CFLRP Pre-Proposal Review
Overall recommendations: Colville, Deschutes, and Fremont-Winema should definitely move forward. The next tier of proposals is the Tapash, the Malheur, and the Willamette. They should rewrite and submit next year. The Rogue River-Siskiyou will probably not be ready until FY12, for NEPA reasons. Other proposals are weak and are unlikely to be carried forward.
We discussed the idea of combining the proposals into two megaprojects, one for eastern Washington and the other combining the Malheur, Deschutes, RRS, Umpqua, and Fremont-Winema proposals. Our consensus was this was too unwieldy. It would be very difficult to get consensus in these collaboratives, and efforts on the ground would be spread too thin. Better to show a solid success in a smaller project area, and then build on that.
Whether to emphasize production or capacity for the future: For example, the Colville project has shown good capacity to get acres treated, but is weaker on a landscape vision. The Tapash project is ecologically among the strongest, but currently has a small area NEPA cleared. Which is the better way to go? Making a 10-year investment in an area with few acres good to go (in a NEPA sense) is a risk because you might get stuck in the NEPA process. There was a sense of disagreement on this topic in the group, and a feeling it needed to be discussed and worked through further.
In general, the proposals could use strengthening on aquatic and other resource issues, such as treating dry forests to improve spotted owl habitat. They also need strengthening on reducing costs of wildfires and quantification of economic benefits (e.g., unemployment rates and projected number of jobs created). No one seems to have taken a hard look at the latter.
We would also like to see a sense of where they see things going over the next 10 years, with a plan for activities in each of them. We realize this will be tentative, as much can change in 10 years. But providing such a timeline would strengthen a proposal considerably. We want to see a sense of dedication to long term goals, and careful thought on how to get there. In this light, the NEPA strategy and likelihood of success becomes ever more important. Building broad coalitions will help minimize litigation.