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Forest Products Modernization Announcement - Nora Rasure
by payetteforestcoalition on 

Dear Partner,

 

Forests across the nation are facing serious challenges. Having sustainable, healthy, resilient forests in the future depends on our ability to address these challenges today. In 2017, the Forest Service began a strategic effort designed to better align our culture, policies, and procedures for how we manage and sell forest products with current and future forest restoration needs. The goal of this effort is to increase the pace and scale of restoration, improve forest conditions, and improve efficiency of forest products delivery.

 

Forest Products Modernization (FPM) is an overarching Forest Service effort to better train its employees, reform policy, increase use of technology, and adjust processes to improve efficiency.  To achieve our goals, we need your help. We recognize the importance of strengthening existing and developing new relationships with our stakeholders and partners in this effort.

 

You may have heard of another parallel change effort going on within the Forest Service, called Environmental Analysis and Decision Making (EADM). These two change efforts are distinct, but connected. EADM is focused on increasing efficiency and reducing the cost of our environmental analysis and decision-making processes, while FPM is focused on better aligning the agency’s business practices for delivering forest products with current and future forest restoration needs. Together, these two efforts will allow us to get more work done on the ground and improve the overall conditions of our national forests.

 

In partnership with the National Forest Foundation, we are launching a series of FPM partner feedback sessions across the country, designed to enable two-way discussion and exploration between the Forest Service and our partners and stakeholders, presented virtually with satellite locations at select Forest Service units. An initial session in our Washington, DC headquarters took place on September 11, 2018. Regional sessions to present this same material are scheduled for:

 

·         Western session (Regions 5, 6, and 10) – October 10, 9:00 AM PT/8:00 AM AK Time

·         Intermountain session (Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4) – October 11, 10AM MDT/9:00 AM AZ Time

·         Eastern session (Regions 8 and 9) – October 12, 9:00AM ET/8:00 CT

 

We would very much value your participation at the Intermountain Session, though you are welcome to participate in whoever of the regional sessions listed below is most convenient for you.  The Intermountain session will be presented virtually from 10am until 1pm (MDT) on October 11, 2018. We are also offering the opportunity to participate at the Intermountain Regional Office in the James V Hansen Federal Building located on 324 25th Street in Ogden, Utah. Please be aware you will have to process through security so be prepared with a photo ID and please do not bring any weapons. The meeting will be held in room 5126 located on the 5th floor. You are welcome to attend the session in person or virtually, however we ask that you register for the session no later than Wednesday, October 3 using the following link:

·         Western –October 10, 2018 - https://nff.wildapricot.org/event-3068991

·         Intermountain – October 11, 2018 - https://nff.wildapricot.org/event-3069373

·         Eastern – October 12, 2018 - https://nff.wildapricot.org/event-3069388

.

 

We will also be offering an opportunity for continued dialogue on issues affecting our region following the morning’s national-level presentation and dialogue.

 

Please visit the FPM website (https://www.fs.fed.us/science-technology/forest-products-modernization) and refer to the attached fact sheet for general information about the FPM effort. Visit the National Forest Foundation’s website below for more specific information regarding these sessions. In order to help us focus time during the Intermountain session on topics of most interest to you, we encourage you to take part in a short on-line survey by Wednesday, October 3, 2018.

 

·         Western - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYT8KTF

·         Intermountain - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XYC66YV

·         Eastern - https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XY929X3

 

You may also contact Ben Irey, National Forest Foundation (406-830-3369; birey@nationalforests.org) or Elise Boeke, Deputy Director for Natural Resources, of my staff (801.625.5898, eaboeke@fs.fed.us) with any questions.

 

Again, I hope you will join us virtually or in person at the Intermountain Partner Feedback Session for this important Forest Service change effort.

 

Sincerely,

Nora Rasure

Intermountain Region, Regional Forester

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PFC September Meeting Agenda
by payetteforestcoalition on 


 Here is  our agenda for the September 20th  meeting, and an important addendum for your review.


The draft Granite Meadows Proposed Action will be made available prior to the meeting.  I will post a notice on the PFC website when that happens.

