now.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, I think in part Mr. Jackson answered my question in his testimony, because until we have the decision makers in Washington, DC, and those who are speculating in academia, begin to develop a great respect for the common sense of the people on the ground, we are going to continue to have to deal with vague theories instead of scientific facts.
I want to thank all of you very much.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I want to ask Congressman Herger if you have any further questions that you would like to ask before I close the panel.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you, Madam Chair. Maybe one last, if I could, and that would be, what steps would you suggest to the Forest Service to get the project implemented quickly? And what type of schedule would you suggest for implementation? And are you consulting with the Forest Service now? Whoever would like to respond to that. Ms. Blum?
Ms. BLUM. It is the intention of Quincy Library Group Steering Committee that of course we will be available for whatever consultations. We have in the past, and we will probably do so in the future, suggest to the project manager for the Forest Service, or to other Forest Service officials, that we get together in a public sense, not just the Quincy Library Group.
It is almost like we don't want to walk into the backroom, just like we don't want anybody else to walk into the backroom. We believe that public disclosure and public discussion is probably the solidest and the most efficient way to get to a long-lasting, reasonable, legal solution for many of these resource conflicts that right now there seems to be no obvious resolution to them.
I think that we intend to participate in all of the project level planning processes within the normal public venues, probably more enthusiastically than we have bothered the Forest Service in the past. But in addition to that, we will clearly be available. We intend to continue to participate actively in the Sierra Nevada Conservation Framework planning process also.
And I think our hope is that the Forest Service will continue to work on finding ways to collaborate and cooperate with the public, which is who they serve.
Mr. HERGER. And I know this was a problem for awhile, and I want to thank the Forest Service. I did contact them and they were very good on, I understand, getting together and having meetings here in the last several months. And I want to commend the Forest Service for that.
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Do you have any steps that you would suggest to the Forest Service to be able to get the project implemented quickly? Mr. Terhune?
Mr. TERHUNE. I think the key to that is that in the draft EIS and the final EIS there is analysis which is based largely on example-type things, not pinned down and not detailed enough. But the first step is to apply and take aapply the newer concepts that have come out about the final EIS, to go back and apply them to those sketch maps, go back and apply them to the tentative distinctions that were made on where might be the best place to implement this.
And one thing that has to be done, if we are going to avoid that habitat, is now in the mitigation and constructing the DFPZs. The obvious way to do it is to take another look at those maps, see where those DFPZs might be better located, to avoid the necessity for the gaps in the DFPZ system, to make it continuous, to make it effective, and at the same time do the best possible job of avoiding the habitat that is the problem.
Those are the problems I think that are immediately to be worked on, and it isin a sense, it is a fortunate timing here because that is the kind of thing we can work on, that they can work on in this rest of the summer, in the fall, and have some good projects actually ready to hit the ground in the following season.
The first thing we should be doing, I believe, is taking another close look at criteria for how are we going to decide where these projects should go, make sure that it gets off the ground in a good, solid wayat that stage. That will give us the best possible protection from successful attack in appeals and in litigation.
So it is crucial that in the next month or so when we get the information, where are thosehow should those maps be drawn? That is the kind of thing that can very well be discussed and indicated in the immediate future, but put a very solid foundation for the rest of the project.
Page 43 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HERGER. You're hitting on this a bit here, but also my question is, what type of schedule would you suggest for implementation?
Did you have a comment?
Mr. JACKSON. Yes, I did. I think it is absolutely critical that we get across the question of pace. In our county, the average fire cycle is between seven and 12 years. This project was designed to be actually slower than that, more conservative than that. The way it could fail is if we don't do it at a pace that would be necessary to effect the landscape.
And I guess what I'm saying is this question of uncertainty, a doctor has it every time he sees a cut. But because he is uncertain doesn't mean that he only does three stitches and leaves the rest of it open. This project is designed to go forward at a pace necessary to deal with the scale of the landscape.
If in the first year we don't reach the 40- to 60,000 number, it will be a sign that the Forest Service is not giving a full effort. Their excuse, if they have one, will be that they don't have the funding.
So the question of pace becomes two things. Do we have the funds? And the second thing is, does the Forest Service proceed at enough of a pace to demonstrate the effectiveness of the program? And so, to us, it is all a matter of appropriate pace to deal with the scale of the problem. And in that regard, then the one and a half million acres that we are dealing with can truly serve as a model for the other 40 to 191 million that people identify as having the same set of problems.
I think anybody who has seen the Boise front during fires is well aware that this problem is not endemic only to the Northern Sierra Nevada. And for us to be useful, for Congress to have dealt with everyone's problem equally by beginning here, we need to show the pace and the landscape effect. And so a smaller project is the only way that we can finish, in my opinion.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HERGER. And I think that brings into play the absolute necessity of a continual consulting with those of you who actually put togetherput the science together and the plan together specific for these three national forests. And that is really the great pleasure, the great satisfaction I have had as a member of Congress, is unlike so many pieces of legislation this isn't something we3,000 miles awaywrote.
This is legislation that the community, all of the factions, environmental community, the wood products, everyone working together, those of you who live there put this togetherwhy it is so crucial that we have a very regular consulting between yourselves and the Forest Service to ensure that this is implemented in the way it was intended and in the way that the Congress voted virtually unanimously, bipartisanRepublican, Democrat, conservative, the liberals, everyoneto see that it happened.
Thank you very much.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Herger.
I have just one final question for Mr. Terhune. And I wanted to ask you about the Grazing Committees. Have the cattlemen's concerns been met? And is there some way to be able to bring the cattlemen into the mix that QLG plan implementation in the future does not adversely affect their operations?
Mr. TERHUNE. I am probably not the most familiar with cattlemen issues on this. But to the best of my knowledge there has been participation, and their concerns have been heard throughout the process. That doesn't mean that we purposely took on the task of settling all cattle problems between cattlemen and the Forest Service.
It meant that we attempted to keep this program at least neutral with regard to the issues involved. And we don't believe that we have done harm to the long-term interests of the cattle industry. We do hope that they will continue to be involved in implementation to take care of their interests as well as anybody should.
Page 45 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are not attemptingand we believe that this legislation has been designed and specifically provides for adequate protectionfull protection of the cattlemen's association and the cattlemen's interests. They will certainly continue to be heard, as they should. I don't know if they have anything to say on this.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Jackson, do you have any comments about that?
Mr. JACKSON. Certainly. One of the most thrilling things about the Library Group program is watching the spinoffs. I went to a meeting recently of the Sierra Nevada Alliance, which is a group of grass-roots environmental folks throughout the Sierra Nevadas, and was just thrilled to sit there and listen to a joint presentation of the environmentalists and the Cattlemen's Association about how they were working out the problems, doing trail rides together, meeting with each other, working on solutions.
The cattlemen now have their own land conservancy, so that they can keep their families on the land and still handle the riparian zones in a way that provides environmental quality and a certain payment to the farmers because ofand the cattlemen because of the changes they need to make.
It is not something done by the Library Group. It is these folks' own Library Group program, and it thrills me to watch it begin to happen. And I would like to give a lot of credit to both the California Cattlemen's Association and the California environmental movement for what they are doing.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, you have certainly set a fine example, and this is a great spinoff. And I am very, very pleased to hear about it.
For the record, as Chairman, I do want to say for the record my concern is that the legislation that we passed did not do damage to any use rights. And I will be watching very carefully to make sure there is no delegation of authority that has been given that may accomplish any kind of violation of anyone's property use rights.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And so I did want to say that for the record, because I do not want to see the QLG legislation used or interpreted in a manner that would do damage to any industry group or any environmental group, any of our users of our national forests.
So, again, I think it all boils down, as you have said so aptly, to an ongoing respect for the common sense of the people on the ground. And you have demonstrated something that we in the Congress have been hoping we could, and we have been your assistants, and we will continue to be your assistants as you drive the solutions home.
Thank you very much for your fine testimony. I look forward to working with you as we see the success of this program develop. Thank you.
And I call the second panelMr. William Stewart, Chief, Fire and Resource Assessment Program, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in Sacramento, California; Ms. Fran Roudebush, Plumas County Supervisor, District 1, Quincy, California; Mr. Frank Stewart, Counties Quincy Library Group Forester, Chico, California; and Mr. Dick O'Sullivan, California Cattlemen's Association Public Lands Committee, Sacramento, California.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I want to thank the witnesses very much for joining us here today. And as you can see, we are sort of letting the rules relax because we want to take as much time and opportunity to hear from you on the record.
As you know, it is the plan of the Chairman to place all outside witnesses under the oath, and I believe that you have been given a set of rulesthe Committee rulesthat address this issue. So at this time, I wonder if you might stand and raise your hand to the square, your right hand.
To begin testimony, we call on Mr. William Stewart.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM STEWART, CHIEF, FIRE AND RESOURCE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION, SACRAMENTO
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. WILLIAM STEWART. Thank you, Madam Chairman, Chairman Chenoweth, and Congressman Herger. My name is William Stewart, and I am representing the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Director Andrea Tuttle couldn't be here today because she is at our State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection meeting in Sacramento.
But I am, as you have heard, the Chief of the Fire and Resource Assessment Program for CDF, and we are responsible for doing the Department's analysis of the QLG activities as well as responsible for coordinating responses with the other relevant state agencies.
For all departments, I want to welcome the opportunity to provide some input, not only from CDF but also the Department of Fish and Game, as well as our Resources Agency.
A little bit of backgroundI have a Master's and Ph.D. in Forest Economics from one of those elite universities that Mr. Jackson so lovingly referred to, and have been involved in a number of these activities. I was a consultant for some California issues on FEMAT, have worked on one of the early California spotted owl assessments on some of the economic impacts, and was also a principal resource economist for the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project for about two years, up until 1996 when I joined the State.
Given that the Forest Service has made the programmatic decision to select Alternative 2 with the mitigation package, I want to direct my comments to actions we see as necessary for effective implementation of this project. Effective implementation of the project is what Congress is asking for, so that we can learn from this and not just create more studies.
My office has already reviewed large studies on the Sierra Nevada, and I personally don't want another one to have to read again. I think these comments are consistent with the record of decision, and I think the interests represented by all of the stakeholders.
We see three areas that we think are going to need to be bolstered in some ways during the implementation project. The first is a monitoring and adaptive management framework with a strong scientific basis so that we can learn from this pilot project. As we heard in the previous session, there is a lot of uncertainty. But if we just wait and leave uncertainty as a reason to do nothing, we will never move forward on that.
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Second we are dealing with a lot of fire related issues, as was pointed out earlier. When we don't have high winds in computer models, we can miss what really drives how many burnt acres we have. In our fire modeling, we have probabilities of all fires up to about 200 acres, and after that we just call them ''big.'' We don't know how big the fire is going to be at that time, but you do have to address that fact, and there are ways beyond the standard engineering approaches that we need to address the issues of fire risk in the Northern Sierra Nevada.
I think central to that need is a more transparent fire planning process. We read nearly all of the different fire modeling for the Sierra Nevada as well as for the rest of the state. There are many different aspects and many different risk factors, and there are many different potential impacts that are all involved.
What is necessary is to continue our work with the Forest Service as well as the QLG on promoting approaches such as a California Fire Plan, which is an approach we have used before that covers all private and Federal lands, to try to bring all of the pieces together and make some decisions that makes the process move forward.
I will put in the record a copy of the Fire Plan. And just as an example, look on our web page. We have an example of the fuels that we developed with the other agencieswith the Forest Service and the BLM. The example map was a piece of the QLG area. There is a small cross-section that shows the different fuel types that can be used in modeling, so that we can all work from the same basic data and don't have one set of people using this model, someone else using this model, and someone else bringing up an anecdote, a memory from their childhood or whatever. We need some clarity and some consistency among all of the agencies and the stakeholders.
And, third, it is necessary to have integration of the economic analysis into the implementation, monitoring, and assessment. The QLG bill, as written, would take into account the economy of this area. I think in the draft EIS it is buried in the back. I think it is going to be very important to make sure we bring in a cost-effective approach toas as a pillar of a working landscape management for the forests of California.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I just hope that can be brought in because the cost-effectiveness mandate from Congress is set forth very strongly. And we hope that that is the road we are on and we don't sit around and argue about unknown lifestyles of red-logged frogs.
I think we all agree on the value of working with locally-based processes, such as the Quincy Library Group, the importance of creating a forest landscape that is better suited for fire than the one we have created to date, and to really provide the mix the benefits of managing a national forest as working landscapes that, both produces commodity and non-commodity benefits from the national forests. I think the complexities of this issue require that we move towards a more transparent model, understanding where we are going, as opposed to the planning processes that we have now.
I think that opportunity has now begun to finish the EIS process, and I think it is important to not look at these models just to get it through the hurdles of NEPA but to actually use it to involve all of the stakeholders and learn from what we are doing.
One thing I would like to mention is that during the draft environmental impact statement, the Department of Fish and Game, in our comments that we submitted earlier, did focus on the need to predict and to monitor the potential impact on key wildlife species.
It is an ongoing issue. We weren't asking for immediate action, but rather to have a scientific approach to learn as we move along on how species are impacted, not just the California spotted owl but all of the species, not just in the National Forest but also in the DFPZ. And I think we can learn a lot and move forward on many of these things, so that after five years we have a much better understanding of how this works.
I mentioned again just some of the work on the California Fire Plan. I need to emphasize that we must utilize what we have across all of the agenciesthe common information based on fuel types, fire regimes, fire models, and wildlife models. The problem is many of these models were built for specialists to use, but in this process they need to be understandable by the public and the stakeholders.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are committed. My director has involved the resources to commit some of our scientific personnel to work with the Forest Service, to get models and information that works for all of the stakeholders.
And finally, as I mentioned before, this is a very important project for us from a regional economic point of view. There are enormous benefits described in the environmental impact statement that could come out of this. We have also looked at the harvest aspects and feel they will not harm the recreational use of the national forest, which is really the other national value here. I think these two aspects are very complementary, and I think they should be ensured that they stay that way.
Finally, I would like to just provide my appreciation for having this hearing. I want to extend the offer from Director Tuttle and her staff that we would like to work with the Forest Service, as well as the Quincy Library Group stakeholders, to move this process forward. We see this as a learning experience on how we all in California can manage both private and public forests in the west for the benefit of all.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much, Mr. Stewart.
