Eugene Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan

Acronyms and Abbreviations

Eugene Record of Decision

Eugene District Resource Management Plan Table of Contents:

- Tables

- Maps

- Appendices

Wildlife Habitat


Objectives

See Late-Successional Reserve, Riparian Reserve, Special Status/SEIS Special Attention Species, and Matrix objectives.

Enhance and maintain biological diversity and ecosystem health in order to contribute to viable wildlife populations.

BLM is directed to "ensure optimum populations and a natural abundance and diversity of wildlife resources on public lands by restoring, maintaining, and enhancing habitat conditions through management plans and actions integrated with other uses of public lands, through coordination with other programs, the States, by management initiatives, and through direct habitat improvement projects" (BLM Manual 6500.1).

Land Use Allocations

Wildlife habitat is provided across all land use allocations. The primary mechanism for the conservation of wildlife habitat will be through the application of ecosystem management principles to develop complex forest habitats under a variety of silvicultural prescriptions compatible with the objectives of each land use allocation.

Management Actions/Direction for All Land Use Allocations

Use the watershed analysis process to address wildlife habitat issues for individual watersheds. The analysis will help to resolve any concerns identified in applying management actions/direction in this section and those in the Special Status and SEIS Special Attention Species section. Where appropriate, wildlife habitat enhancement opportunities will be identified through this process.

Manage late seral habitat within Late-Successional Reserves and all other land use allocations (to the extent compatible with objectives for those allocations) to maintain regionally viable populations of species associated with habitat and components of late seral forests. Delineate distributions and develop management strategies and silvicultural prescriptions to maintain and enhance habitats for late seral associated species. Management will be directed toward the sustained availability of snags, down woody debris, multicanopy and multi-layered forest stands, structurally-diverse trees and other components important to these species.

Manage younger forest age classes to benefit the special status and priority wildlife associated with these habitats. These management actions will be compatible with the desired future condition of the land use allocation. Develop management strategies and silvicultural prescriptions towards the maintenance of snags; down woody debris; diverse communities of native shrubs and forbs; multi-layered, multi-canopied forest stands; and management for optimum configurations of patch/openings for the priority species identified. Utilize fire, vegetative manipulation techniques, road decommissioning, and planting to encourage high value forage areas, habitats that support prey species or highly diverse biological communities, or high populations of insects important to birds and mammals that feed in early seral forests.

Coordinate with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies and organizations during planning and implementation of wildlife habitat enhancement projects.

Cooperate with Federal, Tribal, and State wildlife management agencies to identify and eliminate impacts associated with habitat manipulation, poaching, and other activities that threaten the continued existence and distribution of native wildlife inhabiting Federal lands.

Develop and implement plans to acquire lands for which significant populations or habitat enhancement opportunities exist, through conservation easements, purchase, or exchange.

Provide and maintain interpretive sites to facilitate wildlife and habitat viewing by the public. Actively participate in environmental education programs and develop public/agency partnerships to enhance wildlife habitat.

Assist other agencies and cooperators in regional and national efforts to survey and monitor neotropical migratory and resident nongame birds. Participate in regional and national initiatives following Partners in Flight priorities established for research, monitoring, habitat development, and public education. Develop strategies for the management and monitoring that emphasize species of concern and species indicating decline.

Cooperate with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to identify and maintain habitats significant to band-tailed pigeons and determine their potential for management. Develop cooperative strategies for management including habitat maintenance and enhancement, population surveys, acquisition, and public outreach.

Conserve native plant and animal communities. Promote the recovery of adversely affected populations. Enhance biological resources for human values through the use of native species for ecosystem restoration, species recovery or other actions involving plant, fish, and wildlife introductions on the District. Identify and implement actions to mitigate resource damage, promote wildlife habitat, reestablish or enhance populations and communities to maintain native biological diversity.

