The Forest Service (FS) has released its draft plan for the forest plan revision for the Nez Perce and Clearwater National Forests. It will be one plan for both forests. Please see below for the public meetings scheduled by the Forest Service. Friends of the Clearwater (FOC) also has some public meetings planned and more in the works. At nearly 4-million acres, the Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests are the northern half of the Big Wild, the largest intact ecosystem in the continental United States.
If you attend a public meeting, here are some points to consider:
- The FS released the plan during the holidays and then left town. This effectively shortened the public comment period. Request a comment extension. Read our comment deadline request and the news release that followed.
- The FS failed to analyze and include FOC’s Citizen Conservation Biology Alternative in the just-released draft plan. Our alternative is based on science and generated approximately 10,000 comments (of support) during the scoping period. This is a key omission by the FS in the current draft alternatives. Read our alternative that has been ignored up to date.
Some Initial Concerns
Wilderness, Wilderness Recommendations, Wildlands, and Wild Rivers
All 1.5 million-acres of roadless wildlands, including the roadless areas adjacent to the Gospel – Hump Wilderness that were wrongfully omitted in the 2008 Idaho Roadless Rule, should be protected as recommended wilderness. The FS has indicated, however, that any roadless areas not recommended as wilderness in the new forest plan could be developed (logged). Because different alternatives in the draft forest plan have different wilderness recommendations, any areas that are ultimately not recommended could be lost. Weitas Creek, in particular, deserves to be recommended as Wilderness. Weitas Creek is the largest roadless area entirely located on the two national forests. Click here for a list of the irreplaceable roadless areas on both national forests
The Forest Service proposal barely addresses existing designated Wilderness, and omits any mention of improving old wilderness stewardship plans. The proposed plan would also allow development in wild and scenic rivers, and most alternatives would be less protective than the existing condition.
Watersheds, Fish & Wildlife Habitat and Climate Change
There are no quantitative standards for protecting watersheds and fish and wildlife habitat. When considering the current crisis facing wild steelhead and salmon populations, this draft plan would further drive each species towards extinction.
The draft plan would allow logging in designated old growth, a departure from current standards that protect old growth habitat from development. This could greatly affect old-growth dependent species like the imperiled Northern Rockies Fisher.
Grizzly bear recovery is ignored in the draft plan, therefore impeding the ability for it to occur. The draft plan ignores the need to provide secure habitat for grizzlies outside of designated Wilderness, and any natural corridors on the forests would be fragmented.
The draft plan outlines desired future conditions that would deforest mature trees and result in massive manipulation and the release of carbon. Every alternative in the revised plan increases logging levels for these two forests, and eliminates the forest’s potential to sequester carbon, which is sorely needed.
Submit A Comment
Unless the Forest Service grants an extension, the public comment period ends on Thursday March 19, 2020. Comments can be sent electronically through the agency’s website/comment form. You can also email your comment. Please provide your name and address when submitting comments.
Comments can also be mailed to the agency at:
Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests Supervisors Office
903 3rd Street
Kamiah, ID 83536
Feel free to call our staff in the office at 208-882-9755 or send us an email if you have questions about the draft plan revision. Thank you.