As we head into September, we wanted to share with you some very important information concerning the Weitas Bridge proposal, the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Forest Plan, dock extension at the Port of Lewiston, the beginning of the wolf hunt in Idaho, and a conversation with author Steven Hawley.
There’s still time to submit comments on what the Forest Service should do with the damaged/closed Weitas Bridge. Letters can be mailed to Weitas Bridge Comments, North Fork Ranger District, 12730 Highway 12, Orofino, ID. 83544. Emails can be sent to email@example.com.
Below are some talking points to consider:
- The agency does not appear to have the resources to either fix the bridge and/or demolish the bridge and build a new one. Money should be allocated to more urgent issues on the forest.
- Weitas Creek is a proposed wilderness area and it makes no sense to encourage motorized use into the area. Off-road vehicle abuse is already a large problem.
- There are a variety of ways to access the area, using existing roads and trails.
The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests have begun revising their Forest Plan. Think of this as a zoning process that says what activities are compatible and where. A Forest Plan establishes minimum standards and guidelines to assist with decision making on the national forest. The last Forest Plan was written in 1987.
Unlike the last time around, the Forest Service is interested in forming another collaborative to finalize the Forest Plan. Not to be confused with the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, which in itself is a de-facto Forest Service, this collaborative aims to collect comments from the general public, at least in the beginning.
If the Forest Service is being genuine we expect them to:
- Allow and consider citizen input equally throughout the entire process.
- Allow citizens to attend all meetings at a time convenient to the general public.
- No special working groups.
- Establish a wide-range of alternatives.
- Not use the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) as a pro-forma exercise.
A series of “informational meetings” are scheduled for:
- Tuesday September 11, 7-9pm Orofino Best Western.
- Thursday September 13, 7-9pm Grangeville Senior Center.
- Tuesday September 25th, 7-9pm Moscow 1912 Center.
- Thursday October 4th, 7-9pm Lewiston Red Lion Hotel.
The agency has announced there will be a 3-day forest plan summit, site to be determined, following the meetings. The summit is intended to produce a “working group” that will provide the agency with even more direction as it begins to develop an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently attended an “invite-only” tour of the Port of Lewiston to celebrate the Port being awarded a federal grant to double the size of it’s dock. Despite shipping volume substantially decreasing the past decade, a sediment problem that the Army Corps of Engineers has not figured out how to deal with, unit train capacity coming to the Palouse, and declining wild salmon & steelhead populations, the Obama administration feels this is a good investment for the American tax-payer. Learn more.
On August 30th, the 2012-2013 wolf hunt on public lands in Idaho began. With hunting already permitted on private property in certain areas of the Panhandle, killing wolves is allowed in Idaho year-round. A total of 379 wolves were killed in the state via hunt/trapping last year, not counting the wolves that were killed via aerial gunning, livestock depredation response, and poaching. The new “regulations” this year allow an individual to purchase five wolf tags per calendar year, meaning someone could kill ten wolves between now and June 30th. Unlike other portions of the state, the Lolo and Selway Zones are open until June 30th.
In order to shed more light on the wolf slaughter, Predator Defense, Northern Idaho Wolf Alliance, Kootenai Environmental Alliance, Footloose Montana, Center for Biological Diversity, Great Old Broads for Wilderness and FOC recently held a rally in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. With approximately seventy-five people in attendance, the event focused on the need to restructure state agencies like Idaho Fish & Game Department or permanently transfer jurisdiction of wolves, and predators alike, to the federal government. Learn more.
To learn about the status of wolves in Wyoming click here.
Lastly, Idaho Rivers United is hosting author Steven Hawley at Gambino’s Italian Restaurant in Moscow on Wednesday September 12, 7pm. Hawley will be discussing his new book Recovering a Lost River: Removing Dams, Rewilding Salmon, Revitalizing Communities. Learn more.