Klamath Falls Record of Decision and Resource Management Plan

Klamath Falls Record of Decision

Klamath Falls District Resource Management Plan Table of Contents:

- Tables

- Maps

- Appendices

Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves


The following material summarizes Late-Successional Reserves direction. Details regarding this direction are found in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision (Appendix A). In the Klamath Falls Resource Area there are only unmapped Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves, not the large mapped Late-Successional Reserves shown in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.

Objectives

Protect and enhance conditions of late-successional and old growth forest ecosystems, which serve as habitat for late-successional and old growth forest-related species including the northern spotted owl.

Maintain a functional, interacting, late-successional, and old growth forest ecosystem.

Land Use Allocations

On the west side of the Klamath Falls Resource Area there are approximately 1,600 acres allocated to Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. This allocation is composed of blocks of land containing approximately 80 to 100 acres each.

Also, protection buffers for special status and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement special attention species will be made as identified in the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Record of Decision. These protection buffers will be part of the Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. There are also district designated buffers on special status and threatened and endangered species protecting nest sites, sensitive plant areas, etc. These protection buffers will often be part of the Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves.

Management Actions/Direction

General

Apply the management actions/direction in the Special Status and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Special Attention Species section.

Plan and implement non-silvicultural activities inside Late-Successional Reserves/District Designated Reserve that are neutral or beneficial to the creation and maintenance of late-successional habitat.

Using interdisciplinary teams, evaluate other activities not described below and document appropriate guidelines.

Request review by the Regional Ecosystem Office of all activities deemed to have potential adverse effects on Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve objectives. The Regional Ecosystem Office may develop additional criteria for exempting some additional activities from review.

Provide Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves for biodiversity and old growth habitat on the east side by the designation of Miller Creek Canyon and Yainax Butte as areas of critical environmental concern (see the Special Areas section). Manage forest lands on the east side of the planning area under uneven-age harvest prescriptions that will provide for a diversity of structure and species composition.

Silviculture

Plan and implement silvicultural treatments inside Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves that are beneficial to the creation of late-successional habitat.

If needed to create, maintain, or enhance late-successional forest conditions, conduct thinning operations in forest stands. This will be accomplished by pre-commercial thinning, commercial thinning, or selective harvesting of stands regardless of origin (for example, planted after logging or naturally regenerated after fire or blowdown).

Given the increased risk of fire due to lower moisture conditions and the rapid accumulation of fuels in the aftermath of insect outbreaks and drought, additional management activities will be allowed in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. Guidelines to reduce risks of large-scale disturbance are as follows:

  1. Large-scale disturbances, such as fire, are natural events and can eliminate spotted owl habitat on hundreds of thousands of acres. Certain risk management activities, if properly planned and implemented, may reduce the probability of these major stand-replacing events. Elevated risk levels are attributed to changes in the characteristics and distribution of the mixed-conifer forests resulting from past fire protection. These forests occur in drier environments, have had repeated insect infestations, and are susceptible to major fires. Risk reduction efforts are encouraged where they are consistent with the objectives for the Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves.
  2. Silvicultural activities aimed at reducing risk shall focus on younger stands in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. The objective will be to accelerate development of late-successional conditions while making the future stand less susceptible to natural disturbances. Salvage activities should focus on the reduction of catastrophic insect, disease, and fire threats. Treatments should be designed to provide effective fuel breaks wherever possible. However, the scale of salvage treatments should not generally result in degeneration of currently suitable owl habitat or other late-successional conditions.
  3. In some Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves, management that goes beyond these guidelines may be considered. Levels of risk in those Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves may be particularly high and may require additional measures. Consequently, management activities designed to reduce risk levels are encouraged in those Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves even if a portion of the activities must take place in currently late-successional habitat. While risk-reduction efforts should generally be focused on young stands, activities in older stands may be appropriate if: the proposed management activities will clearly result in greater assurance of long-term maintenance of habitat, the activities are clearly needed to reduce risks, and the activities will not prevent the Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve from playing an effective role in the objectives for which they were established.

Example of activities that may be needed in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves to reduce large-scale disturbances are:

  • light intensity underburning to reduce fuel loads;
  • light thinning of the understory component in the stands; or
  • manipulating species composition or develop a diversity of conifer species.

Salvage

Limit salvage of dead trees in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves to areas where stand-replacing events exceed ten acres in size and canopy closure has been reduced to less than 40 percent.

Retain all standing live trees including those injured (for example scorched) but likely to survive.

Retain snags that are likely to persist until late-successional forest conditions have developed and a new stand is again producing large snags.

Retain adequate coarse woody debris quantities in a new stand so that in the future it will still contain amounts similar to naturally regenerated stands. Watershed-level or province-level plans will establish appropriate levels of coarse woody debris to be used. Levels will be typical and will not require retention of all material where it is highly concentrated or too small to contribute to coarse woody debris over the long term.

If essential to reduce future risk of fire or insect damage, conduct salvage that does not meet the preceding management actions/ direction. Focus on those areas where there is high risk of large scale disturbance.

Remove snags and logs to reduce hazards to humans along roads and trails and in or adjacent to recreation sites. Leave some material where coarse woody debris is inadequate.

After disturbance in younger stands, develop diameter and biomass retention direction consistent with the intention of achieving late-successional forest conditions. Where green trees, snags, and logs are present following disturbance, the green tree and snag direction will be applied first and completely satisfied where possible. The biomass left in snags can be credited toward the amount of coarse woody debris biomass needed to achieve management objectives.

