Annual Report - Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics

Annual Report - Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics




Forest Service


for Environmental


FSEEE is a member of EarthShare of Oregon and national

EarthShare. At both the state and national levels, EarthShare

is a diverse federation of conservation groups that represents

us in workplace donation campaigns. EarthShare promotes

FSEEE and manages the administration of payroll contributions

that allow individuals to have money deducted from their

paycheck to support FSEEE’s work. We use this money to safeguard

our national forests in the most effective and efficient

way possible. Federal employees giving through the Combined

Federal Campaign can also designate their donations directly


From the President

Opportunity for Change

Early in 2010, the U.S. Department of

Agriculture and its Forest Service began

meetings to roll out a new planning rule. Like

earlier rules, we hope that this one is destined

for an early grave. Trying to effect adaptive

management via a planning rule is a special

class of insanity reserved for the Forest Service.

But that is a story better told on the blogs.

(See Forest Policy–Forest Practice at www. and A New Century of

Forest Planning at

President Obama might get a chance to

reform the Forest Service in ways that Forest

Service Employees for Environmental Ethics has

been working toward for nearly twenty years. If

the Obama Administration plays its cards right,

we might see it make a move toward a cabinetlevel

Department of Public Lands, complemented

with a sister Department for Environmental

Regulation. A move like that would take

the Forest Service out of the Department of

Agriculture and allow it to start anew—in concert

with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and

the Bureau of Land Management, the National

Park Service and others—as a division of a brand

new public lands department. Or the administrative

could simply move the Forest Service into

the Department of Interior, and follow a similar


Either way, the public wins with a Department

of Public Lands. First, hide-bound agencies can

be set up with structures and functions that work

2010 Annual Report • 1

for the new century—championing collaborative engagement

for conservation, preservation and use. Second, many

mid-level staff personnel—Forest Service Regional and

National staff members—might be better off in departmental

positions. Why? So that when collaborators are working

out regional assessment, action and monitoring, the federal

government will not be as fractured. Besides potentially being

a boon for collaboration, the taxpayers also gain, since

there should be fewer personnel. And more money can go

to the field, where infrastructure and other needs have been

neglected for too long. There will never be a better time

for this idea, since many mid-level (and high-level) Forest

Service employees, as well as those in other land management

agencies, are near the end of their careers.

FSEEE founder Jeff DeBonis and I offered up this suggestion

early in the Clinton Administration, back in 1990

or 1991. The suggestion fell on deaf ears. Maybe this time

around it can gain traction. Why might it work now? Because

in the next few years, the conversation among our leaders

and representatives will focus on how to trim the federal

deficit and whittle-down the national debt. This may give the

president a chance to do what so many others have failed to

do: bring the Forest Service into line with other federal land

and resource management agencies. In doing so, President

Obama might make history by charting a new course for

federal land management. —Dave Iverson


From the Executive Director

Jobs, jobs, jobs. After two years in the White

House, that pretty much sums up the Obama

Administration’s natural resource policy.

Government-created jobs programs dominated

the Forest Service’s 2010 agenda, with hard-todefine

results. In addition to its regular budget,

the Forest Service had $650 million to spend on

facilities, such as roads and bridges, and $500

million for cutting brush and trees thought to

pose a wildfire risk.

Except for having more money to spend,

there has proven very little practical difference

between the Bush-era Forest Service and the

Obama regime. For example, in FSEEE’s two

cases that were decided in 2010, the Obama

Administration endorsed the position of the

previous administration. It did no better at

defending the indefensible, losing both cases

soundly. (You can read about those victories in

this report.)

In 2010, the Forest Service launched a major

re-write of the National Forest Management

Act forest planning rules. The new rules would

eliminate existing protections for viable wildlife

populations, just as the Bush administration

twice proposed before. Litigation (in which

FSEEE was a party) stopped the last Bush effort.

We are determined to protect our forests

from the machinations of those who want rules

that make it easier to ignore science and species


The take-home lesson from last year is that

the Obama Administration is, at best, indif-

2010 Annual Report • 3

ferent about national forest issues. It prefers to just let the

Forest Service be the Forest Service, with little effective adult

supervision. The on-the-ground difference between forest

management designed to create jobs vs. forest management

designed to create corporate profits is scant. Both objectives

give little attention to the reasons people care about our national

forests—their beauty, majesty, recreation, solitude and


FSEEE was founded to defend and promote a land ethic

that respects the earth and its myriad creatures. We appreciate

your support and look forward to continuing to advocate

for your national forests in the year ahead.—Andy Stahl

FSEEE advocates for special places, like Wasson Creek in the

proposed Devil’s Staircase Wilderness area, so that our children’s

children can enjoy them.

