Discussions with the Oregon Department of Forestry

 

Original Message
From: Ed at the Oregon Department of Forestry
Sent: Friday, June 09, 2000 10:51 AM
To: Rosemary; Ross; Bill; Cliff

Cc: Mike; Marcia
Subject: Goshawks on Siderod


As I think you are all aware, we have a confirmed nesting pair of goshawks in Sun Pass on the Siderod Timber Sale.  Siderod is a 2001 sale currently in the prep stage.  Marking was about 75% complete when the birds were discovered.  Siderod is a CSL sale that is predicted to produce 5.6 MMBF worth $1,600,000.

The "Forest Connectivity" strategy in the LRP is the keystone strategy for wildlife.  The strategy is built around maintaining connectivity between late successional habitat in Crater Lake National Park and LSR's on the Winema surrounding Sun Pass.  Habitat management in the Forest Connectivity Areas is focused on providing for pileated woodpeckers. Each of the three FCA's also was planned to have an 80 acre "Goshawk Management Area" where goshawk nesting habitat is the focus.  FCA's have been placed in the "Focused Stewardship" classification, GMA's in the "Special Stewardship" classification.  The thought is that in the GMA's, very little harvesting will occur after some initial tweaking in the first entries.

In 1997, I put a group together to select the FCA's and develop a strategy for selecting the GMA's (see attached document).  The FCA's were selected based primarily on the location of pileated pairs and their location in relation to the park and LSR's.  Selection of the GMA's will occur in FY01.

As you would expect, our first goshawk pair chose not to locate in one of the FCA's.  So we are now faced with some choices on how to proceed. I think there are two sets of issues.  The first related to the fact that this sale area is the district's "crown jewel" of Common School Lands.  The second set of issues is related to the biology of goshawks and the intent of the FCA strategy, in other words, what is the best decision for the resources involved.

CSL Issue:

The majority of CSF lands in Klamath County are relatively low value, low site lands, either lodgepole pine flats in Sun Pass or poorly stocked, low site stands in our Yainax block.  The Siderod timber sale is 551 acres of high site mixed conifer type.  To illustrate its overall importance I had Steve calculate total standing volume on our 6,800 acres of Common School Land as well as the total volume on the Siderod Sale Area. The Total volume on these lands is 46.1 MMBF.  The Siderod Timber Sale contains 13.3 MMBF or 28.9% of the total volume on our Common School Lands. It is only 8.1% of the total area.  An 80 acre goshawk management area would contain an estimated 4.2% of the volume on Common School Lands on the district.

During the development of the LRP, a tour was conducted for a group that included the county commissioners, Klamath Tribes, Concerned Friends of the Winema, DSL staff (John and Steve), and one of the Land Board Assistants.  After spending a good portion of the day looking at unevenage stands on Board of Forestry lands we stopped in the lodgepole pine flats.  The DSL group became concerned/disappointed and asked if any of the Common School Lands looked like the Board of Forestry Lands.  We pointed out the Siderod Sale Area on the map and John requested to return and tour the stand.  Some time later he did come back to Klamath and tour the sale area and was informed of the importance of these stands in the revenue generation potential of the Klamath Common School Lands.

I really don't know how significant all this is except that I felt everyone should know this history before we made a decision.  In summary, it has always seemed to me that Common School Land carried a higher revenue generating obligation than BOF land.  Partly for that reason we eliminated these stands from consideration for the FCA's.

FCA/GMA Strategy:

Once we resolve the Common School issue, we can move on to figuring out what is the right thing to do.  I see us having basically two alternatives:

1. Manage a nest stand around the existing nest site.  This would involve soliciting the assistance of a goshawk expert to ensure retention/improvement of critical elements of the nest stand.  It would probably mean a small amount of remarking on the sale, as well as seasonal operating restrictions within a certain distance of the nest if the pair is using the sale area the year the purchaser wants to log.

2. Move  the Goshawk Management Area for the Southeast FCA to the Siderod sale area. We already have plans to contract the designation of the GMA's this year.  This alternative would also involve remarking the selected GMA with the assistance of a goshawk expert. I have done quite a bit of thinking and discussion about this issue since it initially surfaced.  Here are some thoughts/facts/etc. that I think are relevant.

