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Sandee McCullen
04-30-2006, 12:44 PM
Another LAST MINUTE ANNOUNCEMENT.........

ATTEND MEETINGS AND WRITE LETTERS!!!!!

Received this notice today....... PAY ATTENTION ALL!! There is a meeting in Phoenix Tuesday evening (see below) but even more important is WRITE HUNDREDS OF LETTERS asking the questions listed below. I haven't gotten full facts on what F/S is up to but a couple of months ago Region 3 (Arizona & NM) allowed Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to enter into "Planning" with F/S. Now we find last minute BS that TNC are doing the "vegetation" (this is what F/S is telling me but it's not what I read in the MOU) studies. This notice of upcoming meetings has certainly not been out to the general public!! I received this through a very select source bank.

Please ask ALL the questions listed below plus WHY THE PUBLIC WAS NOT NOTIFIED OF THESE PLANS OR MEETINGS.

Sandee

THIS IS HORRIBLE. PLEASE READ THE INFO BELOW, THE MOU BETWEEN FS AND TNC AND TAKE ACTION.

Please, if you are unable to attend one of the meeting, or even if you do attend, do a letter to the FS, address below, and be sure and cc the letter to all your elected officials from county to state to federal, especially if you are in AZ and NM. The rest of the states beware, if the Nature Conservancy is taking over the forest in AZ/NM, it will not be long until they do the same in your area. So help us stop it now.

Harv Forsgren, Regional Forester
Southwestern Region
333 Broadway SE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
hforsgren@fs.fed.us

I would also cc his bosses who are
Mare Rey Mark.Rey@usda.gov and
Dale Bosworth Dale.Bosworth@usda.gov
Jerry Ingersoll: JIngersoll@fs.fed.us

Below are the announcement of the meeting, some suggests for questions to the FS (in blue print) to go along with your questions and the agreement between the Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy (in green print). Also, I think we need to ask for meeting in all areas. With the price of gas, people in Flagstaff, PineTop, Globe, Safford, Sierra Vista, or any other town should not have to drive hundreds of miles to attend the FS meetings.

You may or may not have a Forest lease or recreate in the National Forests but the attached Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is huge because the Bureau of Land Management is doing the same thing. The US Forest Service appears to be effectively turning over the foundation of our federal lands management planning to The Nature Conservancy. The TNC will compile a vegetation database for the Region 3 National Forests, determine the desired future conditions, develop its own new standards for data interpretation, interpret old and new data by these new self-created standards, establish hypotheses and evaluate them under an adaptive management and monitoring system--(which means they intend to make up their own rules as they go along), and prescribe Forest management. TNC will also train FS employees. So the next 20 or more years of Forest policy will be founded on the work of an immensely wealthy private corporation (the world's largest private landowner) with its own selfish agendas, minimal if any financial transparency, a checkered ethical reputation, and minimal if any public accountability.

The meeting announcement:


http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/news/releases/2006/0417-azplanning.shtml

USDA Forest Service
Southwestern Region

ARIZONA NATIONAL FORESTS BEGIN STATEWIDE PLANNING EFFORT

ALBUQUERQUE (April 17, 2006)— The Southwestern Region of the Forest Service is beginning to revise land management plans for the six National Forests in Arizona. A new planning rule provides an updated structure for revising these plans, making them more adaptable and more strategic than current ones. These revised plans will set the framework for major topics of interest; ranging from recreation to the community fire protection and ecological restoration work being conducted across the Southwest Region.

To learn more about this planning effort and collaboration opportunities, please join us at one of the three open houses. All open houses will share the same information and all will begin at 6:30pm and end approximately at 8:00pm. There will be ample time for questions. The dates and locations are:
• May 2: Four Points Sheraton, 1900 E. Speedway Boulevard, Tucson, AZ
• May 3: Embassy Suites, 1515 N. 44th Street, Phoenix, AZ
• May 4: Radisson Woodlands Hotel, 1175 Route 66, Flagstaff, AZ

“Current land management plans for the Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Coronado, Kaibab, Prescott and Tonto National Forests are about 20 years old,” stated Regional Forester Harv Forsgren. “These plans will better help me address the desires of local communities, numerous partners, and Congress for restorating fire-adapted forests and grasslands in the Southwest,” he added.

Land management plans will be revised with early and frequent opportunities for public involvement. The new planning rule places a strong emphasis on working with various groups and individuals through a collaborative process with the ultimate goal of improving on-the-ground management. Revised land management plans will emphasize desired conditions of these public lands in the future.

For questions regarding these open houses or future public involvement, please contact Karen Carter at 505-842-3290 or kmcarter@fs.fed.us. If you have questions regarding the new 2005 planning rule or the Region’s planning process, please contact Matt Turner at 505-842-3214 or mturner@fs.fed.us.
__________________________________________________ ______________________

According to the attached Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), The US Forest Service has given The Nature Conservancy authority to baseline all the vegetation in the Region 3 forests, model historical changes, and then prescribe how the Forests should be managed for the next several decades.
Quoted from the attachment (all highlighting and anything in rectangular brackets are mine),

"TNC will use the Vegetation Dynamic Development Tool (VDDT) to complete state-and-transition models for major vegetation types. . . Available data sources to evaluate include, Gap Vegetation [1], Terrestrial Ecosystem Surveys, General Ecosystem Surveys, Land Type Associations, Forest Inventory Analysis and Potential [2] Natural Vegetation. . . Models will be developed through a combination of data from primary and secondary literature sources supplemented by input from regional experts [3]. Models will be subjected to review by peers[4] in jointly selected private institutions [5], agendas [6], and universities. TNC will work with Forest staff to identify potential management scenarios and treatments to facilitate scenario analyses at the Forest level."
My Glossary of the terms used above:
1 Gap Analysis: A computer model based on fabricated data (garbage in, garbage out). GAP analysis was invented to cover up gaps or gaping holes in the actual tangible data.
2 Potential: Potentially non-existent
3 Experts: Sheepskin-clad individuals somehow authorized to employ the phrase, "in my e-hexpert opinion" as a substitute for the scientific method.
4 Peers: Inferred from the context of the quotation, peers are reviewers who have already been hand-picked by the people whose work is to be reviewed.
5 Private institutions-- institutions outside the reach of the Freedom of Information Act
6 Agendas Just what agendas are they referring to??

Please attend one of these meetings and demand answers for tough questions. Here are a few suggestions:

Why weren't land grant universities contracted to do this work?

How many bids were considered prior to contracting this work with The Nature Conservancy?

What will happen to all the decades of historical data already collected that is not available in a convenient electronic form? Will it be discarded?

How can the proposed peer review of the Nature Conservancy's work be considered scientifically credible when the MOU says the peer reviewers will be hand-picked by the Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy?

Since when does GAP modeling equate to "data," as indicated in the MOU?

How does secondary literature equate to "data?"

If the presenters insist the attached MOU is "not a contract," (which I've personally observed a USFS manager argue) then which specific part of the United States Code authorizes the Forest Service to pay money to a private corporation without a contract? (The figure I heard was $500,000 has already been paid on this)

Explain all payments which the Forest Service has paid to TNC, and which are associated with the MOU.

What compensation is being paid to the peer reviewers?

Specifically who are the peer reviewers?

Based on what criteria were the peer reviewers selected?

What other relationships exist between the peer reviewers, the TNC and the Forest Service?

Why is the Forest Service handing over management of our federal lands to The Nature Conservancy, a private corporation with its own agendas, a checkered reputation and no public accountability?

