THE EASTSIDE EDGE
"Ecosystem Management, in its broadest context, is about how humans view their role in the environment and what role the environment plays for humans."
One of the measures of success for the Eastside Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process will be a smooth use of procedures and prescriptions developed by the Eastside EIS Team. Since field level employees are the people who will be implementing the decision and are vital to the success of the effort, an Implementation Team consisting of Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management employees has been set up to increase employee involvement and ownership of the project end result.
Team members represent a wide variety of disciplines throughout Eastern Oregon and Washington and were selected based on their interest in ecosystem management and demonstrated ability to adapt to new thinking and new science.
The Implementation Team met for the first time in early December where members were briefed by the EIS Team on progress of both the Science and the Eastside EIS teams. Members were asked what they wanted to see in the Eastside EIS. The consensus was focused on clear direction, flexibility to adapt to local conditions, ability to do immediate implementation without additional analysis and priorities for restoration.
We hope this effort will give people an additional way to gain understanding of the project, reasons for data requests and other actions being taken by Project members, and better employee support of the decisions that are made.
Co-leaders are Bill Andersen from the Burns BLM District and Lynn Kaney from the Colville National Forest. Members of the Implementation Team from the Bureau of Land Management are: Walt DeVaurs, Lakeview District; Brad Keller and Dave Young, Prineville District; Lou Jurs, Spokane District; Ralph Heft and Cathy Wilbanks, Vale District. From the Forest Service, members are: Sam Carlson, Fremont National Forest; Dave Kretzing, Malheur National Forest; John Swanson, Ochoco National Forest; Tom Ketchum, Okanogan National Forest;
Delanne Ferguson, Umatilla National Forest; Tom Burry, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; and Jayne Goodwin, Winema National Forest. For additional information, these team members are there to assist you.
Open-house style meetings were held in Missoula, Montana on November 16, and in Boise, Idaho on November 17 by the Science Integration Team. Team leader Tom Quigley said these meetings were to "provide an opportunity for Science Integration Team members to report on the progress of their data collection".
More than 50 people at each location took advantage of the open-house format, where Science Integration Team members were on hand to discuss their work and answer any questions from the public. Maps and charts were displayed, providing a look at some of the results of the data collection efforts. The Spatial/Geographic Information
Services (GIS) group provided a user-friendly interactive computer program for visitors which went over real well.
The Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project is highly dependent upon cooperation and interaction of Project staff and field staff within the Columbia River Basin to obtain information and data that is needed to support the Scientific Assessment and the Scientific Evaluation of the EIS Alternatives. Most data that is used for Project efforts is available to the public. The exceptions are maps and data that is currently in development, data obtained under license or agreement, and data containing information on threatened and endangered plant and animal species, archeological sites or other resources.
The Data Release Policy, Available Data List, Available Map/Plot List, and the Data Request Form is available from the Project's Electronic Library (509-522-4085). These forms are also available from the Project Office in Walla Walla.
To obtain data, complete a Data Request Form and a Available Data List and/or the Available Map/Plot List. Send these forms to the Project office where it will be forwarded to the BLM Oregon State Office for processing. There are costs associated with requesting data or maps, however, only the actual cost of providing the requested information is charged. Upon payment, the BLM will send the requested information directly to the requestor. For further information, please contact Becky Gravenmier at 509-522-4052.
The Scientific Framework for Ecosystem Management in the Interior Columbia River Basin, Working Draft - Version 2, is now in the revision process. The Science Integration Team is still accepting comments on Version 2. Anyone interested in commenting on the contents of the document should send their comments to the Project Office in Walla Walla, as soon as possible, so that the Science Integration Team can move forward with the next version.
Ecosystems change through time and continually evolve. Sometimes change in systems is rapid and sometimes slow. Understanding these dynamics and exploring them in the context of the past, present, and future will help federal land managers and everyone who cares about the forests, rangelands, streams, plants, animals, and human communities understand the nature of the decisions society faces. Thinking about the future is important. Understanding land, animals, and human interrelationships within ecosystems will help land managers make sound decisions. In the Scientific Assessment for Ecosystem Management in the Interior Columbia River Basin, a team of federal scientists will bring scientific understanding and information to bear so that society can make more informed decisions by discussing, debating, and understanding what its role is in federal land management. As a 'snapshot' in time, the assessment information will help us understand new information and the changing, dynamic conditions within the Basin. The idea is for all of us to understand the biological, economic, and social systems and explore an array of possibilities in the interior Columbia Basin. The role of science is to assess tradeoffs, consequences, potential outcomes, and interactions of possible land management futures.
The team is gathering information through random sampling across the Basin in broad, geographic zones. A fuller picture presents itself through a landscape awareness of vegetation compositions, patterns and structures of the environment. This involves employees of the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management at the field level helping collect the information. This sampling should be completed by February.
The assessment will pull together existing information on forest, rangeland, and aquatic systems, look at communities and economies, and project the ecosystems of the Basin into the future. The Team is critically evaluating scientific and technical information from all sources.
The vehicle for disclosing the future will be scenarios that will describe a wide path or a broad universe of opportunities.
Information from the Yakima and Silvies river basins will be used by the team looking for testing the relationships among ecosystem components at different scales.
A variety of scientific models, both existing and new, will be used for information by the terrestrial, aquatic/riparian, economics, social, and landscape ecology staffs. Information gathered in these different disciplines, will also be synthesized and integrated across staff areas.
Since the Project's beginnings nearly a year ago, the scope has evolved. A mid-scale assessment and EIS for the Upper Columbia River Basin were added. We have also learned and adapted as we better understand public processes, relationships with others, and our own role and responsibilities. Success of the Project will lie on our leadership abilities to fulfill the Project's Mission, Vision, and Goals.
Develop a scientifically sound and ecosystem based strategy for forest and rangelands administered by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the Interior Columbia River basin and portions of the Klamath and Great Basins.
Bring science and management into closer partnerships and working relationships.
Open new channels of communication and working relationships with American Indian tribal governments.
Work openly with the public toward mutually desired resource management outcomes.
Promote the evolution of knowledge for ecosystem management through workshops, the media, and other avenues of communication.
Lands and resources administered by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management are healthy, diverse, and productive.
Efficient and careful uses of natural resources support the long term needs of people and the vitality of rural communities.
Social learning about ecosystems expands human capacities to address complex problems.
The public recognizes the limits and trade-offs of resource utilization and supports Forest Service and Bureau of Land
Management decisions to balance resource allocations to meet public desires and needs.
Actions fulfill federal trust responsibilities to American Indian tribal governments.
Administrative structures and procedures are cost efficient, responsive to the public, coordinated with other government programs, and sensitive to changes in biophysical and social conditions.
The Eastside EIS Team has been actively involved in the monthly Public Sessions. In November and December of 1994, the EIS Team spoke about the issues, the concepts of alternative process, the No Action alternative, and modeling. In January, a representative of the Eastside EIS team participated in the Open House and public presentations made in Coeur d'Alene jointly by the Science and EIS teams. In February, they will talk more about alternatives and concepts.