[The information follows:]
[The prepared statement of Mr. William Stewart follows:]
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM STEWART, CHIEF, FIRE AND RESOURCE ASSESSMENT PROGRAM, CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION ON THE HERGER-FEINSTEIN QUINCY LIBRARY GROUP FOREST RECOVERY ACT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT
Dear Madam Chairman Chenoweth
My name is William Stewart and I am representing the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF). Director Andrea Tuttle was not able to be here as she must attend the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection meetings in Sacramento. The Fire and Resource Assessment Program of CDF was responsible for our department's analysis as well as the coordination with other relevant state departments. CDF's Fire and Resource Assessment Program is responsible for analyzing trends in the state's natural, social, and economic systems; monitoring and assessing the condition and availability of wildland resources; and identifying alternative responses to changing trends and conditions. Our mandate covers private, state owned, and Federal wildlands. Prior to joining the state I was a forest and regional economic consultant on numerous projects such as FEMAT (1993) and the Report of the Policy Implementation Planning Team to the Steering Committee for the Californian Spotted Owl Assessment (1994). From 1994 to 1996 I was the principal resource economist for the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (SNEP).
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection welcomes the opportunity to comment on the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act now that the Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision are out. In addition to my primary task of representing CDF, I will also summarize the main points of the California Resources Agency and Department of Fish and Game that were also sent in comment letters to the U.S. Forest Service in July 1999.
I would like to reiterate the offers from Secretary for Resources Mary D. Nichols, CDF Director Andrea Tuttle, and DFG Director Robert Hight for continued technical assistance in areas of strong mutual interest.
Given that the USDA Forest Service has made the programmatic decision of selecting Alternative 2 with a mitigation package, I will direct my comments towards actions we see as necessary for effective implementation of a project that will have significant positive impact on fire risk, forest management, and economic vitality in the region. Overall, we see to strengthen three areas of the project:
A monitoring and adaptive management framework with a strong scientific basis so that we can learn from the pilot project.
A more transparent fire planning process similar to the California Fire Plan that combines the numerous assets, fire risk factors, and potential impacts of fuels treatments to guide implementation and assessment of site specific projects
A greater integration of economic analysis into the implementation, monitoring, and assessment of individual projects to meet the cost-effective mandate of the Act.
We agree on the value of working with locally based processes, the importance of creating a forest landscape better suited for fire, and the benefits of managing national forests as working landscapes that produce a sustainable mix of commodity and non-commodity resources. The complexity of the issues requires a planning tool that can effectively integrate the different issues for different stages of the process (strategic planning, implementation, and monitoring) as well as for different users (analysts, implementers, and stakeholders). More specifically, we proposed that the USFS use a rigorous, scientific process, such as or similar to the California Fire Plan, for identifying areas with the greatest assets at risk to fire, areas with hazardous fuels accumulations, areas prone to severe fire weather, and areas where an unacceptable number of fires have escaped initial attack. A more thorough description of the California Fire Plan can be viewed on our web sites (hftp://frap. cdf.ca. gov/fire-plan/, http://www.firesafecouncil.orgfirgplan.html), and http://frap.cdf ca.gov/data/fire data/hazard/mainftames.html.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Apply Adaptive Management
Our earlier comments stressed that, to be meaningful, the pilot project should apply a range of fuel management and silvicultural treatments and carefully monitor them over time for the achievement of desired outcomes. A cost-effective, statistically-based sampling system that measures the cause and effect relationships of different management activities is necessary to ensure that the pilot project is a productive learning and demonstration experience as Congress has indicated it to be. Without the collection and analysis of monitoring data, applying one or two treatments (reserves being a type of treatment) across a varying landscape for five years will provide limited insight into sustainable forest management. The scientific review panel called for in the HFQLG Act could be used to ensure that treatment approaches and monitoring results allow for this learning. CDF is willing to provide some of our professional staff to the scientific review panel.
The technical details in terms of harvest units, standards for important habitat components at the forest stand level, layout of defensible fuel profile zones (DFPZs) in terms of linear or area design, how they interact with riparian systems, prioritization based on effectiveness of reducing probability of catastrophic fire losses, etc., will all require further refinement beforehand and rapid feedback during adaptive management. An adaptive management approach should be used to provide for the collection of critical monitoring data and the alteration (of kind, scope, or placement) of management activities needed to avoid adverse environmental impacts or other violations of Federal law.
Monitoring and Adaptive Management
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Monitoring efforts will be crucial if we all are to learn from this effort. It should include post-project compliance and effectiveness monitoring. Compliance and effectiveness monitoring should be designed to inform an adaptive management process. The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection and USFS State and Private Forestry have successfully collaborated on the development of change detection methods for vegetation canopy cover that could inform a monitoring and adaptive management effort. (htty://fray.cdf ca.gov/projects/change detection/change detection projecthtml)
The analysis of the alternatives does not disclose the longer-term impacts of the proposed vegetation treatments. Analysis is specific to the immediate impacts associated with project implementation but does not describe the longer-term impacts of habitat protection that may resulte.g., the reduction in loss of California spotted owl habitat due to catastrophic wildfire, or the faster rate at which stands treated with single tree selection develop old forest characteristics. Where short-term adverse impacts are identified, these should be considered in the context of longer-term, often positive effects. The potential long-term effects on vegetation should be described when they have been modeled.
Wildlife Habitats Across the Whole Project Area
The concerns of the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) focused on the need to more accurately predict and monitor the potential impacts on key wildlife species. The DFG was specifically concerned that the treatments as proposed in the DEIS could have serious negative impacts on spotted owl habitat based on the metrics used in the DEIS (e.g. percentage of suitable habitat within preferred ranges, loss of important habitat elements after silviculture prescriptions, habitat degradation outside of defined sites). Given the existing information demonstrating a decline in the lambda estimate of California spotted owl in the project area, DFG stressed the need for a conservative approach. Based on their initial reading of the Record of Decision, DFG considers it essential that the mitigation measures be implemented and that the monitoring process is thorough enough to increase our understanding of the relationship of California-spotted owls and forest structure. DFG also stresses the need to consider and monitor wildlife habitat attributes in the DFPZs and other land management activities.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has far fewer biologists than the Department of Fish and Game but is in agreement that the relationship between owls and silviculture treatments must be empirically documented and analzed during the implementation phase. CDF noted that the original CASPO report (p. 82) presented a weak linear, not threshold, relationship (a correlation of 0.60) between ''suitable habitat'' as classified by the USFS and owl density. The Bart (1995) article quoted in the DEIS also noted a linear, rather than threshold relationship. In addition, CASPO also reported owl use of areas twenty years earlier on the Lassen National Forest still provided habitat benefits that were roughly one third of that measured for suitable habitat (p. 173). Given the potential variability in the prey base and specific habitat elements that would affect the prey base, the relationship between suitable habitat and adult survivorship may not be the only important relationship that needs to be addressed. Both CDF and DFG strongly support the integration of the mitigation and monitoring components into the selected alternative.
Fire Risk and the Costs and Benefits of Fire Risk Reduction Activities
As mentioned earlier in the description of the California Fire Plan, CDF wants to ensure that state and Federal fire protection efforts are well coordinated. The understanding of the relative effectiveness of different spatial arrangements of fuel modification programs is constantly improving. An interagency group in California works together to ensure that all departments use the same high quality fuels layer. A good example that coincidentally covers a section of this project area is highlighted on our web site (http://frqp. edf. ca. gov/ data/ fire data/ fuels/ fuels.htm) and is also attached to this document. We also believe greater coordination on fire planning modeling and monitoring could significantly improve both the USFS's and CDF's ability to plan and implement effective activities to reduce fire risks.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As designed, the DFPZ strategy has two major components: to reduce fire severity (and, hence, adverse effects) on treated areas and to limit fire size such that untreated areas are not subject to high severity fires. Using a range of mixes of linear and area DFPZs could significantly the overall effectiveness of the program. Many of these technical issues could be effectively explored if a rigorous, scientific planning tool similar to the California Fire Plan was used. Providing the planning tool in a forum where it could be used by stakeholders to explore different potential outcomes would be beneficial. We would be very willing to work with the USFS and the local stakeholders during this process.
The Need for Clearer Descriptions of Probable Long Term Impacts
The difficulty of discerning the probable outcomes of the pilot project as described in the DEIS makes it clear that the Forest Service needs to develop a more transparent decision support system that is based on good science and incorporates multiple variables. Hopefully, this will be one of the valuable outcomes of project implementation.
It is central to the selection of an alternative to assess the long-term positive and negative effects of each alternative. Such an assessment would include an evaluation of the relative effectiveness of proposed land treatments to protecting areas of importance or resource value from catastrophic fire effects. The DEIS should describe how the 5 year plan will affect future forest management. Although timber growth and harvest modeling extends into the future for a century, similar assessments are not developed in even a qualitative manner for other resources. In addition, there is little description of forest management and intensity of land treatment in areas not occupied by California spotted owl PACs and SOHAS.
Proper Citations from Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project Chapters
Page 56 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
The DEIS' use of the Sierra Nevada Ecosystem Project (SNEP) Report is often selective. The most significant problem is the claim that the DEIS follows SNEP in using the LS/OG and ALSE systems for defining individual polygons for resource management. Beyond the specific chapters with unique authors in SNEP Volumes II and III and the Addendum, the applicable reference from SNEP regarding old growth forests would be Volume I, Chapter 6 on ''Late Successional Old-Growth Forest Conditions.'' This chapter presented three, not one, equally plausible strategies to counter the major declines in late successional forests that were found during the SNEP assessments. ''Strategy 1: Areas of Late Successional Emphasis'' corresponds to the information included in the DEIS. However ''Strategy 2: Distributed Forest Conditions'' and ''Strategy 3: Integrated Case Study'' are also SNEP strategies. Strategy 3's focus on integrating seven different goals-late successional forests, vegetation, wildlife habitat, watershed and aquatic areas, fire protection, community well-being, and private land contributions to ecosystem sustainabilityis a more realistic SNEP strategy that should have been referred to in the DEIS.
The use of non-repeatable forest classification schemes to delineate specific treatment areas will present a serious challenge for accurate monitoring. The LS/OG and ALSE characterizations are critical since they are the major difference between the alternatives but may or may not be the most important acres for California spotted owl habitat and defensible fuel protection zones. We would suggest that the Forest Service utilize their existing forest inventory and analysis program to track the effects of different management prescriptions in a rigorous manner.
Economic Impacts for a Region with High Unemployment
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Alternative 2 will make very large contributions to the local and regional economies. This information should be included in the ''Summary Comparison of Alternatives'' in Chapter 2. Compared to Alternative 4, Alternative 2 would infuse an additional $381 million in personal income and $760 million of total sales into the eight-county project area over the five-year project period. In addition, on an annual basis, Alternative 2 would directly or indirectly create over 1,600 annual new jobs more than would be created under Alternative 4. As shown in the DEIS, this level of activity would reduce the region's currently high unemployment rates to close to the state average.
Impact beyond those directly in the forest products industry. No tradeoff with recreation related employment. Based on our analysis of EDD data.
The HFQLG pilot project represents a major opportunity for the state and Federal Governments to work together on landscape level vegetation management to protect public safety and to protect and enhance environmental values. We ask that the Forest Service, as it moves forward with analysis and implementation of the pilot project, engage in a more meaningful way with the department.
The Forest Service needs to begin immediately to develop the monitoring and adaptive management framework necessary for meaningful implementation of the pilot project. Variations in on-the-ground design of DFPZs and timber harvest units will provide valuable information to guide resource management in both the short and the long term. Without a clearer presentation of the individual components and an adaptive management approach, this information will not be garnered. Also, the Acts mandate to be cost-effective requires a greater integration of economic analysis into the implementation, monitoring, and assessment of individual projects conducted under the pilot.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Again, the department appreciates the opportunity to comment on the DEIS. My staff and I are willing and interested in working with you to help make the implementation of the HFQLG Act a successful and educational pilot project that enhances the environment while providing significant economic opportunities. We strongly encourage the Forest Service to make the necessary modifications to its DEIS and implementation plans for the pilot project to ensure this outcome.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Chair now recognizes the forest supervisor from Plumas County, Fran Roudebush, for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF FRAN ROUDEBUSH, PLUMAS COUNTY SUPERVISOR, DISTRICT 1, QUINCY, CALIFORNIA
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Good morning, Chairman Chenoweth, members of the Committee, Congressman Herger. Thank you for being here and for allowing me to participate in this panel. I am Fran Roudebush, Chair of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. I am also representing the Regional Council of Rural Counties, which consists of 27 member counties in California. I also represent the Environmental Services Joint Powers Authority of RCRC.
Eleven counties have submitted letters or resolutions of support for the QLG plan and Alternative 2. Six of those counties are: Yuba, Butte, Glenn, Modoc, Trinity, and Siskiyou Counties. But five other countiesPlumas, Tehama, Lassen, Shasta, and Sierra Countiesboards have worked cooperatively and jointly and hired a forester to ensure that the congressional vote of 429 to 1 in favor of the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act bill is fully implemented. These counties represent 92 percent of the acres in the QLG plan.
We have letters of support from the Northern California Supervisors Association and the California State Association of Counties. I have enclosed several of these letters or resolutions to introduce into the record.
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We believe that the end result of full funding and implementation of the QLG pilot project will be protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, our watersheds, and all other national forest resources. This is important to our rural counties and those who depend on us for tourism, clean water, and business vitality.
A viable business community is essential to the overall well-being of our schools, families, and future growth potentials. This is what the QLG plan offers to many, if not all, of the communities within the QLG land base. Over the last eight years, our schools and roads have suffered greatly due to the decrease in timber receipts. In Plumas County alone, we have gone from an annual high of almost $9 million to a low of $1.5 million.
I have included information for the record from the '92/'93 school year showing some of the cuts the district had to make due to lack of timber receipts. During the '93/'94 school year, the district had to cut 33 percent of its staff30 teachers and 10 classified employees. Since then, several teachers have been replaced, and three classified employees have been replaced, due to changes in California funding for smaller class sizes. But we lost some of our best teachers because of those cuts.
This year, Governor Davis signed into law the small school funding bill, otherwise known as AB-1, which going from memory I think gave back $600,000 to Plumas County schools, but only for the next three years. With the signing of that bill, we settle on the note, and I quote, ''I urge Plumas unified school district to develop alternative sources of funding to replace those lost from the Federal forest reserve funds.''