 

Thank you,

 

Paul


References for the Meeting

  1. Review of Vegetation Treatment Recommendations and Decisions
  2. Notice of Intent (NOI)
  3. Draft Proposed Action (PA)

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Forest Supervisor's Notes: August 2018
by payetteforestcoalition on 


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Guest Opinion - LCBC Response
by payetteforestcoalition on 

Fire is a fact of life in the West, but the fire season is now 80 days longer than in the 1970’s and summers are hotter and drier. Fire suppression has led to accumulations of small and medium-sized trees, making wildfires harder to control and more damaging to the land and adjacent communities.

Over several decades, the Forest Service was unable to get funding for forest-watershed restoration efforts. Further, funds allocated for restoration were diverted to fighting wildfires. And with little work being done on our National Forests, adjacent communities suffered as forest activity diminished.

Alarmed by these trends, a diverse group of private and not-for-profit interests came together forming the Payette Forest Coalition (PFC). Despite different backgrounds, our group found a shared interest in reducing uncharacteristic wildfires; improving wildlife habitat, water quality and watershed health; enhancing recreational access; and supporting the economies of local communities.

The PFC has supported treatments like thinning of forest stands to remove “ladder fuels” growing underneath large legacy trees, and seasonal prescribed burning. The forest products industry is now outfitted to remove smaller trees, no longer depending on large-diameter trees favored by sensitive wildlife. Their employees are now part of a restoration workforce improving forest health.

This collaborative effort has helped the Payette National Forest craft several landscape-level restoration projects on over 119,000 acres to date. Treatments include reducing hazardous fuels on 24,000 acres surrounding communities, providing maintenance on 1,200 miles of roads, restoring 160 miles of stream habitat, and re-engineering 18 stream crossings for bull trout. The local mill added an extra shift to accommodate this work.

As if these results weren’t telling enough, the “proof in the pudding” became clear this summer. When the Mesa Fire roared up onto the Payette National Forest from private property last month, it hit one of these collaboratively developed treatment areas. Fire managers report that the fire dropped down to the ground into a more manageable, low severity fire, as hoped.

However, regarding the work on another collaboratively shaped project, a recent court ruling found the Forest Service failed to follow its Forest Plan for the Lost Creek Boulder Creek Restoration Project (LCBC). Of course, the Forest Service needs to follow its own regulations and address any deficiencies. However, let’s be clear what NOT doing this work means while the courts continue to deliberate: without prescribed burns and noncommercial thinning at least 40,000 acres remain at risk of mortality from insect, disease and fire; 25 culverts will not be replaced (to the detriment of bull trout); and 55 million board feet of logs will not be manufactured into wood products while maintaining the approximately 1100 associated jobs. Projects like LCBC are crucial to reducing the impacts by the “new normal” of fires. This is why PFC will continue to work with the agency and other stakeholders to restore our forests and watersheds, and get this important work done on the ground faster.

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Forest Service Announces New Strategy for Improving Forest Conditions
by payetteforestcoalition on 

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


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


“On my trip to California this week, I saw the devastation that these unprecedented wildfires are having on our neighbors, friends and families,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. “We commit to work more closely with the states to reduce the frequency and severity of wildfires. We commit to strengthening the stewardship of public and private lands. This report outlines our strategy and intent to help one another prevent wildfire from reaching this level.”

Both federal and private managers of forest land face a range of urgent challenges, among them catastrophic wildfires, invasive species, degraded watersheds, and epidemics of forest insects and disease. The conditions fueling these circumstances are not improving. Of particular concern are longer fire seasons, the rising size and severity of wildfires, and the expanding risk to communities, natural resources, and firefighters.


“The challenges before us require a new approach,” said Interim USFS Chief Vicki Christiansen. “This year Congress has given us new opportunities to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with state leaders to identify land management priorities that include mitigating wildfire risks. We will use all the tools available to us to reduce hazardous fuels, including mechanical treatments, prescribed fire, and unplanned fire in the right place at the right time, to mitigate them.”