Down, dead woody material will be retained on areas from which timber is harvested to the extent compatible with the land use allocation, reforestation objectives, fire hazard reduction standards, special status habitat and Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives. Gross yarding planned to meet these objectives will be constrained in accordance with the land use allocation to maintain dead and down woody debris. Salvage of down, dead material from other lands will also be constrained to meet appropriate land use allocation objectives for protection of dead and down woody debris.

Except where public safety is a concern, snags will be retained where they occur on lands not allocated to timber production. Unmerchantable snags will also be left in timber harvest units to the extent compatible with safety and other concerns such as fire hazard reduction needs and to meet or exceed minimal land use allocation objectives. Timber sale contracts will encourage loggers to retain all snags and nonmerchantable trees that can be left safely in timber harvest areas. In all land use allocations, guidelines will include retention of soft snags except where unacceptable for safety, logging systems, or burning considerations.

Individual green trees may be cut and moved from terrestrial sites in any land use allocation for placement in aquatic or riparian systems deficient in large woody debris. Only trees in excess of the land use allocation commitments for snags, down wood, and green tree retention can be moved. Excess trees can be transferred only if no adverse impact to the current or desired condition for special status or other priority wildlife would result from the transfer at either location. Follow SEIS/ROD guidance for target levels of snags, down wood, and green tree retention for each land use allocation. Down wood in excess of future conditions can be transferred from terrestrial sites to aquatic or riparian areas following the salvage guidelines.

Develop road management plans that address solutions or mitigation for road/access problems related to the wildlife resource including disturbance, erosion, trash, poaching, or shooting problems. Identify management recommendations to provide wildlife refugia; special and crucial habitats; seasonally or permanently-protected areas for species susceptible to disturbance, and alternatives for the public that wishes to enjoy wildlife viewing through nonmotorized means.

Wherever practical, new roads will avoid areas with high wildlife values. Access on spur roads unneeded for continued timber management will be controlled upon completion of logging and replanting. Some land use alternatives provide for additional access management to protect species sensitive to human intrusion. Close the roads identified under Off Highway Vehicle management (Appendix F) that were identified to meet wildlife objectives.

Implement long-term improvement and restoration of upland game bird habitat on BLM land (BLM Upland Game Bird Strategy 6500.1).

Identify wildlife enhancement opportunities in recreation plans (ideally in the design phase to preclude the need for mitigation), and plan Watchable Wildlife opportunities that minimize impacts to sensitive wildlife or its habitat.

Follow minerals management guidelines (Appendix G, Appendix H, and Appendix I) to protect, maintain, or reduce impacts to priority wildlife habitat.

Management Actions/Direction for Special Habitats

Using interdisciplinary teams, identify special habitat areas and determine relevancy for values protection or management on a case-by-case basis. Of particular importance in these determinations will be the habitat of species for which the SEIS/ROD provides protection buffers.

Use management practices, including fire, to obtain desired vegetation conditions in special habitats.

Maintain, enhance, and acquire oak, oak-conifer woodlands, and pine stands for associated wildlife species. Identify and map oak, oak-conifer woodlands, and pine stands as special habitats on the GIS resource inventory system by 1996. Implement a strategy to maintain, enhance, or acquire these particular habitats and identify management strategies including planting oak or pine, underburning, competitive conifer control, and restricting livestock grazing in these high value habitats. Manage the site within the range of known historical conditions.

Buffer special habitats as required by the SEIS/ROD as recommended to maintain climatic conditions (see Table 4). Manage these areas for the values that make them unique from the surrounding habitat types.

Special habitats such as cliffs, rock outcrops, talus slopes, meadows, ponds and wetlands will be managed to protect their primary habitat values to the extent consistent with alternative design features for buffers. Rock quarry development, and other activities, may occur on cliffs or talus slopes to the extent compatible with the protection of special status species.

