Established: November 23,2011
Duration: January 16,2012
Purpose: To advise the official comments of the Idaho County Commission to the USFS relative to the “Supplemental draft EIS” concerning the Idaho County proposal for the Lochsa Land Exchange.
Initial Meeting: November 28, 4 pm
Background: The USFS wants to acquire 38,800 +/- acres, currently owned by Western Pacific Timber, located in the Lochsa River Drainage in Idaho County. Western Pacific Timber wants the USFS to acquire the 38,800 +/- acres. All USFS acquisition proposals to date diminish the private production and tax base in Idaho County, and so damage Idaho County and its citizens. Idaho County retained a U of I economist to quantify the potential economic damage. According to the report, damage is an estimated 128 lost jobs, $8.2 million in lost annual economic activity, $5.6 million in lost annual payroll and $295,000 in lost annual business taxes. The net loss of tax and production,base reduces revenues to the county and so damages its ability to provide essential government services. For that reason, the Idaho County Commission took a position against the exchange, arguing that any exchange must make Idaho County and its citizens whole in all ways, including grazing, recreation, production and taxes. In an effort to keep Idaho County whole, the USFS offered to entertain an acre for acre proposal from Idaho County. With the help of private local foresters, Idaho County made an official proposal with specific parcels of land, soon thereafter. The USFS reviewed the proposal by Idaho County and made recommendations, driven by NEPA, to add and eliminate certain parcels. The result is the current land map from Idaho County.
Task Force Members
Mr. Bob Abbott
Mr. Jeff Adams
Mr. Larry Allen
Mayor Charlotte Schilling
Mr. Ray Anderson
Mr. Steve Lamont
Mr. Rob Groom
Councilman Brian Lorentz
Mayor Bob Crump
Mr. Jay Balch
Mr. Al Bolden
Mrs. Jo Anne Smith
Mr. Ray Stowers
Mr. Roy Lee
Mr. Ed Hall
Mayor Denis Duman
I) An acre for acre exchange, if it were to be selected by the USFS, will involve 38,800+/. acres of Western Pacific Timber land for 38,800 +/. acres ofUSFS land. Between 45,000 and 49,000 USFS lands are currently under consideration.
The Task Force is asked to recommend which USFS lands should be eliminated from consideration.
2) Westem Pacific Timber has stated that they would consider a conservation easement on “The Cove” and “Fish Creek” lands currently proposed for exchange.
The Task Force is asked to develop a level of expertise and comfort with conservation easements. The Task Force is asked to be specific about easement management and requirements for grazing, recreation, logging, and subdivision.
3) If there is an exchange and there are USFS lands traded but not covered under a conservation easement, recreation activities may be affected. Western Pacific has stated it will allow current recreation activities.
The Task Force is asked to determine recreational nses and recommend specific protections of those uses.
4) Grazing leases may be altered in the event the USFS selects the acre for acre exchange option. Western Pacific Timber and the USFS have stated that they will honor the current grazing leases, on a prorata basis.
The Task Force is asked to determine if boundary adjustments to USFS grazing leases jeopardize the status of those leases. The task force is asked to make specific recommendations aimed at protecting current grazing allotments.
5) There are private homes and holdings which currently border USFS land which may be included in an exchange. Owners of these holdings may be affected by a change in use.
The Task Force is asked to address the issue and make recommendations to mitigate any potential negative impact.
Idaho County, and its citizens, must be held whole if there is an exchange of any kind. This Task Force can help make that happen. We deeply appreciate your willingness to help formulate the official recommendations of Idaho County.
Draft Supplemental EIS
Official Idaho County file on the Lochsa Land Exchange