UNDUE INFLUENCE

Secret Grant
Proposal


Undue Influence by Ron Arnold

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SECRET $650,000 GRANT PROPOSAL BY THE CONSERVATION BIOLOGY INSTITUTE AND WORLD WILDLIFE FUND TO THE DAVID AND LUCILE PACKARD FOUNDATION. DOCUMENT FOUND IN FOREST SERVICE FILES TURNED OVER TO CONGRESS

Written by James R. Strittholt, executive director of the Conservation Biology Institute (Corvallis, Oregon), in consultation with Dominick DellaSalla of the World Wildlife Fund, Evan Frost of Northwest Ecosystem Alliance, Tom Sadler of National Audubon Society, and Nick Brown.


Scott Remis [sic] [Rehmus]
Packard Foundation
Conservation Program
The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
300 Second St., Suite 200
Los Altos, CA 94022

January 24, 2000

Re: A scientific foundation for conservation Planning in Cascadia: combining science with regional and national outreach (full proposal)

Dear Scott: Thank you for your interest in receiving a proposal from the Conservation Biology Institute (CBI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on roadless area mapping and related policy support for the southern Cascadia region. Per your request, we submit this full proposal to provide science-based GIS mapping and ecological assessments of CBI (the prime applicant) combined with the national and regional science and policy outreach of WWF (sub). Before getting into the specifics of this proposal, we would like to fill you in on the latest developments in Washington, D.C.

Developments in Washington, D.C.

Dominick [DellaSalla, WWF staffer and one of the writers of the grant proposal] just returned from another round of meetings with the Forest EIS team and others in Washington, DC. Apparently, the Forest Service is relying heavily on our written comments (an updated version of what we mailed you in December) especially the electronic databases we developed through our ongoing work. Confidentially, it appears the agency is going to move on establishing a no road building policy for the inventoried RARE II (>5,000 ac) roadless areas with the recommended management plans to be worked out at the regional level. As we suspected, there will be a post-EIS process concentrating in two areas. Over this year, the first priority of the Forest Service is to obtain the scientific support necessary to craft sound management policies for the larger inventoried (RARE II) roadless areas. This is a very fast turnaround for anyone and the agency is just not prepared to carry it out alone.

The EIS team also intends to recommend further refinement of management policy for the smaller roadless areas (>1,000 ac on western forests and >500 ac on eastern forests). One possible outcome will be to officially designate those roadless areas that are shown to have important conservation values as Research Natural Areas (RNAs) - the agency's most protected management designation. If the science is solid, this could translate into huge conservation benefits in a very short time frame.

Finally, the Forest Service is very eager to sign a MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] as soon as possible. The agreement is being drafted now, and we expect signatures within 60 days. The essence of the MOU is for WWF, CBI and the Forest Service to work together to create a sound, science-based roadless areas assessment. CBI and WWIF will work together to actually carry out the work in southern Cascadia, but we also expect to have influence at the


national level. At the agency's urging, the MOU will be national in scope and the Forest Service has expressed desire to expand it even beyond roadless areas. During these latest meetings, Forest Service officials expressed interest in having us participate with them and a number of other federal agencies in creating a comprehensive National Biodiversity Strategy. These new developments make this better than we ever dreamed. We have a huge opportunity to influence the Forest Service and perhaps other agencies to move progressively on the roadless areas issue and perhaps others. Please keep this information confidential for if it leaks out, it could damage the first most delicate stage of the process.


Obviously, this project is of national and regional importance given the Administration's interest in roadless areas and the need to influence policy decisions proposed by the roadless area Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). It also focuses on a bioregion containing several ecoregions recognized by the WWF as globally outstanding and by the Packard Foundation for conservation investments. We therefore request $650,000 from the Packard Foundation in support of (1) mapped-based assessments of roadless areas and their importance to regional conservation in southern Cascadia; (2) translation of conservation assessments into action plans to be employed in the policy arena both pre- and post-EIS at the national level; and (3) risk assessment of fire management and land disturbance activities proposed by federal agencies inside roadless areas in southern Cascadia, This grant would begin as soon as possible (as you know, time is of the essence) and carry-over into the first half of 2001 (estimated to be the most important post-EIS period) - making this approximately a 16-month project.

