10 February 2011 BREAKING: Obama Administration Seeks Weaker Wildlife Protections on National Forests, Grasslands Posted by: James Navarro | 7 comments | Share: Proposed National Forest Management Act regulations lift Reagan-era wildlife viability standard Summary: Proposed forest planning regulations released by the Obama administration today fail to provide critical, concrete protections for water and wildlife The administration’s proposal would roll back strong safeguards for wildlife conservation issued by the Reagan administration in 1982: a requirement that the U.S. Forest Service maintain healthy, sustainable fish and wildlife populations The proposal would leave the decision of whether or not to maintain healthy, viable populations of many imperiled wildlife species at the discretion of individual forest managers, leaving the fate of hundreds of species uncertain The proposal would allow individual forest managers the discretion to “give up” on protecting many needy species without facing accountability to the public Defenders of Wildlife will be reviewing the proposal in greater detail and urging the Obama administration to set binding standards for safeguarding water quality and fish and wildlife habitat on our 155 nation’s forests and 20 grasslands, a total land area as big as Texas The following is a statement from Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife: “Our nation’s wildlife is getting the short end of the stick in the Obama administration’s proposed forest policy. The administration appears to be looking to do the bare minimum for wildlife and is abandoning its responsibility for keeping common species common. The public expects a lot more from President Obama.” Background: Congress passed the National Forest Management Act in 1976 to reform the Forest Service and to ensure that the agency give due consideration to non-timber values, such as recreation, wildlife, and water. In 1982, the Reagan administration adopted wildlife viability protection in response to declines in the population and range of many species caused by the routine approval of logging and other development projects that did not take the need to conserve wildlife into account. The Reagan rule, currently in effect, supports populations of popular game species such as elk, moose, and black bear, and helps keep sensitive and rare species off the endangered species list by identifying and correcting wildlife population declines before species become imperiled. In 2005 and again in 2008, the Bush administration tried to rewrite these regulations, lifting the requirement that the Forest Service manage its lands so that all native species can remain viable. Defenders of Wildlife challenged the Bush administration’s proposals in the courts. Ultimately, the court found that the Forest Service violated the National Environment Policy Act by approving the new regulations based on a faulty environmental impact statement that failed to analyze adequately the environmental impacts of the new regulations, and that it had violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to examine the effects of eliminating wildlife protection standards on protected species. Links: Read our report that lays out Defenders’ expectations for the National Forest Management Act planning rule. Follow Defenders’ forest policy expert, Peter Nelson, on the blog for more analysis of the regulations. 7 Responses to “BREAKING: Obama Administration Seeks Weaker Wildlife Protections on National Forests, Grasslands” Jo Anne Otterstrom February 10th, 2011 Obama…you need to step down, you sir, are a walking disaster area! Reply Jay February 11th, 2011 Please let us know what the administrations reasoning was and exactly what we can do to change the policy. Reply Dr. Lee Jolliffe April 22nd, 2011 Mr. Obama, you make me ashamed to be a Democrat. Reply Jo Ruggles September 23rd, 2013 REMIND President Obama of his PROMISE to PROTECT our wildlands and wildlife when he ran for President in 2008. He failed miserably when he appointed Ken Salazar as Interior Secretary who was beholden to the ranchers, farmers and hunters. And, I don’t know about his new Secretary, Jewell. She talks a good game, but she walk the walk? FWS is out of control and running amok. Let’s see how she handles them. Defenders MUST legally challenge ANY proposals to weaken protections of ANY of our natural resources, both plant and animal. They are FINITE…remember. Reply Post Your Comment Click here to cancel reply. Name (required) Mail (required) (will not be published) You May also be interested in Help Wildlife Survive Winters in our National Forests In order to protect wildlife and balance the needs of recreational activities in our national forests, new rules for over-snow vehicles need to be implemented. What’s the Difference Between Montana and Romania? In order to help conserve and manage the wild bison population in the American West, Montana should join in the bison restoration efforts that are taking place in other states. The House’s Continued Assault on Endangered Species The House continues to turn its back on the Endangered Species Act by weakening and eliminating protection for imperiled wildlife.