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


Forest Update, May 2007

1. May 21st BoSupes Hearing – TPZ Round 3
2. State Waterboard Wetland and Riparian Policy-May15 comments due!
3. SJWC NTMP – acreage data still lacking
4. RMC/Cemex THP- new info submitted by RPF after Close of Public Comment
5. Big Creek Lumber – FSC Certification Report
6. Other current THPs
7. 10th Annual Coho Confab-August 17-19

1. May 21st BoSupes Hearing – TPZ Round 3

The first hearing by the Board of Supervisors on April 24 left Board members and the public scratching their heads. No three Supervisors could agree upon a larger-than-five-acre minimum parcel size for rezoning lands to Timber Production Zone. Supervisor Campos wanted to leave the minimum parcel size at 5 acres. Supervisor Stone wanted to raise it to 80 acres, the maximum allowed by State law. The other three Supervisors bounced around 20, 25, and 40 acre figures, but none stuck.

The hearing was continued to May 1st. Supervisor Stone then made a compromise suggestion to raise the minimum parcel size to 40 acres and allow for discretionary zoning on smaller parcels. A set of criteria for these smaller parcels would be established by the County. While there definitely seemed to be interest in this alternative, Supervisor Pirie insisted that the criteria be identified before a vote on the proposal be taken. Staff was directed to come up with a set of criteria and report back to the Board on May 22. Supervisor Beautz rhetorically asked the timberland owners in the audience why they hadn’t already rezoned to TPZ if it was so important to them.

Once again, the Board of Supes will hold a hearing on raising the minimum parcel size for rezoning to TPZ. PLEASE PLAN TO ATTEND on MAY 22!

At this point in time, it is unclear what staff will propose. (They have been directed NOT to share their thoughts with the public while they draft their recommendations.) The staff report will be on-line the Friday before the May 22 hearing.


2. State Waterboard Wetland and Riparian Policy-May15, comments due!

The Federal government has been busy gutting protections for riparian and wetland areas, particularly though a change in definition of wetlands, removing large areas from regulation under the federal Clean Water Act. The State Water Resources Control Board and the nine Regional Water Quality Control Boards are the state’s primary water quality regulatory agencies, tasked with protecting the beneficial uses of the waters of the state under the California Water Code.

From the Center for Biological Diversity: “The California State Water Resources Board is seeking input on the scoping process for a Statewide Wetland and Riparian Area Protection Policy intended to protect critical resources and water quality throughout the state. As part of the scoping process, the board is considering whether to propose a narrow policy concerning only dredge and fill activities in wetlands and riparian areas or a more expansive policy that would regulate many other activities and discharges.” Public Comment closes on May 15.

Ideally, Alternative 4, which would expand the area of concern to include other activities and discharges beyond dredging and filling needs to be approved. It would include policy quidance for land and vegetation clearing activities. You can take action from this link: http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/CA_wetlands/

The information document on the proposal can be found here: http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/cwa401/docs/wrapp/info_doc.pdf

NOW, the amazing thing is that State Waterboard staff showed up at the Board of Forestry Resource Committee meeting on May 2 and essentially gave the timber industry a heads-up on the scoping process and the extended public comment deadline (May 15). Staff even asked the Board of Forestry to submit comments if they saw fit. I had to respond that I thought it inappropriate for the Board of Forestry (Bof) to submit comments to another board, UNLESS the Board of Forestry was willing to change their own policy and attend State Waterboard meetings to alert the public to policy changes that the BoF was recommending. It never ceases to amaze me how deep the tendrils of the timber industry run in state government. The timber industry is very concerned that new policy could include vegetation protection of riparian areas, which could encompass Class III, ephemeral streams. This makes it even more important that you and everyone you know submit a comment letter to the State Waterboard. http://actionnetwork.org/campaign/CA_wetlands/


3. SJWC NTMP –acreage data still lacking

More than three months after NAIL submitted data showing that San Jose Water Company owns too much timberland to qualify for an NTMP, Big Creek Lumber and SJWC have submitted NO data showing that they only have 2002 acres, as originally stated in the NTMP submitted more than a year ago.

