Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county
by Jodi Frediani
1. Current THP updates - Victoria, Starcreek and current ops
Victoria THP 1-11-038 SCR, 38 acres, Matt Dias, RPF, Branciforte Dr. & Happy Valley.
CalFire has posted their PHI comments for this THP on the ftp site (link below). The County and DFG are preparing their PHI comments. In reviewing the plan, I have found a number of nitty-gritty details that are amiss and will be submitting comments.
While only 38 acres are proposed for logging, the THP proposes winter operations. The existing main haul road is located in a Class III ELZ (aka riparian corridor), one landing has a Class III stream running through the middle of it, another is adjacent to a Class III and skid trails are proposed for construction on slopes greater than 50%. The parcel was most recently logged in 2000. Branciforte Creek has a current steelhead population as does the San Lorenzo River into which it flows. The River is also a key coho restoration watershed. We do not think winter operations are appropriate for this harvest, and at just 38 acres should be easy to conduct outside the winter period.
Starcreek THP, 1-11-030 SCL-SCR, 164 acres, Bill Vaughn, RPF, Pescadero Creek
The RPF's response to 1st Review questions is now posted at: ftp://thp.fire.ca.gov/THPLibrary/North_Coast_Region/THPs2011/1-11-030SCL-SCR/
The THP contains a 1/4 acre pond, three short segments of Class II watercourse, two primary Class III watercourses and a number of mapped seeps and wet areas.
Most of the haul road for this plan lies within 5-100' of Pescadero Creek near Aromas in the Pajaro River Watershed. From the RPF: "The opening 1000' of the haul road leaving the harvest area is an exception [to being in the riparian corridor], and has been noted as Non-WLPZ on the Location Map. There are a few other sections of the appurtenant haul [sic] which are more than 150' from Pescadero Creek, and therefore outside of the Class I WLPZ......"
Pescadero Creek has an active steelhead run. The PHI is set for June 28.
Plans currently operational include the Bushnell 3 acre amendment in the San Lorenzo Valley, Big Creek's Silver Bullet THP 1-10-080 SMO in San Mateo, Redwood Empire's Memory Lane THP off China Grade and Red Tree's THP on the San Mateo/Santa Cruz county line.
The Board of Forestry (with help from Cal Fire) has finally reformed the Soquel Demonstration State Forest Advisory Group to help with revisions to the current (and late) General Management Plan update. Members appointed to the Advisory Group are: Steve Staub - local RPF, Donna Bradford - Santa Cruz County, Steve Butler, RPF - RCD, Patty Ciesla - Stewards of SDSF, Eric Hough, RPF - Board of Forestry, Tim Hyland/Chris Spoher - State Parks, Terris Kastner - DFG, Patricia Marlin - neighbor, Larry Sepa - TNC, Jill Butler - CalFire. Staub was appointed Chair. The first meeting has yet to occur, we're told, because Staub has been on vacation. Meetings will be open to the public.
Committee members have been advised that the 1st draft is ready for review.
The draft can be found at: http://www.fire.ca.gov/resource_mgt/resource_mgt_stateforests_soquel.php
Logging is slated to begin this month on the Rim THP in the SDSF forest.
Forest advocates from a variety of NGOs including Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club, Forests Forever, EPIC and Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch have been working collaboratively on a variety of issues from bill language dealing with various forest issues, efforts to end clear cutting in the Sierra Nevada, efforts to remove ARB Forest Protocols allowing clearcuts to garner carbon credits, and finding candidates for empty Board of Forestry seats. Santa Cruz Group and CCFW continue to take an active role in these efforts, keeping issues and concerns of the Central Coast in the mix.
I am not sure I can remember a time when this has ever happened, but this week there are no new THPs anywhere in the North Coast Region going to First Review. We have only two THPs for 2011 under review in the southern sub-district, but logging in Mendocino and Humboldt counties usually continues on a pretty regular basis. No new plans were submitted for this coming week's review. Is it the economy, price of redwood, larger THPs, or?