Work Plan
For
Challenge Cost-Share Agreement
Between
USDA Forest Service, Southwestern Region
And
The Nature Conservancy, Arizona and New Mexico Chapters

This work plan covers tasks to be completed in three strategic focal areas identified by the U.S. Forest Service Region 3 as necessary to meet regional priorities, including preparation of Forest Plan revisions. Five of Region 3’s 11 forests are scheduled to begin Forest Plan revisions in fiscal year 2006; five are scheduled to initiate plan revisions in fiscal year 2007; one Forest (Coronado) has already initiated its plan revision.
Region 3’s Strategic Action Plan identifies the ‘restoration of functionality of fire-adapted systems’ as a priority goal. Forest Plan revisions provide an opportunity for Forests to propose strategies for accomplishing this goal. Region 3 has identified 6 essential components needed to formulate ecological-based management objectives and meet the requirements of Forest Plan Regulations. This work plan addresses three priority tasks, including:
(1) Assessment of Assessments, a review of information developed since the last round of Land and Resource Management Plans that will enable the Forest Service to satisfy information standards established under new planning rules and to ensure that the best available scientific information is integrated into the development of Forest Plans.
(2) Determining the Historical/Natural Range of Variations for major vegetation types and the biological diversity they harbor. HRV characterizations provide a baseline for evaluating the short- and long-term effects of natural and anthropogenic disturbances on forest resources. The historical range of variation in disturbance regimes, and climatic effects on these regimes, is the foundation for developing models of vegetative change.
(3) Develop Models of Vegetative Change for major Southwestern vegetation types. Development of ecological models for vegetation types will enable the Forest Service to evaluate management activities and better incorporate the role of ecological processes in forest management.
The Nature Conservancy will establish a team of ecologists from the Arizona and New Mexico Chapters to work with the Forest Service over an 18-month period to complete tasks identified under the three strategic areas. The following pages contain detailed statements of work to be completed. A basic summary of need, the approach that would be used to carry out the work and an itemized list of deliverables is included in each. A table charting the timeframe for deliverables and a budget for the 18-month project period are also provided. Finally, we have provided a statement of qualifications that summarizes the experience of Conservancy staff relative to the proposed work.
I. ASSESSMENT OF ASSESSMENTS

Background:
Forest Plan revisions will be guided by forest planning rules and strategic goals established at national, regional and Forest levels. ‘The extent to which strategic goals may be accomplished in a timely manner will, in part, be a function of the information base available on the status and ecological condition of forest lands and the relationship between forest conditions and the status of biological diversity. Region 3 is planning to convene a workshop for forest planners, biologists and researchers to identify and evaluate the relevance of available ecological and conservation assessments. An expected outcome of the workshop is a better understanding of and commitment to use ecological assessments in Forest Plan revisions. An additional, likely outcome will be a set of standards, criteria or common understanding about the types of assessment information that would be most useful, both for evaluating new assessment information that comes to light as well identifying new assessment information that will be important to collect in the future. Standards will facilitate an efficient literature and data review, which will be an ongoing process important to parts II and III of this proposal. Standards will also enable us to evaluate the utility of USFS legacy data sets, or those data still in paper form that have not been integrated into electronic, corporate data sets but may contain information that meets standards for needed assessment information.

Approach:
The Nature Conservancy began developing ecoregional conservation assessments in 1996. Ecoregional assessments synthesize multiple types of scientific data to identify the most important areas to maintain biological diversity and the ecological processes that perpetuate ecosystem dynamics and sustain habitat across the landscape. They include contemporary analyses of traditional and new data sources. Collectively, they represent the most comprehensive analyses of biological diversity available.
The Conservancy will participate in the Forest Service-sponsored workshop presenting results from ecoregional assessments, including infonnalion on the distribution of important conservation areas and the conservation targets found within identified areas; results of the grassland assessment conducted in Arizona and now being implemented in New Mexico, with particular emphasis on results relating to the role of fire in maintaining this major biome of the Southwest; results from fire regime condition assessments conducted for the region and for particular landscapes; and results of an aquatic assessment prepared for Arizona, focusing on native fishes. Presentation will include a review of the criteria used to select conservation targets and the systems supporting targets, and how this approach may be relevant to forest plan revisions. Sufficient background on how the assessments were developed will be provided to enable workshop participants to evaluate the utility of the data.

The workshop will present the first opportunity to review assessment information developed by TNC and others. Parts II and III of this work plan will involve ongoing evaluation and integration of assessment information into the Forest Plan revision process. Moreover, assessment information will be critical to informing the subsequent components of work outlined in this proposal (parts II & III). Therefore, we will continually review, evaluate, and integrate, where warranted, new or existing assessment information into the deliverables outlined in this proposal. Additional assessment information will be sought from primary and secondary literature sources, and government, academic, and private institutional sources.

Deliverables:

1) Presentation and interpretation of Conservancy scientific assessments at the Forest Service-sponsored assessment of assessments workshop.

2) Standards and criteria, developed collaboratively with Regional staff, for identifying and evaluating existing data that will be useful for Forest Plan revisions.

3) Reports or annotated bibliographies that identify and describe the scientific information sources that promise to be most useful in the ecological assessment phase of the Forest Plan revision process.

4) Provide TNC ecological assessment data in the forms that would be most useful to the Forest Service — databases, narrative reports, spatial data, or other.

II. Determining Historical/Natural Range of Variation

Background:
‘Ecosystem diversity’ and ‘ecological sustainability’ have been identified by USFS as key concepts guiding the development of Forest Plan revisions. Ecosystem diversity across a landscape is a function of potential natural vegetation types disturbance regimes, succession, and competition for resources under shifting climatic patterns that influence ecosystems across spatial and temporal dimensions. Understanding the result of this type of change, relative to the distribution and abundance of major vegetation types, habitat, and, ultimately, populations of forest-dependent organisms, is at the heart of understanding the historical or natural range of variation (HRV). Return intervals for fire, pests and disease outbreaks, the composition and structure of vegetation, and the response of forest-dependent organisms are all important components in describing the variation of ecosystems.

The overlay of anthropogenic activities within forests represents another type of disturbance that shifts the trajectories and relative proportions of ecosystem types, which, in turn, changes the abundance and distribution of forest resources, such as sensitive species. Managing the proportions of ecosystem types and their trajectories such that forest resources remain viable is the basis for "ecological sustainability” Characterizing the various facets of HRV for ecosystem types found on Forest lands will require synthesizing information on the spatial and temporal variation in disturbance regimes, which will provide model input for ecological modeling described in part III of this proposal. This synthesis should also provide an important baseline from which to (1) identify desired future conditions; (2) assess the benefits and limitations of forest management practices (further articulated in part III of this proposal); (3) make predictions about the responses of forest organisms to management practices that can be tested in an adaptive management and monitoring system and (4) determine information gaps that limit our understanding of key ecosystem components and their function.

Approach:

In conjunction with Regional and Forest-level staff TNC will identify the most appropriate sub-regional scale or unit of analysis on which to characterize HRV and to perform ecological modeling specified in part III. Available data sources to determine the base unit of analysis (vegetation component) include, Gap Vegetation, Terrestrial Ecosystem Surveys, General Ecosystem Surveys, Land Type Associations, Forest Inventory Analysis, and Potential Natural Vegetation. These data sauces will be evaluated for completeness across Forests and scale of resolution. We estimate that, at the coarsest level, HRV would be characterized for 15 or more potential natural vegetation types (Appendix I for preliminary list).

HRVs, ultimately, will be compiled from primary and secondary literature sources, supplemented with input by regional experts. The final determination of the appropriate sub-regional unit of analysis will likely be based on matching reasonably complete vegetation/system data sets with an adequate literature base on disturbance regimes, successional pathways and climatic patterns from which to derive meaningful HRV characterizations.
Data permitting HRV characterizations will focus on attributes such as vegetation composition and structure over large and small scales, patch size, patch dynamics, frequency and types of disturbance regimes (frequency, intensity, spatial extent, seasonality, etc.) and how climatic variability affects interactions among variables.
Data on select wildlife species will be synthesized to determine known and likely population responses to major natural or anthropogenic disturbance regimes operating across the landscape at different spatial and temporal scales. These analyses will provide a basis from which to evaluate effects to target species from various forest management strategies, and to establish testable hypotheses that could be evaluated under an adaptive management and monitoring system. Analysis at this level will enhance the Forest’s overall ability to propose management strategies that will meet the “ecological sustainability’ standard set forth in Forest Plan regulations. Target species will be selected based on discussions with Regional and Forest-level staff

Deliverables:

1) Base vegetation data set - utilizing one or more of the base data sets identified above-covering all Region 3 Forests attributed with available data on HRV.

2) Spatial data set depicting locations with empirical infirmation on disturbance regimes and accompanying photo documentation of conditions where available.

3) Narrative and tabular syntheses of HRV attributes for each ecosystem unit suitable for use or inclusion in planning and environmental analysis documents.

