Department of Agriculture

Inefficiency in the name of safety

Over the past two field seasons, many of the forests in Region 5, including the Mendocino NF have implemented a "buddy system" out of concern for illegal grow operations occuring on the forest. The system creates an enormous burden on some of the most important individuals on the forest, those who prepare and execute contracts to meet the ecosystem management goals. These goals were not met last fiscal year, and will not be met in FY2010/2011, either. The system requires that for all operations being conducted off the main road, we must work within a specified distance of a coworker, which severly reduces the amount of work we can accomplsh. As a ruough estimate, the 5 people I work with in our office lost roughly 30-40 person days of productivity because of this system. A simpler approach should involve the law enforcement division communicating the locations or areas that general employees should avoid during certain parts of the season. This would allow us to maintain a higher rate of productivity while avoiding the areas most dangerous to our safety until the illegal grow operations are mitigated.

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Idea No. 3955