Multiple utility-scale solar, wind and geothermal energy development projects are currently underway or proposed across the Mojave and Sonoran Ecoregions of the southwestern United States to help meet the need for renewable energy sources. Agencies tasked with managing biological resources throughout this region must understand the potential impacts of these renewable energy plants and their associated infrastructure (e.g., transmission corridors, substations, access roads, etc.) in order to select the most appropriate development sites, and to properly mitigate for anticipated effects. One of the major management concerns is determining how future development will impact wildlife habitat, connectivity, and genetic diversity.
For more information, visit the U. S. Geological Survey Western Ecology Research site.
WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2013 –The U.S. Forest Service joins other federal agencies in offering fee-free days on public lands in 2013, beginning Jan. 21 in conjunction with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
That day marks the first of four fee-free days the Forest Service is offering the public in 2013.
“Your national forests and grasslands are a bargain any day of the year, but even more so on fee-free days,” said U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell. “Whether you stay for a few hours or a few days, your public lands are some of the best travel bargains in the nation.”
Traditionally, fees are not charged on 98 percent of national forests and grasslands, and approximately two-thirds of developed recreation sites in national forests and grasslands can be used for free. This includes opportunities such as camping and picnicking.
First-ever state-wide plan to identify, set aside previously disturbed lands to encourage wind and solar energy development
WASHINGTON, DC -- Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today announced that Interior has designated 192,100 acres of public land across Arizona as potentially suitable for utility-scale solar and wind energy development, furthering President Obama’s ‘all-of-the-above’ strategy to expand domestic energy production.
The publication of the Record of Decision (ROD) for this initiative, known as the Restoration Design Energy Project, caps a three-year, statewide environmental analysis of disturbed land and other areas with few known resource conflicts that could accommodate commercial renewable energy projects.
The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service has released a landmark publication celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, the cornerstone of fish and wildlife conservation in North America. This vital program provides more than $700 million each year through the sale of hunting and fishing equipment to support habitat conservation and outdoor recreation projects across the nation.
The anniversary publication – “Celebrating the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program, 75 years of Conservation and Partnership Success” – comes at the end of a year-long awareness campaign with state fish and wildlife agencies, non-governmental conservation organizations, fish and wildlife agencies, industry partners (including the American Sportfishing Association, the Archery Trade Association, National Marine Manufacturers Association, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation), and friends highlighting the Program, one of the most significant and successful conservation initiatives in history.
Portland, Ore. January 16, 2013. Evidence is increasing from multiple scientific fields that exposure to the natural environment can improve human health. In a new study by the U.S. Forest Service, the presence of trees was associated with human health.
For Geoffrey Donovan, a research forester at the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, and his colleagues, the loss of 100 million trees in the eastern and midwestern United States was an unprecedented opportunity to study the impact of a major change in the natural environment on human health.
President signed legislation to elevate status of 1908 national monument in California’s Gabilan Mountains
WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Director of the National Park Service Jonathan B. Jarvis today celebrated the establishment of America’s 59th national park with President Obama’s signature of legislation to elevate Pinnacles National Monument to become Pinnacles National Park.
“This ancient and awe-inspiring volcanic field with its massive monoliths, spires, cave passages and canyons is a place that restores our souls and energizes our bodies with its beauty and abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation,” Salazar said. “I commend Rep. Sam Farr and Sen. Barbara Boxer for their vision in sponsoring the legislation to make it a national park.”
Anglers’ expenditures have a significant impact on the nation’s economy
Alexandria, VA – January 10, 2013 - Recreational fishing is more than just a pleasant getaway for millions of Americans. As an industry, it provides a living for countless people in businesses ranging from fishing tackle and boating manufacturing to travel and hospitality to publications, magazines and much more. As reported in Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, a new fishing statistics report produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the sportfishing industry, the number of anglers increased 11 percent over the past five years and fishing tackle sales grew more than 16 percent. When expenditures are multiplied by our nation’s 60 million anglers, their dollars have a significant impact on our nation’s economy.
Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation highlights how recreational fishing not only endures as an activity that permeates all social and economic aspects of Americans’ lives, but also plays a significant role in the country’s most successful fisheries conservation efforts.
