Less grazing allowed in forest

archive_import

By GENEVIEVE BOOKWALTER

While loggers will benefit from the recent U.S. Forest Service decision to cut twice as much wood from Sierra Nevada national forests, the number of cows permitted on the forests will drop and could hurt some ranching operations.

In a decision that received much less attention, the same officials calling for much more logging are keeping regulations that could allow 20 percent fewer cattle to graze in national forest mountain ranges over the next 10 years.

Regional Forester Jack Blackwell in Vallejo made that call after spending more than a year considering changes to the Sierra Nevada Framework .

The Framework was passed in January 2001 during the Clinton Administration's final days. A management plan for 11 national forests across the Sierra Nevada, it emphasized environmental conservation and reduced logging and grazing along the mountain range. The Forest Service spent 10 years and about $20 million developing the plan.

Then, 11 months after its release, the Bush Administration directed Blackwell to review it. He chartered a Forest Service team to evaluate the Framework and look for ways to reduce fire risk and harmful effects the new environmental measures could have on rural economies.

On March 18, Blackwell announced he would allow loggers to reduce fire fuels by cutting about 450 million board feet of timber a year from the Sierra's national forests more than twice the roughly 190 million board feet allowed under the Clinton plan. He also said he would give local Forest Service officials flexibility to tailor some grazing rules to their landscape.

But the bottom line, said Forest Service regional spokesman Matt Mathes, is that fewer cows will chomp National Forest grass in the future.

The Framework's authors "made an estimate that it would drop 20 percent. Review team recommendations didn't make any change in that estimate," Mathes said. He added later, "It's a difficult balancing act between trying to find a way to lessen the impact on the grazing permittees while still protecting wildlife."

11501736
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Friday August 26, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s Office responds to critical report

08/22/2016

The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office has responded to a grand jury report ... more

Nursed back to health, hawk flies free

08/19/2016

Sonora resident Laura Reid was driving on Tuolumne Road when she saw ... more

Woman dies of injuries in Highway 120 accident

08/24/2016

The woman who spent Monday night pinned in an SUV after an ... more

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt to remain in prison

08/23/2016

Convicted murderer Thomas Hyatt won’t be getting out of prison anytime soon. ... more

Three rescued from wreck near Yosemite

08/23/2016

Three German tourists were rescued Tuesday from the scene of a crash ... more