In discussions with Joan, wildlife biologist on the Chemult District, I learned that goshawk pairs in this area have been all over the board in terms of nest stand fidelity.  A few pairs return to the same nest site each year.  Some move significant distances every year and don't return to previously used sites.  Some return to a site periodically. Len, North State Resources, was the project leader for the pileated/goshawk surveys, and also participated in the group that selected the FCA's.  In recent discussions with Len, we were able to reconstruct much of the rationale for the selection, as well as a lot of the thinking behind the overall FCA strategy.  Several concepts have come out of these discussions.

1. The FCA's were selected based upon two factors:
their location relative to the park and LSR's, and the location of pileated nesting pairs found during the surveys.  By using three of the four nesting pair locations, we were able to get an excellent distribution across the forest, which we felt would do a good job of providing "connectivity". Marcia should have a map showing locations of FCA's and LSR's if you would like to see how they fit together.

2. The FCA strategy was meant to provide the connectivity needs of late successional dependent species in general. Pileateds and goshawks were selected as indices of how we are doing in providing for connectivity.  The habitat needs of pileateds is the focus in the FCA's.  The habitat needs of nesting goshawks the focus in the GMA's. While both species require elements of late succession habitat, the details of their requirements are quite different.  By including the GMA's within the FCA's we should be increasing the overall effectiveness of the FCA strategy.  By itself, I think this is a strong argument not to move one of the GMA's out of its FCA.


3. What about moving the FCA and GMA to the sale area?
The current FCA is a better fit with the LSR's. While pileated use was documented during the survey in the Siderod sale, the birds were not found to be nesting in the area. This would force us to drop the sale and find a new sale for FY01, and a lot of work will have been wasted.  Plan strategies say we will conduct habitat research on pair home ranges and use the results to develop
habitat standards for the FCA's.  This has not been completed.  Until it is completed, I don't see how we can do any management in the FCA's.


Next Step?
Again, I see two options.
1. Make the decision internally.  If we do this, we should be able to get a few folks together for a conference call.  As you can tell, I am pretty close to a strong recommendation.  However, I would like a little more discussion before reaching a final decision.

2. Put together a group to make the final decision.  In addition to the ODF folks, this group would include a goshawk expert, as well as at least one of the ODFW folks who participated in the FCA selection (Glen and/or Chris).
At this point I would recommend option 1, but kick it around and let me know what you think.  I would really like to have a decision in the next one to two weeks.  Rosemary, could you coordinate the discussion at your end.  I'm available to answer questions and give more detail as you need it.
Thanks!
                                 Ed

FOREST CONNECTIVITY AREAS AND GOSHAWK MANAGEMENT AREAS IN SUN PASS STATE FOREST

Background

The Eastern Region Long-Range Forest Management Plan calls for the
selection and special management of 2,000 acres of Forest Connectivity
Areas (FCA's) in Sun Pass State Forest (Pages V-26 to V-28, Fine Filter
Strategies 2 through 7).  The purpose of these areas is to ensure that Sun
Pass State Forest provides connectivity for late successional dependent
species between the four late late successional reserves that surround Sun
Pass on the Winema National Forest and the late successional habitat in
Crater Lake National Park.  The habitat needs of pileated woodpeckers and
goshawks are to be used to develop the habitat component standards.  The
first step in this selection process was to survey the forest for nesting
pairs of pileated woodpeckers and goshawks.  This survey information was to
be used to help designate the location and distribution of the FCA's. 

The surveys were completed in the spring and summer of 1997.  In late
August, an FCA selection task force was put together, and scheduled a two
day session to review bird survey data and other relevant information,
select the FCA's, and make recommendations on the process for selecting the
240 acres of Goshawk Management Areas (GMA's).  The Task Force consisted of
Ed, ODF Management Unit Forester (Task Force Leader); Ed,
ODF Forester; Glen, ODFW Regional Habitat Biologist; Chris, ODFW
Non-Game Biologist; Clint, ODF Wildlife Biologist; Len,
Project Leader for the pileated and goshawk surveys; and Bonnie,
from the Goosenest Ranger District, Klamath National Forest.  This Task
Force met on October 8th and 9th, 1997.  The first day was spent in the
field reviewing the bird survey results and looking at potential FCA's.
The second day was spent in the office making the decisions about FCA's and
GMA's.  The results are as follows. 

