Malheur National Forest Archive
This page contains projects that are completed, inactive, cancelled, or were changed or stopped through our involvement. Information on these projects is retained to facilitate continued monitoring of the impact of the projects over time, or to provide a reference when new projects are proposed in the same vicinity. Currently active and planned projects can be found in the Take Action section on the Malheur NF page.
Blue Mountain Ranger District
Thorn Post-fire Timber Sale
Located near Dayville, OR, spanning a couple thousand acres in roaded forests near Fields Creek and the eastern portion of Aldrich Ridge. Sierra Club and allied efforts succeeded in protecting thousands of acres of old growth and roadless area forests, dropping these from this timber sale in a landmark ecologically protective appeal settlement agreement, reached in late May, 2008. The full text of the settlement: Memorandum of Understanding and Settlement Agreement. The agreement protects the greater 1,500 acre Aldrich roadless area, a rare ecological treasure that has never been logged, and has had very little livestock grazing. The area has supported a wealth of native species biodiversity found in few other places in the Blue Mountains outside of designated wilderness. Along with two adjacent large roadless areas (together totaling approximately 50,000 acres), it is deserving of wilderness status, and has been proposed for wilderness designation in the past. The area provides irreplaceable habitat for numerous wildlife species, including pine marten, wolverine, lynx, bear, cougar, elk, deer, numerous woodpeckers, raptors, and native and migrant birds, and many others. Volunteers have hiked, surveyed, camped in, and flown over the project area during the past year. Conservation efforts successfully stopped a timber sale in the same area in the late 90’s, thanks in large part to the help of many active volunteers. Once again, efforts succeeded in protecting this irreplaceable area from logging. Volunteers are needed helping survey and photo document settlement logging in adjacent roaded area forests, ensuring settlement agreements are kept and holding the agency accountable for logging impacts in ongoing educational outreach efforts addressing the folly of postfire logging.
Galena "Forest Health" Project
This project encompasses an area of approximately 37,200 acres in the Middle Fork of the John Day River about 28 miles northeast of John Day, Oregon. The stated purpose of this project is to "... restore forested stands in the project area to more closely resemble historical conditions that are more sustainable than current conditions." More information on this project, including the original scoping letter, maps, and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement are available on the Forest Service Galena Project web page.
The proposed treatment units are located along Vinegar Creek, Vincent Creek, Blue Gulch, Little Boulder Creek, Hunt Gulch, Windlass Creek, Tincup Creek, Deerhorn Creek, Davis Creek, Placer Gulch, and other unnamed creeks and tributaries. The project will implement several resource management activities, including timber harvest and precommercial thinning on 8339 acres, prescribed burning on 19,913 acres, road construction, reconstruction, maintenance, and road closures and decommissioning, and aspen restoration. The proposed action also includes two amendments to the Malheur Forest Plan: one to increase the size and number of designated and replacement old growth areas, the second to reduce satisfactory big game cover below standards.
The Sierra Club has serious concerns with the the Galena Project, and submitted an extensive statement of those concerns in response to the 2009 Scoping Letter. The full text of those comments can be read at Galena Scoping Comments.
The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DIES) was issued in early 2011. Our review of the DEIS shows that several of those concerns have not been addressed:
- Road Density - The draft EIS presents a misleading picture of road density reduction and the impacts that new and temporary road building and reconstruction would have on the project area.
- Treatment in Undeveloped Roadless Areas - The preferred alternative, as well as alternative 4, calls for an inappropriate amount of commercial thinning and new road building in the forested areas directly between the proposed Wilderness and County Road 20. Closed roads in this vicinity should remain closed or preferably be decommissioned; high clearance vehicle roads in the area should be closed to motorized traffic or decommissioned; new roads should not be built in this vicinity, and harvest activities in stands adjacent to the proposed Wilderness should be dropped from the preferred alternative.
- Commercial Thinning in Mixed Conifer Stands - Commercial thinning is not an appropriate tool for reducing fire risk in these mixed conifer stands with higher levels of moisture since they typically have a less frequent, more severe fire regime than do other forest types. This practice will not help to mimic natural fire-regime cycles.
The full text of our comments can be read at Galena DEIS Comments. The Sierra Club requests that these comments be addressed in the Final EIS. (5-13-11)
Damon Wildland Urban Interface Project
This project encompasses 19,421 acres and lies approximately 3 miles north and south of Seneca, Oregon along US-395. The project will accomplish 8200 acres commercial logging thinning; 6800 acres pre-commercial thinning; and 14,000 acres of underburning. Much of this will be accomplished using ecologically damaging heavy ground based machinery including removing trees up to 21" in diameter; some in "replacement old growth" and "pileated woodpecker feeding areas"; logging in goshawk areas; logging in aspen stands and RHCAs; construction of 7 miles of new roads; and ground based tractor logging.
The Forest Service issued a Decision Notice on March 11, 2010 implementing this project. The notice directs a series of scientifically insupportable logging/thinning actions. Such actions have generally proven to cause far more harm than benefit, with the varying degree of harms dependent upon the extent of thinning employed and the location and timing of thinning actions. This project is similar to the Dads Creek Project and shares many of the same concerns.
