| Forestry Updates
Forest Update, April 2006
1. Big Creek vs Santa Cruz has its day in the State
2. Board of Forestry reviews Threatened and Impaired
3. New and existing/languishing THPs
4. SDSF focused PHI to review road failure into
5. Davenport Geological Society April 8 Scott Creek
1. Big Creek vs Santa Cruz has its day in the
State Supreme Court
On April 4 the State Supreme Court finally heard the arguments
on both sides of the Big Creek vs Santa Cruz County lawsuit, regarding
whether the state or local governments have the authority to determine
where logging can take place. (At the appellate court level there
seemed to be agreement that CDF has the sole authority to determine
how logging takes place.) The one hour hearing took place in Los
Angeles, not terribly convenient for Santa Cruz residents. For those
interested in hearing the arguments, modern technology now allows
you to bring them into your home or office.
You can listen to the county's argument starting at 1:08: http://www.calchannel.com/search.php?date=040406&source=tcc&type=All&title=&Search=Submit
According to Jenny Harbine, one of the attorneys representing Santa
Cruz County in the case, the court is split. According to their
questions and comments, it appeared that two justices strongly sided
with the county and two with Big Creek. Seven justices heard the
arguments and the county attorneys remain guardedly optimistic.
The justices have 90 days to publish their opinion.
Two issues were heard: 1) Whether local governments can use their
zoning authority to determine where logging can take place and 2)
whether the county's helicopter ordinance (requiring helicopter
pads for logging operations to be on, or on parcels continguous
to, those being logged) is a matter of conduct or location.
The Board of Forestry (BoF) joined Big Creek and presented arguments
in favor of the industry position that only the state can determine
how and where logging takes place. Inexplicably, making the BoF's
arguments was an attorney from CDF, rather than one of the Board's
own attorneys. Jenny Chandler, attorney for CDF, was appointed in
2004 by Governor Schwarzenegger. She was previously employed as
an attorney for Pacific Lumber. Craig Stuart was the attorney for
Big Creek. Attorneys from Shute, Mihaly and Wineberger represented
Santa Cruz County.
In January this year, Big Creek had written the court asking that
two of the justices recuse themselves. These two had previously
sat on the 1st District Appellate Court in San Francisco and had
heard the Big Creek vs San Mateo case on the 1000' no-cut zone adjacent
to neighboring homes. Big Creek argued that the justices would be
prejudiced. Attorneys for Santa Cruz countered that all judges have
opinions and cannot be expected to recuse themselves for such. The
Santa Cruz attorneys also argued that this case was different from
the San Mateo case and, therefore, did not constitute any conflict.
The justices apparently agreed with Santa Cruz and were part of
the seven justices who heard the case this week.
2. Board of Forestry reviews Threatened and
Impaired Watershed Rules
The Threatened and Impaired Watershed Rules expire December 2006.
These rules currently add additional protections for watersheds
that support listed species (ie coho and steelhead) and/or are 303(d)
listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act. Among other things,
the rules require leaving additional canopy as well as requiring
retention of larger trees for future LWD recruitment. At a special
committee meeting held in Sacto April 3, CDF, DFG, NMFS, and SWRCB
all testified that the rules should be extended. Letters also favoring
extension were sent from the North Coast and Central Valley RWQControl
Boards. The Central Coast RWQCB was silent. Environmentalists present
also testified in favor of extending the rules. Only members of
industry suggested and argued that the rules should be dropped.
The following comments are from Richard Geinger, EPIC:
"Well, I got 4 hours of video tape of the BoF's Forest Practice
Committee presentations and discussions on the Threatened or Impaired
Rules on Monday. The upshot is that a subcommittee (with Forest
Practice Comittee members David Nawi and Jim Ostrowski plus agency
reps & open to the public) is going to meet before May to draft
a schedule/format for 'scientific' and close review of the T/I rules
to be presented for consideration to the full FPCommittee and possibly
to the Board at the May meeting in Tahoe. The gist of it is that
the Board is likely to extend the rules for one or two years while
this review takes place. Two years is much more realistic to actually
do a good job.
The CH2mHill presenter (consultant hired by the California Forestry
Association) got right down to it: 15 to 60 feet riparian buffers
is adequate for large wood recruitment; riparian cover doesn't influence
water temperatures very much; most large wood comes from bank failures;
etc. This triggered images for me of a cartoon showing a stream
with no riparian forest except a strip falling into the creek from
bank failures, perhaps facilitated with dozers or dynamite -- labeled
"scientific fish habitat restoration". I exaggerate, of
course, but however . . . .