Management Actions/Direction for Habitat Type/Enhancement Opportunities

Determine the desired current and future conditions necessary to maintain long-term viable populations of each priority species. Incorporate the silvicultural prescriptions, enhancement projects or other management actions that will produce these conditions into watershed analysis following priorities established through this document. Appropriate management techniques will be implemented where consistent with land use allocations, policy and law. All planned actions will be developed through an issue-identifying process involving interdisciplinary resource specialists. Projects will receive required interagency review (if any) and will comply with applicable NEPA procedures prior to implementation.

Management will be directed towards the sustained availability of snags; down woody debris; multi-species native mixes of trees, shrubs, and forbs; multicanopy/multilayer forest stands; structurally-diverse tree canopies high quality forage/feeding concentration areas (including prey concentrations); well-dispersed, clean, undisturbed water sources (for the species that require free water); well-distributed, undisturbed refugia, and crucial habitat areas; and optimum patch/opening habitat distributions/configurations to benefit priority wildlife for which patch/edge recommendations are known.

A partial list of management techniques that may be used to meet these conditions will include tree girdling; topping; fungus injection; releasing selected trees from competition by removing adjacent trees (selective thinning);interplanting; pruning; seeding with natives; seedling protection treatments; creating potholes/wetlands/pools; incorporating gravel, burning, manual vegetation treatment; removal or control of exotic plants and/or animals; supplementing down wood by cutting trees and moving to down wood deficient areas; fertilizing; installing nest boxes or artificial structures for breeding or shelter; closing/decommissioning roads or otherwise restricting access; installing stream structures; restoring native species that have been extirpated from the watershed; and installing fencing or barriers. Approximately 15,000 to 20,000 of one or more of the above treatments may be implemented during the fiscal 10 years of this RMP, pending watershed analysis.

Protect or improve known habitat for prey and vegetative forage species of priority wildlife where compatible with other land use allocations and priorities. Incorporate fire, other disturbance techniques that simulate natural disturbance events, fertilization, density management, or seeding into areas where habitat enhancement for prey species or forage plants can benefit.

Roosevelt Elk, Bear, Mountain Lion, Deer, and other Big Game

Cooperate with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop and implement strategies identified in the Elk, Deer, Black Bear, and Mountain Lion Strategic Plans to the extent compatible with land allocation objectives, Bureau policy and law. Redefine the Eugene District elk emphasis areas identified in the BLM Fish and Wildlife 2000-Big Game Strategic Plan (6500.1) to reflect updated land use allocations and incorporate into the watershed analysis process. Identify, protect, and enhance crucial habitats such as denning, calving, foraging sites, major migration routes, and significant refugia to the extent possible under land allocation objectives.

In elk habitat areas, close and rehabilitate roads unneeded for continued resource management or use. A general target for roads open to motorized use is 1.5 miles or less per square mile. Avoid constructing roads in areas with high elk value such as breeding sites.

Use seasonal restrictions on public use and management activities where needed to minimize disturbance and harassment.

Conduct forage seeding in habitat areas with appropriate seed mixtures and where compatible with other management objectives.

Golden Eagles, Owls, and Other Raptors (excluding those of special status), Herons, Key Raptor Areas

(See also Special Status/SEIS Special Attention Species Habitat section for bald eagles, spotted owls, peregrine falcons, and goshawks).

Contribute to regionally viable populations of all native raptor species consistent with BLM Fish and Wildlife 2000 (6500.1) and the Raptor Research Report # 8 (BLM, 1989). Maintain nests, centers of activity, prey concentrations or foraging areas, and roost sites through seasonal protection, yarding mitigation, and/or the distribution of snags/green retention trees and reserve areas to the extent compatible with land use allocations. Meet or exceed Oregon State Board of Forestry Forest Practices Rules for raptor and heron protection.

Install nesting platforms, nest boxes, and other structures to enhance habitat.

Evaluate and, if necessary, redefine the Eugene District Key Raptor Areas (Raptor Research Report #8, 1989). Specific objectives and desired future conditions identified for each Key Raptor Area will be incorporated into the watershed analysis process to meet raptor objectives.

