ANCHORAGE, AK—The objection period for the amended Tongass Land and Resource Management Plan (TLMP) and accompanying Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) closed August 30. Audubon Alaska submitted an objection letter for the Final Plan that reiterates our concerns and argues that the Forest Service did not take a hard look at the issues we previously raised. This deadline marks the latest in a series of administrative procedural steps in which the Forest Service will amend the TLMP in order to transition the Tongass National Forest away from old-growth clearcut logging. Audubon Alaska previously submitted a comment on the Draft Plan.
“All signs point toward the need to definitively end old-growth clearcut logging on the Tongass,” said Susan Culliney, Policy Associate. “It’s time to protect the Tongass’ sustainable resource values such as wildlife and salmon, which will be critical foundations for Southeast Alaska’s future, whether or not a second-growth timber industry takes hold.”
The amended Plan granted recognition for the T77 watersheds, and set old-growth forests in these areas off-limits for timber production. These are the top most valuable watersheds for wildlife in the Tongass, areas that Audubon has identified as important for forest conservation. However, the objection period also provided an opportunity for Audubon to express a number of concerns with the Plan, including the failure to end definitively old-growth clearcutting; the planned timber harvest in conservation areas originally set aside for wildlife; and an overall disregard for the dire situation on Prince of Wales Island, where wolf populations face precipitous decline.
Since 1977, Audubon Alaska's mission is to conserve the spectacular natural ecosystems of the state, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats, for the benefit and enjoyment of current and future generations. Audubon Alaska uses science to identify conservation priorities and support conservation actions and policies, with an emphasis on public lands and waters.
Now in its second century, the National Audubon Society is dedicated to protecting birds and other wildlife and the habitat that supports them. Our national network of community-based nature centers and chapters, scientific and educational programs, and advocacy on behalf of areas sustaining important bird populations, engage millions of people of all ages and backgrounds in conservation. Audubon Alaska, a state office of the National Audubon Society, has worked to conserve birds in the state since 1977. www.AudubonAlaska.org