Sierra Club
Jump to
Ventana Chapter  
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet  
Politics and Issues
Chapter Organization
Contact Us
National Sierra Club
California Sierra Club
Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus
Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county

Forestry Updates

by Jodi Frediani
January 2010

1. Community TV - Community Express, January 15, 8:00pm
2. Soquel Creek Under Logging Assault- RE, SDSF file more plans!
3. SDSF Fern Gulch THP PHI and process irregularities
4. Lagomarsino THP - old growth - DFG non-concurs
5. Bohemian Grove NTMP Approved
6. 267 acres of redwoods preserved
7. Clearcut for Carbon Credit
8. SRF Conference, March 10-13
9. How can we mature enough so we share the salmon?
10. Killing our Elders

1. Community TV - Community Express, January 15, 8:00pm

Check out the hour-long program on fire, forestry and open space in Santa Cruz on Community Express, which will air this Friday at 8:00pm on cable CH 27/73. It will air repeatedly at different times for the next month. Check the schedule at: or watch it as streaming video on the Community TV website once it is posted. Guests include Mike McMurray, Scotts Valley Fire; Rick Parfitt, Santa Clara County Fire Safe Council; Terry Corwin, Land Trust of Santa Cruz County; Betsy Herbert, PhD, Sempervirens Fund; Jodi Frediani, CCFW and Sierra Club; Bob Berlage, Big Creek Lumber; Robert Hrubes, PhD, Scientific Certification Systems. Hosts are Brian Petersen and Deanne Zachary.

Just a background note: I was originally asked to be a participant on the third segment on Sustainable Forestry along with Bob Berlage of Big Creek Lumber. I consented, but then Mr. Berlage apparently expressed concern that it might get 'controversial' and I was bumped to the middle segment on Open Space and replaced by Robert Hrubes, PhD, Scientific Certification Systems, the company which assesses Big Creek Lumber and many others for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Certification. Of course I objected and was re-instated in the forestry discussion. Angela Bernheisel, CAL FIRE, apparently also expressed concerns about her co-guest, but she ultimately chose not to participate.

Needless to say, the show was less than controversial. With about five-seven minutes per guest over all, most topics were only brushed on lightly. Each segment deserved an hour on its own.

2. Soquel Creek Under Logging Assault- RE, SDSF file more plans

Soquel Creek, and its populations of coho and steelhead, is up for its share of logging and then some. Counting the 17-acre conversion/selection harvest on the Olive Springs Quarry property completed in 2009 and new plans under review, we're looking at 1535 acres to be harvested in well under ten years. Whew! It's not too late to get involved in the review of the new RE plan and the 2 SDSF THPs.

1-10-002 SCR, 130 acres, Olive Springs 2009, Redwood Empire, Dave Van Lennep, RPF. (under review)

1-09-107SCR, 158 acres, Rim, SDSF, Jim Kral, RPF (under review)

1-09-096 SCR, 201 acres, Fern Gulch, SDSF, Ed Orre, RPF (under review)

1-09-064 SCR, 396 acres, Highland Way, Redwood Empire, Mike Duffy, RPF.

1- 08-131 SCR, 235 acres, Olive Springs Quarry, Chy Co., Eric Jensen, RPF

1-07-093 SCR, 398 acres, Olive Springs 2007, Redwood Empire, David Van Lennep, RPF.

1-04-138 SCR, 17 acres, (Conversion and selective harvest completed in 2009), Olive Springs Quarry, Chy Co., Eric Jensen, RPF.


3. SDSF Fern Gulch THP PHI and process irregularities

The Soquel Demonstration State Forest (SDSF) submitted a THP in 2004 to log portions of their holding along Soquel Creek. After five years of review and comment, the plan was withdrawn.

Now a 'new' plan has been submitted for the same acreage. Most of the proposed operations are the same, though the proposed extensive road through the harvest area has been scaled back a bit, with some of the road being downgraded to skid trail and some deleted.