Task Force Decisions and Recommendations:
The Task Force made decisions or recommendations in five topic areas.

1.  Selection of 2,000 acres of FCA's:
The Task Force selected the Sun Creek FCA, the Upper Sun Mt. FCA, and the
Southeast FCA.
The Task Force decided to add the Rosco Timber Sale Area (harvested in
1995) to the north end of the Sun Creek FCA and delete equivalent acres
from the Upper Sun Mt. FCA.
The attached map shows the revised FCA boundaries and acres.

2. Develop a strategy for distributing the 240 acres of GMA's to the 3 FCA's:

The Task Force decided to select 80 acres in the Southeast FCA.
The Task Force decided that we can reduce the acres in the Sun Creek FCA
to as low as 60 acres and add the difference to the Upper Sun Mt. FCA.

3. GMA layout:
When the Klamath Management Unit is ready to lay out the Goshawk
Management Areas, Ed will contact and solicit help/advice from
Chris, Glen, Clint, and Bonnie.  We may at this
point organize a field tour of Goosenest Ranger District Goshawk nest
stands.  The Klamath Management Unit will then lay out proposed GMA
boundaries for review and input from the rest of the group.  This process
will be completed by Fall, 1998.


4.  GMA management prescriptions:
When the first GMA is scheduled for harvest entry, the Klamath Management
Unit will contact and solicit help, expertise, and nest stand
characteristic info from the same group.  A tour of goshawk nest stands
will again be organized for the marking crew responsible for marking in the
GMA.  A goshawk habitat "expert" will be sought to lead this tour and point
out important habitat components.

5.  In addition to the monitoring identified in the long-range plan, the
Task Force recommended that if time and funding is available the following
monitoring should take place in 1998.
The Klamath-Lake state lands unit should visit and call the four areas
that were occupied by pileated pairs to determine their status.
A much less intensive goshawk survey should be done, probably by contract.
A decision will be made this winter on the feasibility of these two actions.

Original Message
From: Marcia
Sent: Wednesday, June 21, 2000 3:26 PM
To: Ed
Cc: Rosemary
Subject: Re: Goshawks on Siderod

Ed,

I read your email and have been thinking about the goshawk situation on
Sun Pass.  Here are some of my thoughts on the biological issues for
consideration:

It was hoped that the initial goshawk surveys would locate nesting goshawks,
and this information would be used in development of the FCA's.
Unfortunately, the timing of the discovery of the nesting goshawks is not in
sync with this process.   Knowledge of a goshawk nest site may have
influenced the decision on where to locate the FCAs.  Does this mean that
the current discovery of a nest site should influence the location of the
FCAs once they have been set?  Like you, I don't think we should continually
move the FCAs/GMAs as we discover nest sites over time.  I also realize that
a lot of thought was put into the location of these areas.  However, it is
still pretty early in the process of establishing these special management
areas.  Some considerations include:  1) the GMA's have not yet been
established; 2) the FCA's are recently established and no activities have
yet been proposed within them; 3) relocation or modification of the FCA
could be viewed as adaptive management.

One of the ideas behind the forest connectivity areas, as I understand them,
is that pileated woodpeckers and northern goshawks were chosen as indicator
species to monitor the effectiveness of the Forest Connectivity Areas.  We
do have pileated nest sites in 2 of the FCAs.  However, we have no goshawk
sites in the current FCAs.  Hopefully, we will in the future, but we have no
way of knowing if and when this will happen.  An advantage of establishing
one of the FCAs and/or GMAs to include this nest site would be to ensure us
the opportunity to monitor the effectiveness of our management strategies
for the goshawk as well (assuming the goshawks use this site again in the
future, which  may or may not be a safe assumption).  This is an opportunity
that we do not otherwise have in the current FCAs.

