SCALE July 2018 Newsletter – view online
Collaborative Project Planning for Forest Restoration
Across the West, a number of examples of innovative approaches to boost capacity for project planning and implementation are underway. For example, on the Colville NF in Northeast Washington, a contractor bid on the A to Z project that included responsibility for all phases of a project from environmental planning and assessment through implementation. On the Modoc NF, the Pit RCD is working with the USFS to complete the environmental compliance documents and administer the sale of timber and biomass. The cost and timelines associated with project planning present real challenges for collaboratives seeking to work with the agency to accelerate restoration work.
Through the Sierra to California All Lands Enhancement (SCALE) project, Sierra Institute is tracking recent developments in collaborative NEPA models that have the potential to accelerate the pace and scale of forest restoration across rural forested California. To highlight opportunities for collaborative engagement, we review a simplified NEPA process and discuss how collaborative partners might be involved in each step. Collaborative members can contribute valuable capacity to environmental analysis and decision-making, project design and layout, and implementation. A critical first step is understanding how and when collaboratives can contribute.
Are We Using the Right Tools for the Job?
A number of recent policy and programmatic innovations have provided tools and authorities enabling managers to accelerate forest restoration, and agencies are beginning to leverage community capacity for this work. The evolution of the role of collaboration in forest restoration from reaching agreement on principles and shared values to coming together to accomplish work on the ground will be critical in accomplishing needed restoration work.
Sierra Institute for Community and Environment (Sierra Institute) staff interviewed more than 27 members of collaboratives and National Forest staff as part of the Sierra to California All Lands Enhancement (SCALE) project to understand the use of collaborative tools and authorities (e.g., Stewardship Authority, Good Neighbor Authority, Wyden Authority, etc.) among forest collaboratives in California. Through these interviews, we were able to identify themes around utilization of collaborative instruments from the experiences of individuals participating with thirteen collaboratives and their National Forest partners across California. We heard about many interesting partnerships, but also a clear need for additional actions to accelerate the use of collaborative tools and authorities.
- Researchers from Point Blue Conservation Science found a mixed-severity fire regime is beneficial for bird diversity in the Sierra Nevada. Read a summary here.
- The Humboldt State Journal of Social Relations recently published a special issue on the American West after the Timber Wars. Alongside a collection of worthwhile reads on collaboration across the West, we authored an article based on interviews in our local community and experiences through the SCALE network.
News and Notes
- Tuolumne County is moving forward with the first project under the Master Stewardship Agreement signed this winter with the Stanislaus National Forest! Read about it here.
- Bills have been introduced in both the House (H.R.6147) and the Senate (S.3073) that would reauthorize the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program at $40 million.
- The Bureau of Land Management recently released its Hazard Removal and Vegetation Management Project Programmatic Environmental Assessment for public comment (comments must be received by August 8th, 2018). Read more here, including a link to the EA and instructions for commenting.
Grant & Opportunities
- Proposals for the Western Forestry Leadership Coalition (WFLC) Landscape Scale Restoration Competitive Process (LSR) are currently being accepted. Projects should be cross-boundary, although LSR funds should be spent on non-federal lands. If interested, contact Tom Smith of Cal Fire. Note that applications must be formally submitted by Cal Fire. Applications must be to CalFire by September 1st.
- The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is partnering with the USFS Pacific Southwest Region to support fuel management projects. Proposals are due August 27th. More information is available online, or contact NFWF’s Western Regional Director Jonathan Birdsong.
- Does your collaborative have ecological monitoring data? Thought about sharing it with others? Check out the new tab on the SCALE website for sharing ecological monitoring data and let us know if you have data to share.
- The USFS Pacific Southwest Region is inviting input on its draft Broader-scale Monitoring Strategy. They request that input be provided by September 25th, 2018.
- Interested in prescribed fire training this fall? Consider attending the Calaveras Prescribed Fire Training Exchange in Wilseyville, November 5th-16th. More information is available here.