A PHI was conducted on December 16 and public members Kevin Collins and Jodi Frediani attended. We finally got back to the CAL FIRE station well past dark, after trekking up hill and down dale to view the proposed road alignment, watercourse crossings and some of the late seral forest. While a number of problems still exist with the plan (the County of Santa Cruz is suggesting helicopter yarding as an alternative to road construction on unstable slopes), our immediate 'beef' has more to do with process. After the PHI, CAL FIRE urged the Review Team members to get their reports in prior to the end of the year, working through the Holidays.

HOWEVER, as of mid-January, the RPF for the plan has not yet gotten his final response to the First RT Questions to CAL FIRE for posting. This is highly irregular. Usually those RPF responses are required prior to the PHI. In this case, Ed Orre handed out copies of his response to RT members at the PHI, though he stated it was a draft and not all the questions had been answered. Of course, no one had time to read the document on the PHI and a 'final' version has not been presented to the RT members or posted on CAL FIRE's website.

Sierra Club and CCFW have written CAL FIRE with our concerns about this breach in process. If the agency that is responsible for oversight of forest management for the state of California can't set a good example, we're doomed. The SDSF forest is managed by CAL FIRE.


4. Lagomarsino THP - old growth - DFG non-concurs

This THP proposes logging some significant old growth trees in San Mateo County. DFG has filed a non-concurrence and CAL FIRE has just come back with a five-page list of questions to be answered. Hmm. This is after the Review Team Chairperson recommended approval of the plan, which has been under review since March 2009. Must be the letters from Center for Biological Diversity, Sierra Club/CCFW and DFG's non-concur that have made a difference. CAL FIRE's latest request for revisions have to do with the new coho rules as well as issues about the old growth. Included are requests to fix non-enforceable language as well as other items that are not spelled out clearly. CAL FIRE notes that, "The information in the plan....does not provide a clear description of the retention standards."

DFG has asked that the plan be amended to state that no trees with old growth characteristics, no large woody debris and no snags shall be harvested.

And here's from the Center for Biological Diversity regarding this THP:

California Old-growth Forest Saved

After the Center for Biological Diversity contested a plan to log one of the very last remnants of old-growth redwoods in California's Santa Cruz Mountains, this Monday the state's Department of Fish and Game declared the plan shouldn't be approved. Our comments pointed out that the area is home to the extremely endangered marbled murrelet, a seabird that has been declining for many years and is dependent on old-growth trees for its survival. Due to extensive logging in California, only 3 to 5 percent of the state's original old-growth forest is left -- meaning serious trouble for the murrelet. Our comments made clear that any additional loss is unacceptable.

In its memo rejecting the logging plan, Fish and Game proclaimed the plan must be revised so that no old-growth trees are cut down. The Center will continue to follow the issue closely to ensure the protection of those trees.

Learn more about our campaign to stop destructive logging on our Forests Web page, where you can also read our comments and Fish and Game's memo. Then learn more about the marbled murrelet.


5. Bohemian Grove NTMP Approved

The Bohemian Club had their wish come true just in time for the New Year. CAL FIRE approved the Club's 2500 acre, more or less (depending on whose figures you use), Bohemian Grove NTMP along the Russian River on December 29. This plan has been under extensive review since 2006 with comments submitted from hundreds of individuals and organizations. The Club has jumped through hoops, putting hundreds of acres of old growth timberland under Conservation Easement in an effort to come under the 2500-acre maximum ownership of timberland to qualify for an NTMP.

Now CAL FIRE has produced a masterpiece, a 627 page Official Response to Comments. For those diehards interested to see how CAL FIRE tosses out Adelia Barber's meticulous acreage analysis and other salient points, go to:, and check out this document:

20091229_1-06NTMP-011SON_ OR.pdf

More easily digestible info can be found at:

including Adelia's analysis, S.F. Chronicle articles, a Vanity Fair article, and much more. Litigation may be the only option left. Stay tuned.....

