Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county
by Jodi Frediani
1. SCM Bioregional Council Ecologically Sustainable Forestry article
The Santa Cruz Bioregional Council has put together a white paper on "Ecologically Sustainable Forestry in Redwood Ecosystems of the Santa Cruz Mountains". In it, they explore the question, "Is the commercial harvest of redwoods as practiced in the Santa Cruz Mountains ecologically sustainable?" Five management actions are reviewed and discussed, including connectivity, integrity of streams, rivers and wetlands, forest complexity, landscape heterogeneity and old growth reserves.
The article can be found at: http://www.scmbc.net/sustainableforestry.htm
The more this site is accessed, the higher up it will appear in search engines. Check it out and tell your friends.
The 35 acre Lagomarsino THP (1-08-063 SMO) in San Mateo County was scheduled to go to second review on Thursday, August 13, the first full day of fire response to the Lockheed Fire. Second Review was cancelled and not yet rescheduled.
Roy Webster is the RPF. Mr. Webster agreed to not submit any more THPs to avoid being prosecuted over the St. Francis THP on Mt. Madonna, which violated a number of Forest Practice Rules and caused environmental damage. However, Mr. Webster seems to have forgotten his promise and CAL FIRE is not holding him to it. Oh, and did I mention, CAL FIRE let the statute of limitations expire on the District Attorney's action against the LTO and landowner for that THP. So no one is getting fined for cutting too many trees in the WLPZ, falling logs into the stream, potentially disrupting the downstream landowners in-stream water intake, etc. And CAL FIRE was unwilling to go after Webster for cutting down a 72" dbh redwood with 10" limbs even though the plan prohibited cutting old growth redwoods or redwoods with old growth characteristics. Big Creek Lumber was the LTO on the ground based operations for that plan and felled the large old tree. The tree had been marked for retention (agreed upon by DFG), but Webster told the neighbors he had the right to substitute. Does he plan to substitute trees on the Lagomarsino THP?
The Lagomarsino THP, while not large, includes something like 10 acres of old growth redwoods, many in the 60" dbh or larger category. Even though a marbled murrelet (MAMU) survey was conducted and no MAMUs found, DFG is still very concerned about loss of any late seral habitat, particularly in this area where occupied MAMU habitat is found nearby. The presence of murrelets was detected less than a mile from this plan area.
The DFG PHI states, "The THP provides no mitigation for the loss of these late seral habitat elements and high quality wildlife trees." DFG noted 1/3 of the OG marked for harvest. DFG notes that at this rate of harvest only 3 trees will remain in 50 years. A number were cut during the previous a harvest in the 1990s, also by Webster. DFG also noted this to be some of the highest quality potential marbled murrelet nesting habitat in t hat region of San Mateo County. DFG believes the plan is not in conformance with the FPRs (897(b)(1)). However, the RPF is arguing vociferously and CAL FIRE seems to be backing him up.
Here is DFG's most significant recommendation:
At a minimum to protect LSF habitat on-site and comply with FPR §§ 913.8(a) and 897(b)(1), the THP should be revised to include language stating that no trees exhibiting old-growth characteristics shall be harvested, no large woody debris shall be harvested and no snags shall be harvested (Recommendation 5). DFG recommends that the late seral forest be retained permanently via a conservation easement.
Letters in support of DFG's position can be sent to CAL FIRE at:
To read more of DFG's report or read the RPF's unpleasant responses:
On May 28, while the state was in crisis with no budget and a huge deficit, I received a letter from the Board of Forestry, Professional Foresters Registration division, delivered to my door via courier from Sacramento. Outstanding use of public funds in such a time of crisis!
The letter signed by Eric Huff, ex-Big Creek forester, asked me to cease and desist from “advertising as a purveyor of consulting forestry services under the moniker, ‘Jodi Frediani Environmental Forestry Consulting’ and/or ‘Jodi Frediani Forestry Consulting.’” Oops, I don't advertise. The letter then cited the code that says you can not act as a forester or use the title unless you are a registered professional forester. The letter also admits I had not done such a thing, but that the language I have “chosen to describe your consulting services” was close enough to deceive the general public into the belief that I am qualified to practice forestry. Hmm. Don't think that's happened yet. And for the record for those of you who may be confused, I DON'T PRACTICE FORESTRY. I track it. I work to get bad THPs made better, or denied. I participate in development of regulations. Oh, you all know that............
The letter continues, “Though I can understand your desire to be associated with those who have fulfilled these rigorous requirements and may therefore be identified as Registered Professional Foresters (sic), you possess no such qualification.” Wrong again.
The letter does assure me that: “Peaceful social activism is the right of any person in this state and the greater union. This correspondence is not intended to in any way curtail or otherwise infringe upon that right.” Well, that's a good thing! However, such letters of intimidation seem to belie that statement.
The letter then claims those wishing to make comments on a Community Wildfire Protection Plan (which I did) are obligated to do so “under the color of the qualifications actually in their possession.” I did. There is nothing in the code that prevents me from calling myself a Forestry Consultant. That's what I do. I consult on forestry issues. I am not a consulting forester. Maybe they'd prefer I call myself a Forestry Issue Consultant. Except they seem to think they have exclusive rights to the word Forestry. The BoF's letter was cc'd to a state Deputy Attorney General.
