Prepared by conservation plaintiffs 2/7/02
More information is included in the Mission / Bitterroot Group Update on Page 8.
The total size of the Bitterroot Burned Area Recovery (BAR) project logging area was reduced from 41,000 acres to approximately 14,000 acres. The Forest Service's original draft project plan had proposed commercial logging on 80,000 acres.
- The amount of roadless areas to be logged was reduced from 16,800 acres to approximately 2,000 acres. This is an 88% percent reduction in logging in uninventoried roadless areas. In almost all of the remaining roadless areas to be logged, cutting is restricted to small trees and no road building is allowed. [The roadless areas involved are uninventoried roadless areas larger than 1,000 acres (or "unroaded areas") identified by local conservationists.]
- The settlement protects 16,000 acres in several watersheds that support strong populations of bull trout and westslope cutthroat trout. Percent reduction in logging in bull trout habitat was 72%. Watersheds benefiting from the settlement include Skalkaho Creek, Sleeping Child Creek, Tolan Creek, Blue Joint Creek, and Rye Creek. Many of the protected unroaded areas also provide important habitat for native fish.
- There was a 90% reduction (11,300 acres) in logging in uninventoried roadless areas in bull trout habitat.
- The Forest Service agreed to let stand Judge Molloy's decision affirming the right of citizens to appeal controversial Forest Service decisions.
- Plaintiffs agreed to dismiss their lawsuits challenging the BAR project and not to contest the 14,000 acres of timber sales.
- The Forest Service agreed to remove 27,000 acres slated for logging from the BAR project and to conduct full environmental analysis and public involvement (including administrative appeals) before conducting any future logging in those areas.
- The agreement calls for increased watershed restoration work in two important watersheds for native fish - Skalkaho Creek and Sleeping Child Creek. The timber industry and conservationists will jointly ask Congress to provide additional funding for restoration work across the project area.
- The agreement will result in natural vegetative recovery, especially in unroaded areas, that will benefit many wildlife species across the project area.