Date: January 18, 1995
To: John E. Lowe, Regional Forester, USDA Forest Service
From: Donald R. Knowles, Executive Director
Subject: Late Successional Reserve review of Forest Service Mossback Timber Sale Project (LSR R0221), Willamette National Forest
The Regional Ecosystem Office (REO) has reviewed the Mossback timber sale project for consistency with the Late Successional Reserve (LSR) objectives and standards and guidelines (S&Gs) identified in the Record of Decision (ROD) for the President's Forest Plan. The REO finds that the project is consistent, based on the review of the "Interim Late-Successional Reserve Assessment: LSR R0221, Willamette National Forest;" a "Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact for the Mossback Environmental Assessment," signed July 1, 1993; a site visit; and additional information supplied to the REO.
The salvage area as proposed is located in a 16,600 acre LSR. The Mossback timber sale project as originally submitted to the REO was a proposed salvage sale of approximately 43 acres of windthrown trees, the intent of the salvage being to reduce the risk of fire and insect damage to the remaining windthrown portions of the LSR, and to speed recovery of the windthrown area. The proposal was later modified to widen riparian reserves to one site potential tree, and to delete the upslope portion of one of the salvage units.
Upon initial review of submitted documents from the forest, members of the REO and the LSR workgroup visited the site. Subsequent to this visit, several issues were raised by the LSR workgroup, to which the forest responded on November 28, 1994 (see enclosure). Upon review of this additional explanation and revision of the original sale proposal, the REO feels that its concerns have been addressed. The proposed salvage in the upslope small pocket openings at the upper end of Unit 1 has been removed, the riparian reserve width has been adjusted, and the hazard tree felling concerns have been addressed.
We had some concerns about the adequacy of the prescribed coarse woody debris (CWD) material to be retained (350-400 linear foot minimum, based on an average of 4-down trees/acre), as described by the data submitted with this proposal. We believe that forest inventory or other more rigorously collected data should normally be provided in an interim LSR assessment to demonstrate that a proposal will meet natural CWD levels over time. Initial LSR assessments benefit from a quantitative description of the amounts of current and future CWD existing in the form of standing snags, green trees, and downed logs present prior to the disturbance. However, based on the site visit the LSR workgroup observed that:
1) The level of snags and green trees remaining in the units will contribute additional CWD before existing and future new seedlings mature.
2) Older decay class logs are also present and will remain on site to contribute to current CWD.
Existing standing trees and downed logs, coupled with the 4-down trees/acre prescription, meets LSR objectives if the future CWD contribution from currently standing trees and snags is included. When any standing material is felled (for safety or other reasons) during harvest activities, either that material or an amount equivalent to that material must be left on site, in addition to the 4-down trees/acre. The material left on site should be of similar decay class, length, and diameter as the felled material.
Based on the above analysis and specifications, the REO finds that the project is consistent with LSR objectives and the S&Gs for these objectives.