Plumas County's Road Department by next year will be looking at layoffs and the inability to keep its infrastructure repaired or roads plowed to meet business and emergency needs. The potential socioeconomic benefits to Plumas County roads and schools with a fully funded and implemented QLG pilot project is $9,660,000 in annual forest reserve revenues and in economic activities worth an annual estimate of $122,820,000.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The estimated totals for all eight counties are included for the record.
Last week we experienced lightning-caused wildfires whose potential impacts would have been reduced by implementation of the QLG management proposal. The EIS has five alternatives. Only Alternative 2 initiates action on fire and fuels according to a long-term strategy that could be implemented at sufficient budget, scale, and pace to effectively reduce the occurrence of large scale, high intensity wildfires.
Large scale, catastrophic wildfires have effects beyond their environmental impacts to national forest system lands. Local residents, private property owners, and local taxpayers bear the brunt of losses and damages, because wildfires also impose huge burdens on county highway departments and local public service districts to repair and/or replace roads, bridges, parks, and watersheds that degrade in the years following large fires.
There are very real and potentially significant linkages between healthy fire safe forests and private property values, public safety, and public infrastructure costs. We recognize that our community vitality is dependent upon the entire infrastructureschools, law enforcement, health, business, recreation, churches, and more. That is why we are insistent that our forests are managed properly.
We are pleased that Congress passed the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group bill and that the Forest Service had adopted Alternative 2. Now we look forward to efficient and expedient implementation of the plan. Plumas County can be counted upon to be a cooperative partner.
And if I could, at this time I would like to personally thank Congressman Herger and Senator Feinstein for always being there for rural California. We greatly appreciate it.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Roudebush follows:]
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF FRAN ROUDEBUSH, CHAIR, PLUMAS COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, REDDING, CALIFORNIA
Chairman Chenoweth and Members of the Committee:
Thank you for being here and for allowing me to participate in this panel. I am Fran Roudebush, Chair of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors. I am also representing the Regional Council of Rural Counties, which consists of 27 member counties in California. I also represent the Environmental Services Joint Powers Authority of RCRC.
Eleven counties have submitted letters or resolutions of support for the QLG plan and Alternative 2. Six of those counties are Yuba, Butte, Glenn, Modoc, Trinity and Siskiyou Counties.
The five other counties Plumas, Tehama, Lassen, Shasta and Sierra Counties Boards have worked cooperatively and jointly hired a county forester to ensure that the Congressional vote of 429 to 1 in favor of the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act Bill is fully implemented. These counties represent 92 percent of the acres in the QLG plan.
We have letters of support from the Northern California Supervisors Association and the California State Association of Counties. I have enclosed several of these letters/resolutions to introduce into the record.
We believe that the end result of full funding and implementation of the QLG Pilot Project will be protection and enhancement of wildlife habitat, our watersheds and all other national forest resources. This is important to our rural counties and those who depend upon us for tourism, clean water, and business vitality. A viable business community is essential to the over-all well being of our schools, families, and future growth potential. This is what the QLG plan offers to many if not all of the communities within the QLG land base.
Over the last eight years our schools and roads have suffered greatly due to the decrease in timber receipts. In Plumas County alone we have gone from an annual high of almost $9,000,000 dollars to a low of $1,500,000 dollars. I have included information for the record from the 92-93 school year showing some of the cuts the district had to make due to lack of timber receipts. During the 93-94 school year the district had to cut 33 percent of its staff, 30 teachers and 10 classified employees. Since then several teachers have been replaced and 3 classified employees have been replaced due to changes in California funding for smaller class sizes, but we lost some of our best teachers because of those cuts. This year Governor Davis signed into law the Small School Funding Bill which backfills for the next three years some of the dollars lost due to timber receipts. I have also included a copy of the note Governor Davis sent with that signing and I quote, I urge Plumas Unified School District to develop alternative sources of funding to replace those lost from the Federal Forest Reserve Funds.''
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Plumas County's road department by next year will be looking at layoffs and the inability to keep its infrastructure repaired or roads plowed to meet business and emergency needs.
The ''potential'' social/economic benefits to Plumas County roads and schools with a fully funded and implemented QLG Pilot Project is $9,660,000 dollars in annual forest reserve revenues and economic activities worth an annual estimate of $122,820,000 dollars. The estimated totals for all eight counties are included for the record.
Last week we experienced lightning caused wildfires, whose potential impacts would have been reduced by implementation of the QLG management proposal. Of the EIS's five alternatives, only Alternative 2 initiates action on fire and fuels according to a long-term strategy that could be implemented at sufficient budget, scale, and pace to effectively reduce the occurrence of large-scale, high-intensity wildfires. Large-scale, catastrophic wildfires have effects beyond their environmental impacts to National Forest System lands. Local residents, private property owners, and local taxpayers bear the brunt of losses and damages, because wildfires also impose huge burdens on county highway departments and local public service districts to repair and/or replace roads, bridges, parks, and watersheds that degrade in the years following large fires. There are very real and potentially significant linkages between healthy, fire-safe forests and private property values, public safety, and public infrastructure costs.
We recognize that our community vitality is dependent upon the entire infrastructureschools, law enforcement, health, business, recreation, churches and more. That is why we are insistent that our forests are managed properly.
We are pleased that Congress passed the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Bill, that the Forest Service has adopted Alternative #2. Now we look forward to efficient and expedient implementation of the plans. Plumas County can be counted upon to be a cooperative partner.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you.
RESOLUTION NO. 996271
RESOLUTION OF THE PLUMAS COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS
For The Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
WHEREAS, on October 21, 1998, the President of the United States signed into law, The Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act which implements a five (5) year Pilot Project on the Lassen National Forest, Plumas National Forest and the Sierraville Ranger District of the Tahoe National Forest that are located in portions of Butte, Lassen, Nevada, Plumas, Sierra, Shasta, Teharna and Yuba Counties, and
WHEREAS, the Forest Service shall complete an Environmental Impact Statement and adopt a Record Of Decision within three hundred (300) days of the Presidents signing the Act into law, and
WHEREAS, the Resource Management Activities to be conducted on an annual acreage basis under the ACT are:
Construction of a strategic system of Defensible Fuel Profile Zones (DFPZ's), on not less than 40,000 acres, but not more than 60,000 acres per year.
Utilization of the uneven-aged forest management prescription of group selection (and individual tree selection) to achieve a desired future forest condition of all-aged, multistory, fire resilient forests on an average acreage of .57 percent of the pilot project area (approximately 9,300 acres per year).
Total acreage on which resource management activities are implemented shall not exceed 70,000 acres per year.
Page 64 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC A program of riparian management, including wide protection zones and riparian restoration projects, and
WHEREAS, all the resource management activities shall be implemented to the extent consistent with Federal Laws, and
WHEREAS, on June 11, 1999, the United States Forest Service released the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act for a forty five (45) day public review and comment period, and
WHEREAS, the United States Forest Service has analyzed five (5) alternatives in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and has identified Alternatives 2 and 4 as the preferred alternatives to implement the pilot project:
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Plumas Supervisors request that the United States Forest Service:
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Ms. Roudebush. And I did make a mistake.
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. That is okay.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I want to make sure that the record reflects the fact that you are the Plumas County Supervisor.
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Chairman should always wear her glasses.
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Do as I do with larger print.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you very much for your fine testimony.
Now I call upon Mr. Frank Stewart for his testimony.
STATEMENT OF FRANK STEWART, COUNTIES QLG FORESTER, CHICO, CALIFORNIA
Page 65 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. FRANK STEWART. Thank you, Madam Chairman. If I might, if I could have this lower poster placard put up.
Madam Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to the Committee and to my Congressman Herger today. And if I might, I would like toI have written testimony, but I had my 35th wedding anniversary yesterday. I have three members in my family, a wife and two kids, that are teachers in rural America.
And you opened up with what the QLG process is all about. It is about people. It is about people's right in rural America to live and raise their kids the way they want to. This report that you didand I commend it to everyoneit was a wonderful report, because it informs the public as well as Congress of the magnitude of the problem that we face in public lands in 11 western states.
The report also talks about a window of opportunity, but it puts it on a timeframe of at the end of 25 years. I personally agree with that. I think that it is probably shorter than that. But I think what you have through this report is a windowthrough the window of opportunity is the great opportunity of implementation, to solve the problem that wasn't defined and how to do it in this report.
One of the problems they found in the report with defensible fuel profile zones, I might add, is they looked at it as defensive last resort mechanism. Our strategy for the Quincy Library Group process says, first, let us save the resource. That becomes step 1 in a five-year period, to lay these fuel breaks out across the landscape. Then, we can go ahead and apply management to the rest.
So there is a real problem with this report in that it uses DFPZs as nothing more than a last resort/failure effort. We think it is a key to success, and that is why I think the monitoring and the implementation is very important.
I am an industrial forester for 30 years in Northern California. I have had the opportunityI have been a member ofone of the founding members and involved with the Steering Committee with the Quincy Library Group. I was formerly with Collins Pine Company. About a year and a half ago, I left Collins Pine.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I had the opportunity toI have such faith in what this opportunity has is to approach the counties involved with the Quincy Library Group to represent their interest, the county's interest, and there are eight of them as we look at the second placard up here, if we could move that one, please.
There are eight counties impacted by this, and one of the problems I have always felt in the past, in 30 years of experience, is the counties are dominated by such a large percent of their land base by Federal lands really don't have the opportunity to have adequate representation in some of the decision making processes and getting things done on the landscape level.
And I think the Quincy Library Group process does that, and I commend the counties that have employed my service for that for five years. And Supervisor Roudebush has been a leader with Plumas County to do that.
The two other things I would really like to talk about that I think are important in implementing this is Mr. Stewartand by the way, you will notice that we might have common names but different gene pools. I don't like age management. He obviously doesn't have a problem with it.
Though it is interesting that two Stewarts would find their way into natural resources, because it is important. And that is what my wife, my son, and his daughter do. They teach the real natural resource of this nation and that's our youth. And that is what is important about making this thing work.
We have struggled for six years to get this thing in place. Through the leadership of Congressman Herger and yourself and Senator Feinstein, we have been able to get this thing out there. Now we have to make it work. The strategies, like I say, are short termis to get theprotect the land base, break up the fuel maps.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, that is a map, and it shows you the complexity. That is Alternative 2, the QLG alternative. Now, that covers eight counties. It is about 120 air miles long and about 110 air miles wide. The thing that I think is so wonderful about the opportunityalso, I'm glad to see the State of California hereis it allows us to think outside of the box for once because we are moving in a positive direction.
These same forests health fuel reduction problems do not exist on public lands. We have them on private lands also, industrial and non-industrial. And so when you look at that geographic area that is encompassed in the eight counties and the two and a third national forests, I would let you know there is two and a half million acres of private forest land and that same sphere of influence.
It so happens in our area 50 percent of that land is industrial timber lands, and well managed fuel control levels are held down and well managed land. The other 50 percent are owned by thousands of individuals, non-industrial private lands.
So there is a wonderful opportunity, as the Forest Service works on laying out the fuel DFPZ systems across the Federal land, to coordinate efforts with the California Department of Forestry, to coordinate efforts within the eight counties, we have six county fire safe councils, which bring people together to help solve fuel reduction problems and fire protection. That mapthose are the red dots on the map.
The blue dots are watershed groups, citizen watershed groups, and natural resource councilresource conservation districtsexcuse methat have concerns about watershed issues and drainages. The yellow on there, the large yellow dots are stand-alone powerplants. They are facilities that can utilize the biomass material that comes off of the forest thinnings.
So I think one of the big things here, that by implementing thisand I think the Forest Service stepping through the window and grabbing this opportunity with the zeal and the zest, the 429 to 1 vote said, ''Go do it,'' could be one of the solutions across the west for the problems. A big key to this is the pace and scale.
Page 68 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The bill sets 40- to 60,000 acres a year. The concern I have is the draftI haven't received my final yet because of the lateness in getting the decision made. Everything I worked through on the draft talked about that their pace is only about 73 percent of what the law allows. My wife is a teacher; 73 percent is a C. This is not the way you advance a program that got 429 to 1.
We move this program through at the maximum opportunity that the law allows, protecting the environment, but at the same time, because everything is based on an acres treated basisthis is the new paradigm that we have established in this law. We are talking about, instead of the acres treated, therefore, if you treat the acres appropriately, and at the amount allowed under the law, then, therefore, we get the great socioeconomic benefits that come out in addition to those environmental.
I would encourage you very strongly to help support the full maximum funding for the full maximum acreage allowed, because the cost-benefit ratio on this project is for every dollar we as taxpayers spend on this project, the government gets back $1.38. Now, that return warrants some evaluation and support because this report talks about the government asking for $12 million to go out there and try and burn their way back to a forest healthy condition. And I don't think that is going to work.
Had you been here on July 4th, you would have saw one of the tragedies of fire being the main silvicultural tool for reducing fuels. Up in the community of Lewiston in Trinity county, we tried to burn some outone of the government agencies; I believe it was BLMthe fire got away, 2,000 acres burned, and we burned out 24 homes.
Had you been here just a week ago when all of these fires started, you would have saw another biological and physical concern that we have was the smoke problem that we had in addition to all of the devastation that went on. So I think that QLG is an opportunity to treat fuels, put a dollar back into the treasury, and to have a good environment for all of us.
Page 69 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Now, personally for you I think, Mrs. Chairman, that little white dot up there in the State of Idaho is a resolution from the board of Boise County. And I wish you wouldand I understand that is your district. And so you have people from your state and across the west looking into the window to see what they can get from the QLG to see if there might be some help in their area with the forest also.
Thank you very much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Frank Stewart follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Stewart. And for the record, it is not ''Mrs.'' yet.
Mr. FRANK STEWART. Okay.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The Chair recognizes Mr. Dick O'Sullivan from the California Cattlemen's Association Public Lands Committee.
STATEMENT OF DICK O'SULLIVAN, CALIFORNIA CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION PUBLIC LANDS COMMITTEE
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Thank you, Madam Chairman. I want to thank you for holding this hearing in Redding, and I want to thank you for inviting us, our association, to make comments.
My name is Dick O'Sullivan. I am a grazing permittee on the Lassen National Forest, and I am also, as you have stated, the current co-chairman of the California Cattlemen's Association Public Lands Committee.