4) Annotated bibliography for all primary, secondary and expert resources consulted in the development of HRV characterizations.

5) Narrative synthesis of literature and data on how managing for historical range of variability will affect populations of select wildlife species.

6) Training sessions for Forest staff in HRV results.

III Developing Models of Vegetative Change

Background:

Ecological models provide an important basis from which to conduct adaptive management and monitoring programs. They provide researchers with predictive capability and managers with a tool to evaluate management activities. State-and-transition models are particularly useful for understanding changes across ecosystems. By characterizing the direction and types of changes in vegetation states as a result of disturbance and succession, state-and-transition models enable users to better understand forest dynamics. Predicting directional changes in vegetation states enables managers to predict changes in forest habitat, which then can be used to predict and evaluate changes in the populations of forest organisms. Quantitative state-and-transition models also make it possible to conduct landscape scenario analyses that planners can use to compare predicted outcomes of alternative management regimes. Inherent to the restoration of fire adapted systems is the notion of change, so model development will play a central role in enabling the Forest Service to understand change and evaluate desired future conditions.

Approach:

TNC will use the Vegetation Dynamic Development Tool (VDDT) to complete state-and-transition models for major vegetation types. We will collaboratively identify the appropriate ecosystem classification unit and scale of models, and therefore number to be completed, based on an assessment of the scale of current vegetation data with data on disturbance regimes and vegetation effects. Available data sources to evaluate include, Gap Vegetation, Terrestrial Ecosystem Surveys, General Ecosystem Surveys, Land Type Associations, Forest Inventory Analysis and Potential Natural Vegetation. We estimate that, at the coarsest level, HRV would be characterized for 15 or more potential natural vegetation types (see Appendix 1 for preliminary list). Models will be developed through a combination of data from primary and secondary literature sources supplemented by input from regional experts. Models will be subjected to review by peers in jointly selected private institutions, agendas, and universities.

TNC will work with Forest staff to identify potential management scenarios and treatments to facilitate scenario analyses at the Forest level. To facilitate widespread and consistent use of VDDT models within Region 3 TNC will hold training sessions for Forest staff in conjunction with training associated with HRV identified in section II of this proposal.
Deliverables:
1) A select set of VDDT models for major vegetation/ecosystem units identified jointly by TNC and the Forest Service and model output describing forest states. Models


will provide basis fix determining natural vegetation, historical range of variability, Desired Future Conditions and subsequent scenario analysis using different management treatments.
2) Supporting documentation for key attributes and assumptions built into models.
3) Training sessions for Forest staff on development and use of VDDT models for landscape management scenario analysis.

Appendix 1. Preliminary list of Potential Natural Vegetation Types for which HRV and VDDT would be based.
1) Madrean pine-oak woodland
2) Madrean encinal woodland
3) Ponderosa pine (up to 4 types)
4) Chaparral (up to 2 types; Staler and Madrean)
5) Mixed conifer (up to 2 types; Madrean and Rocky Mountain)
6) Gallery coniferous riparian treats
7) Mixed broadleaf deciduous riparian forest
8) Cottonwood-willow riparian forest
9) Spruce-fir forest
10) Aspen
11) Montane willow riparian forest
12) Pinyon-Juniper woodland (up to 2 types)
13) Grassland/savannah (up to 3 types; semi-desert, Montane Great Basin)
14) Sub-alpine grassland
15) Sagebrush

John_P
04-30-2006, 02:54 PM
Just two things I would like to take a poke at...

GAP analysis, and Secondary literature as "data"

The former is explained quite well on the USGS site...

http://gapanalysis.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_800_200_219_43/http%3B/gapcontent1%3B7087/publishedcontent/publish/public_sections/gap_home_sections/gap_faqs/faqs/how_is_gap_analysis_done_.html

From my reading, it takes "current data" and known statistical "paramters", like rate of growth, distribution, averages, breeding rate, etc, and plugs them into a computer to create a current "model".

Then, experts "define" or the FS can define where they would like to see improvements at a broader level than the traditional species by species approach.

So you have two models one with "known" statistical data that should reflect current status and another with "desired" statistical data. Remember everything is related in an ecosystem, they are "dynamic", so if you want to see an increase in animal X, you might increase plant Y or decrease predator Z.

The technique helps tell you "how" you move from one model to the other.

As far as "garbage in, garbage out"...this is very true. Thus, the "known" data needs to be realiable and current. For the "desired" model, I would think that experts would rely on historical data...asking questions like "when has this area been at its healthiest?"

************************************************** ***

Secondary "literature" data.

I actually have experience with secndary data collection and synthesis.

Scientific papers often report "data". There are techniques of "combining" that data "across" individual studies.

It prevents the reliance on a "single" study...

An example might be this: Study A says "Widgets are endangered"...Study B through F are less "conclusive".

By combining the data across ALL of the studies, you are able to get a "clearer" picture as to the real status of widgets.

(note: This data, synthesized across studies, probably can be fed into the previous models, so that we have the best "estimates" of the current state of a given area.)

This type of data aggregration is called "Meta-analysis" and it helps us stay focused on the "data" rather than some author's "conclusions"

This is just information, because for a lot of us, terms like this can seem like a "black box" that no one understands.

Sandee McCullen
04-30-2006, 03:30 PM
Just two things I would like to take a poke at...

GAP analysis, and Secondary literature as "data"

The former is explained quite well on the USGS site...

http://gapanalysis.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_800_200_219_43/http%3B/gapcontent1%3B7087/publishedcontent/publish/public_sections/gap_home_sections/gap_faqs/faqs/how_is_gap_analysis_done_.html

From my reading, it takes "current data" and known statistical "paramters", like rate of growth, averages, breeding rate, etc, and plugs them into a computer.

Then, experts "define" or the FS can define where they would like to see improvements at a broader level than the traditional species by species approach.

So you have two models one with "known" statistical data and other with "desired" statistical data.

The technique helps tell you "how" you move from one to the other.

Secondary "literature" data. I actually have experience with this.

Scientific papers often report "data". There are techniques of "combining" that data "across" individual studies.

It prevents the reliance on a "single" study...

An example might be this: Study A says "Widgets are endangered"...Study B through F are less "conclusive".

By combining the data across ALL of the studies, you are able to get a "clearer" picture as to the real status of widgets.

This type of data aggregration is called "Meta-analysis" and it helps us stay focused on the "data" rather than some author's "conclusions"

This is just information, because for a lot of us, terms like this can seem like a "black box" that no one understands.

All sounds good on "paper" but TNC, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Sky Island Alliance, CBD, Forest Guardians etc, can and will twist any/all data to their own bias.
We've caught them in some of their biased "studies" ..... such as the Milk Veitch plant at the Imperial Sand Dunes.... and the "OHV's being the cause of Kangaroo Rats becoming deaf so the snakes can sneak up on them, thusly making them threatened" or any number of thousands of similar tweeked or biased judgements.

One of the major points made at the latest Collaboration Workshop I attended was: "if ALL stakeholders at the table do NOT AGREE it's imperative an outside, neutral specialist be brought into the picture"! CBD and the radical environmentalists did NOT like this statement. They felt they were specialists, doing these studies for a number of years, and we should all accept what they say. DON'T THINK SO.

Don't believe F/S is going to take this information and "evaluate it themselves". It will be accepted at face value. If WE continue a passive stance............. WE LOSE!

John_P
04-30-2006, 03:36 PM
I have a question Sandee...

What is a land grant university?

John_P
04-30-2006, 03:41 PM
All sounds good on "paper" but TNC, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Sky Island Alliance, CBD, Forest Guardians etc, can and will twist any/all data to their own bias.
We've caught them in some of their biased "studies" ..... such as the Milk Veitch plant at the Imperial Sand Dunes.... and the "OHV's being the cause of Kangaroo Rats becoming deaf so the snakes can sneak up on them, thusly making them threatened" or any number of thousands of similar tweeked or biased judgements.

One of the major points made at the latest Collaboration Workshop I attended was: "if ALL stakeholders at the table do NOT AGREE it's imperative an outside, neutral specialist be brought into the picture"! CBD and the radical environmentalists did NOT like this statement. They felt they were specialists, doing these studies for a number of years, and we should all accept what they say. DON'T THINK SO.

