With seasonally warm temperatures here on the Palouse, we have some important wildland updates to share with you. The Forest Service has announced a monster timber sale in the Clear Creek drainage, campgrounds on the Lochsa might stay in public hands after all, a jet boat race on the St. Joe River is moving forward despite nesting bald eagles, grey wolves may soon be delisted nationwide, and the Paradise Ridge Defense Coalition is having a field trip this weekend.
At the urging of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is going “big” with the announcement of the Clear Creek Integrated Restoration Project. Disguised as restoration, this behemoth timber sale could log between 62-85 million board feet of timber and leave openings of 500-acres in size across the watershed. We have serious concerns about the volume of timber proposed for logging and the potential negative impacts to wildlife habitat and water quality. Read our action alert and send a public comment by June 3rd.
Strong public opinion has resulted in the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests leaning in the direction of raising campground fees instead of turning them over to private concessionaires. Although a final decision has not been made, the agency received a resounding “NO” from communities when entertaining the idea of privatizing campgrounds along the Lochsa River and US 12. Before fees can be raised, more public scoping would have to be conducted. We will keep you informed.
In an abrupt reversal, the US Coast Guard has announced that they will likely issue a permit for the Race the Joe! jet boat race scheduled on the St. Joe River this coming weekend. The agency had previously indicated that they could not legally issue a permit until an adequate environmental assessment occurred. That tune changed when the Idaho delegation wrote a letter requesting the race to be allowed. There are two sensitive bald eagle nesting sites on the lower river, along with critical bull trout habitat. Read our news release.
In predicable fashion, federal officials have announced that they are issuing a draft rule that would delist grey wolves nationwide, excluding the highly imperiled sub-species Mexican grey wolf. The rule has not been published in the Federal Register, and therefore, is not yet open to public comment. Grey wolves currently occupy approximately 15% of their historic habitat, with vast areas of the West and other parts of the country uninhabited. Send Interior Secretary Sally Jewel an email requesting that wolves be permitted to biologically recover before they are removed from the endangered species list.
If you are looking to get outside this weekend, the Paradise Ridge Defense Council is having a field trip on Sunday May 19 2pm to showcase the potential impacts of the Idaho Transportation Department’s proposed E-2 eastern realignment of US 95 across Paradise Ridge. Learn more.