A recent decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (NEDC v. Brown) held that logging roads are subject to federal Clean Water Act permitting requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). In particular, the Court found that road ditches and other “discrete conveyances” that discharge stormwater to streams are “point sources” requiring NPDES permits. This decision conflicts with EPA regulations under which forest roads are nonpoint sources not subject to NPDES permitting requirements. Following are brief overviews of other recent developments with important implications for federal agency roles in forest watershed management and regulation.
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The 2010 NCASI West Coast Regional Meeting in Vancouver, Washington will include a biomass workshop the afternoon of September 28 and a forestry technical session on September 30.
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A technical session on riparian and stream management was held in April at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Oregon Society of American Foresters. The session included three presentations which relied heavily on research being conducted by the Watersheds Research Cooperative (http://watershedsresearch.org/) at Oregon State University.
Estimating the cumulative and indirect effects of land use decisions at large spatial scales is challenging and has emerged as a key technical issue in climate policy debates related to forestry, agriculture and biomass energy. A creative new model of indirect land use effects is presented in “Greenhouse Gas Mitigation by Agricultural Intensification” (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107: 12052-12057; available at www.pnas.org/content/107/26/12052.full).
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is distributing the report Status of 2nd Generation Biofuels Demonstration Facilities in June 2010 (available at www.task39.org).