Don't believe F/S is going to take this information and "evaluate it themselves". It will be accepted at face value. If WE continue a passive stance............. WE LOSE!

Fair enough. The problem here seems to be that if you are a "biologist" for example, then it seems likely you may philosophically agree with some of these groups.

This in turn my be reflected in a "conservative" view when tough decisions need to be made.

A tough problem indeed.

John_P
04-30-2006, 04:08 PM
After researching "GAP" analysis a bit more (yes, I am nerd and the word "analysis" always stirs up interest)...

This may be a useful tool for OHV...

What if you were able to show that a protected species "predicted" habitat doesn't even lie in the area you are protecting?

Here is a good link...

http://gapanalysis.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_800_200_219_43/http%3B/gapcontent1%3B7087/publishedcontent/publish/public_sections/gap_home_sections/gap_faqs/faqs/what_is_a_conservation_gap_.html

The "gap" they are speaking about here is where the bird is actually predicted to be, NOT where there is current protection...

Some will argue that this is a "gap" in the sense that we need to conserve MORE land.

I would disagree on this interpretation.

The "gap" is the lack of conservation where the animal is predicted to be, not between what is protected and what isn't.

It is all from the "bird's" point of view (if they have one).

One could easily argue that certain lands, could be in fact "opened" up based on these type of analyses.

Sandee McCullen
04-30-2006, 04:39 PM
I have a question Sandee...

What is a land grant university?

Whew........ I know what they are but I'm certainly at a loss of how to describe this. UofA in Tucson is a Land Grant University in they have the "specialists" to study, write about, or conduct seminars on, issues such as "habitat, grazing, biology, hydrology etc". The University of Virginia is also one. I don't know "how" they achieve this designation but there are a number of them across the country. My opinion: UofA is biased against anything other than complete "protection of everything". There are several that I have worked with (UofV) is one that show a very "balanced" view. ??????????

I will be at the meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday and intend to ask this same question.

Sandee McCullen
04-30-2006, 04:43 PM
After researching "GAP" analysis a bit more (yes, I am nerd and the word "analysis" always stirs up interest)...

This may be a useful tool for OHV...

What if you were able to show that a protected species "predicted" habitat doesn't even lie in the area you are protecting?

Here is a good link...

http://gapanalysis.nbii.gov/portal/server.pt/gateway/PTARGS_0_2_800_200_219_43/http%3B/gapcontent1%3B7087/publishedcontent/publish/public_sections/gap_home_sections/gap_faqs/faqs/what_is_a_conservation_gap_.html

The "gap" they are speaking about here is where the bird is actually predicted to be, NOT where there is current protection...

Some will argue that this is a "gap" in the sense that we need to conserve MORE land.

I would disagree on this interpretation.

The "gap" is the lack of conservation where the animal is predicted to be, not between what is protected and what isn't.

It is all from the "bird's" point of view (if they have one).

One could easily argue that certain lands, could be in fact "opened" up based on these type of analyses.

GOOD LINK........... thanks, I hadn't seen this one. I don't know what it will do for us re F/S but I can certainly see where we can use this against Az BLM and Game & Fish in that the Pygmy Owl and ALL critical habitat designations that went with it has officially been "DE-listed" by the US Fish & Wildlife Service as of May 15, 2006..... BUT.......... Az BLM and AZ Game & Fish are declaring they will "continue with the existing designations and protection of the Pygmy Owl".

This "GAP" issue most certainly can help us.

FrenchChili
04-30-2006, 07:22 PM
Gosh I'm so lost about what's going on! Maybe I'll understand overtime. Are we supposed to wear a specific color:rolleyes:?
Are teh articles best to undestand this stuff? or is there a book that could summarize and help me accumulate the essential points??? LOL sorry this all new to me I've only been to one meeting.

BTW I suggest the meeting place/time go in general discussions.

Sandee McCullen
04-30-2006, 08:23 PM
Gosh I'm so lost about what's going on! Maybe I'll understand overtime. Are we supposed to wear a specific color:rolleyes:?
Are teh articles best to undestand this stuff? or is there a book that could summarize and help me accumulate the essential points??? LOL sorry this all new to me I've only been to one meeting.

BTW I suggest the meeting place/time go in general discussions.

The general overview is simply that Region 3 Forest (Az & NM) have contracted a VERY GREEN organization to "gather vegetation information/statistics" to allegedly help the FS to evaluate the trails on the specific ranger districts throughout Az & NM. We don't have a problem with this other than TNC is BIASED going into the study and it's not a given that FS will "evaluate" the data given to them by TNC or will simply take it at face value as presented.

That's why you're being asked to ask the following questions:

Why weren't land grant universities contracted to do this work?

How many bids were considered prior to contracting this work with The Nature Conservancy?

What will happen to all the decades of historical data already collected that is not available in a convenient electronic form? Will it be discarded?

How can the proposed peer review of the Nature Conservancy's work be considered scientifically credible when the MOU says the peer reviewers will be hand-picked by the Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy?

Since when does GAP modeling equate to "data," as indicated in the MOU?

How does secondary literature equate to "data?"

If the presenters insist the attached MOU is "not a contract," (which I've personally observed a USFS manager argue) then which specific part of the United States Code authorizes the Forest Service to pay money to a private corporation without a contract? (The figure I heard was $500,000 has already been paid on this)

Explain all payments which the Forest Service has paid to TNC, and which are associated with the MOU.

What compensation is being paid to the peer reviewers?

Specifically who are the peer reviewers?

Based on what criteria were the peer reviewers selected?

What other relationships exist between the peer reviewers, the TNC and the Forest Service?

Why is the Forest Service handing over management of our federal lands to The Nature Conservancy, a private corporation with its own agendas, a checkered reputation and no public accountability?

Send questions to:
Harv Forsgren hforsgren@fs.fed.us
Mare Rey Mark.Rey@usda.gov and
Dale Bosworth D ale.Bosworth@usda.gov
Jerry Ingersoll: JIngersoll@fs.fed.us

Hopefully some of these questions will be answered at the meetings this week.

FrenchChili
04-30-2006, 08:39 PM
Thank you Sandee:) makes more sense to me now!
I'm sending the letters @ this very moment.


hforsgren@fs.fed.us; Mark.Rey@usda.gov; ale.Bosworth@usda.gov; JIngersoll@fs.fed.us

^easier;)

Linda
05-02-2006, 08:58 AM
Note: A little research is always a good thing to do, particularly with the stuff you read on the internet.

The USDA doesn't have the resources to make these kinds of detailed studies so they put out bids to other organizations to do them for them. TNC won the contract. I am sure that some universities threw their proposals into the hat as well.

TNC has been making assessments for the USDA, under contract, since at least 1996. This latest contract is probably nothing more than an extension of the previous contract with TNC signed in 2001, is to "baseline all the vegetation in the Region 3 forests, model historical changes, and then prescribe how the Forests should be managed for the next several decades." The word "prescribe" can be taken many ways, but the basic dictionary definition is "To establish rules, laws, or directions" That doesn't mean the USDA has to accept TNC's findings.

A land grant university is not one that has "specialists" to study, write about, or conduct seminars on, issues such as "habitat, grazing, biology, hydrology etc". Arizona State University and many other non-land grant schools also have these programs. A land-grant college is simply one that benefited from the Morrill Act (1862), which which gave to the states federal lands for the establishment of colleges offering programs in agriculture, engineering, and home economics as well as in the traditional academic subjects.

The Morril Act granted to each state 30,000 acres of public land for each Senator and Representative under apportionment based on the 1860 census. Proceeds from the sale of these lands were to be invested in a perpetual endowment fund which would provide support for colleges of agriculture and mechanical arts in each of the states.

Sandee,
If you want your questions answered you might want to send advance copies to the people leading the meetings so that they can be researched in advance. I seriously doubt that there will be any USDA contract lawyers in attendance.

Sandee McCullen
05-02-2006, 09:29 AM
Note: A little research is always a good thing to do, particularly with the stuff you read on the internet.

The USDA doesn't have the resources to make these kinds of detailed studies so they put out bids to other organizations to do them for them. TNC won the contract. I am sure that some universities threw their proposals into the hat as well.

