Senator Edgecomb, Representative Hickman, and members of the Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee. My name is Eliza Donoghue. I am here today to speak on behalf of the Natural Resources Council of Maine and our 16,000 members and supporters in support of LD 1629, An Act To Implement the Recommendations of the Commission To Study the Public Reserved Lands Management Fund.
NRCM has a long history of advocating for Maine’s Public Reserved Lands; from the creation of the Bigelow Preserve in the 1970s, to the seemingly never-ending battle over the Public Reserved Lands Management Account. We owe a debt of gratitude to this Commission for putting this issue nearly—hopefully!—to bed.
We were very impressed with the breadth of knowledge of this Commission, as well as the Commission’s commitment to producing a thoroughly researched product that honors this unparalleled resource. This legislation reflects the Commission’s outstanding work.
We offer one friendly amendment, that Section A-5 be amended to read:
H. A breakdown of growth based on the most recent physical inventory and harvest
yield in each region of any regional public reserved lands units established by the bureau, identifying any harvesting that occurred during the preceding fiscal year in individual management units where harvest yield exceeds annual growth.
We believe that these changes more accurately reflect the intent of the Commission. The Commission recommended that the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry conduct a detailed, frequent (every five years) forest inventory in order to most accurately inform management decisions (see recommendation 2, page ii of the Commission’s report). Our recommendation to add “based on the most recent physical inventory” aims to reflect that recommendation. Our recommended amendment to substitute “harvest” for “yield” is meant to avoid the use of technical jargon and to communicate clearly with non-foresters that the intent is to compare growth and harvest levels.
Thank you for your consideration of this suggested amendment. I appreciate the opportunity to testify on the bill and would be glad to answer any questions you may have.