THE EASTSIDE EDGE
"THE OUTCOME OF THIS PROJECT SHOULD HAVE SOME SIGNIFICANT
EFFECTS ON NATURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT EAST OF THE CASCADES. IT
WILL ALLOW US TO DEFINE AND IMPLEMENT ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
BY COMBINING SCIENCE, PUBLIC VALUES, AND ECONOMICS."
FS Project Manager,
Eastside Ecosystem Management Project
WHAT IS THE EASTSIDE ECOSYSTEM MANAGEMENT PROJECT
- On July 1, 1993 President Clinton announced his "Forest
Plan for a Sustainable Economy and A Sustainable Environment."
Although this effort focused on forested lands west of the Cascades,
in this plan the President directed the federal natural resource
management agencies to:
"...Develop a scientifically-sound and ecosystem-based strategy
for management of forests east of the Cascades. This strategy
should be based on the forest health study recently completed
by agency scientists (Eastside Forest Ecosystem Health Assessment
Report) as well as other studies.
- So, to move forward with this Presidential direction, Assistant
Secretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons and Speaker of the House Tom
Foley announced on August 30, 1993 that a new management strategy
will be developed for the National Forests in Eastern Oregon and
Washington. This effort is the Eastside Ecosystem Management Project.
- Several studies and reviews relative to the eastside have
been completed over the last few years. Much of this new information
will provide us with the foundation for the Eastside Project.
- A charter outlining the expectations and summary of project
products was signed by Jack Ward Thomas, Chief of the USDA Forest
Service and Jim Baca, Director of the USDI Bureau of Land Management
in January 1994. The BLM and Forest Service will be the lead agencies
involved in the project.
BUILDING THE TEAM
- A special interagency team, is being established to:
- The EIS will examine different strategies for ecosystem management
in eastern Oregon and Washington that are scientifically-sound
and ecosystem-based. We expect to produce a Draft EIS within one
year. The final EIS will probably lead to adjusting the forest
- The scope of the EIS will include, as a minimum, all lands
administered by the Forest Service east of the Cascade crest in
the states of Oregon and Washington. It will also include eastside
Bureau of Land Management lands within the existing range of the
Pacific Salmon, forested lands and bull trout habitat.
- Because of its centralized eastside location, the Eastside
Ecosystem Management Project team will be located in Walla Walla,
Washington- recognizing that other team members will come and
go as needed or work from their home units.
Plans include the development of four teams: a science integration
team, a communications team, an administrative support team, and
an environmental impact statement team. Potential team members
with the best expertise available are being actively sought. The
goal is to build a balanced interagency team. An outline of the
proposed organization will look something like this: (Please see
hardcopy for organizational structure chart)
- There will be close coordination between all four teams. We
anticipate the Science Integration Team will help the EIS Team
with development of alternatives and evaluation of effects. The
Communications Team will have full-time liaisons with both the
Science Integration Team and the EIS Team.
- Insofar as possible, employee surplus lists will be used to
help build these teams. However, specialized skills and knowledge
are required to provide the optimum knowledge base. Most positions
are anticipated to be temporary assignments (details), that will
not change an employee's status on their home unit.
SETTING UP AN OFFICE
- The new Eastside Ecosystem Management Project office is located
at 112 East Poplar Street, Walla Walla, Washington 99362, (509)
- There is no new additional funding for this project beyond
the agencies regular allocated budgets from Congress. Therefore,
project personnel are being as cost conscious as possible with
any expenditures associated with the project. Surplus equipment
and furniture is being utilized wherever possible.
WHO WILL BE INVOLVED?
- From the outset, an extensive public involvement strategy
will pursued to insure that a broad community of interests can
participate throughout the process. In addition, it is imperative
to keep all agency line officers and employees involved and informed
as this project develops. This newsletter is the beginning of
- In addition, ten sites in Oregon and Washington are scheduled
for initial public workshops about the project. Employee briefings
are also scheduled at several sites. For specific dates and places
in your vicinity, contact your local BLM or Forest Service Public
- The Native American Tribes will be apprised of developments
on the project. and give them a means to input their concerns
and viewpoints. A Tribal Liaison has been assigned to the project
to maintain the government to government relationship with the
Native American Tribes.
- There is no intent to alter or layer a new decision on those
lands already covered by the President's Forest Plan. There may
be some complementary outcomes, however, in exploring ecosystem-based
options and some National Forests may be involved in both the
westside and eastside efforts.
- At this time, several additional federal agencies have expressed
interest in participating in the project including: The Environmental
Protection Agency, National Biological Survey, Soil Conservation
Service, National Marine Fisheries Board, and the Fish and Wildlife
Service. Some of these agencies will be assigning employees to
the project full time.