Proposed F-W Forest Changes Could Impact Eagles

FWNF

 

The Fremont-Winema National Forest is seeking public comment through February for multiple proposed Land and Management Plan amendments that will impact protections for bald eagles.

The Land and Resource Management Plan (Winema Plan) and Fremont Resource management Plan (Fremont Plan) were published in 1989 and 1990 respectively, and have been amended over 50 times since initial implementation. An open public comment period for 30 days after initial publication, ending on Thursday, March 1.

The first proposed amendment would change protection zones for nesting bald eagles consistent with scientifically supported standards, reducing the protection zone by half. Currently a 440-yard (quarter mile) protection zone exists for raptors and colonial nesting birds for active roost and nest sites from human disturbance activities such as helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, blasting and other loud intermittent noises.

The proposal would shrink these protection zones to 220 yards, or 1/8 mile. Disturbing human activities would be discouraged or minimized from Jan. 1 through Aug. 31.

The second amendment focuses on preservation of ponderosa pine trees to maintain a forested environment preferred for nesting consistent with a mix of native coniferous trees and shrubs. The amendment highlights maintaining three to five large-diameter trees (30- to 36-inch diameters) per acre. The focus of the proposed amendments seeks to eliminate the requirement limiting treatment to 30 to 35 percent of the area.

The third proposed amendment eliminates the foreground partial retention requirement of no noticeable charred bark or slash following prescribed fire and harvest operations. The proposal would eliminate timeframe restrictions on visible char and slash, which has been interpreted to mean that flame length could not exceed 1 foot – impractical for most prescribed burns.

An additional proposed amendment would lift the 10 percent treatment restriction of moist lodgepole pine in the Fremont Plan. Currently timber in each moist lodgepole pine area is harvested on a 100-year rotation schedule, and no more than 10 percent of an area cut per decade. The amendment would alter this so that lodgepole pine areas can be treated to reduce tree densities and increase age class diversity, meeting management area objectives.

A detailed description of the proposed plan amendments and other pertinent documents can be found at the Lakeview Interagency Office, 1301 S. G St., Lakeview, OR 97630, or online at http://bit.ly/2rWDBuM. For more information contact Forest Environmental Coordinator Andrea Dolbear at adolbear@fs.fed.us.

Comments must be received within 30 days of original publication (Thursday, March 1). Comments can be mailed to Andrea Dolbear, Lakeview Interagency Office, 1301 S. G St., Lakeview, OR 97630, or via email at comments-pacificnorthwest-fremont-winema@fs.fed.us.