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E-M:/ National Call-In Day = Today!

Enviro-Mich message from Mike Boyce <birder@voyager.net>

Logging road subsides fragmnet forest habitat in Michigan as well as all
50 states.  Your toll free phone call TODAY - can make a difference. 

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                      FINAL CHANCE FOR

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                SUPPORT REP. KENNEDY (D-MA),
              PORTER (R-IL), AND KASICH (R-OH)

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Your Representative will have an opportunity to vote to end
government subsidies for logging roads shortly after they
return from July 4th recess, probably on  Wednesday, July 9,
or Thursday, July 10.  Please call your Representative on
July 8th and ask them to:

                      VOTE FOR HR 2107
An amendment to the Fiscal Year 1998 Interior Appropriations
bill, sponsored by Representative Porter (R-IL) and
Representative Kennedy (D-MA),

                       (202) 224-3121


Important points to make:


Roads destroy habitat for species as diverse as grizzly bears
and migratory birds, species which depend on unbroken
wildland refuges for forage and to escape predators,
including humans.  The latest bird science shows us that
migratory birds depend more and more on unfragmented forest
reserves as many of their traditional habitats become
increasingly urbanized.


Roads decrease water quality and destroy fish habitat by
eroding into streams and contributing to landslides.


H.R. 2107 will save taxpayers $41.5 million of direct federal
expenditures, and another $40 to $50 million in trees which
would otherwise be exchanged for logging roads.  Additional
subsidies which will be cut: future maintenance of these
logging roads and restoration of ecosystems and wildlife
populations harmed by the roads and accompanying logging.


More than 380,000 miles of roads have already been built in
our national forests, 8 times the length of our Interstate
Highway system, enough to wrap around the equator over 14


The Forest Service cannot maintain the roads it already has.
232,000 miles are in need of maintenance, at a projected cost
of $440 million.  We shouldn't be building more roads, roads
which will also require maintenance.


Forest Service money for road maintenance and recreation
roads will not be affected by this amendment.


H.R. 2107 will not end logging or road building on our
national forests, it will only cut some of the subsidies for
road building.

Our fact sheet includes further information.  The text is
included below.

Thanks for your help!  Please contact me if you have any

Mike Leahy
Forest Campaign Coordinator
National Audubon Society

National Audubon Society Fact Sheet:

Forest Service Subsidizes Construction of Roads Through
Unprotected Wilderness

    America is a nation of vehicles--  nearly 140 million of
them are registered every year.  It follows that America is
also a nation of roads.  Our roads are so numerous and
extensive that few areas of any size remain which have not
been caught in their constantly expanding web.  The benefits
of roads are obvious--transportation, commerce, convenience.
The downside of roads are less well known--erosion, habitat
destruction, subsidies, species endangerment.  The importance
of keeping some lands road-free cannot be understated.  They
are the last refuges for species from migratory birds to
grizzlies, allowing them to survive in an increasingly
urbanized, humanized world.
    Those areas which have escaped the road grader this long
are overwhelmingly on public lands, many within national
forests.  They exist in spite of efforts to punch roads into
and log our last unprotected lands.  Those areas which have
been opened up have not fared so well--up to 5 miles of roads
may be built to accompany the logging of every square mile of
    Almost all of our nation's forests have been cut over at
least once.  On national forest land, the US Forest Service
has already paid for over 380,000 miles of roads--that's 8
times as long as our interstate highway system, enough to
circle the earth 15 times. And still the government wants to
subsidize more roads to log more forests.
    Continued road-building in unprotected, unroaded
wildlands is a major threat to some of the most important and
rare wildlife habitat in the nation.  Many diverse species
rely on the unique habitat characteristics provided by
roadless lands.  Large, wide-ranging species like grizzlies
and lynx hang on in the western U.S. because they still have
some roadless lands to retreat to.  In other parts of the
country, particularly the east, species as diverse as
migratory birds and black bears take refuge from predators in
remaining blocks of unfragmented forest.
    Roads cut open these natural wildlife refuges, exposing
the forest and its inhabitants to human traffic-loggers,
hunters, poachers, and recreationalists-and to new
competitors and predators which native species are not
adapted to.  Erosion from roads and clearcuts pollutes
streams and rivers, threatening the survival and reproduction
of fish which need clean water.  Fungi, disease, and insects
are spread along roads by vehicles, and 75% of forest fires
start along roads.
    Our remaining roadless lands are disappearing fast.  The
first step towards protecting these valuable habitats is to
end government subsidies to logging companies to open them
up. This subsidy  was created when there were fewer roads,
more roadless areas, and less knowledge about the importance
of unroaded wildlands.  The Forest Service cannot maintain
the roads it already has, evidenced by a road maintenance
backlog totaling more than $440 million, and should not be
adding to the problem by building new roads.

