SENATE JOINT MEMORIAL 8020
State of Washington 57th Legislature 2001 Regular Session
By Senators Hewitt, Sheahan, Morton, Hochstatter, Johnson, Roach and Stevens
Read first time 02/21/2001. Referred to Committee on Natural Resources, Parks & Shorelines.
TO THE HONORABLE DR. MICHAEL P. DOMBECK, CHIEF OF THE UNITED STATES FOREST SERVICE, AND TO THE PRESIDENT OF THE SENATE AND THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, AND TO THE SENATE AND HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES, IN CONGRESS ASSEMBLED:
We, your Memorialists, the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Washington, in legislative session assembled, respectfully represent and petition as follows:
WHEREAS, Forest health problems are well documented and widespread across the state of Washington; and
WHEREAS, United States Forest Service scientists have stated that Douglas fir bark beetles are killing fir trees all over eastern Washington in what they say is the most severe beetle outbreak recorded in the area since the 1950's, and is far beyond what is considered normal; and
WHEREAS, The United States Forest Service estimates that 24,000 acres of timber in the Colville National Forest are currently under attack by the beetles at epidemic levels; and
WHEREAS, Timber land in Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Spokane, and Yakima Counties is also greatly at risk or already infested by the bark beetle; and
WHEREAS, Although the United States Forest Service has chosen Alternative D as the preferred alternative for action on the Idaho Panhandle National Forests, which they view as the most aggressive of the five proposed actions to harvest dead, dying, and downed timber and to allow the potential harvest of trees which may die as the beetle outbreak spreads, they have not looked at treating the total number of acres at extreme risk to Douglas fir bark beetles; and
WHEREAS, In addition, the United States Forest Service estimates that several hundred thousand acres of timber on the Clearwater National Forest are currently under attack from insects and disease; and
WHEREAS, The United States Forest Service has not started any NEPA processes for the insect and disease problems on the Clearwater National Forest.
NOW, THEREFORE, Your Memorialists respectfully pray that there be aggressive, immediate, and continued management activities on all acres of Douglas fir bark beetle infested lands on all Washington national forests. Aggressive forest management will enhance and protect the health of our federal forest lands by reducing the effects of catastrophic wildfire which would threaten all forest values, including wildlife, water quality, and recreation opportunities. Management will also protect communities within and surrounding the affected areas.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we strongly support management activities to reduce the risk of further spreading of insects and disease on other national forest lands and private lands adjacent to federal lands, and to protect human lives and property.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage the United States Forest Service to first focus management activities on federal lands within one-half mile of private lands to decrease the bug impact and the risk of wildfire on privately owned timberland on areas that already have roads, and then to use revenue generated from harvest activities to fund ecosystem restoration and reforestation activities to benefit fish and wildlife and improve water quality where appropriate.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That we encourage the United States Forest Service to strongly consider current market conditions and the economic viability of timber sales when choosing harvest methods, encourage innovative and efficient logging techniques that ensure adequate protection for fish, wildlife, and water quality, and capture as much economic value of the dead and dying timber as possible without compromising water quality or wildlife habitat.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That copies of this Memorial be immediately transmitted to the Honorable Dr. Michael P. Dombeck, Chief of the United States Forest Service, the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and each member of Congress from the State of Washington.
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