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Covering recreation and environmental issues within California
John Stewart

Forest Service launches over-snow vehicle use designation analysis

The Forest Service will soon begin the process of preparing a separate environmental impact statement for each of the five forests: Lassen, Tahoe, Eldorado, Stanislaus, and Plumas National Forests. The environmental impact statements will be prepared as part of a staggered completion schedule (separated by several months for each of the five forests), starting with the Lassen National Forest. The Regional Forester’s office is coordinating this effort. The Forest Supervisor on each of the five forests will be the responsible official and will sign the final decision for each forest.

Public participation is essential for the project’s success and in helping identify issues and concerns to consider in the analysis. Before the Forest Service begins the environmental analysis, we encourage members of the public to attend upcoming open houses to learn more about this project, offer input for the upcoming National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process, and share information. Four of the five forests are hosting open houses in November. The Tahoe National Forest will host meetings after the NEPA process begins, sometime after December 2014.

Meetings are scheduled as follows:


•    Stanislaus National Forest: Monday, November 3, in Sonora, Calif. at the Best Western Sonora Oaks, 19551 Hess Avenue, at 6:30 p.m.

•    Eldorado National Forest: Tuesday, November 4, in Placerville, Calif. at the Best Western Placerville Inn, 6850 Green Leaf Drive, at 6:30 p.m.

•    Lassen National Forest: Wednesday, November 5, in Susanville, Calif. at the Lassen National Forest Supervisors Office, 2550 Riverside Drive, at 6:30 p.m.

•    Plumas National Forest: Thursday, November 6, in Quincy, Calif. at the Mineral Building on the Plumas County fairgrounds, 204 Fairgrounds Road, at 6:30 p.m.

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John Stewart

Illustrated San Gabriel Mountains NM map available online

This monument was designated pursuant to the Antiquities Act of 1906, which pertains to Federal lands only and enhances protection of those lands within the boundaries of the monument, which in all cases are limited to the smallest area compatible with the proper care and management of the resources to be protected.

 In determining the appropriate boundaries, factors such as extensive infrastructure, existing encumbrances, land ownership, and anticipated management access needs were considered in order to afford the best opportunity for successful and effective monument and forest management.

All areas and resources within the Angels and San Bernardino National Forests, including areas not within the monument boundary, will continue to be managed in accordance with the Forest Service’s mission to protect the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations.

For more information on specifics related to the map and its boundaries, please contact Sherry Rollman, Angeles National Forest, at (626) 574-5205.

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John Stewart

San Gabriel Mountains National Monument Designated

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The new National Monument will allow hiking, fishing, mountain biking, camping, hunting and other established recreational activities such as four-wheel driving on designated roads, and will not create new water rights or affect existing water rights.  The designation will only apply to federal lands and will not impact private, state, or local property within the boundaries of or adjacent to a national monument.

In June 2014, Representative Chu authored HR 4858, the San Gabriel National Recreation Area Act, which is sitting in the House Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation.

This monument designation includes almost half of the area proposed under the legislation.  The map below depicts the area of the new National Monument.

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John Stewart

Fuel management best practices report released

Scientists synthesize best practices for fuels management in dry mixed conifer forests

FORT COLLINS, Colo., Nov. 26, 2012 – USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists along with collaborators from Humboldt State University, the University of Montana, and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, synthesized a vast array of information on the ecology, management strategies, and effectiveness of fuel treatments within the dry mixed conifer forests of the northwestern United States. Because dry mixed conifer forests cover such a broad and diverse region of forested landmass, researchers made site-specific visits to federal, state, and tribal land management organizations to conduct over 50 interviews with resource specialists in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, South Dakota, and California. By incorporating the most relevant scientific research and best practice approaches, scientists used this information to develop an organizational framework to support land management strategies. This collaborative effort, co-funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program and National Fire Plan, is published in a technical report, “A Comprehensive Guide to Fuels Management Practices for Dry Mixed Conifer Forests in the Northwestern United States.”

Original author: USFS
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John Stewart

Beargrass, a plant of many roles, is focus of new report

Report finds that disturbances are shifting within beargrass habitat

PORTLAND, Ore. November 19, 2012. Beargrass is an ecologically, culturally, and economically important plant in the Western United States and, for the first time, landowners, managers, and harvesters now have a comprehensive report about the species.

The report, Natural and Cultural History of Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), published by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, identifies critical knowledge gaps and areas for future research. It also documents how changes in disturbance, including fire, may affect the species across its range.

“Beargrass is emblematic of a web of natural and cultural diversity in the West,” said Susan Stevens Hummel, a research forester at the station and lead author of the report. “This means that organisms and processes—like people, plants, and pollinators—are interrelated.”

Original author: Press
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John Stewart

DLRP, CFLRP and more acronyms

An alphabet soup of efforts is emerging from the government bureaucracy.  For starters is CFLRP - Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Program.  That spawned DLRP - Dinky Landscape Restoration Project.

So, what does this mean?  In short, they are efforts to restore the forest to a "natural" state by reducing the risk of catastrophic wildfire.  Using the term "catastrophic wildfire" does raise the hackles of a number on the preservation side as in their view, wildfires are not catastrophic; they are either natural or unnatural.  As I understand, a natural wildfire burns desired litter and understory while and unnatural wildfire burns everything; meaning it is catastrophic due to the amount it burns.

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