Another option I thought of is that instead of moving the entire FCA, the
current southeast FCA could be modified to include the goshawk nest site.
The nest site is only 1-1.5 miles from the current FCA boundary, and this
FCA is already somewhat discontinuous relative to the other 2 FCAs, although
all parts of it are connected.  What I might suggest is moving the SW 160
acre piece to include the goshawk nest site and leaving the rest of the FCA
intact.  The advantage of this approach would be that the GMA could include
the known goshawk nest site, while the FCA would still include the known
pileated nest site and be located in good proximity to the federal LSR.  One
disadvantage to this approach is that the FCA would be more discontinuous.
I encourage you to consider this "modification" option as well as the
options of moving the entire FCA and not moving the FCA at all.

From a biological standpoint, my recommendation would be to consider
modifying the current FCA to include the known goshawk nest site because of
the opportunities it offers for monitoring the effectiveness of the FCA/GMA
strategies.

This is an interesting issue and I look forward to working with you on it
whatever you ultimately decide to do.

Marcia

To: Ed, Oregon Department of Forestry

From: The Children's Forest.

Dear Ed,

Thanks for the information you have been providing on the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's proposed Siderod timber sale. At this point, we have two principle and interconnected concerns: 1. The northern goshawk. In light of your discovery of the pair of goshawks nesting on the proposed sale area, we don't understand why you are not making it into one of your proposed goshawk management areas. This seems like a logical thing to do: put the goshawk management area where the goshawks are. This also appears to be what your own wildlife biologist is suggesting you do. (See Marsha's' letter.) The latest goshawk research points to the same conclusion and argues that putting something like your 8-acre buffer around the area is not at all adequate. This issue of the goshawk is not going to go away, as seen by the law suit recently filed against a group of federal forests. 2. Old growth. Naturally, the old growth question is intimately connected with the old growth dependent species like the goshawk, the pileated woodpecker, and others. From what we have seen of the sale so far, you are proposing to keep a considerable portion of the old growth. Good. But you are also proposing to cut down a large number of ancient giant white fir, ponderosa, and sugar pine. (Incidentally, it seems that your own forester is recommending that you not cut down the sugar pine.) We would like to see the figures on the proposed cut and leave trees over 20" dbh by species. We also feel that it is the obligation of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry, in conjunction with the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife, to look at what has happened in this area in the past in terms of the elimination of old growth and the effect on the species dependent on it. We have asked for this information in the past in regard to the Oregon Dept. of Forestry's Roundhouse sale, and got nowhere. We look forward to such an analysis now. Without this kind of information, we can't see how the Oregon Dept. of Forestry can make an ecologically informed decision on cutting what appears to be some of the last and best of its old growth forest.

Sincerely, Jim and Elizabeth

P.S. If anyone wants to see our summary of recent goshawk research, or the documents we have received from the Oregon Dept. of Forestry on their decision-making on the goshawk, please let us know.

To: The Children's Forest

From: Ed, Oregon Department of Forestry.