Until strategies are developed for Key Raptor Areas that may update these buffer guidelines, active raptor and heron nests will be managed to maintain site integrity and comply with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act as follows:

Restrict activities that may disturb or interfere with breeding within 0.25 miles of the nest site or line-of-site up to 0.5 mile during the crucial nesting period. Nesting dates vary by species, the date the bird initiated nesting, the likelihood of the species to renest if the first nest fails, and variations in weather conditions but generally fall within the following periods:

Golden eagles Nest Jan. 1-Aug. 31
Winter roosts   Nov. 15-April 1
Owls, other raptors Nest March 1-Sept. 30
Winter   NA
Herons Nest Feb. 15-Sept. 30
Winter   NA
Protect nests from disturbance by maintaining the
seasonal restriction through the last date that species
has been known to nest or renest (approximately
June 15). Allow the action to proceed if field exam
indicates that nest is inactive on or after that date.

If these protection guidelines cannot be provided, e.g., in the case of time-restricted rights-of-ways or mineral leases, and the take (generally the mortality of a bird or its eggs) of a migratory bird under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (as amended) may result, confer with USFWS regarding take regulations and proceed as advised.

In addition to seasonal protection for the above species, protect an area approximately 0.25 mile around active golden eagle and great blue heron nest sites from any activity that will adversely affect the nest stand. Protection measures will include no habitat removal.

Protect nests and nest stands of other priority species where possible and to the extent compatible with the land use objectives, through scheduling of harvest activities across the landscape, clumping of retention trees, placement of unthinned stands in harvest/density management actions, and by avoiding road construction or yarding disturbance around nest sites when compatible with other resource values.

Management Actions/Direction for Riparian Reserves

Design and implement wildlife habitat restoration and enhancement activities in a manner that contributes to attainment of Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives.

Design, construct, and operate wildlife interpretive and other user-enhancement facilities in a manner that does not retard or prevent attainment of Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives. For existing wildlife interpretative and other user-enhancement facilities inside Riparian Reserves, ensure that Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives are met. Where Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives cannot be met, relocate or close such facilities.

Cooperate with Federal, Tribal, and State wildlife management agencies to identify and eliminate ungulate impacts that are inconsistent with attainment of Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives.

Manage all riparian and wetland habitat consistent with land use objectives to maintain, restore, and improve riparian habitat consistent with the BLM Riparian Initiative (6400.1), Riparian Area Management (BLM Technical Report 1737-11, 1994), and the 1987 Corps of Engineers Wetlands Manual. Manage riparian areas for a late seral stage unless watershed analysis identifies reasons for alternate objectives. Maintain the riparian/wetland conditions within the historic range of conditions as much as this can be determined. Identify and map wetlands and riparian areas on all lands within Eugene District watershed boundaries, incorporating remote sensing and GIS. Through watershed analysis evaluate the functional condition and beneficial uses of these areas and identify management actions to remedy areas in poor condition. Maintain and enhance beaver populations, dams, and habitats to the extent compatible with Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives.

Adaptive Management Process: Each implementation action will incorporate a monitoring plan that addresses consistency with Aquatic Conservation Strategy objectives, BLM Riparian Initiative 6400.1, and specific watershed goals for the basin. The monitoring plan will address completion of the action, the effectiveness of the action in meeting the resource objective(s), and will address follow-up modifications to revise, maintain, or adapt the management action to address the results of the effectiveness monitoring.

Pursue lands through conservation agreements or acquisition that will facilitate rehabilitation of priority streams or riparian systems.

Management Actions/Direction for Late-Successional Reserves

Design projects to improve conditions for wildlife if they provide late-successional habitat benefits or if their effect on late-successional associated species is negligible.

If introduction of a nonnative species is proposed, complete an assessment of impacts and avoid any introduction that will retard or prevent achievement of Late-Successional Reserve objectives.