Concentrating on southern Cascadia, we propose two phases for this project: (1) mapping assessments and science-based outreach centered on roadless area policy and its implementation in the Cascadia region (2000-01); and (2) prioritization of aquatic conservation areas (e.g., "hot spots") and their importance in protection, acquisition, and restoration (to be submitted at a later date). The first phase of this project proposed here is designed to achieve conservation action in a timely fashion during the final days of the Clinton Administration and especially during implementation of the roadless area policy (pre- and post-EIS). It is also designed to identify the "last, best places" in the southern reaches of Cascadia by facilitating a regional prioritization and ranking process for roadless areas and other areas of high conservation value and will build on existing and ongoing work in the region by CBI and WWF. Phase II integrates the aquatic component to regional conservation in the Pacific Northwest. Together, phase I and II will provide a scientifically sound foundation for influencing policy decisions and conservation investments in the region.

For phase I, the project focuses on the Cascadia region south of the 49th parallel as defined by the Packard Foundation in its strategic Planning document. This bioregion encompasses several ecoregions recognized by the World Wildlife for global or regional biodiversity, including the Northern California Redwoods (globally outstanding), Central Coastal Pacific Forests (Globally Outstanding), Central and Southern Cascade Forests

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(Bioregionally outstanding), and Klamath-Siskiyou Conifer Forests (Globally Outstanding). The Southern Cascadia bioregion contains some of the largest expanses of roadless areas, wilderness areas, and Wild and Scenic rivers in the lower 48 states. This is particularly evident in the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion that has more than 3 million acres of roadless areas larger than 1,000 acres. Consequently, conservation of roadless areas in these ecoregions takes on national and global importance.

While our work focuses largely on Cascadia, related mapping in other ecoregions (e.g., Appalachia) and a national-assessment by CBT and WWF of forest intactness is providing a more complete picture of the status and condition of forested ecoregions throughout the nation and adds important context to the proposed work plan (see information in previous mailing for details). Pending additional funding, we plan to summarize all our assessments into a user-friendly "state of the forest" report that will be widely circulated to conservation groups and the Forest Service, which is planning a similar initiative for release in 2003 (in compliance with the Montreal Process Criteria and Indicators of Sustainability).

This proposal addresses the following objectives and funding needs as they relate to the southern Cascadia region and its conservation.

Objective 1: Assess the Contribution Roadless Areas Make to Regional Conservation in Southern Cascadia

Background

The Klamath-Siskiyou Conservation Assessment, largely funded by the Packard Foundation, provided the data necessary to quickly respond to the surprise announcement by President Clinton in October 1999. Immediately after the announcement, scientists at CBI and WWF saw a unique opportunity to possibly influence the U.S. Forest Service by providing scientific justification for pursuing aggressive protection of the remaining roadless areas using the Klamath-Siskiyou as our pilot case study. With extremely limited funding, we accomplished the following between October and the present.

1. In late November, a new analysis was completed for the Klamath-Siskiyou concentrating on the conservation values of roadless areas in the ecoregion at both the >5,000 ac (RARE 11 size) and smaller roadless areas (>1,000-5,000 ac).

2. WWF and CBI began developing official comments to the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C. on the roadless areas issue. During early contacts with the agency, WWF/CBI were invited by the Forest Service and members of Congress to provide our current data and information on several studies - (1) new protected areas GIS-based database for the U.S. and Canada, (2) partial results from the national forest intactness assessment, and (3) data and analysis results from the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion. These were presented

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to the EIS team in early December and became part of the official Congressional record. informal briefings to members of Congress.

3. CBI/WWF prepared a peer-reviewed science paper and submitted it to the Conservation Biology Journal for review and potential publication. Encouraging feedback has been received already.

4. U.S. Forest Service requested multiple copies of the electronic databases from CB1 to help them develop their initial policy recommendations.

