California: With Water Board rulings of recent years loggers are pressured to curtail winter logging

Decades of legal battles against logger-caused water pollution from silting, and logger-caused high water temperatures from lack of streamside shade is starting to take away loggers’ freedom to log forests year round. See, California’s winter-time rainy season is when logger pollute the streams most. And because of the tireless work of forest and fish defenders loggers are now starting to get treated with the same type of authority that regulates chemical plants that poison streams. And of course if you were a Salmon you’d agree that a silted stream that’s too warm to survive in really is the equivalent of pouring poison in the water.

So what follows below are two areas in California where environmental efforts to ban logging during the winter are underway. Not so surprising about these efforts is how much the loggers are doing everything possible to resist, to be able to destroy the forest without regard to any new limits or rules.  –Editor, Forest Policy Research

From the Santa Cruz County, (San Fancisco Peninsula area): The Eureka Gulch West saga continues. This Redwood Empire Timber Harvest Plan (THP) covers 196 acres, which are transected by 20 Class III watercourses, 10 Class II watercourses, 1.8 miles of dirt road and numerous skid trails. Two new landings are proposed to bring the total number of landings to 16. In addition, there are 46 mapped landslides including one major culvert failure in a Class II, which occurred after the last entry in the mid 1990s. Santa Cruz County and the Department of Fish and Game have both non-concurred because this plan does not have a cut-off for winter operations. The Winter Operating Plan is so complex none of us are really clear about what is or is not allowed.

The plan is to serve as direction for the Licensed Timber
Operator, so one can assume he may also not be sure exactly what is
allowed when and where. When the county presented a request to
Supervisor Pirie’s office to bring the plan to the Board to appeal to
the Board of Forestry, staff was directed to try to work out their
concerns with Redwood Empire. Staff then met with RE foresters and
tentatively agreed to several additional mitigations, including
permission to conduct site visits during operations, particularly
during the winter period. At the request of Sierra Club, a meeting
was held with Supervisor Pirie to share our support of staff’s
non-concurrence and express our serious concerns with this particular
THP and the potential precedent setting change allowing winter-long
winter operations throughout the county.

While the meeting originally was planned to include members of Sierra Club ExCom and Group’s Forestry Consultant, Supervisor Pirie and county staff, the participant list grew to include Terris Kastner of DFG and Rich
Sampson and John Ferreira of CAL FIRE. Interestingly, Sierra Club was
not asked if it was ok to include these additional folks, nor were we
even advised that CAL FIRE would be attending. After the meeting,
County staff sent additional comments expressing a ‘desire’ for a
winter cut-off, but acknowledging that they would still accept an
alternative. They asked for additional mitigations to remove their

Sierra Club and CCFW believe that, at a bare minimum this THP must have a winter cut-off and must adequately address the TMDL, which identifies a need for 95% sediment reduction in Corralitos Creek. Now CAL FIRE has ‘reopened’ the Public Comment period for 30 days, beginning on March 9, though we are unaware that Public Comment was ever officially closed. In addition, CAL FIRE seems to be ignoring the County’s last submittal and have not posted it to the ftp site. Moving target: the County’s letter was posted on March 10 along with the RPF’s response that he will not cede to the County’s new requests. One can assume that the County will now proceed to appeal the plan before the Board of Forestry.

From: Jodi Frediani, Director,Central Coast Forest Watch –

From Siskiyou County (Mt Shasta area): The board of supervisors approved a letter prepared by county resource policy specialist Ric Costales to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board requesting attendance by representatives of the water board at the March 17 board of supervisors meeting. The purpose of their attendance at the meeting was to explain their recent ruling prohibiting winter logging on a Scott Valley logging operation at Patterson Flats. The water board based its issuance of a necessary Waste Discharge Requirement permit contingent upon prohibiting the winter logging operations.

“The water board clearly does not understand our situation here,” Costales told the supervisors. The letter was addressed to Robert Klamt, timber division manager for the water quality control board. Copies were sent to several water board members and other staff. Costales explained that winter operations can be done safely and in an environmentally safe manner and that those operations are vital to the county’s economy. “The continuing deterioration of Siskiyou County’s forest-related infrastructure is made worse by such season-shortening decisions,” the letter stated. “…the County is extremely troubled by this example of the Regional Board’s unilateral inflexibility at a time when much effort has been expended to convince the agricultural community of the Regional Board’s commitment to adaptive management strategies,” the letter further states.

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Comments (1)

EliJanuary 29th, 2010 at 12:24 pm

We have to stop the pollution, not just for our stake but also for the next generations. The property for sale hunger is kealing our nature. Property developers must be regulated by green laws…

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