Our colleagues at Olympic Park Associates (OPA) have submitted comments to the Forest Service regarding the Dungeness Watershed Roads Project. The Olympic National Forest is beginning to address a plethora of excess, erosion-prone logging roads in the Dungeness watershed. The Forest Service is proposing a visionary approach stemming from the collaborative Dungeness Watershed Action Plan, which OPA helped shape. In this early phase of the project, the Forest Service needs to hear from you.
We are sharing OPA’s news with you so that you also can submit comments. To read OPA’s comments and their letter, please click here. Comments to the Forest Service are needed by April 17, 2017.
The U.S. Forest Service responded to OFCO’s Objection to its Decision Notice/Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI), allowing the permit to the U.S. Navy for the Pacific Northwest Electronic Warfare Range training on public lands. The final DN/FONSI will include limited additional information to “clarify,” but not substantively change the decision to allow the permit to go forward. The response was expected, and in a boilerplate, legal format.
Click here to see the PNW Naval Electronic Warfare Range EA overview of Objection Statements and Responses.
Click here to see the Forest Service response to OFCO’s letter.
OFCO joined with the Marbled Murrelet Survival Project Coalition to submit comments on two important policies affecting the Marbled Murrelet: the Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS) on the species’ Long-Term Conservation Strategy and the decadal Sustainable Harvest Level (Calculation). We asked our members and allies to support our work while the team worked furiously to finish.
We are very grateful for the faith put in our efforts and for all the individual letters you sent in to strengthen the Coalition’s impact.
The Coalition members—including Washington Forest Law Center (WFLC), Washington Environmental Council (WEC) and OFCO, among others—worked around the clock with WFLC staff scientist Dr. Kara Whitaker, pro bono lawyers (Ziontz Chestnut) and the UW Regulatory Environmental Law and Policy Clinic staff and students, along with commissioned economists and scientists, to put the comment packages together. Our asks are:
- Carry out a revised DEIS and designate the Conservation Alternative as the preferred option;
- Delay the Sustainable Harvest Calculation until the Long-Term Conservation Strategy Alternative process is finished, and undertake a revised DEIS on a harvest level that implements the Conservation Alternative; and
- Convene a high-level working group to identify sustainable sources of revenue for essential services (emergency, fire, police, health, schools, et al.) for Trustees and timber communities that may be impacted by conservation measures.
The documents submitted by the Coalition are linked below. WEC is preparing a summary of the package; we will link to it when it is finalized.
OFCO also submitted a separate comment asking that the State take a “hard look” at the impacts of Navy training activities expansion along with those of forestry practices. See OFCO’s comment here.
The work isn’t done; we will be building support for the Conservation Alternative as the Commissioner of Public Lands and the Board of Natural Resources consider the comments.
Marbled Murrelet Survival Project Coalition Comment Package (PDF)
Long-Term Conservation Strategy Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comments
Sustainable Harvest Calculation DEIS Comments (PDF)
New OFCO board member Karen Sullivan, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife marine biologist, is assisting OFCO with its work to save the Marbled Murrelets in our area. Sullivan wrote two important documents for OFCO: the OFCO objection to the U.S. Forest Service permit to allow the Navy to conduct war games over the national forest; AND the comments on the Navy Whidbey Island Growler Fleet Expansion recently submitted. OFCO has asked the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise and issue a new Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on its Long-Term Conservation Strategy to save the Marbled Murrelets. In our view, the State must include the impacts from Navy military training activities on the murrelets, or risk undoing any conservation efforts under its forestry practices.
As of now, the state’s analysis ignores completely the impacts from these activities, even though the state denied the Navy a permit to conduct its activities on state lands. We hope they will reconsider this source of impacts, and change plans managing state lands to protect the Marbled Murrelet further. This issue will unfold over this spring. Stay tuned for action alerts and updates as we go. Citizen pressure will help protect the species!
New OFCO board member Karen Sullivan, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service marine biologist, wrote OFCO’s recent comments on the Navy Whidbey Island Growler Fleet Expansion Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) submitted February 23. Karen has had a very trying few months, with four major proposals for potentially damaging activities (military and forestry) requiring our attention and a considered response. Four—with hundreds of pages of technical and scientific materials—and had major gaps and inadequate data in the body of material. Fortunately Karen is seen widely as the expert on Navy expansion activities in our area and on endangered species. Our conclusion: The Navy must revise its analysis and publish a complete DEIS that takes into account the full picture—all 160 Growlers in the fleet and all of their operations over our forests and marine waters. Anything less fails to observe the public process meant to protect the local environment and health of local communities.