What is NEST?
What is NEST?
NEST is an all-volunteer group of self-organizing, tree-climbing humans. Each summer, NEST volunteers take on a role as canopy surveyors, who utilize the Northwest Forest Plan’s “Survey and Manage” laws to protect ancient forests threatened by logging.
NEST formed out of the Fall Creek tree-sit in 1999, when several observant forest defenders noticed USFS surveyors walking transect lines and climbing trees. These contact surveyors were seeking the treetop nests of red tree voles. Unfortunately, agencies like the USFS and BLM use a very abstract survey protocol, which does not fully account for tree vole habitat. It is not ideal for finding nests in all situations, so NEST volunteer surveyors developed their own protocol in order to more accurately document red tree vole populations.
Under Survey and Manage, a red tree vole nest site is required to receive a 10-acre surrounding buffer where no ground disturbing activities can occur. Following a little research, they realized just what needed to be done to do a much more thorough job, on their own.
Since this time, NEST has found hundreds of Red Tree Vole nests in areas that were slated for logging. Thousands of acres of red tree vole habitat have been saved, as a result of NEST surveys.
Timber sales that have been canceled or reduced, largely due to NEST surveys, include the Clark Timber Sale, Straw Devil, Wagon Road Pilot Project and others.
NEST has surveyed everywhere from the Illinois Valley of Southern Oregon, as far north as the Mt. Hood National Forest, and many sites in between. Some timber sales surveyed include Althouse Sucker, Anderson West, Deer Creek, Boney Skull, Cow Catcher, Trapper, and many others.
What is this “Survey and Manage” that you speak of?
Survey and Manage is a program of the Northwest Forest Plan, which was a set of procedures and laws implemented in 1994, to cover a region of 24.5 million acres throughout Washington, Oregon, and California.
Under Survey and Manage, it is required that specified rare and sensitive species are surveyed, prior to “ground-disturbing activities.” The red tree vole is one of two mammals on the list.
In the case of the red tree vole (in some regions), a 10-acre buffer area is created around each nest site (a nest site being as little as one active nest up to several active and inactive nests), where logging cannot occur. Thus, the more nests that are found, the more red tree vole habitat there is that is protected from logging.
Survey and Manage – update 2010
In early 2008, Survey and Manage was repealed for the second time in a decade. However, thanks to the efforts of a lawsuit brought about by a coalition of environmental groups, Survey and Manage was re-implemented again in late 2009.
While it is back for the time being and foreseeable future, the ultimate future of Survey and Manage remains uncertain.
Until then, however, NEST will be surveying and documenting protected species habitat, with a goal of protecting as many habitat as possible!
NEST is a 501c3, non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible!
History of places surveyed
These is a brief overview, with links to articles/media, of past areas surveyed by NEST.
2001: Slapp, Windberry
2002: Straw Devil, East Devil
2003: Cow Catcher, Cotton Snake
2006: In 2006, NEST surveyed the Trapper Timber Sale – just east of Eugene; as well as Anderson West, Tennessee Lime, East Fork, and South Deer – all in Southern Oregon’s Illinois Valley.
2007: Althouse Sucker, Boney Skull, Deer Creek
2009: Palomar Pipeline in Mt Hood National Forest
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