TNC has been making assessments for the USDA, under contract, since at least 1996. This latest contract is probably nothing more than an extension of the previous contract with TNC signed in 2001, is to "baseline all the vegetation in the Region 3 forests, model historical changes, and then prescribe how the Forests should be managed for the next several decades." The word "prescribe" can be taken many ways, but the basic dictionary definition is "To establish rules, laws, or directions" That doesn't mean the USDA has to accept TNC's findings.

A land grant university is not one that has "specialists" to study, write about, or conduct seminars on, issues such as "habitat, grazing, biology, hydrology etc". Arizona State University and many other non-land grant schools also have these programs. A land-grant college is simply one that benefited from the Morrill Act (1862), which which gave to the states federal lands for the establishment of colleges offering programs in agriculture, engineering, and home economics as well as in the traditional academic subjects.

The Morril Act granted to each state 30,000 acres of public land for each Senator and Representative under apportionment based on the 1860 census. Proceeds from the sale of these lands were to be invested in a perpetual endowment fund which would provide support for colleges of agriculture and mechanical arts in each of the states.

Sandee,
If you want your questions answered you might want to send advance copies to the people leading the meetings so that they can be researched in advance. I seriously doubt that there will be any USDA contract lawyers in attendance.

I've already gotten my questioned answered Linda..... and I DO "research" Linda. It doesn't take a contract attorney to answer them. I also am very much aware of the "Land Grant Universities" and I remember clearly I did not limit any one or two specific Universities. I stated there were many across the country. UofA is one and IS very biased. They have done EA/EIS studies for BLM and they WERE BIASED. The Morril Act simply states what colleges must offer............. They still require "specialists" to do specific studies and there are some GOOD ones out there that are not LAND OWNERS with a specific agenda behind them, and are neutral in their facts and data. I am not going to go into the hundreds of CBD or Sierra Club "data or studies" that I have researched only to find data that came from someones "personal" agenda or opinion.

I don't believe I have ever stated USDA or BLM (DOI) should do their own studies but they most certainly should not be done by a BIASED LAND OWNER group that do not, or will not, consider, multi-use of public lands. It has been stated before and will be again........... a NEUTRAL company/group specializing in whatever is being studied should be contracted............. NOT a radical environmentalist group.

I'm assuming you will be attending some meetings so your expertise can ask the "right questions" to support OHV enthusiasts as well as the OHV Coalition.

John_P
05-02-2006, 09:51 AM
I don't believe I have ever stated USDA or BLM (DOI) should do their own studies but they most certainly should not be done by a BIASED LAND OWNER group that do not, or will not, consider, multi-use of public lands. It has been stated before and will be again........... a NEUTRAL company/group specializing in whatever is being studied should be contracted............. NOT a radical environmentalist group.

Hmm..

Greens are biased.

Universities are biased.

Land owners are biased.

I assumer OHV would be considered biased, too. (from their POV)

Government is either biased (because they emply greens) or they are broke or under-staffed.

A neutral party? Do these companies exist? Can you name one?

So I did some gereral "poking" around for outside environmental "consultants". Most of these companies work for corporations or businesses. The funny thing is, there are cases where they exhibit bias too! I couldn't believe it! Hired-guns, so to speak. Biased sampling, incorrect statistical procedures, etc...

So what is this really all about?

It is really about nullifying evidence, at least that is what I figure.

Greens say "Its bad"...We hire someone, "Its fine"....What is a decision maker to do!?!

You could throw it all out. But that is money spent...not likely.

So...I am trying to imagine myself as a decision maker...(it's tough, try it), I have conflicting reports in front of me. How should I decide?

I figure, there are two major factors weighing in on teh decision at this point...(if you have others I would be delighted to read them! Such as any land use requirements or legislation.)

(1) because of legislation on environmental issues, the decision is to be conservative environmentally, i.e. err on the side of the least impact.

AND/OR

(2) because of budget constraints, the decision should be fiscally manageable, i.e. try to do the best with the least amount of money.

What do you think?

My1stJeep
05-02-2006, 10:16 AM
You may not find one out there that is not biased, but that is where a collaborative effort, with representation from all the view points can assist. Having only one group perform the effort and producing the material will get a biased result. This will always result in a down side to one group or another.

Linda
05-02-2006, 10:26 AM
I don't plan on attending any of those meetings. I am way too busy right now.

John_P
05-02-2006, 10:30 AM
You may not find one out there that is not biased, but that is where a collaborative effort, with representation from all the view points can assist. Having only one group perform the effort and producing the material will get a biased result. This will always result in a down side to one group or another.

Oh...you hit it on the head...no doubt. That is why I have been fascinated with the "decision making process"...

How do Land managers do it?

What is the thought process?

How do they make decisions?

Seriously. I think this really informs us...Helps understand THEIR (i.e. BLM, AZGF) issues. We we understand their issues, we can better present solutions.

Linda
05-02-2006, 11:39 AM
The old adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is true in many cases, but sometimes those sqeaky wheels are just too annoying and are ignored or tossed out instead. Government agencies are made up of people. People, after a while, have a tendency to ignore rants, tantrums, and demands made by those who don't know how to communicate properly. I have a feeling that, while the Arizona OHV community might be a squeaky wheel, it's not getting much grease these days, possibly because some of its representatives are just getting a little too annoying.

My1stJeep
05-02-2006, 12:05 PM
I can't say that won't happen, however some of those representing the so called environmental groups are very annoying, however they continue to get heard based on the fear factor. The land management is always afraid of being sued by these groups, so no matter how annoying they get, they still get heard.

At this point we have been overlooked for so long, I feel we need to be annoying so they know this is not a fad, that we are not going away. I do say we need to be the squeakly wheel, but be professional about being the squeaky wheel.

John_P
05-02-2006, 12:14 PM
Squeaky wheels don't get greased, they get replaced. :D

Sandee McCullen
05-02-2006, 01:44 PM
Hmm..

Greens are biased.

Universities are biased.

Land owners are biased.

I assumer OHV would be considered biased, too. (from their POV)

Government is either biased (because they emply greens) or they are broke or under-staffed.

A neutral party? Do these companies exist? Can you name one?

So I did some gereral "poking" around for outside environmental "consultants". Most of these companies work for corporations or businesses. The funny thing is, there are cases where they exhibit bias too! I couldn't believe it! Hired-guns, so to speak. Biased sampling, incorrect statistical procedures, etc...

So what is this really all about?

It is really about nullifying evidence, at least that is what I figure.

Greens say "Its bad"...We hire someone, "Its fine"....What is a decision maker to do!?!

You could throw it all out. But that is money spent...not likely.

So...I am trying to imagine myself as a decision maker...(it's tough, try it), I have conflicting reports in front of me. How should I decide?

I figure, there are two major factors weighing in on teh decision at this point...(if you have others I would be delighted to read them! Such as any land use requirements or legislation.)

(1) because of legislation on environmental issues, the decision is to be conservative environmentally, i.e. err on the side of the least impact.

AND/OR

(2) because of budget constraints, the decision should be fiscally manageable, i.e. try to do the best with the least amount of money.

What do you think?

In short........... YES, there are universities and/or private corporations that are "NEUTRAL".

Neutral being: Making judgements from SCIENTIFIC DATA NOT PERSONAL OPINIONS or data, charts, or graphs that are deliberately set up to a specificed end result. Don't think this is not done............. OFTEN........ by radical environmentalists.

i.e.: In a presentation to BLM on one of the state land use plans from several enviro groups two specific things were questioned in depth. 1) a "study" indicating the Kangaroo Rat would soon be Threatened because OHV's are causing the rats to lose their hearing and cannot hear the snakes sneaking up on them". (NO JOKE........ exact words). They stated a "study case" but when they were questioned about the "study", this is what was told us: "In 1968 rats were put into two rooms......... one quiet, one noisy. It was determined the ones from the noisy room had lost much of their hearing". hmmmmmmmmmmmm........ when asked: how many rats; what size rooms or boxes; what db level/s; length of time; and best of all...... how did they determine the rats had lost their hearing? Guess what the answer was? They "didn't know". GOOD SCIENTIFIC DATA right?

Almost all the graphs and charts that were supposed to be reflecting "results" ALL ended with the same bottom number. When asked "how they arrived at those identical numbers" they again could not answer.

