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Becky Gravenmier Oral History Interview, August 1, 2017

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SAM SCHMIEDING: Okay, good morning, this is Dr. Samuel J. Schmieding, Oregon State University College of Forestry. I am here in the U.S. Forest Service Region 6 office with Becky Gravenmier, the Science and Climate Change Coordinator, who is shared between Region 6 and the PNW Station [both U.S. Forest Service]. We are here and we're going to be doing an oral history interview for the Northwest Forest Plan Oral History Project that will be centered on the Northwest Forest Plan and her involvement in that, but not necessarily be all on that. We will include some biographical information about her and her career, which includes twenty years with the U.S. Forest Service, and twelve or so years with the Bureau of Land Management before that. So anyway, we're going to be talking about the forest plan, like I said, and other things that she has done with her career and her life. So anyway, good morning, Becky.



SS: I want to thank you for being here. And I'm looking forward to this interview. So, I start the interviews off the same way. I say, give me a biographical sketch of yourself, where were you born and raised, and how would you like to present the beginning of the interview?

BG: Okay, I was born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia. Always had a natural resource background interest, always did a lot of hiking with my father and a lot of outdoor activities. So, I started looking to go out West to go to college. I wanted to be in forestry. So, I applied to Utah State University in my junior year of high school. I was in English honors and other honors programs, and so I was accepted early, and so I kind of knew where I was going, and I was going to go West, even though I'd never been there. And I went to school at Utah State for four years. I started out in forestry and then transitioned to rangeland ecology.

SS: So, what happened when you were young, other than hiking with your father in 00:02:00the Appalachian area, the Blue Ridges or wherever?

BG: Yes, in the Great Smokies. [Tennessee/North Carolina]

SS: Great Smokies. Was there any particular experience that led you to wanting to go into forestry? Like, did you read Gifford Pinchot's biography or something like that, or did you get inspired by something you saw or heard about forestry?

BG: We always did a lot of hiking in the state parks. And then Cherokee, North Carolina, we used to always go up onto the forests there, and so, I talked to forest rangers. And then career days at school, I was always interested in the foresters that came to talk with us. And then my science teachers inspired me to look into forestry.

SS: How interesting.

BG: Yes.

SS: Now, Charleston is the capitol, correct?

BG: Yes, sir.

SS: And how would you describe the culture of Charleston when you were growing up?

BG: Well, it hasn't changed much since I was growing up. Charleston's kind of the same as it was back in 1963 to '81 when I was there. I just, it's kind of a 00:03:00smaller community, not too big of a city. But I lived in South Hills, just an average, you know, American town, but kind of, you know, a little behind the times from other places, I would say, the Virginia and Pennsylvania, and other places, a little slower pace of life there. It still is.

SS: We obviously know that West Virginia, Virginia and Pennsylvania are coal country.

BG: Yes, sir.

SS: What did you see in the degradation of the landscapes, the big, open pit mines, the tailings, pre-environmental movement stuff? Maybe you saw some of that when you were small. Did that affect your view about what can happen when conservation measures are not planned, implemented, you know, whether it be hydrological resources, the forest, etc.?


BG: My mother, her father worked in the coal industry. So, I kind of had a background in that. And he wasn't living when I was born, so I did see a lot of that as we drove across the state because we would travel a lot and do skiing, and that kind of thing, and talking with people. So, it did kind of inspire me to want to protect the natural resources and to try to protect the forests, so that people can use and enjoy them into the future. SS: Now, what did your father do professionally?

BG: My father worked for Union Carbide.

SS: Okay, so a chemical company?

BG: Chemical company, yes. A chemical company and my mom was from coal mining.

SS: So was this your form of counter-cultural revolution?

BG: I don't know, I guess you could say so. My mom also worked for the Department of Child Nutrition. She started the school lunch program in the United States.

SS: So, what led you to going to Utah State and coming out to the Cache Valley?

BG: I was very interested in skiing. I did a lot of racing in high school.


SS: Oh, so you were an athlete?

BG: So, I wanted to come out West. And I really just had never been out here, but I was looking at Colorado State or Utah State, and they had a fairly decent forestry program there, whereas most of the people that I knew were going in forestry, were going to WVU, but I wanted to get away from West Virginia, head out West and do something different.

SS: You wanted to find mountains with real verticals?

BG: Exactly. Yeah.

SS: So, what was your favorite ski resort in Utah?

BG: I would say Alta. I liked Alta and Park City.

SS: Snowbird?

BG: And Snowbird, too. Yeah, all of them.

SS: There's a couple up there in the Cache Valley, too.

BG: Right, yeah, we hit those.

SS: They're all over the place up there with that good Utah powder, right?

BG: Right, right.

SS: So, tell me about your experience at Utah State? You probably had a remedial understanding of forestry and what natural resource management meant as a high school student, especially if you had good mentorship.

BG: Right.

SS: But, you really don't know professional level until you get into the meat of 00:06:00college studies, and then, professional development after that. So, tell me kind of your remedial understanding of it when you were in high school and how that changed, and what you learned at Utah State, and maybe some of your mentors or classes that were especially important to you?

BG: Okay. Well, like I said, I started out in forestry for the first, I'd say for the first year. Then I kind of transitioned at Utah State to rangeland ecology, after I took a couple of intro classes to range science with Dr. John Workman and John Malechek. But I went to forestry summer camp the first summer, and that's where I kind of decided, maybe I really wanted to do more in the range field. It was something more interesting. I wasn't really into cruising timber, I decided.

SS: And of course, back then, it was still the traditional, economic industrial model of forestry.

BG: Exactly, yes.

SS: The "New Forestry" of Jerry Franklin was twenty or fifteen years away.

BG: Right, it wasn't there.

SS: So that was not attractive to you. Why would range lands have been different?


BG: Well, I didn't really know much about range lands back in West Virginia. I knew about animal husbandry and agriculture, but you didn't have a lot of range lands. And so, I was just really kind of fascinated with that type of an environment and how you would manage that into the future, and all the plants that are out there. I just kind of realized that my focus maybe should be more on range lands versus forestry.

SS: Now, what do you remember, you would have been, this would have been in the early '80s, right?

BG: '81 through '85.

SS: '85. And what do you remember about watching society, the broader culture change. Of course, 1963 was when you were born, am I correct?

BG: Yes, sir.

SS: That is a year after Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

BG: Right.

SS: The famous book, that actually, John Kennedy read, and it made a great impact on what he tried to implement, and the paradigm shifts that became what we call the "Environmental Age," were really in motion as you were developing as 00:08:00a young person. What do you remember about those debates in West Virginia, but also when you came out West, as you were coming of age intellectually?

BG: I would say in West Virginia when I was going to high school, most of my peers, they really weren't interested in the natural resources because they were more interested in business, or teaching, or other science,. So, I didn't really have anybody else that I would discuss any of these things with. And I didn't do a lot of early reading on some of those key literature pieces when I was younger. I just really became interested in forestry. I wanted to learn more about it and knew I was more interested in that kind of science, and being outdoors. I really wanted to work outdoors and so that's why I kind of moved to Utah State and wanted to learn about forestry and started studying that. I then realized I liked rangeland ecology, it was kind of a newer field. Less was known 00:09:00about it. And I found that kind of interesting, like the rangeland ecology with Dr. West there, and others. I just found it fascinating, because I didn't know anything about those kind of environments.

SS: Now, going back to West Virginia again, or even the Smokies or any of your Appalachian area.

BG: Sure, in the East.

SS: Do you remember any particular trip or travels with your father or school or anything, where you saw something in nature that had to do with human impact or natural resource management, maybe of the negative impact variety that made an especially strong impression on you?

BG: I would just say really like you said earlier, some of the coal mining practices.

SS: Okay, yeah.

BG: You know, some of those are still done today, but just seeing some of what those environments looked like after that. I'm trying to think of any other specific examples. But I also forgot to mention that I did have an interest, like I said, back there of learning about forestry, so I went to two different forestry summer camps.

SS: Okay.


BG: In my, I think, my junior and sophomore years, to try to learn a little bit more about forestry and outdoors and West Virginia studies. I took a class, a summer class there, as well. And so, I worked with professors at the local community colleges and WVU [West Virginia U], and got a little bit of a background, learned my dendrology, started all that kind of thing.

SS: So, you had a good background early on then.

BG: Yeah, and I did a lot of spelunking with my father and worked with some limnologists in caves. You could see where people had come in and just taken chunks of old fossils out that probably shouldn't have been touched, some sharks and things like that. So, just seeing what people can do, if things aren't regulated, or just people don't have an education and they just go out and do things, and don't realize what they're doing.

SS: Or they do know what they're doing.

BG: Yes, they do, yeah.

SS: Because they're going to make money off of it.

BG: Right, exactly.

SS: So, you're at Utah State, and how do you think the "big topography," as I 00:11:00call the West, affected you? The bigger mountains. I mean, the Appalachian aren't small, but they're not the Rockies and not the Cascades.

BG: Right, right.

SS: How do you think that big topography, the scale of things, impacted you as you started your professional track?

BG: I would say, because I had never actually been out West before I went to Utah State, and I just kind of [realized] it was going to be new, it was going to be a journey. So, I took off in my parents' station wagon, stopped at KOA's, and drove to college with my trunk in the back and all my belongings. It was just an incredible journey for me, a learning journey and a growing journey, because I got to see new country and I couldn't believe how big and wide open it was. And I was like, wow, you know, these are real mountains, as I drove into Colorado.

SS: Oh, you went through Colorado though?

BG: Yeah, I went through Colorado.

SS: Not Wyoming, not through the top. Okay. [North of Colorado]

BG: I wanted to see Colorado, and I went up to Utah State. And when I came to the Wasatch Cache [Valley], I was just like, I'm so glad I chose this place, 00:12:00because it was gorgeous and there was just, a lot to see. And a lot of agriculture there, a lot of fruit, but also a lot of forestry and a lot of timber, and just really, high alpine country. It had a whole range of ecosystems to look at.

SS: Any favorite places up there in Utah or even southern Idaho? You're up close to that area, or Wyoming, kind of in that corner there.

BG: Well, I still like the Moab district, like you and I were talking earlier. I like southern Utah, again the range [high desert]. But I also like just even up Logan Canyon. To me, that's just a nice, little get-away from Utah State. We spent a lot of time up there, you know, going to forestry summer camp up there with Dr. Daniels and others, and just going back-and-forth all the time, and going up there and reading studies, that kind of thing. So, you know, half a day trip up and back.

SS: Now, Utah is phenomenal place.

BG: It is a great place.

SS: I fell in love with it when I saw my first geology book that my grandparents 00:13:00gave me when I was seven, and it had a picture of Bryce Canyon.

BG: Yes.

SS: And I remember, those little hoodoos and spires, and I just told my parents, I want to go there.

BG: Yeah.

SS: And it also had a picture of the Grand Canyon and Arches and some other things, because the geology is so, the geomorphology especially, is so dramatic in Utah.

BG: Right.

SS: To show erosional processes and, you know, sculptures that are other-worldly, that you don't see in a lot of places.

BG: Exactly, and I had the luxury of working on the desert in the San Rafael Swell. I managed a lot of the grazing allotments out there, so I'd be out there by myself, you know, looking at all those sites and reading my range studies for a couple years before I came to Portland. One thing I forgot to tell you about is one of the other places I really like, the high Uinta Mountains. The first year of college, I worked for an outfitter there packing horses, and cooking, taking my turns as different types of leads, and taking a lot of people out on 00:14:00pack trips for a week at a time, sometimes ten days or just on a day.

SS: All the way up into the-to King's Peak and Emmons and all the big ones.

BG: In Wyoming, yeah, up in Wyoming, too.

SS: It's a very unique mountain range.

BG: Yeah.

SS: Because it goes east to west.

BG: Right.

SS: And it has those little mountain cirques up high, so, you remember, probably better than me.

BG: Yeah, so that was fun.

SS: Very cool. So, you get out of Utah State in '85 with a degree in?

BG: Basically, range management, they called it then, not range ecology. But with a minor in forestry, just a B.S.

SS: Then, what was your first professional gig?

BG: Well, I worked many summer jobs. My first professional gig, I guess, while I was waiting to find my permanent job with, hopefully, the Forest Service or BLM, I worked for Dr. David Pike at the university [Utah State], helping him with some of his research. So, I worked there for nine months to a year, and then I was able to get a job with the Bureau of Land Management in the Moab District, 00:15:00but basically the San Rafael Resource Area, in Price, Utah. SS: But you were based in Price, though, right?

BG: Price, Utah, yeah. I became a Range Conservationist, a GS-579, is how I started.

SS: Very interesting, though, you're right by coal.

BG: In '86.

SS: You're still by coal country, though.

BG: Yes, I followed it.

SS: Right there on the Book Cliffs and the Roan Cliffs, and there's all those coal places up there.

BG: Right, right.

SS: So, it followed you from West Virginia?

BG: Yes, or I followed it, right.

SS: So, tell me about your first gigs there, your first jobs, and for the BLM. And you worked in the San Rafael Swell a lot, right?

BG: Yes, sir.

SS: Yeah, tell me about that?

BG: It was a good learning experience. Again, I was just learning how to apply what I'd learned in college about range ecology and I did a lot of grazing trespass [work], going out and looking to make sure people are grazing in the right pastures, working with a mentor there, I forget his last name. His first 00:16:00name was Dave. He kind of showed me the ropes, then sent me on my own. I would do a lot of grazing trespass, and I did a lot of rangeland studies. And then we started to do a San Rafael land management plan. So, I became an integral part of that team. I did the rangeland work there, and that's when we first started learning GIS, Geographic Information Systems. We started getting computers and "MOSS," what we called Map Overlay Statistical System. So, I got trained on that and helped manage the data for the whole team. And just kind of got in more of the data management arena as well, but did a lot with the resource management plan. So, I've been working in planning, well, it'll be thirty-two years this fall. I've been kind of working on the planning side of things my whole career. It kind of started there in the San Rafael, doing rangeland work, and then doing 00:17:00the rangeland piece of that RMP. [Resource Man. Plan] SS: Now, what did that teach you about traditional land uses and users on the lands, and specifically in the context of the Sagebrush Rebellion, which came in during the 1980's. It really peaked, maybe a little before you started. But a lot of those sentiments were still there.

BG: Right.

SS: And how do you remember the people and the reactions, and how you dealt with that? The resistance to control, basically.

BG: Yeah, well, it was quite interesting. In the San Rafael, there were actually two of us that were female range conservationists. And there weren't very many [women] in the Bureau of Land Management at that time. So, when I first got there, I remember the first day I showed up on the job, they said, "Well, let's go out and get the horses and let's go out for a ride on the range on the Buckhorn Draw." So they said, "Why don't you go get your horse and load it up in the trailer?" They wanted to see if I knew how to load a horse on a trailer. And my own work partners were watching. And then we went out, and I went with 00:18:00ranchers, and first of all, they're like, "Oh, there's another woman out here." Because they didn't want somebody from back East coming out here to tell them how to manage their range lands. And they were maybe not doing things in the best interest of the range and the production.

So, it was kind of a challenge and it took a long time to win people over, but I was able to do that in about the three-and-a-half years I was there. I made a lot of permittees more comfortable with our work and what we were doing, and that we were really there to help them, and you know, in a lot of drought situations people didn't want to have to take their cows off, so we'd try to negotiate and have an early warning system and work with them to make the transition easier so they could find alternate grazing [areas]. But, it was a challenge just being a female, and also a young person coming into that environment, working with a lot of older ranchers, and old families that had been in the ranching business.