Roads Cut Up Bird Habitat
    When roads are built through roadless areas, the unbroken
interior of the forest suddenly becomes the edge of the
forest.  The forest edge is a much different habitat than the
forest interior because it experiences different amounts of
wind, rain, and sunlight.  Forest habitats along roads are
hotter and drier, which changes the types of plants and
animals that can thrive there.  Plants and animals are also
affected by human edge effects: increases in air pollution,
soil erosion, noise pollution, and general human disturbance.
The edge effects can extend for hundreds of meters into the
forest.  As more and more roads are constructed, the amount
of remaining interior habitat shrinks quickly.  If left
unchecked, road density can increase until no interior
habitat is left, even though patches of forest remain.

Many Birds Rely On Interior Forest
    The disappearance of interior forest habitat spells
disaster for bird species that require interior habitat for
survival, such as brown creepers, northern spotted owls, and
cerulean warblers to name a few.  As the amount of interior
forest decreases, the distance between suitable interior
patches grows.  Subpopulations of interior-dependent non-
migratory birds can be separated from the rest of their
species, leading to inbreeding and possible extinction.
Migratory birds, many of which rely on interior forests as
rest stops on their trips to and from the tropics, have more
trouble finding safe habitat to rest in.

Predators and Competitors
    A danger to both migratory and non-migratory birds comes
from the invasion of new predators and competitors.
Cowbirds, an edge parasite, lay their eggs in the nests of
other birds, which usually raise the young cowbirds at the
expense of their own young.  Edge predators including
raccoons and cats gain increased access to birds and their
nests.  The barred owl is following the roads and clearcuts
to the west, where it now competes with the beleaguered
spotted owl.

Roads Isolate Large Predators
    Large, reclusive, far-ranging predators reside in
wildernesses where human contact is minimized.  Grizzly bear,
wolverine, lynx, and mountain lion survive in or can be
reintroduced into parts of the western U.S. because of the
existence of unbroken forest. The gray wolf, an interior-
dependent species, is finally recovering in large patches of
continuous forest after decades of overhunting and trapping.
These species need tracts of wilderness up to hundreds of
thousands of acres in order to survive.  Grizzly bears, for
example, require up to 520 square miles of habitat each.
Brown bears and Florida panthers cling to remaining unbroken
forests in the east.

Enemies of Predators Follow Roads
    Roads confine the movement of reclusive predators to
increasingly limited sections of forest.  Grizzly bears, for
example, are reluctant to cross or even approach roads, so
their habitat shrinks every time a new road is built.  Bears
are quick to learn that humans-hunters, poachers,
recreationalists, and loggers-follow roads, and contact with
humans often results in dead bears killed for sport, profit,
or defense of life.  Roads allow hunters, both licensed and
unlicensed, access to otherwise hard-to-reach areas that
provide cover for low density predator populations.  The
grizzly bear is especially vulnerable to hunters while
hibernating, an additional reason why remote areas for
shelter, protection, and denning are a necessity.

Barriers To Survival
    The barrier presented by roads cuts these species off
from crucial food supplies and from members of their own
species.  Without usable corridors between ranges,
populations become reproductively isolated, which may lead to
inbreeding and possible extinction of the species.
    Smaller predators, such as tree-dwelling marten and
fischer, also appear to be sensitive to impacts from roads.
And some studies suggest that some prey species, like elk,
may be more dependent than previously thought on remote
refuges from humans.  Road densities in national forests in
the Pacific northwest are currently more than twice the level
which biologists have shown causes declines in elk and
grizzly populations.

Roads Can Be The Greatest Enemy
    Species without a healthy fear of roads aren't much
better off.  Over one million animals per day are killed
crossing roads.  Florida panthers, of which only 50 remain,
find their greatest enemy on the roads surrounding their
habitat-motor vehicles are the leading killer of this
endangered species.  Some bears and other animals whose
ranges are bordered by roads frequently used for recreation
and tourism have lost their fear of roads, especially where
some cars stop and offer food, becoming prime targets for
hunters, poachers, and other human confrontations.

Road Erosion Clogs Fish Habitat
    Land animals aren't the only creatures affected by roads.
Many fish populations are already at risk of extinction, in
part due to the impact of roads.  Fish species such as salmon
and bull trout require clear gravel stream beds in which to
lay their eggs.  The sediment that washes from roads into
streams fills the spaces between stream-bottom gravel,
choking fish eggs.  Increased sedimentation also alters the
depth, width, and course of rivers and streams, creating
barriers to fish migration.
    Even the best-kept roads result in 51% more sediment in
rivers than occurs normally.  For example, an average of 3000
tons of sediment is washed into streams for every mile of
divided highway that is built. New roads are especially
likely to dump dirt into streams because most areas which are
still roadless are only that way because they are high
elevation areas with steep slopes that are difficult to build
roads in. Roads built in these less stable areas are a major
cause of erosion.  An aerial assessment of 422 landslides in
Idaho in 1995 and 1996 found that 70% were related to Forest
Service roads.

