Western Oregon BLM Forests
Western Oregon BLM forests surround our communities. People live next to BLM forests, we recreate in BLM forests, and we get our drinking water from BLM forests. Western Oregon BLM forests are our backyard forests and a part of our heritage.
The latest: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has a new Resource Management Plan to propose action on BLM forests over the next 20 years. Now is the time for input, submit your public comments by August 21, 2015.
KS Wild’s Citizen’s Comment Guide
for the BLM’s 2015 Resource Management Plan
The Western Oregon BLM is undertaking a revision of the Resource Management Plans that guide the protection, recreation, and resource extraction on 2.6 million acres of federal forests. BLM released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in April 2015. The BLM analyzed a no action alternative – continued implementation of the 1995 RMPs – four action alternatives and two sub-alternatives. Unless Congress intervenes, the BLM’s decision before the end of the Obama administration will not only guide management on these forests but also influence the policy framework for 25 million acres of federal forests.
The Obama administration has an opportunity to embrace restoration and to prioritize timber byproducts from restoration and fuels reduction activities. The forests and rivers managed by the BLM are essential to the clean drinking water, native salmon runs, and the expanding recreation economy of southern Oregon. We urge the management of BLM lands to:
Uphold the Northwest Forest Plan: The Northwest Forest Plan is designed to “take an ecosystem management approach to forest management to protect rivers, old-growth forests and populations of native plants and animals.
Uphold the Aquatic Conservation Strategy: A key principle of the Northwest Forest Plan is the Aquatic Conservation Strategy (ACS) which includes designated buffer zones around streams where logging is not allowed and dozens of other important provisions to protect streamside forests, clean water, and fish.
Protect Ancient Forests: It is critical to a livable climate to manage forests to increase diversity, preserving mature trees over one hundred years old. Protecting biodiversity is essential for healthy forests, and we cannot assume that private industry will plan for diversity and old forests.
Protect Clean Water: Preserving the clean water supply that supports family farms, small businesses, individual wells, and community water supplies.
Protect Lands With Wilderness Characteristics: The new plan must safeguard “lands with wilderness characteristics” and roadless areas such as the Wellington Wildlands and the Dakubetede areas. Many of us moved to this area for its wilderness characteristics, which continue to attract people to this area to live and to recreate—providing a growing source of revenue for the local economy.
Reduce Fire Risk to Communities: A cost-effective way to reduce fire risk and fire fighting costs is through through fire prevention planning. Investing in thinning, stewardship contracting, and fuels reduction focused next to communities not only stimulates the local economy, but also will save money in fire-fighting costs over the long term.
Use Existing Roads: It’s Using only the existing road network to conduct any thinning or fuels reduction projects as prescribed by the forest or fire management plans. Building roads increases pollution and diminishes the open space needed by animals (and humans). Blocks of open, contiguous space are consistent with BLM’s forthcoming Resource Management Plans.
Use Best-Available Peer-Reviewed Science: Ensure all forest management recognizes the need for reduced timber harvest levels in the fragile, dry forest ecosystems of southwestern Oregon. Re-growth of Southern Oregon forests is dramatically slower than those of more northern, wetter Oregon forests. This approach will preserve the sustainability of timber harvests for generations to come.
Preserve the Applegate Adaptive Management Area: Preserving the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA) and all other special areas as a designated area in which the BLM must use a collaborative, community-based decision-making process that directly involves the community in forest management decisions. As citizens and neighbors we have the right to help guide actions that affect our lives and livelihoods.
Preserve All Areas Of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC’s): The O&C Act directs that BLM management of lands in Western Oregon mandates “protecting watersheds, regulating stream flows, contributing to the economic stability of local communities and industries, and providing recreational facilities.” The retention of established and proposed ACECs, such as Hoxie Creek, Moon Prairie, contributes to all of the above objectives delineated by Congress.
We are concerned that several ACECs designated for their special values are proposed to have less protection or be dropped from ACEC status including; Hoxie Creek, Moon Prairie, Spencer Creek, and Upper Klamath. Page 129 of the DEIS indicates that under the agency’s preferred action alternative the BLM intends to eliminate ACECs or reduce their size in order to “avoid preclusion of sustain-yield production in the harvest land base.” The proposal relies on a misreading of the O&C Act and a misunderstanding of the timber capacity of the ACECs at issue.
More resources:History of Oregon BLM
KS Wild Position Paper