Working group just doing job |

Working group just doing job

The editorial of Feb. 11 diminishes the efforts of the NH 2020 working groups. The working groups were not asked to analyze cost-benefit relationships for their recommendations. The Citizens Advisory Committee has an economic subcommittee, whose task will be to evaluate costs of the recommendations, and I am told that The Union staff is aware of this fact. The statement that groups “need to justify their existence” abases the forestry working group (FWG). The focus of the FWG is wildland fire, loss of forested land base, water quality, and improvements to timber harvesting practices. Is The Union suggesting that these issues are currently “fine and nothing needs to be done”?

The working group’s task is to provide recommendations to the Board of Supervisors who, with the assistance of professional staff, can analyze the merits and cost-effectiveness of the recommendations. It is unlikely that all of the recommendations will be accepted. What is presented (the process is yet to be completed, as input from the public forums will be important to validate or invalidate recommendations) are options available to the county. For example, the recommended forest advisor need not be a full-time position. Options include part-time or contracting, if deemed a desirable service at all.

The FWG could have provided price tags for its recommendations – again, that was not part of our assignment. If it were, the effort would have involved significantly more effort and time. Our group is composed of earnest and informed citizens who gave up much personal time, and for The Union to state “it is difficult to take them seriously” is demeaning and deleterious to future efforts requiring citizen input to local government.

I wish to make it clear that these comments are my own and do not reflect views of the forestry working group as an entity.

Bruce Van Zee

chairman, forestry working group

Natural Heritage 2020

Grass Valley

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