After reading the recent editorial “Resilient Forests” (Herald, Aug. 12), I would like to offer up a few comments.
The Resilient Federal Forests Act includes many different provisions, including incentivizing collaboration, simplifying environmental processes and fixing wildfire funding.
The editorial claims that the tools provided within the Resilient Federal Forests Act will “become means for losing public control of our resources.” That statement simply isn’t true. In fact, the act encourages more public participation in collaborative projects.
As those involved in forest management here in Colorado have found out, collaboration helps get things done on the ground. A wonderful example is SBEADMR (spruce beetle epidemic and aspen decline management response) – a landscape level project on the Grand Mesa Uncompaghre and Gunnison National Forest that will treat up to 120,000 acres to salvage and utilize dead trees, regenerate new forests, and reduce the potential for catastrophic fires.
The other important issue is the premise that funding alone (even greater funding) will fix this complicated issue. The reality is the Forest Service and other federal agencies need to be more efficient with the funding they already get. Provisions in the act build upon tools provided in the 2014 Farm Bill that have proven to be successful on the ground, while increasing efficiency and decreasing cost.
Examples include expedited environmental review for insect and disease projects and Good Neighbor Authority.
Finally, I would like to compliment Scott Tipton for co-sponsoring the Resilient Federal Forests Act. I appreciate his willingness to look for real solutions that will help get work done on the ground.