I'll try and get a date and venue out to you for the subcommittee
meeting. Cajun James (scientist employed by Sierra Pacific Industries)
is talking about bringing in experts like Benda & Beshta to
straighten out the onerous T/I rules. The process and persons involved
in the T/I review are critical. We also must not forget that the
T/I is more than arbitrary science -- it requires a thought and
care process by RPFs, LTOs, and landowners that gives a basis for
protection and recovery of listed anadromous salmonids.
If you want the videotape let me know. Maybe we can pass a couple
Please suggest people that need to be involved to help assure
a good and credible review process. Also we need to assure a strong
presence at the BoF and Joint meeting with F&G Commission at
Northshore Tahoe at the beginning of May."
I encourage all who can to attend the next sub-committee meeting
and/or the full Board meeting in Tahoe in May.
3. New and currently-under-reivew THPs
The Soper-Wheeler THP along Bonny Doon Road was withdrawn after
the county brought to
S-W's attention that one 20 acre parcel is zoned SU and therefore
not available for logging. I understand that Soper-Wheeler will
resubmit shortly, minus the 20 acres.
A THP in Boulder Creek (called The Pond THP), including lands owned
by the Boy Scouts, has been accepted for filing and a PHI date is
currently being chosen.
The Cemex/RMC THP (1-05-187 SCR) is still under review. CDF will
be asking that an Erosion Control Plan be submitted as part of the
plan for all the timberland belonging to Cemex in the San Vicente
Creek watershed. DFG's PHI comments were extensive (28 pages). DFG
noted that "numerous deficiencies in the THP relating to watercourse
and wet area identification, watercourse classification, identification
of suitable marbled murrelet habitat, and application of the Forest
Practice Rules" were noted by review team participants during
the initial PHI November 28, 2005. An additional PHI was held January
26, 2006 during which "the review team again noted numerous
deficiencies in the THP and revised materials including watercourse
and wet area identification, application of the Forest Practice
Rules, and an undisclosed archaeological site."
The THP is principally within the San Vicente Creek watershed which
supports steelhead and coho and is the sole watersupply for the
town of Davenport. DFG also noted, " observations of road rutting
by pick-up vehicles during the PHI provide clear evidence of likely
impacts associated with winter period and wet weather road use.
DFG recommends that the winter operation plan prohibit the use of
pick-up trucks or heavy equipment following two inches of cumulative
rainfall and between April 16 and May 1." The Davenport Sanitation
District has asked that winter operations be prohibited.
Los Gatos residents are still waiting for the next submission of
the San Jose Water Company NTMP (SJWC) along 6 miles of Los Gatos
Creek. SJWC has indicated the plan would be submitted by Mid-April.
While most second review team meetings will now be taking place
in Felton, CDF said today that the SJWC and the SDSF plans will
still be chaired by Santa Rosa CDF Forest Practice Officers out
of the Santa Rosa office. A phone conference line will be set up
in the Felton office.
4. SDSF focused PHI to review road failure into
Within the Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) lands, a segment
of the access road for THP1-04-046 SCR, 86' in length and adjacent
to Soquel Creek eroded and fell into the stream this past winter.
CDF has scheduled a 'focused PHI' so the various review team members
can do a site inspection of the damage and discuss mitigations proposed
by the California Geological Survey (CGS). In addition, the PHI
members will visit the leaning old growth redwood which was originally
slated to be cut for public safety reasons. SDSF is now planning
on retaining the tree as required by the enabling legislation for
the State Forest and the SDSF Management Plan.
5. Davenport Geological Society April 8 Scott
The DGS will be hosting a meeting Saturday, April 8, to learn about
the Scott Creek marsh. "Visiting Liverpool (UK) University
faculty Andy Plater and John Boyle will present their sediment coring
work in the marsh. The cores lead to a stratigraphic cross section.
Salinity and vegetation changes, sediment changes and provenance,
etc. give a history of conditions. These gentlemen are "Mr.
Marsh" and they and their students have done work in our central
coast marshes for some years."
The "meeting will begin at the Al Smith House* at Swanton
Pacific Ranch at 10 am with snacks, then the presentation, then
brown bag (you bring) lunch, then field trip. * Off Hy 1, at 280
Swanton Road, Davenport - see mailbox and 'logging games' sign -go
up paved driveway winding uphill; left at signed fork-to Al Smith
House. April 8 meeting in the garage conference room." DGS
dues are $5. For more info, contact Roberta Smith: email@example.com,
This is the first of three springtime educational events re Scott
Chair, Forestry Task Force
Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club
1015 Smith Grade
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
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