SS: Do you think you being a woman helps you in that context?

BG: Actually, it was hard to overcome that challenge, but I think in the long 00:19:00run, it did. There wasn't a lot of antagonism between the ranchers and myself. We learned to work together, to collaborate more instead of an "us versus them." We tried to work out something.

SS: I just wanted to let you know that it's cool if you want to talk about it [gender issues in relation to relations with stakeholders].

BG: Right. SS: Okay, so continue on with your dealing with the ranchers.

BG: Yeah, so it was a challenge when I first started because I was an outsider, number one, I was a female, and I was from back East. I was a youngster. They didn't want a young pup telling them anything. And so, it just took a long time to start working with the group of ranchers. I had about, I'm going to say, thirty different grazing allotments that were mine [to administer]. And so, I went out and started meeting with all the different ranchers that I worked with and tried to establish a relationship. But it took a couple of years before they actually trusted me and we were able to work through problems and look at their grazing situations, and figure out how to better manage their particular grazing allotments. But it was a challenge. And, you'd see it on fires, too. Like, oh, 00:20:00you're a female, maybe you can't do this, or you can't do that, you should do this instead.

SS: You mean, the physicality of fighting?

BG: The physical, you know, I did a couple, maybe only a few fires when I was down there, but you could see that a little bit in those days. Again, that was '86, '87, '88.

SS: That's some pretty wild country there, the San Rafael Swell.

BG: Yeah.

SS: I mean, a lot of people even that know Utah, don't know that as well as some of the other areas, because it's not a park, it's just kind of a--

BG: It's a big, open area.

SS: Big open area.

BG: With few roads.

SS: With that giant monocline and the cut-through, all the canyons.

BG: It's a gorgeous area, though, but, yeah.

SS: It's marvelous, yeah, a lesser-known gem.

BG: Yes. Yes.

SS: And so, were there many forests that you worked with? The Swell is pretty low [elevation]. The forest, you've got to get up in the Roan and Book Cliffs, in that area, right?

BG: Well, I worked with Manti-La Sal [National Forest] quite heavily.

SS: So, you didn't?


BG: Yes, I worked up Huntington Canyon as part of my, I had the Huntington grazing [allotment - canyon area on Wasatch Plateau].

SS: Okay, on the Wasatch Plateau.

BG: Yeah, so I had the Huntington grazing allotments that abutted up to the Forest Service there. And I also had worked one summer as a range tech on the Wasatch right down there on the Manti-La Sal.

SS: Okay, so you did have some exposure to that, even though it's obviously ecologically a much different forest, a much drier forest, but still, you had some experience.

BG: I worked with the forest folks there on range readiness, when they were ready for cows to come on. We worked on a lot of issues with deer in that area, particularly on the Huntington allotments.

SS: And I'll refer to this a little later because you worked with the BLM; your operative document was FLPMA? [Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976]

BG: Yes.

SS: Instead of whatever the 1976 Forest Service Act for management was, tell me about FLPMA, and then we'll talk about maybe how that compares to Forest Service planning later on.

BG: Well, I'm not really an expert on FLPMA.


SS: But just how do you remember its provisions and the processes affecting how your office did work?

BG: Well, really, we didn't work so much with FLPMA. Again, it was my first three-and-a-half years with the BLM, so I worked mostly on grazing. I used more the directives, the manual and handbook equivalent that BLM would have. I can't even remember what they're called now. And the state director's [BLM] guidance on how to implement FLPMA and everything else. As we started doing planning, I focused more on the planning side and doing rangeland studies. I didn't do a lot. And we were doing a resource management plan under FLPMA. We had strong guidelines from what we called "State Director's Guidance" that told us how to do the land management plan. We just kind of had a stepwise process we worked through. So, I didn't do a lot with the regulation itself.

SS: Now, this was the late '80s, correct? How long were in Price?


BG: I think till 1990. That's when I moved to Portland.

SS: Okay. What do you remember knowing of the debates that were going on in the '80s before you arrived here in terms of the "Forest Wars," as they called them, and building energy in the '80s. And you arrived in '90 really right when things would start to peak with the Dwyer decision [Injunction over Northern Spotted Owl/logging on federal lands] the following year.

BG: Right.

SS: But did you know anything about it when you were out in Utah, or were you just kind of exercising your new professional chops in the BLM context, and you maybe heard about stuff that was kind of out there?

BG: Right. I heard about it originally from a lot of my other members that were in the Society for Rangeland Management. I was quite active in that my early years in Utah, and did a lot with youth there. But I had a lot of friends that were from up here and would be talking about what's going on with spotted owls, 00:24:00that kind of thing. That's why I was very interested when I saw a position become open with the BLM here in Portland. I had started doing spatial analysis and that was kind of a unique skill. They were looking for someone to come in and help run all of their western Oregon RMP's [resource management plans], the very first round of those where they were going to do all of their western Oregon districts. They were looking for a person to come up and lead the GIS analysis for that. So, I applied and was lucky enough to get that position. They actually hired two of us. Another gentleman was also hired, who was a cartographer. But I was really excited because I wanted to see what was going on up here and to get more involved in the forestry end of things again, and just try to do something different. Because it was another new frontier to kind of see what's going on with GIS and analysis and using that technology to help us manager our forests and rangelands.

SS: Now, you learned your GIS when you were at Utah State?

BG: No, no, I learned it on the job.


SS: Oh, okay.

BG: As part of that planning process.

SS: I thought maybe you had some early computer training.

BG: No, we just learned it. We didn't have GIS then. It was brand new when I first started with, basically, the San Rafael. So, I learned it there.

SS: Do you remember those old computers? (Laughs)

BG: Yes, I do. Yes.

SS: Tell me about the capabilities that you had then versus now?

BG: Well, the first computer we had was about this big, and this long. You can't see it but, you know.

SS: She's basically creating a box, 3' x 3' x 3,' somewhere thereabouts.

BG: And it had very limited capacity. We couldn't run a summary of all of the vegetation for, let's say, the Moab District. We could only do a small portion because it wasn't powerful enough. But that was considered to be a big machine, and it was linked into the state office. But, it was all new technology and they didn't know about how to, the configuration control management wasn't all figured out, so we were working on one stand-alone system. The computing power 00:26:00really wasn't there. Even when I started here with the BLM, the computing power really wasn't there.

SS: Well, 1990, it was 1990, pre-internet.

BG: Yeah.

SS: It was very different.

BG: Well, the Forest Service had the "Data General." We didn't have an email system for quite some time.

SS: Now, was there any applications in the Moab District when you were there, regarding the Endangered Species Act [ESA], or that did not enter the central management issues at that time?

BG: Not really on the rangeland. I'm trying to think if we had any, we didn't have many species conservation concerns there. I'm trying to think, we didn't have the tortoise or anything, so we really didn't have any T&E [Threatened and Endangered] species. So, when I first came to Portland was my first real experience [Endangered Species Act], with the marbled murrelet, and we've got the spotted owl. So, that was something new that I encountered when I moved here.

SS: Now, I think the issues then when you were in the BLM were starting to be 00:27:00the wilderness designation issues, but I don't think the San Rafael Swell was yet on the table, if you will, for one of the future wilderness areas.

BG: No.

SS: It would become a bit later, so.

BG: Right, right, right, and it was really more just rangeland health, and droughts, and dealing with those kinds of things.

SS: How would you have considered the health of the rangeland when you were there? I mean, some of the classic studies of rangeland degradation [early-mid 20th century], are actually on the Wasatch Plateau, for instance.

BG: Yes.

SS: And I'm not sure about the [San Rafael] Swell, that's a harsher land. It's lower. But how would you consider the land and the recovery thereof from what you saw when you were there?

BG: I would say, when I first got there, I was like, wow, because I'd looked at different rangelands in Utah, and then, when I went there, I was thinking, these are quite over-grazed situations. Most of the grazing allotments I had had been 00:28:00overgrazed since the '60s. So, we were trying to work on that with our new land management plan to try to reset that stocking level. That's what we were trying to do. And of course, that's very controversial, because you're going to be cutting people's permits. But, the historic permits had been in place for quite some time. When I left, it was still pretty much over-grazed. And we had instances of reoccurring drought, and a lot of those allotments didn't have much forage at all to be grazing, and you're just kind of wondering, how in the world are those cows making it on that?

SS: Yeah, I've hiked through the San Rafael Swell in that area, and one thinks, I don't know how many cows there are per how many acres, but that's some pretty meager forage.

BG: I worked a lot with the wild horses and burros there. We had a major over-stocking issue, and I think they still do today, down there, with those critters, too. And so, we did a couple of removals while I was there and roundups to try to get some of the burros and the horses off the rangeland. A 00:29:00lot of times, you'd find a couple of them dead here and there because of lack of water. Water was a major issue. So, our biggest conflicts there were just regular wildlife, like bighorn sheep and grazing with deer.

SS: So, when you got here in 1990, what was your position, what did you do, and what were you charged with doing?

BG: I was a GIS Analyst. I was hired to help with the western Oregon plan revisions. And again, it was the first time they'd undertaken doing, I think, five or six districts at once, and they had just started trying to build the consistent GIS data layers across all that area. And so, that was a big-ticket item that no other agency that I know of in the West, had tried to do anything like that. So, I was very thrilled to come out here and be part of that. They had already started building some of the base data, the GCDB coordinates, and then they built the ownership layers and all that. I helped them build some of 00:30:00those layers, and then we started doing the planning process. I helped them figure out how to analyze the data that they did have to look at, how do you build an alternative, how do you analyze impacts to the resources. And so again, I was learning this as I was doing it, but we had a very large contractor that worked for us called Infotech Development, at that time.

SS: Okay.

BG: They were spending a lot of money trying to build the western Oregon land management plans. And again, a lot of it was because of the O&C lands [former Oregon and California Railroad lands managed by BLM] and the high value of the timber out here that they were getting a lot of money thrown at them to try this new thing, we're building GIS, and using it in forest plan or land management plan revisions. There was a lot of interest and a lot of money thrown at that. And so, they hired a whole staff to come in and help do that. We were ahead of the Forest Service at that time, using what we called MOSS, at that time before ArcGIS.

SS: That's the acronym for?

BG: MOSS Overlay Statistical System, it was one of the earlies. Like GRASS was 00:31:00one of the earlier GIS, and then it was MOSS, and then it became ArcGIS and ESRI Products.

SS: Okay. So, how would you describe the BLM's view of managing the resources at that time when you came?

BG: You know, they were doing a lot of timber harvest. But they were getting a lot of criticism because spotted owls had just started to be a big thing, and they didn't even have maps of spotted owls. I helped Joe Lint build the very first spotted owl center map. Where are these spotted owls located? So that we could say, okay, how do we manage the forest when we know spotted owls are in the area? Then we started working with [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service on that, and we were sharing our maps with them. Then that kind of led into this whole thing with the Gang of Four [Jerry Franklin, Norm Johnson, Jack Ward Thomas, John Gordon]. I worked on the GIS analysis for that. Again, we didn't have all these maps pulled together between Forest Service and BLM, so we had to do some inter-agency work together to build some base layers for all of that.

SS: I just pulled out what they call the Gang of Four Report.


BG: Yes.

SS: Which Norm Johnson gave me and I copied; "Alternatives for Management of Late Successional Forests of the Pacific Northwest." So, you worked on this?

BG: I worked on the GIS part of this.

SS: The GIS part of that, so this?

BG: And the mapping part of that.

SS: This actually came out of something you did, the cover?

BG: Well, maybe not, I didn't do that, my contractor did. But yes.

SS: Well, but what I'm saying, but the work you did was the baseline that produced this and other cartographic products.

BG: We worked together, between Forest Service and BLM. And the first time the Forest Service and BLM had actually worked together on something like this. That's why it was a big-ticket item, because it's the first time we actually coordinated and did something together. Usually, we were kind of like, we're not going to coordinate on a lot of things, but we were forced to coordinate and get our data together. And that was the first time we tried to do some consistent mapping.

SS: So, just take it back a little bit farther. Because this collaboration is part of, and the synergy between agencies that were formerly apart.

BG: Right.

SS: It's part of this discussion we're having today, as well as this project, and the Northwest Forest Plan in general. Do you remember it being that way, 00:33:00also, when you were in Utah? There was the Moab District. There was the Manti-La Sal [National Forest]. Did that [collaboration] occur?

BG: There was a little bit of coordination, like I said, on like range readiness for the grazing, when were you going to turn the cows on them. We had some of the same permittees and we would meet, you know, and talk about those. But mostly, a lot of that was done through my involvement with Society for Range Management and just professional relationships with people. So, I started trying to collaborate with Manti-La Sal, but it wasn't like we did a lot of things together. We didn't have consistent data sets, we didn't have any GIS data at that time, as we were just starting to build it. But the Manti-La Sal didn't have any, so we couldn't map things together. When I came to Oregon was the first time I saw agencies really trying to work together on tough issues like what do you do about late successional forests and critters like owls.

SS: And so how would you describe the BLM as a culture when you worked for it in your twelve years that you were there?

BG: I really loved the agency. I always thought I'd stay with the BLM, but I 00:34:00just kind of morphed into working with the Forest Service again as we started to work together. I realized that our missions are very similar, you know, we have slightly different missions, but the work is still rewarding. So, I just was always interested in working with the Forest Service from day one, and just seeing how we could collaborate and manage the lands. Again, we should be looking at all lands, not just Forest Service versus BLM. And in Oregon, we have the checkerboard situation with BLM where your private land and intermixed with the Forest Service.

SS: How to manage that has always been, that's right.

BG: So, it needs to be managed together. So, I found that, as this project in particular, the Gang of Four, was the first step in trying to collaborate and work together to better manage these forests.

SS: Well, I mean, the first high profile critique of the linearity, if you will, 00:35:00of the grid system.

BG: Oh, yes.

SS: That's what I was looking for. Remember, if you read about John Wesley Powell, he wanted to manage by watersheds. [When USGS Director.]

BG: Right, right.

SS: And you can even take that kind of practical, ecological, hydrological idea, and take it forward into what is done in different contexts in the future, because the checkerboard system is impossibly difficult to manage.

BG: Exactly.

SS: And it doesn't really have anything to do with natural boundaries and water flows and energy flows, and what have you. And where owls and birds and deer and everything go, they don't look at the lines and say, oh, my God, you're on private land now, you've got to go back.

BG: Right.

SS: So, I think what you're saying is that the synergy between agencies working together is necessary to manage natural places.


BG: Right, right.

SS: Because it doesn't care if humans surveyed it and drew a line on the map.

BG: Right.

SS: And so, that's interesting. We'll talk about that maybe later.

BG: Sure.

SS: As we're talking about your cartography, your understanding of representations?

BG: Sure.

SS: And divisions, whether it be cartography or what have you. It's 1990, you're doing your GIS work; do you remember when the Dwyer decision came down? Was that central to what you guys were doing, correct?

BG: Yeah, that really was. The Dwyer decision, I wasn't that involved with it, but it had implications for what we were doing. It kind of amped up the importance of getting a lot of our data layers in shape, so that we could do analysis at a quicker pace instead of just waiting for our land management plan process. And so, that kind of kicked off the mapping the spotted owls center, and the building a lot of other data that would help support the kind of 00:37:00analysis that's in the Gang of Four and in the FEMAT report.

SS: Right. Now, when you first got here, the injunction hadn't come down, but about a year later it did?

BG: I think so, yes.

