Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Welcome to my burned up work world. Yes, it's the land of ugliness but filled with rebirth (and ash grey undies). Pant legs become filled with oils from the sticky and pungent bear clover, stickers from an ever-present plant that has seeds that cling to almost everything and the ash/dust combination that penetrates and sticks to our perspiration-coated legs. In some areas, trees were literally incinerated, leaving needleless snags and sterilized soils. In other areas, the fire benefitted the forest, killing off smaller trees that really didn't belong there in the first place, due to decades of fire suppression. Many streams have renewed flows, because the overstocked stands of trees that depleted ground water now have much fewer to zero trees taking up water.
It IS important that we reduce large amounts of these dead trees, to prevent the inevitable future fires from sterilizing soils, causing significant erosion and allowing brush species to dominate for decades. Careful planning is only allowing about 50% of this medium-sized to be salvage logged. Snag patches are set aside for wildlife, such as black-backed woodpeckers and flickers to thrive on. Long-neglected roads are being fixed so that they don't erode and supply sediment to already impacted streams and rivers. Many good things are being done with the dollars generated from the timber off this project.
It certainly is a challenge for me to balance the issues and impacts and I am doing my best to serve the American public. I definitely try and distance myself from the timber industry's wants and demands. It's a fine line between "restoration" and "opportunism".



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