Although our association has serious concerns regarding the implementation of the Quincy Library Group Act, we strongly support local planning based upon sound objective science. And I want to make it clear that we most certainly support cleaning up the forests and reducing the fuel loads. We participate in many cooperative forms and have found local decision making to be a critical component to successful resource management.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The livestock industry, however, was not part of this original consensus process that led to development of the Herger-Feinstein Forest Recovery Act. It was not until a bill had been introduced and was moving through Congress that we realized the bill not only did address grazing, but also that grazing language could introduce exceptionally restrictive management standards which could significantly decrease the economic viability of ranching for affected operations.
At that point, our representatives contacted Senator Feinstein and Congressman Herger, both of whom assured us that it was neither their intention, nor that of the original Quincy Library Group plan, to negatively impact grazing. Based upon these discussions, we contacted Senators Feinstein and Craig to clarify congressional intent.
Senator Feinstein, in a colloquy with Senator Craig, when he asked her on the floor of the U.S. Senate, ''How will the SAT guidelines affect livestock grazing?'' she commented, ''Neither the authors of the bill, nor the QLG, ever intended to negatively impact grazing generally.'' Also, and I quote her comments, ''the only location where these guidelines would apply to grazing is where cattle are actually in the work site at the same time a QLG activity is taking place.''
The SAT guidelines affecting grazing will apply only to the specific work area location and only at the specific time that projects are conducted within the pilot project area. We wish to thank Congressman Herger, Congressmanor Senator Feinstein, and Senator Craig for this colloquy that is in the document.
But to ensure that you are going to protect grazing, we need to have this specific language in that final document, so it is very clear to everyone what we are talking aboutthe SAT guidelines affecting grazing.
Unfortunately, as prescribed in the draft environmental impact statement, Alternative 2 could potentially introduce management standards stringent enough to remove grazing from many of the most viable portions of the grazing allotments.
Page 71 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Alternative 2 of the draft environmental impact statement introduces a management standard referred to as SAT guidelines. These guidelines are put in place wherever a resource activity, as described in the Act, is implemented. These guidelines call for the elimination of grazing, if riparian resource management objectives are not being met, regardless of whether resource condition is improving towards desired future conditions or objectives.
Alternative 2 is written in the draft EIS, applies the SAT guidelines to livestock grazing in areas where resource activities, as defined in the Act, are scheduled to be conducted. Livestock operators need to understand the importance of riparian areas.
This is our primary source of forests within the mountains and meadows in riparian areas. And these forests are in an upward trend now from what they historically have been. Livestock operators are very aware of the necessity to manage their cattle in this forest.
The solution to this, as far as grazing is concerned, is we feel that we should only establish riparian management projects or riparian habitat conservation areas where riparian management objectives are not being met, and where trend monitoring does not indicate an upward trend in condition. We need to conduct site-specific NEPA analysis to verify that riparian management objectives are not being met, and that resource conditions are not already improving.
This environmental analysis should be site-specific, scientifically objective, verifiable, reproducible, and subject to peer review. If livestock are indicated to be the cause of the degradation, the assessment must analyze the effects of current livestock management, which may be dramatically different than prior management.
If the SAT guidelines are to be applied, they should only affect livestock grazing when cattle are actually in the work area, and at the same time personnel are conducting the work as intended by Congress.
In conclusion, there needs to be specific language in the final document to protect grazing. The California Cattlemen's Association stands ready, willing, and able to work with the U.S. Forest Service to put this language in there. Again, I want to thank you for coming, and I want to thank you for inviting us to participate.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. O'Sullivan follows:]
STATEMENT OF HON. DICK O'SULLIVAN, CALIFORNIA CATTLEMEN'S ASSOCIATION
Chairman Chenoweth and distinguished members of the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health, I am Dick 0' Sullivan, a rancher from Paynes Creek, California currently serving as the Co-Chair of the California Cattlemen's Association Public Lands Committee. Thank you for the opportunity to be with you today to present oral and written testimony on the effects of the proposed actions of the United States Forest Service (USFS) on the California beef cattle industry.
The California Cattlemen's Association is a trade association that was formed in 1917 and represents all segments of the beef cattle industry. We have over 3000 members involved in seedstock, cow/calf, stocker and feeding operations.
Although our industry faces challenges everyday from climatic and market conditions, we are increasingly impacted by local, county, state and Federal regulations that threaten our livelihood. Our comments today focus on the environmental impact statement for the Quincy Library Group (QLG) management plan, an action that threatens the viability of ranching within the Lassen, Plumas and Tahoe National Forests and the local community.
Although our association has serious concerns regarding the implementation of the Quincy Library Group Act (Act), CCA supports local planning based upon sound objective science. CCA participates in many cooperative forums and has found local decision making to be a critical component to successful resource management. The livestock industry, however, was not part of the original consensus process that led to the development of the Herger-Feinstein Forest Recovery Act. During the initial establishment of the Quincy Library Group, livestock interests were assured that the members of the QLG did not intend to impact grazing. In fact, the livestock representative on the group was told he did not need to attend the meetings. That being the case, local ranchers focused their time on alternative issues and did not attend the meetings which led to the development of the Act.
Page 73 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC It was not until a bill had been introduced and was moving through Congress that we realized the bill not only did address grazing but also that the grazing language could introduce exceptionally restrictive management standards which would significantly decrease the economic viability of ranching for affected operations. At that point our representatives contacted Senator Feinstein and Congressman Herger, both of whom assured us that it was neither their intention nor that of the original Quincy Library Group to negatively impact grazing. Based upon these discussions language was added to the Senate Record by Senators Feinstein and Craig to clarify congressional intent regarding the Act and livestock grazing within the affected forests. This language very specifically states, ''neither the authors of the bill, nor the Quincy Library Group ever intended to negatively impact grazing generally'' (Congressional Record, S12787). We would like to express our gratitude to the Senators for injecting this language into the Congressional Record, which limits the expected impacts of the Act upon grazing. To ensure the final document adheres to congressional intent, this language should be included verbatim in the final management plan. Unfortunately, as presented in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), Alternative 2 could potentially introduce management standards stringent enough to remove grazing from many of the most valuable portions of the grazing allotments. It is our sincere hope that these sections of the DEIS have been modified in the FEIS, but absent significant modification it is highly probable that implementation of the Act will result in the removal of livestock forcing permittees to discontinue their ranching operations.
As stated before, since we have not yet received a copy of the FEIS and it is not yet available on the Internet, we must base our concerns upon the management direction in the DEIS and in the Record of Decision (ROD).
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Alternative 2 of the DEIS introduces a management standard referred to as the Scientific Analysis Team (SAT) guidelines. These guidelines are put in place wherever a resource activity as described in the Act is implemented. These guidelines call for the elimination of grazing if riparian resource management objectives are not being met, regardless of whether resource condition is improving toward the objective. Alternative 2, as written in the DEIS, applies the SAT guidelines to livestock grazing in areas where resource activities as defined in the Act are scheduled to be conducted. As these activities include the establishment of riparian habitat conservation areas and riparian management projects, it is expected that many grazing allotments will be affected. In fact, within any single allotment there could be numerous sites requiring SAT guidelines, which would then destroy the economic viability of the allotment.
When the SAT guidelines are applied to a riparian area within an allotment, for example a meadow, they may require that cattle be excluded from that portion of the allotment for as long as that area is included as a riparian habitat conservation area or riparian management project. For most permittees, it is not feasible to remove cattle solely from riparian areas as the economic viability of these allotments is tied to the availability of forage within the meadows. Without this meadow feed, it becomes impractical to continue using the allotment. Without the allotment, many ranchers will no longer have access to summer feed which will cause their entire operation to be no longer economically viable thus many may have to discontinue operations and sell their home ranch.
Livestock operators keenly understand the importance of riparian areas as the economic viability of ranching in mountain meadows is directly tied to the environmental health of riparian areas. To ensure the continued viability of the local livestock industry and to ensure the implementation of the Act remains consistent with congressional intent, CCA suggests the following be incorporated into the final management plan:
Page 75 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
Only establish riparian management projects or Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCA) where riparian management objectives are not being met and where trend monitoring does not indicate an upward trend in condition.
Only establish riparian management projects or Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas (RHCA) where riparian management objectives are not being met and where trend monitoring does not indicate an upward trend in condition.
Conduct site specific National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses to verify that riparian management objectives are not only not being met but also that resource conditions are not already improving before establishing a riparian management activity or RHCA.
This environmental analysis should be site specific, scientifically objective, verifiable, reproducible and subject to peer review.
If the environmental analysis indicates a degraded resource condition, the assessment should also identify the cause of degradation.
If livestock are indicated to be a cause of degradation this assessment must analyze the effects of current livestock management which may be dramatically different then prior management, i.e. the degradation may be due to historical livestock use as opposed to current management.
If domestic or wild ungulates create ''adverse'' effects to riparian areas or to water bodies, these effects must be clearly defined and substantiated scientifically in the environmental analysis at site specific locations.
If the SAT guidelines are to be applied they should only affect livestock grazing when cattle are actually in the work area and at the same time personnel are conducting the work as intended by Congress.
Page 76 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC
I appreciate your allowing me to share our concerns and solutions regarding livestock grazing and the implementation of the Quincy Library Group. We certainly appreciate your attention to the needs of the livestock industry here in California and look forward to working closely with the Committee to address these issues. If you have any questions regardingn comments made in this testimony, please feel free to contact Patrick Blacklock our Director of Administration and Policy Analysis or myself.
Again, we thank you for the opportunity to present testimony to the Subcommittee on Forests and Forest Health. Our association is ready to assist the Committee in anyway possible.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. O'Sullivan, for that fine testimony.
The Chair now recognizes Congressman Herger for his questions.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you, Madam Chairman.
I just want to state, Mr. O'Sullivan, that it is certainly our intent, and myself as author of this legislation, that we not negatively affect a group such as the cattlemen who have been wise stewards of the land since the mid 1800s. And certainly we will be monitoring this and your involvement, and we will be seeking your input throughout this.
I just wanted to reaffirm that, and I know that Chairman Chenoweth had mentioned this in some of her earlier comments, so I just wanted to make sure I reemphasized that.
If I could maybe, Ms. Roudebush, just a couple of questions for you, if you could. In your testimony, you stated that it will be next year that Plumas County may face personnel reductions in the Public Works Department. Could you tell me why that has become a critical year?
Page 77 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Because over the last five years we have basically had to deplete our reserves due to the lack of forest receipts that have come in, and because this year's receipts arewe are estimating them to be under $750,000, and our Road Department budget is something like $6 million.
Obviously, there is not going to be enough money to go around. The only reason we haven't had to make those cuts this year is because of some projects we are actually doing for the State of California.
Mr. HERGER. What percent of your county is owned and controlled by the Federal Government, approximately?
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Approximately 75 percent.
Mr. HERGER. Three-quarters of your entire county is removed from the tax base. And, of course, what this means is 25 percent of gross receipts would come tospecifically for schools and roads. So very, very crucial to your
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Absolutely.
Mr. HERGER. [continuing] and other counties throughout our timber-producing areas.
Even if the QLG bill is implemented next year, there will still be a delay in county revenue from the timber sale receipts. Does the county have a contingency plan for that that will assist in minimizing the potential health and safety risk which you related in your testimony?
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Yes. I think you are aware of H.R. 2389, which is a bill that is being supported by the counties and the school's coalition. It is referred to as a 25 percent safety net solution. What they are asking is that a very short-term 25 percent plan be implemented, and that they takeI think it is one of the highest five yearsthe highest three years out of the last five, and 25 percent of that, and give that to the counties, but only for a short term.
Page 78 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We don't want that to turn into an entitlement, nor do we want the administration's idea of decoupling to come into this. We want this to be a very short-term bill, and hopefully that will succeed.
Mr. HERGER. Good. And I am following them, the co-sponsor. And, again, we are trying to do for our Californiaoutside the northern spotted owlto try to deal with them in somewhat the same way. And I want to thank you for your involvement here.
In your closing statement, you indicated Plumas County wishes to be involved in the program implementation. What type of assistance can Plumas County provide?
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Well, as I mentioned, we are supporting and helping to pay for county forester Frank Stewart, and we have pledged to continue to do that because we know how important the monitoring of the QLG program is over the next five years. So ourselves, along with five other counties, are paying for him and pledge to continue to do so.
We have had a wonderful group of volunteers that have worked on QLG for the last seven to eight years at a very high level of intensity. And I don't think we could continue to ask that of them, although I am sure they would willingly do it. We think that it is important that we step up to the plate and help support that with our dollars as well.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you.
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. You are welcome.
Mr. HERGER. Mr. Frank Stewart, in your view, how should the Forest Service best proceed with implementation of the QLG?
Mr. FRANK STEWART. Start tomorrow. I would have to agree, Congressman, with George Terhune. I think there are some revisions of the map that need to be done, but I think that there are some things that can be done this operating seasonwhat is leftso we do not have this downfall of work.
I know we have to go through the appeal process, but I think we have to move forward with a bill that got a 429 to 1 vote. I think this is the solution, and I think we need to do whatever we can to encourage an attitude within the Forest Service that this is a solution. Let us move forward.
Page 79 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So I think the initial planning can get done. I think another big thing we ought to do is make sure to get some timber paint, marking paint. I understand we have got some real problems getting some paint out to the districts, not just in California but across the west. I would hate to think we couldn't move forward because we don't have an adequate purchasing agent making sure we have paint to be done to get the trees marked.
Mr. HERGER. We could have a hearing just on that issue.
Mr. FRANK STEWART. I am sure we can.
Maybe we need one on it, too.
Mr. HERGER. As county forester, can you offer them any assistance government to government?
Mr. FRANK STEWART. First of all, I am not an employee of them. I am working as a consultant with the county. The biggest opportunity that the forest has is the opportunity to think outside the box. Fire does not stop at the property line.
In my short involvement after leaving Collins and having the opportunity to represent the county, and look at it from a different perspective, there is a wonderful opportunity to work through the County Fire Safe Council, with the Department of Forestry.
Mr. Stewart, some of the stuff that they have in Sacramento, some of those computer wonks and the GIS stuff is wonderful. We need to bring that resource together with what the Forest has, so we get the best things in planning out in front of this pilot project, because I really believe in the 30 years with the Forest Service, dealing with the Forest Service in Northern California, this is going to be the only shot we get at it. This is the good one.
