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

Forest Update, October 2007

1. SJWC NTMP denied then appealed to Board of Forestry
2. 2007 THPs
3. Stanford Students’ Report re FSC certification
4. Oct 24 Planning Commission Public Hearing TPZ minimum parcel size
5. Oct 29 Public Hearing-Gamecock THP 1-07-118
6. Nov 2 Forest Ethics Monterey Protest of SPI clearcuts
7. Nov 17 Santa Clara Watershed Conference
8. SRF 26th Conference March 2008

1. SJWC NTMP denied, then appealed to Board of Forestry

On September 25 CalFire denied the San Jose Water Company NTMP for 1002 acres along Los Gatos Creek. Rich Sampson, CalFire RPF, along with several other CalFire personnel made a determination (using helicopter flyovers, ground truthing, GIS maps and aerial photos-both recent and historic) that SJWC owns 2825 acres of timberland, while according to the Forest Practice Act and Rules only landowners with less than 2500 acres of timberland can apply for an NTMP. (Note: some believe that the rule language can be interpreted to mean 2500 acres, timberland or not. However, a court would have to hand down a judgment to get CalFire to change their interpretation.)

As far back as February 2007, NAIL submitted documentation to CalFire showing that SJWC owned more than 2500 acres. (

In the intervening months, Big Creek lumber slowly produced their own data showing that SJWC only owned 1971 acres or 2387 acres, depending on which definition they used. Of course, they actually missed one parcel with 15 acres of timber. In addition to the overlooked 15 acres, Cal Fire determined that the “main difference between the estimates provided by SJWC and Cal Fire’s estimate is that the two SJWC estimates did not include acreage that historically supported stands of commercial species.” CalFire identified snags (from previous fires) in those additional areas, and confirmed historic conifer stands from historical aerial photos.

SJWC has hired San Francisco attorney, Chris Carr (who represents Pacific Lumber). Carr has filed an appeal on behalf of SJWC to the Board of Forestry. Guestimates are that the appeal won’t come before the Board until January or February 2008. Grounds for the appeal are not required to be identified in the appeal letter. We are guessing that the appeal will probably be based on the ‘definition of timberland’.

2. 2007 THPs

Gazos Creek (RE) (San Mateo) 198 acres RPF: Mike Duffy

Whitehouse Creek 50 acres RPF: Matt Dias

Ramsey Gulch 62 acres RPF: Steve Butler

Kings Creek 150 acres RPF: Jim Hildreth

Two Bar Creek 230 acres RPF: Jim Hildreth

Aldercroft Creek 80 acres RPF: Jim Hildreth

Soquel & Hinkley Creeks 398 acres RPF: Dave van Lennep

Waterman Creek 28 acres RPF: Gary Paul

(This list is not inclusive. There are a couple more 07 THPs and this list does not include any 2007 NTMPs.)

3. Stanford Students’ Report re FSC certification and logging conflicts

Last year, a group of Nickie Irvine’s anthropology students conducted another series of local interviews as part of their research for a class paper entitled, “Logging and Environmental Conflict: What Is the Role of Certification for Sustainable Forestry?” I was one of the interviewees and had asked for a copy of the paper. Well, a year later, it finally showed up in my email box. As many of you may recall, the first group of students doing a similar paper presented their results several years back at the Santa Cruz City Library and were summarily roasted by the crowd for their one-sided research. I will say that this more recent group did a better job of balancing their interviews, but my initial review of their paper shows it still presents a pro-industry bias. Ms. Irvine is a strong proponent of FSC Certification.

At any rate, I have been asked not to distribute the paper* and the paper asks that it not be cited without the authors’ permission. That said, the paper is lengthy (140 pages), includes a lot of historical research and compares logging in Brazil’s Amazon with logging in the Santa Cruz Mountains, focusing on ‘conflict’ issues. It also compares forester and environmentalist ‘values’ of old growth redwoods.

For those interested in a copy of the paper, contact Nickie Irvine at:

Dominique Irvine, PhD
Consulting Associate Professor
Department of Anthropology
Stanford University
Stanford CA 94305-2034
(650) 401-8756

* “Some of their informants asked that the results not be widely distributed as a condition of giving the interview. Therefore, out of respect for their wishes, the students have asked that the reports not be shared further without contacting them for permission (through me is probably best). ” – N. Irvine

4. Oct 24 Planning Commission Public Hearing – TPZ minimum parcel size

PLAN TO ATTEND! You can be sure industry will be there in full force to protest the parcel size increase.

