A New Runway Doesn’t Need an EIS. Why Should a Timber Sale?

The Ninth Circuit’s decision in Barnes v. FAA upheld an agency finding that constructing a new airport runway does not require an EIS. This is a stark contrast to recent district court decisions requiring an EIS for modest forestry projects, such as the Goose Project which would conduct largely thinning treatment on 2,100 acres, or the White Castle timber sale involving 187 acres of variable retention harvest.


Sarcastic Lawsuits

Last month, three organizations (Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, and Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands) filed a lawsuit against a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) timber sale called Lower Grave in southwest Oregon. Among the claims filed was that the BLM “failed to take the requisite “hard look” at the project’s potential environmental impacts to the northern spotted owl.”


Missing the Forest for the Fake News

Hillary killed Vince Foster. Obama was born in Kenya. Trump is going to let Big Timber cut down the Sequoias. Which one is “Fake News”? The answer is “All of the Above.”


Environmental Analysis too long to print

An environmental assessment is intended to be a concise document that briefly provides sufficient evidence and analysis. The reality is quite different.


BLM Timber Sale Generates Impressive Value

If nothing else, the results of the Fawn Two timber sale should silence the critics who claim that the BLM’s timber outputs cannot provide the monetary value necessary to keep County beneficiaries whole.


Northern Spotted Owl Extinction Watch: May 2017 Update

According to the USFWS, the Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) population has declined 52% since 1992. At its current rate of decline, another 25% will be lost in the next 20 years even though the amount of suitable habitat is expected to increase significantly.


When a Take is Not a Take: The Regulatory Quagmire of the ESA No-Take Provision

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) states that it is unlawful to “take” any endangered species of fish or wildlife. 50 CFR Part 17.31 expands the prohibition to take endangered species to wildlife species listed as threatened.


What I Learned in Court

Last week, I was at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene to observe oral arguments of a legal challenge to one of those projects. Within minutes of walking into the courtroom, I was struck by the irony of the exercise.


The U.S. Forest Service and the “T” Word

For many years, the Forest Service took this first step in a straightforward and tacit manner: they knew what their objectives were and they listed them in no particular order. Over the past few years I have noticed a change.


The Worst Type of Government Waste

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance is typically the most costly part of implementing any type of vegetation management project on federally managed land. Documents exceeding 200 pages are commonplace to comply with NEPA.


Winter Logging

The months of December, January and February are very important to sawmills trying to get their winter decks of logs in before the rains and wet conditions of spring arrives. These months of winter logging provide sub-freezing temperatures that allows loggers to operate over frozen ground conditions in the forests and remove the timber with little damage to the soil and to the roads they are driving on.


Forest Service Roads: Why We Need a New Road Maintenance Model

If you look around much of the road infrastructure – road surfacing, culverts, bridges, etc. of federal forests are crumbling away, much as we see across the federal highway system. For the most part this is not due to a lack of will or desire on the part of the hard-working field level staff of the Forest Service. Really, it is mostly due to the significant underfunding of road maintenance needs nationally on the Forest Service road system.


Reconciling Forest Needs in SW Oregon

A rational mind would think that a native species of fauna would thrive in a setting composed of native levels of flora. In other words, if the “natural” condition of forested stands in southwest Oregon is one of lower forest canopy density, shouldn’t those species of wildlife dependent on them thrive under such conditions?


You Can’t Thin Forever

In recent months some federal agencies have come to terms with the same truth that AFRC and most foresters who practice their trade in the Pacific Northwest know well: you can’t thin forever.


Is the BLM Over Cutting?

It is often said that the BLM is not managing their lands sustainably and they are “over-cutting”. Elsewhere in this blog we have explained how one determines the amount of timber that can be sustained over time. Using those concepts, is the BLM overcutting? The answer is, it depends.


The Principles of Sustained Yield

O&C lands “shall be managed . . . for permanent forest production, and the timber thereon shall be sold, cut, and removed in conformity with the principal of sustained yield for the purpose of providing a permanent source of timber supply”. So what is the “principle of sustained yield”?


NEPA Run Amok

The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) states in its 2007 publication A Citizens Guide to NEPA that “The environmental assessment (EA) is intended to be a concise document that briefly provides sufficient evidence and analysis”.


“Taking” Northern Spotted Owls

The Endangered Species Act (ESA) prohibits the “take” of any species listed as “endangered” but provides more latitude to species listed as “threatened”. The Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) is listed as a threatened species and therefore should not be subject to the take prohibition. The USFWS, however, has arbitrarily decided to extend the prohibition of take to all threatened species.


Travis Joseph: I am an environmentalist. I also work for the timber industry.

I am an environmentalist. I also work for the timber industry. Some people might see that as a contradiction. But in the timber industry, that’s the norm.