Roads And 'Forest Health'
    New roads are often justified using the same argument the
logging industry uses to justify more logging-that we can
make forests healthier by logging them.  Roadless areas are
targeted for this intensive logging 'treatment' since they
are generally the least intensively managed forests. This
leads industrial foresters to perceive them to be the least

Forest Health: Poor Excuse For Roads
    In reality, forests have been managing just fine without
us for millennia, and more logging is the major threat to
their existence, with few exceptions.  The  practice of
logging forests to promote forest health continues because we
subsidize it. This subsidy is amplified in roadless areas,
where the logging and the road are subsidized, the habitat
restoration costs are particularly high, and the land is
removed from further consideration as wilderness.
Ironically, the very issues forest health logging purports to
address-fungus, disease, insects, and fire-are spread by
roads.  Fungi, disease,and insects can all be carried into
new territory on cars and logging equipment.  The widely
feared gypsy moth, which defoliates forests, was carried from
the southwest to the northwest U.S. in a rented trailer, and
Port Orford Cedar root rot, which infects a declining tree
species, is transported to new forest with dirt carried in
the treads of logging machines.  In addition, seventy-five
percent of fires are started along roads.

Building Logging Roads Costs You Money
    Our government actually pays logging companies to build
the roads used to cut trees from our forests.  The forest
loses out on the logging and the road, and so does the
taxpayer.  Most sales of national forest trees lose
money,partly because we pay logging companies for the roads
they build.  Roads are a cost of logging which loggers pay
for on private and most state forests, but not in national
forests.  We subsidize their logging roads in a number of

1.)  We actually give them money.  Almost $50 million per
year is given to logging companies to build logging roads,
through a few different subsidy programs. One program
requires the Forest Service to use taxpayer money to pay all
of the costs of engineering, wildlife and groundwater impact
studies, and geological assessments that must be done prior
to building roads. This money is spent so that the Forest
Service can determine how much of a subsidy will be given to
the logging company that purchases the timber.

2.)  The government pays for all future maintenance of
logging roads, except for bridge and culvert maintenance.
The Forest Service does not include the cost of maintaining
the road base -the land upon which the road is built-as part
of the sale, despite the fact that road bases deteriorate,
causing damage and costing millions of dollars to maintain.
The Forest Service also pays to upgrade any roads that will
later be used for recreation. Logging roads are built to
lower standards than recreation roads; over 70% are
accessible only those with high-clearance or off-road
vehicles. If the Forest Service decides that a road is no
longer needed, they pay for the obliteration of the road.

3.)  The government pays for recovery of the fish and
wildlife species jeopardized by roads and logging. Taxpayer
money is used to subsidize road building when it is known to
have negative impacts on wildlife, and then more taxpayer
money must be used to save the wildlife. Such action makes
little sense from an economic or an environmental standpoint.

4.) The timber roads subsidy is only part of a much bigger
and more costly Forest Service practice of losing money on
timber sales.  Through one money-losing program, the Forest
Service allows logging companies to receive trees free of
charge in return for building roads. The Forest Service
liberally estimates the cost of the roads to ensure they
don't underpay, then adds a profit margin for the logging
company!  This can lead to overpayment of up to 30% or more.
The program costs taxpayers about $50 million per year.
    Such money-losing practices cost the Forest Service
almost $1 billion dollars from the years 1992 to 1994 alone,
according to the Government Accounting Office.  All of this
subsidy goes to one industry--logging  companies-- even
though they are a minority user of the forests, a drain on
taxpayers, and their work is directly at odds with nearly
every other use of public forests.  Recreation on national
forests already contributes nearly 30 times more revenue
to the our economy than logging our national forests does!

How You Can Help
    If you don't think it is right that your tax dollars are
being spent to clearcut and build roads through your
remaining roadless wildlands, and if you don't want your
money to contribute to the decline of magnificent species
like the grizzly bear, bull trout, and cerulean warbler,
please join our effort to stop logging road subsidies.
    Congressmen Kennedy (D-MA), Porter (R-IL), and Kasich (R-
OH) are leading the charge in the House of Representatives to
end this destructive corporate welfare.  Their proposal will
not end logging in our national forests, or even in our
remaining roadless areas, but it will end direct subsidies
for building logging roads.  Please ask your Congressperson
to support their efforts.  Their chance will likely come as
an opportunity to vote in support of a Porter/Kennedy
amendment to the Fiscal 1998 Interior Appropriations bill.
This vote will probably take place in mid July. Hopefully,
the Senate will address this issue
shortly thereafter.
        Also, please let your Senator and President Clinton
know you oppose subsidies for logging roads.

Posted by:
|                                              |
|  Steve Daigneault, sdaigneault@audubon.org   |
|  Grassroots Communications Specialist        |
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