Kootenai Stakeholder Coalition General Meeting(December 15, 2016)
Robyn King, Yaak Valley Forest Council
Bill Martin, Cabinet Resource Group
Paul McKenzie, FH Stoltze Land and Lumber
Ed Levert, Lincoln Co. Forester
Amy Robinson, MWA
Tim Dougherty, Idaho Forest Group
Jerry Wandler, Troy Snowmobile Club
Chas Vincent, Montana State Senate Dist. 1
Doug Turman, DNRC
Jessie Grossman, YVFC
Doug Ferrell, Friends of Scotchman Peaks
Troy Douhit, KCM
Tina Oliphant, Kootenai River Development Corporation
Gene & Nora Reckin, Concerned Citizens
Lacy Robinson, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative
US Forest Service-
Chris Savage, Kootenai National Forest
Following a welcome and introductions, Chair Robyn King opened the meeting.
The minutes of the June 29, 16 were approved.
Common Ground Committee-Jessie Grossman reported on the outreach effort to explain our guidelines and common ground agreements in the communities of Noxon, Troy, Libby and Eureka. About 60 attendees and they had good comments. Very few attended at the Troy and Eureka sessions. The next steps include identifying capacity goals, project teams, web site and Face book(Troy Douhit volunteered). Jessie said that the power point that we have used can be used in the future. We need to identify groups to contact with our message. We will approach groups within each community and continue the outreach using the brochures and power point presentation.
Robyn discussed the Montana Forest Collaborative Network Workshop in Helena on December 5&6. The network is attempting to bring collaborativestogether in the State and share information. The goal of the organization is to be able to assist old and new collaboratives. Robyn mentioned the keynote speaker from the Idaho Network discussed the successful intervener action of one of their collaboaratives in a lawsuit. The judge’s supporting decision was based on “Balance of Harms”. The KFSC executive board will be traveling to Seattle on February 9th for the hearing on the East Reservoir Project by the Ninth Circuit Court.
State of the Forest- Chris Savage & Quinn Carver- The Montanore Case is back to the litigants and all briefs should be to the judge by March. The Forest Plan litigation over the Wild & Scenic Rivers and wilderness designation issues is waiting for a court hearing. Young-Dodge will be heard by the Ninth Circuit Court about the same time as East Reservoir. They are waiting on a decision on Pilgrim. The supplement on wildlife is about done for the Miller-West Fisher so this sale should be close to resuming. They had two objections on Oly. The Monanore Project is waiting on the acquisition of 500 acres of Hecla Mining in Bear Management Units and the technical advisory committee on Bears Outside of the Recovery Zone.
Rock Creek Mine is waiting on supplemental draft comments and should be ready by April or May on Final. They are waiting on the consultation on Bull Trout for the East Fork Bull River.
By the end of October the Forest had 184 MMBF of timber sales under contract with 44 MMBF in litigation(28.6 in E.Rez). Sale program for FY 2017 expected to be 70 MMBF.
Chris discussed the activity in OU-3 of the Superfund site at the WR Grace Vermiculite Mine. The FS is working with the EPA and CIRCLA to develop a plan. The Forest is asking for $250,000/yr. for their expenses related to fire suppression costs for a ten person crew, dozer and helicopter. Diane Hutton’s strike team may be back again next summer to work on their plan. The team’s recommendations will probably be incorporated into the fire team’s work.
The National Christmas Tree will be coming from the Kootenai N.F. in 2017 along with 70-80 smaller trees. Forest is working with the DNRC to come up with the smaller trees. They will also be responsible for coming up with 5-8,000 ornaments. Sandy Mason will be the coordinator for this effort.
The Young-Growth NEPA should be done by October. There have been delays in the process because the programmatic document enters an adaptive management stage once completed. The Forest has stated that they will be looking as about 10,000 acres a year to be available through this analysis. The Forest is looking at two alternatives, one 400,000 acres and within ½ mile of a road and the other 300,000 acres and adjacent to a open or seasonally closed road. The volume of harvest once the document is approved will be gradually incorporated into the regular sale program and eventually could be additional volume.
Ed asked Chris if our collaborative could help. Quinn suggested we help during the “adapted” management stage. Jessie felt that our collaborative needed to be involved in the Young Growth analysis stage and not just at the “adapted” management stage as suggested. They may ask for our help in the analysis.
Mike Giesey, Forest silviculturist is retiring at the end of the year. A detailer from the Flathead N.F. is working on the project.
Chris concluded by mentioning that the Cottonwood Case on lynx should not affect the Kootenai as much as other Forest’s which did not have recent Forest Plans. It all comes down to the East Reservoir case he said.
Libby District- The Flower Creek Sale has been delayed by the transfer of wildlife biologist Dave Devours. The EA should be ready for comments and objections in February. The East Reservoir Injunction banning the removal of ROW logs has been lifted and the logs should be removed next spring. The Miller-West Fisher is undergoing a wildlife review.
Three River District- The Starry Goat Sale draft comments included 20 letters. Kirsten said that in response to the comments by the KFSC the four units in the IRA have been dropped. 91,000 acres in the analysis area and 37,000 in the IRA. One half of sale is in Idaho portion of the Kootenai. 2000 acres planned for harvest with 563 acres in intermediate harvest. Regeneration units planned in root rot areas. 400 acres of pre-commercial thinning. Some dry site Old Growth treatment planned. Ed complemented the district for including the WUI treatment comments from the stakeholders into the proposed action.
Eureka District- Brian Donner reported that Pink Meadows is still on hold waiting on the completion of the Dalton and Ten Lakes Travel Management Plan. Pink Meadows is about ready for the proposed action.
Ed asked about the status of the Gateway Project. Brian said that he had a group of local folks that were collaborating with the district on the project. Ed also asked that if there were projects needing our collaborative’s help that we needed to identify them so we could ask for possible funding for a team leader through the Governor’s “Forests in Focus” program.
Tim asked what was restricting the district from getting out timber sale projects. Tim explained that he wondered if it was a funding issue or something else and what could we do to help. Chris explained that the work load’s varied on the districts from year to year with some districts putting out more one year than another.
Cabinet District- JohnGubel said that the Elk-Rice Sale was their main focus at this time. Comments received in the scoping were mainly regarding large visible openings near Heron. Extensive root rot and insect issues have left the district with few options for future management. John said that because of these issues they would not be able to implement the stakeholder vegetative guidelines. Ed commented by saying “that if the guidelines won’t work than they won’t work, but that didn’t mean that we couldn’t support the project.
The meeting adjourned at 5:30 Next meeting to be announced at a later time.
Ed Levert, Secretary/Treasurer