Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - November 24, 2017 


On today’s rundown, all eyes on the G.O.P. tax plan - labor groups say it’s not good for working families, and the view from Michigan is the likely loss of many services across the state; plus, report today on Black Friday and Native American Heritage Day

Daily Newscasts

A 20-Year Update on Northwest Forest Plan

PHOTO: Behind the beautiful scenery, there's a lot of hard work going on in terms of public land management. A new summary of Northwest Forest Plan results, in place since the 1990s, cites progress in habitat restoration and water quality. Photo credit: Mason Cummings.
PHOTO: Behind the beautiful scenery, there's a lot of hard work going on in terms of public land management. A new summary of Northwest Forest Plan results, in place since the 1990s, cites progress in habitat restoration and water quality. Photo credit: Mason Cummings.
June 10, 2015

VANCOUVER, Wash. - A lot can happen in five years - but it usually takes longer than that to see real changes in forest health and water quality, according to a new report released this week by the U.S. Forest Service.

It summarizes progress for the Northwest Forest Plan. According to the report, wildfires in some areas have slowed conservation efforts. Overall, however, it said science indicates that managing the land to improve fish and wildlife habitat, streams and watersheds since the 1990s is working.

Thomas O'Keefe, northwest stewardship director for the group American Whitewater, said he agrees.

"We see that through bigger trees along rivers, greater habitat complexity in our rivers, reduced stream temperatures," he said. "All those things are benefits of the Northwest Forest Plan, and particularly the Aquatic Conservation Strategy."

Watershed improvements outnumber declines, the report said, adding that road decommissioning has been good for fish and wildlife habitat.

Many Washingtonians get their drinking water from sources protected by the Northwest Forest Plan. The report showed improving stream health and water temperature trends, and that cooler water is good for fish. As a former Jefferson County commissioner, John Austin said it's also the lifeblood of his area.

"We have a shellfish industry here in Jefferson County that's worth about $20 million a year - Quilcene oysters and geoduck," he said. "So, it's economic as well as health-related, and of course, for our tourism industry."

The report said recreation is the largest economic activity on these lands and drives the most job growth, with 20 million visitors a year spending money in local communities.

The Forest Service is in the process of updating the Northwest Forest Plan, which has been the overarching management guide for 19 national forests and seven Bureau of Land Management districts across Washington, Oregon and northern California.

The report is online at reo.gov.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - WA