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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

Oregon / Washington

Science Advisory Team

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A. Purpose and operations

A Science Advisory Team (SAT) consisting primarily of federal scientists will be formed to enhance the quality and credibility of RMP revision analyses. Provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) sharply limit the participation of nonfederal scientists. The primary purpose of the SAT is to provide advice to the BLM that improves the quality of the RMP revisions and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The team is not expected to provide an independent certification of science consistency. Specific tasks and the anticipated schedule are described below. The BLM RMP Science Liaison will facilitate the SAT and serve as the primary point of contact among the SAT and the BLM.

The SAT will generally conduct business in a reactive mode reviewing material and answering questions relevant to the RMP revisions on request from the BLM. The SAT will also be free to suggest methods by which the quality and credibility of the revision analysis process may be improved. Depending on the nature of the task and the consent of both the team and the BLM, the SAT will work in both informal and formal modes. In addition, members of the SAT may be asked to participate in 1-2 public events (e.g., field tours, meetings, workshops) where aspects of the revision process are being discussed. Documentation of SAT proceedings and products will be freely available on the RMP website, and SAT products will be shared with RMP Cooperators and others with an expressed interest.

B. Selection

The original team members selected are listed below. Some team members have changed. For a list of current Science Team members see the Science Team page.

  • Sarah Crim - National Forest System, Region 6 - Timber modeling
  • Doug Drake - Oregon Department of Environmental Quality - Water quality, monitoring
  • Joan Hagar - USGS Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center - Wildlife ecology
  • Chris Jordan - NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center - Fish biology
  • Tom Spies - Pacific Northwest Research Station - Forest ecology, landscape ecology
  • Fred Swanson - Pacific Northwest Research Station - Geology, landscape ecology, watershed processes
  • John Cissel - BLM - Team coordination

C.Tasks

1. Review planning criteria

The Science Team is providing advice to the BLM planning team regarding the analytical procedures described in the Planning Criteria. Science Team reviews address three questions:

  1. Are the analytical questions sufficient to address the purpose and need?
  2. Are the assumptions well founded and adequately disclosed?
  3. Are the analytical approaches sufficient to answer the analytical question?

The Science Team provided oral feedback directly to the planning team early in the process of criteria development, and is now working on a written report due March 17, 2006.

2. Review preliminary alternatives

The Science Team will provide advice to the planning team regarding the preliminary alternatives prior to full development and analysis of their effects. The Science Team will address three questions:

  1. Does the range of alternatives encompass the range of strategies appropriate to meet the purpose and need?
  2. Are the management actions appropriate to achieve the objectives of each alternative?
  3. Are there key ideas missing?

The Science Team will soon begin working on a written report addressing these questions, and expects to complete the report by April 3, 2006.

3. Provide input to alternative evaluation criteria

The Science Team will meet with the planning team to provide input to the development of alternative evaluation criteria in May or June of 2006, and will document these recommendations in a short report thereafter.

4. Review draft alternative effects assessment

The Science Team will review draft alternative effects assessments for identified major issues prior to publication in the Draft EIS according to the following criteria:

  • Was all the relevant scientific information considered?
  • Were all the significant assumptions acknowledged?
  • Were risks adequately and fairly documented?
  • Are the conclusions consistent with known science?

The Science Team will conduct this review when preliminary results are available, scheduled for summer and fall of 2006. Review results will be compiled into a short report.

5. Evaluate alternatives with respect to evaluation criteria

The Science Team will review the alternative effects analysis and provide input to the BLM regarding the ability of each alternative to meet the purpose and need of the plan revisions and other evaluation criteria. The purpose of this task is to assist the BLM with identifying or building a preferred alternative for the Draft EIS.

6. Monitoring plan review

The Science Team will review a draft monitoring plan before publication in the Draft EIS for technical quality. The team may be asked to recommend specific monitoring questions and methods to include in the monitoring plan.

7. EIS changes review

The Science Team will likely be asked to review the BLM’s response to technical or science-related questions raised during the public input period following release of the Draft EIS. The Science Team will use the same criteria listed above for effects assessment reviews. Findings and recommendations will be documented in a form suitable for potential inclusion as an appendix in the Final EIS.

D. Schedule

  1. Team formed - October 1, 2005
  2. Analytical methodology review - October 2005-March 2006 (5-7 days)
  3. Effects assessment review - April-June 2006 (5-7 days)
  4. Monitoring plan review - Fall 2006 (2-3 days)
  5. EIS changes review - 2007 (5-7 days)

Technical support to alternative development

Many scientists in the region have extensive experience translating broad concepts into management strategies. Involvement of scientists in the alternative development process can broaden the range of options and identify innovative ways to integrate management approaches to achieve RMP objectives. The BLM has several ongoing collaborations that could become venues for science input to alternative development, including:

  • Engagement with the CLAMS team to help develop management scenarios to assess the role of BLM lands in the Coast Range
  • Engagement with the CFER program on a broad range of management-related studies
  • Development of landscape scenario modeling tools for the Coos Bay and Medford districts
  • Collaboration with PNW and OSU scientists in the Density Management Study
  • Collaboration with PNW and R6 in the Central Cascades AMA to fulfill terms of the Settlement Agreement regarding active landscape management

The BLM will work to capitalize on these collaborations through brainstorming exercises, field trips, workshops, or other appropriate means to provide concepts and strategies for consideration in RMP alternatives. The BLM will also work with the CLAMS and CFER teams to quickly obtain broad-scale assessment of potential alternatives as applied on specific landscapes using their landscape simulation models.