NH 2020 panel tables conservation suggestion
A story that appeared Saturday under the headline 3NH 2020 panel tables conservation suggestion² misidentified which recommendation was tabled for further review and which was accepted but sent on for review by other experts.
The first recommendation<to adopt a policy to conserve forested lands with prime soils<was accepted by the Natural Heritage 2020 Community Advisory Committee. Another recommendation to lobby for air quality exemptions for prescribed burns to reduce fuel was tabled.
Recommendations to improve forest fire safety crawled closer to county supervisors Thursday night.
After dozens of meetings, committees and subcommittees have released a report of recommendations on Natural Heritage 2020, the county’s long-term open-space program that began with a supervisors’ resolution in May 2000.
The first recommendation – that supervisors adopt a policy that conserves forested lands with prime soils as a high priority – was accepted by the Natural Heritage 2020 Community Advisory Committee.
The California Association of Business, Resource and Property Owners opposes the policy, the group’s field director Pat Davison said.
Another recommendation to lobby for air quality exemptions for prescribed burns to reduce fuel was tabled.
Tim Feller, a registered professional forester who is regional district manager of Sierra Pacific Industries, voiced his objections to the whole process at a Feb. 15 joint meeting between the forestry subcommittee and the Community Advisory Committee.
Feller said his concern was the recommendations would eventually go to a Board of Supervisors that lacks forestry knowledge.
Feller decried the supervisors supporting the Quincy Library Group’s plan, developed through years of a process similar to NH 2020’s and supported by nine other counties.
He also objected to their support for the Sierra Nevada Framework, which Feller said did not give the Forest Service “tools … to deal with our current forest management plan of ‘Gee, there goes another 12,000 acres up in smoke.'”
Norm Saylor of Donner Summit said the recommendations were unrealistic and called the report “the biggest wish list I’ve ever seen.”
Don Truman of Nevada City again voiced criticism of how public input was gathered, saying the public could not ask questions or converse with people working on the program, but could only submit comments. Nevada County Supervisor Elizabeth Martin asked him to work within the program’s public outreach committee.
Committee members discussed how to take public comment as they went over each recommendation.
Martin suggested taking public comment before the committee makes a decision on each recommendation.
Brian Bisnett said he feared stopping at each recommendation to hear from the public would “bog us down too much. When I see how far we’ve come and how far we have to go, I’m truly daunted,” he said.
The Community Advisory Committee, whose ranks have swelled from 11 to 15 voting members since it was formed in July 2000, agreed 100 percent on the other 10 recommendations dealt with. Most of them received minor changes or clarifications.
The word “prevention” was inserted to clarify a recommendation that the board of supervisors require county fire prevention planner Charlie Jakobs, local fire departments and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection to offer fire safety consulting services to those taking out new home permits.
Just a few members of the public attended the meeting, including Supervisor Sue Horne.
The next meeting is slated for March 14, from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., to go over the remaining 29 recommendations on forest management and mining. No location for the meeting was determined Thursday night.
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