The biologist from a Tucson group that is doing the studies on the Milk Veitch plant in the Imperial Sand Dunes (Glamis) would seem to be very green coming from Tucson but he's been very "FACT/DATA" oriented. His numerous pictures showing new plants and the actual counts he has personally done will account for much of his "scientific data".

I have worked with the Tucson based Environmental Conflict Resolution Inst. on several projects and found they are (at least the persons I worked with), if not "neutral" they certainly jumped on board to understand both sides.

NAMRC (North American Motorized Recreation Council) has put together a fairly complete list of "specialists" that "UNDERSTAND" both sides (Motorized vs Rad. Enviros) and can and do a "scientific data" study on facts rather than personal opinion. Many have been used by both sides.

I agree that many of the "environmental" companies or attorneys are on the green side.............. that's about all that are coming out of our universities today but there are many out there that can learn and will listen. All we ask is "both sides be considered" or "understood".

One of my questions to F/S was: When TNC turns in their report/findings will you actually "evaluate" this report to balance with all recreation or uses of F/S lands or will you take it at face value and use it to "close trails". There was a significant amount of stammering and studdering at this point. THIS issue is my major concern.

Not as much WHO but what kind of balance goes with the submitted data. Another issue many are forgetting...... Both federal land managers are mandated to consider "SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS". Not any/ALL impacts.

As to "not communicating properly" and "being annoying" so be it. If WE ALL have to be "annoying" so be it! If this is what gets the managers attention...... so be it! Does anyone think the radical enviros aren't annoying? These guys are in the managers offices on a daily basis; screen every OHV website they can find and attend every meeting they can. The land managers are not ignoring OHV (or ME) because I'm annoying................ they're ignoring OHV because they know we won't SUE them!!! They are beginning to worry but when they only see a select few of Red Shirts at meetings or volunteer work groups, and only receive a handful of letters from us they don't have much to worry about at this time. Many times they "bend to the enviros" only because they are always worried about being SUED and/or they need money. I wouldn't be surprised if TNC offered to do this for NO DOLLARS!!!!

CBD recently hired a gal to do nothing but deal with F/S allegedly to "help them through their mandated planning. (Transportation Rule) This is specifically directed to OHV trails.......... CBD then stepped in and had the University of Virginia (Land Grant University) host several "Authentic" Collaboration Workshops and invited the OHV community to the table to "help them understand 'working together'". CBD then promptly started "selecting" who would be allowed to attend. When they found out I had attended several other Collaborative Workshops they "had to go to their leaders to see if this would 'be for me'." As it turned out they did extend an invitation but this was after Blue Ribbon Coalition had requested to attend and were told "NO". They pursued the issue and were extended an invitation at the same time I was. Questionable? A bit later we found the "environmental groups.... CBD, Sierra Club, Wilderness Society, Sky Island Alliance etc...... held a meeting the day before the workshop to "Plan on how to deal with OHV, or look for "areas" to limit them to, within the Transportation Rule". Collaboration?, Stakeholders at the table?, work towards a "land use plan that is equitable to all"........ don't think so.

Check out the CBD website....... following this Collaborative workshop and CBD's plan to "put us into parks" we find their website plastered with pictures of "tire tracks EVERYWHERE"!! Shame shame........ OHV destroys our lands!!!....... Anyone want to guess where the pictures were taken? Arizona OHV Parks!!!! The best one is at the Cinders OHV area in Flagstaff. Look at all the tracks up and across the cinders!!!

Bottom line.............. it's going to take a lot more than "me" being "annoying" if we have even the slightest hope to win. Hopefully most of you are not "too busy" to get involved in issues that concern your sport!

Sedona Jeep School
05-03-2006, 08:12 AM
The old adage that the squeaky wheel gets the grease is true in many cases, but sometimes those sqeaky wheels are just too annoying and are ignored or tossed out instead. Government agencies are made up of people. People, after a while, have a tendency to ignore rants, tantrums, and demands made by those who don't know how to communicate properly. I have a feeling that, while the Arizona OHV community might be a squeaky wheel, it's not getting much grease these days, possibly because some of its representatives are just getting a little too annoying.
Well said, Linda!

My observation has been that the land managers do try to find some middle ground, but, these days, they expect to be sued. A federal judge makes a ruling, and then the land managers go back, make some revisions, etc. etc. etc. It is really a dynamic, messy, never-ending process. That is why it is so important for all of us to get involved and stay involved.

And, again, Chris and Linda said it well: effective, persistent communication--not whining, threatening, and name-calling. Show our land managers some respect for the BS they handle, and they are more likely to show us respect, and actually listen when we have something to say.

I am impressed with the money, influence and organization of the Nature Conservancy. Imagine what OHV could accomplish if we could garner that level of $upport and network. WE would be doing the studies that the USFS uses as base data.

Sandee McCullen
05-04-2006, 11:35 PM
REPORT:
I attended both the agency meeting as well as the public meeting yesterday re the Forest Planning and the TNC issue. The earlier meeting resulted in numerous supporting issues for our side. Regional forester was not happy that his staff had not gotten not only the Forest Planning Meeting announcement out they didn't do anything re the TNC agreement. They were surprised I had a copy of the actual MOU and asked "OHV stay involved". They "thanked us" numerous times and made comment of the letters. I had received a call from D.C. before I left for the meetings and then found out Chief Bosworth had already contacted the Regional Forester about the emails. Region 3 have stated they WILL RESPOND to all your letters. Please keep them in file or forward them to me as we need to keep records of what is told you vs what was told us last night.

Q. Were Land Grant Universities contracted to do this vegetation study?
A. They were considered........... Not contracted. F/S felt TNC was the best for the job in reviewing all aspects.

Q. What will happen to all the decades of historical data already collected that is not available in convenient electronic form: Will it be discarded?
A. No. TNC are not doing any 'on the ground' study. They are simply collating ALL known data. If we do not agree or have more we can submit it. All study information is available as public records under FOIA.

Q. How can the proposed peer review of TNC work be considered scientifically credible when the MOU says the peer reviewers will be hand-picked by the Forest Service and TNC?
A. There are 8 (?) selected members: (couldn't write fast enough and spelling is guess work) David Huffman, NAU; Tom Sweetman, UofA; Carolyn Hoesing, Rocky Mtn F/S Center; ? Pierson, UoA; Brandon Visitmyer, ?; Craig Allen, USGS..... These are the only names I got but Bob Davis said there were 8. I just emailed him and asked if he'd send the list and their specialty.

Q. What compensation is being paid to the peer reviewers?
A. No salary. Expenses only.......... Travel, hotels etc.

Q. Based on what criteria were the peer reviewers selected?
A. Their specialty in vegetation species. i.e.: Several were involved in species of Pine, others were involved in grasses. (these specialties should be included with the names and information from Bob Davis, Region 3 Director of Planning)

Q. How does FS expect to build "collaborative partnerships" when they "draw the picture" to look like they're in partnership with very radical environmental groups that tend to have their own agenda and are large LAND OWNERS?
A. There was some hesitation on this one and they expressed their "surprise" that the public felt TNC was biased. They acknowledged TNC's original intent was to acquire land but they believe TNC's vision is much different from that today.

I spoke to to several of them later about the fact that it doesn't really matter what TNC's agenda is or isn't...... The perception from the public is what will keep them from the table. Do they (FS) think maybe this might be a plan/agenda from environmental groups such as CBD and TNC to encourage partnerships to fail? We talked about the Collaborative Workshops through CBD and they were stressed and angry that CBD was "indicating" they were supported or sponsored by Region 3. Will the same thing happen with TNC reports? They (FS)claim they hadn't thought of this issue but would "keep it in mind".??????????

The public meeting showed 78 people. 12 were OHV. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU THAT TOOK TIME TO ATTEND!!! It counts, and was recognized by FS. What amazed me the most is it was not just OHV that had a problem with the TNC agreement. Tonto Supervisor called today to extend his "Thanks" to all that attended and joined in. He feels this is a good first step to making this planning process work. He did ask I remind everyone this Az/NM Planning process is NOT the Transportation Rule (OHV trail planning). BOTH of these plans will be in parallel over the next 3 years. He also noted the IMPORTANCE of OHV enthusiasts to get involved with their local ranger district and make sure OHV trails are on the "base" map. FS is not doing a complete route inventory like BLM is doing. They will be relying on YOUR GPS coordinances and mapping information to build a base map from. They will evaluate trails from that map only.