A key component of the new strategy is to prioritize investment decisions on forest treatments in direct coordination with states using the most advanced science tools. This allows the USFS to increase the scope and scale of critical forest treatments that protect communities and create resilient forests.


The USFS will also build upon the authorities created by the 2018 Omnibus Bill, including new categorical exclusions for land treatments to improve forest conditions, new road maintenance authorities, and longer stewardship contracting in strategic areas. The agency will continue streamlining its internal processes to make environmental analysis more efficient and timber sale contracts more flexible.

The Omnibus Bill also includes a long-term “fire funding fix,” starting in FY 2020, that will stop the rise of the 10-year average cost of fighting wildland fire and reduce the likelihood of the disruptive practice of transferring funds from Forest Service non-fire programs to cover firefighting costs. The product of more than a decade of hard work, this bipartisan solution will ultimately stabilize the agency’s operating environment.


Finally, because rising rates of firefighter fatalities in recent decades have shifted the USFS’s approach to fire response, the report emphasizes the agency’s commitment to a risk-based response to wildfire.


The complete strategy is available at www.fs.fed.us/sites/default/files/toward-shared-stewardship.pdf. Photographs of the event are available at: https://flic.kr/s/aHskGkVYkN

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9th Circuit Court LCBC Decision
by payetteforestcoalition on 

The Payette NF was notified this morning that the 9th Circuit Court issued an opinion on the Lost Creek Boulder Creek EIS & Record of Decision. 


The filed opinion states “AFFIRMED IN PART, REVERSED and REMANDED IN PART. The parties shall bear their own costs on appeal. On remand the district court is instructed to vacate the Forest Service’s September 2014 final record of decision and remand to the Forest Service for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion. Defendants-Appellees’ Motion to Dismiss is GRANTED. ([50]) The Alliance’s ESA claim is DISMISSED as moot. The portion of the district court’s decision and judgment with regards to the Alliance’s ESA claim is VACATED. Judge: MHM Authoring. FILED AND ENTERED JUDGMENT. [10973917] (RMM) [Entered: 08/13/2018 07:08 AM]”

 

The Payette NF is reviewing the decision and will be coordinating with the USDA Office of General Counsel on the appropriate response.  We will share more information as this issue develops.


The Court opinion is available in the LCBC project library, filed under the NEPA folder.

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Central Idaho Active Management Tour
by payetteforestcoalition on 

The Society of American Foresters is proud to announce the long anticipated, highly regarded Central Idaho Active Management Tour is back!  We’re blowing the doors off this year, featuring all-stars in the forestry profession from state, federal, and private sectors, highlighting the latest in active management; including milling operations, logging systems, prescribed burning, reforestation, and landscape planning/collaboration.  This year’s tour will be hosted at the stunning McCall Outdoor Science School (MOSS), with field trips in the surrounding Payette National Forest, Idaho Department of Lands, and local mills.

 

Dates: September 15-17, 2018

Location: McCall Outdoor Science School

  1800 University Lane, PO Box 1025, McCall, ID 83638

Cost (includes lodging and meals): $20 students, $150 professionals

 

Please RSVP to intsaf@outlook.com by September 3, 2018 to reserve your spot.

Contact John Riling, Intermountain SAF Section Chair, for more information: johnriling@gmail.com


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Land Allocation Committee Agenda - August 15th
by payetteforestcoalition on 

All -

Here is the agenda for the LAC August meeting>>

Gary Thompson

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Field Trip Will Depart from Council
by Wendy Green on 

Heads up!

To accommodate our visiting dignitaries' travel schedules, the starting point for next week's field trip with the Chief has been moved to the Council Ranger District.

Please meet there at 9:00 a.m., ready for a productive day!  Remember to print your menu, mark your lunch choice and bring that with you. You may also want to bring binoculars to take advantage of the view from atop Brundage.

We'll post the agenda here again the first of the week.  See you next Friday, August 17th!

Wendy

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Forest Supervisors Notes: July 2018
by payetteforestcoalition on 


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