Now, we need to make it work, so I think the counties are fully behind it. They have been. And I think by working through the fire safe councils and bringing that resource in, and then through CDF, we get the best planning done.
Page 80 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The second benefit of that, Congressman, is it allows us to look at the job from a financial standpoint. Contractors can't spend millions of dollars to buy equipment if they have very short, limited operating periods. We need to look at extending the periods to meet the environmental concern.
By looking to extend operations on private land, by helping reduce fuelmaybe we can talk about a fuel reduction tax credit. Something that addresses the scale of the problem out there. This is where I think the opportunities are now going to be, looking down the road.
Mr. HERGER. Can you assist them with proposed locations for fuel breaks and group selection projects?
Mr. FRANK STEWART. Oh, sure. As other members of the Quincy Library Group, you bet. My involvement in representing the counties is through a member of the Quincy Library Group. We are a collaborative process.
But you bet. They probably have the bestand I think it has to be said heresome of the finest resource managers work for the U.S. Forest Service. I have taken some pretty terrible hits in the media during this process. I personallysome of the finest young men and women work for that agency, and I am quite pleased to have the opportunity to work with them.
I think if we can turn the spark of enthusiasm on with them, they have enough professionalism to get the thing done out in front. We need to encourage them. I think that is Congress' job is to encourage, enforce, make sure this thing happens. This oversight hearing is a wonderful first step at putting it down.
I would much rather have you come out and take you up. Now that is a defensible fuel profile zone. That is not a clear cut. That is a wonderful thin forest. That was one design on the Lassen National Forestsold, harvested, thinned, and it is going to serve its purpose. So I think the people inside the group right now can do it. I think you have got to give them the nudge, but we will help where we can on this side.
Page 81 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HERGER. Well, the fact that we are having this oversight hearing less than a week after the final decision has come up I think shows the interest of Congress in seeing that this is implemented. And I concur with you, we do have some outstanding people, both in the Forest Service and in the California Department of Forestry, and others that are here. That we just need to implement and give them the green light to be able to move ahead with what I think is just an outstanding plan.
You gave some very interesting figures earlier thatsomething to the degree, if I recall, one dollar that the government puts in, Federal Government, it will bringwill be restored $1.38. Economically, what does full implementation of QLG plan mean for the counties?
Mr. FRANK STEWART. Well, again, as Mr. Stewart said, I wish that they wouldn't have stuck this up front in the EIS. That is the beauty of what this EIS proves, the process, the economic opportunity of $2.1 billion. The economic opportunity of Alternative 2, fully implemented, is $2.1 billion, not just to the counties but the state. That is tremendous.
They are currently under 1no strategymove forward with 1 is about $800 million. So you can see that $1,400,000,000 increase in 2. And I think it has to be said the other beauty of the EIS, Congressman, was that the environmental community got to run their own alternative, and that is Alternative 5.
And Alternative 5, I want to tell you, is a complete failure from the county standpoint. It will only have an economic opportunity, since we put them on scales of QLG of $2.1 billion, their alternative would have $280 million throughout its life. And current practice is about $900 million, so you could say we are talking $700 million reduction. That is economic destruction of the county.
And then because it relies on big land reserves, big wide buffers, and fire as the management tool, you would experience what we saw at Lewiston in the smoke in the air. That's the beauty of 2. So along with the good environmental benefits for enhancements, the economics are wonderful.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The 25 percent forest reserve revenues that would go to the eight counties are almost comparable with what historic levels have been. So from all angles, as Mr. Terhune said, it is really a win-win-win for all of us.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you.
And then, Mr. Dick O'Sullivan, again as was mentioned, the cattlemen, who have been here since the mid 1800s, are a key part of this, and we want to make sure that your interests are heard. How would you like to be involved in the QLG process as individual EAs are composed to implement the process?
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. Well, Congressman, I think that in fairness here, that in Alternative 2, in these defensible fuel profile zones, well they are quarter-mile strips and they are 10 to 12 miles long. And they will come across the canyons, across riparian areas and waterways, and wherever they touch a waterway, wherever they touch a riparian area, that will be called a riparian protection zone or a riparian habitat conservation area. That makes it automatically subject to SAT bylaws.
Right now, we are under a lot of pressure to stay on Federal ground, as you can understand. To be able to stay on Federal ground in the future, a livestock permittee is going to have to manage like he has never managed before. We are going to have a lot of people leaving because of that.
The management required right now is extensive. If these riparian habitat conservation areas are created all over the permit, we can't move cattle if we are restricted to these areas. I can show you on a map, on particular permits I am familiar with, where you simply wouldn't be able to cross those areas if they enforced the SAT guidelines on us.
Now, how could we get around that? We need to be on the ground. If we have an area, a riparian area, that requires riparian restoration, we want to restore that. We don't want to see that area degraded. We are moving cattle all the time to prevent that. We want to be on the ground, but we want the Forest Service to be objective when they are doing their documentation.
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC As the Chairwoman brought up a moment ago, the Forest is nottheir science is based upon subjectivity and opinion in a lot of cases, and that drives the process. We want them to be scientifically objective when they deal with these issues. That is how we want to get involved.
Mr. HERGER. Good. Well, I want to work with you and all of us to see that that happens.
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Herger.
I wanted to ask Fran Roudebushthere were some opinions expressed by some outside businesspeople with regards to the fact that they disapprove of the QLG. I think it was expressed in The Wall Street Journal. I would like for you to comment on that. I was mystified by that.
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Well, you know, the interesting thing therenot to myself, but to one of my fellow supervisors who had an apology from Nevada County's board in their vote, and my suggestion was that he take back to them that they could apologizethe best wayby reversing that vote.
I think the businesses fail to understand that tourism obviously does come up to look at trees, but those same tourists come up to buy the products that are supported by the wood industry itself. And so I don't understand it either, other than maybe they just didn't fully understand what the QLG represents and what the program involves, and they simply think of clear cutting as what you do in the woods. And that is obviously not what we are recommending.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is obvious. It was surprising to me, when I first got back to Congress several years ago, that even some of my colleagues who represent districts in the east really thought that we didn't have one blade of grass standing, every frog pond had been drained, and every tree cut.
Page 84 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Right.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And it has been a pleasure to meet and be able to join Representative Herger in actually getting eastern members up in an airplane and out in the woods on the ground to see the difference in the management techniques, and the fact that you could be in an airplane in Idaho or California and from horizon to horizon you still see trees, andthough the misperception has not served us well in terms of actual votes generated in the Congress.
So the work that Congressman Herger has done, I have followed in his footsteps. We had a leadership tour a couple of years ago where we brought the entire leadership team out to the west, and it was a born again experience for some of them.
And so we need to continue that, and certainly QLG has not only served to help move a program forward in a window of opportunity in this community, but it has served as a blueprint for other counties such as Boise County and other areas. So, again, my hat is off to you.
Ms. ROUDEBUSH. Well, thank you. And, again, I would like to thank you on behalf of the rural counties for your support of Congressman Herger and the QLG bill. Without you, this wouldn't have been successful either. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, it certainly is a very worthy cause.
I want to ask Mr. O'SullivanI have been watching this process from the cattlemen's point of view, too. And I want to make certain that no existing rights are abridged, and the original legislation is fashioned so that it didn't allow for existing rights to be abridged. I do not want to see guidelines implemented that would abridge or take existing rights, because it can be very, very costly for the American public, not only onif the guidelines actually abridge existing rights, proven existing rights.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. One of the rights that this doesn't address, congresswoman, is adjudicated water rights.
Page 85 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is right.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. All through the forest.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That is right.
Mr. O'SULLIVAN. How are they going to deal with that if they have this SAT restrictions on resource rights?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And we do need to make sure those rights are protected. In the original legislation, they were not abridged, and so I will be watching very carefully and working with Congressman Herger and the Senators also to make sure your existing rights are not abridged.
Recent case law has come down that not only says you have a use right to the water, but your ditch rights and rights and of way, which means your ability to move your cattle from one allotment to another, and then also the rights to the foliage on your allotment.
Should the Federal Government decide, through guidelines outside the purview of the Congress, to abridge any of those existing rights, they are, in essence, involved in a taking, which they would have to pay for future use of your rights, your property use rights. And so we want to be very, very careful to protect the taxpayers, to protect an existing industry who has existing rights, and a history and culture that is as important to the west as timber, mining, and recreational and aesthetic use of our resources.
These uses do not need to be mutually exclusive. And as Teddy Roosevelt envisioned, when these use rights are used in a compatible manner, it really does and can establish forest health and an ongoing sustained forest, as well as ongoing and sustainable industries.
I share with you that concern. I share with all of you that concern.
And I wanted to ask you about Alternative 2 that states in the guidelines that ''Guidelines will apply to grazing only at the location where resource management activities are ongoing for fuel break construction, only at the time they are going on.'' Now, is that comfortable language for you?
Page 86 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. O'SULLIVAN. That helps somewhat. It has been our experience that there is a difference between the way it is spelled out and the way it is actually implemented on the ground. What our concern is that they will have riparian areas all through the forest, and we won't be able to move these cattle, to manage these cattle, out on that range because they will have some sort of a resource activity out there.
They will create something that, whether it is genuine or not, we could be at risk. We are not concerned with the genuine. We are concerned with the non-genuine, the subjective opinion that a riparian area doesn't meet riparian objectives. And, therefore, we are going to not be able to move the cattle through for that area.
That is close. That is helpful. But we would like to see stronger language.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And traditional established rights of way need to be maintained. Another concern that I want to bring up for the record is that resource management ongoing that are ongoing because of fuel break construction could be studies for fuel break construction.
So I want to make sure that the agencies do not say because we are studying in allotment number 1, allotment number 2, and allotment number 3and those are all three of your allotments, Mr. O'Sullivanyou are not able to allow any of your cows to be involved in grazing in any of your allotments.
Now, that is a worst case scenario. But I think it is incumbent upon us to be able to see down the pike that this could happen, and I do not want that to happen. Period. And I know that we need to have you involved in the QLG process and involved in the environmental assessment process.
I don't know whether it will be you yourself or who it might be, but it is important to have cattlemen's involvements with a clear understanding that you come in with a unique set of circumstances, different from other users. You come in with established rights. So I will be watching this very carefully. And I, through my comments, want to also ask other members to watch this very carefully.
Page 87 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Stewart, I was not able to review your testimony before you gave your oral testimony. I will be giving you written questions. And if you don't mind responding within 10 working days of receipt to our questions, I would appreciate it very much.
Mr. Herger, do you have any other comments or questions?
Mr. HERGER. Well, only I want to thank all of you here. You arethe ones sitting here representing our counties, our wood products, and our cattlemen, are certainly someand the State of California has done such a great job of helping fight fires over the years and working with and protecting our homes and structures and others.
I want to thank you for your involvement. Again, this is a five-year pilot plan that we are going to be working on. And I can assure you I will be monitoring this if not on a daily basis, very, very regularly. My door is open to each of you. We want to make sure that this works.
And I know there has been a lot of ongoing concern with the cattlemen, and I want you to know, Dick, that I will continue working with you, and each of you. As we see challenges arise, I want to be there to work with you to work those challenges out.
So, anyway, I thank each of you for appearing before us today and your overwhelmingly strong, positive involvement in this process. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I also have aboutboth Mr. Herger and I have about 10 other questions for each of you that we would like to ask. Time does not permit us to do that. And so as with Mr. Stewart, we will be sending you written questions. If you wouldn't mind responding within 10 working days, I appreciate that.
Thank you so much for your very valuable testimony.
While this panel is leaving, the Chair will call Mr. Brad Powell, Acting Regional Forester, Region 5, U.S. Forest Service, Vallejo, California, to the witness table. He will be accompanied by Mr. Mark Madrid, Forest Supervisor of the Plumas National Forest, and Mr. Mike Spear, Manager, California/Nevada Operations Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Sacramento, California.
Page 88 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Gentlemen, as you have heard me explain before, we ask all members to rise and take the oath.
Mr. Powell, we recognize you for your testimony.
STATEMENT OF BRAD POWELL, ACTING REGIONAL FORESTER, REGION 5, U.S. FOREST SERVICE, VALLEJO, CALIFORNIA
Mr. POWELL. Thank you. Madam Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to discuss the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act. I am accompanied today by Mark Madrid, Forest Supervisor of the Plumas, here on my end, on my left, and Mike Spear, Manager of the California/Nevada Operations Office of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Since the enactment of the Act, we have been committed to the successful implementation of its provisions. Many Forest Service employees have worked diligently with the Quincy Library Group, the community, Congress, and others to accomplish this task. With the signing of the record of decision for the final environmental impact statement on August 20, 1999, we are now ready to move forward with the implementation of the pilot project.
The Act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a pilot project for a period of up to five years. To accomplish the purpose of the Act, resource management activities are required that include fuel break construction, consisting of strategic systema strategic system of defensible fuel profile zones, group selection and individual tree selection harvest, and a program of riparian management and riparian restoration projects. All of these activities will be conducted consistent with environmental laws.
The pilot project will test the effectiveness of resource management activities designed to meet ecological, economic, and fuel reduction objectives on national forest system lands in the Plumas, Lassen, and Tahoe National Forests. The pilot project area includes 2.4 million acres. Approximately 900,000 acres are off base, deferred, or otherwise unavailable as defined by the Act, leaving 1.5 million acres for implementation of the pilot project activities.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The final environmental impact statement describes a proposed action and four alternatives. More than 10,000 comments were received on the draft environmental impact statement. The FEIS discloses the expected environmental consequences of implementing the pilot project. The FEIS also addressed the comments received and analyzed as a part of the public involvement process.
The record of decision amends the forest plans for the Plumas, Lassen, and Tahoe National Forests, and identifies the alternative selected by the Forest Service and the rationale for its selection. Alternative 2, as modified, was selected. The decision will implement a strategy to reduce wildfire, while protecting California spotted owls and other wildlife associated with old growth forests.
Alternative 2 was modified so that no timber harvesting will be permitted in suitable owl habitat until the Forest Service establishes a long-term California spotted owl strategy for the Sierra Nevada that allows such an activity. This modification essentially defers treatment on an additional 420,000 acres.