Dave Tvedt


2010 Program Report


In 2010, FSEEE brought our first ever wilderness

campaign to the brink of congressional wilderness

designation for the 30,500-acre proposed Devil’s

Staircase wilderness in the Siuslaw National

Forest. Leveraging our momentum from

the previous year, in which FSEEE obtained

Congressman Peter DeFazio’s enthusiastic

support for the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act

of 2009, our staff and dedicated supporters

marshaled the bill through passage in both the

House and Senate environment committees.

FSEEE staff remained actively engaged in

maintaining extensive grassroot support for

the wilderness bill that included several public

FSEEE led hikes in the spring and fall. In

September, Andy Stahl attended Wilderness

Week in Washington, D.C., where he met with

members of the Oregon congressional delegation.

On October 14, FSEEE and our conservation

partners showcased a multimedia event

created and presented by professional photographer

and conservation advocate, Tim Giraudier,

entitled “From Source to Confluence: Exploring

Wasson Creek in the Proposed Devil’s Staircase

Wilderness.” An overflow audience of more than

200 interested community members attended the

event. In November, with time running out, we

asked FSEEE members in key legislative districts

to contact their U.S. senators and encourage

Congress to approve wilderness designation for

the Devil’s Staircase area. As usual, our membership

responded in force, and their voices were

2010 Annual Report • 5

Craig Romano

Representative Peter DeFazio continues to champion wilderness

status for the Devil’s Staircase area.

heard loudly on Capitol Hill.

The Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act was one of only three

wilderness bills remaining at the end of the 111th Congress.

But the conservative storm that swept the House back to

Republican control stifled all attempts to pass unfinished

public lands legislation during the final hours of the lame-


duck session, and the Devil’s Staircase Wilderness Act of

2009 was left as unfinished business.

FSEEE will continue to press for the protection we believe

necessary for this area. Our congressional sponsors have

already launched the process to reintroduce the legislation.

FSEEE will continue our work to see the Devil’s Staircase

and other special lands protected; our gains in the last

Congress will only work to further our eventual victories.

Tracking Travel Management

In 2010, national forests around the country continued to

devise travel management plans that would limit ecologically

damaging cross-country motorized travel while determining

which roads and trails would remain open to OHV (offhighway

vehicle) use. But pressure from the vocal and wellfunded

OHV constituency resulted in travel management

plans and OHV regulations that are ineffective and damaging

for our national forests. FSEEE monitored OHV plans,

projects and problems throughout 2010 to ensure that

the agency properly manages these potentially problematic


We submitted comments to the Flathead National Forest

in Montana regarding a proposed project to add additional

trail miles to an already extensive OHV network. The Forest

Service’s own environmental documents stated concern for

the agency’s ability to mitigate the detrimental aspects of

adding trails in the area.

On the Sawtooth National Forest in Idaho, FSEEE staff

evaluated and submitted detailed comments on the proposal

to open a winter-closure area to snowmobiles. We urged the

Forest Service to carefully evaluate the biological impacts to

wintering elk and wolverine populations that could be negatively

impacted by the presence of snowmobiles in the area.

2010 Annual Report • 7

James Johnston

OHVs tear up fragile landscapes and damage habitat. FSEEE

is working to ensure that they are used responsibly.

FSEEE staff evaluated and provided formal comments on

travel management plans being developed on the Umpqua

and Fremont-Winema National Forests. We expressed concern

regarding the impacts of OHVs on streams and rivers

that provide habitat for threatened and endangered salmon.

And in April, when we were informed of extensive damage

caused by OHVs to fragile meadow habitat on the Wallow-

Whitman National Forest, the Forest Service agreed to close

the area and implement restoration efforts after FSEEE

reminded them of their obligation to do so.

