HUPC ISSUE UPDATES
The Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger District finished stabilizing the High Uintas Wilderness reservoirs on Kidney Lake, Lake Fork drainage, Five Point, Superior, Bluebell and Drift Lake, all on the Yellowstone River drainage (HUPC LYNX, 8/09). Next summer the district will finish the reservoir stabilization process on East Timothy and Deer Lakes. For a complete history of this undertaking, see HUPC Review and LYNX, 4/97, 4/99, 4/01, 8/01, 12/01, 6/02, 2/04, 6/04, 6/06, and 10/07.
It appears the Heber/Kamas Ranger District, Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, has set aside work on the Murdock Mt. Timber Sale (see HUPC LYNX 6/08, 12/08.) However, because the Forest still fixates on timber sales following pine beetle infestations, an utterly silly, ecologically illiterate, and hopeless endeavor, it has a issued a very early proposal to harvest timber on the East and Middle Fork Blacks Fork (see HUPC LYNX 8/09.)
The Pole Mt. Timber Salvage Sale on the Roosevelt/Duchesne Ranger District, Ashley National Forest, has taken one more step to fruition with the release of an Environmental Assessment in August. The timber salvage sale is smack dab in the middle of the 2007 Neola North Fire. There is no reason for this proposal. It will do nothing to control pine beetles nor is it the least bit necessary to assure re-growth of the forest community impacted by the 2007 Neola North Fire.
The Forest Service analysis notes the proposal confers only negative actions on wildlife. Not to worry, they tell us: there is an unlimited amount of adequate and diverse habitat for whatever species may be under consideration outside, near or adjacent to the proposal. No evidence is ever offered. On the other hand, a wonderful opportunity exists to use the site as a research area to determine how this area re-establishes itself. A decision is expected soon.
In August the Evanston/Mt. View Ranger District released the Environmental Analysis (EA) to continue grazing on the Stillwater drainage on the North Slope of the Uintas. It would be something to report if the district honestly reviewed whether this is the place for grazing, but that something did not happen, of course.
The decision was pre-determined and the EA was nothing but pre-formed process: a scoping document was released on this proposal in mid-August allowing comments until 21 September, with a final decision made 9 days later! The EA adopts the minimum objectives for riparian conditions and ground cover without a shred of evidence as to why, other than the obvious--if higher, more ecologically sound objectives were required, the proposed grazing could not occur. Thus, the minimum objectives are selected. The kick in the gut? Because the forest plan allows these objectives to be met over decades, the Forest Service concludes all is well. What audacity!
Nothing new on forest planning. The Ashley revised forest plan rests in some ghostly state (see HUPC LYNX 12/08.) Nothing new on roadless area disposition-- roadless areas are formally protected under a Secretary of Agriculture directive until next summer (see HUPC LYNX 8/09.) Wolves, no longer protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in Idaho and Montana, are being hunted and killed there with some hunting units, at this writing, being closed because quotas were met or exceeded. Grizzly bears are back on the Endangered Species list. Due to climate warming, Pika are disappearing from their rocky talus slopes high in western mountains. The Fish and Wildlife Service is considering data to list the little critter under the ESA. Today the Uintas are quiet and lonely in many places where the once ubiquitous pika sang, chattered and warned each another.