New BLM Planning Process
A new (post-WOPR) planning process for Oregon's BLM lands offers an opportunity for the public to ensure the agency implements ecological restoration.
Take Action: Scoping comments are due July 5. Weigh in here!
BLM Lands on the Table
The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing more than 2 million acres of public land in western Oregon that is currently protected by the Northwest Forest Plan. Historic logging has severely degraded much of this land, but hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine and unspoiled forests remain.
Under the Bush administration, logging interests and the BLM worked together to put these heritage forests on the chopping block. The Western Oregon Plan Revision (WOPR for short) would have ramped up logging across the landscape and clear-cut some of our last old-growth forests. This plan would also have degraded habitat for fish and wildlife and threatened the quality of our drinking water.
Thanks to years of public involvement and opposition, and legal action by Oregon Wild and other groups, WOPR was withdrawn by the Obama administration and its demise sealed in recent court orders.
More about WOPR and what came next here.
After the WOPR died, BLM management returned to the framework of the Northwest Forest Plan, under which it can implement the common sense program of watershed restoration including protecting mature & old-growth forests and thinning dense young stands. The BLM has largely been focusing on this restoration thinning in recent years.
Now, the BLM is starting a new process for revising their management plans. The new plans for each of the six BLM Districts in western Oregon will guide decisions about how 2.6 million acres of BLM-administered lands are to be managed.
According to the BLM, "The plan revisions will determine how the BLM will manage BLM-administered lands in western Oregon to further the recovery of threatened and endangered species, to provide clean water, to restore fire adapted ecosystems, to produce a sustained yield of timber products, and provide for recreation opportunities".
Over the past several years, the BLM, Forest Service, conservationists, scientists, and some in the timber industry have been starting to move beyond the controversy of clear-cutting and old-growth logging to find common ground in restoration-based projects in western Oregon.
This new management plan revision must not become a “WOPR Jr.” – a controversial plan that logs mature and old-growth forests and has negative impacts for the quality of life of rural residents, carbon storage, water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat. Instead, the plan revision should strengthen the Northwest Forest Plan by protecting our ancient forests, pristine rivers, and wildlife. It should build on the momentum of common sense restoration, such as thinning young forests that will produce jobs and restore forests and watersheds.
These public forests belong to us all and provide clean
drinking water, habitat for fish and wildlife that supports hunting and
fishing, diverse recreation opportunities, and quality of life that makes Oregon a great place to
BLM needs to hear the voices of everyone who values these lands! This is our chance to steer the BLM in the right direction - away from the controversial logging of mature and old-growth forests and toward a common sense management plan that focuses on restoring our forests and watersheds.
The first round of public comments are due July 5, 2012. Weigh in HERE.