“Faith-Based Firefighting”

With wildland firefighting expenditures now at 50 percent of

the Forest Service’s total budget, FSEEE’s efforts to reform

this wasteful program have gained new significance. FSEEE


prevailed, for the second time, in the only lawsuit in history

aimed at controlling firefighting costs and reforming wildland


In this second round before Montana Federal District

Court Judge Donald Molloy, FSEEE challenged the Forest

Service’s decision that toxic chemical aerial fire retardant had

no significant environmental effects. We also argued that

the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries

Service had failed to properly assess fire retardant’s effects on

threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plant species.

In a sweeping 79-page ruling, Judge Molloy agreed that

the Forest Service must assess fire retardant’s environmental

risks in a full environmental impact statement. The wildlife

and fish agencies must also assess retardant’s effects on species’

critical habitat and they must set a ceiling on how many

of each threatened or endangered species can be harmed by


The Forest Service has not yet determined the effects of aerial

fire retardant on threatened and endangered species.

Keri Brown, BLM

2010 Annual Report • 9

In addition to evaluating the harmful environmental effects

of toxic retardant, FSEEE is pressing the Forest Service

to acknowledge that there is no evidence retardant helps

achieve any firefighting objectives. For example, we pointed

out that Texas has more wildland fire ignitions and more

homes exposed to wildfire threats than does California. Yet

California loses more homes to wildfire even while using 33

times as much aerial fire retardant. As one wildfire researcher

explained, “using fire retardant is faith-based firefighting.”

Judge Molloy ordered the Forest Service and wildlife

agencies to complete their new analyses by December 31,


Farming between the Lakes

The Forest Service’s Land Between The Lakes National

Recreation Area thinks of itself as a land management

innovator. That seems the most parsimonious explanation

Wild turkeys feed on corn and soybeans left by commercial

farmers on National Forest lands.

Land Between The Lakes Recreation Area

10 • FSEEE

for the Land Between The Lakes’ inexplicable decision to

abdicate responsibility for overseeing corn and soybean

farming to the National Wild Turkey Federation, a private

special-interest organization.

Two farmers grow thousands of acres of corn and soybeans

in the area’s bottomlands along streams. The farmers

pay the Forest Service with hay, which is fed to captive elk

and bison, for the lease of these lands. Not only do these

public lands come cheap, but the farmers also receive tens of

thousands of dollars in federal crop subsidy payments.

The Turkey Federation supports the arrangement because

the farmers leave ten percent of their crops in the field for

deer and turkeys to eat. This high-energy food supplement

supports unnaturally large populations of these game animals,

which make for easy pickings for hunters.

In FSEEE’s second lawsuit over these farming practices

(our first compelled the Forest Service to evaluate farming’s

environmental impacts), we gained a court order invalidating

the special-use permits that the Turkey Federation had given

the farmers to crop these national forest lands. A Kentucky

federal judge agreed that the 1897 Organic Act requires the

Forest Service to administer the national forests; not some

private special-interest group. Who knew?

Other Action

FSEEE staff continued to monitor and participate in projects

on national forest lands across the country on a variety of

issues. These projects included:

• Reviewing and commenting on the Forest Service’s

proposed plan to open 1.2 million acres of national forest

lands in Mississippi to potential oil and gas exploration. The

Forest Service failed to provide a full and accurate accounting

of all the environmental impacts that oil and gas leasing

2010 Annual Report • 11

James Johnston

One of FSEEE’s ongoing efforts is aimed at stopping livestock

grazing on public lands.

would have on these lands, an obligation that FSEEE seeks

to ensure is fulfilled for every such lease.

• Monitoring and participating in forest plan revisions. In

May, FSEEE commented on the proposed forest plan for the

Blue Mountain forests that encompass six national forests in

eastern Oregon and southeast Washington.

• A campaign to reform livestock grazing on public lands

beginning with our most pristine areas, wilderness. Our staff

commented on numerous proposed grazing plans on national

forests in Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho

and Colorado. We pushed the Forest Service to properly

disclose the impacts of grazing on wilderness values.

• Our staff fielded calls and emails from around the nation

throughout 2010 from concerned citizens and Forest Service

employees. We monitored outfitter guides running amok in

wilderness areas, conflicts between the Forest Service and

private land inholders, misapplication of recreation fees, and

12 • FSEEE

a group of private citizens maintaining a wilderness cabin as

their own private wilderness retreat.

Forest Magazine

The Spring, 2010 issue of Forest Magazine was the last print

issue before we transitioned to an online format. In that issue,

we revisited the Cerro Grande Fire that swept through

Los Alamos in 2000. Long-time FSEEE members will recall

that the first issue of Forest Magazine warned of the dangers

of wildfire in the woods near the Los Alamos Nuclear Lab.

