WASHINGTON, June 22, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced additional steps it is taking to integrate climate change adaptation into USDA's programs and operations. These efforts will help ensure taxpayer resources are invested wisely and that USDA services and operations remain effective under current and future climate conditions.
The effects of climate change are complex and far-reaching and it is clear that potential changes could have important impacts on the ability of USDA to fulfill its core mission. Under the updated USDA Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaptation (Departmental Regulation 1070-001), USDA recognizes that climate stressors have consequences for food production, yields of staple crops, forests and grasslands, and these, in turn, affect the economic well-being of individuals.
PORTLAND, Ore. June 8, 2015. A set of draft reports analyzing 20 years of monitoring data under the Northwest Forest Plan has been formally released by the Regional Interagency Executive Committee (RIEC) today. The reports, which summarize the latest periodic monitoring data gathered since 1994, with a focus on the last 5 years, are available at http://www.reo.gov/monitoring/reports/20yr-report/.
“The 20-year monitoring reports are an important data set for all of those impacted by the Northwest Forest Plan,” said Jim Peña, Regional Forester for the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Region and Chair of RIEC, the interagency group that oversees the NWFP. “Twenty years of monitoring demonstrates our commitment to adaptive management and fulfilling our commitment to the principles of the plan itself.”
Washington – In an historic step for the protection of clean water, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army finalized the Clean Water Rule today to clearly protect from pollution and degradation the streams and wetlands that form the foundation of the nation’s water resources.
PORTLAND, Ore. May 27, 2015. Log exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska totaled 272 million board feet in the first quarter of 2015, a decrease of nearly 16 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2014, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station reported today. During this same period, west coast lumber exports declined 4 percent in volume to 162 million board feet.
WASHINGTON, June 1, 2015 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility.
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2015 – U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell presented the Forest Service forecast on the upcoming 2015 fire season in testimony today before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Forest Service researchers expect 2015 to continue the trend of above average fire activity.
"Above normal wildland fire potential exists across the north central United States and above normal wildland fire potential will threaten many parts of the West this summer," said Chief Tidwell. "We anticipate another active fire year, underscoring the need to reform our wildfire funding."
On Friday, April 3, 2015 Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler issued a final judgment in the question of the state’s ability to comment on wildlife issues. In her ruling, Wheeler sided with the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and fully dismissed a lawsuit aimed at silencing Maine’s wildlife professionals.
The case started in the closing weeks of the Maine bear campaign over Question 1 on last November’s ballot. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), through their front group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, sued the state of Maine alleging an improper level of engagement in the. The “state,” in this case, was the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, whose vocal and public opposition to Question 1 didn't mesh with HSUS’ wish to stop bear hunting in the state.
There was a time when fire season for Western states meant only certain months out of the year. Not so long ago the U.S. Forest Service considered it primarily a summer problem with a few regions breaking the trend in early spring and late fall.
But climate change, according to most wildland fire experts, has turned fire season into a year-round issue.
What used to slow down fire season was winter—a long and cold time of year with lots of snow that killed off many invasive or destructive pests and filled rivers and reservoirs with ample water to supply the needs of millions living in the West.
WASHINGTON, March 11, 2015 – Warm temperatures in February contributed to further snowpack decline in the Cascades and Sierra Nevada, according to data from the third 2015 forecast by the United States Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Snowpack in Nevada, Utah and Idaho also fell further behind normal.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (UT-01) sent a letter today to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, urging the agency to withdraw its Proposed Directive on Groundwater Resource Management. The letter was also signed by Committee Vice-Chairman Cynthia Lummis (WY-At large), Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans Chairman John Fleming (LA-4) and Vice-Chair Paul Gosar (AZ-4), and Subcommittee on Federal Lands Chairman Tom McClintock (CA-4) and Vice-Chair Doug LaMalfa (CA-1). The letter echoes similar concerns voiced by the Western Governors Association and others about how the proposal could usurp state management of groundwater.