SS: Is that about the timing? [Dwyer injunction was in 1991.]

BG: Yes, I think so.

SS: Did that make the people in your agency scramble to try to figure out how to deal with it? Because I think the BLM came to grips with it a little differently than the Forest Service did, because I think more of the lands were Forest Service lands [spotted owl areas], but they weren't all.

BG: Right. But we had the O&C lands, too, where the counties are looking for the.....

SS: The timber receipts and what have you.

BG: The timber receipts, so it was a big-ticket item. And I remember getting called to Dean Bible's [office], he was the State Director during a lot of the time I was there.

SS: Of the BLM?

BG: Of the BLM.

SS: Of Oregon?

BG: Of Oregon, Oregon-Washington BLM, and he'd always wanted to say, "Okay, I want to see the latest maps on owls." He'd call me to his office on a Friday, and I'd run down there, even though my supervisor [wasn't] in, and you were supposed to take two supervisors with you. Nobody was around, so I'd just go 00:38:00there and he'd be pulling out all the maps, and he'd want to figure out how we're going to manage, and how we're going to deal with the injunction. And he was really into the spatial data and what we could do with that. And then he started thinking, you know, like we need to start collaborating more with the Forest Service and others adjacent to us, so we can better manage these lands.

SS: So, people at the BLM were thinking they had to go in that direction then?

BG: Yeah, but this was really where it was first forced. And again, we had different data management systems, and actually, the Forest Service was just ahead of us. Actually, we had more data, they had no consistent data across all their forests, but they were doing things, and they got ArcGIS before we did. So, when we got into FEMAT, they were a little bit ahead of us. We were still on the old system, the MOSS system, so we didn't know the new system and new technology. So, there was a huge learning curve of the two agencies working together, and then, training us on how to use the new system when we started 00:39:00working on these projects together.

SS: That sounds like a really important part of the collaborative process that was forced by technological reasons and lack of knowledge in another technology or another system.

BG: Right.

SS: To better interface and be able to share and dialogue between the systems, and to make them more effective?

BG: Uh-hum.

SS: Okay, so what did you do again on the Gang of Four report, do you want to explain that?

BG: Well, that was a big mapping exercise where everybody brought their big maps, most of the people had hard copy maps. They brought them in to, I don't even know what building it was held in, in Portland. But a lot of the scientists were there and they were all bringing maps, so we were creating, if we didn't have them digitally, we were making sure that we had them on overlays and things like that so they could be taken to this big meeting where they were putting the Forest Service and the BLM side-by-side. Because again, our data wasn't integrated at that time, so everybody, everything was done with mylar overlays and big, large maps. So, that's kind of what my role was, to help produce those 00:40:00maps and to oversee the contractors and make sure we had all the data at the table that we could bring forward for that exercise. And a lot of our scientists you've interviewed, they were part of that whole meeting and looking at that and producing this report. And we just provided support on the data side.

SS: So, you did not actually go to the meeting yourself?

BG: No, I was working on the data and the maps, getting them ready for that session and delivering them, that kind of thing.

SS: Now, what sense did you and/or your colleagues in the BLM have, or even anybody that you were interfacing with through the Forest Service, have about the gravity of what was coming down? I mean, did anybody realize that this was going to be this profound paradigm-shifting moment? Or were you just doing your job and moving ahead - you and GIS?

BG: I was in the GIS shop, and so I wasn't in the planning shop or the natural resources program. I was more in the data shop or we were supporting those 00:41:00[other programs]. But, we had a team of three people. Dr. Duane Dippon was in the planning shop, and I was in DRM, and then, we had Chris Cadwell, who now works I think, for O&C counties, but he worked for BLM as well. The three of us were the group that was formed to help bring in some of the analysis that's in here. So, those guys would attend the meetings and they'd bring back, "Here's what we need, Becky," and I would help translate that and bring in the information and the data layers and, working with our contractor, produce so many different sets of mylar overlays or whatever they needed done. And so, I was kind of like there to translate what they needed into analytical products.

SS: Now, were you also involved with providing products, data, cartography, GIS information, that the people that were taking back to Congress, for instance, that this was followed-up by the ISC report later.

BG: Right.

SS: And then there were the various, certain high-profile people going back and 00:42:00testifying before Congress.

BG: Right.

SS: Were you also involved with supporting that process?

BG: Right, Dean Bible and I don't know who else from BLM at this point in time, it's been so long ago, [to remember] who went back to do some of the testifying. But I think Dr. Joe Lint from BLM [northern spotted owl biologist], was involved in that. But we just did the base mapping for that. Any map products they needed, we would do multiple versions of those so that they had what they needed to be able to show Congress and others. But intimately, I'm not familiar with what happened in those.

SS: And of course, pre-PowerPoint, so these were physical maps?

BG: That's right, they were physical maps.

SS: Big maps.

BG: And they were big, or they were page-size.

SS: Well, if you're in a congressional hearing room, you need a big map.

BG: Right, right.

SS: With a little pointer, right?

BG: Exactly.

SS: Right.

BG: And a lot of overlays.

SS: So, you had a lot of transparency overlays?

BG: Yeah, they would map them on the wall, and then they would have these overlays of different data layers, yes.

SS: The good-old days.

BG: That's right.

SS: I liked the good-old days. I love paper maps.


BG: I do too, still.

SS: So, you're doing his same position for how many years now? Or not position, but the same type of work?

BG: Well, actually, what I did is I came to work on that project till about 19-I would say, '93, '94, then I started working on FEMAT. They moved us over after Gang of Four [1991-92]. We went back and we were still working on the planning process. And then FEMAT came, and that started coming together. The President's plan came out, and they had the big conference out here.

SS: Well, the Summit.

BG: The Summit, yes.

SS: The Forest Summit.

BG: The Forest Summit.

SS: Which was Bill Clinton.

BG: With Bill Clinton.

SS: Al Gore, and his cabinet.

BG: Right, they all came out. That was a big-ticket item for us. I volunteered and worked the registration desk for that. That was kind of fun.

SS: Wow!

BG: And then after that, they said, basically, FEMAT. You know, we had that 00:44:00happen. And then they also started talking about the Columbia Basin project. And so, I worked on FEMAT through '94, and then, I moved over to, in '93-'94, to help lead the GIS analysis for what they called Interior Columbia Basin Project.

SS: We're going to talk about that, too. But I want to talk about that in parallel because there are interfaces and there are interesting comparisons.

BG: There are.

SS: You know, in terms of where it went, where it didn't go, public focus or lack of public focus, and follow-through, etc. We'll talk about that, too.

BG: Sure.

SS: So, we're back on the record here. We took a short break. And Becky was talking about the Gang of Four report, as it's called. We're also going to talk just briefly about the SAT report and the ISC report, which were the predecessors to the Gang of Four, and then, the FEMAT was later on. So, just tell me a little bit more about how you were involved for writing support information mapping and data for those two previous reports?


BG: Well, I'd just arrived in, I want to say February of '89. So I was only here for a short while before we started getting into these things. And I think the very first one, the SAT [Scientific Assessment Team] and the ISC [Interagency Science Committee] report, we didn't really have a lot of data or a lot of things mapped. We were currently trying to map them. As I recall, we were trying to pull together anything we could for Oregon and Washington, so that they could have something on a map. That's where I don't remember exactly what year we started mapping. Like where are the spotted owl centers, where are the spotted owls, where's our vegetation? We had forest inventory information and we were getting that digitized in the early '90s. We were just compiling that information as fast as we could, to try to feed it into those two types of exercises. So again, I was just in a support role providing the data, and trying to get the GIS coverages complete with metadata, etc. so that they could be put 00:46:00on maps and brought forward for the state director and the planning directors and other folks to take forward to those two processes. I wasn't intimately involved in them myself, but Joe Lint was, and I worked for Joe Lint a lot.

SS: And he was one of the main people, right.

BG: He was one of the main people. So, Joe really went and represented us a lot, and then he'd just come back and say, "Becky, I need X, Y and Z," and we'd pull it together with contractors. But again, it was early stages of having any data to put on maps.

SS: And what do you remember about the completeness or lack of completeness of the information, on the owl or other key variables?

BG: Well, we in Forest Service, basically, we had information about where people thought the owls were, but it was on paper copies in file cabinets. And so, what we did is we worked with folks to get them pulled out and get them translated to large maps and mylars, so that we could then digitize them. So, I worked with contractors who were then digitizing and putting all the data together, running 00:47:00the quality control, that kind of thing. That's what we were focusing on then, trying to pull all the data out of the data cabinets, get it digitally captured and available so that we could produce maps for at least Oregon-Washington-BLM lands. And then BLM, like we said, BLM was a little bit ahead of Forest Service at that time in trying to be consistent with that. But we helped the Forest Service as we started moving into these later projects like FEMAT. They had different data sets, but we tried to merge and pull them together so that they had a cohesive package, we had a cohesive package, and then we put them together and merged both of our two data sets.

SS: How difficult was that?

BG: That was a big process, especially with the stuff going on in FEMAT. There was a very short deadline to get that project done, so we had contractors. That was great. BLM had the luxury of having contractors round the clock. And so, they were doing digitizing, I would say sometimes 24 hours a day, just trying to get our maps and some of the Forest Service's captured, so that we could put 00:48:00them all together and create some of those early maps that were used in FEMAT.

SS: And for the record, FEMAT was the, as I like to call it, the "90-day slumber party" [intense work marathon] in the Pink Tower, which is the U.S. Bank Building here in downtown Portland.

BG: Right.

SS: And it was a 60-day charge by the Clinton administration initially to put together basically a massive synthesis of the best possible information and options and alternatives which you were supporting.

BG: For how to manage.

SS: And then they added 30 days, because they couldn't get it all done in 60 days. [Clinton administration did not like options from first 60 days.]

BG: Right.

SS: How do you remember that whole process being unleashed on your agency, and you were working with the Forest Service? I jokingly called it a 90-day "slumber party," because some people actually slept in there.

BG: We did.

SS: In the building, and so, what do you remember about when that was unleashed 00:49:00on the two agencies, and how your bosses and the managers said, okay guys, we have this amount of time, we have this to do, there's this building, we have one floor, I think, one floor or two floors, I believe?

BG: Right. Well, actually, all the GIS work was done between the Forest Service building and BLM. The GIS support was done elsewhere.

SS: Right.

BG: So, we were over in, I'm going to say, over by 39th [Street in Portland], BLM was over that way. And then the BLM, the Forest Service was just down here at their other building before they moved here.

SS: So, you were in southeast Portland then, right?

BG: Yeah. We would go back and forth many times a day, and if not, working at the Forest Service office. But we did a lot of digitizing, and the mapping was all being done at the BLM office, and the analysis, we were doing over at the Forest Service. Because they, again, had the better equipment, were ahead of us. We'd pulled together a lot more people that actually had experience with ArcGIS and how to do that. So, basically what they did, is they set up a huge team of 00:50:00us, they called it the Spatial Analysis Group. They had Dr. Duane Dippon on the BLM side, and then John Steffenson on the Forest Service side. They were the co-leads. I was part of the Spatial Analysis Group and I helped lead the analysis piece, so that was my charge, and then, working with contractors to have a lot of our data digitized. We finished digitizing and pulling all that together. You can see the little list there of the Spatial Analysis Group, John Steffenson. We had a whole team, I'm going to say there's probably...

SS: We're looking at the front of the-I mean, excuse me, the FEMAT document.

BG: Yeah, and we had a whole variety of folks that are some key contractors. So, this was a team of contractors, Forest Service, and BLM folks, and we also brought in a rotation of folks from different forests to help us out, people who had any GIS experience. We'd bring people in that were specializing, let me look here and see some of these names. I don't see his name there now. John Young, he 00:51:00came in and was working specifically on spotted owls. We had different people who had different areas of focus, based on their expertise. He was a wildlife biologist and providing GIS support. Jeff Nighbert was working on the cartographic products. He built all the fancy nine maps that are in that document. He's the one that created those maps.

SS: You mean, each alternative? [Called "alternatives" in FEMAT process]

BG: Each, Options 1 through 9, Jeff did all the mapping. And the rest of us were doing a lot of the analysis and the digitizing and maps. We had some of the base maps, but then there were people like you interviewed, Dr. Bruce Marcot, they were pulling together a lot of information on what does all this mean to different species. He hadn't mapped species ranges, and so we digitized those very quickly. We had to produce. I remember probably working a 20-hour day with 00:52:00a contractor just trying to get a whole series of maps that he had to have for the "Pink Tower" for the next day. So, we would work around the clock to bring these map products physically to the scientists, who were locked in the pink building.

SS: So, my little joke about the Pink Tower being the "slumber party" actually extended to other places around Portland?

BG: Yes, yes.

SS: You guys were working some long hours.

BG: Yeah, we were. But we had the luxury of having the InfoTech Development Group, that actually was a contracting group, and they basically had people working different shifts. And then, we would have different shifts for some of us that were the leads, and again, just worked long days. But we had several people that did sleep in the Forest Service building. Our analysts, we didn't have enough computing power -- like you were talking about the small computers -- we didn't have enough computing power to process a lot of this data in ArcGIS, and also, not a lot of knowledge about how to do it, so we were exporting things and summarizing them into value attribute tables. So, basically 00:53:00turning them into flat files and bringing them into Oracle. We had one Oracle programmer that was there. And so, I would say, Bob ended up having to do a lot of overnighters, because he was the one programmer that was doing all the analysis for us. We'd translate it into these are the steps and the things you combine, and here's all the analysis in GIS. And we'd pop it over to him and he'd have to go in and run [it to] analyze the alternatives. And he was doing all that programming, just one person.

SS: So, where were the best printers located for the big maps?

BG: Over at the BLM office. They had the big professional plotters.

SS: Okay.

BG: Yeah. We spent a lot on mylar and a lot on paper.

SS: Yeah, I was going to say, it's amazing how many trees have to die so you can save trees.

BG: Right, right. But again, people wanted to see the big maps, so they could look at the landscape and not just look at page-sized maps.

SS: Right, and you were still at the time when people were still using mylar and 00:54:00things like that.

BG: At the end of that project, we had a room about this big that we're sitting in, what is this, 16 x 20? But full of just mylar overlays that all had to be catalogued and inventoried that were part of the record. And so, we had a lot of map products that were developed.

SS: And do these things still all exist somewhere?

BG: They were sent to the records center, yes. We used to keep them here in this building, or in the old Forest Service building, but we just ran out of room. And the mylars were getting old and, but there is also an archive of all the data from that time, it was also archived and is available, and it's in the records center, and we also have a copy here.

SS: So, you're this support staff along with all the cartography and data processors and you're producing this thing. You must have sensed that this was really important. How did you feel about what was going on at this time, and 00:55:00this was many years ago when you were still relatively early in your career?

BG: Right.

SS: And did you ever think that this was like a massive, earth-shaking, paradigm kind of project, or was just a really super-busy time?

BG: I think a lot of us working on the project realized that it was going to really change the way we do business, and how we collaborate between agencies. We knew that it wasn't going to just be BLM doing their thing and Forest Service doing their own, that we're all going to have to work together. And then, we were learning on the fly how to do analysis, because none of us had ever really done this kind of analysis before.

There wasn't really anybody to help us, so we were just putting the best brains together about how do we do this analysis in the most efficient way with the systems that we have in order to produce these maps. But mostly, the analysis of alternatives, like the nine options. Then we had to analyze how many acres of this, how many acres of that, and summarize what are the impacts of each of 00:56:00these alternatives on different species, on spotted owl habitat, on murrelet habitat. So, we'd get the definitions of what the habitat was, and then we'd go in and calculate it from the data that we had. And then run that against the alternatives, and you have to summarize everything by the land use allocation.

So, it was a very highly technical time period. We had contractors that would work with me, and I'd say, this is what we want to do, and we'd translate. We basically set up processes and I probably still have some of these records in my own personal records, because I didn't want to get rid of them. But how do you translate that? We'd actually write up analysis processes and quality control, QAQC steps on how you check the acres, and what should the acres all add up to so that we were always making sure that our outputs were the right numbers. Did you have the right magic number at the bottom when you add up the total for Forest Service and BLM? Are these the correct land use allocations? Do they all add up once we calculated those? And just really how do you document [it all]. Each time we did an analysis, we would actually go through a whole process of documenting, what are the steps, and then charting that out and doing data flow 00:57:00diagrams and all of that, to make sure we didn't miss something.

There was like a team of four of us that did that kind of work, and then, we'd hand it off to the programmer, who then would go into Oracle and pull all the data together. So, he didn't have figure all that out, we figured it out, and then worked with Duane Dippon and John Steffenson, who then worked with the scientists over in the Pink Tower, to say, this is what we're going to do. Does this sound like the right kind of analysis? And they'd bring it back and say, "Becky, figure this out," and we'd figure it out, and then we would go and run that analysis that night.

SS: Have any of you ever written a paper about the process of this?

BG: I think there's a chapter in here [FEMAT] on spatial analysis.

SS: But I mean like a peer-reviewed journal thing about the process of this?

BG: I think John Steffenson did. He now works for ESRI.

SS: Okay.

BG: John Steffenson and Duane Dippon both did, but I don't know exactly what the name of that paper is or where it is at this point.

SS: Because it was such an important time, not only in terms of the Northwest Forest Plan, but in terms of the evolution of technology and how computers 00:58:00became used in many facets of society.

BG: Yeah, I think there is a piece in here somewhere in one of the appendices about the spatial analysis process. I'd have to find it, but it's either in here or it's in the EIS. We do have a chapter written there somewhere on that because I remember writing that with John. But I think they did a couple journal articles after that, but I couldn't put my hand on them today. I'd have to look through my records, my personal records to see if I have them in my early files for you.

SS: So, this must have been for you and a lot of your other colleagues, like advanced graduate studies?

BG: Yes.

SS: For what you were doing. I mean, you're not going to get this kind of training just going to a class.

BG: Right. It was great on-the-job training working with Joe Lint, Bruce Marcot, Gordie Reeves, and other scientists, on what kind of analysis do they need. 00:59:00Marty Raphael was part of that as well. And then we would try to figure out how to do it. And we had a group of us conspire about that, and then work with Duane and John and make sure that that's what the scientists wanted before we ran the alternatives. They'd run stuff over to the Pink Tower and say, okay, it's thumbs up, and then we'd come back and run it. We'd produce the maps, take it back, and they'd go, well, we don't like this, go change something, something doesn't look right. And we'd come back and rerun, and rerun. So, it was a constant process of back-and-forth. But it was learning as you go, and analysis on the fly, and it was pretty high-tech at that time for, you know, capacity of ArcGIS that we didn't have yet. That's why we had to do a lot of stuff in Oracle, because we didn't have the experience. And then ArcGIS had a lot of limitations at that time because it was a very early version of that software.

SS: Compare early GIS with what you can do today? Just for the record.

BG: Well, I still work in the data management. I kind of left for a while and 01:00:00came back, but I work a lot with ArcGIS online which is basically putting GIS in the hands of the public and the average user, who doesn't know how to use GIS. I work a lot on climate change information here in Region 6, and we are using ArcGIS online to share that data and make it available. We presented some of our work at the ESRI Federal GIS Users Conference in 2015 back in D.C. about how are we using ArcGIS online to map our climate, our National Forest Service climate change score card results, and how are we using that to do climate change vulnerability assessments. We basically took a climate change vulnerability assessment, a big report about this big, about an inch-and-a-half thick, and we basically read all that information in, so it's basically a map journal or what we call a "story map."

I'm working with the latest technology now, and we have a lot more capabilities that you can do a lot of things with that we used to have to do with tons and tons of code just in ArcGIS online, and not being even an end-user. You can just 01:01:00get in and do some of these things that used to take us a lot of code to do. So, the technology has come a long way.

SS: So, you worked through the whole 90-day process on this then?

BG: Oh, yes. And then after the conclusion, we worked with the EIS team, too, as they produced the follow-on report to this, which is the EIS.

SS: The Record of Decision?

BG: The Record of Decision. I worked through the whole process.

SS: So, we have the Record of Decision, Standards and Guidelines.

BG: Right, that came out in '94.

SS: Which is '94. And so, you just continued?

BG: Yeah, the whole team continued. We went from this [FEMAT] directly into this [ROD-SAG], so there was no gap in time. We had a little bit of downtime, but then we came in and started working on this, because we had to tweak things and work on the map products in here. And actually, this is the document that has the chapter in it. There's an appendix on the GIS piece, but in the EIS. But 01:02:00yes, we went from that, to this.

SS: So, Alternative 9 is selected.

BG: Option 9.

SS: It's implemented. And we go forward from there. So, you're still with the BLM, correct?

BG: Yes.

SS: Until '97, am I correct?

BG: Yes.

SS: Okay, so what was your role initially as the discussions were starting about how we are going to monitor and how we're going to track this plan, which there was such a big to-do about, but what are we going to do now? What was your role early-on?

BG: Yeah, I was still more on the data management side because that's strictly what I was doing for BLM. But we did work with some of the scientists to develop the overall effectiveness monitoring program for the Northwest Forest Plan. They were working on this, and then--

SS: That came out in '99, correct? [NWFP monitoring program baseline document.]

BG: That came out in '99, but it was being worked on for quite a while, five 01:03:00years really. And they already had monitoring ongoing for northern spotted owl and I think marbled murrelet came on next and the late successional monitoring. [Forest Service ecologist] Miles Hemstrom worked on that one. But they started developing protocols, and the last one they developed was the aquatic and riparian, which came out, was it 2003 or '04. It was quite bit later. But most of ours, we didn't really work mostly on this at all, we really just made a few maps here and there when they needed them for this, but we were still focusing on cleaning up all the data and everything from this. Then I actually transitioned in '94, went to lead the Interior Columbia Basin Project, again, with John Steffenson as my co-lead. I was the BLM lead for the spatial analysis group that was going to then build that data set for all of the Interior Columbia Basin data, do a similar process that was done for FEMAT. The goal was it would be a similar process.

SS: So, let's continue, let's stay chronological.

BG: Sure.

SS: Because I was going to do a parallel, but since you segued right there.


BG: Sorry about that.

SS: Let's go with the Columbia Basin Project and talk about similarities, differences, experiences, how it was modeled and how it was planned, and how it was actually carried out and implemented.

BG: They followed a similar model to FEMAT as they set up a science advisory group. They hired Tom Quigley and a whole group of people to do that kind of work. They had a spatial analysis team, so we basically took some of our same team members, the people who worked with me doing the analysis, I took them with me. So, we just moved them from this project and they moved with me to Walla Walla for quite some time, going back and forth. But we set up a spatial advisory group, a science team, and then there was an EIS team that was set up early. They set the EIS team up early trying to learn from the FEMAT experience that if you had them set up early, they could work together and we could feed information and maybe get it done quicker. One of the lessons learned was that 01:05:00[Interior Columbia Basin] was a really large footprint to try to do the same thing we did on the Northwest Forest Plan.

SS: With the size of the land?

BG: Yeah, the Columbia Basin area, it was just.

SS: It's a massive area.

BG: It covered so many states and it was just such a large footprint. Really, it was, I think too large to be fully successful because it was just such a large footprint, and there were so many different states and the politics of each state. And then, just different stakeholders. And it was more of a public process, where this one [NWFP] was not a public process. For the Columbia Basin, they wanted to make it more of a public process. So, we would have public meetings where we first started building maps. We'd come and show off our maps and be up all night working on them. Okay, we need some maps of the vegetation for the whole Columbia Basin. We'd be up working on those so we could show the public or others, here are some base data. It took us a long time to build that base data.

I think I mentioned that we had a whole leadership set up in the very beginning. 01:06:00We learned from the FEMAT experience and the EIS, that we needed to have the EIS team and the science team working at the same time, along with leadership in a GIS group. So, we brought all these people together in Walla Walla, that's where they wanted us to set up. And so, we would make, again, not a "pink tower," but it was another brick building that we all worked in. Some of us would drive weekly, go up there, and we'd stay sometimes two or three weeks at a time. And some of us just ended up with apartments there.

SS: Was it around Whitman College, or...?


BG: Yeah, it was just actually right close to downtown, the downtown area.

SS: Okay.

BG: I should remember the address, but I don't.

SS: Now, somebody told me that one of the sessions was in an Econo Lodge?

BG: Well, we had different public meetings in a variety of different places.

SS: Okay, so that was just one of them.

BG: Yeah, it was one of the public meetings, right. So what we did is built collaboration into the very beginning of the process. They wanted it to not be like FEMAT where it was the scientists go off in the Pink Tower, develop these options and come back, and then hand them to managers. This time it was going to be the scientists who developed the science assessment, not the alternatives, necessarily. They did look at alternatives, but they didn't pass it to the managers, who then would have more of a role in crafting the overall alternatives. No, just doing the effects. So, we set up tandem teams at that time.

And again, I was mentioning that the project, the scope and scale of this was so much larger than Northwest Forest Plan. It was quite large. And with the public involvement piece, we had to hire a whole public affairs team. There were a lot 01:08:00of people. I don't know how many we had working at one time, but I'm going to say 250 people in Walla Walla working on some aspect of this project. And again, we had to build data from scratch. We did a lot of digitizing with the same group of contractors back in Portland supporting that. And we had better networks and systems at that time. But we had to basically take forest level data for all the national forests in the Columbia Basin, and the BLM data, whatever was available, and pull it together, if it existed, in GIS. And if it didn't, then we did mylar mapping to create a whole set of over 100, I'm going to say 125, different GIS data layers. Again, the scientists thought they needed everything. We probably could have done it with 60 or 70 layers, instead of that many. But everybody wanted to look at everything when we started doing the assessment.

So, it was going to more of an assessment process that had some inkling of different types of scenarios, and then we'd pass it to managers and they would develop the alternatives. But it took a lot longer than [they thought]. They 01:09:00thought we could do it in a year, nine months to a year, like the Pink Tower exercise. With the politics involved and the collaboration piece and having to build the data sets for such a large area, it took a long, long time to do that. And so, we started working on that and produced a science assessment. I would have to look at the year on that one. It came out and then we had a whole series of publications. I'm going to say there's probably 32 different GTR's [General Technical Reports], some of them about earth worms of the Columbia Basin. Species ranges, altered rangelands, a variety of offshoot General Technical Reports that also helped build the science basis for what was supposed to become the Columbia Basin Plan.

And just to kind of shorten this up a little bit, because we could talk forever about this project because it was bigger than the Northwest Forest Plan and went on quite a bit longer, but we had hundreds and hundreds of scientists and lots of public meetings. We involved the public along the way for the assessment. We 01:10:00had a draft EIS, and I think we did a supplemental EIS, you know, working with the public. And we were just on the verge of finishing a "Record of Decision" when there was a change of administration, and all of a sudden, we did not finish that project.

What happened is they tried to take the best of what they could out of the assessment documents and the EIS, and pull it together in what they called the Columbia Basin Strategy. And so, they basically had set up PACFISH and INFISH monitoring to look at the aquatics components, kind of building on some of the things Gordie Reeves was doing on ARMP, similar process, the aquatic monitoring process for Northwest Forest Plan. They have a similar in-stream component, but they were also capturing a lot of grazing information. So, they set up the monitoring early on knowing that we were working on this project and we needed that for PACFISH/INFISH consultation. And so, we didn't finish the project.

They did not finish the EIS Record of Decision piece, but they did build the Columbia Basin Strategy, which is still in effect, together. Again, it's pulling 01:11:00some of the best principles and actions, like watershed analysis, that kind of came out of FEMAT in the Northwest Forest Plan, before you do certain things, doing a landscape scale assessment before you do certain projects. But some of those principles came over and are part of this Columbia Basin Strategy. And that Columbia Basin Strategy has been updated, I think twice, since it was finished. I'm going to say it was finished in about 2000. I think that's about right.

SS: 2001?

BG: About 2001. We just recently updated that strategy. I came back and helped worked on that with the Columbia Basin Deputies Group. They asked us to come in and look at that. What we did is we took the principles from the Northwest Forest Plan, built that into a framework document, and we looked at the some of the principles that were very similar because they were kind of offshoot projects. We pulled some of that together, and basically, took the framework from the Northwest Forest Plan, brought it over to the Columbia Basin Strategy and imbedded some of those same principles and concepts, so that we're looking 01:12:00at the whole Columbia Basin and Northwest Forest Plan in a similar set of guiding principles that the agencies all signed off on. And this is how we're going to continue to manage the Columbia Basin. It's about similar types of management. Not all the same, as it doesn't have real specifics about riparian management or anything like that. But it's just more of a basic principles document.

SS: And there was the BLM, the Forest Service, Fish and Wildlife?

BG: A lot of the same agencies that were in Northwest Forest Plan.

SS: The Army Corps?

BG: The Army Corps was involved somewhat, but not much.

SS: Because of the Columbia River?

BG: Because of the Columbia River, but it was more of, you know, Fish and Wildlife, NOAA, EPA.

SS: Right.

BG: NRCS wasn't really involved too much. USGS was a big player and Forest Service Research [Dept. in Forest Service]. Then we had a lot of partners and researchers elsewhere that were supporting the project.

SS: But basically, the funding was cut off?

BG: Well, we basically were this close [indicating very] to finishing. We had a 01:13:00draft biological opinion and a biological assessment, but there was controversy, over particularly how to manage riparian areas. So, there was a lot of concern from NOAA about what the riparian buffers were going to be. Similar issues. If you interviewed Gordie Reeves, you'd hear about the riparian buffers. But similar concerns over there about how wide the riparian buffers were. [Issue in NWFP planning] So, there were little issues like that that not all agencies were completely comfortable with.

What happened was, there was a change of administration. So, it was easy to get the project stopped by certain agencies. They basically didn't finish it. But they said, let's try to gather what we can and put it into a strategy, so we don't lose some of this. And then the current science that we have, like I said, 35-40 publications, that are still being used today on the east side for Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, that are basically still some of the best available science. There hasn't been a lot of new science that's been done. But it's still 01:14:00informing project and forest planning. SS: Very interesting. How would you compare the two? I mean, you already kind of went back-and-forth. But if you were going to make a synopsis statement, how would you compare the Columbia Basin Project with the Northwest Forest Plan, in a kind of a sound bite?

BG: I would say the Columbia Basin Project was an offshoot of the Northwest Forest Plan, but it was much grander in scale and issues. There were a lot more issues that were being focused on. It wasn't just late seral forests, it was all issues. The door got opened for the assessment to be everything. And where this one [NWFP] was more focused on late-successional [forests/ecology]. So, it [Columbia Basin] just became such a large project. It was just a little bit overwhelming to manage. That's why it took so much longer and there were so many more complexities involved.

SS: Which is also, maybe you could say, where the problem lay was the fact, sometimes when you try to do too many things.

BG: At once for such a large area. I think that was the lesson learned is, you 01:15:00know, don't try an assessment on such a large area. Because it's just too big, and there are too many politics and too many governors and interest groups to deal with in trying to collaborate as you go. It is very difficult.

SS: And of course, I think the obvious contrast is that the FEMAT process and Northwest Forest Plan was a bunch of scientists getting together and doing it independent of public input.

BG: Right. And independent of managers.

SS: And managers, too, right.

BG: I think Cindy [Miner - PNW Station Communications Director] talked to you about how they locked the managers out.

SS: Oh, yeah.

BG: They would just be invited to come in for certain pieces. But this project, we had a science team and an EIS team, so science and managers collaborating and working together. Sometimes the managers would help us with some of the science, because we had to build the science before they could start building alternatives and looking at options.

SS: And I think the example I would make is that it shows you that when you democratize whole processes, it sometimes becomes almost unmanageable, even 01:16:00though the concept is great.

BG: Right, right. SS: So that would be my little assessment or take on that.

BG: Right. And politics are really coming in to play. That's really probably the reason we didn't finish the project was because of politics and a change of administration. Nobody wanted to sign that Record of Decision and that BA and the BO, and with the current management that was in it. The political climate wasn't right.

SS: Now, by this time, you had transferred to the Forest Service, correct?

BG: What I had done is during the last part of that in '97.

SS: Yeah, tell me a little bit how that happened?

BG: In '97, we were still working on the Columbia Basin. What happened was the project went on much longer than they had thought. They thought it was a nine-month process, and it became many years. So people, the scientists, started to leave the project. There were two assistant science leads, and they left. They tried to advertise for a Science Advisory Group Team Lead under Tom Quigley, and they couldn't really find anybody. Richard Haynes [PNW Station 01:17:00economist] said, "Well, why don't you give Becky a chance at that because she's working with the science team and she knows our science." I did a detail, ended up competing, and they hired me for the GS-14 position. I did that through, I think, 2000 and 2001. And we finished the project. I helped to make sure all the publications got done, and that data CD you have got published and all the data.

SS: And you're Forest Service during this time?

BG: Yes. I was basically on a long-term detail to the Forest Service, and then, they hired me full-time in 2001, and I helped the [PNW] Station with another new program called Focus Science Delivery. Then they hired me to assist managers with using our science and to work on the Northwest Forest Plan again. I left and went to Columbia Basin, came back, and in 2001 to 2003, I transitioned back into working on implementation of Northwest Forest Plan with the Regional Ecosystem Office. [Forest Service]

SS: Okay. So, let's go back. So, you completely walked away from the Forest Plan 01:18:00after the FEMAT process, right?

BG: Right. I went over to work completely on the Columbia Basin Project.

SS: Right.

BG: Because we'd finished all our GIS and data analysis, but there were many people pulled together that were now what they call the Regional Ecosystem Office, hundreds of people that were now trying to figure out, how do we implement this? What does that mean to the science projects that are out there? What projects on the ground have to be stopped or which ones can go forward, and then how do we implement the new standards and guides, and what do they mean? And so, they were working on that through in 2003, they started to get a real good handle on how do you implement this, and what is the guidance, because they had to give supplementary guidance to people to understand how to interpret these regulations or the standards and guides that are in these documents.

SS: So, what do you think the strength of the FEMAT process was and what do you think the weakness of the FEMAT process was from the perspective of twenty years later?

BG: Well, I think the strength was that it was mandated by the President to do 01:19:00this work. And they basically, like you said, they locked people [in on it], and didn't let people go off and do their other work. They basically said, you're going to work on this for this time period until we're done. And so, they basically sequestered people, and that was their number one project, their number one responsibility. Everybody knew it was really important and we had to complete it. When we did the Columbia Basin and other projects, people still took vacations, they still were working on other work, it wasn't as focused, and that's why it stretched out. So, it [NWFP] was more of a focused project. I think having that be a focused, shorter time period with dedicated personnel really helped, versus the other project where it kind of was too many people, and not everybody was completely 100 percent dedicated. And then, just the politics and the scope and scale kind of made it unmanageable.

SS: I think it would have been really hard to pull together the data in any--

BG: Yeah, for that large of an area.

SS: In any similar kind of way.

BG: Because it wasn't ready.

SS: And also, the owl and just various factors about old growth late 01:20:00successional forests.

BG: It was more focused.

SS: Well, and it also had been studied more intensely.

BG: Exactly.

SS: In the five to ten years right before it.

BG: Exactly.

SS: I mean, even though the data sets were incomplete, they were still there.

BG: A lot of research there.

SS: And there was a lot of research there.

BG: And they were in the file cabinets.

SS: Right, and so it was doable.

BG: It had a jump start.

SS: Right.

BG: Whereas, at Columbia Basin, basically [national] forests had maps of their forest land allocations. They had those maps. Each forest had their own individual maps, and then, the maps of grazing allotments. And so, we had to pull those together, and edge-tie to forests. And then edge-tie those to BLM. And, make sure that we had complete coverage. And so, you'll see that data cd I gave you, those are still the only data sets that I know of that cover the Columbia Basin area. I still have people calling me up, usually once a month, trying to get access to that data. And I have to say, you know, it's 1994 vintage, but there's nothing that's been recreated like that. We tried to get 01:21:00our managers to maintain like a subset of those, like ten or fifteen different layers, but nobody really wanted to put the money or the time or energy into that. So, we tried to have Spatial Analysis Team maintain that because it was such a rich treasure trove of data.

SS: Right. What do you think the weakness was of the FEMAT in the Northwest Forest Plan process, the way it came down? You kind of brushed that point maybe a little bit, but give a little bit more?

BG: I think on the FEMAT, it depends on who you talk to. I think some of the managers would say it was science-led and the scientists didn't understand what implementing things on the ground really meant. So, there wasn't that integration and back-and-forth between science and managers. Can you really implement this? How would you implement this? It was more of them not really understanding the planning process. So, I think that could have been better, but then we went to the extreme on the Columbia Basin where we kind of integrated those two. I think it would have worked, had we not stretched the project out so 01:22:00long and would have condensed it somehow, so everybody was more focused and working together, instead of two separate teams, and then just sharing data and information.

SS: Was it always in Walla Walla?

BG: Most of it was in Walla Walla, but we did a lot of the GIS work here in Portland again.

SS: Was that just basically because it's kind of a central place in the Basin?

BG: No, it was a political decision to do it there. There was an earmark in a congressional budget, and that's where they decided it was going to be, because they wanted to bring some money in that area.

SS: Okay, that makes sense. I mean, I'm just thinking of geographically, well, you're kind of up there. And it's south of the Palouse and north of this.

BG: Yeah, yeah, it was a good location. And we spent a long time in Boise.

SS: Yeah, and so, okay, interesting. Okay, so, you're away from the forest plan for five years?

BG: Well, I'd say '94 to 2001.

SS: Okay. What, I mean, you're obviously, you're working BLM and then Forest Service, you're aware of what's happening.

BG: Right, because I'm still working with some of the same people back in 01:23:00Portland who were trying to implement this. I'm still aware of what's going on.

SS: So, you're aware of what's happening. And what are you hearing, what are you hearing about the successes, the failures, the struggles, the ideas, the visions, the plans, all the things that are going on. They're not central to what you're doing, but you're part of the agency, so you hear?

BG: Right, so I was still heavily tied to BLM and Forest Service because I was on detail. So, I would hear from Chris Cadwell and Duane Dippon about some of the difficulties with trying to implement the Northwest Forest Plan as it was written.

SS: And tell me what, from what you read and what you heard before you came back on, and then I'm going to have you give your own experience after you re-engaged. BG: Okay, so, I think, really, just trying to figure out, once that plan was signed, what projects can go on that are already in process and what 01:24:00projects might be exempt. That was a struggle for folks just trying to figure out how to implement that. And just getting the teams in place to help with the interpretation setting up this Regional Ecosystem Office and trying to make sure it was interagency, because this document mandated that we have a regional interagency executive committee and that we have these different groups. There was PACs, RACs, PIKES, a whole set of acronyms, and all these different groups that needed to be coordinating and working together to try to implement this plan. And, of course, in a lot of different interpretation, the regional ecosystem staff, and then just getting that staffed up and getting the right people on the teams that could figure out what was really the intent of FEMAT, and what was the intent of the Record of Decision. Because a lot of the same people worked on this document, and so they were helping to translate, what does this really mean on the ground?

So, I think it was just really translating this, how do you really measure or implement things like the riparian buffers. I mean, I'm sure Gordie [Reeves] can you tell you that they actually pulled out tape and measured, you know, two tree heights. And the whole intent was to try to modify that through time using 01:25:00watershed analysis. But that didn't happen a lot of places because people were risk-averse. They would rather just get the tape out because then NOAA folks and Fish and Wildlife are like, okay, that's the buffer, you're okay, you can do work outside the buffer. And so, that was a clean and easier thing - that basically was a risk-aversion piece.

SS: Right.

BG: And so, things like that- just trying to figure out how to make things work, like Adaptive Management Areas. They were not as successful as the scientists had envisioned. Hearing early on, as people tried to set up a lot of collaborative processes and projects that were great, but they found they still had to go through NEPA processes. Either Forest Service or BLM, whatever they were doing, they still had to follow their standards and guidelines, and you still had to go through NEPA in order to change them. To try that experimentation, to try adaptive management, you still had to modify the existing standards and guides in order to do something different. Some of those things just were not envisioned because scientists didn't really understand how 01:26:00the NEPA process worked. "Survey and Manage" [NWFP implementation rule whereby managers had to survey for potentially threatened or endangered species beyond the murrelet and spotted owl] was another challenge for how do you implement that whole process, that was added near the end as they were filling out the Record of Decision. I'm sure you've talked to Bruce Marcot at depth about that.

SS: And other people who found it [Survey and Manage] to be conceptually interesting, but problematic in reality.

BG: Yes, it's still a problem for us. Yes.

SS: One quote that came from Norm Johnson [regarding NWFP/survey and manage]; he said what happened was in many cases where you needed a coarse filter, they [managers] were forced to use a fine filter.

BG: Fine filter, right.

SS: And I can really understand how that would be almost paralyzing to a manager in real time and space with limited personnel, and time and labor and capital. And so, I can see how that would be a problem. A great idea, but difficult to implement.

BG: Right. Right.

SS: So, you're hearing all these things. And of course, there's lawsuits going on.


BG: Right.

SS: And timber communities are struggling, well, they've been struggling for a long time, but especially after the Dwyer decision, and things don't get significantly better, even within the context of the theory that there were going to be certain lands that were open.

BG: Right, right.

SS: The Matrix lands and the like.

BG: They're not able to get the probable sale quantity out that was promised.

SS: Right.

BG: And so, even in the first couple years, they were able to get that because they had a backlog of projects. But then, as they got into implementation, they were not able to reach that.

SS: So, it really started to die in '97-'98, correct?

BG: Right.

SS: Because they were basically, the backlogs that happened before FEMAT.

BG: Right, projects that were already in the works.

SS: On the books, right. And so, and then you also had the problems in implementation, some of the things like Survey and Manage, and just like you said, the NEPA, the reality of NEPA.


BG: Right.

SS: And from what I hear, the AMA's [Adaptive Management Areas], for instance, another great idea.

BG: Right.

SS: Basically, laboratories of progressive forestry.

BG: Right.

SS: That the problem was, if you did not have committed people on the ground in a particular area that were going to stay committed, and then you had enough people to do whatever it was, they kind of fizzled in a lot of cases.

BG: Right.

SS: Is that a fair way of assessing?

BG: Yeah, and I think, also, it took a long time to get the projects put on the ground because you had to go through the whole NEPA process. And if you're doing ground-disturbing activities, you need the archaeological clearance, you've got to do NEPA, you've got to scope. You've got to, you know, lay the project out. And then trying to build in the experimentation piece, we didn't have a lot of experience with how to lay out replicated management experiments, in working with managers. Scientists would go off and do that themselves, but trying to do it in a management context to test different management options? Like the Blue River Landscape Plan was one that actually was a fairly successful adaptive 01:29:00management project.

SS: Right.

BG: But we never did complete the loop of doing the monitoring that was required so that we can learn from what we did.

SS: And again, I would say part of the reason for the success is the energy of it being by the H.J. Andrews Forest [Adjacent to Blue River AMA].

BG: Right.

SS: And with around-

BG: Committed people.

SS: And with committed people in the Willamette Forest and the Blue River and McKenzie ranger districts, as well.

BG: Right, right. And John Cissel with BLM, part of that.

SS: So right, and Cissel. You really depend a lot on that.

BG: Yeah.

SS: Now, what do you remember about?

BG: And there wasn't a lot of funding for the AMA's, either, so that's part of the problem.

SS: Right. So what do you remember about the "old guard" in the BLM and Forest Service dealing with these more difficult, less linear management challenges? You're in both agencies and you're doing what you're doing in terms of data and spatial analysis, but still, you're around the office.

BG: Yeah.


SS: And you see people that were used to things going a certain way before the 1990's, and then it's not going that way anymore and it's much more difficult to do what maybe they would have felt validated their mission with their agency.

BG: Yeah, I think the whole interagency collaboration piece was new to a lot of people. Trying to figure out how to coordinate because it adds a lot more time to the process, as anything we're doing, the collaboration and coordination piece, and then, just making sure we're implementing per the Record of Decision. I think that was new to a lot of managers. Well, I've got to coordinate with the Forest Service and attend these regional interagency executive committee meetings. I've got to attend these intergovernmental, what was it, IAC, Intergovernmental Advisory Committee, which included tribes and other agencies and other entities, NGO's that were a part of that kind of advisory group to the regional executives.

I worked with those same executives on the Columbia Basin, because we also had 01:31:00an over-arching steering committee over there, so some of the same people were managing the Columbia Basin project as well. So, I was hearing and watching and observing what was happening between the two projects - the implementation of this one and the development of the other. Those folks really got to know each other very well, but there were a lot of issues within the realm of consultation and those riparian buffers were one of the biggest topics of controversy.

SS: This is kind of going back to the Columbia Basin, but I just thought of something I thought would be interesting; what was the difference in tribal involvement between the Columbia Basin and the Northwest Forest Plan? Because the Northwest Forest Plan didn't have a lot of tribal involvement during the planning, even though they tried to go back with some of the reports and read the native interests into the monitoring reports and the follow-up reports. But how did that differ, or was it the same?

BG: We had a whole team of people, actually a team of three or four people that, on the Columbia Basin project, were our tribal folks. And there's a whole 01:32:00section in the assessment about tribes and their values and interests. We mapped the ceded lands and what they called Tribal Areas of Interest by interviewing tribes. They had a whole tribal component to that. There were so many tribes in the Columbia Basin to work with, even more than the Northwest Forest Plan. They would attend some of our public meetings, and then, the tribal representatives would go and meet with some of those folks occasionally, meet with different tribes to talk with them about what we were doing. There was involvement, but it was kind of on the periphery. But the BIA, which is not the tribes, they were part of the Northwest Forest Plan and the Columbia Basin project.

SS: Right.

BG: They were a member, but they weren't really as active as the other agencies.

SS: Okay, so you're getting back involved with the Forest Service and the monitoring of the Northwest Forest Plan area in 2002-03, correct?


BG: Yes.

SS: Okay. Now, but going back and speaking to the monitoring programs and plans for them that came up in the 1990's, please address them starting with the strategy and design of the effectiveness monitoring program for the Northwest Forest Plan, using as a foundation for a discussion of your more direct involvement that happened a few years later.

BG: Sure. While I was in Walla Walla working on the Columbia Basin project, an interagency team was putting this together. Barry Mulder led this team, Tom Spies, Barry Noon, Marty Raphael, some of the same names you see, Gordie Reeves, and others, were kind of the technical coordinators of an overall Northwest Forest Plan monitoring strategy.

SS: Right.

BG: So, that's what this document is that came out in 1999. What it talked about 01:34:00was the different types of things that were going to be monitored. Those were spelled out here, but it talked about how you would integrate those things and how you might do analysis, and how you should consider doing a monitoring report every five years to report results, learn from those results, and do this whole adaptive management thing. It was all tied in to the adaptive management process.

SS: Right.

BG: So, this was kind of a guiding, over-arching idea of a strategy for how we would integrate all these monitoring modules into a cohesive package. Then we had individual GTR's [General Technical Report] produced for each one of the monitoring module protocols that documented what are the methods, what is the sampling, and how that data would be compiled. These are our over-arching guiding documents. We have one for aquatics. This was the last one done that Gordie Reeves led for effectiveness monitoring of aquatic and riparian systems, and watershed conditions. Late-successional old growth, this is one of the early ones that Miles Hemstrom and Tom Spies put together. Again, that guides how we 01:35:00address late-successional old growth. What's the definition? How does that change the time? And then we had marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl. And northern spotted owl monitoring had already been in place, so the scientists built upon what was already in place.

And Joe Lint, again, from BLM, worked with Forest Service folks and the USGS, and Robert Anthony, Eric Forsman, Marty Raphael, and a host of others to develop the over-arching protocol. We're still following most of this protocol today and it has a habitat and a population component. And the same with marbled murrelet. This one was done, I think, after the northern spotted owl, but there was also some monitoring already in place and they were able to build the network of marbled murrelets across all the zones. And Marty Raphael, if you've interviewed him, I'm sure talked about that.

SS: Yeah.

BG: Basically, they started monitoring some, like the owls, were going on prior to the signing of the Record of Decision in 1994. When I came back, we were well 01:36:00into implementation and our first monitoring report was supposed to cover 1994 through 2003. We did not do a five-year monitoring report because we were still getting most of the modules developed and the protocols developed and approved by all the executives, because the executives had to approve these monitoring modules because it was interagency. We'd never done this before. This was a big-ticket item. All the scientists kind of finished FEMAT, and then started working on the monitoring. That was a big deal to get those all signed, sealed, delivered, printed and published, and then they began to implement those in 2003. It took us a while to finish the first set of reports.

SS: This is the first decade one, right?

BG: The decadal one, yes, because we did not do a five-year report. I'm going to look for my very first one here.

SS: Well, the five-year, was the research census essentially kind of a "poor man's" five-year report, if you will?

BG: Well, no, this one is really about the science.

SS: Okay.

BG: So, this is what Richard Haynes pulled together, but ask him.


SS: Speaking about the Northwest Forest Plan research synthesis 1994-1998, for the record. [Report on desk in room being referenced]

BG: 1994 to 1998

SS: Okay.

BG: What Richard Haynes did is he pulled this together. This is more about the science, not the monitoring. This is the current state of the science, because when we signed the Record of Decision, a lot of money came to the Pacific Northwest for implementation. And the science groups, PSW, PNW [Pacific Southwest and Pacific Northwest research stations], well, actually, really PSW got a lot of money. So they started trying to fill in some of the data gaps and research needs that were identified in FEMAT, and in the EIS and Record of Decision. This basically summarizes what research went on from '94 to '98, a four-year period, what was some of the key research that occurred. This is a snapshot in time, kind of a mini-synthesis of this science, only not the monitoring outputs.

SS: Okay.

BG: The first time we attempted to do that is when we started doing the individual monitoring plans. This is, I'm just going to hold up this one, it's a 01:38:00Status and Trends of Northern Spotted Owl Populations and Habitat.

SS: And that was the 10-year [report after NWFP], basically?

BG: Ten year, '94 to 2003.

SS: Right.

BG: So, I came back in to play and helped organize how we got the analysis done, and worked with the scientists to help them get this published, because it was a team of scientists and managers. Again, it wasn't just scientists doing the monitoring. It was a science-management team and they were working on owls, murrelets, socio and economic, tribal [issues]. We had these different monitoring modules. We also tried to do one on biodiversity, but we never could come up with a protocol. Bruce Marcot probably talked to you about that. But this was the first attempt at trying to produce these reports.

You can see the maps in here again. We had an interagency mapping team, some of the same people producing the maps that are in these documents. Some of the same people that worked on FEMAT were doing some of that same work. But this was the 01:39:00first time we'd done a series of reports like this. We said, okay, we have these six different monitoring modules, but what does that tell us about how we're implementing the Northwest Forest Plan? They said, "Oh, we need a synthesis across the monitoring modules." And that's what this document is.

John Martin, who was on the management side, was the interagency monitoring coordinator here. He worked with Danny Lee, Bernard Bormann, and Richard Haynes, to serve as technical editors, and a whole host of scientists involved with these individual monitoring reports. They worked together to produce this synthesis. They looked at things like, how well is the Northwest Forest Plan being implemented? Are the assumptions made in FEMAT holding true? How are the reserves functioning? Are they functioning as intended? What are some of the issues with adaptive management? Those were all highlighted here, that adaptive 01:40:00management didn't really work out the way they thought it might.

SS: And they could already identify that by?

BG: In ten years, yeah.

SS: Yeah, right.

BG: It covers all that and summarizes the state of monitoring for each of the monitoring modules, and then tries to synthesize across [modules/subjects] about what this means, and what are the implications for future management. We organized a two or three-day workshop open to the public and agency folks, and we rolled out all the science and what's in each of the monitoring modules in this document. We had a panel of scientists and a lot of land managers, the BLM Director, Forest Service Chief; all were speakers. We had a whole host of folks come together and share the learning. This was a big-ticket item.

SS: Was that here in Portland?

BG: Yes, it was here in Portland. So this was a big-ticket item. I can't remember how many people attended, but I'm going to say 400 or 500 people might have attended that session. So, I helped coordinate that. I helped publish these documents, and helped work across the different teams. That was kind of my role as part of what they called the Regional Ecosystem Office, kind of serving as a 01:41:00liaison between the [PNW] Station and managers on how to use science implement the Northwest Forest Plan.

We worked on that and from that we've were able to publish the 10-year report. We pulled together the Regional Interagency Executive Committee right after that big workshop, and they said, "What did we learn? What are some action items that we could take? What is the low-hanging fruit? What do we need to change in the plan based on what we learned?" They looked through a series of topics and had the Interagency Advisory Committee, the tribal folks and the NGO's come together, and had them rank what action items we might take. The execs did the same thing, and they looked at how they lined up. Then, they basically tried to figure out how we take some of these action items forward.

One of the ones they focused on that I helped lead was the adaptive management framework. We developed a white paper based on what happened in the first ten 01:42:00years, on how do we try to make the adaptive management process work better? So, we tried to look at that one action item. There were several action items where we had low-hanging fruit of things we could maybe change or work together better. One of them was how do we increase the tribal-federal relationship, and how do we consult better? They had a whole series of five-action items they went through, and tried to learn from what they had done. So, we worked on that for two or three years. And then it was time again to do the next series of reports.

SS: Which was fifteen years?

BG: Which was the fifteen.

SS: Right.

BG: Again, some of the players had changed, some of the scientists, as these were being more led by the managers now. We hired interagency monitoring coordinators, for example, like the owl document which was led by Ray Davis, instead of one of our scientists. But they were working in tandem with a science team. We did the 10, the 15, and the 20-year report. Technology changed over 01:43:00time, so sometimes we had to change the way we looked our data. We went from one data set to the gradient-nearest-neighbor vegetation analysis, and used different models to look at habitat. We had to reset your base line and look through that.

So, we have the 15-year report that went from '94 to 2008, and again, we did the same series of reports for all the different monitoring modules. We just had the last one done, for the first twenty years. For each monitoring module, we had an individual report. We did not do a synthesis in the 15-year report. We didn't find the results were that different than in ten. The owl was still declining, our trends looked similar, and we still didn't have enough data for some of our monitoring modules like aquatics, to be able to detect a true trend. We hadn't gone back and resampled certain areas. So, in the 20-year report we were able to make more firm statements about trends, particularly for the marbled murrelet.


SS: Which is a hard bird to track?

BG: Exactly.

SS: And it's a very mysterious bird that goes way up in the trees.

BG: Right. But then, the technology changed again. We used a little bit different tools and different data, but not really different data, but just different tools in the way we analyzed the information that we had to produce this series of reports.

SS: The twenty?

BG: The 20-year reports. We did not do a synthesis there, but we talked about setting up a synthesis which I'm working on now, the "Northwest Forest Plan Science Synthesis," that basically is a summary across the monitoring modules for like the first ten years. It's also looking at the state of the science for a variety of management questions that were developed by managers about the major issues we have under the new 2012 planning rule that we need to have informed by science.

So, what are the broad-scale issues that we need to think about as we move forward with land management planning in the Northwest Forest Plan area? There's 01:45:00a set of questions that teed up this science synthesis. It's more focused on Forest Service lands because BLM has already gone through their forest plan revisions. But it also covers their lands. And so, we're working on that now to help set up future forest plan revisions in Region 5 and Region 6 of the Forest Service, in Oregon, Washington and northern California.

There are plans and talk of trying to do a bio-regional assessment that would look at these broad, overarching issues like owls and murrelets, late-successional old growth, how do we manage those, what things need to be changed from the Northwest Forest Plan. Look at what's still working and what needs to be changed, and come up with a need for change. Then they would move into traditional forest planning under the new planning rules, which has an assessment phase. They would do a pre-assessment, or what they call bioregional assessment, then an assessment, and then they would do individual EIS's for groups of forests. They're still talking about that whole process.


SS: So, any reassessments or implementations of new plans or developments of new plans, would have to take place at the forest level?

BG: Well, there are groups of [national] forests. Right now, under the new 2012 planning rule, the line officers, basically the forest supervisors, are the responsible officials under this new planning rule. Since the new planning rule of 2012 has different requirements, there's a lot more collaboration. So, it's building upon what we did in Northwest Forest Plan. It's a lot of collaboration, and there are a lot of new standards. Not standards and guides, but more a new manual and directives that have to be followed that are very specific about ecological and social parameters that need to be considered. There's a tribal component.

There are ecosystems services and climate change, which were not part of the Northwest Forest Plan, which are now an integral part of the planning rule. So, there's some new things that are being considered. That's why this synthesis will look different than what was in the 10-year because it was really focused 01:47:00on the monitoring, and this is the current state of the science to inform planning under the new 2012 planning rule.

SS: What has changed the most or what are a couple factors that have changed the most in how this is being viewed and planned for from the 10 to the 20 year point? What are some dramatic or very poignant examples?

BG: I would say that the technology has changed with respect to what tools we're using. We're using different models to analyze habitat. So, just the tools and the technology. But what we're doing in the 20-year synthesis is really a synthesis of the available science, so it has to be peer-reviewed science. We're being very robust about that. It's not just information in the file cabinets and other data. It has to be peer-reviewed science.

SS: Like the FEMAT?

BG: Like the original FEMAT. But again, we're not doing alternatives, we're just doing a state of the science for a set of specific management questions to inform future planners' visions. It's very focused, even though it's got a lot 01:48:00of questions. We started out with over 200 management questions, and there's now like, 64 or 75 management questions we're using to inform us. We have twelve chapters in that document and it's quite large. It's going to end up being two volumes, kind of like the Sierra Nevada Assessment [Forest Service 2013 interdisciplinary analysis of greater Sierra Nevada bioregion], and with an executive summary that will be the layperson's version of what are the key findings that managers can use to inform. And so the public can also understand, the executive summary will aim to do that. We've been through the peer-review process and now we're moving into the policy review of certain chapters. And we're trying to get this document ready for a release next spring, we hope, knock on wood.

SS: That's the research?

BG: Basically, the Northwest Forest Plan Science Synthesis.

SS: Science synthesis.

BG: To inform land management for future forest planning in the Northwest Forest Plan area.

SS: But now, the managers are definitely more involved with this?

BG: No, this is a science project.


SS: It's just science again, okay.

BG: It's science again. It's science doing a summary of the science.

SS: But are they?

BG: They formed, the developed the questions that we guide the synthesis. And we are constantly, we have--

SS: So, the managers were involved on the front end in terms of framing the project, okay.

BG: Framing the questions and the scope. What we had was a set of planning team members in Region 5 that I liaison with, and we have our executives. We meet monthly, PSW, PNW, Region 5 and Region 6, to discuss where we are with the synthesis, how's it going, what are the issues and we resolve those as we move along. Then we also coordinate back up to the regional interagency executive committee, because this is related to Northwest Forest Plan and it's more focused on the Forest Service side. But it does impact other agencies, as there are a lot of interests.

So, we coordinated and reported back to those groups, and also another group was formed called the "senior managers group." That's the implementation arm of the Regional Interagency Executive Committee. That's a new group that was established after the Record of Decision to help implementation after the REO, 01:50:00or Regional Ecosystem Office, became virtual and was just scaled to a handful of people. We set up the "senior managers group" to deal with implementation issues. So, we're still working with both of those groups as we work on the synthesis. So, again, it's a separate exercise kind of like the "Pink Tower, but it's really just a state of the science. They're not looking at options and scenarios.

SS: That would be another.

BG: Right, so they're staying very much on the science side, and they're not crossing over into the policy arena. We're not even making management recommendations. We have management considerations and key implications that we're teeing up for managers to them take from us and work on the bioregional assessment and pull that into forest plan revisions.

SS: Is there pressure from certain outside interest groups to open up the whole process again?

BG: Well, there's a lot of folks that don't want to. As part of trying to figure out where to go with forest plan revisions, Region 5 and Region 6, held 01:51:00listening sessions back in, I'm going to say in 2015, with the public. And they went all around Oregon and Washington and California. And our science team, our scientists, were involved with that, and our program managers were trying to find out from the public what their interests were in the communications realm, the science realm, and also management. How they wanted to see forest management done in the future.

They've got a lot of input there that helped inform what some of the questions were for the synthesis. They interacted with the public there, and so they've been watching and following this synthesis project. And then, there's been opportunities because it is a highly influential science document under the Office of Management and Budget [U.S.] guidelines, data quality and all of that. Basically, it's highly influential. There's different stages where the public needs to be engaged.

We have a website where we keep people informed on our status. We mentioned all this work that was going to happen when we had the listening sessions. We started planning that process then, and now, we keep reporting back to those 01:52:00same folks and post new information on our website. When we started the peer-review process, we also opened it up to the public. We made those documents, which we normally don't do. We usually keep them private and not share with the public until we finish our peer-review process.

SS: Right.

BG: And we contracted the Ecological Society of America to run a separate review process, so that they were running it, and we were not picking the reviewers. There's a lot of guidelines about not using any scientists that have been involved with the process, or no Forest Service or USDA agencies could be included. They ran that process, picked the reviewers, paid them and that kind of thing. We paid for that review. But during that process, there also had to be a public input process, so we had to allow the public to look at the science information. We held a public forum where they could all come in and make public statements. And that was a huge, big webinar that was webcast across the whole 01:53:00Northwest Forest Plan area, and each of our forest supervisors' offices had a satellite location where folks could make comments. Then people had an opportunity to provide comments for, I think, over a two- or three-month period.

