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Flairball

Attention Appalachian Sportsmen

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Flairball

I haven’t posted in a while (or even logged on), but came across some info I believe some here may find interesting, and want to act on. 

 

I was in Asheville NC and picked up a copy of the free magazine, Blue Ridge Outdoors, June 2019. In the magazine there is a very one sided, anti- timber cutting article. If you are in the area, and care about the future of grouse hunting, you may want to pen a rebuttal or a letter to the editor. I have forwarded a copy of the article to the regional RGS biologist, Linda. 

 

Can’t post the article or I would, but it’s worth seeking it out. 

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WMassGriff

I skimmed the article and it shows why the RGS and other organizations need to be involved in management plans to balance Conservation with Preservation. This quote sums it up "Chief among their complaints are that it sacrifices too much salamander habitat by replacing mature trees with early successional forests that deer, turkey, bear, rabbit, and other game species count on and hunters favor."

 

 

 

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Cooter Brown

Flairball, nice to see you check in.  Been a distinct lack of kilt wearers around the joint lately.

 

I wasn't able to find the article in the online magazine--I think I was at the right website.  Who was the author?

 

Here's the one I went to:

 

https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/

 

 

Asheville, where they apparently have one of their offices,  is a nice place but it's definitely the center of stuff like that.  Remember the video a few years ago about the screaming trees, with the trustafarians sitting around a drum weeping?

 

It's a constant battle, but right now there are a couple of districts in NC that have excellent biologists and managers, and they are doing as much--actually more--habitat and timber work as anybody in the southeast.  They deserve our support because they are lonely outliers in FS and DNRs.

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Flairball
9 hours ago, Cooter Brown said:

Flairball, nice to see you check in.  Been a distinct lack of kilt wearers around the joint lately.

 

I wasn't able to find the article in the online magazine--I think I was at the right website.  Who was the author?

 

Here's the one I went to:

 

https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/

 

 

Asheville, where they apparently have one of their offices,  is a nice place but it's definitely the center of stuff like that.  Remember the video a few years ago about the screaming trees, with the trustafarians sitting around a drum weeping?

 

It's a constant battle, but right now there are a couple of districts in NC that have excellent biologists and managers, and they are doing as much--actually more--habitat and timber work as anybody in the southeast.  They deserve our support because they are lonely outliers in FS and DNRs.

It was buried on their website. 

 

https://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/magazine/june-2019/the-big-cut/amp/

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Cooter Brown
4 hours ago, Flairball said:

Thanks.  That's what I figured it was about.  I know of some of the people mentioned in the article which is all I will say on that.

 

Here's the link to the Forest Service scoping letter and Environmental Assessment for the project around Buck Creek.  I've read both in their entirety and commented on the project.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50345

 

NOTE THAT THE ARTICLE FLAIRBALL REFERENCED DOES NOT GIVE A LINK TO THE SCOPING/EA DOCUMENTS WHICH GIVE THE ACTUAL NUMBERS OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON THE GROUND.

 

(I think the proper term for people like this is "insidious bastards")

 

The fact that these people oppose the FS preferred option (Alternative B) is risible.  FS is bending over backward and the percentage of "old growth" and undisturbed area vs. the percentage of early successional areas is VERY much weighted to "old growth", of which there really ain't none there anyway.  I'd have to look again but Alt. C I think was the best, and it was still minimal timber/habitat work.  The fact that they are kicking up  a fuss about Alt. B which is a worked out compromise to begin with is very revealing about their motivations--they moved the goalposts, like a child changing the rules of a child's game.  Sadly a child's game is what much of public discourse has become.

 

Clearly they want NO disturbance, all the while saying that their goal is bio-diversity.  Which they wouldn't know if it bit 'em in the gonads.  Resisting urge to get political, but note how many times a proper name starting with "T" appears in the article, who has nothing to do with any of the people writing the EA and scoping docs.  NOTHING.  It all makes me really sad given the ACTUAL biodiversity that's possible in the area in question, a place I know well.  The people fighting against this have no scientifically defensible position, and are only in opposition for misguided political reasons, which of course predate the presence of the proper name starting with "T" but have been energized even more by that...even though the preparation of the scoping and EA documents began before the letter "T" was a factor.  It's like middle school.  Nana nana boo boo.