Evaluate impacts of nonnative species existing within Late-Successional Reserves.

Develop plans and recommendations for eliminating or controlling nonnative species that are inconsistent with Late-Successional Reserve objectives. Include an analysis of effects of implementing such programs on other species within Late-Successional Reserves.

Management Actions/Direction for Matrix (General Forest Management Area)

Retain snags within a timber harvest unit at levels sufficient to support species of cavity-nesting birds at 40 percent of potential population levels. Meet the 40 percent minimum throughout the Matrix with per acre requirements met on average areas no larger than 40 acres.

Retain late-successional forest patches in landscape areas where little late-successional forest persists. This management action/direction will be applied in fifth field watersheds (20 to 200 square miles) in which Federal forest lands are currently comprised of 15 percent or less late-successional forest. (The assessment of 15 percent will include all Federal land allocations in a watershed.) Within such an area, protect all remaining late-successional forest stands. Protection of these stands could be modified in the future when other portions of a watershed have recovered to the point where they could replace the ecological roles of these stands.

Retain 6-8 green conifer trees per acre after regeneration harvest to provide a legacy bridging past and future forests. Retained trees will be distributed in variable patterns (e.g., single trees, clumps, and stringers) to contribute to stand diversity.

In addition to the previous green tree retention management action/direction, retain green trees for snag recruitment in harvest units where there is an identified, near-term (less than 3 decades) snag deficit. These trees do not count toward green tree retention requirements.

Leave 240 linear feet of logs per acre greater than or equal to 20 inches in diameter. Logs less than 20 feet in length will not be credited toward this total. Existing decay class 1 and 2 logs count toward this requirement. Down logs will reflect the species mix of the original stand. Where this management action/direction cannot be met with existing coarse woody debris, merchantable material will be used to make up the deficit. Models will be developed for groups of plant associations and stand types that can be used as a baseline for developing prescriptions.

Manage for species and habitat within the Matrix-General Forest that are compatible with early seral stages up to 80 years old. Use the 15 percent of the fifth field watershed retained as older forest to serve as refugia for species that will later colonize the managed forest, and to serve as dispersal patches for older seral associated species.

Management Actions/Direction for Matrix (Connectivity/Diversity Blocks)

Retain snags within a timber harvest unit at levels sufficient to support species of cavity-nesting birds at a minimum of 40 percent of potential cavity-dweller population levels. The number of trees necessary to meet the 40 percent level and the assumptions of the model used to calculate that number are described in Chapter 4, PRMP/FEIS. Meet the 40 percent minimum throughout the Matrix with per acre requirements met on average areas no larger than 40 acres. Retain all snags within the reserved portion of the Matrix-Connectivity block where compatible with the Aquatic Conservation Strategy and the SEIS/ROD objectives.

Provide Connectivity/Diversity Blocks spaced throughout the BLM land base. Manage the blocks as follows:

  1. Maintain 25 to 30 percent of each block in late-successional forest at any time. The percentage of habitat will include habitat in other allocations, such as Riparian Reserves. Blocks may be comprised of contiguous or noncontiguous BLM administered land. The size and arrangement of habitat within a block should provide effective habitat to the extent possible.

  2. Retain 12-18 green conifer trees per acre when an area is regeneration harvested. Distribute the retained trees in variable patterns (e.g., single trees, clumps, and stringers) to contribute to stand diversity. The management goal for the retained trees and subsequent density management will be the recovery of old growth conditions in approximately 100 to 120 years.

  3. Leave 240 linear feet of logs per acre greater than or equal to 20 inches in diameter. Logs less than 20 feet in length will not be credited toward this total. Existing decay class 1 and 2 logs count toward this requirement. Down logs will reflect the species mix of the original stand. Where this management action/direction cannot be met with existing coarse woody debris, merchantable material will be used to make up the deficit. Models will be developed for groups of plant associations and stand types that can be used as a baseline for developing prescriptions.