6. 267 acres of redwoods preserved

Thanks to Sempervirens Fund for acquisition of two redwood properties, including an old growth stand:

Deal preserves 267 acres of redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains

By Paul Rogers

Two properties thick with redwoods in the Santa Cruz Mountains — including one nestled between Big Basin Redwoods and Castle Rock state parks that was scheduled to be logged this spring — have been preserved under a $2.1 million deal between an environmental group and a timber company.

Under the terms, Redtree Properties, based in Santa Cruz, has agreed to sell the lands to Sempervirens Fund, a non-profit land trust based in Mountain View. The groups announced the sale Monday.

The first parcel, at 107 acres, is located at Waterman Gap, seven miles north of Boulder Creek near the intersection of Highway 9 and Highway 236. First logged a century ago, the property sits adjacent to the Skyline-to-the-Sea Trail, a popular 35-mile hiking route that links Castle Rock State Park to the Pacific Ocean.

Last year, Redtree obtained state permits to cut about 35 percent of the redwood and Douglas fir trees on the property larger than 18 inches in diameter.

"The trees are marked with blue x's. They have the logging permits. They have the landing sites. It was ready to go,'' said Reed Holderman, executive director of Sempervirens Fund. "There are some pretty sizable trees, second-growth redwoods there, about 100 years old."......

For the rest of the article:

7. Clearcut for Carbon Credit

In November 2009, the Center for Biological Diversity filed a formal letter with the California Air Resources Board (ARB) demanding that the board revoke its illegally adopted Forest Project Protocol (Protocol). This program gives carbon credits to projects that involve clearcutting and other destructive practices, all in the name of cutting greenhouse gas emissions!

In a rather bizarre process, the California Climate Action Registry, a 501(c)3 non-profit, invited members to a working group, which developed the protocols. There has been no CEQA review and the state's adoption of the Protocol as a methodology for carbon accounting is the first step toward allowing forest landowners to accumulate credits for the CO2 stored in trees and forest products. These credits can then be bought by other polluters under an emerging "cap and trade" program that would allow them to continue to emit greenhouse gases. And yes, the program even discussed counting the carbon in wood products disposed of in landfills towards these offsets@

From a Center for Biological Diversity press release: "Clearcutting damages forest ecosystems, water, and wildlife habitat, while releasing greenhouse gases in the short term and reducing a forest's natural ability to clear the air of carbon pollution over the long term," said Center attorney Kevin Bundy. "By allowing clearcutting under this policy, the Air Resources Board is encouraging the worst kinds of forest management while doing little to address the immediate impacts of climate change."

The Center had originally asked the ARB to rescind their adoption of these flawed Protocols without success. The Center has continued in discussions with the ARB asking that proper environmental review be conducted and hopes to get an answer by the end of this week. The CEQA environmental review process was totally by-passed in the development of these protocols by an independent non-profit.

We can't let clearcutting be the face of carbon trading and we can't clearcut our way out of the climate crisis! Please start talking to your legislators about this madness. Encourage them to talk with ARB staff about their concern with the lack of environmental review. Also with the inappropriateness of allowing clearcutting for carbon credits. We need to end global warming as fast as possible, and this isn't the way forward. Stay tuned for additional action updates.

8. SRF Conference, March 10-13

2010 Joint SRF & AFS Conference
March 10-13, 2010 Redding, CA

Salmonid Restoration Federation and the California-Nevada American Fisheries Society chapter will co-host the 28th Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference and the 44th Annual Cal-Neva AFS Conference in Redding, California. We are truly excited about this new collaborative effort. The theme of the conference is Fisheries Restoration and Science in a Changing Climate. The first two days of the conference will be filled with symposia, full-day workshops continuing education classes, and field tours. A half-day plenary session will be followed by 1.5 days of technical, biological, and policy-related concurrent sessions. This conference will focus on a broad range of salmonid, fisheries, and watershed restoration topics of concern to restoration practitioners, and the scientific fisheries community.

