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E-M:/ Action Alert! Oppose the Andreski Land Exchange - Ottawa NF



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Enviro-Mich message from Doug Cornett <drcornet@up.net>
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ACTION ALERT!

Andreski Land Exchange - Ottawa National Forest

June 2, 1998

Northwoods Wilderness Recovery -- E-mail Action Alert # 2

Below is a Fact Sheet composed by the Lee LeBlanc Audubon on the 
proposed Andreski land trade currently being assessed in the 
Iron River Ranger District of the Ottawa National Forest.  In 
essence, the Ottawa will trade older hardwoods forest for cut-over
and degraded land.  In the process, the public will lose 40 acres 
and give Andreski timber worth $350,000 more than the timber
contained in his cut-over parcels.

Please compose a letter to the Forest Service and send copies of your
letter to Michigan Senators Abraham and Levin, Representative Stupak 
(the Ottawa is in his District) and your own representative.  Federal 
legislators from other states should also be contacted.  Government 
mismanagement, waste and corruption is EVERYONES business!

If you have any questions or would like to find out more on the Andreski
trade please contact Beth Rogers at eirogers@up.net

Please feel free to post this message on appropriate Message Boards!
_________________________________________________________________


This is a follow-up information sheet compiled by members of Lee LeBlanc
Audubon.  We urge you to continue to make your views known to the Ottawa
National Forest personnel and to your Congressman.

LEE LE BLANC AUDUBON OF IRON COUNTY OPPOSES THE LAND TRADE BETWEEN USFS
(OTTAWA NATIONAL FOREST) AND TONY ANDRESKI, INC.!

PART OF THE USFS STRATEGY IS TO TRY TO MAKE THIS A LOCAL ISSUE.   IT IS
NOT.  WE NEED MORE VOICES RAISED IN OPPOSITION!! 

Business as usual in Iron County means many corrupt, under the table deals.
 This latest USFS trade is yet another example.  The difference is, this is
a trade of public lands of the American people, not local county politics.
Unfortunately, people outside Iron County donıt realize how public
resources are under threat.  We are far away and too remote for public
concern.  Please consider taking the time to voice your opposition to what
is one of many ecologically and economically unsound land trades.

If the USFS hears from people fairly early on perhaps it will reconsider
this trade before the expense and aggravation of a formal appeal becomes
necessary.

INTRODUCTION

Since November 1997 the Lee Le Blanc Audubon Chapter of the Michigan
Audubon Society in Iron County has been working to oppose an ecologically
and economically unsound land trade in Iron County.  

The US Forest Service (USFS) has continue to push the trade.  Although they
are currently officially conducting an environmental assessment, a Freedom
of Information Act request (FOIA) revealed an internal memo that said that
they guessed they would have to do an EA (environmental assessment)  with a
finding of no significant impact!  Thus, it appears that the decision has
already been made and this EA is just a formality.

The USFS has continually attempted to portray the issue as that of one
disgruntled adjacent landowner (an Audubon member), not an issue of wider
concern.  Recently, they started lobbying citizens who had written letters
of concern and opposition to them, apparently to sway their opinions in
favor of the USFS and Andreski trade.

Land trades must be in the public interest and equal in value (combination
of timber, real estate, and ecological values).  The Andreski land trade
fails all these criteria.

UNEQUAL ACREAGE AND VALUE

The trade proposes to trade away 520 acres of public land worth $749,309.75
in timber value (conservatively estimated by USFS), receiving 480 acres
worth only $394,536.64.  The results -- a net loss of land in
development-prone southern Iron County and a loss in public land value.

We have visited most of the lands and find that the timber valuation plots
are frequently placed in roads, landings, or forest gaps on USFS lands.  We
do not believe the methods do a valid job of assessing the highest value of
the USFS lands.  Even so, there is a nearly 2:1 timber value ratio of USFS
lands to Andreski lands.

UNEQUAL HABITAT VALUE

The trade proposes to exchange prime hardwoods on public lands for cut-over
aspen and high-graded or diameter limit cut hardwood stands.  These
severely cut hardwood stands have small diameter hardwoods, primarily sugar
maple without age, size, and species diversity that typifies the USFS
proposed trade parcels.   

Riparian areas to be acquired have been degraded by past cutting regimes.  
The USFS claims to be acquiring prime river frontage on the north branch of
the Paint River.  These lands (80 acres) have been cut down to the flood
plain on west.  On the east, one forty only borders the river with a very
thin strip of land.

The USFS claims to be acquiring a tributary to a blue-ribbon trout stream.
We visited these lands and found a severely cutover parcel with small
whip-sized aspen.  At the most there was a small spring run-off drainage
without bed or banks.

