Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | santa cruz county
by Jodi Frediani
1. Lockheed Emergency Exemptions
Big Creek Lumber continues to reap benefits from the Lockheed Fire. Now that they have logged much of their own fire-affected forests under Emergency Exemptions (no THP required), as well as Cal Poly's and Cemex's , they have begun logging Lockheed lands. Turns out that Big Creek Lumber owns the timber rights on Lockheed's property.
They submitted 3 Emergency Exemptions in February and March, 2011 encompassing 381 acres. The logging operations were conducted during the winter period, with hauling to take place in March or early April once the roads dried out. They were unable to complete operations on all three exemptions prior to the commencement of the marbled murrelet nesting season cutoff. I believe DFG gave them a brief extension for hauling through a small segment of murrelet buffer zone.
I am informed that there is a substantial amount of old growth redwoods on the Lockheed property, though Big Creek has apparently stayed out of the large stands. All three harvests are in the upper Scott Creek Watershed.
In previous Updates, we have gone on at length about the bank failure along the main access/haul road into the Soquel Demonstration State Forest. The failure originally occurred in 2006 and SDSF received an award to repair the bank. However, the funding was returned and the failure left as is. This winter, heavy and continuous rains swelled Soquel Creek and caused additional damage to the bank and roadbed. Twice. Hopefully, SDSF will complete the repair, now estimated to cost about $250,000, before next winter.
We surmise that the road may no longer be safe for loaded log trucks. In that eventuality, the plan proposed cutting a new, short WLPZ road segment to easily connect to the much longer road leading out toward Highland Way. However, hauling in that direction may also now be up in the air. See below.
After seven years of attempting to get an approved THP on the Soquel Demonstration State Forest, SDSF now has two such plans. The Rim THP is slated to start in May and haul logs out along Highland Way. However, recent storms sent slides onto this precarious county road, as well as undermined sections of the roadway. The road has been reduced to a single lane in at least one location. As of this writing, it is uncertain whether or not the road will be passable to log trucks this season.
We recently attended Sierra Day in the Capitol and had a meeting with Secretary of Resources, John Laird.
Sierra Day was sponsored by The Sierra Nevada Conservancy and others and billed as an education day for legislators. Interestingly, the Executive Officer of the Sierra Nevada Conservancy is Jim Branham. Mr. Branham used to be spokesman for Pacific Lumber. Hmm, might explain why the Conservancy is not working with Stop Clearcutting California and others to end clearcutting on SPI lands within the Conservancy. That would be about 1 million acres. The Sierra Day literature noted that, "sustainable (sic) managed forests provide important habitat, help clean our air and water, and aid in the natural storage of water by protecting the snowpack." Also, "Sierra Nevada forests provide up to 50% of California's annual timber yield."
We brought to Secretary Laird's attention (as if he did not know) the need to find more funding for DFG timber review, as well as discussed a number of other details of importance regarding California's natural resources.
In conjunction with our trip to the Capitol, we attended a day-long Biomass Conference in Davis. Speakers at the Conference included experts from the California Air Resources Board, the CA Public Utilities Commission, the US EPA, US Forest Service, Center for Biological Diversity, UC Berkeley, CAL FIRE, and other notables.
Much of the information was scary to someone interested in protecting our forested watersheds and environment in general. For instance: the lack of regulation by the EPA of biomass boiler emissions, other than carbon. Or some accounting methodologies that were presented for carbon sequestration from clearcutting, which never addressed carbon amounts if the land were not logged, or selectively logged instead. A professor from Ohio State discussed the possibility/probability of needing to import lumber from other countries, should biomass production be taken to heart.
A new 164 acre THP 3 miles north of the town of Aromas has been submitted by Bill Vaughn for property located in Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties in the Pescadero Creek Watershed. The plan goes to First Review April 21.
Items of interest from the latest SRF Newsletter:
North Coast Fish Passage Design and Engineering Workshop
The full newsletter can be found here: http://www.calsalmon.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=36&Itemid=46
An interesting read on water. We use more of it than we think.
"For the past 100 years, the developed world has enjoyed a cheap, safe, and abundant water supply, but Fishman (The Wal-Mart Effect) warns that everything about water is about to change—how we use it, how we share it, and how we value it.
In an engrossing, globe-trotting narrative, he introduces the reader to people already grappling with water shortages—Patricia Mulroy, Las Vegas's no-nonsense water czar known as the best water manager in the country; the inhabitants of a neighborhood in Delhi who line up twice a day for water they must carry home.
Since water cannot be created or destroyed, the challenge we face is not so much about water scarcity but rather how we can use it more equitably and protect it—the meaning of "clean" has a wholly new connotation in an era when we can pollute water in new ways with residues of medicine and plastics.
Fishman notes that some of the most innovative ways of conserving water are coming from big businesses, including IBM, which has cut the water use in its microchip production 27% in the past eight years. A comprehensive, remarkably readable panorama of our dependence on—and responsibilities to—a priceless resource. (Apr.)" From Publisher's Weekly
"[A] lively and invaluable assessment of the current politics, economics, and culture of water. Lyrical in his descriptions of the beauty and wonder of water, Fishman is rigorous when explaining that the water we have now is all the water we will ever have."—Booklist (starred review)
"A wide-ranging look at that most precious of goods, water, and a world in which it is a subject of constant crisis...A timely warning." —Kirkus
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