SS: This was 2015, correct?

BG: No, this was 2016.

SS: '16, okay.

BG: We actually had been working on the science synthesis since the end of 2015. But we allowed the public to make those comments and they were captured, either orally, another contractor captured the oral comments and written comments. We had over 800 pages of public input that were then posted to the web and made available to the peer reviewers that the Ecological Society of America had hired. And they considered that, because it was supposed to be about the science, and there was a lot of public values and other things that were not true science. So, each of the peer reviewers looked at that and considered it in their own way. Some of those public comments then became part of their peer review comments that then came back to our scientists. Our scientists are now revising their chapters based on the peer-review process, and some of that has 01:54:00public input. Then they're reconciling to those peer-review comments, and then we'll move into policy review in the two stations before that document is put into the editing process to create these hard copies.

SS: Okay.

BG: It's an involved process.

SS: Continue along the path you were, talking about the synthesis, and specifically about how you have seen this process enable managers and scientists to work together, talk together, find out what they need to do better?

BG: Okay.

SS: Because you've been of an overseer of all these projects, documents and processes, I think you can give an overarching outside view-point on that.

BG: When we did the FEMAT report, it was one of the first times we had to work 01:55:00together interagency-wise. Then scientists and managers were actually talking together more, but there were two separate processes. When we finished FEMAT and they moved into the EIS stage, they had to talk to each other about what did you really mean in FEMAT, how that would work with implementation, and how do we turn that into standards and guidelines, that kind of thing. They started working together then and creating a bond. Then, we had these different overarching organizational groups that were set up in the Record of Decision, most of which are still in place today, like the Regional Interagency Executive Committee and the Regional Ecosystem Office. Those are interagency coordinating entities that have continued on for the last 22 years, and they're still in place. I think that helps us continue.

We come together every month in what we call the "senior managers group." That's where we talk about issues with Northwest Forest Plan monitoring and the synthesis. All the agencies that signed this Record of Decision are invited to participate. I think we have everybody but the Corps of Engineers. BIA even is 01:56:00back participating, but we don't have NRCS at the table very often. But the rest of the agencies do participate and are active members of both of those groups.

So, I see that we continue to work together and we try to listen to what the managers are wanting. Part of my role as a liaison between the scientists and managers is to try to make those connections and make sure that the managers and the scientists are talking, and that the stations [PNW/PSW] bring the right scientists to the table when managers need to have those interactions. We also have, between the Forest Service, the PSW, PNW, Region 5 and Region 6, monthly meetings to talk about the synthesis and the bioregional assessment. There's two different meetings that happen each month so that we can continue to work together and figure out what our staffs need to do together, and what we need to do together as managers or executives to try to coordinate and better develop this synthesis. So it's not a product that's just useful to managers, but that it's steered to what the managers need in order to move forward with forest planning in the Northwest Forest Plan area for the Forest Service.


SS: Now, do you think in the immediate aftermath of FEMAT that there was some resentment from the managers, that they were kind of left out?

BG: Yes, there was. Not being allowed in the Pink Tower. Cindy and others talked to you, that managers had to wear like an orange vest or something.

SS: Like a traffic vest.

BG: Yes, so when they walked in, so that you'd know, oh, that's a manager, not a scientist. That's just the way it was set up. They put kind of science in a different place than we are now. We don't normally sit down and develop options and make management recommendations. We're more [focused] on summarizing the state of the science and teeing up what management considerations might be for forest plan revisions. Like in the synthesis, we are not analyzing alternatives or options, but we are making statements about the different viewpoints in the science, so that they also know there's agreement on these types of issues, but 01:58:00there may be disagreement on how to manage like, riparian buffers. That's still an issue, a long-running issue. There's differing viewpoints in the science about that and about downed wood, how much is needed in streams, etc., etc. Scientists have different viewpoints. We're teeing those up for the managers, so they know all the differing viewpoints and they can make a decision when they move into forest plan revision on where they want to land with management and they know the pro's and con's and the uncertainty and risk.

SS: Have you seen a change from managers in this twenty years, from maybe a little resentment, grudging acceptance, to eventual.....?

BG: Partnerships.

SS: Partnerships.

BG: Yeah, I think we have a lot better science-management partnership, particularly, Region 6 in PNW. We have a lot of scientists like Bruce Marcot, who have spent their whole career working hand-in-hand with managers, helping them develop data and tools, and writing GTR's for them, synthesizing other aspects, and modeling species viability. So, we do a lot of support in the station for managers like we've done that for the last 25 years, just how to use 01:59:00these tools, EMDS [Ecosystem Management Decision Support system] and other tools that we've developed. We're helping managers use those on a daily basis. So, it is a partnership.

And I think it could be stronger, because there are not as many scientists as we used to have. We don't have as much funding. And we don't have as many people to interact with the managers. But also, there are a lot of Ph.D.'s on the management side, and they're staying abreast of the science. They form partnerships with scientists in universities and other agencies, and the stations. So, it is a nice network that we have in place.

SS: And I'd say it's also probably a function of generational shifts, you know, the "old guard" of the "get out the cut" forest people.

BG: They're gone.

SS: They're gone.

BG: Right.

SS: And also, training in universities, for instance, is more ecosystem science oriented, even if they are in a mainstream forestry track.

BG: Right.

SS: It's more, I guess, progressive forestry.


BG: Progressive, and with "New Forestry" methods. [Term used by Jerry Franklin to describe ecosystem-oriented management methods.]

SS: New Forestry techniques. And so, it would be included. Just the people are coming out, it's not just a matter of people accepting, "Oh, well, that's the way it is now," so I accept that because I need my job. It's also just generational paradigm shifts in terms of who's coming in, a younger crew. The old industrial timber people who gained so much of their identity in that kind of a role; those people aren't around anymore. People have redefined what it is to be a manager in the Forest Service and BLM.

BG: Right.

SS: Would that be a correct way to describe these changes?

BG: Yes, I think so. Before it used to be like our wildlife biologists. All they really knew about was wildlife ecology, and they didn't really dabble in these other fields and look at whole ecosystems. But now, people are coming out of school with a different background. It's more integrated. Folks have a different set of skills when they come to the Forest Service and BLM and research, and they're usually more interested in the holistic management of all lands, and 02:01:00looking at the ecosystem versus just one aspect of it.

SS: How have you seen industry react to the Forest Plan in your twenty years in terms of being involved, not being involved? There's litigation, there's public hearings, there's all kinds of different interactions.

BG: Right.

SS: How have you seen that change, stay the same, what have you?

BG: Again, this is just on the periphery. When we finished FEMAT and they did the Northwest Forest Plan, there were people that loved it and there were people that didn't like it. And those people still exist in those same non-governmental organizations, still have a lot of the same feelings they did back then. There are a lot of them that liked the way that the Northwest Forest Plan has been implemented, because it's not really implemented as written, because certain things couldn't be implemented the way they were written. Some people like it the way it's been implemented, and some people like it the way it was written, or some people don't like it at all. So, we heard a lot of that during the listening sessions that Forest Service had, Region 5 and Region 6, before they 02:02:00started thinking about Forest Plan revision. There are still people on all sides of the fence. And industry is one, like the O&C counties. They came and made comments about the Northwest Forest Plan science synthesis and tried to challenge some of the content there because they have a different spin and different interest with the O&C lands.

SS: Right.

BG: Some of those same groups are still there. I think we really haven't changed places. I mean, there hasn't been much more acceptance. But again, I don't think a lot of people want to see Northwest Forest Plan opened up and modified, because they're comfortable with the content. They know at least what it is. They say, not to disembowel the Northwest Forest Plan, but basically tear apart the fabric of the Northwest Forest Plan and late-successional old growth strategy and all associated species. They're afraid that we're going to piecemeal it by doing individual forest plans, that we're not going to look at it cohesively across the whole landscape like it was designed, as a network of 02:03:00late-successional reserves. How are we going to manage that in the future? So, there's a lot of controversy around that.

SS: Yeah, I think some of the traditional communities are still living in the old mythology of the clearcutting days. And they're like, for instance, with this new administration and dramatic change in philosophy, they're saying, it's going to bring back clearcutting again.

BG: Right. Right, right.

SS: We can change all this. But that's very difficult to turn something around with that much momentum.

BG: Right, because you have land use allocations that would have to be modified in order to produce more timber, and you have to deal with the Endangered Species Act. So, we've got consultation and biological opinions that are in place that would have to all be modified in order to change land use allocations and change these reserves, or do forest plan revisions that can also change those allocations and maybe open up some areas for timber harvest. But we're finding that there's so much controversy about harvesting old trees, even without a late-successional reserve, we're still going to have difficulty 02:04:00getting more cut out, I think, that some of the industry would like to see. And, the mill structure is not there. Richard Haynes talked to you about that.

SS: Well, I mean, in 20-25 years, and even before the forest plan, the economics, especially the smaller mills, was already changing.

BG: Right, right.

SS: Whether because of--

BG: By the time we finished this report, yes.

SS: Yeah, well, really by the '80s.

BG: Right.

SS: You know, whether it be international pressures and market prices, whether it has to do with just the systems of a developing American economy in the Northwest in that context, forces were changing. So, I think for some people, the forest plan and the environmentalists and all that stuff, are a convenient target to not look at the more complex picture. But I understand the feelings. The guy that's building a house next to my family home in Eugene; he's a builder 02:05:00now, but I remember we were talking about something about my job at Oregon State, and he said, "Oh, I'm building now because of the god-dang owl."

BG: Right. SS: You know, "My family was in logging for 75 years." And so-on.

BG: Right.

SS: And he's a nice guy, but that's the reductionist simple viewpoint that a lot of people still have.

BG: Right.

SS: You know, like the owl was to blame for everything. It's a convenient symbol, and I understand the frustration.

BG: But I think it still exists, though, honestly.

SS: Yeah.

BG: Because the letters that we get for the Northwest Forest Plan Science Synthesis, suggesting the way we should be approaching things and just some of the issues they're raising. They just have their own opinions and they're going to stick with those, no matter what the science says.

SS: Right. So, if you were going to talk about just some of the big areas in the 02:06:00plan, the late-successional reserves, the owl, any of the big indicators which you could synopsize into a brief statement, how would you characterize where things are now from what you have done? You're a synthesizer, so I think your opinion definitely has weight in this area. If you were going to say, the late-successional reserves have shown this kind of progress over 20 years or 25 years, and the same for the owl. If you can kind of just go through a couple of those points.

BG: I can give you what the observations are that our scientists have made.

SS: Yes.

BG: Again, I'm not one of the scientists like Tom Spies, who could spout these off to you.

SS: Right.

BG: But in the late-successional reserves, we found in the 10-year report that they appeared to be functioning as intended. And then here in the 20-year report, we're seeing that there needs to be some flexibility perhaps, in how those late-successional reserves are managed where you have fire-prone systems. You need to be planning ahead about what are you going to do when you lose some 02:07:00of those systems to large disturbance events like the Biscuit Fire [500,000 acres/S.Ore/N.Cal/in 2002]. What are areas are there for recruitment? And so, be thinking about those things. And some of those kinds of findings are in the latest critical habitat for the spotted owl. That information has been kind of folded into that plan. And so, our scientists have cooperated with managers in looking at the reserve network. So, there might be flexibility that managers can consider on fire-prone forests versus the wet forests in the late-successional reserves.

SS: You mean, in other words, thinning-type activities, for instance, to reduce fuel loads?

BG: Right, to very much, fuel loadings, yes, yes.

SS: Right, okay.

BG: Because you might manage reserves differently or maybe even have a different set of them in certain areas, or actually manage through time. So, some of that is pulled into the critical habitat, and the whole plan. The owl populations are continuing to decline. We're seeing now that a lot of it might be likely be due 02:08:00to the barred owl presence. And we're doing that barred owl experimental removal. The [U.S.] Fish and Wildlife Service is leading that, and of other agencies, USGS is a primary player, and we're cooperating on that. And we're helping to fund that to test what does that do to the [spotted] owl's population. So, there's a lot of science coming out on that. The barred owls play a critical role in helping to reduce owl populations, it appears, in the science from what our scientists are saying.

SS: Well, they're a generalist, who seems to be--

BG: Yes, who takes advantage?

SS: Who seems to do better than the northern spotted owl, which doesn't seem to do well when they have to face a changed environment or habitat.

BG: Right.

SS: As well as the general. It's just, this is an old ecological equation.

BG: Right, so for marbled murrelet there's still a declining trend, but it's not necessarily management of the national forests and the BLM that is causing that. It's probably more of the interior private lands. It's just they're not really 02:09:00sure what's causing, at least from what Marty [Raphael] has told us. It might be having to do with the oceans and climate change is one other thing. They don't know how that's affecting the marbled murrelet. They're still trying to do habitat modeling on that. So, they're just finally able to say they have a trend, a declining trend now. They have enough data and the statistical power to say that. So, they're continuing to look at that. They can't make as many firm statements there.

When we get to the 25-year report we'll have a lot more information on status and trends for aquatic and riparian. In this summer's field season they'll actually be revisiting some of the earlier sites where they collected in-stream samples. And so, they'll be able to make some inference and have more statistical trends they can report. Right now, it appears that the status and 02:10:00condition of watersheds are improving in certain areas, and in certain areas it's declining, but they're seeing an upward trend in many areas. But they will be able to say that with more rigor after this field season, and we're working with some other scientists, Rebecca Flickcroft, and Jason Dunham, to try to look at and tease out that information after this field season of data to prep us for the 25-year report.

SS: Yeah, because 20 or 25 years in the big scheme of things in science is not that long.

BG: Right.

SS: In terms of providing evidence. You can make inferences, it's evidence, but a human generation is a statement, is what I'm talking about.

BG: Right.

SS: So, yeah, that's true.

BG: Then for late-successional reserves, the late-successional old growth monitoring shows there's not a drastic difference in how much late- successional old growth there is. It's been changing over time, but there's still a lot [to know]. We're still short on early seral. Some of the early seral stages are not quite where they used to be. And of course, we have a different trajectory 02:11:00potentially with climate change, that kind of thing. But the large disturbance events, that's something we're able to now tease out of the data. In the early days, we couldn't really tell what was causing the loss. And it wasn't really timber harvest. What they've been able to tease out of the GNN data now is that it's been these large disturbance events like the Biscuit Fire and others that are helping with the loss of old growth. We see conditions improving there, but it's slow. It's a 100-year plan, and we're only in year 22, 23, of a 100-year plan, so it's going to take a while. So, that late-successional old growth trends seem to be improving, and you can read more specifics on that in the 20-year report.

And then social and economic, one of the biggest criticisms that we've had in the 10-year report, they actually tried to get at community level information. They summarized some of the synthesis information and some of the outputs of timber production, grazing and receipts to the county level, and reported it to 02:12:00the whole region. They didn't have a lot of community level data. But what they did is they went out and did some interviews and some case studies. We backed off that in the 15-year report because managers felt they couldn't extrapolate that information. It was very expensive and they felt they couldn't afford it. They got heavily criticized after the 20-year report, about well, why did you drop this? You can't tell us anything that's happening at the community level.

What we've actually done now is we've been working with managers through the Regional Interagency Executive Committee meetings, and we've cobbled together funding across all agencies. Most agencies did contribute, and we're going to try to add that component back in and do a community typology for the 25-year report where we look at similar communities and do a typology analysis working with Cass Moseley [Univ. of Oregon social science professor], and others. And also, go back and do some of those same case studies and maybe some others, maybe do ten case studies. And also, summarize some of the census information down to the county level, instead of just reporting it regionally. And also, the 02:13:00same with our outputs. We can report them to the county level instead of just regionally. So, we're trying to take the information down to this finer resolution where we can to provide more [details/analysis].

SS: When you're taking about case studies, for example, you'd be talking about, ten different types of communities.

BG: Right.

SS: In different classes and sizes?

BG: Right, in different typologies.

SS: In Washington and Oregon and northern California?

BG: Right.

SS: That represent different--

BG: Right.

SS: And different outcomes, too, in terms of how they've survived, or not done well?

BG: Right, and then do a series of interviews.

SS: Right, right.

BG: So there will be similar case studies. It will be more rapid than what was done in the 10-year [report], but we're working with quite a few folks to pull that together. That's something we're just starting working on this fall in preparation for the 25-year report. We're trying to augment and beef up the community piece, because we realize that's what people care about. They want to know the cause-and-effect of what management of the forest is doing to these communities. What can we say about that? How are these communities changing over time? Having that information, we can at least [assess] these communities. We 02:14:00only interviewed in these ten communities, but based on our typology are similar, you can assume from these communities, similar outputs or outcomes [for other communities of their type]. At least people can see, well, [my community is somewhat] similar to this [sampled] community. Okay, that makes sense. Whereas before, they couldn't see that. When you look at things at a county level, they felt that their information was being lost. People didn't see the real effect on the communities. We've been criticized for that.

SS: Well, the problem is, too, for instance, I live in Lane County.

BG: Right.

SS: Well, Eugene's a big town.

BG: Great.

SS: And it's got the university and it's insulated from certain things, even though its timber economy has dramatically dropped off since the hey-days of the '40s and '50s before I was growing up. And it's changed, but that is a big city. But you take Lane County as a whole, which is Florence to the Cascade crest, those smaller communities could be lost in the wash of numbers extrapolated over a big area.

BG: Right, exactly.

SS: Because it hides little desperate niches along the Santiam River, which is 02:15:00actually Linn County, but on the McKenzie and Willamette River, too. It hides the pain of those communities in statistics.

BG: Exactly.

SS: In abstractions.

BG: Yeah, and that's one of the biggest things we've heard from the public and from different groups is that they'd like to see more information being compiled that way, and to be used in forest plan revisions. So, we're compiling this information knowing it would be used in forest plan revisions as well, and not just for Northwest Forest Plan monitoring. The same data sets and information can feed into that process.

SS: When I was preparing for this project, and reading the literature and the results, that is the one thing I could see immediately, that this forest plan was going to cause serious pain in local communities. And it seemed to be, and I don't want to say dismissed, because I don't think that's fair, but I think it was downplayed, or not prioritized. And I think there was a little bit of hopeful naivete or hopeful optimism, that you could say was a little bit naïve 02:16:00about how it would actually work out in real time, when you would look at how the power structures of politics were working out, the impact of environmental activism and litigation, the decline of timber....

BG: Right.

SS: Already in terms of its political power locally, but even higher up. I could see that playing out myself. And I don't know if a lot of people saw that coming until after it played out.

BG: Right, right.

SS: Because investing in something, and this was a great effort, this was a noble effort. But I think sometimes, people get into that tunnel thinking.

BG: Right.

SS: And then, all of a sudden, things unfold in a different way.

BG: Right, we never have been able to deliver the amount of timber that was predicted in FEMAT and the EIS and Record of Decision. A big criticism is that 02:17:00we were unable to get what we needed off the Matrix lands.

SS: And that's why I was looking at that. Being a historian, I look at how things are historically, and I said, "I could see this coming." If I had looked at this, I would have seen that coming, and this is not a criticism, it's an observation.

BG: Oh, yeah, yeah.

SS: Because I understand where it came from, because really, in a lot of ways, this was part of the pendulum swing in opposition to industrial forestry's abuses of the land over many, many decades. So, society comes back and swings again, the pendulum goes that way. So, it's an observation, a historian's observation, for what it's worth.

BG: Yeah.

SS: So, talk to me about climate change? You've been the climate change coordinator, correct?

BG: For Region 6.

SS: For Region 6.

BG: Since 2012.


SS: 2012.

BG: Part-time, it's part-time duty. Collateral duty.

SS: Okay. And tell me about what you do, and kind of read that back into the forest plan, that the various aspects we've been talking about.

BG: Okay.

SS: Just kind of go where you want to go with it.

BG: Okay, I'll go fairly quickly. The Forest Service has a climate change road map that was recently developed - in 2010. From that, they developed a climate change scorecard, basically, a set of ten different areas you would be held accountable for. Each forest in the National Forest System reported annually from 2010 to 2015, and actually through 2016, about how they were doing. They had to answer yes or no questions. The goal was to have seven out of ten yes answers by 2015, to show that we were actually integrating climate change into our programs of work and our daily work on the ground, with planning and at the project level.

I've been working with the forests to try to help them answer those scorecard questions, and to help develop what we call Climate Change Vulnerability 02:19:00Assessments across the region. So, we're working again, a science-management partnership with PNW and the Rocky Mountain Research Station, and a variety of universities, University of Washington, OSU, trying to complete Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments to help inform future plan revisions, and also project level work so that we know where our key vulnerabilities are and can try to plan adaptation actions as we implement projects and also forest planning.

So that's what I've been focusing on as we're kind of making our way around the region and doing two or three forests together. We're working on one now in southwest Oregon that's part of the Northwest Forest Plan area. It's the Roseburg BLM and the Medford BLM; they're partnering with us. And we've got the Rogue River-Siskiyou and the Umpqua [National Forests]. So, we're looking at trying to assess from the vegetation standpoint, looking at any rangelands we might have, but looking at wildlife, ecosystem services, and aquatics, a huge 02:20:00area we're focusing on, looking at stream temperatures and how that might affect fish habitat, you know, stream type Chinook, bull trout, etc. Then looking at the effects on wildlife species from potential changes in vegetation, vegetation shifts, summarizing that in a workshop, and again, another GTR report. Then we work with managers to try to implement that and pull it into forest plans when they get to forest planning, like on the Blue Mountains. We have worked with them.

And then when we get any future forest plans in the Northwest Forest Plan area, we're hoping that this will feed into the assessment phase of forest planning, after they do a bioregional assessment. So, we're teeing up a lot of regional climate change data-sets, you know, and stream temperature, working with the NorWest stream temperature information from Dan Isaacs in the Rocky Mountain Research Station, mapping that with fish distribution information, looking at stream reaches where we might not have the best habitat into the future because 02:21:00of stream temperatures. We look at potential shifts in vegetation and how that might affect wildlife and how that might affect our adaptation actions on the forest when we plant different seed mixes, that kind of thing. And we're looking at potential impacts to some of the key ecosystem services, things people care about, the forest products, tribes' caring for First Foods, that kind of thing.

We're trying to do the best job we can, synthesizing and conducting a mini-synthesis of the vulnerabilities. In our workshop, working with managers and partners, we identify adaptation actions and strategies that can be employed to address those vulnerabilities. We publish that and deliver it to managers, and that will fold into forest planning and NEPA projects. The Northwest Forest Plan Science Synthesis is now looking at climate change in a way that will inform future forest plans. In the Northwest Forest Plan area for the Forest Service, we added a whole section on climate change, because that was not in the 02:22:00original FEMAT product.

SS: It wasn't even mentioned. It's not even mentioned.

BG: It's not really mentioned directly, I don't think.

SS: I don't think, so no.

BG: I'm sure the word climate's in there somewhere talking about weather.

SS: Well, climate. BG: But not climate change.

SS: But not climate change.

BG: We didn't have a way to model that. We're using different models and tools, and so, what they've done is added a whole chapter on that. [It includes] talking about how that relates back to historic range of variation, and future range of variation, and then, some of the limitations, what we're seeing and what we're observing. It includes published science across the whole Northwest Forest Plan area and trying to tee up the role of climate change, how that is producing other stressors, and how that is affecting some land use allocations and how we manage the forests. That's another whole chapter in that synthesis because it's a key factor now. We didn't have the capability to model or do anything with that back in '94.

SS: What are the most telling indicators of climate change affecting things, whether it be, like for instance, stream temperature and fish count, the health 02:23:00of the forest, etc. Anything in particular that stands out?

BG: We just completed a climate change vulnerability assessment on the Blue Mountains over in eastern Oregon. We could see [when downscaled from] local climate models, we're predicting some losses of sub-alpine, and encroachment of the rangelands. So, we're seeing some of those shifts and trying to figure out what that means to how we manage the forests. But the biggest thing is looking at stream temperature and the potential for higher stream temperature and how that might affect fish habitat. That's the biggest thing we're seeing. And then, also looking at some analysis we're doing in these vulnerability assessments, is we're not just looking at maps. We have peak flow and low flow information that our scientists have predicted into the future, based on global climate models.

So, we're identifying areas on the landscape where infrastructure might be at 02:24:00risk. We basically buffer roads and look at which roads are [vulnerable to] peak flow increases, which areas are at risk due to high peak flows. We identify those so managers can think about those and about how they're going to manage them in the future, how they manage the culverts on those systems, how do they look at road closures and decommissioning roads, and considering risks. Do they need to relocate some recreation sites and campgrounds, that kind of thing that might be at risk from peak flows? And they look at how climate change might impact water rights and the availability of water in some of our forests. So, those are some of the things. We're able to do more on the aquatics and the riparian.

SS: Well, and it's easier to measure the temperature change.

BG: Right. SS: And you can immediately identify that, the incremental change; the processes of succession and vegetation movement is slower.

BG: Right, right, right, slower.

SS: Although fires would be the one.


BG: Right, right. Insects and disease.

SS: I mean, the disturbance events in fires would be an obvious sign.

BG: Right.

SS: Are there any other memorable experiences or stories about any of your involvement with the forest plan that you haven't mentioned yet, an anecdote, something interesting, something funny, something particularly memorable? Whether it has to do with FEMAT or Gang of Four, or anything to do with the monitoring things?

BG: Oh, boy. Nothing.

SS: That might be interesting for the record?

BG: Nothing is really coming to mind except just a lot of people working closely together, like doing the spatial analysis, and Bob Varner sleeping under his desk two or three times.

SS: This is the FEMAT, right?

BG: This is FEMAT. Just things like that. Interagency coordination and collaboration at its best. After hours, camaraderie and collaboration that's been built over time, I think, just because of the experience you have with 02:26:00other people working on highly influential projects that are done under a tight time line. You build bonds with people, you get to understand their work and what they're doing. You learn how to work together to make things and deliver products. So, I can't really think of any funny anecdote. I can tell you all the stories about what different things happened in Walla Walla, you know, toilet-papering the office and things like that, that guys did after-hours. Because we worked, you know, sometimes 20-hour days over there. People do just kind of crazy stuff when they're tired.

SS: And you revert to your frat and sorority sister type behavior?

BG: Sometimes after hours they do that, but yeah.

SS: Yeah, so. BG: But mostly, the biggest thing I see, and the key message is that Northwest Forest Plan really inspired a whole new way to collaborate and communicate, and to basically have agencies work together. That really stuck 02:27:00together. We have the Regional Interagency Executive Committee still functioning. There's all different members. None of them are the same ones that were there when this was signed. So, I've seen them change over time. I mean, we've had so many different changes since 1994. But they still are communicating and coordinating, and they meet twice a year and they still have relationships, and they're still working together with overarching principles. They do believe in overarching principles of the Northwest Forest Plan. And we've been able to capture that in that Northwest Forest Plan framework document to show the public, no matter what happens with planning in the future, we're still all committed to these principles and they'll be part of whatever plan we have. We may implement the plans differently in order to get to these objectives, but they're still the same principles and objectives.

SS: Now, a lot of the participants I've interviewed have said that depending on what time, it didn't even necessarily depend on what time of their career or part of their career it was, that being involved in this forest plan, especially 02:28:00the big events in the '90s, was like the highlight of their career, or one of the highlights of their careers. Would you characterize it in that way?

BG: Yeah, I think it was pivotal for a lot of our scientists. It kind of launched a lot of these scientists. Gordie Reeves, it launched his career. And other scientists, like Marty Raphael was already doing things. Now they're all our "super-scientists," what we call super-scientists in the Forest Service. They're the highest-ranking GS scientists we have. Tom Spies, Gordie Reeves, Marty Raphael. I mean, they're the big names and big scientists.

So, what we're hoping now is we're going to have a new breed of folks that come along. We're trying to bring some of these younger people along with the science synthesis we're doing now, so that we have a whole new set of scientists that carry on into the future and become those long-term people. And for me, personally, I think I would have ended up in a completely different career had I not done the Northwest Forest Plan. I think I would have probably maybe gone 02:29:00back to rangeland management or done something completely different, instead of these large planning projects. I've basically been working in planning my whole life, and I think I'll finish it out with this climate change and the planning there, and coordinating on what happens with Region 5 and 6 plan revisions.

SS: 've got three parts to this one question. This will be finishing questions.

BG: Okay, sure.

SS: Now, in your view, what is the most important reason for having created and implemented the Northwest Forest Plan?

BG: To basically lift the injunction and to get timber harvest happening again for the communities in the Pacific Northwest. I think that was the biggest thing. And also, to try to put something in place, a plan that everybody can look to, to have more of a balanced approach for how to manage the land, and get forest products out and other products that are of interest to communities and people and the tribes, but to also protect the environment and the species that 02:30:00use that environment. Probably one of the most important things is it was a plan to try to find some kind of balance.

SS: What have we learned from the Northwest Forest Plan process regarding proactive management, but also human limitations on managing nature?

BG: Oh, boy, repeat that one for me again.

SS: Okay. What have we learned from the Northwest Forest Plan process regarding proactive management, but also kind of human limitations on managing nature? In other words, for all good intentions, whether we also learned about what we can't necessarily do or predict.

BG: I think the Northwest Forest Plan allowed us to put a large fabric or framework across the landscape. Like this reserve system allowed us to put a strategy in place on the land that was a connected framework, patchwork quilt, 02:31:00whatever you want to call it, that's basically a way to manage the forests that still protected late-successional species, but did allow timber harvest. So, I see that that set a strategy where we could try to be proactive, we could try to get more timber out, but we could also be proactive in trying to stop the decline of the owls and the murrelets, and other late-successional species.

So, I think the strategies served us well and maybe we can tweak a few things as we move into the future. We don't need to throw the whole thing out, let's just fix the little pieces that are broken. And I think that's the goal of Region 5 and Region 6.

And then the human limitations, I think climate change is one big thing. We can't predict what's going to happen. There's a lot of uncertainty out there, and we don't know what climate change is going to do. And we don't know what kind of impact invasive species like the barred owl are going to have. We can't manage those. But we can manage the habitat that's on Forest Service lands and BLM lands, but we can't manage the critters and how they respond. We can't manage everything in nature.

So, we just really try to manage the habitat and the part we can contribute to. 02:32:00I think one of the biggest lessons, and Gordie Reeves will tell you this, is that an all-lands approach is the only way to manage the Pacific Northwest forests. You can't just look at the Forest Service lands, or the BLM lands, separately. We have to look at them in conjunction with the private lands. Because what happens on private lands really has a big impact on species. We can't do too much about that. But it's a whole connected network.

SS: Well, I think that's a marvelous final answer for our interview.

BG: Okay.

SS: Thank you, Becky.

BG: Thank you.

SS: Wonderful.

BG: Okay.