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The Chronicle - Centralia

U.S. Forest Service old-growth forest plan offers protections, but no ban on cutting

Old trees are back in the spotlight with the release of a U.S. Forest Service plan to preserve old-growth forests.

The plan follows a directive by President Joe Biden in April 2022 to protect mature and old-growth forests on national forestlands in an attempt to protect biodiversity and help fight climate change.

The plan is a proposed amendment to management plans for national forests and it doesn't go as far as some advocates wanted. Specifically, it doesn't call for an outright ban on cutting old-growth trees.  Nor does it single out maturing forests for preservation so they could grow on to become the old growth of tomorrow. Instead, the plan provides latitude to forest managers to tune forest policy as conditions require, with the guidance of preserving the health of old-growth forests.

The proposal would, for the first time, seek to create a consistent policy across the national forest system to foster the long-term resilience of old-growth forests and their ecological contributions. For some land managers, that would be a new directive.

Old growth, in general, is 150 years or older, structurally complex, and diverse in species composition. There is no one definition of old growth. But there are consistent attributes, especially structural complexity. That means the trees themselves are shaggy in their bark, stag-headed and broken in their tops, and full of cavities. A structurally complex forest includes trees of many age classes, dead and downed and standing dead trees, and a diversity of species.

An older forest, sometimes called a mature forest, is at least 80 years old.

Today, insects, fire, and disease stoked by climate warming, not logging, are the biggest threats to old-growth forests in the West, according to a review of forest conditions that helped inform the plan. Past management practices, including timber harvest and fire suppression, contributed to vulnerabilities in the health of old-growth forests, the report found.

Early reaction to the proposed amendment is polarized. The American Forest Resource Council, an industry group, in a news release Thursday decried the initiative as red tape and a politically-motivated scheme that would delay or stop responsible tree harvesting while doing nothing to boost forest health to protect old growth from its primary threat: fire.

Alex Craven, the Sierra Club forest campaign manager, supported the Forest Service's plan in a news release, saying "We look forward to engaging in this process to ensure the amendment not only retains, but increases the amount of old-growth forests across the country. Shifting our approach to national forests from resources meant for extraction to natural wonders worth preserving is long overdue."

The public has 90 days to comment on the plan starting Friday. The Forest Service expects to finalize this effort before the end of Biden's term in January 2025.

Meanwhile, dozens of federal logging projects are targeting mature and old-growth trees, according to the environmental group Earthjustice, which helped lead the litigation in the Pacific Northwest to shut down logging of old-growth forests on federal lands under the Northwest Forest Plan.

The Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service manage approximately 32 million acres of old-growth and 80 million acres of mature forests on federally managed lands, for a total of 112 million acres. Old-growth forests represent 18% and mature forest 45% of all forested land managed by the two agencies.

Old-growth forests provide unique benefits, as habitat for wildlife, and for storing carbon taken out of the atmosphere by photosynthesis. Big old trees hold the most carbon even though they are slower growing, because of their enormous mass.

At the same time the national plan on old-growth policy is under consideration, there's a separate plan focused on old growth here in the Northwest that is getting a new look. A draft environmental impact statement on part of the Northwest Forest Plan is expected later this summer, and work by the Northwest Forest Plan Federal Advisory Committee on the amendment is continuing.

Much has changed since the Northwest Forest Plan was adopted in 1994, protecting 24 million acres of ancient forest in Washington, Oregon and Northern California, in what at the time was the most expansive conservation plan to protect forest biodiversity in the world.

The spotted owl that started it all, with litigation to shut down logging, today is being driven from its habitat not by chain saws, but by the invasive barred owl. And the fate of more than a million acres of old growth marked as available for cutting within the Northwest Forest Plan now is being reconsidered, under the amendment. The team is meeting June 25-27 in Olympia and meetings are open to the public.

How to comment

The proposed national amendment will be available for comment beginning Friday in the Federal Register.

Online comments may be submitted via a web form:

https://cara.fs2c.usda.gov/Public//CommentInput?Project=65356 

Letters must be submitted to:

Director, Ecosystem Management Coordination

201 14th Street SW, Mailstop 1108

Washington, D.C. 20250—1124

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     (c)2024 The Seattle Times

     Visit The Seattle Times at www.seattletimes.com

     Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

 

38-year-old Washington man accused of raping 13-year-old girl

A 38-year-old man is accused of raping a 13-year-old girl several times last summer, according to court documents and the U.S. Marshals Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force.

The Spokane County Sheriff's Office and the task force arrested Jamell S. Clogg on Tuesday at his residence in the 2300 block of East First Avenue in Spokane, a task force news release said. The task force learned Clogg was hiding inside the residence and arrested him without incident, the release said.

He is charged with two counts of second-degree child rape, two counts of second-degree child molestation, second-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct and indecent exposure.

Clogg made his first appearance Thursday in Spokane County Superior Court and is scheduled for an arraignment July 2.

Clogg remained Thursday night in the Spokane County Jail on a $100,000 bond.

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     (c)2024 The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.)

