Library Group Background
See QLG case study by George Terhune for greater detail.
In late 1992 a timber industry forester, a county supervisor, and an environmental attorney began private discussions, recognizing that the "timber wars" damaged everybody and served nobody's true interest. These discussions led to the development of the Quincy Library Group, which stabilized at about 30 members on the steering committee.
The three-county area, that is the focus of the QLG efforts (Lassen, Plumas and Sierra Counties in northeastern California) is larger than Austria and, since it is primarily federally owned coniferous forests, is heavily dependent upon the logging industry. The waters of the Feather River that rise in the mountainous area also provide the vast majority of drinking water for the State Water Project, serving ten million users in Southern California via an aqueduct. Developed hydroelectric facilities provide power equivalent to a nuclear power facility. The area is also home to the last spring runs of chinook salmon in the northern Sierra and the California Spotted Owl. Recreation is also a growing industry. There are 50,000 residents in the area.
In August 1993, QLG adopted its Community Stability Proposal, which recommended improvements for management of the Lassen N.F., the Plumas N.F., and the Sierraville Ranger District of the Tahoe N.F. The proposal included: the Desired Future Condition to be an all-age, multistory, fire-resistant forest; deferral of certain sensitive areas from scheduled harvest; timber management based on group selection and single tree selection; implementation of CASPO fire and fuels management objectives; riparian habitat protection and watershed restoration; continuation of SBA/SSTS set-asides; expanded stewardship contracting; and a northern Sierra working circle.
This five-year program was intended to bridge the gap while the Cal Owl EIS was prepared, decided, appealed and litigated. Now, four years later, the Revised Cal Owl EIS has been withdrawn, so QLG has adjusted its sights. Implementation is sought through "the QLG Bill" (HR 858, S 1028), which would direct National Forests in the QLG area to do 40 to 60 thousand acres per year of strategic fuel reduction in defensible fuelbreaks for five years, to implement group selection silviculture on an area-wide basis, to implement the Scientific Advisory Team (SAT) guidelines for riparian area protection, remove 494 thousand roadless acres from road construction and harvesting, protect California Spotted Owl sites, adher to California Spotted Owl Interim Guidelines that precludes the harvest of trees greater then 30 inches and monitor the results, with yearly reports to Congress. Equally important, the QLG bill would require the Forest Service to initiate revision and/or amendment of its Land and Resource Management Plans in the area, providing opportunity for QLG (and others) to argue for long term inclusion of key proposals.
As a result of QLG initiatives, these National Forests have already received supplemental funding to implement some aspects of the QLG Proposal in a "Forest Health Pilot" program. About two-thirds of this approximately $10 million additional funding goes to contractors on forest health projects.
QLG actively supports efforts to obtain the participation of southern California water users in improved watershed maintenance, which is necessary to assure the quantity, quality, and seasonal timing of long-term water supply from the Feather River system.
QLG also co-sponsors, with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a study of the feasibility of manufacturing ethanol from the great excess of small trees that are the root of the area's worst fire hazard. The was completed November 1997. The conversion of a fire hazard to ethanol is a multiple win proposition that would help finance drastic reduction of the fire hazard, do it by a clean method, expand economic investment and activity, provide a California grown gasoline additive to reduce air pollution, and have leftover lignin to fuel electric generators.
The Quincy Library Group has approached the inter-dependent goals of forest health and community stability from these different angles, because it believes that sustainable resource management must have a sound technical foundation, a broad political base, and strong local participation.
04/30/01 09:18:48 PM