The California spotted owl habitat protection strategy is not projected to last for the duration of the pilot project. When a new California spotted owl habitat management strategy is adopted as a result of the Sierra Nevada Framework Project, it will take the place of the approach described above and apply for the remainder of the pilot project period.
The Forest Service will begin the environmental analysis and documentation process required by NEPA for projects that implement this decision. We will prioritize the implementation of those projects that are currently being planned and that are consistent with the decision. We will focus initially on watersheds with a high resource priority and known fire risk problems.
I would like to discuss for a moment our plans for some of the specific resource management activities required for implementing the decision.
Page 90 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Alternative 2 includes 40- to 60,000 acres of fuel reduction each year for five years, through a strategic system of fuel profile zones. A fuel profile zone includes shaded fuel breaks, thinnings, and individual tree selection cutting. These zones will be designed to avoid the approximately 62,000 acres of suitable owl habitat that are estimated to exist within the fuel break areas, until new owl guidelines are developed.
Alternative 2 also includes 8,700 acres of small group selection treatments per year, resulting in the removal of trees and small openings in the forest of one and a half to two acres in size. These will be scattered across the landscape and are intended to provide multi-storied forest stands of different age classes which would mimic stand structures developed under natural fire regimes. These may, where appropriate, be used in conjunction with defensible fuels profile zones.
Riparian/aquatic ecosystem protection will be enhanced through a riparian management project. Examples of proposed projects include wide protection zones and restoration projects such as meadow restoration and vegetative plantings. These projects will be consistent with the Scientific Advisory Team guidelines as directed in the Act.
A Scientific Review Team appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture will assess the success of implementing actions in meeting the objectives outlined in the Act. The monitoring strategy will provide information to managers to be used in applying the principles of adaptive management, and it will assist the agency and the public in gauging the success of resource management activities in achieving resource objectives.
In summary, we are committed to implementing the decisions made for the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act, while ensuring protection of California-spotted owl habitat and habitat for other old growth dependent species. The selection of Alternative 2, as modified, will implement the law while complying with all other environmental laws.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are also committed to monitoring the project to ensure that restoration activities are in compliance with environmental protections, and to assess the overall effectiveness of the pilot project.
This concludes my written statement. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or members of your subcommittee may have.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Powell follows:]
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Powell.
And the Chair recognizes Mr. Herger for his questions.
Mr. HERGER. Would you prefer to have Mr.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Of course, yes. Yes. I didn't realize that.
Mr. Spear, please proceed.
STATEMENT OF MIKE SPEAR, MANAGER, CALIFORNIA/NEVADA OPERATIONS OFFICE, U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA
Mr. SPEAR. Thank you, Madam Chairman, Mr. Herger. Thank you for the opportunity to present testimony on the Fish and Wildlife Service's involvement with the Forest Service environmental impact statement, as it relates to the QLG Forest Recovery Act.
After the listing of the northern subspecies of the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest as threatened, Region 5 of the Forest Service in San Francisco and the Fish and Wildlife Service began informal discussions regarding the status of the California subspecies of the spotted owl and the need to develop a comprehensive range-wide management strategy to provide for the owl's long-term viability and to preclude the need for listing.
In 1992, the Forest Service published a technical assessment of the owl's status and provided an interim three- to five-year management strategy for the species. In 1998, the Forest Service engaged the Fish and Wildlife Service in a cooperative and collaborative process known as the Sierra Nevada Framework for Conservation and Collaboration.
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The framework's purpose is to amend existing plans for the 11 national forests in the Sierra Nevada to provide consistent regional land management planning direction incorporating the most recent scientific information. The framework will develop conservation strategies for a number of non-listed species to provide long-term viability of species of concern now at risk in the Sierra Nevada.
When completed, any conservation strategy developed in the framework process will apply to all national forest lands in the Sierra Nevada, including those in the area covered under the QLG Forest Recovery Act.
Concurrent with the framework planning process, in March 1999, we signed an interagency agreement with the Forest Service detailing our participating in the QLG effort. Our involvement was to ensure that the implementation of the QLG Forest Recovery Act would promote the survival and recovery of federally-listed threatened and endangered species and the viability of non-listed, at-risk species, thus precluding the need for their listing.
While working on the DEIS, Fish and Wildlife Service identified several concerns regarding the potential effects of the project on federally-listed species and on the long-term viability of old growth forest-associated species of concern, such as the California spotted owl and the Pacific fisher.
These concerns focused on potentially significant reductions in suitable nesting, denning, foraging, and dispersal habitat, habitat fragmentation, changes in prey population, and introduction of non-native plant and animal species.
In meetings with the Forest Service staff, the Service identified concerns about the DEIS and potential adverse effects on the long-term viability of the owl and other species. These discussions continued after the DEIS was issued, and Fish and Wildlife Service provided detailed comments and recommendations to minimize these effects.
Prior to issuance of the record of decision and final EIS, Fish and Wildlife Service was able to concur that the FEIS, as modified, was not likely to adversely affect listed species. The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service have also agreed to work cooperatively in an early consultation and coordination capacity on site-specific projects to determine whether federally listed species and species of concern would be impacted by proposed actions.
Page 93 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The administrative boundaries defined in the QLG Forest Recovery Act encompass a significant portion of the range of the California spotted owl in the Sierra Nevada, representing approximately 30 percent of the owl's known California locations. Detailed studies in four areas of the Sierra Nevada, including one within the Lassen National Forest, have been conducted to calculate the rate of population change for California spotted owls. These calculations take into account survival and reproduction of owls.
Numbers of California spotted owls are declining, as evidenced by population calculations and decreases in the number of occupied sites for all four study areas in the Sierra Nevada. Although cause and effect reasons for these declines have not been scientifically demonstrated, studies suggest that weather and habitat are important factors influencing the viability of the species. Habitat maintenance is essential because excessive loss of key landscape habitat components, such as mature and old growth forest, can exacerbate the effects of unfavorable climatic conditions on survival.
Although landscape analyses linking habitat, survival, and reproduction of owls have been conducted for northern spotted owls, they have not been completed for California spotted owls. Directly extrapolating specific results from studies of northern spotted owls to California spotted owls in the QLG Forest Recovery Act project area is not appropriate due to differences in prey base and habitat quality.
As a result, uncertainty remains over how much suitable habitat is needed at the landscape scale to promote long-term viability. Such analyses, however, are in progress to develop and/or refine a conservation strategy for the California spotted owl for the Sierra Nevada framework. Pending these results, we believe that any project occurring prior to the completion of this strategy should not foreclose future management options.
The Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service have worked together to modify the proposed action so it is consistent with the National Forest Management Act's viability regulations and the QLG Forest Recovery Act. We believe this modification will ensure the long-term viability of the owl and the maintenance of suitable habitat until a long-term regional conservation strategy is developed through the Sierra Nevada Framework this fall.
Page 94 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Thank you again for the opportunity to present this testimony. This concludes my prepared remarks, and I will be glad to answer any questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Spear follows:]
STATEMENT OF MIKE SPEAR, MANAGER OF CALIFORNIA-NEVADA OPERATIONS, FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
Thank you for the opportunity to attend today's hearing and present testimony on the Fish and Wildlife Service's involvement with the Forest Service's Environmental Impact Statement as it relates to the Quincy Library Group (QLG) Forest Recovery Act.
After the listing of the northern subspecies of the spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest as threatened under the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA), Region 5 of the Forest Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) began informal discussions regarding the status of the California sub-species of the spotted owl and the need to develop a comprehensive, range-wide management strategy to provide for the owl's long-term viability, and to preclude the need for its ESA listing. In 1992, the Forest Service published a technical assessment of the owl's status, and provided an interim (three to five year) management strategy for the species. Because the California spotted owl is not a federally listed species, the Forest Service did not immediately confer with FWS regarding the adequacy of the proposed management strategy.
In 1998, after several attempts to produce a comprehensive conservation strategy for the California spotted owl, the Forest Service engaged FWS in a cooperative and collaborative process known as the Sierra Nevada Framework for Conservation and Collaboration. The Framework's purpose is to amend existing plans for the eleven national forests in the Sierra Nevada to provide consistent, regional land management planning direction incorporating the most recent scientific information. The Framework will develop conservation strategies for a number of non-listed species to provide long-term viability of species of concern, now at risk in the Sierra Nevada. When completed, any conservation strategy developed in the Framework process will apply to all national forest lands in the Sierra Nevada, including those in the area covered under the QLG Forest Recovery Act.
Page 95 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Concurrent with the Framework planning process, the Forest Service asked FWS for technical assistance in the development of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to implement the legislation contained in the QLG Forest Recovery Act. In March 1999, we signed an interagency agreement with the Forest Service detailing our participation in the planning effort, and the roles and responsibilities of each agency. Our involvement was to ensure that the implementation of the QLG Forest Recovery Act would promote the survival and recovery of federally-listed threatened and endangered species and the viability of non-listed, at-risk species, thus precluding the need for their ESA listing.
While working on the DEIS, FWS identified several concerns regarding the potential effects of the project on federally-listed species and on the long-term viability of mature forest associated species of concern, such as the California spotted owl and Pacific fisher. These concerns focused on (1) potentially significant reductions in suitable nesting/denning, foraging and dispersal habitat, (2) habitat fragmentation, (3) changes in prey populations, and (4) introduction of non-native plant and animal species.
In meetings with Forest Service staff, FWS identified concerns about the DEIS and potential adverse impacts on the long-term viability of the owl and associated forest species. These discussions continued after the DEIS was issued, and FWS provided detailed comments and recommendations to minimize these effects. Prior to the issuance of the Record of Decision and Final EIS, FWS was able to concur that the plan, as modified, was consistent with the basic provisions of the QLG Forest Recovery Act and not likely to affect listed species. The FWS and the Forest Service have also agreed to work cooperatively in an early consultation and coordination capacity on all site-specific projects to determine whether federally listed species and species of concern would be impacted by proposed actions.
The administrative boundaries defined in the QLG Forest Recovery Act encompass a significant proportion of the range of the California spotted owl in the Sierra Nevada, representing approximately 30 percent of the owl's known California locations. Detailed studies in three areas of the Sierra Nevada, including one within the Lassen National Forest, have been conducted to calculate the rate of population change for California spotted owls. These calculations take into account survival and reproduction of owls.
Page 96 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Numbers of California spotted owls are declining as evidenced by population calculations and decreases in the number of occupied sites for all three study areas in the Sierra Nevada. Although cause-and-effect reasons for these declines have not been scientifically demonstrated, studies suggest that weather and habitat are important factors influencing the viability of the species. Habitat maintenance is essential because excessive loss of key landscape habitat components, such as mature and old-growth forest, can exacerbate the effects of unfavorable climatic conditions on survival.
Although landscape analyses linking habitat and survival and reproduction of owls have been conducted for northern spotted owls, they have not been completed for, California spotted owls. Directly extrapolating specific results from studies of northern spotted owls to California spotted owls in the QLG Forest Recovery Act project area is not appropriate due to differences in prey base and habitat quality. As a result, uncertainty remains over how much suitable habitat is needed at the landscape scale to promote long-term viability. Such analyses, however, are in progress to develop and/or refine a conservation strategy for the California spotted owl for the Sierra Nevada Framework. Pending these results, we believe that any project occurring prior to the completion of this strategy should not foreclose future management options. The FWS and the Forest Service have worked together to modify the proposed action so it is consistent with the National Forest Management Act's viability regulations and the QLG Forest Recovery Act. We believe this modification will ensure the long-term viability of the owl and the maintenance of suitable habitat until a long-term regional conservation strategy is developed through the Sierra Nevada Framework this fall.
Thank you again for the opportunity to present this testimony. This concludes my prepared remarks, and I will gladly answer any questions that you might have.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Spear.
Page 97 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I now recognize Congressman Herger for his questions.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you, Madam Chair.
And I want to thank each of youthe Forest Service, the Fish and WildlifeMr. Powell, I remember when we were having some challenges at one point here a few months ago with consultation how you were back in Washington. I remember meeting with you just off the Ways and Means hearing room there, and I want to thank you for that. You went right to work, and we were able to solve those problems.
We were able to get together, and I want to thank you and the Forest Service for working. We have had some other challenges, again, with thein the other area. And, Mr. Spear, I want to thank you for your involvement. I know what I am saying I am alsoI am not going to speak for Senator Feinstein, but I know I have heard her mention her appreciation for working together toso that now we can begin the implementation of this legislation again.
I don't know if we can say it too much. I have been in Congressnow my 13th yearI don't know if I have ever seen an issue that has been so controversial, but yet on the finaland was debated for three hours on the House floor, but in its final vote I go out 429 to 1. That really I think says a lot.
Mr. Powell, when is your first QLG project going to be implemented? And what is our plan?
Mr. POWELL. Well, let me try and answer that, and then I may ask Mark Madrid to actually comment on that. But we will start the individual analysis of those projects very promptly. I think we all know we have an appeal period to go through, and the document itself becomes available to the public I believe on September 3rd. There will be a 45-day appeal period, and we will hope to start our analysis of projects very promptly thereafter.
The actual implementation to some degree depends on what happens in appeal of this EIS, and certainly if any litigation were to occur at some point in time.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mark, any other comments on that?
Mr. MADRID. I think the only thing I would add is that we have already begun some of the exact same things that Mr. Terhune brought up about looking at where we are, with the updating of maps, seeing what the effects are, we'll see what that decision is.
And then just one thing for Brad is we are beginning to mail copies of the final EIS already, and we do have a few available here today, too, if some of you have requested a copy.
Mr. HERGER. Maybe you are beginning to answer this. Can we start this before the appeal period runs? It sounds like we have started some things.
Mr. POWELL. I think we can start the planning, certainly, of projects. It is the actual on-the-ground implementation that can't start. We would not implement any of the projects on the ground until that appeal went through. But we certainly can start the planning and have.
Mr. HERGER. What schedule have you developed for your first year of QLG? And, well, follow up with, how many acres do youwill you do in 1999 and in 2000?
Mr. POWELL. Well, let me try and answer you, and those are difficult questions to answer because they are budget based. Particularly for this year, if we look at the current level of funding, we have received about half the funding to implement the full project.
So ifand there is not a direct relationship to the dollars and exactly the acres, but based on our current estimate, if we were to look at half the budget, I would say we are going to implement about half the acres. Now, obviously, we don't have a final budget in place, and there are some other things that may change that.
