Juneau, Alaska (KINY) Threatened budget riders that would have impact policy in the Tongass National Forest were not included in a $1.3 trillion spending bill approved by Congress.
Susan Culliney, policy director for the Audubon of Alaska, said there goal has been to protect older trees in the forest, "Old trees that provide habitat for birds, deer and salmon and are important for ecology. They also provide economic benefits."
Culliney said the return to the 2008 plan would have had negative impacts, "It would have taken away some of the protections for key watersheds and road less areas that the current plan protects. The plan also starts implementation of a transition away from old growth clear cutting. Going back to the 2008 plan would have stopped momentum going in that direction."
Audubon also has taken an interest in a study on Prince of Wales Island and other southeast areas. The U.S Forestry Service recently announced that David Schmid will take over as regional forester in April.