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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county
Forestry Updates

Forest Update, April 2007

1. April 24-Board of Supes Hearing on minimum parcel size for TPZ
2. KUSP: Talk of the Bay re TPZ Parcel Size: April 4, 10-11am
3. TPZ: ‘held over’ parcels are rezoned for logging
4. Santa Cruz BoSupes approves 5 acre TPZ rezone w/o legal access
5. St. Francis THP 2nd Water Quality Notice of Violation
6. SJWC Acreage Data AWOL
7. RMC/Cemex - Public Comment Closes April 23
8. Petition to De-list coho, denied again!

1. April 24-Board of Supervisors Hearing on minimum parcel size for TPZ

County staff is preparing a report to the Board of Supervisors recommending an increase in the minimum parcel size from the current five acres originally set in 1977. At that time a 5 acre TPZ parcel was considered unbuildable by the County. Supervisor Gary Patton felt that this parcel size would discourage development in our forests. The County was the lead agency in reviewing timber harvest plans back then and could (and did) deny plans when deemed appropriate.

Since that time, county planning policies and zoning restrictions have changed. All buildable parcels (determined by a Matrix) can have a minimum of one house whether zoned TPZ or not. And in 1982, the State assumed lead agency authority for the review of timber harvest proposals, taking that away from local control. But the minimum parcel size for rezoning to TPZ has stayed at the absurd figure of 5 acres in Santa Cruz County, while the majority of other counties statewide have an 80 acre minimum.

The staff report for minimum parcel size change should be available on the county’s website by April 19. In the meantime, the local timber industry has sent a mailing to timberland owners encouraging them to ask that the minimum parcel size not be raised. And, I’m sure, they have been urged to attend the hearing.

State law gives counties almost no say in refusing to rezone to TPZ, but it does allow counties to set the minimum parcel size at no greater than 80 acres. In actuality, this also includes smaller contiguous parcels that collectively amount to at least 80 acres. Whether there are three votes on the Board to raise the minimum parcel size to 80 acres remains to be seen. Past discussions with staff indicate that they will be recommending something significantly lower.

This will certainly be a hot-button item. Mark your calendars NOW and plan to attend!

2. KUSP: Talk of the Bay re TPZ Parcel Size: April 4, 10-11am

KUSP’s Talk of the Bay will host an hour program this coming Wednesday morning on the TPZ rezoning issue, Santa Cruz County’s zoning ordinances and the State Supreme Court decision. I will be participating as will either Bob Berlage of Big Creek Lumber or an alternative forester. Tune in and call in.

3. TPZ: ‘held over’ parcels are rezoned for logging

Approximately two dozen parcels were rezoned to TPZ in January and March of this year. The rezoning applications made their way through Planning Commission hearings and then were heard at follow-up hearings by the Board of Supervisors. These were all applications from seven years ago after the county zoning ordinances went into effect, but while the lawsuits were ongoing. Most of the property owners submitted their applications while the county fee subsidy was in effect and asked the county to hold their applications until the final court decision was in. More than 800 acres were rezoned by Big Creek Lumber alone.

Several local environmentalists attended the hearings expressing concerns about the lack of sufficient criteria for the Forest Management Plans (FMPs) required by the state Timberland Productivity Act. Unfortunately, the law does not appear to give the county any authority to approve the content of these FMPs.

4. Santa Cruz BoSupes approves 5 acre TPZ rezone w/o legal access

A five acre rezoning application, which was previously challenged by a neighboring land owner, came before the Board of Supervisors for a second time last week. The neighbor’s attorney had provided documentation that the timberland owner does not have the various easements he claims to have in his Forest Management Plan prepared for his TPZ rezone application. From the record, it appears that the applicant does not have a legal right-of-way for hauling logs from his property. In addition, he was sued by the County for illegal grading and illegally constructing a bridge across Mountain Charlie Creek. While Mark Stone voted to deny the application, and Neal Coonerty voted with him, the necessary third vote was absent. The application was approved with Supervisor Ellen Pirie commenting that the county could not let neighbors “hold hostage” timberland owners who want to rezone their lands! As I recall up on Game Cock Canyon, it was the other way round.

County Counsel argued that the county had no right to make any determinations about the content (even if known to be false) of the Forest Management Plan. Counsel also argued that the haul route was a matter of timber ‘conduct’, and the county had no say over that either. Even though I commented that CDF has consistently refused to deny a plan over easement disputes, claiming them to be a civil matter and therefore none of CDF’s business, my comments went un-heeded.

5. St. Francis THP 2nd Water Quality Notice of Violation

On March 6, 2007, the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board sent a second Notice of Violation letter to the St Francis Youth Center. The NoV is 58 pages long. The RPF for this plan was Roy Webster. LTOs were Big Creek Lumber and Columbia Helicopters.


The violations excerpted here are:


The following violations are based on noncompliance with the revised MRP, deficiencies in the 2005-06 annual report, and the incomplete map submitted on December 7, 2006.

