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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county
Forestry Updates, November 2007

1. UCSC Tree Sit protests LRDP
2. Redtree Activity along San Vicente Creek
3. New THPs
4. DFG THP coverage plummets
5. Loggers Break Waterline
6. Mike Fay’s Redwood Transect underway
7. Joint BoF and F&G Commission meeting in December
8. Forest Ethics goes after Sears

1. UCSC Tree Sit protests LRDP

While the media and certain members of the public have given short shrift to the tree sitters (when hasn’t that happened?), in actuality these kids are very well informed about the greater issue of the University expansion and the now-court decertified 2005 LRDP EIR. Even though the judge tossed the LRDP EIR on its ear (based on issues of traffic, water and housing), CDF still intends to go ahead with the timber harvest plan to cut trees for the biomedical research facility (where the tree sit is), the Cowell Health Center retrofit and expansion as well as a cooling tower project all of which are part of the LRDP. Well, new language submitted after a recent County request and just posted on the ftp site may actually require a judge’s approval before proceeding the biomedical facility. But UC has removed the Cowell Health Center from the decertified EIR and just issued an Initial Study recommending a mitigated Negative Declaration. This could set a precedent for ‘segmenting’ the new expansion plans.

The students have vowed to stay in the trees until the University changes its expansion plans. During the interim, teach-ins are scheduled for most days in the late afternoon. For more information, check out their website at: Or stop by and engage the students in discussion of their concerns.

Wednesday, November 28th
Teach-in related to the LRDP, UC privatization and grassroots radical movements - at the tree-sit on Science Hill.

2. Redtree Activity along San Vicente Creek

Redtree Properties owns approximately 900 acres of timberland along San Vicente Creek. They logged approx 500 acres under their 2003 Meyley Unit THP, constructing a mile of new road along the ridgetop. A portion of the plan area was cable yarded due to steepness of terrain. After hearing recent complaints by some of Redtree’s Bonny Doon neighbors about new road construction and easement acquisition, we surmise that Redtree may have development plans for their timberland. Of course, at this stage, such plans are largely speculative based on a series of recent actions.

We learned that earlier this year, Redtree obtained ‘certificates of compliance’ from the County for nine parcels that have been in Redtree holdings for the past century. Such certificates essentially identify the parcels as legit Assessor Parcels. While such a clarification is not necessary to log, it is necessary to obtain building permits. They also divided one parcel into four while constructing a 20’ driveway across one of the new non-timbered parcels, which looks like it may become an access road to adjacent undeveloped parcels, Redtree now has an approved ‰Ą˙dead, dying and diseased‰Ą˙ Exemption on 11 parcels in the San Vicente Creek Watershed. The new 20’ driveway shows up on the map submitted to CDF for the Exemption and connects to the network of roads throughout the recently logged THP area.

While 7 of the parcels are zoned TPZ, 4 are in the RA zone district. Five are outside the Coastal Zone, some are partly in and partly out and others are completely within the Coastal Zone. Only half of the Redtree property is in the Coastal Zone and, therefore, subject to the Local Coastal Program. Splitting the TPZ parcels won’t be easy (takes a 4/5ths vote of the Board of Supervisors and must meet acreage restrictions (40 acres inside the Coastal Zone, 10 acres outside the Coastal Zone), but changing parcel boundaries could lead to more than the 11 buildable parcels. Development is currently allowed on all of the parcels. Only time will tell if Redtree Properties is actually intending to develop some of their thousands of acres of timberland in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties a la Maxxam and Sierra Pacific Industries, or not.

3. New THPs

1-07NTMP-020 SCR Swanton Pacific Little Creek 701 acres N. Hamie
(not accepted for filing yet)

1-07-143 SCR Sterling Trust/BCL Whitehouse Creek 50 acres M. Dias

1-07-118 SCR Siller Gamecock Canyon 45 acres C. Hipkin

1-07-119 SCR Camp Lindblad Kings Creek 150 acres J. Hildreth

4. DFG THP coverage plummets

For the last five plus years DFG has had an outstanding presence in the timber harvest review process in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Both Kent Aue and Richard Fitzgerald did timber harvest review and asked tough questions, requesting better mitigations to protect water quality and wildlife values. Kent Aue no longer works for DFG and Richard Fitzgerald has been promoted to management of the timber unit. Suzanne DeLeon, came on board to do THP review with a strong background in CEQA. However, another position recently opened up and Suzanne is now reviewing stream alteration permits. This has left the THP review slot essentially open. While Richard’s promotion is excellent good news, he is suddenly left in the lurch on timber. He will be noticing the position shortly. In the interim, a new THP person working in Napa/Sonoma will fill in when possible in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties.

