This is the May Update designed to keep you abreast of developments and activities concerning the implementation of the Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act, or HFQLG.

Herger-Feinstein Quincy Library Group Forest Recovery Act
Implementation
MAY 2000

Some Introductions:

We have two new faces on the HFQLG Implementation Coordination Team:

Assistant Project Manager – Phil Tuma 
(Plumas National Forest, 530-283-7721).  Phil is on a one year detail to the Project.  He came to the HFQLG Pilot Project from the Lassen National Forest where he served as the Timber Management Officer for the Almanor Ranger District.

Public Affairs Specialist - Merri Carol Martens
(Plumas National Forest, 530-283-7769).  Merri Carol is also on a one year detail and came from the Almanor Ranger District where she was serving as a writer/editor in the Silviculture Department.

Phil and Merri Carol join Dave Peters, Project Manager and Linda Kanski, Administrative Officer in the Pilot Project office located at the Plumas National Forest Supervisors Office.

Also, the Project has advertised two Not to Exceed one-year duration positions. They include a Monitoring Team Leader and a NEPA Coordinator.

Forest Open Houses

The Plumas, Lassen, and Sierraville District of the Tahoe hosted open houses for people interested in local projects.  The Plumas open house was held in Quincy on May 4; the Lassen open house was held March 22 in Susanville; and the Sierraville hosted theirs on February 1.  These gatherings served to inform people of the HGQLG projects taking place.  They provided a forum in which to visit with ground-level resource managers, look at maps, and ask questions.  A range of about 12 - 30 people attended these open houses.

Appeal Status

A total of 15 appeals were filed on the Record of Decision and Environmental Impact Statement for the HFQLG Pilot Project.  Three appeals were dismissed as untimely. 

On March 29, 2000 two appeals decision letters were issued affirming the decision by the Forest Supervisors to adopt Alternative 2 with the mitigation measure.  One is a thirty-seven page consolidated decision for nine appeals.  Five key issues areas are addressed:

    1. NEPA/NFMA
    2. Wildland Fire
    3. Watershed, Riparian, Aquatics
    4. Silviculture
    5. Wildlife

The other appeal decision is a four page consolidated response to the remaining three appeals.  These appeals focus on two main issues:

    1. SAT Guidelines and Grazing Activities
    2. Water Flow and Impacts on Riparian and Water Rights

A stay was requested by several appellants and was denied.  The Forest Service Chief elected not to review the Regional Forester's stay decision.

When the Regional Forester affirmed the Forest Supervisors’ decision to adopt Alternative 2 with the mitigation measure, he added that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Sierra Nevada Framework will include a range wide viability analysis.  This will give the Lassen, Plumas, and Tahoe Forest Supervisors the opportunity to review this information to determine its significance and bearing on the HFQLG Pilot Project.  If the Supervisors determine that the viability analysis constitutes significant new information for the Pilot Project, then they will determine whether a modification of the Pilot Project decision should be immediately considered, or if it is more appropriate to await the release of the final direction through the Framework.  The NEPA process would be followed for any proposed modification.

The Regional Forester's appeal decision was subject to discretionary review by the Chief, and on May 2, Chief Dombeck chose not to exercise discretionary review.  This action constitutes the final administrative determination of the Department of Agriculture.

Litigation

Californians for Alternatives to Toxics have filed a lawsuit saying the pilot project could make the forests more prone to fire and pave the way for herbicide use.  Even though their appeal was dismissed as untimely, herbicide use was raised by another appellant and is addressed in the consolidated decision for nine appeals. 

Other Items

The first annual HFQLG Pilot Project Implementation Status Report was submitted to Congress, as required by the HFQLG law.  Required under subsection (j) of the Act, this report gives pilot project status in seven areas:

    1. Accounting for funding through the entire pilot project.
    2. Accounting for funding for the previous fiscal year (FY99).
    3. Description of total acres treated.
    4. Description of economic benefits to local communities
    5. Comparison of revenues generated and costs incurred in resource management activities implemented versus timber management activities in FY92-FY97.
    6. Proposed schedule of resource management activities to be undertaken in the next year (FY00).
    7. Description of adverse environmental impacts from the pilot project.

The HFQLG Team has been drafting an Implementation Plan for the Pilot Project that will schedule resource management activities, which include fuelbreak construction (DFPZ’s), group selection, individual tree selection, and riparian management.  The plan displays the Pilot Project Area divided into 31 smaller areas called sub networks.  These sub networks have been prioritized to meet the objective of completion of the highest priority DFPZ sub networks first.  This will enable an independent scientific panel to review and report on whether, and to what extent, implementation of the Pilot Project under the HFQLG Act achieved the goals stated in the QLG Community Stability Proposal.  The goals for the QLG proposal include improved ecological health and community stability.   The plan will also contain time frames for site-specific projects in order to accomplish full implementation.

Summary of FY2000 Pilot Project Accomplishments Through April 7, 2000

Lassen & Plumas National Forests, and Sierraville District of the Tahoe National Forest

Summary of Pilot Project Area Activities

Acres

  (All Districts)

DFPZ

GS

ITS

Watershed

MISC

Vegetation Management:

         

  Stand Exam/prescriptions

33,555

3,210

     

  Diagnosis

2,800

3,000

     

  Cruised

1,200

       

  Marked

3,219

 

1,500

   

  Layout  (Acres)

8,431

161

1,056

   
           

Other Activities:

         

  Furbearer surveys

       

55,560 acres

  Snag surveys

       

37,700 acres

  Archeological Surveys

       

69,300 acres

           

Watershed:

         

  Analysis Completed

     

35,876

 

  Analysis Begun

     

2 WA

 

  Riparian Restoration Projects ready  for implementation

     

4

 
           

Public Involvement:

         

  Scoping

       

For all FY00

  Public Meetings Held

       

5

  Other Agencies

       

USFWS

           

Salvage:

         

  Acres

       

1,722 acres

  Status

       

1 sale sold; 7 decisions due prior to Aug 00

From:  HFQLG Pilot Project Office, Plumas NF, Quincy, CA 4/00

Where to get more information: