A Treasure Trove of Information for SWARS

by Ron on August 22, 2009

Way to go, Northeastern Area Association State Foresters (NAASF)! (Oddly enough, the NAASF doesn’t really seem to have a home page, or I would have included the link here.)

But wow, what a team you have in your NAASF Forest Resource Planning Committee (FRPC). The mission statement of that committee is “to encourage and support forest resource planning and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies; to develop and maintain a working relationship with NAASF, the USDA Forest Service, and other appropriate organizations; and to advise and provide technical support to NAASF”.

If you visit the homepage of the FRPC, there is a treasure trove of information about SWARS planning and project guidelines for their region. Many great presentations, links to data sources, detailed information on exactly what is to be included in their SWARSs.

I just discovered this website because I have set up a “Google Alert” so that I get an email any time the words “forestry assessment” pop up on the internet. This morning’s email lead me to this presentation July 2009 Presentation on State Assess. & Strategies for NAASF.

That most informative presentation is in Powerpoint so you may need that Powerpoint or another program to view the presentation. But it includes a couple of slides that really cought my attention. I quote:

“USFS Funds to Support Assessments & Strategies
NAASF share = $481,525
$45,000 reserved to support travel
likely some will be left over
$143,000—habitat classification project
$293,525—split equally among requesting states
$15,449 available for each
16 states have submitted application
Status report due in Sept.”

What? Hawaii was told that there was no funding specifically earmarked for supporting SWARS. Our regional forestry liaison agency was supposed to hire a coordinator to assist the Western States (and Pacific Islands) but last thing I heard before I left for this vacation is that they were unable to hire anyone. “Sorry bout that”.

Today is August 21, 2009; our SWARS is due on June 18, 2010. We had a scant two years to do these plans. And now, we learn that there were indeed funds to support this planning effort, other regions have established regional committees to provide coordination and support to their member states, they are exchanging information, providing useful input.

But frankly, Hawaii has been left out there to pretty much go it alone. We have stepped up, and made significant progress. Our partnerships are strong and growing, we have great data, lots of institutional planning capacity, we have demonstrated and documented our our stakeholder involvement, and through our own research (reading the Farm Bill and Federal Register Notices) we have fortunately jumped through all of the hoops so far.

But to my colleagues in the Western and Pacific Islands region; take a look at what we should be getting. Take a look at where we should collectively be at this point.

Take a look at http://www.northeasternforests.org/FRPC/

OK Hawaii team. Read up. Pure gold.

Great work, FRPC!

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