This year the conference will feature workshops on topics including Water Quality and TMDLs, Floodplain Restoration, a Fisheries Engineering and Stream Restoration Symposium, Stormwater Pollution Workshop, and continuing education classes on presentation skills, acoustic tag training, and River 2 D technology. Concurrent sessions include: the State of California Salmonids, Anadromous Salmonid Monitoring, Stream Channel Restoration, Central Valley Salmonid Recovery Planning, Marine and Estuarine Fisheries Research: Conservation and Management, Status, Ecology and Management of Inland Fishes and Anadromous/Migratory Fishes, Water Diversions and Fish Impediments, FERC Relicensing and Restoration Opportunities, Planning, Documenting, and Evaluating Fish Restoration Activities, Instream Flow for Salmonids, and a Contributed Papers session.

Field Tours will visit restoration projects in Clear Creek, Battle Creek, the Upper Trinity River, the Shasta River, the Upper Sacramento River, and a Redding urban streams tour including Sulphur Creek, Salt Creek, and gravel augmentation projects.

The Plenary session will feature David Montgomery author of King of Fish: the Thousand Year Run of Salmon and Dirt: the Erosion of Civilization, Larry Brown from the US Geological Survey who will discuss climate change and native fishes in the San Francisco Estuary and watershed, and Dan Bottom from the National Marine Fisheries Service will discuss “Pacific Salmon at the Crossroads and how Resilient are Salmon Ecosystems.” Maria Rea from NOAA will discuss salmonid recovery planning efforts for salmon in California.

SRF and AFS have created a dynamic conference agenda that addresses pressing issues that affect salmonid recovery and fisheries throughout the Pacific Northwest. We are also combining some of the unique features of each of our conferences. AFS will host a social at Turtle Bay, a job fair as part of the joint poster session, and a Saturday morning 5K Spawning Run. SRF will feature our annual meeting, the film screening of River of Renewal, a poster session and reception, and a banquet, awards ceremony, cabaret, and dance band Absynth Quintet. For more information about the conference, to see the agenda, or to register, please visit

9. How can we mature enough so we share the salmon?

by: Dave Belden on January 6th, 2010

Long ago–actually not that long ago, less than two centuries–the peoples of the North American Pacific coast knew how to maintain salmon stocks and share them so everyone had enough. They had the technology to wipe out the salmon as well as we do. They restrained themselves. More on that below. Today, those of us who eat fish wonder what salmon is safe to eat.

The problem with salmon that is farmed in nets open to the sea is that “The wild salmon are exposed to sea lice, viruses and bacteria from the farmed salmon that are treated with antibiotics and delousing chemicals.” This depletes the strength of the wild salmon and is thought to be one of the reasons behind the collapse of salmon stocks in the Pacific Northwest south of Alaska.

For the rest of the report:

10. Killing our Elders

Here is a brief, but moving, excerpt from "Killing our Elders", by Brenda Peterson, from the anthology The Sweet Breathing of Plants, edited by Linda Hogan and Brenda Peterson.

"A Nez Perce Indian woman from Oregon recently told me that in her tradition there was a time when the ancient trees were living burial tombs for her people. Upon the death of a tribal elder, a great tree was scooped out enough to hold the folded, fetuslike body. Then the bark was laid back to grow over the small bones like a rough-hewn skin graft.

'The old trees held our old people for thousands of years,' she said softly. 'If you cut those ancient trees, you lose all your own ancestors, everyone who came before you. Such loneliness is unbearable.'

Losing our old forests is like sacrificing many generations of our grandparents all at once; it's like suffering a collective memory loss."

Jodi Frediani
Central Coast Forest Watch
tel/fax 831-426-1697

Jodi Frediani
Chair, Forestry Task Force
Ventana Chapter, Sierra Club
tel/fax 831-426-1697

< back to all issues

In This Section