Photo by David Rauzi
Doyel Shamley, CEO for Veritas Research Consulting of Nevada, spoke to members of the Idaho County Farm Bureau at its annual meeting held in Kamiah on Nov. 14.
As of Wednesday, November 25, 2015
KAMIAH “Is the question whether we can afford to manage the lands, or can we afford not to manage the lands at a state level?” questioned Doyel Shamley.
CEO for Nevada-based Veritas Research Consulting, Shamley spoke to more than 50 people in attendance at last Saturday’s Nov. 14, Idaho County Farm Bureau annual meeting in Kamiah.
Shamley is an advocate for returning local control on federal lands management to provide for economic growth, wildlife and environmental benefits, addressing public safety and reduction of catastrophic wildfires. Last year he was contracted to advise the Idaho County Commission in its discussions on land management issues with the Nez Perce Clearwater National Forests.
Putting numbers to the 2015 fire season, Shamley noted nearly 9.8 million acres burned in the U.S. this year from more than 53,000 fires at a total $4.7 billion in suppression costs. Associated greenhouse gas emissions in tons were 1.74 billion. Idaho wildfires alone generated 24,057,610 tons. Federal lands management is encumbered by continued regulation, and most national forests are 300 to 400 percent overgrown.
Shamley made the case for a return of functional lands management to state and local control to thin stands for forest health, which improves survivability during wildfires, provides quicker recovery and benefit watersheds. On this last, he presented forest treatments to reduce cover by 40 percent can increase water yields by 9 percent; and sustained, ongoing treatments in overly dense forests can increase yields by 16 percent.
The West is reliant on its public lands, and access to which, for economic benefit. Part of Shamley’s presentation noted the larger benefit harvesting that additional timber lost to wildfires would have, in comparison to federal appropriations provided through Secure Rural Schools and PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) appropriations, which he termed the “easier to just get along to get along system.”
Economic impact numbers for the region were provided by Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik.
“In 2012, 246,000 acres burned in Idaho County,” Chmelik said, and using just 20 percent of the annual yield that would have been 1.3 billion board feet of lumber valued at $369 million. Based on how the value of those dollars multiply in the economy, he noted, “this is $1.1 billion in lost economic activity,” that would otherwise have been spent in local businesses, “with paychecks, and not a welfare check,” and funding schools and county operations. For perspective, this year nearly 300,000 acres burned in the county.
For Idaho, Shamley noted the economics for Idaho’s outdoor recreation industry benefits 77,000 direct jobs, and generates $6.3 billion in consumer spending, $1.8 billion in wages and salaries, and $461 million in state and local tax revenue. Idaho has a strong stake in ensuring functional management of its public lands, according to Shamley.
“It can be done better folks,” Shamley said.