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by Marcia Armstrong, Siskiyou County Supervisor 5/13/11

The Big Picture Part 2

HERE for Part 1

Ridin' Point 

- a weekly column published in the Siskiyou Daily News


Part Two - Big Picture: In 1971, the UN Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program was established to promote ecosystem management and “rational use.” 1980, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (ICUN) along with the United Nations and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) created the World Conservation Strategy. The goal of the strategy was to protect ecological processes, genetic diversity and endangered species, as well as to limit man’s development of resources to sustainable levels. In the 1980s, “Gap analysis” mapped species and their habitat in the United States, targeting areas where protection had not yet been mandated or institutionalized.

After the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the Convention on Biological Diversity was signed by President Clinton, (but never ratified by the Senate.) Clinton agreed to establish a network of protected areas to conserve biological diversity, protect ecosystems and natural habitats. Signatories pledged sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas.”  http://www.cbd.int/convention/articles/?a=cbd-08 Clinton also agreed to an implementation plan for sustainable development called “Agenda 21.” Section 1, Chapter 7(c) establishes national land and resource inventories, with designation of appropriate use and environmental protections. Section 2, Chapter 10 establishes that land should be allocated to the uses that provide the greatest sustainable benefits.  http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/res_agenda21_01.shtml (1992 also happens to be the year of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.)

Vice President Al Gore used his National Performance Review to implement the (unratified) treaty goals of ensuring sustainable development while sustaining the environment through ecosystem management. In 1993, the White House Office of Environmental Policy (OEP) established the Interagency Ecosystem Management Task Force (IEMTF) of 14 federal agencies to carry out Vice President Gore's mandate.

In 1992, Dr. Michael Soule, Dr. Reed Noss and David Foreman published "The Wildlands Project Land Conservation Strategy" in the Magazine Wild Earth. The strategy established core wild areas surrounded by buffer areas where activities were regulated to protect the characteristics of the core reserves. Areas outside of the core reserves and buffer zones were designated as “areas of cooperation” where use was regulated to favor biodiversity and ecosystems. Core areas are connected by biodiversity corridors several miles wide. This pattern was used in President Clinton’s Northwest Forest Plan to set aside Late Successional Reserves, surrounded by matrix lands. The California Forest Practices Act implemented stringent protection on surrounding private lands.

By 1994, the Wildlands Project had identified 38 areas in west where minor road closures would create large roadless areas. This included two million acres of the Kalmiopsis/Siskiyous/Trinity Alps in Oregon and California. In 1999, the Klamath-Siskiyou Conservation Assessment was completed by Drs. Noss and Strittholt proposing to protect 80% of federal land. http://www.siskiyou.org/resources/conservation_plan.pdf In 2004, The Nature Conservancy completed an Assessment for the Klamath Mountains Ecoregion identifying threats such as fire suppression, incompatible grazing, timber harvest, mining, roads, water use and homes. It also identified new target areas for protection. By 2004, it was also discovered that 13 million acres of the Klamath River area in CA and Oregon had been nominated as a candidate for a UN Biosphere Reserve.

Of course the main strategy is to create the largest core areas possible. On successful strategy has been to eliminate roads to create “roadless areas” and then convert these into protected Wilderness. In 1998, the Klamath National Forest began a round of road decommissioning to reduce public access. In 1999, the Clinton administration followed with its Roadless Initiative to lock up additional land from possible economic use. Currently, local National Forests are again closing roads and access under new Travel Management Plans.

In 2000, the Clinton administration employed a new use of the Antiquities Act to declare large areas of federal lands as National Monuments. An attempt to extend the newly created Cascade Siskiyou National Monument over the border into Siskiyou County was thwarted. Monuments are particularly useful in creating core reserves because mining, grazing and timber harvest can be eliminated. In addition, adjacent private land access can be choked off by preventing road maintenance for access.

In 2007, Senator Barbara Boxer proposed the California Wild Heritage Act, which would have substantially expanded Wilderness areas in the Marble Mountain, Russian, Red Butte and Soda Mountain Wilderness areas of Siskiyou County. Currently, the Obama Administration may be considering declaration of the Siskiyou Crest National Monument and extension of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument into California. This would severely restrict use of the land north of the Klamath River. In addition, the Secretary of Interior was just prevented by Congress from implementing a new “Wild Lands” policy that would protect lands the Administration deemed suitable as if they were designated Wilderness.   http://users.sisqtel.net/armstrng/agenda21.htm or HERE
(Continued Next Week)



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