 

On the link there is a summation of each alternative, showing percentages  of "old growth", ESH, etc., and any cutting, timber, or habitat work is a laughably TINY number compared to the undisturbed portion.  It's really, really comical.

 

The last day for comments was May 10, but it can't hurt to send more.  Here's the address for comments:

 

comments-southern-north-carolina-nantahala-tusquitee@fs.fed.us

 

 

 

Here are the comments a friend of mine sent on the Buck project.  He's a retired biologist and a lot better at this stuff than me:

 

 

 

There are two major problems or effects with past operations in Buck Cr. The lack of timber harvesting (especially regeneration type harvesting) has detrimentally affected overall wildlife populations in the drainage through a lack of early successional habitat (ESH) creation, and through reduction of economic possibilities for local entities (government and private operators) through need for sustainable timber harvesting operations. Original plans contained Alternative E, requested by local governments, which proposed significantly more timber harvesting than in any of the final Alternatives. This Alternative would also have created significantly better overall conditions for wildlife through increased habitat diversity. The reason given for not including this Alternative for consideration was stated in the last sentence on page 33, “ the decision has already been made at higher level to move the Forest Service toward a minimum road system”.  What happened to objective analysis? I see similar unnecessary conditions placed upon management operations by the Land Management Plan throughout this document. Amendments can be and should be developed as needed for any Plan.

Although Alternative B is certainly acceptable, both the situations described above would be better addressed through a greater timber harvesting regime, which, in the list of Alternatives provided, would be Alternative C. 

The majority of stands selected for entry have been designated 4D, which limit maximum acreage harvested to 25 acres. A designation of 3B would be significantly more desirable from both a wildlife habitat and economic standpoint, since many wildlife species would be better served by larger harvested areas (40 acre maximum). Golden Wing Warbler is one example. Frankly, I don’t know of any wildlife species, including bear, that wouldn’t be better served by the less restrictive designation 3B.

The importance of hard mast is stressed in this document, yet no mention is made of the importance of scarlet and black oak, which are likely the most consistent mast producers, along with northern red oak, in this region. These two species are short lived (senescence by 70-80 years age) and must be regenerated by that age to be sustained.

ESH from natural stand replacement is highly unlikely to occur. It is absent in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, and I’ll venture to say it is absent in the old growth sections of the Smokies. This document mentions such possibilities, with no documentation to validate such prognostication.

Brook trout in this latitude exist primarily above some type barrier, limiting immigration by brown and rainbow trout. If barriers are removed, including culverts, separating brook trout from rainbow and brown trout, the two species will eventually replace the brook trout. The only other situation in which brook trout (which are a char) out compete the trout, are in certain geological regions in R8 with large spring fed streams in which temperature never exceeds 60 degrees F. In the Buck Cr. Drainage, it is a waste of time to try to establish brook trout without a barrier. Electrofishing is also a waste of time unless it is done on a continuing basis. It is almost impossible to completely eliminate rainbow trout as shown by intensive electrofishing efforts by the Forest Service (Jim Herrig) and the Park Service (Steve Moore). In order to maintain the brook trout population electrofishing is only a temporary solution.

On slopes over 35%, requiring cable logging systems, clearcutting is a more desirable harvesting method than is the two-age harvesting method. The necessity of leaving standing trees requires the operator to retrieve the cable all the way back to the landing area and then haul it back to an attachment point, which significantly increases cost.

I don’t understand the discussion on description of stream fords. Any successful stream ford I’ve observed is wider at the crossing than above or below. Common sense indicates that water velocity is reduced in the wider shallower section, allowing deposition of finer materials. Placing vanes to narrow the channel increases water velocity, thus increasing the chance of displacing even coarser substrate.