In the meantime, Marty Berbach, who was DFG’s liaison to the Board of Forestry, has also left the Department. His position also remains open. And I understand that this sort of staffing problem is occurring elsewhere in regards to DFG’s forestry presence. Part of the problem is due to lack of sufficient funding. These scientists do not get paid what they are worth, and often don’t get paid as much as they would working for a different state agency. This is also true of DFG’s Wardens who have been fighting to get a pay increase so their salaries are more in line with other law enforcement officers of the state.

5. Loggers Break Waterline

About a week ago, I received a phone call from a neighbor of an NTMP in the Aptos/Corralitos area. The harvesting occurred in May 2007 and at that time a waterline serving this neighbor’s property was broken. Either a tree in the WLPZ was actually dropped on the line, or a limb from the tree broke the line. In either case, the neighbors weren’t notified nor was the broken line repaired. After running out of water, the neighbor did his own reconnaissance to find the broken line which he repaired himself. Their pump had suffered damage in the interim and needed to be replaced. The neighbors were reimbursed for their costs, though the NTMP had language which should have prevented all of this.

Now more damage has occurred to the system which the neighbors believe is a result of the earlier logging operation. They are still awaiting word on whether their new expenses will be covered.

6. Mike Fay’s Redwood Transect underway

On September 3, Mike Fay, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, officially began his Redwood Transect through the California Coastal Redwood Region. He began in the southern most reach of the redwood region just north of the San Luis Obispo county line and took approximately two months to reach north Monterey County. Check out his blog at:

You can read about the magnificent old growth redwoods he found high in the Big Sur / Ventana Wilderness range along creeks filled with deep pools and glinting fish. Journal entries are accompanied with photos and a click on a link will get you a Google Earth view of Mike’s route.

“Conservationist J. Michael Fay is walking the entire length of the California redwood forest over the next year to call attention to a one-of-a-kind ecosystem under tremendous pressure from exploitation. The ‰ĄţRedwood Transect,‰Ą˙ which began on Sept. 3, 2007, is supported by the National Geographic Society, Wildlife Conservation Society and the Save-the-Redwoods League. Fay, a senior conservationist at the Wildlife Conservation Society and an Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic, led the Megatransect and MegaFlyover projects in Africa.

Following the model of his Megatransect, a 2,000-mile conservation walk through Africa’s Congo Basin, Fay will walk a transect from the southernmost redwood tree known to exist today to the northernmost tree, a distance of some 700 miles, over approximately a year. Along the way, Fay and independent researcher Lindsey Holm will collect data critical to understanding the ecology, history and current state of the redwood forest.

Simultaneously, using Web links, blogs and Google Earth, a virtual transect will connect the community of people from all walks of life who can contribute information about the redwood forest to the pool of data. Ultimately Fay hopes to challenge people to develop sustainable ways to use and appreciate America’s redwoods.”

7. Joint BoF and F&G Commission meeting December 5

The Board of Forestry will hold their next meeting in Sacramento on December 5 and 6. The afternoon of December 5 is currently scheduled for a joint meeting of the Fish and Game Commission and the Board of Forestry. On December 6, the Board will deal with a number of items and hold a hearing on the Blacktail THP applicant appeal. CalFire disapproved this clearcut in Shasta County because of visual impacts. That is a surprise to those of us who have rarely seen CalFire disapprove a plan for any reason, and I am currently attempting to obtain the file on disk to see just what CalFire’s concerns were. The agenda for the meetings will be posted the week before at:

8. Forest Ethics goes after Sears

Sears is the largest catalog company that has refused to adopt a progressive environmental policy. Here’s your chance to host a Day of Action at the Capitola Sears store.

Sign up to host a Day of Action event on December 4, 2007. Give Sears a lump of coal for the holidays because they have been naughty to the environment.

The holiday season is just around the corner and so is our first International Day of Action on the Sears Campaign. Tuesday, December 4, 2007 people across the United States and Canada will be taking action to tell Sears that they're on our naughty list and it's time to be nice to our Endangered Forests. We need your help. Sign up to host an event on December 4 or find an event in your area that you can attend.

Sign up now to host or attend an event.

Since 1880, Sears has been famous for their catalogs, but now it is 2007 and Sears must face this new era of climate change and recognize their role in it. Sears is the largest catalog company that has refused to adopt a progressive environmental policy. Sears deserves a big lump of coal for the holidays!

Hundreds of activists are already involved in the Day of Action. Will you commit to hosting an action in your town?!

We're here to help you plan your action. Here's what you can do:

* Organize an event at a Sears storefront and deliver lumps of coal
* Flyer and postcard at a Sears store or on your campus or in your community
* Organize a demonstration on your campus or in your community
* Host a letter-writing party
And more!

Even if you're not sure what action you want to do or can't do it exactly on the 4th that's OK. Sign up to host an event and we'll be in touch with you, help with planning, send you materials, and whatever else you might need.

What: First Sears International Day of Action
When: Tuesday, December 4, 2007
Who: YOU! We need your help organizing events in your community.
Why: To demand Sears change its paper policy.

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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