Sandee McCullen
05-15-2006, 11:44 PM
REPORT:
I attended both the agency meeting as well as the public meeting yesterday re the Forest Planning and the TNC issue. The earlier meeting resulted in numerous supporting issues for our side. Regional forester was not happy that his staff had not gotten not only the Forest Planning Meeting announcement out they didn't do anything re the TNC agreement. They were surprised I had a copy of the actual MOU and asked "OHV stay involved". They "thanked us" numerous times and made comment of the letters. I had received a call from D.C. before I left for the meetings and then found out Chief Bosworth had already contacted the Regional Forester about the emails. Region 3 have stated they WILL RESPOND to all your letters. Please keep them in file or forward them to me as we need to keep records of what is told you vs what was told us last night.

Q. Were Land Grant Universities contracted to do this vegetation study?
A. They were considered........... Not contracted. F/S felt TNC was the best for the job in reviewing all aspects.

Q. What will happen to all the decades of historical data already collected that is not available in convenient electronic form: Will it be discarded?
A. No. TNC are not doing any 'on the ground' study. They are simply collating ALL known data. If we do not agree or have more we can submit it. All study information is available as public records under FOIA.

Q. How can the proposed peer review of TNC work be considered scientifically credible when the MOU says the peer reviewers will be hand-picked by the Forest Service and TNC?
A. There are 8 (?) selected members: (couldn't write fast enough and spelling is guess work) David Huffman, NAU; Tom Sweetman, UofA; Carolyn Hoesing, Rocky Mtn F/S Center; ? Pierson, UoA; Brandon Visitmyer, ?; Craig Allen, USGS..... These are the only names I got but Bob Davis said there were 8. I just emailed him and asked if he'd send the list and their specialty.

Q. What compensation is being paid to the peer reviewers?
A. No salary. Expenses only.......... Travel, hotels etc.

Q. Based on what criteria were the peer reviewers selected?
A. Their specialty in vegetation species. i.e.: Several were involved in species of Pine, others were involved in grasses. (these specialties should be included with the names and information from Bob Davis, Region 3 Director of Planning)

Q. How does FS expect to build "collaborative partnerships" when they "draw the picture" to look like they're in partnership with very radical environmental groups that tend to have their own agenda and are large LAND OWNERS?
A. There was some hesitation on this one and they expressed their "surprise" that the public felt TNC was biased. They acknowledged TNC's original intent was to acquire land but they believe TNC's vision is much different from that today.

I spoke to to several of them later about the fact that it doesn't really matter what TNC's agenda is or isn't...... The perception from the public is what will keep them from the table. Do they (FS) think maybe this might be a plan/agenda from environmental groups such as CBD and TNC to encourage partnerships to fail? We talked about the Collaborative Workshops through CBD and they were stressed and angry that CBD was "indicating" they were supported or sponsored by Region 3. Will the same thing happen with TNC reports? They (FS)claim they hadn't thought of this issue but would "keep it in mind".??????????

The public meeting showed 78 people. 12 were OHV. THANKS TO ALL OF YOU THAT TOOK TIME TO ATTEND!!! It counts, and was recognized by FS. What amazed me the most is it was not just OHV that had a problem with the TNC agreement. Tonto Supervisor called today to extend his "Thanks" to all that attended and joined in. He feels this is a good first step to making this planning process work. He did ask I remind everyone this Az/NM Planning process is NOT the Transportation Rule (OHV trail planning). BOTH of these plans will be in parallel over the next 3 years. He also noted the IMPORTANCE of OHV enthusiasts to get involved with their local ranger district and make sure OHV trails are on the "base" map. FS is not doing a complete route inventory like BLM is doing. They will be relying on YOUR GPS coordinances and mapping information to build a base map from. They will evaluate trails from that map only.

I'm sure many of you will receive this same response but this is what I received this morning. It's typical of evasive governmental responses but it does follow what they told us in the meeting last week and it does explicitly say WE can review the data.......... we must watch this throughout the process as we MUST get involved with the process.

Again.............. thanks to all that helped bring this to their attention. I must say I believe they are "trying". We have to remember they (FS) are stepping waaaaay outside their normal comfort zone in working with us.

Answers to Questions about The Nature Conservancy
Challenge Cost Share Agreement


What does the Forest Service need that The Nature Conservancy can provide?

The need to address ecological sustainability was codified in the 2005 NFMA rule as “a framework to contribute to sustaining native ecological systems by providing ecological conditions to support diversity of native plant and animal species in the plan area” (36 CFR 219.10(b)). Specific requirements in manual and handbook require that the Forest Service evaluate ecological sustainability at multiple scales, evaluate the range of variation of the ecosystems, determine the condition and trend of ecosystem characteristics, and identify species of concern and species of interest. As described below, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has a large proportion of the information needed to address broad scale ecological assessment issues. They also have the background and expertise of assessing vegetation and wildlife at broad scales.

Is the TNC making decisions for the Forest Service?

TNC is not making any decisions for the Forest Service. Tthey are providing information that contributes to a portion of the ecological context to inform decisions. The information being provided by TNC is subject to review by both Forest Service and external reviewers. The information will be evaluated by the Forest Service for contributing to the broad scale ecological context within which we manage. More specific information at the Forest scale will provide local information to make more specific ecological evaluations. This information is being collected by Forest Service personnel. All assessments will be available to the public. The Forest Supervisor will make the decision for the Forest Plan revision based on ecological, social and economic information plus the results of collaboration with all interest groups. After the Forest Plan revision process is concluded project level decisions will be made by District Rangers and Forest Supervisors.

What is a Challenge Cost Share Agreement?

Challenge Cost Share agreements are authorized under 1587.12Public Law 102-154 - Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 19922 (Challenge Cost Share). This Act authorizes the Forest Service to cooperate with other parties to develop, plan, and implement actvitiesactivities such as this one that are mutually beneficial. Activities are financed with matching funds from cooperators. Cooperators may be public and private agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals. The use of a challenge cost share agreement is the most effective use of tax payer dollars to achieve implement this activity.


Why weren't land grant universities contracted to do this work?

A variety of potential sources were evaluated to provide the necessary broad scale information. TNC had a large proportion of the information the Forest Service needs to conduct ecological sustainability analysis. They also had existing expertise and background in conducting studies of this type. No University had the ready capability to provide such an integrated body of work. The Ecological Restoration Institute at Northern Arizona University was asked if they would like to address this in their program of work in 2004 but they did not feel it fit their areas of emphasis. The Forest Service did use contracts with the University of Arizona and University of New Mexico to conduct socio-economic assessments.

How many bids were considered prior to contracting this work with The Nature Conservancy?

As described above the relationship with TNC is a challenge cost share and not a contract. Since TNC has a mutual interest in developing this information they are actually paying for part of the assessment. Compared to similar assessments done in other Forest Service Regions this approach was the most efficient use of the taxpayers’ dollars and a request for proposal for bids was not developed.

What will happen to all the decades of historical data already collected that is not available in a convenient electronic form? Will it be discarded?

Many types of data will be used for forest plan revisions. All pertinent information to the planning process will be utilized. The Forest Service has been migrating appropriate legacy information into an electronic format for inclusion into corporate data bases for a number of years but still has and will also retain hard copies of information. No information that is still pertinent will be discarded as part of the planning process.

What qualifications do Nature Conservancy personnel have at all levels in this program? What experience, education, expertise?

TNC has a science branch as part of their organization. The working relationship for the project has been primarily with this branch of TNC. The team names and education specific to this effort are attached in Appendix A. Some other TNC staff that havehas provided minimal reviews or input areis not included on the list.

Since when does GAP modeling equate to "data," as indicated in the MOU?

GAP data, or specifically ReGAP vegetation data as it is now currently known, is a comprehensive remote sensed, spatial data set comprised of land cover information including vegetation. This data set is extensive such that it covers all land ownerships including National Forest System lands in the southwest. It has been prepared to address broad scale biological diversity issues and is one of the only current and comprehensive spatial data sets available in the southwest. Gap Analysis is not the modeling that is being used in plan revision. More specific data at the Forest scale with accuracy evaluation will be used to make Forest level analyses.

