Coos County, Oregon, officials consider handing responsibility for forest management to Coquille Indian Tribe, believe tribe's practices may yield greater revenue
January 2, 2012
– Commissioners in Coos County, Oregon, are proposing to hand the management of public forest land to the Coquille Indian Tribe, following an experimental logging project with the Bureau of Land Management.
The commissioners believe the Coquille’s management practices may lead to greater revenue for the county, according to a report by The Register-Guard.
The 900-member tribe owns 7,043 acres of land, and is Coos County's second-largest employer. It has been working with the Bureau of Land Management on an experimental logging project, and achieved FSC certification for its own 5,000-acre forest in 2011.
The tribe's forest lands will be visited by the federal Indian Forest Management Assessment Team in January, which will compile a report for Congress on the tribe's work. Coquille Tribe communications manager Ray Doering said the team wanted to look in more detail at how the tribe has achieved a balance between environmental protection and timber production.
The pilot project with the BLM covers 151 acres of the bureau's forest in Coos County, and is one of a number of projects aiming to address timber harvest levels. The U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar called for such pilot projects last year to research ways of harvesting timberland that preserve larger trees but give greater powers to forest managers.
The Coquille Tribe must follow the same logging rules as the BLM, which meant it had a vested interest in being part of the local pilot project, said spokesman Tim Vredenburg. The tribe laid out the project's timber sale, wrote environmental assessments and took part in public meetings.
The primary source of this article is The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon, on Jan. 2, 2012.