PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) — The U.S. Department of Agriculture has established and appointed members to a new Federal Advisory Committee to provide advice and recommendations on modernizing landscape management across national forests within the Northwest Forest Plan area in Washington, Oregon and Northern California. 

The committee will make recommendations focused on a climate-informed amendment of the Northwest Forest Plan to update management direction so that national forests are managed sustainably, adapted to climate change, and resilient to wildfire, insects, disease, and other disturbances, while meeting the needs of local communities. 

“Establishing this committee is another way for us to embrace climate-smart science, ensure we hear from diverse voices and get a range of perspectives on how to best confront the wildfire crisis and climate change,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “This committee will also be asked to help reshape ways we engage with communities and deepen our connections with tribes as we go through the Northwest Forest Plan amendment process.”  

The committee’s recommendations will incorporate traditional ecological knowledge, the latest science, and climate resilience into its recommendations for the 17 national forests in the Northwest Forest Plan area. The committee will also advise how these planning efforts can complement the Wildfire Crisis Strategy and help the Forest Service take more proactive measures to reduce wildfire risk, restore fire resilience, and enable long-term ecological integrity for people, communities and natural resources. 

Establishing this committee is in line with President Biden’s Executive Order 14072 and Secretary’s Vilsack’s Memorandum on Climate Resilience. The national forests in the Northwest Forest Plan area have significant ecologic values, including for water, wildlife, and carbon, and contain important old and mature forests. They are embedded in the people and communities of the area and are important for the social and economic sustainability of those communities.

These lands are also culturally significant and the ancestral homelands for tribal nations. According to a recent inventory conducted by federal researchers as required by the Executive Order, the 17 national forests represented in the Northwest Forest Plan contain one quarter of the remaining old-growth forest on national forests and grasslands in the lower 48 states. 

The committee represents a diverse group from Tribes, local communities, environmental groups, industry, and academia across Northern California, Oregon and Washington. 

Members appointed to the committee are:  

NameTitleLocationCommittee CategoryJerry Franklin, PhDProfessor Emeritus, School of Environmental and Forest Science, University of WashingtonOregonScienceJames Johnston, PhDAssistant Professor (Senior Research), College of Forestry, Oregon State UniversityOregonScienceMeg Krawchuk, PhDAssociate Professor of Landscape Fire, Ecology, and Conservation Science, College of Forestry, Oregon State UniversityOregonScienceAngela Sondenaa, PhDCertified Senior Ecologist, Nez Perce TribeIdahoScienceElaine Harvey, PhDEnvironmental Coordinator, Yakima NationWashingtonScienceRyan Haugo, PhDDirector of Conservation Science, The Nature ConservancyOregonScienceHeidi Huber-Stearns, PhDAssociate Research Professor and Director, Ecosystem Workforce Program, Institute for a Sustainable Environment, University of OregonOregonScienceDaniel Reid Sarna-Wojcicki, PhDPostdoctoral Researcher, UC BerkeleyCaliforniaScienceRobert “Bobby” BrunoeSecretary Treasurer/CEO, Confederate Tribes of Warm SpringsOregonScienceJarred PattonDeputy Director, California Conservation CorpsCaliforniaOrganizationLindsay WarnessWestern Regional Manager, Forest Resource AssociationOregonOrganizationTravis JosephPresident/CEO, American Forest Resource CouncilOregonOrganizationElizabeth RobbleeConservation and Advocacy Director, The MountaineersWashingtonOrganizationJose LinaresDistrict Manager (Retired), Bureau of Land Management, Northwest Oregon District and Board Member, Straub OutdoorsOregonOrganizationSusan Jane Brown, JDPrincipal, Silvix ResourcesOregonOrganizationHenry AndersonSenior Policy Analyst, The Wilderness SocietyWashingtonOrganizationNicholas GouletteExecutive Director, Watershed Research and Training CenterCaliforniaOrganizationRyan ReedCo-founder and Executive Director, Fire Generation Collaborative and Wildland FirefighterCaliforniaPublicKaren HansGood Neighbor Authority Program Coordinator, Oregon Department of Fish and WildlifeOregonGovernmentLauren OsiadaczKittitas County CommissionerWashingtonGovernmentAnn House, JDStaff Attorney, Snoqualmie Indian Tribe Environmental and Natural Resources DepartmentWashingtonGovernment

The Forest Service will be working with committee members to plan and conduct its first meeting later this year. 

The Northwest Forest Plan was first implemented in 1994 and is a comprehensive plan for administering parts of federally managed lands in Oregon, Washington and California. The plan was designed to protect old-growth forests and critical habitat for the northern spotted owl, while also providing for forest products, water quality, recreation and other uses.  

For more information on the Northwest Forest Plan visit: www.fs.usda.gov/r6/reo/

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate-smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean-energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit?www.usda.gov.  

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