Timber sales (recent but no longer current)

BMBP put together fact-sheets on several of the timber sales that we were recently working to stop or significantly modify. Learn more about the unique ecology and beauty of these forests, and the work we are doing to protect them. Learn more about the areas that your donations are helping to defend! (Click on the links provided below! Pictures are included.)

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Karen in huge old growth log in the Ringo project.

The Ringo timber sale on the Deschutes National Forest sale proposed to log in Northern spotted owl habitat; areas with very diverse tree species including White pine, Shasta red fir, Sugar pine, and Mountain hemlock; and recent post-fire burns with park-like old growth Ponderosa pine. We field-checked this sale last summer, and submitted scoping comments. We will remain engaged with every stage of the public comment process, and use the information we collected in the field to stop or significantly modify ecologically destructive logging in this sale. UPDATE as of 5/2019: This sale has completed the NEPA process. BMBP objected to the sale, and we remain concerned about impacts to mature forests, large trees, mixed conifer forests, and species such as Northern spotted owls. We are considering options to continue challenging this sale.

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Walton Lake in the Walton Lake timber sale.

The Walton Lake timber sale BMBP and Earthrise Law Center stopped this sale twice! The Walton Lake sale proposed to log old growth mixed-conifer forests in the most popular recreation area in the Ochoco National Forest. The Forest Service was using laminated root rot as an excuse to log—despite the fact that laminated root rot is a common and widespread native disease that serves important ecological functions such as creating snags (standing dead trees) and providing crucial wildlife habitat. In addition, logging usually exacerbates the spread of laminated root rot, and has been repeatedly shown to be an ineffective and misguided strategy. Much of the destructive logging that was proposed was in areas located far from roads, and was unnecessary for public safety. We field surveyed this sale. Despite Walton Lake’s great popularity, the Forest Service tried to circumvent public process by using a categorical exclusion (CE) for this sale, bypassing any objection or appeal opportunity. UPDATE as of 5/2019: BMBP and EarthRise Law Center stopped this sale! 

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Richard measuring large fir in the Tiger-Webb timber sale.

The Tiger-Webb timber sale on the Umatilla National Forest proposed to log in extremely rugged and steep slopes above creeks, including in the Tiger Creek Roadless Area. We strongly oppose all logging in Roadless Areas, and we are very concerned about the potential for erosion, increased sediment in streams, and impacts to fish and wildlife species in this sale. We field checked this area, and submitted scoping comments. We will continue to monitor this sale, submit site-specific comments, and prioritize the protection of the Tiger Creek Roadless Area and old growth mixed-conifer forests in this area.UPDATE as of 5/2019: This project has been put on hold, and we are continuing to track it. We will update the public with any new information during upcoming comment periods. 

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Mature firs in the Lex project

 

The Lex timber sale in the Deschutes National Forest includes proposed clearcuts and other heavy industrial-style logging practices. Past logging has heavily impacted most of this area. However, the sale also includes logging in sensitive, unique, and ecologically important areas such as moist mixed-conifer forests, and areas directly adjacent to roadless areas– some of which appear to have never been logged. We field-checked this sale, and submitted comments and an objection. UPDATE as of 5/2019: This sale has gone through all the steps in the NEPA process, and logging will likely begin this summer. The Forest Service dropped proposed logging on most of the buttes during the NEPA comment process, but logging within this sale remains extremely concerning to us.

BMBP is out in the woods almost continuously from the beginning of June until the last week in September, and we cover thousands of acres of proposed timber sales across four national forests. We documented issues in sale units such as: proposed logging on steep slopes above creeks; extensive cattle damage to streams; mature forests mischaracterized by the USFS as tree plantations (some of which have never been logged); cumulative ecological damage from past logging, roads, and livestock grazing; and sensitive areas directly threatened by logging including wildlife corridors, never-logged forests, and old growth mixed-conifer and Ponderosa pine forests. We are also documenting conditions related to climate change, which are occurring with increasing regularity, such as streams that historically supported year-round flows drying up completely or suffering from lower than normal flows due to shrinking snowpacks. Flows that are lower than historic norms are likely to cause increased stream temperatures and decreased connectivity, which can be extremely detrimental or fatal for fish and other aquatic species—especially as these trends are becoming increasingly frequent. Proposed logging, especially in streamside riparian areas, is likely to exacerbate these problems, and further disrupt watershed hydrology and increase stream temperatures. We use the information we collect in the field to do extensive follow-up work in order to defend forests– including written comments, public outreach, negotiations, and sometimes litigation.

In order to write well-informed comments and objections, we spend a lot of time doing extensive research. For example, one of our most fun research projects investigated historic documents and their descriptions of forest conditions across the Blue Mountains in general and the Malheur National Forest in particular. We focused on historical accounts of forest densities and tree species compositions, as well as logging practices. We submitted this research as a portion of our scoping comments on the Summit timber sale—you can read them here. We discovered that much of the Forest Service’s justification to log in the Summit sale, and possibly in other timber sales, is very likely erroneous and based on misinterpretations of historical documents.

Recently proposed timber sales and other projects that we are currently working to stop or modify include: the Camp Lick, Ragged Ruby, Dove, Magone, and Flat timber sales in the Malheur National Forest; the Lower Joseph Creek and Sparta sales in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest; the Kew sale in the Deschutes National Forest; and many others. In addition, we continue to monitor numerous other projects at various stages of the agencies’ planning process, and challenge ecologically destructive projects at every opportunity.

BMBP accomplishes all of this work on a shoestring budget, and with only two paid staff! If you can donate, even a small amount, please do. You can donate here. If you are considering volunteering with us, please visit our webpage and go to the “get involved” page. Thank you!

For the Wild,

Paula Hood

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project

 

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