Coast Redwood Forests in a Changing California, a Symposium for Scientists and Managers, is being held in Santa Cruz this month up at UCSC and actually includes some inspiring presenters including Randy Klein, Leslie Reid, Mary Ann Madej, and Will Russell, as well as a host of other academics, scientists, land trust presenters and timber industry foresters.
There will be three concurrent sessions on Watershed Processes, Ecology and Forest health. Three field trips are offered including one with a visit to the Big Creek mill and portions of the Lockheed burn area.
Audience: The symposium is intended for anyone involved in the research, education, management, and conservation of coast redwood systems. This includes RPFs, landowners and managers, community and conservation groups, land trusts, and policy makers.
Fees are not inexpensive, but include meals. Lodging is available. Early registration ends May 21.
For more information and to register: http://ucanr.org/sites/redwood/
14th Annual Coho Confab
August 19-21, 2011 South Fork Smith River
SRF, the Trees Foundation, and the Smith River Alliance, with support from the CA Department of Fish and Game, are pleased to host the 14th Annual Coho Confab, being held August 19-21 on the South Fork of the Smith River at beautiful Rock Creek Ranch.
The program includes a Yurok perspective on large-scale coho watershed restoration efforts, in-stream fish identification, restoring late-seral forests, innovative projects to improve fish passage, impacts of pesticides on salmonids, experimental wood loading designs to enhance stream function and salmonid habitat, and much more.
For more info: www.calsalmon.org
The 2011 Conference Proceedings from the Salmonid Restoration Federation Conference is available online at SRF's website: www.calsalmon.org
A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) on the issue of discharges from ditches, culverts and channels, which receive stormwater from logging roads.
The NEDC contended that such discharges were a violation of the Clean Water Act because National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits were not obtained by the timber company. Previously, the EPA has exempted agricultural discharges (and hence logging), and the district court concluded that the discharges were exempted from such permits by the 'Silvicultural Rule'. However, the appellate court over-ruled and agreed with NEDC that the discharges require NPDES permits.
From the Water Law Blog (http://water-law.com/wordpress/?p=375):
By: Sarah Liljefelt
The Clean Water Act ("CWA") prohibits the discharge of pollutants from a point source into the navigable waters of the United States without an NPDES permit. The Act defines a "point source" as "any discernible, confined and discrete conveyance." 33 U.S.C. §1362(14). Natural runoff is not a point source, and does not require a permit.
Agricultural runoff is exempt by the Act from the permit requirement, even if the runoff is collected into ditches or channels before being returned to a navigable water source. The EPA has consistently held that storm-water runoff from logging roads should be treated similarly to agricultural runoff. Since 1976 the EPA has distinguished between discharges from silviculture (forestry and logging) activities that are a direct result of controlled water use by a person (point source) and those that are the result of natural runoff (non-point source). Thus, it has been the practice that natural runoff from silviculture activities did not require a permit, even if the runoff was collected into discernible channels before discharge.
On August 17, 2010, the Ninth Circuit handed down a decision that invalidated the EPA's policy of exempting from the CWA's permitting requirement natural runoff from silviculture activities, if it is collected or controlled before discharge. Northwest Environmental Defense Center v. Brown, 2010 WL 3222105 (2010), also available at: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/opinions/2010/08/17/07-35266.pdf. The court held that the prior silviculture policy was inconsistent with the text of the CWA because the CWA requires permitting for the discharge of pollutants from point sources, and distinguishes between point and non-point sources based on the method of discharge into the body of water, not based on the initial cause of the discharge. Because the defendants in this case, the Oregon State Forester, members of the Oregon Board of Forestry, and various timber companies, channeled storm-water runoff into ditches and pipes before discharge into forest streams and rivers, the court held that these discharges constituted point source pollution, which requires a permit.
For those interested in following the sorry state of clearcutting in our Sierra Nevada and within the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, check out the interactive imagery at: www.sierraforest.org
Forests Forever has put together a clever cartoon video to explain the mysterious nature of cap and trade and the clearcut debacle. It is labeled as "A behind-the-scenes eavesdrop on the private discussions about whether to allow forest clearcutting to be rewarded and encouraged under California's cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions."
View it at: www.forestsforever.org
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