Dear Jim,

I have reviewed your letter and shared it with several staff and field leaders in the agency.  We also conducted a conference call meeting to discuss the issues you raised.  The responses in this letter were developed during this meeting. 1. The Northern Goshawk. The Goshawk Management Areas (GMA's) are part of our long-range plan's Forest Connectivity Area (FCA) strategy.   This strategy was developed to provide connectivity for late-successional dependent species between the six late-successional reserves that surround Sun Pass on the Winema National Forest and the late-successional habitat in Crater Lake National Park.  We have followed the plan thus far in selecting the FCA's.  This was completed in 1997 and the process is articulated in the document I sent you earlier.  The map I recently sent you shows their locations.  The plan clearly states that the FCA's would remain fixed for the duration of the plan, and that the GMA's are to be a subset of the FCA's.  When the goshawk pair was located this summer, we considered the possibility of moving some combination of the Southeast FCA and GMA to the Siderod Sale.   However, after a thorough review of the issues, we decided to keep the original selection.  Several factors were considered in making this decision. v The Southeast FCA had an active pair of nesting pileateds when surveyed in 1997.  The Siderod area had pileateds using the area, but when followed were apparently nesting to the north of our land. v Discussions with wildlife biologists on the Chemult District, indicate that goshawks in this area are all over the board in terms of nest stand fidelity.  Many of their (Chemult District's) pairs appear to make significant moves annually.  We did not want to start a trend of chasing birds with the FCA's and GMA's as they move. v Another factor became apparent after the goshawks fledged and we were marking the nest stand.  The birds chose to locate on the border of a lodgepole pine stand.  The habitat in this area consists of groups of large ponderosa pine (the nest is located in one of these), scattered large white fir, and large areas of mature lodgepole pine.   The lodgepole pine has been dying and falling over for many years, creating a large amount of down wood.   Small mammal populations appear to have boomed in this area and have created a significant prey base that was probably a factor in the bird's selection.  However, this is not a sustainable situation.  As the lodgepole pine continues to drop out of the stand, stand density and canopy closure will decrease and likely make the area unsuitable goshawk habitat.  Our intent with the FCA/GMA strategy is for these areas to be in place for the long-term.  The area we have selected (the Southeast FCA/GMA) is in a much more sustainable condition.   Structurally, it contains very good late- successional components.  It also has a species composition that will enable us to retain and improve its quality as late-successional habitat for a long time.  As I mention later in this letter, I would like to show you this area. 2. Old Growth As you noted, we are retaining many of the large trees in the sale area. However, neither in the long-range plan nor in our annual sale plan do we commit to reserving all large trees. While our staff silviculturist made a point of recommending retention of essentially all of the sugar pine, he was in error when he stated that significant mortality was occurring in residual (post-sale) sugar pine.   We have experienced some areas of significant sugar pine mortality in recent years.   However, this has been almost exclusively in overstocked, uncut areas and the cause of death has been due to mountain pine beetle.   Sugar pine is not as drought resistant as ponderosa pine and is the first to succumb to pine beetle attack during drought or overstocked conditions. The only case where we have lost significant sugar pine in a sale area after harvesting was in an Armellaria root rot area.  We left a large number of large sugar pines in the root rot area. These are currently dying of root rot at a rapid rate. Based on our inventory data, there are approximately 9,314 total trees (16.9/acre) 18"dbh and larger.   The way we have our data summarized at this time does not allow us to break out the 20"+ trees.  We are currently cruising the sale for cut trees.  When that effort is complete, we will have an estimate of cut trees over 18". The last part of your last paragraph appears to be asking us to look at what we are doing from a landscape perspective.  I strongly believe that we have done that with our long-range plan.   In the Forest Connectivity Areas/Goshawk Management Areas and in our Conservancy Areas (for critical wildlife habitat) we are taking extra precautions to retain and improve late successional habitat.  We are also retaining significant late successional habitat in the remaining areas in Sun Pass, as evidenced by sales such as Siderod.  As I mentioned earlier, Sun Pass is surrounded by the park as well as six late-successional reserves on the Winema.  These LSR's alone total over 16,000 acres.   In looking at a map of Sun Pass, it is apparent that the forest lands surrounding us are primarily in federal ownership, where active management is largely prohibited.   In my opinion, the small amount of private lands in the vicinity that have been heavily cut are providing much needed early successional habitat.  While these areas may not be as nice to look at, in your mind, they are very important to many wildlife species. I would like to invite you and any others to tour Sun Pass and take a closer look at our wildlife strategies and general management practices. The main objective of this tour would be to give you a better understanding of overall strategy for wildlife habitat and what we are trying to accomplish at the landscape level.  I would propose that we visit at least the Southeast FCA and its proposed GMA, our Conservancy areas, and some recent sales that we have completed.  We would also prepare some more complete GIS maps to illustrate our strategy. After you have had a chance to consider the information in this letter, give me a call and we can discuss a tour date.

Sincerely, Ed, Management Unit Forester

 

To: Ed, Oregon Department of Forestry.
From: The Children's Forest.
Dear Ed,

We appreciate the time and energy that you and others have taken to respond
to our concerns.

Our previous letter raised the following points:

1. The location of the goshawk management area.

2. The proposed buffer zone around the nest in the Siderod Timber sale
area, which we prefer to call The Children's Forest.

