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Editor’s note:  Below, for example, just one day’s (i.e., yesterday’s) harvest of interesting news items and links in Nick Smith’s news roundup service.  His service is provided by the HEALTHY FORESTS, HEALTHY COMMUNITIES organization in Oregon.  Please go to the bottom of this post for more about HF, HC and instructions for subscribing to Nick’s great service.

February 25, 2016 News Round Up 

Forest Service Chief Testifies Before House Committee (Wildfire Today)
On Wednesday Tom Tidwell, Chief of the U.S. Forest Service, testified before the House Committee on Appropriations’ subcommittee, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee. The primary objective of the hearing was to discuss the budget for next year, Fiscal 2017. The text of the Chief’s prepared testimony is here, wherein he outlines some broad points about budget trends that the administration expects. Of course if or when Congress approves a budget the final version could be very different. (Read More)

House Republicans Seek to Open Up National Forests to Mining and Logging (Guardian)
Congress is to consider two bills that would allow states to hand over vast tracts of federal land for mining, logging or other commercial activities – just weeks after the arrest of an armed militia that took over a wildlife refuge in Oregon in protest at federal oversight of public land. The legislation, which will be presented to the House committee on natural resources on Thursday, would loosen federal authority over parts of the 600m acres (240m hectares), nearly one-third of the land mass of the US, it administers. (Read More)

White House, Congress Feud Over Future of Popular Park Funding Program (Daily Sun)
Both sides agree with the intent of the Land and Water Conservation Fund – to help acquire and improve federal and local park projects – but they disagree on how it should be implemented. President Barack Obama included $900 million in his fiscal 2017 budget to revive the program, which expired last fall after 51 years of using royalties from offshore oil and gas leases to fund park projects. (Read More)

Deer Creek Project Cost Rises to $1.6M (Idaho Mountain Express)
Several changes have been made to the proposed Deer Creek Watershed Restoration Project on the Sawtooth National Forest northwest of Hailey. During their regular meeting Tuesday, the Blaine County commissioners were scheduled to consider a request for $496,000 from the county’s Land, Water and Wildlife Program for a portion of the project to relocate Deer Creek Road out of the floodplain. (Read More)    

Swan Valley (Missoula Independent)
Off the top of his head, Keith Hammer says he can name at least four major federal forest projects pending in the Swan Valley right now. The executive director of the Swan View Coalition begins listing them in order, along with the current status of each. Lay them side by side, he continues, and they collectively cover “a big chunk of the whole upper Swan.” In Hammer’s words, that bigger picture is giving him and fellow environmentalists from the area “significant heartburn.” (Read More)

Editorial: State Makes a Good Move on Forests (The Bulletin)
Senate Bill 1520 directed the state to enter into a “Good Neighbor Authority” agreement with the federal government. Such an agreement would basically enable the state to do more cooperative projects with the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The agreements are a relatively new thing included as part of the 2014 federal farm bill. Knopp told us earlier this week that his bill was dead. It’s unfortunately stuck in committee, never to come out. But the good news is that the Oregon Department of Forestry has been pursuing the very same idea on its own. Chad Davis, a senior policy analyst for the forestry department, told us the state could sign an agreement with the federal government in the next few weeks. (Read More)

Commissioners Approve Public Safety and Rogue River Questions for May Ballot (KAJO)
The Josephine County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved resolutions to place two advisory questions on the May Election ballot during its business session this morning. The first advisory question is: “In your opinion, should Josephine County ask the state to provide resources to the county for public safety services?” The Board may petition the Governor to proclaim a public safety fiscal emergency if the county determines that it is financially unable to provide an adequate level of services. (Read More)

Public Lands Day Bill Sparks Criticism of Washington Management in Colorado (Durango Herald)
A measure aimed at creating a Public Lands Day in Colorado quickly turned into a conversation over how well the federal government manages those spaces. The Senate State, Veterans and Military Affairs Committee unanimously passed the bill on Monday, but only after Republicans offered an amendment asserting failures in how federal officials have managed and regulated lands across the state. (Read More)