Retain logs present on the forest floor before a disturbance event.

Retain coarse woody debris to approximate the species composition of the original stand to help replicate preexisting suitable habitat conditions.

Deviate from these management actions/direction only to provide reasonable access to salvage sites and feasible logging operations. Limit deviations to as small an area as possible.

Road Management

Construct roads in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves if the potential benefits of silviculture, salvage, and other activities exceed the costs of habitat impairment. If new roads are necessary to implement a practice that is otherwise in accordance with these guidelines, they will be kept to a minimum, be routed through unsuitable habitat where possible, and be designed to minimize adverse impacts. Alternative access methods, such as aerial logging, will be considered to provide access for activities in reserves.

Remove trees along rights-of-way if they are a hazard to public safety. Consider leaving material on site if available coarse woody debris is inadequate. Consider topping of trees as an alternative to felling.

Fuelwood Gathering

Permit fuelwood gathering only in existing cull decks, in areas where green trees are marked by silviculturists for thinning, in areas where blowdown is blocking roads, and in recently harvested timber sale units where down material will impede scheduled post-sale activities or pose an unacceptable risk of future large scale disturbance. In all cases these activities will comply with management actions/direction for salvage and silvicultural activities.

Minerals Management

Assess the impacts of ongoing and proposed mining activities in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves.

Include stipulations in mineral leases, mineral material disposals, and, when legally possible, require operational constraints for locatable mineral activities to minimize detrimental effects to late-successional habitat.

Developments

Neither construct nor authorize new facilities that may adversely affect Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves.

Review on a case-by-case basis new development proposals that address public needs or provide significant public benefits. They may be approved when adverse effects can be minimized and mitigated. They will be planned to have the least possible adverse impacts on Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves.

Locate new developments to avoid degradation of habitat and adverse effects on identified late-successional species.

Retain and maintain existing developments, such as campgrounds, utility corridors, and electronic sites, consistent with other management actions/direction for Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves.

Remove hazard trees along utility rights-of-way and trails and in other developed areas.

Recreational Uses

Use adjustment measures, such as education, use limitations, traffic control devices, or increased maintenance, when dispersed and developed recreation practices retard or prevent attainment of Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve objectives.

Fuels Management

As part of watershed analysis, plan fire management for each Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve.

Emphasize maintaining late-successional habitat in wildfire suppression plans.

Use minimum impact suppression methods for fire management in accordance with guidelines for reducing risks of large-scale disturbances.

During actual fire suppression activities, consult an interdisciplinary team to assure that habitat damage is minimized.

Until a fire management plan is completed for a Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve or group of reserves, suppress wildfire to avoid loss of habitat and to maintain future management options.

Prepare a specific fire management plan prior to any habitat manipulation activities in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. Specify how hazard reduction and other prescribed fire applications meet the objectives of the Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve. Until the plan is approved, proposed activities will be subject to review by the Regional Ecosystem Office.

Apply prescribed fire in a manner which retains the amount of coarse woody debris determined through watershed analysis.

Limit the size of all wildfires to the extent practicable.

Allow some natural fires to burn under prescribed conditions. This decision will be based on additional analysis and planning. (See the 1994 Klamath Falls Resource Area Fire Management Environmental Assessment.)

Consider rapidly extinguishing smoldering coarse woody debris and duff.

Lands

Consider land exchanges in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves if they provide benefits equal to or better than current conditions.

Consider land exchanges especially to improve area, distribution, and quality (for example connectivity, shape, and contribution to biodiversity) of Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves, especially where public and private lands are intermingled.

Grazing Management

In coordination with wildlife and fish biologists, implement range related management activities that do not adversely affect late-successional habitat.

Through a planning and environmental analysis process appropriate to the action, adjust or eliminate grazing practices that retard or prevent attainment of Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve objectives.

Evaluate effects of existing and proposed livestock management and handling facilities in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves to determine if reserve objectives are met. Where objectives cannot be met, relocate livestock management and/or handling facilities.

Habitat Improvement Projects

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

Design projects for recovery of threatened or endangered species even if they result in some reduction of habitat quality for other late-successional species.

Design and implement watershed restoration projects consistent with Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve objectives.

Special Forest/Natural Products

Evaluate whether special forest/natural product harvest activities have adverse effects on Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve objectives.

Prior to selling special forest products, ensure resource sustainability and protection of other resource values such as special status plant or animal species.

Where special forest product activities are extensive, evaluate whether they have significant effects on late-successional habitat. Restrictions may be appropriate in some cases.

Rights-of-Way, Contracted Rights, Easements, and Special/Temporary Use Permits

Access to nonfederal lands through Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves will be considered and existing right-of-way agreements, contracted rights, easements, and special/temporary use permits in Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves will be recognized as valid uses.

For all new rights-of-way proposals, design mitigation measures to reduce adverse effects on Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. Consider alternative routes that avoid Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves. If rights-of-way must be routed through a reserve, design and locate them to have the least impact on late-successional habitat.

Review all special/temporary use permits. When objectives of Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves are not being met, reduce impacts through education or modification of existing permits.

Non-native Species

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

Evaluate impacts of non-native species (plant and animal) existing within reserves.

Develop plans and recommendations for eliminating or controlling non-native species which are inconsistent with Late-Successional/District Designated Reserve objectives. Include an analysis of effects of implementing such programs on other species or habitats within Late-Successional/District Designated Reserves.

Protection Buffers

See the Special Status and Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Special Attention Species section.