Interior Launches Work Plan for BLM Western Oregon Forests
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today launched a Fiscal Year 2010 work plan for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forests in western Oregon that will add economic certainty for local communities while protecting endangered species. The plan includes a proposed schedule of 62 timber sales under the Northwest Forest Plan and the formation of federal field teams that will identify future proposed timber sales with high likelihood of being sold and harvested. In addition, a special task force will take a fresh look at forest management issues in Oregon.
Topic: Of the 62 proposed timber sales, 46 have already completed ESA consultation
“Today we’re announcing 62 proposed timber sales in Western Oregon for the coming year. The work plan that has been devised reflects a new commitment to coordination between BLM and the Fish and Wildlife Service. It is an effort that breaks down the silos of the Department of the Interior and the working together of these two agencies. Of the 62, 46 have already completed Endangered Species consultation. The remaining 16 are undergoing that consultation at this point. The 46 sales that have been approved alone would provide approximately 199 million board feet.”
Topic: Since last July's withdrawl of the Western Oregon Plan Revision, a new level of coordination between BLM and FWS has been taking place using the best available science.
“I don’t believe that there in the past had been the kind of effort to try to bring the authorities of the Bureau of Land Management in its leasing role and the consultation process the Fish and Wildlife Service in the way that we have done here. And I think that ultimately will result in the two objectives that we have here which is the greatest protection for the Endangered Species which we have a legal responsibility to protect and second of all that we are able to continue with the multiple uses including the timber sales for the Bureau of Land Management and Western Oregon. So I think that the streamlining process goes a long way so that we don’t get caught up in a game of Russian roulette between agencies that are under the same umbrella of the United States Government.”
Topic: Secretary Salazar appointed the Directors of the BLM and the FWS to head a special interdisciplinary task force to come up with a long-term strategy and that Interior is committed to sustainable ecological and economic benefits.
“We are clearly here at the Department of the Interior are committed to the restoration of the ecosystem which is so important for us to be able to comply with the requirements of the Endangered Species Act and to really be able to deal with the issues at a landscape level in Western Oregon. We also are committed to making sure that we’re doing everything we can to help the economically dependent communities for these timber sales. We believe we can do both and I think today’s announcement on the start of these first 60 plus sales is an important statement about how we think we can do both.”