The recommendation is made to use temporary culverts for stream crossings. They are fine as permanent installations, but to be installed and then ripped out at the end of the sale adds an unnecessary amount of sediment to the stream. Temporary log bridges are a far better solution, leaving streambanks with significantly less disturbance.

Temporary roads, closed to public travel, can be constructed in a manner that minimizes any stream impacts. According to Coweeta, gated vegetated roads create little or no impacts to water quality. By maintaining them as linear wildlife openings, they could be used as access to future timber sales.

This document indicates there will be no harvesting in riparian areas. Such a restriction excludes the most productive sites from management activities unnecessarily. Research from Coweeta shows that harvesting can be implemented in riparian areas with little or no impact to water quality. The vegetative benefit to wildlife in such areas is much greater than on areas further up the slope.

I do not want to see any more National Forest area added to Wilderness designation.  The Wildermess study areas on the Forest should be re-designated to general Forest area.

 

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mister grouse

BRAVO Cooter.....a true believer in common sense forest practices and does something about it besides chat on the internet!

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Cooter Brown
1 hour ago, mister grouse said:

BRAVO Cooter.....a true believer in common sense forest practices and does something about it besides chat on the internet!

All I did was participate in the public comments on it, which is the least any citizen should do.  There are people around here like you and Pleasant Ridge who've done a lot more than that.

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bill
On 6/12/2019 at 9:33 PM, Cooter Brown said:

Thanks.  That's what I figured it was about.  I know of some of the people mentioned in the article which is all I will say on that.

 

Here's the link to the Forest Service scoping letter and Environmental Assessment for the project around Buck Creek.  I've read both in their entirety and commented on the project.

 

https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=50345

 

NOTE THAT THE ARTICLE FLAIRBALL REFERENCED DOES NOT GIVE A LINK TO THE SCOPING/EA DOCUMENTS WHICH GIVE THE ACTUAL NUMBERS OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN ON THE GROUND.

 

(I think the proper term for people like this is "insidious bastards")

 

The fact that these people oppose the FS preferred option (Alternative B) is risible.  FS is bending over backward and the percentage of "old growth" and undisturbed area vs. the percentage of early successional areas is VERY much weighted to "old growth", of which there really ain't none there anyway.  I'd have to look again but Alt. C I think was the best, and it was still minimal timber/habitat work.  The fact that they are kicking up  a fuss about Alt. B which is a worked out compromise to begin with is very revealing about their motivations--they moved the goalposts, like a child changing the rules of a child's game.  Sadly a child's game is what much of public discourse has become.

 

Clearly they want NO disturbance, all the while saying that their goal is bio-diversity.  Which they wouldn't know if it bit 'em in the gonads.  Resisting urge to get political, but note how many times a proper name starting with "T" appears in the article, who has nothing to do with any of the people writing the EA and scoping docs.  NOTHING.  It all makes me really sad given the ACTUAL biodiversity that's possible in the area in question, a place I know well.  The people fighting against this have no scientifically defensible position, and are only in opposition for misguided political reasons, which of course predate the presence of the proper name starting with "T" but have been energized even more by that...even though the preparation of the scoping and EA documents began before the letter "T" was a factor.  It's like middle school.  Nana nana boo boo.

 

On the link there is a summation of each alternative, showing percentages  of "old growth", ESH, etc., and any cutting, timber, or habitat work is a laughably TINY number compared to the undisturbed portion.  It's really, really comical.

 

The last day for comments was May 10, but it can't hurt to send more.  Here's the address for comments:

 

comments-southern-north-carolina-nantahala-tusquitee@fs.fed.us

 

 

 

Here are the comments a friend of mine sent on the Buck project.  He's a retired biologist and a lot better at this stuff than me:

 

 

 

There are two major problems or effects with past operations in Buck Cr. The lack of timber harvesting (especially regeneration type harvesting) has detrimentally affected overall wildlife populations in the drainage through a lack of early successional habitat (ESH) creation, and through reduction of economic possibilities for local entities (government and private operators) through need for sustainable timber harvesting operations. Original plans contained Alternative E, requested by local governments, which proposed significantly more timber harvesting than in any of the final Alternatives. This Alternative would also have created significantly better overall conditions for wildlife through increased habitat diversity. The reason given for not including this Alternative for consideration was stated in the last sentence on page 33, “ the decision has already been made at higher level to move the Forest Service toward a minimum road system”.  What happened to objective analysis? I see similar unnecessary conditions placed upon management operations by the Land Management Plan throughout this document. Amendments can be and should be developed as needed for any Plan.