3. The proposed cutting of old growth trees in The Children's Forest

4. What has happened in the area in terms of old growth and the wildlife
dependent on them.

And we would like to add another topic.

5. Money, or economic motivation.

1. The location of the goshawk management area:
 We can appreciate your desire not to chase the goshawks all over the place with your goshawk
management areas, but then, again, you don't have any goshawk management
areas yet. Neither do we have a problem with you selecting these areas on
the basis of the best wildlife biology. But even on those grounds,
questions arise. For example, is it wise to combine the goshawk management
area with an area that has nesting pileated woodpeckers, since the goshawks
prey on the pileated? Finally, we still have questions about what motivated
the decision not to put the goshawk management area where the goshawks have
been. We will return to this point under number 5. In regard to this whole
issue, we think that your own wildlife biologist makes quite a good case
for locating the goshawk management area in The Children's Forest. (Marcia letter of June 21, 2000)

2. The buffer zone:
Your letter does not address the biological adequacy of
the proposed buffer zone. (Just what is the area of the zone? We remember
you saying eight acres, but we don't see that in any of the things you
sent.) We are attaching a summary of recent goshawk research that indicates
that this kind of buffer zone will do little or no good. (See attachment
#1.) This simply reinforces Marcia's letter.

3. Old growth trees:
We look forward to seeing your figures on how many of
the giant trees of The Children's Forest are scheduled to be cut.

4. What has happened in the area in terms of old growth and wildlife
dependent on them? Your proposed forest connectivity areas and goshawk
management areas are a significant step in the right direction, but they do
not represent an adequate answer to our question of what has happened in
this area and how the Oregon Dept. of Forestry can make adequate ecological
decisions without this knowledge. Just what, for example, did the Oregon
Dept. of Forestry do in regard to the Anonymous Sale, or the Strip Sale, or
the Roundhouse Sale, as far as cutting old growth trees and effecting the
species dependent on them? Surely you must have this information, and we
don't understand your reluctance in producing it. The same holds true for
private and federal cuts in this area. It seems to us that the Oregon Dept.
of Forestry has a responsibility to keep track of what is happening in all
of Oregon's forests as symbolized by Oregon's Forest Practices Act, and the
Oregon Dept. of Forestry timber harvest taxes.

It does seem rather disingenuous to us for you to claim that private land
owners are doing us an ecological favor by destroying their forests - even
old growth forests - in this area.

5. Money, or economic motivation:
 We have no desires - as we expressed in our initial meeting with you and Bill - to cast 
the Oregon Dept. of
Forestry in the role of the bad guys. Yet we do want to understand what is
motivating its decisions. The following points seem to indicate that
revenue generation and institutional self-interest play a strong role.

A. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry will take $68,000 (or was it $80,000?) off
the top for the preparation of the Siderod Timber Sale, and then take
somewhere between 25% to 36.25% of the $1,600,000 sale figure. In short, it
will take around $600,000 to cut down The Children's Forest in the
children's name. Is this true?

B. Just what percentage of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry budget comes from
timber harvest generated revenues, for example, cutting State Forest lands,
timber taxes, and so forth? Our preliminary inquiries make it appear that a
substantial part of the Oregon Dept. of Forestry budget comes from these
kinds of sources. We look forward to seeing the actual figures.

C. With these questions in mind, we find that your letter of June 9, 2000
makes interesting reading. You recount there how you calculated the high
timber revenue potential of The Children's Forest, and how, during a State
forest tour when the division of State land people were disappointed with
the Common School Fund Lands, you invited them to take another tour and see
The Children's Forest, and inform them "of the importance of these stands
in the revenue generation potential of the Klamath Common School  Lands."
You comment in that same letter, "It has always seemed to me that Common
School Lands carried a higher revenue generating obligation than Board of
Forestry Land. Partly for that reason we eliminated these stands for
consideration for the Forest Connectivity Areas."

This brings to mind a letter we received in connection to your previous
Roundhouse Sale in which J. Michael Beyerle, then Deputy State Forester,
wrote: "According to the Oregon State Attorney General, there is a
constitutional mandate to manage Common School Forest Land for the long
term maximization of revenue to the Common School Fund." (Letter of Nov. 2,
1993.) What are we to conclude from this but that the Common School Fund
Lands should maximize even more than the maximization of the Board of
Forestry Lands? Is this the current Department policy?

