Nevada County supervisors to review fuel reduction program
February 25, 2013
A man who initiated a forest stewardship program in his town, that involved asserting the jurisdictional rights of a county over that of the federal government, will present at the Nevada County Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.
Doyel Shamley, who is a natural resources coordinator for Apache County in Arizona, was invited by Supervisor Ed Scofield to present at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26 in the chambers.
Shamley has given a series of talks throughout the nation, including one in 2012 to the California Association of Business, Property & Resource Owners.
The presentations center on local jurisdictions' right to assert authority in conducting emergency thinning of national forests, while ignoring federal environmental regulations, according to a staff report attached to Tuesday's agenda.
Shamley said counties have the authority, because the U.S. Forest Service only has custodial powers over forests and because the agency has failed to coordinate with local governments and tribes as required by law.
Following the 2011 Wallow Fire, the largest in Arizona history, Shamley said the U.S. Forest Service had mismanaged the forest for decades, thereby failing to protect the local communities affected by the natural disaster.
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Shamley called upon Apache County to conduct the management and bill the federal government, resulting in a forest management partnership between the forest service and Apache County.
Other counties in New Mexico and California, including Modoc County, have passed similar resolutions to Apache County, asserting county authority over lands managed by the forest service.
"California's national forests, including those within the boundary of Nevada County have the same high fuel issues as those described in Apache County," Scofield wrote in his staff report. "I feel it is appropriate for Nevada County to review the program established in Apache County to determine if a similar program would be beneficial to address the fire risk of Nevada County."
Last October, the board of supervisors attempted to pass a resolution drafted by the Regional Council of Rural counties that would have allowed the county to be more involved in land decisions made by the forest service.
However, many speakers appeared at the meeting and urged the county not to enter into an agreement with the forest service, likening such a move to an unnecessary transference of county authority to other less accountable government entities.
Forest service land comprises about 35 percent of Nevada County and the Bureau of Land Management, another federal land management agency, comprises another 3 percent.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4239.
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