USFS releases forest management plan
U.S. Forest Service employees in South Lake Tahoe aren’t sure how a new Sierra Nevada Framework will affect the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The Forest Service released an amendment to the plan that defines forest management approaches in caring for 11.5 million acres of national forest in the Sierra Nevada and Modoc Plateau.
Because changes were made to the plan up until the day it was released, the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit is now analyzing how implementation of the plan will be carried out at the local level.
“It will take two months for our team to do a fairly intensive analysis of what the provisions of this Forest Plan Amendment really mean for us,” said Linda Massey, public information officer for the management unit. “We know it will reinforce the direction we’ve already been moving in, and it will supersede what is in our Forest Plan right now.”
Looking at the plan broadly, Massey said it defines new alternatives to sustaining old forest ecosystems, protecting and restoring aquatic, riparian and meadow ecosystems, improving fire and fuels management, combating noxious weeds, and sustaining lower westside hardwood ecosystems.
Massey said the LTBMU will look at the socioeconomic impacts of implementing new management practices while carrying out these five goals.
The framework was the result of 60 public meetings, 9,000 letters received and 38,000 petitioner signatures collected over a two-year period at a cost of $12 million.
Although local forest supervisors are unclear about the local costs and benefits of implementation, California environmentalists applauded the new plan.
Tina Andolina, a conservation associate for the California Wilderness Coalition, said her organization was pleased there would be less logging of old-growth forests and more efforts made to protect the California spotted owl and the mountain yellow-legged frog.
“We’re pretty impressed with the plan,” Andolina said. “It’s definitely a step in the right direction, especially with the shifting away from logging as a management tool. The value in these trees is really with them standing up.”
Implementation of the plan will begin Feb. 11 and Massey said LTBMU officials hope to have a grasp on how to locally implement the plan by April.
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