5. CBI was chosen by the National BLM Wilderness Campaign to write the science portion of the petition to the Bureau of Land Management to examine the roadless areas issue in the same way as the U.S. Forest Service.

6. Ongoing communication between WWF/CBI and the U.S. Forest Service has led to drafting a MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] that will be signed within 60 days. The specific details of this MOU are currently being reviewed by both parties.

Through previous and ongoing scientific work, CBI and WWF has been successful in demonstrating its ability to produce high-quality, science-based mapping assessments useful to a wide range of users including policy makers. We believe it has been the technical expertise, fairness, and high-quality products that have opened the door for active participation with the Forest Service and possibly other agencies on roadless areas and other conservation issues.

Purpose and Need:

The Clinton Administration has publicly announced the importance science will have in rendering a final policy decision on the fate of the remaining roadless areas within the national forest system. Therefore, protecting these remaining roadless areas is heavily dependent upon our ability to demonstrate the conservation benefits using the best science available. While there have been numerous roadless area mapping exercises carried out throughout the country and southern Cascadia, assessing their individual and collective ecological benefits if protected has not been addressed with the exception of the Klamath-Siskiyou.

Strategy:

Compile Baseline Databases for southern Cascadia

The first task of any GIS-based project is to assemble the pertinent electronic databases. A large number of databases need to be gathered, combined, and readied for analysis. We have a number of databases already in house, but we anticipate a few months to pull everything together. One area of some uncertainty is in the existing roadless areas databases that have been created by agencies and other conservation organizations for the study area. Some time will be required to obtain and evaluate these

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map layers. Working with the Forest Service and others, we will compile (or generate were necessary) the best roadless areas map for the region, which is fundamentally important to the assessment that follows. Databases on the larger roadless areas should not be a problem, but consistent and complete data on the smaller roadless areas may be more problematic.

Roadless Area Conservation Assessment

We plan on following a similar course of analysis that we used in the Klamath-Siskiyou in determining importance of roadless areas in all of southern Cascadia. The analysis areas include the, following components:

1. Natural Heritage Element   Occurrences
2. Special Features (e.g., serpentine geology, wetlands, and prairies)
3. Late Seral Forest
4. Key Watersheds
5. Representation
6. Landscape Level Considerations

By examining these 6 fundamentally important conservation topics, a solid, science-based assessment can be conducted in a timely fashion. Some of the components are inherently more complex than others due to data volume and/or complexity of analysis (e.g., late seral forest and representation assessment), but all can be accomplished under the current time constraints.

We plan on examining these components with several different objectives in mind. First, the results will be pooled in order to provide general statements about the contribution larger roadlcss areas (>5,000 ae) make to conservation at the region and subregional level. Second, we plan to do the same with the smaller roadless areas (>1,000-5,000 ac.). Third, conservation attributes will be assigned to each roadless area individually and scored to provide the information necessary to help shape management recommendations for each roadless area. We will prioritize these analyses according to the internal policy demands imposed on the Forest Service by the Administration - most likely more information on the larger areas will be needed first followed by the smaller size class. At some point, all of the analyses will have to come together forming a more comprehensive roadless areas evaluation.

Fire Management Evaluation

One management topic will figure more prominently in the management recommendations developed by the Forest Service than any other - the role of fire and fire management in roadless areas. Based on our recent conversations with the Forest Service in Washington, D.C. and recent agency actions at the regional level, including a fire management component to this project will be fundamentally important. Inclusion of this component will make for a much stronger assessment and give us additional credibility with the Forest Service and other agencies, which is important both

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scientifically and politically. If funded, Evan Frost (who has been working on this issue over the last year) will be hired as a sub for this component of the work plan.

Even with some protection status given to roadless areas, one of the greatest management threats, particularly in the drier portions of Cascadia like the Klamath-Siskiyou, will be logging proposed as a means for reducing fuel loads and fire hazards. Increasingly, the Forest Service is invoking the threat of large, catastrophic fires as justification for commercial logging in remaining roadless areas. For example, the Klamath National Forest recently released plans to remove old-growth trees and construct fuelbreaks inside roadless areas and late-successional reserves established by the Northwest Forest Plan. Similarly, the Orleans Mountain Roadless Area, portions of which were affected by the '99 Big Bar Fire, is being threatened by proposals for salvage logging under the auspices of fuels reduction to prevent the next large fire event.