We have not developed a detailed schedule of analysis yet, but that is the very activity that the forests are starting to look atwhere they are going to plan, how they can avoid spotted owl habitat, and which particular projects to begin with.
Page 99 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HERGER. Will you be having QLG assist you in this?
Mr. POWELL. I think we will be having not only QLG but the public assist us in this. As you well know, there are a variety of groupsCattlemen's Association, certainly some of the conservation groups, and certainly the QLG Group will be interested in being involved in it.
And then it is an open public process because we will follow NEPA, and we will go through individual analysis, so everyone that is interested will have an opportunity to participate.
Mr. HERGER. Now, let us see, the full budget was, what, $12 million?
Mr. POWELL. I think for this year we have got about $12 million. I think the full estimated budget to do the total is around $25 million, as I recollect.
Mark, is that accurate?
Mr. MADRID. Yes, that is correct.
Mr. HERGER. Now, that is for the five years?
Mr. POWELL. No, it isthat is an annual estimate.
Mr. HERGER. Of how much it will take?
Mr. POWELL. If you would like, we can furnish you
Mr. HERGER. Okay.
Mr. POWELL. [continuing] our most recent cost estimates and even reference back to the earlier cost estimates that were made.
Mr. HERGER. And my understanding is that the earlier cost estimates were lower than what you are mentioning. Is that correct?
Mr. POWELL. That is not my recollection. But, again, let me furnish you that detailed information, both what the original estimates are and what they are currently.
Page 100 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HERGER. Again, we want to be working with you, if need be, day by day.
Mr. POWELL. We will furnish you that updated information.
Mr. HERGER. To make sure you have what is needed.
I guess my concern is, you know, we have heard different numbers$12 million, $8 million. You mentioned $12 million you thought you had. I think there is at least $8 million. I hope we are not raising this bar so high that we are
Mr. POWELL. The remainder of the budget and the reasonand, again, we will furnish that to youbut we have some carryover dollars from last year. I think, as you recollect, we only spent the dollars to do the EIS, so the remainder of that funding we still have available. When you add that to what we at least anticipate in this year's budget, our current estimate of two are around $12 million.
Mr. HERGER. Now, you will be able to use timber dollars also, is that not correct, from timber accounts?
Mr. POWELL. Certainly so.
Mr. HERGER. So, again, I think the point of, again, one of the purposes of this oversight hearing is to be able to work with you and work out any perceived or any problems that we see, potential problems out there, to make sure that we are doing what we need to do. And that five years may sound like a lot of time, but, I mean, five years will come and go very quickly. So it is very important that we not waste any time.
Mr. POWELL. I will provide you a very clear picture of that budget analysis.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you. Do you have the number of acres that you are targeting for 1999, the rest of this year, and for next year, 2000?
Mr. POWELL. Well, I don't know that we have broken down specifically the EIS, again, because that is a part of the analysis. We are projecting to do 40- to 60,000 a year. I think the EIS projection DFPZsit will be around 216,000 acres throughout the life of the project. But again, site-specifically, as George Terhune and others mentioned, we are going to try and adjust some of those to miss more habitat. But we plan to be in that 40- to 60,000 range, dependent upon budgets, of course.
Page 101 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. HERGER. Okay. And we will be working with you to somehow ensurethis is a high priority of ours, was of the last Speaker, I might mention, as well as our current Speaker of the Houseto see to it that weyou have the resources you have to implement this.
Will QLG projects generate the net revenue to the Treasury, and how much?
Mr. POWELL. Well, certainly, they will produce revenues to the Treasury. The estimates that are in the EIS that have already been talked about today are our best estimates. Now, again, I think all of us know in the marketplace it is pretty hard for us to exactly project the revenues. Those are the estimates based on history. That is what we hope to be able to receive.
But, again, there will be fair, open competition for the products that we sell, and we won't know exactly whether there is profit in that until we actually see the actual receipts.
Mr. HERGER. But as in historically we have returnednot recently, but at least historically, we actually have returned a profit to the Treasury, I think from some testimony we had from Mr. Frank Stewart, I know I think he used theI forget, a number of a dollar put in, $1.38 out. But itso
Mr. POWELL. The real challengeand certainly, those are our best estimates. But, again, when youI am not an accountant, and the accountants could have a field day trying to explain this. But, obviously, those are looking at more benefits than just to the government. There are other benefits much beyond just us.
What it costs us to prepare the sale and what we actually receive in is one set of figures. Then you start to look at some of those secondary benefits in the community, and that is obviously a much larger figure.
Mr. HERGER. And that is really a bonus, but that was not really what this was directed to. It was forest health.
Page 102 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC If the Sierra framework is not completed, will the QLG plan stand five years as Congress intended?
Mr. POWELL. If the Sierra Nevada Framework isn't completed, really, the tie is not just with the framework; it is a tie back to the work with the Quincy billis really the spotted owl direction for the future. I am confident that we will develop a range-wide spotted owl direction either through the framework, through other processes, or potentially even the listing of the owl. I would hate to see it come that way, but if there were a listing decision made on the owl, then, again, we would have other processes in place.
So I don't know that I answered you directly. I anticipate that we will have new spotted owl direction across the range of the spotted owl in California that will, in essence, allow the project, the Quincy project, to move forward with that new direction. I hope it comes through the framework. That is our current plan. I see no reason that we won't succeed at that.
Mr. HERGER. I just have to interject at this point that when we have catastrophic fires, which this QLG is working to help prevent, there isn't any habitat. It is 100 percent destroyed. So hopefully ourone of our major goals is to preserve habitat.
Mr. POWELL. Just to comment on that, because certainly we recognize that, Fish and Wildlife Service recognizes that. That is one of the significant challenges in the framework is to look at different management scenarios that provide the protection of habitat, provide economic benefits, at the same time result in a forest that is healthy and can sustain itself against fire. That is a tough, complex issue to resolve. That is exactly what the framework is trying to take a look at.
Mr. HERGER. And, Mr. Spear, isn't this our problem as we have these catastrophic fires around is that we are completely destroying, for maybe a hundred or a couple hundred years, this habitat of the owls and others completely?
Page 103 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SPEAR. I couldn't agree with that more, and I think that has been one of the misunderstandings about perhaps the view of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the role of the Endangered Species Act, is that we have to take that into account. That is a factor that is out there in the landscape, and it is one of the overall, most devastating factors.
Before I came down to Sacramento, I was up in Portland involved in the Upper Columbia Basin Project. And, of coursewell, that hasn't gotten finally completed yet. It was the fundamental issue up there in theMrs. Chenoweth's area, thatand the same dilemma was faced, and that is, how do you deal with the fire factors while also dealing with the other concerns? In that case, both trout and salmon being one of the largest issues.
Where we are down here, if I were, you know, to go on a second, is that just as Brad has said, we feel we are near bringing this new science out to the public, having that debate, that review that QLG members talked about earlier, and then that will lead us to some new prescriptions.
One of the things I am most pleased about in working with the Forest Service on this in the last few months is their strong desire, along with ours, to try to do something that will not, you know, precipitate or increase the probabilities of a listing.
I think they have taken a very appropriate attack here because we areas I say, we are close to having the new science put on the table for all to see the data discussed and hopefully come out with something that says, ''This is the best way to balance these various factors.''
Mr. HERGER. Well, thank you. And, of course, our concern is that if we are, for whatever reason, not able to actually implement this QLG plan, which, again, I believe and many believe is historic and perhaps one of the first times, if not the first time, that we are actually trying to come up and plan for the entire picture, that we have lost an incredible opportunity that we may not see again.
Page 104 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Powell, in modeling for fuel breaks, I understand that there were no large fires considered in the modeling?
Mr. POWELL. Let me try and explain what was done there.
Mr. HERGER. Would it make EIS selecting Alternative 2 more defensible if the modeling considered the type of large fires that occur in these forests?
Mr. POWELL. Let me try and explain, and we have had extensive conversations with members of the Quincy Group and our own technical team on that. I might ask Mark to comment when I am done.
The challenge that we have here is we have utilized the best fire experts that we have available, and we used the latest models that we have available. We tried to make those models work the way that we think they best would mimic nature. And I think the results that we got out of those are purely defensible, they are scientifically defensible.
I do think we all recognize that models are not perfect, and we in the framework, in particular, are trying to develop a new model using the best scientists that are available. We simply didn't have that available for the Quincy Project. I do think it was modeled appropriately. I think it shows very well the difference between alternatives.
Is there some potential you could have had bigger fires? Certainly. And we certainly recognize that. But we didn't try to artificially constrain it. We tried to use assumptions that we think are realistic, and then allow the model to output what would happen.
The important part of the model isn't the exact number; it is in comparing between alternatives, because you use that same model in every alternative. That is what was important to us.
Mark, you may want to comment on the technical side of it.
Mr. MADRID. Yes, I think that pretty much covers it. One of the things that happen as we do site-specific EAs, the modeling will be more accurate for smaller areas as we do that. So from that standpoint, we will still use the best available science, the most accurate models to do that, as we do the site-specific projects.
Page 105 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC So it is kind of a double way of looking at that, getting an estimate of the true fire risk we have in certain areas.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Herger.
Mr. Spear, I wanted to ask you about the owl population. I have received comment and testimony in my committee in Washington that actually the Northern California spotted owl's population was probably greater than that which was in pre-Columbian times.
And I remember that being a significant piece of information to me because I wondered how they measured the population in pre-Columbian times. And now I hear testimony that you have given that the owl population is again in decline.
Mr. SPEAR. You are right.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Go ahead.
Mr. SPEAR. You started outyou are speaking about the northern spotted owl, and then
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Northern California spotted owl.
Mr. SPEAR. I was speaking about the California spotted owl. The reports are now, the information that is emerging, is that there is a decline in the four different study areas that they have looked at. There are different amounts, and I think that the sample set is probably not large enough to draw good numbers about exactly the rate of decline.
But the general sense among the scientists is that it is in decline. And if it continues in that way, there is a debate over the reasons why. How much of it is related to habitat is part of that debate.
But I think as the information, you know, comes out and becomes more public, I think it will be pretty clear that the sense of the scientists is that it is in decline.
Page 106 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Gosh. No wonder it is so hard to implement these programs, because we see testimony coming from top people in the agency that contradicts itself from one month to the next. And I think that is in large part what Mr. Jackson was talking about. So it is very difficult to plan.
What is the difference between the Northern California spotted owl and the other spotted owls?
Mr. SPEAR. The differences are
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Existing in California.
Mr. SPEAR. The northern spotted owl is along the coast, and basically a cutoff line from about Redding heading to the east and then toward that area around the north in theand then down along the coast into Encino County, and then it joins up with Oregon and Washington.
The difference is, well, when the ornithologists get together they look at fine differences, and they have cited that there is a different subspecies in the California basically south of here, in the Sierras and down into Southern California.
If you wanted to get somethe fine details on the differences as they reported them in their taxonomic literature, I would like to provide that in writing because I am not
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, I
Mr. SPEAR. [continuing] aware of those details.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I would be happy to look at their taxonomic literature. But the fact is isn't thedoesn't the statute requireand the guidelines that have been promulgatedrequire it to be a genetic difference, not a geologic difference? And aren't the ornithologists looking at a geologic
Mr. SPEAR. Geographic.
Page 107 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Geographic difference?
Mr. SPEAR. No. These will be differences asthat are not just geographic.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. But gene pool is found to be different?
Mr. SPEAR. Whether they have used data like, you know, the sizes of bones or different colorations, there is different types of things that they use. And prior to, you know, sort of modern examinations of genes and getting down into the DNA that they can do now, they used other features to make these distinctions between subspecies.
But it is a clear subspecies that has been approved in the taxonomic literature through the peer review process. And, therefore, it is treated differently, and that is why it is not listed now along with the northern spotted owl.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Can these subspecies reproduce?
Mr. SPEAR. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. They are able to produce offspring.
Mr. SPEAR. Yes.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That are
Mr. SPEAR. And there is a
Mrs. CHENOWETH. [continuing] genetically identical to both parents?
Mr. SPEAR. There is a gradation, there is an area of blending basically to the east of here where the twothe two probably interact to a very small degree.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I still wonder how they can determine how many Northern California spotted owls are in existence before Columbiabefore Columbus hit the east coast.
Mr. SPEAR. Well, I believe that is probably is a pretty good question.
Page 108 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. And your answer, I would assume, is they don't know, really.
Mr. SPEAR. They don't know really. But I suspect they looked at basically the amount of habitat and the basicthe home range size for a pair and made some determination and then calculated how much might have been disturbed by other factors at any one time. But I don't know how useful the number is.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Tell me, Mr. Spear, isn't it logical to conclude that probably a number of owls have also been destroyed in the massive fires, and they have possibly declined because their habitat has been destroyed?
Mr. SPEAR. Absolutely.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That they themselves have been
Mr. SPEAR. We wouldn't argue that a bit.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And so, then, wouldn't that lead us to conclude that implementation of programs such as the QLG legislation and that program would actually enhance the owl population?
Mr. SPEAR. Well, I think that is where you get into the fine line as we look at the new science. The decision made by the Forest Service I think is to some extent based on the proximity in time of the new science coming forward. I would suspect it might have been different if they thought we were years away from having anything out there in the public to draw upon to develop a new formula for prescriptions.
But the sense of people is that the new information will be brought forth relatively quickly, that debate that was talked about for the QLG members will take place, the framework discussion will examine that, and we will look at what is needed, both at more local levels and across the range for the owls.
And it is that balancingFish and Wildlife Service is not saying, for instance, has not said that nothing can be done in suitable habitat. But we were not confident with the amount of the treatment and the degree of the treatment within suitable habitat as contemplated by the unmodified option 2.
Page 109 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We had a sense that it would definitely take it below what is suitable for the owl, and the question is maybe there isyou know, I use the term ''a lighter touch'' that could take place in suitable habitat that will serve most of the purposes of a defensible fuel zone but also maintain the habitat for the owls. And so it is that fine tuning that I think we are looking for as we reachlook at these common objectives of owl preservation and fire protection.
I think that is where we are, and it is not far off.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I would like to ask Mr. Terhune or Mr. Jackson to respond to that particularor, Mr. Murphy, you are still hereany one of you to be able to respond to that point. Would one of youwould you please come to the mike?