     Visit The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, Wash.) at www.spokesman.com

     Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Is it illegal in Washington to pick up and keep cash you find on the street? 

So you found some cash on the street.

Maybe you considered reporting it but decided it was too much of a hassle to track down the person who lost it. Or perhaps you could use an extra few bucks and figure there's no way to track down the original owner.

Are you allowed to slip it into your wallet, or does Washington law consider that theft?

Washington laws for reporting cash that you find

State law doesn't specifically address what to do when you find cash on the street, but it does outline what to do if you find lost property, with money falling into that category.

You have to report any money you find on the street to law enforcement within seven days of finding it. If it amounts to less than $100, officers are instructed to let you keep the money as long as "it is determined there is no reason for the officer or designee to retain the property."

If you find more than $100, though, then it's a different story.

Officers are instructed to hold onto the property for sixty days. During that time, the original owner can claim the lost money and prove it belongs to them. However, this can be difficult with cash since there are very few, if any, identifiable features specific to any given bill.

After sixty days, if the cash still hasn't been claimed, it's yours — once you pay a $10 administrative fee and the cost of law enforcement publicizing the lost property.

What happens if you don't report the cash you found?

According to state law, anyone who doesn't report the lost property they found will "forfeit all right to the property" and "be liable for the full value of the property to its owner."

That means there's a chance the original owner reports the missing cash and police are able to figure out that you found it. In that case, you'd have to return the original amount you found.

You'd also have to worry about the state's definition of theft, which includes "[appropriating] lost or misdelivered property or services of another."

Most cases where the property is valued at less than $750 are considered third-degree theft, which is a misdemeanor in Washington.

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     (c)2024 The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Wash.)

     Visit The Bellingham Herald (Bellingham, Wash.) at www.bellinghamherald.com

     Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Portland Business News

Law firms clash in PacifiCorp Oregon wildfire case over access to victims
Author: Pete Danko
An insurgent group of law firms is fighting to solicit wildfire survivors in case against PacifiCorp.

NYT Politics

Supreme Court Upholds Law Disarming Domestic Abusers
Author: Adam Liptak
The justices rejected a Second Amendment challenge to a federal law that makes it a crime for people subject to domestic violence restraining orders to possess a gun.

Clark County Talk

Where To Get Locally-Made Beer and Wine in Thurston County
Author: Publisher

When taking friends, family and visitors out for the afternoon, there are a lot of choices among wineries and breweries for locally-made products in Thurston County. Choose from four different wineries with tasting rooms or the many breweries and taprooms, spanning from from Olympia and Lacey to Tumwater and Rainier. Thurston County Wineries and Tasting […]

The post Where To Get Locally-Made Beer and Wine in Thurston County appeared first on ClarkCoTalk.

DemocracyNow!

"Green Border": Agnieszka Holland's New Film Shows "Impossible Choices" Facing Refugees in Europe
Author: webdev@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

The new film Green Border, from acclaimed Polish director Agnieszka Holland, dramatizes the humanitarian crisis facing millions of migrants seeking refuge in Europe. It tells the true story of how refugees from the Middle East and Africa became trapped in 2021 at the so-called green border between Poland and Belarus, through the perspectives of refugees, border guards and refugee rights activists. “Fear and the hate are so easy to be spread when our borders or our comfort is attacked by the challenge of newcomers,” warns Holland, who connects the crisis depicted in the film to Europe’s growing anti-migration political atmosphere. “Frankly, it is an incredible mess right now. And it’s going in a very dangerous direction,” she says. Green Border opens today in New York and nationwide next Friday.

"The Night Won't End": New Film Investigates Civilian Killings in Gaza and U.S. Backing of Israeli Assault
Author: webdev@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

The Night Won’t End, a new documentary from Al Jazeera English, takes an in-depth look at attacks on civilians by the Israeli military in Gaza and the United States’ role in the war. The film follows three Palestinian families as they recount the horrific experiences they have endured under relentless Israeli assault, including the family of 6-year-old Hind Rajab, the young Palestinian girl who made headlines when it emerged in January that she had been trapped in a car with family members killed by Israeli ground troops, and the Salem family, who first lost dozens of family members in an Israeli airstrike and then additional family members who were executed by Israeli soldiers. We play clips from the documentary and speak to journalists Kavitha Chekuru and Sharif Abdel Kouddous, the director and correspondent on The Night Won’t End, respectively. We also discuss the plight of journalists in Gaza and U.S. complicity in Israel’s war. “There’s no question that U.S. weapons have killed civilians in Gaza,” says Kouddous. “This violates both international humanitarian law and domestic law.”

Headlines for June 21, 2024
Author: webdev@democracynow.org (Democracy Now!)

Washington State News

Seahawks Expecting Big Things From WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba In Year 2

As he prepares for his second season in the NFL, Jaxon Smith-Njigba looks poised to have a breakout year. John Boyle

Let's get this part out of the way first.

Jaxson Smith-Njigba was really good as a rookie.

No, his numbers weren't quite on par with the NFL's top rookie receivers, but he still made a ton of big plays despite splitting targets with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, and despite the fact t

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