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


Forest Update, February 2006

1. Lompico Acquisition Fundraising Push-THP put on hold!
2. SJWC NTMP stirs awake
3. UCSC issued violation for illegal logging
4. Zoning Administrator item to legalize 12 parcels for Burch
5. Peter Twight retires
6. CDF Monitoring Study Group at Swanton Pacific March 14
7. Gamecock-Mt. Madonna 124 Focused PHI

1. Lompico Acquisition Fundraising Push-THP put on hold!

The fundraising kick-off at the Trout Farm February 4 was a success. Brian Steen, Executive Director of Sempervirens, Kevin Collins, mastermind of the logging opposition and Executive Director of the Lompico Watershed Conservancy, and Supervisor Mark Stone spoke to a packed and cheering crowd.

Brian Steen explained that Sempervirens would like to see $500,000 raised within the local community towards the $5,600,000 purchase price for the Islandia property and the Malosky Creek lands, currently owned by Roger Burch. Checks began coming in on the spot, and you can contribute at www.sempervirens.org. Or phone Kevin Collins: 831-335-4196.

With an outstanding show of community support, Sempervirens feels confident they can get the balance of the option price from large funders. But they only have till June 30. It would be a travesty if this deal were to fall through.

In the meantime, a letter from Redwood Empire to CDF has asked that the THP be put on hold. Don't forget to send in your check.

2. San Jose Water Company NTMP stirs awake

The SJWC NTMP for 1002 acres along Los Gatos Creek was withdrawn in late December. Since then, things have been largely quiet, until now. February 7, a pre-consultation took place on site with a bevy of CDF staff, and two members of DFG. Big Creek was there as well.

The visit was to look at the large, old trees present on site to determine if there is Late Successional Habitat (Late Seral Habitat). The forest was last harvested some 120-130 years ago. However, most likely because of site conditions, the redwoods are not terribly large and many do not show all of the characteristics of late seral forest. However, DFG is asking for a lot more information before making their determination and comments on the issue.

In the meantime, a phone conference is scheduled for later this month between some of the reviewing agencies, Big Creek and SJWC and their consultants to discuss their proposed fire plan.

SJWC wants to resubmit by late March, but CDF seemed to think it unlikely that the plan would resurface until April or May. Neighbors continue to solicit signatures on a petition opposing the logging as well as seeking donations to support their cause.
Check out: www.mountainresource.org

And Big Creek conducted a 'Noise Study'. First anybody knew about it, reports surfaced that Chemeketa Park residents saw Big Creek vehicles on their roads and someone saw Big Creek employees walk across the Chemeketa Playground into the SWJC forest. Then chain saws fired up. No one knew what was going on. Were trees being felled before re-submittal of the new NTMP? One astute NAIL steering committee member happened to check out the Hwy 17.com website which has been functioning as a Big Creek mouth piece for this proposed harvest. There was an open letter from Nadia Harney, Big Creek RPF saying that they had conducted a decibel test and if anyone had problems with the noise, to please contact Big Creek. A follow-up piece by RPF Harney gave a few details about what they had done and said the results of the noise study would be included in the next submission of the NTMP. Neighbors have not been officially notified or asked for input.

3. UCSC issued violation for illegal logging

On January 20, 2006, CDF issued a Notice of Violation (NoV) for 1-05EX-274-SCR for the University of California. This was a Fuel Hazard Exemption that UC used to harvest trees and convert a small area of forest to more paved parking spaces for the Chancellor's new offices at Kerr Hall. This was the wrong exemtion/document to use as a Conversion Permit was required.

The NoV says that the University can mitigate the violation by amending "the converted areas next to and or adjacent to Kerr Hall" into the active conversion exemption for the McHenry Library expansion.

Apparently this has not yet been done, but it seems that the NoV was inadvertently mailed to the incorrect address. CDF has stated that they will re-mail the NoV.

4. Zoning Administrator (ZA) item to legalize 12 parcels for Burch

The first item on the February 17 ZA agenda (8:30am) is an application from Joe Burch (Roger's son) to legalize 12 parcels in Buzzard Lagoon near Ryder Road above Corralitos. The land is owned by Roger Burch. The planner for the item will not discuss the matter over the phone, so we are still trying to determine what issues are involved. It is unclear whether the land has been logged recently, why Mr. Burch wants 12 parcels (Joe has a development company), if logging will be in the future of this land or anything else for that matter. Anyone interested may attend the meeting at the County Building.

THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WILL BE HEARD STARTING AT 8:30 AM Rm 525

1. 05-0134 NO SITUS APN(S): 106-022-10,-11,-12,-13. -14 AND 106-501-01 -02,-03
Proposal to recognize the legality of 12 parcels. Requires a Parcel Legality Status Determination and Certificates of Compliance. Property located on the east side of Buzzard Lagoon Road, about 4 +- miles Northeast of the intersection of Buzzard Lagoon Road and Rider Road.
OWNER: RODGER & MICHELE BURCH
APPLICANT: J. BURCH
SUPERVISORIAL DIST: 2
PROJECT PLANNER: DON BUSSEY, 454-3182

5. RPF Peter Twight retires

It seems official. Twight's name is being replaced on his THPs with Dave Van Lennep as RPF. At least we won't have to deal with Twight's mad ravings over how redwood sprouts provide better shade along streams than full grown trees.

I have always thought that Peter should become a fiction writer. Now that he is retired, maybe he'll find his true calling.

6. CDF Monitoring Study Group (MSG), March 14, Swanton Pacific

Finally, CDF's MSG will meet in Santa Cruz, more precisely at Swanton Pacific Ranch in Davenport. The meeting starts at 10:00am. Various topics will be discussed in the morning. Following lunch, will be a Little Creek Watershed Study field tour, led by Dr. Brian Dietterick, Natural Resources Management Department, Cal Poly SLO, and Steve Auten, Resource Manager, Cal Poly SLO.

The agenda is available at: http://www.bof.fire.ca.gov/pdfs/MSGAgenda03_14_06.pdf

The meeting will be held at Swanton Pacific Ranch, 125 Swanton Road, Davenport, CA and is open to the public.

7. Gamecock-Mt. Madonna 124 Additional PHI

An additional pre-harvest inspection will take place February 15 for THP 1-04-124 SCR for the lands of Roger Burch/Redwood Empire in Gamecock Canyon. This site visit will be to review the recently constructed access road (the county issued a grading permit to construct the road to access a firebreak, not as a haul road) which is now to be used as the haul road for this THP. (The county was not legally allowed to issue a grading permit for timber operations-haul road construction-on a parcel zoned RA. So Burch and the county found a way around the counties zoning ordinances.) The county believed that a Minor Lot Line Division would be completed between RE and the Kim Son Monastery giving RE a permanent access road. However, the MLLA was withdrawn (before the grading permit was actually finalized!) and the easement for RE access over this road expires in 2011. This means that long-term erosion control access will not be available to RE. Also, the haul road would remain the responsibility of the Monastery which already has numerous code violations elsewhere on their property.

 

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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