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Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

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   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county

Appeal upheld: Lompico headwaters logging denied

Photo - Kevin Collins
Scientific reports were critical to winning this appeal.
Photo - Kevin Collins
On April 7th the California Board of Forestry upheld Santa Cruz County's appeal of the Lompico headwaters Timber Harvest Plan (THP), thus denying this logging plan in a critical watershed. The controversial logging plan closed public comment on September 20th 2001 and was extended 43 times until its approval on October 30th 2003. The Ventana has been covering this issue for several years. [Vol. 42, No. 6, Vol. 40, No. 3.]

The Lompico Watershed Conservancy submitted several scientific letters and reports into the administrative record. The National Marine Fisheries Service (before the Bush takeover) called for extensive changes to the plan to protect endangered steelhead and coho salmon. Coho were driven locally extinct in the San Lorenzo basin by about 1986 but the river is still critical habitat by law.

The Lompico Watershed Conservancy helped convince the Board of Forestry that the cumulative impacts of the proposed logging on this already impaired creek could be significant contrary to the analysis in the THP which concluded that the logging would not adversely affect the creek. A geology report commissioned by the Conservancy and other scientific reports were critical to winning this appeal.

Opposition by the Lompico County Water District and the hundreds of letters by local residents opposing the timber harvest plan also had an effect on the Board.

The Lompico Watershed Conservancy has been trying to arrange a sale of this property since 1997, but the owner, Redwood Empire, has not been a willing seller.

Victories against the California Department of Forestry are rare.

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