The Santa Cruz County Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on increasing the minimum parcel size from 5 to 40 acres for rezoning land to Timber Production Zone. The PC meeting begins at 9:00am and staff thought that the TPZ item (#10) would be heard in the morning. Staff report can be found at:

Amended to the staff report is a letter from Big Creek Lumber objecting to Staff’s conclusion that logging may increase fire risk. Among other allegations, the Big Creek letter states, “…we are unaware of any scientific studies or data that suggests that local single-tree selective harvesting has resulted in increased fire hazard.” By ‘local’ they are referring to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

However, a report prepared by Christopher A Discus, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, entitled:

FUEL LOADING AND POTENTIAL FIRE BEHAVIOR AFTER SELECTIVE HARVEST IN COAST REDWOOD STANDS arrives at the following conclusion from a study done on Cal Poly’s own Santa Cruz property

“Before harvest, fires on the Valencia forest would likely have little residual effect on larger trees due to low fire behavior and redwood’s thick, insulating bark. However, the increased fuel load from harvesting coupled with hot, dry foehn winds, which are not uncommon on the site, could quickly increase fire behavior and subsequent mortality of the residual high-value trees in these stands. Further, home sites adjacent to the study site are presently at an increased risk of wildfire.”

5. Oct 29 Public Hearing-Gamecock THP 1-07-118

CalFire will hold a public hearing on the Redwood Empire Gamecock Canyon THP on October 29, 10am at the Felton CalFire office. RPF is Chris Hipkin. The plan and PHI comments submitted to date can be found at:

After all these years, CalFire still thinks it is ok to hold a public hearing before all the PHI reports are in. Silly at best. Absurd at worst. Their argument is that you can still submit comments in writing after the reports come in.

6. Nov 2 Forest Ethics Monterey Protest of SPI clearcuts

Here’s an opportunity, relatively close at hand, to take a stance against Sierra Pacific Industry’s continuing pillage of the Sierra Nevada. SPI owns 1 million Sierra Nevada acres and intends to clearcut all of them within the next 100 years.


Join ForestEthics and activists from the Sierra, Southern Cascades, Sacramento and the Bay Area on November 2nd at Portola Plaza at noon to tell the Lumber Association of California and Nevada (LACN) to stop buying from Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) until they stop their destructive logging!


Noon at Portola Plaza in downtown Monterey, from noon until two to tell attendees of the LACN annual convention to stop supporting SPI until their logging practices change.

For more information and to RSVP (please RSVP if planning to attend), go to or contact Josh at or by calling 415--863-4563 ext 328

7. Nov 17 Santa Clara Watershed Conference

The Santa Clara County Creeks Coalition will be hosting a Creeks and Watershed Conference on November 17 in San Jose at the Pioneer High School Performing Arts Center, 1290 Blossom Hill Rd., San Jose, 95118. The Conference runs from 8:30-3:30, requested donation of $15 at the door, lunch included if you pre-register.

The day’s events will focus on accomplishing the following goals:

. Improve outreach on creek and watershed issues, and seek to involve individuals and groups that have not been involved before.
. Highlight the past and present activities of local groups.
. Identify the functions and responsibilities of creek-related organizations (city, county, watershed and environmental education organizations).
. Explore the historical conditions in our creeks and watersheds to better understand the challenges and opportunities that we face today.
In addition to presentations throughout the day, various groups will have tables, literature, videos and photo displays on hand.
For more info and to register:

8. SRF 26th Conference March 2008

26th Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference March 5-8, 2008 in Lodi, CA

The 26th Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference will be held March 5-8, 2008 in the northern San Joaquin Valley. The conference will feature all-day field tours of Tuolumne and Stanislaus River restoration projects, a Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Systems Tour, a Fisheries Monitoring and Management tour, and half-day workshops and tours of fish-friendly vineyards, and the Cosumnes River Preserve.

Workshops will include Fins and Zins: Sustainable Agriculture and Watershed Management, Fish Passage: Managing Flows on Regulated Rivers and Streams, Floodplain Restoration, and Invasive Species. Concurrent sessions will focus on the policy and biological considerations in formulating the San Joaquin Restoration Program, Recovery Planning models, Central Valley Chinook and Steelhead, and Trout, Restoring Natural Hydrographs, Bay Delta Management, Dam Removal and Salmonid Recovery, Engaging the Community in Salmonid and Watershed Education, and Monitoring and Management issues in the Central Valley. To see the final call for abstracts, please visit

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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