How does secondary literature equate to "data?"

Secondary literature is scientific related information that has not been professionally peer-reviewed and published in a refereed journal. However it is published as articles, general reports and abstracts. Typically secondary literature contains basic information, or data that can be used in lieu of, or as a supplement to peer-reviewed published data.

If the presenters insist the attached MOU is "not a contract," (which I've personally observed a USFS manager argue) then which specific part of the United States Code authorizes the Forest Service to pay money to a private corporation without a contract? (The figure I heard was $500,000 has already been paid on this) Explain all payments which the Forest Service has paid to TNC, and which are associated with the MOU.

This agreement is not an MOU or a contract. See the answer above about what a Challenge Cost Share Agreement is for the citation for the authority and nature of this type of agreement. The payments to the TNC are processed through normal grants and agreements processes. When the challenge cost share agreement was approved in 2004 the Forest Service share was approximately $550,000 and TNC share was about $121,000. The Forest Service has working relationships with TNC on other projects including thinning and monitoring programs.

How can the proposed peer review of the Nature Conservancy's work be considered scientifically credible when the MOU says the peer reviewers will be hand-picked by the Forest Service and the Nature Conservancy? Based on what criteria were the peer reviewers selected?

The Forest Service has an interest in making decisions based on the best available information and science. There are requirements from the Office of Management and Budget that scientific information produced or used by the agency undergo a science consistency review. A science consistency process has been developed by the Forest Service and the Southwestern Region. The criteria for selecting the panel for peer review iscriteria for selecting the panel for peer review are that they be objective and recognized subject matter experts. [THIS IS CONFUSING. IS THE ONLY CRITERIA THAT THEY BE “RECOGNIZED SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS? IF SO JUST SAY IT. IF NOT, PROVIDE ALL THE CRITERIA.] The panel meets the criteria and is considered scientifically credible. They are independent and not controlled by the Forest Service or TNC.


What compensation is being paid to the peer reviewers?

Travel and lodging was paid for those reviewers who attended a meeting to discuss the project. No other compensation is being provided.


Specifically who are the peer reviewers?
[LET’S GO AHEAD AND LIST THEIR AREAS OF EXPERTISE FOLLOWING THEIR AFFILIATION. FOR THOSE THAT HAVE PHD’S, LIST THEM AS DR.]

• Dr. David Huffman, Research Associate, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ. Areas of expertise includeincludes fire ecology and restoration of Southwestern Ponderosa pine ecosystems.
• Dr. Tom Swetnam, Director, Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Areas of expertise includes dendrochronology and fire history of Southwestern landscapes.
• Dr. Carolyn Hull Sieg, Forest Ecologist, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Flagstaff, AZ. Areas of expertise includeincludes fire ecology and restoration.
• Dr. Guy McPherson, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Professor University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Areas of expertise include fire ecology and non-native plants and science and application.
• Dr. Brandon Bestelmeyer, Ecologist, Agricultural Research Service, Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, NM. Areas of expertise includesAreas of expertise include state-and-transition ecological modeling and vegetation patch dynamics of desert ecosystems.
• Dr. Craig Allen, Landscape Ecologist, Jemez Mountain Field Station, US Geological Survey, Los Alamos, NM. Area of expertise is fire ecology of Southwestern forests and montane grasslands.

What other relationships exist between the peer reviewers, the TNC and the Forest Service?

The panel members are part of the ecological professional community in the Southwest and have occassionoccasion to interact with a variety of land management agencies and conservation organizations including TNC and the Forest Service.

Will this information be used during travel management planning?

This information is to provide broad scale ecological context and was developed to support Forest Plan revisions. Travel management decisions are typically at finer scales. The TNC information may be used to provide the broad scale context for the effects analysis but will be enhanced with more specific information during the travel management analysis.

Why is the Forest Service handing over management of our federal lands to The Nature Conservancy, a private corporation with its own agendas, a checkered reputation and no public accountability?

The Forest Service will not and does not have the authority to hand over decisions about National Forest System lands. TNC is providing a portion of the information needed to inform our decisions. Other sources of ecological information plus economic and social information will be utilized. This information will be considered in the collaborative context described in the 2005 NFMA planning rule. Decisions are made by the Forest Supervisor.


For additional information, please contact Bob Davis, Director of Planning, Watershed, and Air for the SW Region of the USDA Forest Service (505-842-3210).
Appendix A
The Nature Conservancy Science Staff Associated with the USFS-TNC Cost Share Project


ARIZONA CHAPTER
SCIENCE STAFF - MARCH 2006










Rob Marshall, Director of Science (Joined TNC 1997)
M.F.S. (1990) School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University
B.A. (1987) Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic
Dave Gori, Senior Ecologist (Joined TNC 1989)
Ph.D. (1984) Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
B.A. Biology, University of California at Los Angeles
Edward Smith, Forest Ecologist (Joined TNC 1996)
M.S. (1994) School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University
B.A. (1983) Biology, University of California at San Diego
Dale Turner, Conservation Planner (Joined TNC 2001)
M.S. (1998) Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, University of Arizona
B.A. (1982) Behavioral Sciences, Rice University
Michael List, Science Information Manager (Joined TNC 2003)
M.A. (1996) Geography, Northern Arizona University
B.A. (1992) Political Science, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Heather Schussman, Forest Ecologist (Joined TNC 2003)
M.S. (2002) Range Management, School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona
B.A. (1998) Biology and Anthropology, Whitman College
Bruce Vanderlee, Wildlife Ecologist (Joined TNC 2004)
M.S. (1995) Range and Wildlife Management, Texas Tech University
B.S. (1992) Wildlife and Fisheries, South Dakota State University

Ruth Smith, Wildlife Biologist (Joined TNC 2004)
M.S. (2003) Biology, University of New Mexico
B.A. (1995) Environmental Studies, University of Vermont


Lisa McNeilly, Northern Arizona Program Director (Joined TNC 2006)
M.P.A. (1994) Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
B.S. (1986) Mathematics, Davidson College

Patrick McCarthy, Director of Conservation Programs (Joined TNC 1991)
M.S. 1991 University of Vermont, Botany/Field Ecology
1989 University of Michigan, Naturalist-Ecologist Training Program
B.S. 1982 University of Michigan, Zoology/Anthropology

Rob Marshall, Director of Science (Joined TNC 1997)
M.F.S. (1990) School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University
B.A. (1987) Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic
Dave Gori, Senior Ecologist (Joined TNC 1989)
Ph.D. (1984) Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona
B.A. Biology, University of California at Los Angeles
Edward Smith, Forest Ecologist (Joined TNC 1996)
M.S. (1994) School of Forestry, Northern Arizona University
B.A. (1983) Biology, University of California at San Diego
Dale Turner, Conservation Planner (Joined TNC 2001)
M.S. (1998) Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, University of Arizona
B.A. (1982) Behavioral Sciences, Rice University
Michael List, Science Information Manager (Joined TNC 2003)
M.A. (1996) Geography, Northern Arizona University
B.A. (1992) Political Science, University of Wisconsin at Madison
Heather Schussman, Forest Ecologist (Joined TNC 2003)
M.S. (2002) Range Management, School of Renewable Natural Resources, University of Arizona
B.A. (1998) Biology and Anthropology, Whitman College
Bruce Vanderlee, Wildlife Ecologist (Joined TNC 2004)
M.S. (1995) Range and Wildlife Management, Texas Tech University
B.S. (1992) Wildlife and Fisheries, South Dakota State University

Ruth Smith, Wildlife Ecologist (Joined TNC 2004)
M.S. (2003) Biology, University of New Mexico
B.A. (1995) Environmental Studies, University of Vermont

Lisa McNeilly, Northern Arizona Program Director (Joined TNC 2006)
M.P.A. (1994) Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University
B.S. (1986) Mathematics, Davidson College

Patrick McCarthy, Director of Conservation Programs, New Mexico (Joined TNC 1991)
M.S. 1991 University of Vermont, Botany/Field Ecology
1989 University of Michigan, Naturalist-Ecologist Training Program
B.S. 1982 University of Michigan, Zoology/Anthropology