The adverse consequences of silvicultural thinning, fuelbreak construction and salvage logging on biodiversity are of increasing concern to conservationists throughout Cascadia, and will become even more so if the upcoming national forest roadless area policy leaves the door open for continued logging-based fuel treatments (a strong possibility). There may be some scientific basis for proposing fuel reduction in specific roadless areas as a necessary precursor to the reintroduction of fire, but we believe these areas need to be identified using a set of ecologically-based criteria and treatments designed using the least intrusive methods possible so that risks to wildlife, water quality, and other ecosystem values can be minimized.

Given these serious concerns, the primary objectives of this component of our proposal are to: (1) develop the scientific basis for managing fire and fuels in roadless regions of southern Cascadia; (2) demonstrate how the science can be specifically applied to management of the national forests in an integrated, ecologically-sound manner; and (3) communicate our findings so as to influence federal policy and on-the-ground implementation. In order to achieve these objectives, we propose to undertake the following tasks.

Organize and convene a workshop of recognized forest scientists to assist in the development of specific recommendations for the management of fire and fuels

Currently there are various competing opinions regarding the degree to which unmanaged forests and roadless areas are at risk of large, catastrophic fires, and whether fire reintroduction efforts should be coupled with mechanical fuel treatments (e.g. thinning, fuelbreaks). In order to build consensus on this issue, we propose to convene a workshop of recognized forest scientists to help: (1) determine if and under what conditions fuels management activities may be legitimately applied to roadless areas; (2) evaluate the ecological tradeoffs associated with various fuels management methods; and (3) develop recommendations for where and under what conditions various fire and fuels treatments are most Rely to achieve biodiversity conservation objectives. The findings from this workshop will be translated into a written report that will be widely distributed to conservationists, land management agencies and policy makers, and also provide

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materials for subsequent outreach efforts to Forest Service staff on roadless area management (described under objective #2, p XX).

Translate recommendations from the science workshop into an integrated fire and fuels management plan in the Klamath-Siskiyou Region.

Once an ecologically-based framework for fire and fuels management in roadless areas has been developed, we propose to demonstrate specifically how this framework can be implemented in one portion of Cascadia, the Klamath-Siskiyou region. Information on existing resource conditions together with recommendations from the science framework will be used to identify and prioritize specific areas that could most benefit from various treatments, while at the same time minimizing risks to biodiversity and ecosystem function. This fire and forest restoration plan will have both short- and long-term applications, and can be used to; (1) influence the direction of roadless area management in the region; (2) facilitate the development of ecologically sound restoration projects; and (3) serve as a model for other portions of Cascadia and the western U.S. where fire-dependent forest ecosystems have also been degraded by past management activities.

Science Support of Translation to Policy

Even though we have basically divided the project workload with CBI carrying out the majority of the technical tasks and WWF focusing primarily on the policy we plan on working together on shaping the best set of analyses and deliverables in order to make this endeavor a conservation success. We have learned through past projects, that this close working relationship is critical to success. Therefore, in addition to the products outlined below, CBI will have an active role in bringing the science to both national and regional Forest Service officials. Likewise, members of the WWF team will have some hours devoted to shaping and reviewing the science.

Products:

Products for Roadless Areas Assessment Component

  • Written report(s) (format to be determined in consultation with the Forest Service) outlining the findings of the roadless area assessment
  • Presentation materials for advisory meetings in Washington, D.C. between WWF/CBI and the Forest Service
  • CD of data and map results needed by the Forest Service so they can incorporate the findings into their regional management plans
  • One or more peer-reviewed articles outlining the findings of this project to provide support to complimentary efforts elsewhere
  • One or more oral papers presented at an international conservation society meeting sharing our results with the rest of the scientific community

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Products for the Fire Management Component

