Comment on management of forests between I-90 and Mount Rainier

Comment on management of forests between I-90 and Mount Rainier

Conservation Northwest / May 23, 2018 / Action Alert, Central Cascades, Connecting Habitat, Fishers

WILD NW Action Alert #276: Speak up for habitat, wildlife and sustainable outdoor recreation in the Green and White river watersheds.

The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest is working to plan the future of restoration and management in an area spanning the headwaters of two vital watersheds–the Green and White rivers–covering more than 100,000 acres of national forest.

Conservation Associate and Forest Field Program staffer Jen Watkins talks to supporters about improving watershed conditions and habitat connectivity around Snoqualmie Pass. Photo: Kent Sullivan

Your voice is needed to ensure that wildlife, habitat and sustainable recreation are priorities in this process! Submit a comment before June 1st at this link. Scroll down for suggested comments.

The Forest Service is calling this the Snoquera Landscape, the name of a popular waterfall and scenic area in the heart of this area near Crystal Mountain. In addition to being the headwaters of central Puget Sound communities such as Tacoma and Auburn, this public land lies between Mount Rainier National Park and Interstate 90, providing a vital habitat connection for wildlife in the Central Cascades. Important for both animals and people, this landscape is part of our new Central Cascades Watersheds Restoration program.

This is a particularly important area for the fishers we recently reintroduced to the Cascades as they recolonize their native range! Please help make sure it is managed sustainably for wildlife habitat, clean water and outdoor recreation by submitting a comment on the Snoquera Landscape Analysis.

This opportunity to restore watershed health and wildlife habitat at a landscape scale in these watersheds while balancing public access to highly valued cultural and recreational resources will not come again for over a decade. Our organization, our allies and our activists and members to need to make our voices heard so that forest restoration and management prioritize habitat, clean water, connections to nearby wild areas, and responsible access and use.

Check out our suggest comments below, and feel free to copy and paste them into Forest Service comment form before June 1st!

Thank you,

Jen Watkins,

Conservation Associate

Suggested Comments on Snoquera Landscape Analysis (copy and paste here!)

Dear Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest staff,

Thank you for taking my comments. I strongly support restoration and management actions in the Snoquera landscape that improve the amount, quality, and connectedness of habitat for wildlife in the Central Cascades, including elk, fishers, spotted owl, and wolverines. This is a unique opportunity to restore and connect animal habitat by reducing the road density, restoring forest structure with an emphasis on protection and promotion of older forest, and protecting unique habitats such as upland meadows. I encourage you to prioritize these actions in your planning.

Forest Service analyses have identified watersheds in the Snoquera landscape as in “poor” condition and “not properly functioning”. To support clean water that our local communities rely on, and healthy aquatic ecosystems vital for salmon, steelhead and other native fish and wildlife, I urge you to identify and adopt actions that meaningfully move both the Green and White river watersheds into a state of good health and proper functioning by the end of implementation.

As these lands lie in the headwaters of two vital watersheds to Puget Sound and what occurs in the upper reaches of a watershed inevitably impacts those who live downstream, this is the single largest opportunity for the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest to show leadership in meeting management and community objectives through actions on U.S. Forest Service land to meet regional partner driven plans, including the Salmon Recovery Plans for the Green-Duwamish and Puyallup-White River systems. The proposal should clearly show how your actions will contribute to the goals for improved water quality and salmon and steelhead recovery in the Central Puget Sound.

I applaud the recognition of the need for more sustainable recreation in the scoping notice, and believe that this project should build off of the recent Greenwater Access and Travel Management decision to establish a balanced, affordable, and enforceable recreation and public access system that allows diverse interests to utilize our public lands while protecting and restoring previously degraded natural resources. Thank you for taking my comments,