Why shouldn't we conclude from the above points that the decision not to
move the goshawk management area, as well as the size of the nest buffer
area, and the cut of some of your last giant trees, is primarily
economically driven?

We look forward to your responses on all these issues, and we would like to
work with you to find a reasonable solution to them. But in the meantime,
we have been creating a website aimed at Oregon's young people and teachers
and parents that highlights these issues and urges them to contact the
Governor, as the guardian of The Children's Forest, about them. We hope it
doesn't come to this, for there are many other things we would rather do
with our time, energy and money. But if you feel that your hands are tied
on these matters, it might. When we look at the giant trees you are
proposing to cut down, we see them not just as a revenue source, but as all
our children's future, and as such, it is a rather cutting irony to be told
that The Children's Forest has to be cut down in the name of the children.


Sincerely, Jim and Elizabeth
for The Children's Forest, LLC
December 7, 2000

Dear Jim,

Since receiving your October 2 letter, you and I have had several phone discussions, met to discuss the web site and exchanged information. I also offered to meet with you onsite to look at our overall strategies for retaining older forest habitat across the forest through our Forest Connectivity Area/Goshawk Management Area strategy. Between the discussions, documents and my September 25 letter, I believe I have answered many of your questions and concerns.

Now that we have completed our timber sale cruise, I can answer your question concerning how many of the large trees will be cut. The 1991 inventory shows a total of 6,043 trees over 21.5" DBH in the three stands comprising the sale. The sale cruise just completed shows that approximately 3,380 of these will be harvested. This leaves a total of 2,663 trees over 21.5" DBH on the sale. This represents an average of 4.9 trees per acre left on the sale area.

The sale calls for cutting less than half of the merchantable tree volume currently on the area. Much of the cutting focuses on removing mature lodgepole pine, which has been dying from bark beetle attacks; and on removing white fir, which is rapidly crowding out the ponderosa and sugar pines. Thinning these trees also will allow the remaining trees to have more water and nutrients and be healthier. In an effort to maintain and improve wildlife habitat, many of the largest trees - white fir, ponderosa pine and sugar pine - will be retained. Some of the larger trees, however, will be cut. The limited harvesting of these trees is in keeping with our mandate for revenue production from these Common School Forest Lands.

The Eastern Region Long-Range Forest Management Plan contains a discussion in the Guiding Principles section about the "primary standard of management". For Common School Forest Lands, this standard is the "maximization of income for the Common School Fund ... consistent with cost-effective and ecologically sound forest resource management". The discussion goes on to clarify that the "Department will ... emphasize the long-term compatibility of growing and harvesting timber with other forest uses" and that the "Land Board may take management actions that reduce present income if these actions are intended to maximize income over the long term".

This stated direction in the plan is driven by state law and administrative rule. Based on the plan's direction, plus review and input from our staff, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Klamath Tribes, we plan to proceed with the sale. We recognize you very likely have a different opinion on what should be done with this land. However, based on our mission, long-range plan direction and agreement with the State Land Board (see attached), this sale meets all our obligations.

Sincerely, Bill

Jan. 1, 2001

Dear Bill,

Thanks for your letter and the data about the mature trees that are slated to be cut. I understand the various constraints you are working under, but we would really like to find a way to resolve this issue.

What about saving, for example, 100 of the giant ponderosa pines, sugar pines, and white firs like the ones we used to illustrate The Children's Forest website? They make up only a small percentage of the total cut.

If you did this, you would not unduly impact the revenues you are expecting from the sale.

Nor would it undo the work you have done in preparing the sale.

And you would have good ecological justification for doing this because these giant trees represent an aspect of the forest that is fast disappearing.