Pagosa Ranger District Seeks Input on Fall Creek Salvage Project (Pagosa Daily Post)
The Pagosa Ranger District is seeking public input during the early phases of planning for the Fall Creek Spruce Project, which proposes to salvage dead standing trees. As of 2015, the spruce beetle infestation on the San Juan National Forest has grown to a total of more than 120,000 acres. In the Wolf Creek Pass area, the majority of mature Engelmann spruce trees has been killed by the beetles since the outbreak began in 1996. (Read More)

Forest Service Seeks Input on Wilderness, Timber Inventories (Independent Record)
The Helena-Lewis & Clark National Forest will begin public workshops next week seeking input on resource management as it develops a new forest plan. This is the third round of community meetings since the Forest Service announced last year it would write the new plan, and follows the release of required suitable wilderness and timber land inventories. The recently combined Helena-Lewis and Clark currently operates under outdated plans written in 1986. (Read More)

Forest Plan Public Meetings Set (Del Norte Prospector)
The Rio Grande National Forest will hold four public meetings in March. The purpose of the meetings is to share and discuss the draft “Need for Change” document for the forest plan revision. The “Need for Change” document identifies the needs and desires to change the Rio Grande National Forest’s 1996 Land and Resource Management Plan. These draft needs and desires to change are based on law, the forest plan revision assessments, public input and recommendations from forest service staff. (Read More)

Input Extensive So Far in Forest Plan Redux (Silver City Press)
Gila National Forest staff have gathered an “enormous” amount of public input as they reach the final months of the assessment process for an updated forest plan. This assessment is only the first step toward the federally mandated plan and should be completed around the middle of the year. The U.S. Forest Service started this revisiting of the existing Gila forest plan in March 2015, led by Gila National Forest Planner Matt Schultz. The process began with a number of public meetings outlining the process moving forward, including what is involved in this first assessment phase. (Read More)

Public Meeting to Discuss Wildfire Protection Plan for Nevada County (The Union)
The Fire Safe Council in collaboration with the Tahoe National Forest will host a public meeting to discuss projects developed to help protect communities from wildland fires. The event will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Nevada County Board of Supervisors Chambers located at 950 Maidu Ave. in Nevada City. (Read More)

Vote Put Off on ‘Nuisance’ Federal Lands Bill (Magic Valley)
A bill to let counties demand the federal government make maintenance fixes on its lands if county officials think they could lead to a big wildfire or other public health or safety risk will likely get a committee vote on Friday or Monday. A couple of presentations on other topics took up the first half of the committee meeting, and after a few people had a chance to testify on the bill and with more signed up, Senate Resources and Environment Vice Chairman Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, said the committee would finish taking testimony and vote on the bill later. (Read More)

Rough Fire Recovery Open House March 2 (Exponent)
The Sequoia National Forest, Hume Lake Ranger District will host an open house Wednesday, March 2, at the Ranger Station at 35860 Kings Canyon Road in Dunlap. District resource staff will be on hand from 3 to 7 p.m. to provide information and answer questions regarding the current and future plans for portions of the Rough fire that burned the region last summer. (Read More)

Collaborative Secures Grant for Fuel Breaks (Trinity Journal)
Members of the Trinity County Collaborative learned last week that some hard work over the past three years has resulted in an award of nearly $550,000 this year for projects to improve forest health, reduce the threat of wildfires and protect vulnerable, rural communities through a highly competitive Joint Chiefs grant program offered by the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. (Read More)

25th Anniversary of the Tongass Timber Reform Act (Capital City Weekly)
It has been 25 years since the Tongass Timber Reform Act (TTRA) was signed into law. This legislation became the most significant piece of conservation legislation signed by President George H. W. Bush. Many Southeast Alaskans are intimately familiar with this remarkable landmark legislation. Why was it so important? Before 1990 the Forest Service was mandated by law to spend at least $40 million a year to supply 450 million board feet of Tongass timber annually for the two behemoth pulp mills in Southeast Alaska. (Read More)

Rammell Focuses on Federal Lands This Election (Record-Times)
With Wyoming’s lone seat in the US House of Representatives up for grabs this election, several candidates have stepped forward, and are on the campaign trail in Platte County. Rex Rammell is among the candidates running. (Read More)