On August 10, the First Amendment Project (FAP) sent a reply to Mr. Huff on my behalf advising him that I ‘will not cease identifying’ myself as a‘'forestry consultant.’ The FAP letter goes on to say that the BoF has no authority to limit my use of the word ‘forestry’ and notes that the BoF letter was an “effort to punish Ms. Frediani for, and discourage her from, submitting public comment on behalf of her clients.” “Your letter thus attacks her, and her clients’ First Amendment rights of freedom of speech. Ms. Frediani demands that you officially withdraw your letter to her.” That letter was sent a week ago and we're still waiting for a retraction. Of course, I am not holding my breath, other than trying not to inhale any more smoke from the Lockheed Fire. The FAP letter cites chapter and verse on a variety of court cases supporting my right to use the word ‘forestry’ in my signature line. It notes that the ‘rule’ Huff cited is “apparently unwritten.” Wow, looks like the BoF is trying to apply ‘underground regulation’ against me!
Would that CAL FIRE and the BoF could pay half as much attention to foresters who violate state regulation, damaging the environment and public trust resources.
Dear Timber Harvest Program Interested Parties,
As many of you already know, I am in the process of relinquishing my responsibilities with the Timber Harvest Program. It has been exactly four years since I became involved with the program and it has been a fun ride. I've had the pleasure of meeting many incredible people whom I greatly respect and will never forget. Additionally, I've had the opportunity to achieve positive changes both personally and professionally. For that I thank each and everyone of you! My future projects will include storm water and TMDLs and I look forward to adding these new projects to my Water Board resume.
I'd like to introduce to you Mike Higgins. Mike will be taking over my responsibilities with the Timber Harvest Program beginning with implementing the changes approved by the Water Board on July 10, 2009. Mike will also be responsible for renewing the Timber Order by July 2010.
Mike is a graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree is Environmental Engineering. He has been working for the State Water Board for the past twenty plus years starting in Sacramento, Rancho Cordova, and then San Luis Obispo. A majority of Mike's experience with the state has been with permitting and site clean-up. I believe you will enjoy working with Mike and appreciate the new perspective he'll be bringing to the table. Please direct all future correspondence and inquiries to Mike:
Mike Higgins, Associate WRC Engineer
Thank you and have a great day!
As of August 17, the fire had burned more than 7000 acres north of the town of Davenport up through Swanton and into parts of Bonny Doon. Blessed by a lack of strong winds, a massive response from CAL FIRE including more than 2000 fire fighters, plus three mornings of coastal fog has allowed them to get containment on 85% of the perimeter and not lose any houses in the process. Excellent work.
The fire started on a remote, non-contiguous parcel belonging to Big Basin State Park. There is a road very near the ignition site, but it passes through Lockheed and can only be accessed behind a closed gate. Cause is unknown and currently under investigation.
Those of us in Bonny Doon are extremely grateful the fire did not spread into our community. The majority of the lands that burned belong to Big Creek Lumber, Cal Poly (Swanton Pacific Ranch) and Cemex. I was told today (Tuesday) that most of what burned was chaparral, chemise and knob cone. I look forward to learning more about how much of the overstory canopy burned in the conifer and hardwood forests.
In case you missed it, Bud McCrary has finally admitted in print that large old redwoods don't burn, but the small ones do. Maybe now the timber industry will stop pretending that logging the larger trees is good for fire protection. (Well, we can wish, can't we?)
"Look at this tree. It's 900 or 1,000 years old. It was just going like a blowtorch last night. But it should survive," he said.
Even those parts of Big Creek property that are burned probably won't be lost to timber production. Fires take out the younger, spindly redwoods, McCrary noted, leaving the older ones, whose bark is nearly fireproof."
Excerpt: By Paul Rogers
As of 8:00 am this morning (on a map based on yesterday evening's data) a small section of the perimeter in the Molino Creek drainage (on Coast Dairies?) was still shown burning freely. I was told by CAL FIRE that the area was chaparral and very steep. A dozer line had been cut closer toward Hwy 1, and I understand that CAL FIRE Crews will be back burning in the area between the dozer line and the moving fire line.
Smoke lingers, but I don't need to tell that to anyone in Santa Cruz County or anywhere to our immediate south! It should be interesting to see what the UCSC researcher learns about how the collared mountain lion movements were affected by the fire. A portion of their range was in the burn area.
The Central Coast Fire Learning Network will be holding one of its regular informational meetings tomorrow at 1:00 pm at the UCSC Arboretum. Needless to say, the topic of fire will once again be very timely.
For more info, contact Brett Hall at
12th Annual Coho Confab on the Mendocino Coast
Question: With salmon season essentially closed in most areas, and even catch and release fishing now prohibited, how can a DFG game warden really tell if someone is targeting salmon for catch and release but claiming they are fishing for steelhead? A lot (if not all) of the tackle and methods are the same and one pocket of water can hold both species. I know this may require a rather lengthy explanation, but I feel it will help to educate and empower our fellow anglers so that we may understand and contribute to rebuilding and sustaining our salmon runs for the future. Thank you. (Richard Camacho)
If a game warden finds someone using gear and angling methods typically used to target salmon (such as flossing or snagging), then the warden may deem that a violation as well. The warden will have to evaluate all the circumstances present at the time when determining whether the elements of a crime are present and a violation has occurred.
For example, during the open season when steelhead are present in the river, it is legal for a person to take steelhead utilizing gear that is legal for taking steelhead. If a salmon is hooked but immediately released back into the water, the chances of being arrested are minimal. However, under different circumstances - for instance, if salmon are also in the river, steelhead are absent, the method of take being used is not legal for steelhead or the released salmon does not survive - then an arrest is much more likely.
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