  • Workshop with scientists to develop ecological framework for roadless area management
  • Report on the scientific basis for managing fire and fuels in roadless areas
  • Fire and fuels management Plan for the Klamath-Siskiyou region
  • Outreach to agencies, policy makers and public on Klamath-Siskiyou fire/fuels management plan (e.g-, as part of the roadless area workshops in objective 2)

Objective 2: Translate Roadless Area Mapping Assessments into Policy Action

Purpose and Need:

The conservation mapping assessments have produced specific recommendations on roadless area conservation that will be translated into conservation action in the following four ways: (1) policy initiatives aimed at the Forest Service; (2) policy efforts directed at Congress and other key constituents; (3) studies of the economic importance of roadless areas; and (4) conservation action alerts and media events. The need for translating conservation science into policy action has perhaps never been more urgent than now given the historic proposal of the administration to address roadless areas. Sound scientific support for roadless area conservation is key to informing policy decisions both within the Forest Service and with Congress.

Strategy:

Administrative Actions

Recently, WWF presented roadless area assessments on the Klamath-Siskiyou and Appalachia ecoregions, to high-level officials of the Forest Service in DC and during congressional briefings. Special attention was given to smaller roadless areas (< 5,000 acres) because these important areas may not receive the same level of protection under the roadless area EIS unless ecologically justified. The significance of the roadless area assessments could influence where the conservation bottom line is drawn regarding roadless area conservation (>5,000 acres vs. >1,000 acres) and provides scientific support for an all inclusive roadless area policy (all federal lands) nationwide. Based on the administration's announcement of the Notice of Intent to conduct and EIS, it is likely that the roadless area EIS will include two parts. Part I may provide immediate protection (no new roads) in RARE 11 (>5,000 ac) roadless areas- however, it is unclear what types of activities will be permissible (e.g., grazing, mining, helicopter logging, salvage, fire suppression, etc) at this time. Part II may defer protection of small roadless areas to the inventory process and ecological prioritizations. The second part, in particular, will likely defer management of roadless areas to the local or district level where conservation support may not be as strong as national interests. Consequently, both parts will require significant input from the mapping assessments in the development of policy decisions.

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We intend to strengthen our collaborative relationships with the Forest Service through the signing of a Master Servicewide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This MOU will pave the way for exchanging databases, conducting agency outreach on the importance of roadless areas, roadless area mapping workshops, and the effects of fire management and other activities in roadless areas. The MOU will also provide a foundation for WWF/CBI to influence post-EIS decisions since it establishes a working mechanism for workshops and data exchange on the importance of roadless areas, particularly small ones. Given the size of the bioregion and the need to address both scientific and management levels within the agency, it will be necessary to host two workshops on the ecological importance of large and small roadless areas in southern Cascadia. The workshops will focus on providing inventory and ecological attribute data on roadless areas for development of protection policies. Fire management and access issues in roadless areas will be addressed during these workshops. In addition, all our work will be made available to the larger conservation community through the development of CD ROMS, websites, and publications.

Congressional Policy and Outreach

Part of our effort to protect roadless areas involves working with members of Congress and partnering with conservation leaning hunting and fishing groups. For the past year, WWF has developed good working relations with outdoor writers and fishing organizations and members of Congress. We are planning to continue our involvement with these groups to address access issues in a collaborative way and counter pressure from motorized recreation groups and others.

We propose to step up our efforts on policy work in Washington DC by hiring a full time policy expert (Tom Sadler) who has worked with WWF for the past year on roadless area policy. Tom will continue to work with Dominick and Jim in promoting the roadless area assessments during Congressional briefings, will help prepare the assessments for anticipated Congressional testimony on legislation (members of Congress already have indicated their interests in blocking the Clinton policy), and engage administrative actions post-EIS. Tom is formerly the President of the Congressional Sportsman Caucus and has extensive experience with moderate Republicans and hunting and fishing groups. He has developed an effective track record and is highly regarded by many members of Congress. Tom's activities are of strategic importance in building Congressional and continued agency support inside the beltway for roadless initiatives.