NO CONSOLIDATION

The USFS argues that consolidation is a primary goal based on a specious
argument about projected survey lines and rights-of-way.  In actuality,
significant consolidation is not occurring.  The proposed USFS trade
parcels are significantly larger than the Andreski  parcels with 2/3
currently contiguous with larger USFS holdings.   The trade will result in
virtually the same patchwork with the exception that some of the public
lands will shrink further.  

The tendency of the Ottawa National Forest has been for the USFS to ³hack
away² at blocks of public land until they have sufficiently isolated the
remaining block and can justify trading it for ³consolidation² purposes.

REMOTE HABITAT AREA MYTH

The USFS claims to be acquiring lands within its remote habitat area for
wolf, lynx, and marten, yet it proposes to trade away the same number of
acres as it will receive within this area.  

In addition, the boundaries of this area appear to be rather arbitrary.
They neatly exclude the area along the Brule River that is up for trade and
causes Audubon the greatest concern.  This area, excluded from the Remote
Habitat Area has, in fact, records of lynx, marten, and wolf.  The
Wisconsin DNR repeatedly has mentioned the importance of this wide forested
riparian corridor (miles not feet) with respect to movement of large
carnivores.

In addition, the trade proposes to give Andreski 160 acres adjacent to
other private recreational holdings of his right smack dab in the middle of
the remote habitat area.  Thus, the USFS is allowing Andreski to create an
intensive recreational enclave in the middle of their remote habitat area,
belying their alleged trade purpose.

BRULE RIVER ECOLOGICAL CORRIDOR

Valuable wildlife habitat will be severely compromised, particularly if the
southernmost trade parcel (T42N, R36W, S9, S1/2SW, S1/2SE) forming part
(160 acres) of a contiguous forested corridor along the Brule River, is
traded. Club members have recorded 156 bird species on or very near this
parcel with relatively rare species such as goshawk and red-shouldered hawk
known from the parcel itself.  Pine marten have been recently recorded from
the parcel.  Lynx evidence is on record with the Wisconsin DNR only a
little over a mile from this parcel, well within this mammalıs home range.
This parcel forms part of an important animal riparian movement zone.  The
Brule River forms the border with Wisconsin with the Nicolet National
Forest lying on the other side.

There is a cold water tributary to the Brule River, a trout stream, that
originates from a swamp within this property, further enhancing its
connectivity to the Brule River. The Brule River flows into the Menominee
River, which forms the rest of the border between Michigan and Wisconsin.
The Menominee River is well known as a major migration and dispersal corridor.

It is highly likely that Andreski wishes to eventually develop these
southern lands. They are near a paved road with electricity, with a good FS
road leading back to them.  They are adjacent to PRIVATE (not corporate)
holdings of Andreski which are not registered as commercial forestry
reserve (CFR) lands.

This 160 acre parcel was NOT part of the original proposed trade according
to internal memo notes.  It was added, no questions asked, when Andreski
claimed that he was not getting enough value for his lands.  No preliminary
assessment was done before this extremely valuable (ecological and timber)
parcel was added to the swap.

CONCLUSION

This trade is unsound ecological and economic management policy with
regional significance.  We urge others to oppose or question this trade and
make their views known. 

If you have not written before, ask to be put on the mailing list and
receive the findings of the Environmental Assessment. 

Use the fact sheet to construct your arguments.

Please urge that the southernmost parcel that is in Section 9, part of the
Brule River Corridor, be removed from the trade

Urge reconsideration of the entire trade, including the lands being traded
to Andreski within the Remote Habitat Area.

Send letters to:

Allen Nicholson, Assistant Ranger
990 Lalley Road
Iron River, MI 49935
(906) 265-5139

Send copies, or another original to:

Phyllis Green, Supervisor
Ottawa National Forest				
E6248 U.S. Highway 2 
Ironwood, MI 49938
e-mail:  R9_Ottawa.fs.fed.us


Robert T. Jacobs, Regional Forester
Ottawa National Forest Headquarters
USDA-FS, Region 9
310 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Milwaukee, WI 53203

ALSO, PLEASE SEND COPIES OR ANOTHER ORIGINAL TO THE CONGRESSMAN FOR THE
DISTRICT:

Con. Bart Stupak
14010 Longworth Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
	In Iron County: 906-875-3751
	outside Iron County 1-800-950-7371

AND YOUR OWN CONGRESSMAN

AND:
Sen. Carl Levin
Russel Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Sen. Spencer Abraham
B40 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

(so far Levin has not answered anyoneıs letters that we know of.  Abraham
has at least forwarded concerns to the USFS. Stupak might be of aid if the
trade proceeds by helping demand extra assessment work.  We have talked to
him).

Also consider your local paper.

EVEN A SHORT NOTE WILL HELP!!




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