Sincerely, Jim and Elizabeth

March 8, 2001

Dear Mr. Arraj,

I am in receipt of your recent letter regarding the Siderod Timber Sale on the Sun Pass State Forest. This planned sale is located on Common School Forest Lands within the Sun Pass Forest, lands that the Oregon Department of Forestry manages under a contract with the State Land Board. Specific strategies for the management of the Sun Pass Forest are described in the Eastern Region Long-Range Forest Management Plan, approved in 1995. Your letter poses a question relative to mandate for the management of Common School Lands, and the Department's current interpretation of that mandate. Your attached web-page material references some additional issues that you have discussed with staff from the Klamath-Lake District and with members of my staff here in Salem. I am also aware of conversations about these same issues with Peter Green of the Governor's staff and Board of Forestry member Brad Witt.

The mandate for Common School Forest Lands rests in the State Constitution, and has not changed since the Eastern Region Long-Range Forest Management Plan was adopted in 1995. The most definitive work on the meaning of the relevant language in the Constitution is a formal opinion by former Attorney General Charles Crookham, 46 Or Op Atty Gen 468 (1992). The quotes from the Eastern Region Plan that you reference in your web-page material are consistent with that formal opinion.

For purposes of clarification, I would like to point out that recent actions by the Board of Forestry relative to policy for the management of lands under their jurisdiction, and recent testimony by the Governor on the NW and SW Oregon State Forest Management Plans, do not relate to the authority of the State Land Board or the mandates for management of Common School Land. Those actions and comments were in the context of those forest management plans, which comprise forests that are primarily Board of Forestry Lands. The mandates for management of Board of Forestry Lands derive from Oregon Statutes and Administrative Rules, not the Constitution.

The Eastern Region Plan was developed over a two year period from 1993-95, and included input from a range of natural resource specialists, and input from the public via a series of public meetings. The goals and strategies contained in the Eastern Region Plan are designed to meet the relevant legal mandates. In approving the plan in 1995, the State Land Board concluded that the plan was consistent with their Constitutional duties for the management of Common School Lands.

The specific concerns about the Siderod Timber Sale that you have raised in your correspondence and in your conversation with my staff seem to revolve around two primary issues. First, you question the necessity of removing "big" trees on this sale and on the Sun Pass Forest as a whole. Second, you are concerned about the use of this area by northern Goshawks.

On the issue of removing "big" trees as part of the proposed sale prescription, I find that the planned operation is completely consistent with the strategies in the Eastern Region Plan. The plan clearly describes that this forest type will be managed under an uneven-aged system, which requires removing trees of various sizes during periodic entries, while also leaving trees of various sizes. Such a system not only assures the retention of many large trees in the short-term, but also in the long-term. The more specific goals of this operation in relation to species composition, density and stand health are also consistent with the goals and strategies of the plan. On a related note, another operation on the Sun Pass Forest that is very similar to the Siderod Sale (Roundhouse Timber Sale), was recognized as a model project by the Governor's Citizens Eastside Forest Advisory Panel.

Relative to the use of this area by northern Goshawks, I have reviewed the events to date and the actions taken by the District. It is my conclusion that the actions taken are not only consistent with the strategies in the plan, but in fact exceed any applicable legal or policy standard in terms of providing protection. The specific protection measures proposed (30-acre buffer zone and seasonal operation restrictions) were the result of extensive discussions with the state, tribal and private wildlife biologists. Given the overall goals of the plan and the circumstances surrounding the particular nest site, I believe that they have taken an appropriately conservative approach.

In summary, the Siderod Timber Sale, by way of its consistency with the Eastern Region Plan, is consistent with the legal mandates for Common School Forest Land. These mandates have not changed since the plan was adopted, and in fact have been re-affirmed in discussions with the Division of State Lands and with the State Land Board, and in subsequent correspondence from the Attorney General. The local managers have handled the situation involving the northern Goshawk nest in a prudent and scientifically credible manner. The plan for follow-up surveys this spring and subsequent protection of the nest site is biologically sound and in full compliance with applicable legal and policy standards.

I encourage you to continue to work with the local forest managers on the Sun Pass Forest as concerns arise about scientific management activities there and participate in future planning processes as they occur. If you have more specific questions about this or other operations on the Sun Pass, please contact Bill Hunt, District Forester at 541-883-5681. Thank you.

Sincerely,
James E. Brown
State Forester

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