Recreation and Economic Study

A major threat to roadless areas is now building both nationally and regionally from off-highway-vehicle (OHV) users who are interested in securing access into roadless areas. While this issue is heating up on both sides of the debate, WWF is positioning itself to influence OHV policy in roadless areas by applying sound science to recreation policy. We are finding, however, that we need an assessment to address basic recreation questions in the region and to engage the agencies and OHV users in a

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constructive way. Some of the recreation questions we are proposing include: (1) what is the overall recreation use on public lands (e.g., fishing, hunting, camping, etc) and what are the trends in recreation use vs. other uses of the national forests (e.g. logging, mining, grazing); (2) what is the breakdown in recreation use - developed vs. undeveloped; (3) how many miles of trails are open to the motorized access vs. closed to OHVs; and (4) what are the dollars spent inside and outside local communities and jobs created by recreation in developed vs. undeveloped areas? This information is vital for determining the economic value of undeveloped lands and for developing a responsible recreation policy as part of the roadless area effort. Both the BLM and Forest Service are currently reviewing their policy on OHV use and thus it is vital to link our study with OHV policy decisions affecting roadless areas. Our recreation assessment will engage conservation leaning groups in the design and implementation stages (e.g., Trout Unlimited, Izaak Walton League, Wildlife Management Institute) and will seek input from resource economists (e.g., EcoNorthwest, Humboldt State University). An expert panel consisting of these partners will be formed as part of this study and will provide oversight on study objectives, design, and recommendations as well as outreach to key constituents in the hunting and fishing community.

Communication and Media Events

WWF has a Conservation Action Network (CAN) website (www.takeaction.worldwildlife.org/action.htm) consisting of more than 15,000 of its most active members that participate in a range of conservation action alerts. The CAN has been growing at an average monthly rate of 1,000 new members with an average response rate of 30-40% response of its members. Members can be accessed at the county, district, or national levels. Last year, WWF activated its CAN for roadless areas alerts to President Clinton and Congress and several other alerts regarding on the Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion. More than 4,000 emails and faxes were sent to the President in support of roadless areas during one action alert alone. We propose to continue CAN alerts and media events, coinciding with significant developments around roadless area decisions affecting Cascadia (e.g., release of the EIS, attacks by Congress, release of our studies). WWF has extensive communications and education departments in DC that will be employed during CAN alerts and national press events, and we are working with Pyramid Communications in Seattle on regional press for its Klamath-Siskiyou program. CBI also has a frequently visited website and we plan on posting ongoing products and announcements there as well.

Products:

  • Information packets on importance of roadless areas mailed to members of Congress
  • Congressional and administrative (CEQ, BLM, Forest Service) briefings on roadless areas and the CBI/WWF studies
  • Briefings/meetings with conservation leaning hunting and fishing groups concerning the recreation study and agency rule makings on OHV use

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  • Advocacy with conservation partners on recreation issues affecting roadless areas (e.g., Outdoor Recreation Council of America, hunting/fishing community)
  • Signed MOU with the Forest Service
  • Regional and pilot projects and workshops with the Forest Service on roadless area conservation and management (including members of Congress)
  • Economic study on value of roadless areas
  • Media and Conservation Action Alerts, including press briefings, presentations to the Outdoor Writers Association, guest columns, op-eds, visits with editorial boards, and conservation action alerts on roadless areas.

Proposed Budget:

We know this proposal outlines a significant level of effort and carries with it a large budget, but we have tried to make the budget reflect our needs as closely as possible. There are always some unknowns when a project of this magnitude is developed, but we feel confident that the budget as proposed will cover the costs of producing the deliverables as outlined. Additional funding is being pursued elsewhere to cover for budget shortfalls caused by the unanticipated roadless areas work from the last 4 months and to broaden our national forest assessment work. If these other fundralsing efforts are successful, we will be able to develop additional analyses and products (e.g., State of the Nation's Forests Report and CD) making the whole greater than its parts. Since the budget for this proposal is large, it may be more desirable from the foundation's perspective to stagger grant payments for between 2000 and 2001. The budget outlined below is written with this in mind, but we are flexible in terms of payment schedule.

Budget for this $650,000 grant proposal not available at this time.