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CONSERVATION

The conservation program goal is to protect communities and ecosystems from destructive management practices.

The objectives of the Conservation Program are to:

Monitor and evaluate programs and projects of land management agencies including the National Forest, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Indian Affairs, State and County lands.

Take appropriate protective action when management proposals violate sound science-based principles.

Support regional and national conservation efforts.

Advocate for significant positive changes to the Oregon Forest Practices Act.

Ensure sound science is used in designing and implementing state and federal policies to improve ecological function while minimizing harm to ecosystems.

Search for opportunities to engage in authentic collaborative efforts in an attempt to shape agency policy.

Achieve permanent wilderness protection for roadless areas in the Umpqua watershed and beyond through its Wild on Wilderness (WOW) sub-committee.

COMMITTEE CHAIR

J. PATRICK QUINN

PAST NEWS

Source: oregonlive.com

Response to Senator Wyden’s “O&C Act of 2013”


Recently, Umpqua Watersheds and the Umpqua Valley Audubon Society signed on to a letter that was also signed by 24 other conservation organization (mostly from Oregon) opposing Senator Ron Wyden's "O&C Act of 2013". The Senator is touting this legislation as a "jobs bill" that will dramatically increase logging on O&C lands currently managed by the BLM. While this bill contains significant improvements in its approach to forest management, there are aspects of the bill that violate Umpqua Watersheds' Restoration Principles (also included in this issue of 100 Valleys). The following is an open letter to Ron Wyden that expresses our support and concerns from a local perspective. We include it here so that our membership has a clear understanding of the Umpqua-centric issues we raise to Senator Wyden, and more importantly, the solutions we support.


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Conservation Update

J. Patrick Quinn


Here, at the beginning of 2014, we recall the old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.” Well, needless to say, we've got 'em. This year promises to be interesting and more!


Senator Wyden's long awaited O & C Act of 2013, S. 1784 has finally made its debut, and it ain't pretty.


Among many down sides to the proposed legislation are de facto attacks on the Endangered Species Act, NEPA, The Administrative Policy Act, North West Forest Plan and more. Opportunities for the concerned public to comment on and/or object to sale proposals for individual stands would be all but eliminated. Yes, there are some positive aspects included in the bill, but they are out weighed by the negative. A particular area of concern for UW is how Wyden's bill has failed to address the violations, by the Coquille Tribal timber management program, of its agreement with the original legislation credited to the late Senator Mark Hatfield, whereby they were granted their present holdings. In that document, the tribe promised to abide by the environmental constraints in effect on adjoining Federal Forestlands. This they have not done, prompting UW to join, however reluctantly, with Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wild Lands in bringing suit against them and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, in Federal District Court at Eugene. Much to its chagrin, UW's Conservation Committee reads that portion of S. 1784 as supporting this violation, codifying it in law and thereby at least seeming to encourage it. The Umpqua Watersheds Board of Directors has joined with numerous sister conservation groups, local, regional and national in voicing our collective disappointment to both Senators Wyden and Merkley. By the time you receive this issue of 1000 Valleys, we will have delivered our own, local perspective on this issue to Senator Wyden, hoping that he and his staff and colleagues might reconsider.


This, so far, very dry winter has reminded all of us of the extensive wild fires that burned on our watersheds this past summer. UW's Restoration and Conservation Committees have continued their active participation in postfire planning with the Tiller District of the Umpqua National Forest and with the Medford and Roseburg Districts of the BLM. We have tried to encourage a sensible, ecoforward attitude by the agencies with regard to salvage logging, replanting, etc. There is strong pressure from county governments and the timber industry to conduct widespread recovery of burned trees. We find that UW can support some limited logging along forest roads for safety and recovery of economic value. While UW remains wary of salvage operations away from roads, especially in Late Successional Reserves and Riparian Zones, we are willing to at least consider some carefully planned operations that would offer clear, long term benefits to these special areas. We are doubly wary of salvage logging in areas identified by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as of critical concern for the recovery of Spotted Owls. However, the Service seems to acknowledge the possibility of proposals for some of these areas that have been impacted by fire. If this is going to happen, the Conservation and Restoration Committees want to stay closely involved so as to help limit these operations and, in the event, steer them in an eco-forward direction. This is also true of ideas for salvage in BLM holdings within the fire perimeter that are designated Matrix, where conservation folks have less leverage, legally speaking. That is, they are intended as ongoing sources of logs, under the Northwest Forest Plan.


As always in these pages, if there are policies or actions implemented by the Board that you object to or would like to modify in some way, do not hesitate to communicate these feelings and all of your ideas to us. Remember, we are hard pressed volunteers using our best lights and brightest ideas to help protect and restore our beleaguered landscapes. It does no good to grumble behind the scenes. Get involved, become active and if you get really wound up, throw your name in the ring as a candidate for the Board. Fresh blood and new perspectives are critical to any conservation group's effectiveness.

Jan 2014

Apr 2014

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