This is horrifying and infuriating. The USFS is taking public comments on the logging of hundreds of large, old growth Ponderosa pine that have been killed by ODOT’s application of herbicides along HWY 20 in the Deschutes National Forest. This stretch of road is lined with beautiful old growth Ponderosa pines, most of which will now be cut down.
These ecologically valuable trees should at the very least be used for restoration projects on the forest– not sold to the highest bidder. Large trees (and large downed logs) are at an extreme deficit on the east side due to decades of over-logging, and are needed for wildlife and stream habitat creation.
The USFS’s ecologically costly mistakes should not be used as an excuse to cause additional and unnecessary environmental damage. We’ve seen this too often– for example when prescribed burns become uncontrolled and are later turned into post-fire logging projects that irreparably harm soils and ecological integrity.
This project should not proposed under a “Categorical Exclusion”–the USFS should conduct and Environmental Assessment to carefully consider how to go about hazard tree removal in the least ecologically harmful methods possible. The USFS also needs to fully consider the environmental impacts of removing large trees in an area that with vast tracts of young timber plantations and very few large trees. The USFS needs an Environmental Assessment in order to determine how best to ameliorate the loss of habitat, carbon sequestration, and other important benefits that will be lost when these magnificent trees are logged.
Comments on the pesticide-killed trees along HWY 20 are due May 29th. You can send them to: email@example.com.
This is only one example of rampant and irresponsible use of pesticides on public lands. It is a more widespread then many people realize– not just on roadsides but also across National Forests. For example, in the Lex timber sale (also on the Deschutes National Forest), the USFS is proposing to use glyphosate and hexazinone in timber plantations that they replant after industrial-style logging. They’re also planning to kill gophers to protect their commercial tree crops. BMBP in the process of objecting to the ecologically destructive practices in the Lex sale.