This is the February 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
February 2001

SIERRA NEVADA FRAMEWORK UPDATE

The Regional Forester signed the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (Framework) on January 12, 2001. The Framework will apply to the HFQLG Pilot Project except with regard to riparian protection. The Scientific Analysis Team (SAT) guidelines will continue to be applied for the duration of the Pilot Project. The Framework developed a conservation strategy for the California spotted owl that replaces both the CASPO (California spotted owl) Interim Direction and the mitigation measure of the HFQLG Record of Decision. The Framework affects the overall implementation of the DFPZ (Defensible Fuels Profile Zone), Group Selection and Individual Tree Selection projects. All projects must follow the standards and guidelines of this strategy, which includes canopy closure and large tree retention requirements. The Regional Forester expects that up to 90% of the DFPZs will be implemented; however, the new owl strategy will change the extent of treatments. The Group Selections currently being planned for FY 01 in non-suitable owl habitat are expected to continue without modification. Group Selection treatments within suitable owl habitat will be permitted in the Pilot Project only as part of an administrative study. The study will investigate how owls and features of their habitat respond to certain silvicultural treatments. A team of scientists, led by Peter Stine, from the Pacific Southwest Research Station has been assigned to begin developing a study for the HFQLG Pilot Project.

HFQLG PILOT PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

The recent release of the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (Framework) Record of Decision is expected to change the current HFQLG Implementation Plan. The seven Ranger Districts are developing and implementing the FY01 program and will be looking at changing the out-year projects as areas are reviewed using the Framework guidelines. The current estimates of annual commodity outputs from the Pilot Project are about 140 million board feet of sawtimber. Employing the new California spotted owl conservation strategy reduces the original expected output of 286 million board feet per year estimated in the HFQLG Plan Amendment.

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 Implementation Plan also contains time frames for completion of site-specific projects needed to accomplish full implementation. The plan, which is a working document and subject to frequent updates based on funding and project planning can be found at the HFQLG Website : www.fs.fed.us/r5/hfqlg/ under Current Activities. Questions about this plan should be directed to Assistant Project Manager Phil Tuma (530-283-7721).

HFQLG PROGRAM OF WORK FOR FISCAL YEAR 2000

All of the seven Environmental Assessments (EA’s) and associated Decision Notices for FY2000 HFQLG projects released have been appealed to the Regional Forester. The Regional Forester’s Appeal Decisions, affirming decisions on six Environmental Assessments (EAs) and reversing the decision on one EA can be found at the following Website: http://www.r5.fs.fed.us/appeals/appeals.htm

To date, six timber sales and six Service Contracts have been awarded. Five Service Contracts are still pending award. Appeal decisions for two timber sales are pending. The five service contracts that are pending award were advertised with proposals due November 2000. However, Earth Island Institute filed a lawsuit in October 2000 against the Forest Service regarding protection of habitat for the California spotted owl and the Pacific fisher. The plaintiffs indicated they would be seeking a preliminary injunction to halt timber sales in the Sierra Nevada Framework planning area. In response to this, the Department of Justice, representing the Forest Service, notified the plaintiffs that the Forest Service would: (1) not offer, advertise, auction, or award any timber sales until March 1, 2001 or 30 days after a Record of Decision is issued on the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment (Framework), which ever occurs first; and (2) stop all timber sale activities by December 11, 2000 for timber sales already under contract and within the planning area for the Sierra Nevada Forest Plan Amendment. This “moratorium” was lifted on February 7, 2001, due to the denial of the plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction.

A table displaying these contracts follows. Service Contracts are agreements between an Operator and the Forest Service to perform activities associated with DFPZ construction. The kinds of activities the Forest Service pays Operators to do include chainsaw thinning, handpiling, hand cutting brush, mechanical brush crushing, mechanical thinning, and fireline construction.

Timber Sales are agreements between a Purchaser and the Forest Service in which the Purchaser pays the Forest Service for the merchantable products removed from the sale area. Merchantable products are commonly sawlogs and chips.

