They did it themselves

Some 200 federal employees and outside experts have developed a sweeping management plan for public lands in the six states of the Columbia River Basin. And it didn't cost taxpayers a dime. It was done under the auspices of the nonprofit AFSEEE, the Association of Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics. The unprecedented volunteer effort cost the group less than $30,000. In contrast, a joint Forest Service-Bureau of Land Management planning team has been working on a similar effort for over two years at an estimated cost of $25 million (HCN, 9/19/94). The official basin plan is due in June. The AFSEEE alternative recommends bringing back natural disturbances such as fire and reforming the federal incentive system, which now rewards land managers for meeting timber targets rather than protecting ecosystems. Says Cindy Reichelt, an employee on the Colville National Forest, who worked on the AFSEEE report, "After robbing from the land for at least 100 years, it's time to give something back. The AFSEEE plan provides a process to do that."

A copy of the report costs $16; the 12-page executive summary costs $8. Contact AFSEEE, P.O. Box 11615, Eugene, OR 97440 (541/484-2692) For a copy of the upcoming federal report, contact the Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project, 112 E. Poplar St., Walla Walla, WA 99362 (509/522-4030).

* Michelle McClellan