The Oregon Chapter Sierra Club, in collaboration with Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project and Grant County Conservationists, have appealed this project decision. The following major objections were filed:
- Scientifically Insupportable Logging in Goshawk Habitat
- Scientifically Insupportable Logging in Old Growth Forest Habitat
- Scientifically Insupportable Alteration of Natural Forest Habitat and Structure
- Logging Degradation of Essential Pileated Woodpecker Forest Habitat
- Dedicated Old Growth Areas Appropriate for Indicator Species Habitat Needs
- Harmful Direct and Cumulative Impacts to Riparian Areas
- Scientifically Insupportable Ecologically Damaging Postfire Logging Provisions
The full text of our Objection can be read at Damon Project Decision Objection. Click here for Damon Photos showing habitat and wildlife endangered by the Damon Project. The final Decision Notice was issued on June 7, 2010. The Forest Service documents related to the Damon Project, including detailed maps, can be found on their web page Damon Project.(6-7-10)
Prairie City Ranger District
Dads Creek Wildland-Urban Interface Project
The Malheur NF revised its published legal notice to meet our ecological and legal concerns, dropping unroaded area units and road construction. The agency agreed to keep the project within the common ground ecological recommendations of the Blue Mountains Forest Partners collaborative group. As a result, two timber industry and one Grant County HFRA objection(s), were filed, necessitating the writing and filing of legally strong conservation organization objections (see Dads Creek Wildland Urban Interface Project Objection, October 2008) to maintain legal standing and prevent this first collaborative restoration project from being transformed into a harmful logging project. Communication with the Malheur Supervisor, local allies, county officials, and the timber industry finally succeeded in the agreement of all parties to withdraw their legal objections (see Dads Creek Objection Withdrawal, October 2008), allowing the project to proceed within the scientifically founded restoration parameters developed by the collaborative group and the agency. Simultaneously, work included ongoing communication with allies and collaborative group on the next proposed restoration project, Damon Scotty. Ongoing review and communication concerning changes to proposed collaborative agreements and developing restoration plans.
Crawford, Big Creek Aspen, Canyon Creek, 16 Road, and Dads Creek Blowdown timber sales
All of these "fuels reduction" and/or "aspen recovery" sales have been changed to incorporate significant conservation concerns. Canyon Creek was changed as a result of negotiations during its appeal period, others were changed as a result of issues raised through public comments and ongoing communication with agency staff. Projects are located in areas with vulnerable wildlife species and salmonid waterways. Volunteer help is needed monitoring these projects as they are implemented, documenting and assessing impacts, ensuring protective ecological provisions are followed.
Knox timber sale
Proposed logging across 1,840 acres of forest. Initial agency plans propose using heavy soil damaging logging machinery throughout the area. Sierra Club scoping comments submitted last year raised the need to analyze and disclose ecological conditions and concerns. Volunteer help is needed hiking and documenting the project area, assessing project impacts on wildlife species and salmonid waterways, and assisting in addressing ecological and legal issues. Comments on the EA were submitted in October 2008 and can be read at Knox Hazardous Fuels / Forest Health Project EA Comments, October 2008. More information on this timber sale is available on the Forest Service web site: Knox Hazardous Fuels / Forest Health Project.
Emigrant Creek Ranger District
Jane HFRA Project
This project lies in the Calamity Creek watershed between the communities of Drewsey and Seneca, and is eastward of US-395 at about the midpoint between Burns and John Day. The Forest Service stated purpose of the project is to reduce the risk of risk of fire to life, property, and natural resources in Harney and Grant counties. It is the Sierra Club position that this project is not credibly or legally applicable for use under the Hazardous Fuels Reduction Act (HFRA). The full text of our comments can be read at Jane HFRA Project EA Comments. The Forest Service project description, including the Scoping Letter, can be found at Jane Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project. (8-07-09)
Egley postfire timber sale
A postfire roadside hazard-tree logging sale near Delintment Lake northwest of Burns, Oregon. To meet conservation concerns with Egley, the Malheur revised their initial plans. The current proposal limits logging to only roadside hazard, safety objectives in campgrounds, and around management facilities/livestock water troughs, etc., dropping their original interior forest logging plans. Volunteer help is needed monitoring the project as it is implemented, assessing ecological impacts and concerns, and helping with ongoing conservation outreach in area communities.
Black Rock Timber Sale
Appeal negotiations successfully modified this small postfire timber sale, with the agency dropping old growth forest areas from logging, and marking mature and old snags for retention, as well as all live trees greater than 21" diameter. The remaining timber sale was concentrated in burned young forests that had grown in since fire suppression that began earlier in the 1900's. Volunteer help is needed documenting the impacts of the resulting logging, assessing if conservation agreements were adhered to and if these effectively helped protect the area's older forests and dependent wildlife.
Van Grazing Allotment
Working with local volunteers and allies, an appeal of the agency's decision to re-authorize livestock grazing in the Van allotment after only 3 to 5 years of rest from grazing was submitted in November 2008 (see Van Allotment Appeal, November 2008). ONDA and BMBP joined in our appeal. The agency issued its decision unchanged from their original proposal only 12 days after the comment period closed. Allotment areas include portions of the proposed OS Harney restoration project noted below, however the agency decision fails to meaningfully consider closing some or all of the area to grazing entirely, or to include any provisions resting the planned restoration-thinning/burning areas to allow these to recover before grazing is resumed. As the initial implementation of the decision will rest the area for at least 3 years, the appeal was filed largely to maintain legal standing should the agency resume livestock grazing that would harm the area once the rest period is concluded. See Van Allotment on the Malhuer NF website for more information.