Although Alternative B is certainly acceptable, both the situations described above would be better addressed through a greater timber harvesting regime, which, in the list of Alternatives provided, would be Alternative C. 

The majority of stands selected for entry have been designated 4D, which limit maximum acreage harvested to 25 acres. A designation of 3B would be significantly more desirable from both a wildlife habitat and economic standpoint, since many wildlife species would be better served by larger harvested areas (40 acre maximum). Golden Wing Warbler is one example. Frankly, I don’t know of any wildlife species, including bear, that wouldn’t be better served by the less restrictive designation 3B.

The importance of hard mast is stressed in this document, yet no mention is made of the importance of scarlet and black oak, which are likely the most consistent mast producers, along with northern red oak, in this region. These two species are short lived (senescence by 70-80 years age) and must be regenerated by that age to be sustained.

ESH from natural stand replacement is highly unlikely to occur. It is absent in the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest, and I’ll venture to say it is absent in the old growth sections of the Smokies. This document mentions such possibilities, with no documentation to validate such prognostication.

Brook trout in this latitude exist primarily above some type barrier, limiting immigration by brown and rainbow trout. If barriers are removed, including culverts, separating brook trout from rainbow and brown trout, the two species will eventually replace the brook trout. The only other situation in which brook trout (which are a char) out compete the trout, are in certain geological regions in R8 with large spring fed streams in which temperature never exceeds 60 degrees F. In the Buck Cr. Drainage, it is a waste of time to try to establish brook trout without a barrier. Electrofishing is also a waste of time unless it is done on a continuing basis. It is almost impossible to completely eliminate rainbow trout as shown by intensive electrofishing efforts by the Forest Service (Jim Herrig) and the Park Service (Steve Moore). In order to maintain the brook trout population electrofishing is only a temporary solution.

On slopes over 35%, requiring cable logging systems, clearcutting is a more desirable harvesting method than is the two-age harvesting method. The necessity of leaving standing trees requires the operator to retrieve the cable all the way back to the landing area and then haul it back to an attachment point, which significantly increases cost.

I don’t understand the discussion on description of stream fords. Any successful stream ford I’ve observed is wider at the crossing than above or below. Common sense indicates that water velocity is reduced in the wider shallower section, allowing deposition of finer materials. Placing vanes to narrow the channel increases water velocity, thus increasing the chance of displacing even coarser substrate.

The recommendation is made to use temporary culverts for stream crossings. They are fine as permanent installations, but to be installed and then ripped out at the end of the sale adds an unnecessary amount of sediment to the stream. Temporary log bridges are a far better solution, leaving streambanks with significantly less disturbance.

Temporary roads, closed to public travel, can be constructed in a manner that minimizes any stream impacts. According to Coweeta, gated vegetated roads create little or no impacts to water quality. By maintaining them as linear wildlife openings, they could be used as access to future timber sales.

This document indicates there will be no harvesting in riparian areas. Such a restriction excludes the most productive sites from management activities unnecessarily. Research from Coweeta shows that harvesting can be implemented in riparian areas with little or no impact to water quality. The vegetative benefit to wildlife in such areas is much greater than on areas further up the slope.

I do not want to see any more National Forest area added to Wilderness designation.  The Wildermess study areas on the Forest should be re-designated to general Forest area.

 

 I sent in a letter also to USFS ref this matter mine bounced back. The USFS is full of tree huggers these days used be some decent grouse hunting around the coweete expermint station yrs ago

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