1. The discharger did not conduct photo-point monitoring as required by MRP No. R3-2005-0103.

2. The discharger's inspections are incomplete and improperly timed.

3. The discharger did not conduct turbidity or photo-point monitoring in December as required.

4. The revised monitoring map submitted by the dishcharger on December 7, 2006 is inadequate (Addendum 3)

My understanding is that the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s office is also bringing charges in this case.

6. SJWC Acreage Data AWOL

Two months after NAIL made a presentation at the January 31, 2007 CDF Public Hearing on the San Jose Water Company (SJWC) NTMP showing that SJWC owns more than 2500 acres of timberland, Big Creek and SJWC have still not submitted any data backing up their claim that SJWC owns only 2002 acres of timberland. Under CDF’s interpretation of the Forest Practice Act, a non-industrial tree farmer, who qualifies to submit a Non-industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP), may not own more than 2500 acres of timberland. A broader interpretation of the law says that the tree farmer may not own more than 2500 acres of land, timbered or not. In either case, the review of this NTMP continues, even though the only scientific data produced to date clearly demonstrates that SJWC does not qualify to submit an NTMP. Your tax dollars at work.

7. RMC/Cemex - Public Comment Closes April 23

This RMC/Cemex THP (1-06-080SCR) has been approved, approval rescinded, re-circulated for thirty days-twice, public comment extended,and then extended again. Problems have included neglecting to address the 303(d) listing of San Vicente Creek, new recommendations by DFG regarding marbled murrelet habitat along the haul route, lack of notification to the county of the Review Team meeting, and neglecting to request the public water purveyor (Davenport Public Works) to assist in the review of the plan as required by Santa Cruz County rule CCR 926.6. “Review Team meetings” are being conducted via individual phone calls, cutting the public out of the process altogether. This appears to be a clear violation of CEQA.

The bottom line? The town of Davenport has been under a boil-water order the past two winters and the Sanitation District has asked that no winter operations be allowed on this plan which is upstream of the drinking water intakes. To date, while the RPF has made changes to the plan (no winter ops in most of the WLPZ), winter ops for the balance of the 535 acre plan are still on tap.

Letters should be directed to Leslie Markham, Deputy Chief, Forest Practice, and emailed to requesting that winter operations be denied to help reduce sediment input into San Vicente Creek, thus helping out Davenport residents as well as resident steelhead trout and coho salmon.

Date: April 3, 2007
Re: THP-1-06-080 SCR

Dear Ms. Bradford, Mr. Bolich and Ms. Lather-Hildago,

It has come to the Department's attention that the County, including the Davenport County Sanitation District, may have some unresolved concerns regarding Timber Harvesting Plan (THP) 1-06-080 SCR,. To insure that all concerns have been disclosed and addressed accordingly, the RPF and the Department have agreed to extend the public comment period to April 23, 2007, and ask that if you have specific concerns relative to the plan, that you identify those in a letter to the above address by April 23, 2007.

The Department will review the information, and if deemed necessary will hold an additional second review team meeting.

If you have any questions or require additional assistance, please contact (707) 576-2959.


Leslie Markham
Deputy Chief, Forest Practice
RPF # 2529 >>

8. Petition to De-list coho, denied again!

Here is some additional info and congratulations regarding the defeat (once again) of the Big Creek Petition to De-list Coho South of San Francisco. The rehearing of the Petition was as a result of a court decision last year after Big Creek sued over the previous Fish and Game Commission petition decision. The hearing can be viewed on-line at: It is item #3.

The following email was forwarded round-about by Nancy Macy, Valley Women’s Club:

>>> Dennis McEwan 3/2/2007 9:58 AM >>>
I just wanted to know let everyone know that the Commission voted
unanimously yesterday to reject the Big Creek/CCFA petition to delist coho south of SF. A large part of their decision, I'm sure, was the fact that the scientific community came out in force to urge the Commission to reject.
Thanks especially to Peter Moyle, Dave Catania, Jerry Smith, Don Alley, and Ken Gobalet for your submissions, and to the rest of you for agreeing to submit our draft rebuttal article. All of your submissions are now in the administrative record and this is very important given that the decision is likely to be before the court again. However, now that we have a much more robust Admin record, I feel our chances are excellent that we will prevail there as well.
A special thanks to Ken for making the trip up to Arcata to make a very
entertaining and pivotal presentation to the Commission. It was great to watch!
This illustrates something I truly believe: defending science is just as important as doing science, and this is a great example of what we can achieve when we stand up to those that misuse science to promote their own self-serving agenda.

Thanks again.

Dennis McEwan
Supervisor, Native Fishes Team
Fisheries Branch
Calif. Dept. of Fish and Game
830 S Street
Sacramento, CA. 95814
office: 916 327 8850
fax: 916 327-8854

Jodi Frediani
Chair, Forestry Task Force
Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club
1015 Smith Grade
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
ph/fax 831-426-1697

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