Maine Voices: Collins, King Propose Energy Legislation That’s Not Forest-Friendly (Press Herald)
Turning the tide on rising carbon dioxide to address climate change is going to be difficult. The hopes of the world hang on the recent Paris agreement on climate change, signed by the U.S. and almost 200 other countries. One recommendation in the agreement shines in its clarity – that the nations of the world should protect and restore forests and their ability to take up carbon dioxide, the major driver of climate change. (Read More)

Parts of Northern Michigan Trail to Close for Logging (Mining Gazette)
State officials say parts of a trail in Michigan’s northern Lower Peninsula will close to allow for logging operations. Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials say portions of the Betsie River Pathway will close Thursday for an indefinite time period. (Read More)

Lincoln County (WI) Benefits From Timber Harvest Revenues (Northwoods Radio)
They say money doesn’t grow on trees, but that isn’t necessarily the case here in Lincoln County. In the process of approving the annual forest plan last week, the Lincoln County Board heard an update from forest administrator Kevin Kleinschmidt. The most noteworthy highlight of that report was the 2015 timber sales revenue which fell just short of $2 million dollars. (Read More)

Sparta Mountain Backlash (Advertiser News)
A plan proposed to diversify the forest and create young forest habitat within Sparta Mountain has caused backlash from not only residents living in and around the site, but from environmental groups questioning the methods and motives for the plan. (Read More)

US Existing Home Sales Rise in January, Inventories Remain Low (RISI)
US existing-home sales increased in January to the highest annual rate in six months, and subpar supply levels propelled price growth to the fastest increase since last April, according to the National Association of Realtors. The West was the only region to see a decline in sales in January. (Read More)

New Interactive Guide Tells the Story of Forest Products in the South (Eurekalert)
A new storymap developed by U.S. Forest Service researchers allows users to interactively chart the ebb and flow of forest products across the southern states — and visually tells the story of the decline of the forest products industry in the South over the last decades. (Read More)

Forest Service Not Liable for Fire Damage (Mountain Mail)
A judge decided Tuesday that the U.S. Forest Service is not liable for damages to a Custer County ranch that occurred when a wildfire spread onto it from the San Isabel National Forest. (Read More)

Another Delay in the Civil Trial for the Deadly Oso Mudslide (Everett Herald)
A civil trial to explore whether anyone should be held responsible for the deadly Oso mudslide has again been delayed, this time so experts can adequately digest the results of drilling and other recent research aimed at finding hard evidence that may explain why the hill fell. (Read More)

Smog May Not Hurt a Forest’s Carbon-Sucking Ability, Contrary to Conventional Wisdom (Science)
Scientists have long worried that air pollution could amplify climate change by hurting the ability of forests to grow and absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). But a new study questions that conventional wisdom when it comes to one key pollutant, low-level ozone. Past studies have tended to assume all trees react equally to ozone, but the new research suggests prolonged ozone exposure creates winners and losers in forests, tilting the balance toward smog-hardy species without hurting the forest’s CO2-trapping abilities. (Read More)

Researchers Grow Cyberforests to Predict Climate Change (WSU News)
It can take Mother Nature 1,000 years to grow a forest. But Nikolay Strigul, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics at Washington State University Vancouver, can grow one on a computer in three weeks. (Read More)

Cliven Bundy’s ‘Bizarre’ Ranching Practices Include Neglecting Cattle, Justice Dept. Says (LA Times)
Cliven Bundy has been called many things since he emerged victorious in a monthlong standoff with armed federal agents in the Nevada desert. He was hailed as a hero by fellow ranchers and branded an outlaw by those who felt he was thumbing his nose at the government. But never was he called a bad rancher. Until now. (Read More)

Ag Forestry Leadership Program Looks For Its Next Class (Capital Press)
The Washington Agriculture and Forestry Education Foundation is looking for future leaders to apply for its next class. New director Sheryl McGrath says the program is continuing to train advocates for the industry. (Read More)

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Healthy Forests, Healthy Communities (HFHC) is a non-profit organization supporting Congressional action on a comprehensive and permanent solution to restore the health of our rural counties and federal forest lands.  HFHC doesn’t necessarily endorse all the news and opinions offered in this Daily Round-Up.  If you have friends or associates who are interested in receiving the Daily Round-Up, please e-mail nick@healthyforests.org to subscribe.

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