This following table shows the status of FY 00 projects:

Status of Fiscal Year 2000 Projects

Project Name

RESOURCE MANAGEMENT ACTIVITY ACRES

Contract Award Date

DFPZ

GROUP SELECTION

INDIVIDUAL TREE SELECTION

Timber Sales

Marmalade

640

0

172

9/30/99

Summit Small Log

1631

0

170

7/28/00

Signal Small Log

860

0

329

8/16/00

Cant Thin

175

0

127

9/15/00

Bridge Thin

500

0

146

10/29/00

Pittville

2338

200

0

11/15/00

Lahonton

219

66

363

Appeal Decision Pending

Leftover

762

100

693

Appeal Decision Pending

Service Contracts

Jelly

137

0

0

8/9/00

Skippy

528

0

0

8/22/00

Dotta

224

0

0

9/11/00

Spike Buck

800

0

0

9/27/00

Red Clover

1196

0

0

10/17/00

Red Mtn Arkansas

717

0

0

11/14/00

Prattville

1356

0

0

Award Pending

Cherry Hill

875

0

0

Award Pending

Pittville North

1000

0

0

Award Pending

Pittville South

1000

0

0

Award Pending

Antelope-Border

2100

0

0

Award Pending

TOTAL

17,058

366

2000

 

HFQLG PROGRAM OF WORK FOR 2001

Additionally, the Ranger Districts are planning for 2001 projects. The level of implementation will reflect the available funding. Final FY 2001 allocations have not been made.

This table displays the 2001 HFQLG Project NEPA/Appeals Timelines:

Project Name

District

Scoping Date

Notice & Comment

NEPA

Decision

End of Appeal Period

Final Appeal Decision Due

LASSEN NF

           

Brown's Ravine

ARD

Lakes EIS NOI 12/00

Lakes EIS DEIS 3/01

Lakes EIS ROD 05/01

07/01

09/01

Lakes

ARD

Lakes EIS NOI 12/00

Lakes EIS DEIS 3/01

Lakes EIS ROD 05/01

07/01

09/01

Scott

ARD

Lakes EIS NOI 12/00

Lakes EIS DEIS 3/01

Lakes EIS ROD 05/01

07/01

09/01

West Dusty

ARD

Done FY00

--

--

--

--

Miscellaneous SAI

ARD

Done FY00

--

--

--

--

Pegleg/A21

ELRD

06/06/00

12/00

02/19/01

04/05/01

05/20/01

Cone/Crater

ELRD

01/31/01

03/31/01

05/01/01

06/15/01

07/30/01

Blacks Ridge

HCRD

01/01

04/01

05/01

07/01

09/01

Ridge #1

HCRD

01/01

04/01

05/01

07/01

09/01

Ridge #2

HCRD

01/01

04/01

05/01

07/01

09/01

North Coble

HCRD

04/01

06/01

07/01

09/01

11/01

Coble #1

HCRD

04/01

06/01

07/01

09/01

11/01

Coble #2

HCRD

04/01

06/01

07/01

09/01

11/01

PLUMAS NF

           

Red Clover GS

BRD

12/00

04/01

06/01

07/01

09/01

Last Chance

BRD

11/00

04/01

06/01

07/01

09/01

Poison

BRD

11/00

04/01

06/01

07/01

09/01

Dotta 2

BRD

Done FY00

--

--

--

--

Stony Ridge

BRD

11/02/00

12/01/00

4/19/01

6/11/01

07/26/01

Lower Slate

FRRD

01/01

04/01

06/15/01

08/01/01

09/15/01

Upper Slate

FRRD

01/01

04/01

06/15/01

08/01/01

09/15/01

Kingsbury Rush

MHRD

01/01

04/01

06/15/01

08/01/01

09/15/01

Waters

MHRD

2/01

3/01

7/01

9/01

10/01

Lowe-Boulder

MHRD

2/01

3/01

7/01

9/01

10/01

Cold

MHRD

2/01

3/01

7/01

9/01

10/01

TAHOE NF

           

Beak

SVRD

02/08/01

05/07/01

05/31/01

07/16/01

08/30/01

HFQLG PILOT PROJECT MONITORING PLAN

Details of this plan are available from Monitoring Team Leader Wayne Johannson (530-283-7881).

ANNUAL REPORT TO CONGRESS

The HFQLG Act requires the Secretary of Agriculture to annually submit a status report to Congress. The report covering Fiscal Year 2000 is due to Congress on February 28, 2001. Questions about the Report to Congress should be directed to Assistant Project Manager Phil Tuma (530-283-7721).

LITIGATION

The Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) lawsuit continues. Plaintiffs are currently reviewing the Administrative Record. The parties are in the process of filing motions. A hearing before the judge is scheduled for March 7, 2001.

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