SACRAMENTO - (August 25, 2015) - An application that shows how climate change could alter ecosystems in the California desert and the natural range of birds, fish, and mammals was released today by the California Energy Commission.
PORTLAND, Ore., August 27, 2015 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced a four-year strategy that will invest approximately $211 million through 2018 in conservation efforts to benefit the greater sage grouse. The strategy, known as Sage Grouse Initiative 2.0, will build on successful public and private conservation efforts made since 2010 to improve sage grouse habitat. The new plan will provide additional assistance for ranchers to make conservation improvements to their land, which mutually benefits the iconic bird and agricultural operations in 11 Western states.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 20, 2015 - U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today made the following statement:
"This year, we are experiencing yet another devastating wildfire season, particularly in the drought-ravaged West. Climate change, drought, fuel buildup, insects and disease are increasing the severity of unprecedented wildfire in America's forests and rangelands, which impacts the safety of people, homes and communities. Development close to forests has also increased the threat to property, with more than 46 million homes in the United States, or about 40 percent of our nation's housing, potentially at risk from wildfire.
PORTLAND, Ore. August 14, 2015. Log exports from Washington, Oregon, northern California, and Alaska totaled 329 million board feet in volume in the second quarter of 2015, an increase of more than 21 percent compared to the first quarter of 2015, the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station reported today. During this same period, west coast lumber exports increased by 16 percent to 189 million board feet.
The total value of these exports also increased compared to the first quarter of 2015—by 20 percent for log exports, to a total of $240 million, and by more than 12 percent for lumber exports, to a total of $139 million.
Despite these recent increases, west coast exports of logs and lumber in the first half of 2015 are lower than they were during the first half of 2014.
WASHINGTON, Aug. 5, 2015 — For the first time in its 110-year history, the Forest Service, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is spending more than 50 percent of its budget to suppress the nation's wildfires. A new report released today by the Forest Service estimates that within a decade, the agency will spend more than two-thirds of its budget to battle ever-increasing fires, while mission-critical programs that can help prevent fires in the first place such as forest restoration and watershed and landscape management will continue to suffer. Meanwhile, the report notes, these catastrophic blazes are projected to burn twice as many acres by 2050.
Wildfires have burned 5.5 million acres across the West so far in 2015, an area equal in size to New Jersey. These numbers put the current fire season on track to reach or surpass record levels.
Most of the acres burned — a whopping 4.7 million acres, or 85% of the total — have been in Alaska, where 300 fires are currently burning. While not all are violent and fast-moving, Alaska's wildfires have done significant damage in what could be the worst wildfire season in state history.
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.