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Revised forest management plan released

Revised forest management plan released
Written by ZJbTFBGJ2T

Revised forest management plan released  OurayNews.com

Revised forest management plan released

The U.S. Forest Service Releases Revised Land Management Plan for Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forests

The U.S. Forest Service has released the latest version of its revised Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison national forests land management plan. This plan will serve as a roadmap for managing the forests over the next 20 years, aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Timeline and Stakeholder Involvement

While an official timeline has not been provided, the revised plan could be adopted as early as next spring. However, the release of this plan triggers a 60-day period for stakeholders to file objections. These stakeholders include parties who have previously provided input on the plan, such as Ouray County commissioners.

Forest Management Aspects

The plan addresses several forest management aspects, including:

  1. Zoning for recommended wilderness areas
  2. Recreation
  3. Wildlife habitats
  4. Migration corridors
  5. Timber production

The plan also considers areas in the forests for both non-motorized and motorized recreational activities.

Climate Change Strategies

One key issue addressed in the updated plan is climate change, with an emphasis on resistance, resilience, and transition strategies. Some of these strategies may include controlled burns, mastication (mechanical clearing of forest undergrowth), and replanting tree species in certain habitats using seeds sourced from hotter and drier climates.

Changes to Commercial Logging

Plan documents indicate changes to commercial logging. Approximately 772,000 acres (26% of the forests’ land) are considered suitable for timber production. The Forest Service’s preferred potential harvest would be up to 5,000 total acres annually, consisting of spruce, fir, ponderosa pine, lodgepole pine, and aspen. This represents roughly 0.2% of the forests’ suitable land.

Compared to harvests conducted in the mid-1990s and 2000s, this could result in a nearly 162% increase in harvested volume. However, actual harvests will depend on market conditions and environmental factors. It takes Western Colorado’s forests between 120 and 160 years to fully regenerate, meaning it would take approximately 154 years to harvest all the forests’ land suitable for timber production.

“Timber harvest has always been and will continue to be an important part of how we actively manage the forest,” said Forest Service planner Sam Staley. “We want to be able to afford fuel treatments, and having local industry is pretty critical to that. The agency can’t pay its way out of fuel accumulation and fuel reduction, and we have to have partners to do that.”

Economic Impact and Benefits

According to documents released by the Forest Service, the updated plan will support 3,900 jobs, have a $125 million economic impact, and add 46,000 acres of recommended wilderness area, among other benefits. These outcomes contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.

Watershed Health and Protecting Water Resources

In addition to land management, the updated plan addresses maintaining watershed health, including smaller municipal streams that feed into larger rivers. The Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison national forests encompass 3.2 million acres and provide the Colorado River with over 619 billion gallons of water, representing more than 20% of its total supply.

Given the controversies surrounding the allocation of the Colorado River’s water supply in the West, protecting the over-allocated resources has become increasingly important. Ouray County will play a significant role in this process.

Eligible Waterways for National Wild and Scenic River Designation

Out of the plan’s 22 waterways eligible to join the National Wild and Scenic River System, five are located in Ouray County. These include the Uncompahgre River, Bear Creek, Canyon Creek, Cow Creek, and Red Mountain Creek. Collectively, they span nearly 20 miles and comprise 5,850 acres of national forest system land.

Designated wild and scenic rivers enjoy additional protections. Federal legislation prevents activities that could harm the river’s character, prohibits federal support for new dams and similar projects, establishes a quarter-mile protective buffer along waterways flowing through public lands, and requires a management plan with input from local landowners and stakeholders.

To be eligible for designation, waterways must be free-flowing and exhibit special characteristics such as beautiful scenery, recreation opportunities, unique wildlife, and historical or cultural value. The oversight of designated rivers depends on whether they are located within federal or state jurisdictions, and the final decision on designations lies with Congress.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Analysis

1. Which SDGs are addressed or connected to the issues highlighted in the article?

  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 15: Life on Land
  • SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

The article discusses forest management, climate change, timber production, and water resources, all of which are connected to the Sustainable Development Goals mentioned above.

2. What specific targets under those SDGs can be identified based on the article’s content?

  • SDG 13 Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters.
  • SDG 15 Target 15.2: Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests.
  • SDG 6 Target 6.6: Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, and lakes.

The article highlights the revised plan’s focus on climate change strategies, forest management, and maintaining watershed health, which align with the targets mentioned above.

3. Are there any indicators mentioned or implied in the article that can be used to measure progress towards the identified targets?

  • Indicator for SDG 13 Target 13.1: Number of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies implemented.
  • Indicator for SDG 15 Target 15.2: Percentage of forests under sustainable management.
  • Indicator for SDG 6 Target 6.6: Water quality index of monitored water-related ecosystems.

While the article does not explicitly mention these indicators, progress towards the identified targets can be measured using these indicators. For example, the number of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies implemented can measure progress towards SDG 13 Target 13.1.

SDGs, Targets, and Indicators Table

SDGs Targets Indicators
SDG 13: Climate Action Target 13.1: Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters. Number of climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies implemented.
SDG 15: Life on Land Target 15.2: Promote the implementation of sustainable management of all types of forests. Percentage of forests under sustainable management.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation Target 6.6: Protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, and lakes. Water quality index of monitored water-related ecosystems.

Behold! This splendid article springs forth from the wellspring of knowledge, shaped by a wondrous proprietary AI technology that delved into a vast ocean of data, illuminating the path towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Remember that all rights are reserved by SDG Investors LLC, empowering us to champion progress together.

Source: ouraynews.com

 

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