We thought it was fitting that the last issue examined the

aftermath of the fire that came only a few months after our

first publication.

The transition to online news has had its challenges, but

as 2010 drew to a close, we were confident that we made the

right choice. Our updated website provides a clearinghouse

of information about national forest issues and has allowed us

to post up-to-date news so that our readers can continue to

be enlightened and informed. At, the public

can find weekly updates of Forest Service news by region,

pictures and stories about national forests across the country,

book reviews, blogs and more. In addition, we have archived

all the issues of Forest Magazine and provide this database of

information at no charge.

To supplement our online presence, and maintain a connection

to our members who prefer print, we produced the

first issue of Forest News in November. We plan to send the

six-page newsletter out by mail three times a year, in addition

to posting it on our website and sending it electronically to

agency employees and citizens who sign up to receive news

from FSEEE. In addition to our FSEEE news, we send a

weekly roundup of Forest Service news stories to subscribers

by email.

2010 Annual Report • 13

Our efforts have allowed us to keep our members better

informed about timely issues and to continue our education

mission in an ecologically sound manner.

14 • FSEEE


In 2010, FSEEE began the process of digging out after the

financial setbacks of the previous two years. Our membership

numbers remained steady; at the beginning of 2011, we

had 7,561, a small drop from the 7,664 at the beginning of

2010. During 2010 we renewed our efforts to recruit new

members, sending out a prospect petition in both the spring

and the fall. This kept the numbers level, but due to ongoing

economic uncertainty in the country, gaining new members

is an uphill battle.

But our remaining members rallied. Our contributions

were up 3.8 percent over 2009. In addition to membership

dues, our members provided substantial financial support

for some of our 2010 projects, including Tongass logging

reform, our work to ensure the National Forest Management

Rules remain effective, livestock and grazing reform and our

efforts to establish environmental accountability for aerial fire

retardant use.

Our members also called and wrote their representatives

about the designation of the Devil’s Staircase as wilderness

and the passage of the Omnibus Public Land Management

Act to protect 2 million acres across nine states.

2010 Annual Report • 15

2010 Foundation Support

Agape Foundation


Cameron Foundation

Elkind Family Foundation

Florsheim Family Foundation

Global Peace Foundation

The Jacob & Terese Hershey Foundation

Leatherback Foundation

Money/Arenz Foundation

The Mountaineers Foundation


The Price Foundation

The Ungar Family Foundation

William B. Wiener, Jr. Foundation

16 • FSEEE

Matching GiftS


Bank of America

CA Technologies



FM Global Foundation

GE Foundation





The Prudential Foundation

Reynolds American Foundation

Standard Insurance

Tyco Electronics

Wells Fargo

2010 Annual Report • 17

2010 Financial Statement





In-kind Support

Fee Recoveries


Total Support



Benefits & Payroll Taxes

Professional Services










Total Expenses


NET ASSETS — Beginning of Year

NET ASSETS — End of Year






























18 • FSEEE

2010 Annual Report • 19
































































Board and Staff

Board of Directors

Dave Iverson, President

Social Scientist, Ogden, Utah

Amy Unthank, Vice President

Biologist, Washington, D.C.

Stephen Horne, Secretary/Treasurer

Archaeologist, Bend, Oregon

Ann Bond

Journalist, Durango, Colorado

Jackie Canterbury

Wildlife Biologist, Big Horn, Wyoming

Kevin Hood

Wilderness Specialist, Juneau, Alaska


Stephanie Boytz Detwiler, Administration and

Finance Director

Jennifer Fairbrother, Public Lands Advocate

and Development Associate

Patricia Marshall, Editor and Director of


Chuck Roth, Office Manager

Andy Stahl, Executive Director

20 • FSEEE

Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics

PO Box 11615 • Eugene OR 97440

(541) 484-2692 • Fax (541) 484-3004 •

Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics

is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

Our mission is to protect National Forests

and to reform the U.S. Forest Service

by advocating environmental ethics,

educating citizens, and defending whistleblowers.

Look at the trees,

look at the birds, look at the clouds,

look at the stars...

and if you have eyes you will be

able to see that the whole

existence is joyful.


Front cover photograph: © Dave Tvedt

Devil’s Staircase Proposed Wilderness

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