Mr. MURPHY. I believe there is at least a combination of answers here that is kind of unique. Mr. Powell told us that we don't yet have models that deal with the large fires. So the question is: what data did the Fish and Wildlife Service use to determine the impact differences? They used the models that don't deal with the large fires.
So the modeling data provided by the Forest Service said there was 2,000 acres of potential owl habitat saved by Alternative 2, as compared to the other alternatives. Well, every one of those fires on that map today has the potential to do well beyond 2,000 acres of damage to the owl. That data was not in the Fish and Wildlife Service's analysis.
So the model issue is very important if large, catastrophic fires are a likelihood in these forests, and we can look at potentially, in a three-day time period, losing 50- or 60,000 acres of suitable habitat. Then this issue of model is an extremely important one because it would then give the Fish and Wildlife Service a data set of risk that is substantially higher. And a program like the Quincy Library Group program that substantially alters that risk would then actually be viewed as a very positive thing to do for owls.
So it is sort of a combination. The science on the modeling is not there yet. The evidence on the map is, which is that we have had 100,000 acres of habitat burned up in the last seven years in catastrophic events. And that was not taken into account in the analysis of viability of the alternatives relative to owl habitat impact.
Page 110 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Murphy, Mr. Spear, and Mr. Powell, I want to ask all three of you, how could we get this data set into the model to make the model accurate and workable?
Mr. MURPHY. I think you are talking about the fire model, and that is not my expertise. So I will
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Powell?
Mr. MURPHY. [continuing] pass it to Brad.
Mr. POWELL. Let me try again, because I don't want to get into a modeling analysis process here. I think the dilemma we have is we recognize that the model that we are utilizing is the bestsimply the best model that is available. We also recognize that anytime you are trying to project wildfire that there are some uncertainties to that.
Now, the contention that we have somehow kept these fires or the potential of fires from being large, catastrophic fires is simply not accurate. It is just that we have, when we plugged in the assumptions we think are accurate, the amount of fire that has been projected isn't as large as some of the fires that have occurred.
And we are developing a new model. That is exactly what we are utilizing in the framework, and I am quite confident when the framework is completed we are going to have the best modeling analysis that is available to us.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Powell, for the record, I just want to make one thing very clear. We will not allocate money from the taxpayers to pay for a model that doesn't consider more than 2,000, as Mr. Murphy has pointed out, that does not have basic, objective, scientific data. We just simply cannot pay for a pig in the poke. Now, we want to be able to fund this project.
Mr. POWELL. Let me respond, though. Again, I don't believe that is exactly what he said. He can comment himself. The model didn't project that it was just going to be 2,000 acres of fire. But it projected larger fires than that.
Page 111 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Murphy, would you please clarify that?
Mr. MURPHY. Yes. The model that was used did project an upward limit of a 7,500-acre fire.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay.
Mr. MURPHY. And what I was talking about was the net difference in saved habitat was calculated to only be 2,000 acres of Alternative 2, compared to the other alternatives. And that is whatbecause of the use of these models, the difference between them, the value of the programs, was not elucidated by the models. And so this 2,000-acre savings was what the Fish and Wildlife Service said, ''We can't risk 50,000 acres of owl habitat to only save two.''
But when we have one fire that can take 60,000 acres out, then that analysis would be reversed. And, in fact, when questioned, they said they would, given an alternate set of data that would indicate a higher risk in terms of acres of habitat lost, they would have given a different opinion as to the viability of Alternative 2, if the analysis had led to the risk of large areas of owl habitat being lost.
That is the real problem. Hopefully, the framework willand in answer to your last question, the SNEP scientists did do this kind of modeling, and did the process, and they suggested strongly that fuel treatments be considered, that defensible fuel profile zones be tested, because of their net benefit to saving and reducing the effects of catastrophic wildfire.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That would make the EIS more defensible.
Mr. MURPHY. Oh, absolutely. There would be no doubt that Alternative 2 not only would have been the preferred alternative, as it is, it would also clearly have been labeled the environmentally preferred alternative.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I think the thing that we arethat I am striving for, and the focus that I have, is to make sure that we have a defensible model, and one that will really work on the ground. And that is what we are going to be looking at in funding, and I want to see this budget. I want it to continue to serve as a beacon for other projects.
Page 112 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC When we have a dispute over something as basic as a model, I become concerned then. So may I be assured of your cooperation in working with the other members of the QLG and making sure that this model is one that we can all defend, and that Mr. Herger and I can defend it on the floor of the House also?
Mr. MURPHY. Well, let me assure you this way. We are going to utilize the best scientists that are available to us in preparing this model. I think that's the best place to be in terms of a political strategy and a defensible model. We are currently contracting with some of the top scientists in the country to deal with fire issues on.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. Well, we will be watching that and working with you.
I have some questions about some of the testimony that was given earlier. We have worked very hard to get the EIS finished on time, and it was finished ahead of time. And everyone appreciates that, but there was a delay somewhere in Washington, DC, that caused you to miss the statutory deadline by a few days. Who caused the delay?
Mr. POWELL. Well, I guess in a simple sense you can say I caused the delay. I expected, and I think it is in all of our best interests to have, this be a legally defensible decision. After we had crafted the EIS and completed the record of decision, I asked for, in consultation with our leadership in Washington, to have this reviewed by both our OGC counsel and our Department of Justice folks and staff in Washington. That simply took a little longer because of complexities of the record of decision.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Who in Washington, from the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Justice, worked on this?
Mr. POWELL. I can furnish you the names. I don't have them with me today. But we had our staff in Wildlife and our staff in Planning and then counsel from DOJ and OGC. If you would like the names
Page 113 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. I would like for you to provide that to the Committee.
Now, I have a concern about the changes that occurred in the EIS. I would like for you to point out to me the specific changes that were made or suggested in the EIS.
Mr. POWELL. Well, let me try and do that in a very quick fashion, because I am not sure exactly what you mean in changes to the EIS. But in the record of decision, the primary change in Alternative 2 was an adjustment to defer or delay entry into any spotted owl habitat until we had this new spotted owl direction that we have talked about today that will be a part of the framework.
There are some other minor changes in the record of decision, but I think that is the primary one that you would be interested in. That change was made based on our view of the viability regulations under the National Forest Management Act and trying to make sure that we had a legally defensible decision that did not violate any other environmental laws.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What I would like for you to furnish for the Committee is changes that only changed even two letters. I would like to see every change that was made during that time.
Mr. POWELL. Can I ask for a clarification? Because I am not surechanges to Alternative 2 in the ROD, is that what you are requesting?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Changes that were made when you were bulletproofing the EIS.
Mr. POWELL. The EIS itself had few, if any, changes in it. What we were doing was crafting the record of decision that the forest supervisors made their decision and documented with. So in the EISand, Mark, you may want to commentI am not aware of any changes that were made in the EIS. There may have been some editorial. We can furnish you that.
Page 114 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. Would you, please?
Mr. POWELL. But the record of decision itself was being crafted. So it would be hard to tell you changes because there really was never a record of decision that would
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, what new information do we have on the owls now that generated between the draft and the final of the EIS that caused the delay and these changes in the ROD? That is what I am after.
Mr. POWELL. Mike may want to comment on this as well, but we were awareand Duane and others in the QLG Group was awareat the time the draft came out that we had concerns about spotted owls, based on the demographic studies that were done, based on the research, based on the advice of our biologists, and based on the viability work that went into the biological assessment, even at the draft. We continued to work on that between draft and final.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. These are the changes I would like to see.
Mr. POWELL. We would be happy to furnish those for you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Spear, we heard testimony earlier about the California red-legged frog, and the fact that there seems to be language in the guidelines that is not specific or definitive. And as it has been explained to me through the testimony that I have heard, this in and of itself could serve to legally undo the Quincy Library Group project because it is not specific. And how did that occur? How did ithow did these unspecified, undefined pieces of language get in the guidelines?
Mr. SPEAR. Well, the red-legged frog is a listed species.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Right.
Mr. SPEAR. So in our discussions with the Forest Service over listed species, under normal consultation procedures, we provided in this case sort of standard language about survey protocols that we would use. And the Forest Service included the language I think dealing both with their viability issues and our concerns about using appropriate survey techniques tofor appropriate conservation of the red-legged frog. And I think the fundamental thing we are talking about is that those areas that are unsurveyed need to be surveyed.
Page 115 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mrs. CHENOWETH. How many areas are unsurveyed?
Mr. SPEAR. I don't know. I would be happy to try to give you some sense of that in the area. But
Mrs. CHENOWETH. How many red-legged frogs are there? Do you know where they are?
Mr. SPEAR. They are in the foothills in the Central Valley. Their range is quite large, but they are relatively rare in certain ranges, not in other ranges. And this is sort of the northern extent of their range up in this area in the foothills in this part of the state.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Mr. Spear, how does the red-legged frog population respond to fire?
Mr. SPEAR. How does it respond to fire? Probably depends on the nature of the fire, and, you know, what state of their life they are in, the nature of the fire that passes over. That gets into a level of detail that I would be happy to get back to you with.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Your answers indicate to me that the lack of specificity could serve to undo the very essence of the QLG legislation and something that is a hallmark nationally. So we mustI must ask you to work very closely with the Forest Service, the QLG Group, and come up with specifics before we begin limiting activity. I am very concerned about this and will be watching it very closely.
Mr. SPEAR. I think the specifics you talk about are the types of things that come into that at the project planning stage when the project gets into that kind of detail.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Well, I have learned while I have been in Congress that I need to look at the worst case scenario down the pike. And I would love to be comfortable with that statement, but I can't be. And so I would ask you again to have your agency work very closely with the Forest Service, QLG Group, and let us tighten up those definitions.
Page 116 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I would like to work with Mr. Herger to make sure that the surveys are done and completed in a timely manner, so that we don't see anything held back.
Do you have any other comments that you would like to make?
Mr. SPEAR. I will be happy to do just as you say.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Okay. Mr. Herger, do you have any other questions?
Mr. HERGER. Maybe one last one.
Mr. Powell, will the QLG program supplant your regular timber sale program?
Mr. POWELL. I am not sure how to answer that. On those forests, this will be the primary timber sale program in the specified area. Now, certainly on the Tahoe there are other districts outside the QLG area. But in the QLG area itself, the Quincy Library Group area, it will be the primary timber sale program. It is where we are going to put our funding and our primary efforts.
Mark, would you care to comment?
Mr. MADRID. That is exactly right. This will be our vegetative management program across the board in this project area.
Mr. HERGER. And I guess just to expand the question, some 38 mills have closed in the 10 counties that I represent in the last few years. And there ishas been some concern that while we implement this program here, which is very important, that, say, outside these three national forests that perhaps budget or whatever we are doing does not somehow supplant where we are not doing the work we would normally be doing in these other areas because of this.
Mr. POWELL. But, again, that is a budget question. And it is certainly a valid issue around the state, not just with timber sales but fuels management. If we have to take and fund that out of the regional funds, without there being additional funds, it will take some of the opportunity to have timber sales or fuels management projects.
Page 117 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Currently, with the scenario of additional funding, it should have no impact on those other projects.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you. And that is what we arethat was the intent, was that we would give you the additional funding so that it would not supplant ongoing projects planned before the QLG became a reality. We would like, as a Congress, to seeand certainly, I, as a representativeto see them continue.
Mr. POWELL. Okay.
Mr. HERGER. Well, I have no further questions.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Herger.
I just have one further question, and that is to Mr. Powell. Originally, when we were working on the legislation, we actually set aside some 400,000 acres of roadless areas that were off limits to the QLG activities. My concern is: is that reflected in the EIS as a mitigation measure? I know it was a legislative mitigation measure, but is it also reflected in the environmental impact statement and the record of decision?
Mr. POWELL. The off base or deferred areas that I referred to in my testimony are reflected. I think it is actually more than 400,000. I could look up the exact thing, the exact number.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. That makes me happy.
Mr. POWELL. I think it is 800,000. Those areas are not planned for this type of treatment, either the DFPZs or the group selection. They are reflected as a part of the decision. They are a part of the overall planning of the project.
Mr. HERGER. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. All right. We mayand I likely will have additional questions thatI do want to study the record, and I will get back to you with written questions, both of you. And I want to thank you for being here and for your testimony.
Page 118 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I want to thank you ahead of time for your continued cooperation. I have peppered you with some pretty tough questions, but I want from the bottom of my heart to thank you for the cooperation that we have seen demonstrated with the QLG. And it heartens me to think that it will continue.
Thank you very much.
And, Mr. Herger, do you have any final comments?
Mr. HERGER. I do. Madam Chair, I want to thank you so very much for taking time out of your August recess to hold a hearing here in our Second Congressional District of California. We are allcertainly myselfvery indebted to you for the work you have done over the several years that we have worked together on passing this legislation.
Thank you so very much for the contribution that you give not only to your district in Idaho but to us here in Northern California and to our entire nation. So thank you so very much.
I want to thank each one of our panelists this morning for being here, for everyone who has been involved in this historic legislation and plan tofor the first time, rather than just environmentalists and those in the wood products industry workingliterally loggerheads, to actually come together with a plan that helps solve the problems, not just talk and fight about them, but literally come together to solve the problems.
To each of you, I am indebted, as are everyone here in our district and, again, throughout the nation. Thank you very much, one and all.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Herger. You are an inspiration. You really are.
And I want to recognize our staff. I can tell you that these hearings are not easy to put together, and the detailed work that has been done really helps the Congressmen in their work. We have such able staff. I want to recognize Erica Rosenberg, who is the minority counsel, who is here from Washington, DC. I want to recognize, of course, Joanne Gibson, who is minority counsel from Washington, DC; Mike Correia, who is our subcommittee clerk; and our Court Reporter, William Rayherd, who is from Santa Rosa, California. It is a tough job and I appreciate your good work.
Page 119 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC And I also want to acknowledge Fran Peace, who is here from Wally Herger's district office. Fran, where are you? There you are right there in the front row.
And Georgia Golling from my district office in Washington, DC. She is in the back row there.
Thank you all. You are wonderful people to work with.
And I want to thank the witnesses again for your fine testimony. And we have asked to have some questions answered, and I would appreciate if you could answer them within 10 working days.
So thank you all very much, and this hearing is adjourned.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Feinstein follows:]
[Whereupon, at 12:20 p.m., the Subcommittee was adjourned.]
[Additional material submitted for the record follows.]