OutdoorWire (www.outdoorwire.com) provides a clickable link index to the vast collection of news and information across its family of website. The sites, 4x4Wire.com, 4x4Voice, and MUIRNet.net have long been important sources of information concerning environmental and administrative regulations and their impact on motorized recreation.
Together, the family of websites contain more than 12 years of information covering topics from landuse and environmental issues to 4x4 vehicle tech. An integrated site search provides quick access to site archives and forum postings.
With contributing bloggers from The TrailPAC, BlueRibbon Coalition, United Four Wheel Drive Associations, California Association of 4 Wheel Drive Clubs and others, the OutdoorWire continues to grow.
China retains dominant position as largest importer of West coast logs
PORTLAND, Ore. November 27, 2012. Log exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska increased about nine percent in the third quarter of 2012, totaling 412 million board feet, according to the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station. At the same time, lumber exports decreased about eight percent to 186 million board feet, compared to the second quarter of this year.
“Sixty-two percent of West coast log exports went to China during the third quarter,” said Xiaoping Zhou, a research economist with the station who compiled the data. “China increased its importation of West coast logs to over 257 million board feet, an increase of 30 percent from the second quarter of this year.”
According to Zhou, although China’s economy has slowed down during the last few quarters, the country will retain its dominant position in the West coast’s log export market for the next few quarters—or, even, the next few years.
Scientists synthesize best practices for fuels management in dry mixed conifer forests
FORT COLLINS, Colo., Nov. 26, 2012 – USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station scientists along with collaborators from Humboldt State University, the University of Montana, and the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station, synthesized a vast array of information on the ecology, management strategies, and effectiveness of fuel treatments within the dry mixed conifer forests of the northwestern United States. Because dry mixed conifer forests cover such a broad and diverse region of forested landmass, researchers made site-specific visits to federal, state, and tribal land management organizations to conduct over 50 interviews with resource specialists in Montana, Idaho, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, Oregon, South Dakota, and California. By incorporating the most relevant scientific research and best practice approaches, scientists used this information to develop an organizational framework to support land management strategies. This collaborative effort, co-funded by the Joint Fire Sciences Program and National Fire Plan, is published in a technical report, “A Comprehensive Guide to Fuels Management Practices for Dry Mixed Conifer Forests in the Northwestern United States.”
Report finds that disturbances are shifting within beargrass habitat
PORTLAND, Ore. November 19, 2012. Beargrass is an ecologically, culturally, and economically important plant in the Western United States and, for the first time, landowners, managers, and harvesters now have a comprehensive report about the species.
The report, Natural and Cultural History of Beargrass (Xerophyllum tenax), published by the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station, identifies critical knowledge gaps and areas for future research. It also documents how changes in disturbance, including fire, may affect the species across its range.
“Beargrass is emblematic of a web of natural and cultural diversity in the West,” said Susan Stevens Hummel, a research forester at the station and lead author of the report. “This means that organisms and processes—like people, plants, and pollinators—are interrelated.”
In the words of Trouet et al. (2012), "an increasing number of high-resolution proxy records covering the last millennium have become available in recent years, providing an increasingly powerful reference frame for assessing current and future climate conditions," and, as might be added, for assessing the validity of the climate-alarmist claim that warmer conditions typically lead to increases in the frequency and/or ferocity of stormy weather. In the present study, therefore, Trouet et al. searched the scientific literature for evidence pertinent to their climate modeling concern, which also happens to be pertinent to the concern about global warming and what it does or does not imply about concurrent storminess. So what did the search reveal?
A new paper out in the current issue of Nature finds little evidence to support claims that drought has increased globally over the past 60 years. The authors write:Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming. Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming. The simplicity of the PDSI, which is calculated from a simple water-balance model forced by monthly precipitation and temperature data, makes it an attractive tool in large-scale drought assessments, but may give biased results in the context of climate change6. Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.
What does this mean?
Monthly Status Report: October 1-31, 2012
The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project) activities in Arizona on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) and Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR) and in New Mexico on the Apache National Forest (ANF) and Gila National Forest (GNF). Non-tribal lands involved in this Project are collectively known as the Blue Range Wolf Recovery Area (BRWRA). Additional Project information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at http://www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. Past updates may be viewed on either website, or interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting http://www.azgfd.gov/signup. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Reintroduction Project is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).