NAIL has engaged in an email/letter exchange with CDF trying to find out what definition of timberland CDF intends to use to make their determination of whether SJWC qualifies or not, and to learn what methodologies CDF will employ to make that determination.

A list of documents and code references on ‘timberland’ were sent in response, including a guidance document which exists in a binder located in the backroom off limits to the public at the Felton CDF office.

However, CDF has staunchly refused to divulge what methodology they will employ to ascertain whether or not SJWC owns less than 2500 acres of timberland. Of course, until Big Creek submits proper maps and shapefiles, as requested by CDF in February, CDF doesn’t have anything to compare to NAIL’s meticulously researched and executed shapefiles. Since the footdragging has gone on far too long and thousands of public dollars have already been spent reviewing this plan, NAIL is asking CDF to fish or cut bait. Either Big Creek/SJWC submit data now, or CDF should deny the plan.


4. RMC/Cemex THP-new info submitted by RPF after Close of Public Comment

In another amazing, yet typical CDF end run on behalf of the timber industry, CDF closed public comment on the RMC/Cemex San Vicente Creek THP on April 23. However, they allowed the RPF to submit new comments regarding cumulative impacts as a result of the recent 303(d) listing of San Vicente Creek on the last day of comment and additional maps (marbled murrelet buffer zones and appurtenant roads) a week later. Now CDF is claiming the info is not ‘significant’ and, therefore, they do not need to extend public comment. This is exactly the type of action that the Joy Road Court Case attempted to stop. I guess CDF doesn’t care. Never mind that the marbled murrelet map does not contain a scale or that the appurtenant road maps do not adhere to the special Santa Cruz County road rule. The cumulative impact data? Bogus as far as we’re concerned. The RPF averages data taken from Cal Poly’s monitoring study on the South Fork of Little Creek and then tries to compare it to single data samples gathered by Public Works. Never mind that Cal Poly has had to reject the data from the South Fork as their ‘background’ data because of an active, legacy landslide upstream in that reach.


5. Big Creek Lumber – FSC Certification Report

OFor those interested in learning more about the operations of Big Creek Lumber, you can check out their latest Forest Stewardship Council re-certification. Read about all the wonderful things they do to help the forests, fish and endangered marbled murrelets. Never mind that the report omits all of Big Creek’s stellar efforts to get the coho salmon south of San Francisco de-listed. Never mind the helicopter operations on Mount Madonna last year which caused severe asthma attacks in neighbors. Never mind the 10’ diameter redwood tree with ten inch limbs cut by Big Creek on the St. Francis THP even though the plan prohibited cutting trees with old growth characteristics and that particular tree was slated to be saved. Never mind that Big Creek has spent a year and a half of agency review time on the San Jose Water Company NTMP based on an un substantiated claim that SJWC only owns 2002 acres of timberland. NAIL, the neighbor group fighting the NTMP has determined that SJWC owns more than 2700 acres of timberland, by the most conservative calculations, and therefore, does not qualify for an NTMP.


6. Other Current THPs

1-06-147 SMO • Redwood Glen • Teawater Creek 123 acres

1-06-187 SCR • Boy Scouts • Bear Creek 80

1-07-017 SCR • Big Creek/Burch • Corralitos Creek 161

1-07-023 SMO • Redtree Properties • Waterman Gap 993

1-07-062 SCR • UC Regents • San Lorenzo River 3

1-07-072 SCR • Sinnott • Kings Creek 78


7. 10th Annual Coho Confab-August 17-19

If you’ve never been, I encourage you to go. These are really fun and educational weekends with great people. An easy way to learn more about forests and watersheds through hands-on field classes. There’s something for everyone including an outstanding wild salmon feast, followed by good music and comraderie around a campfire.

10th Annual Coho Confab
August 17-19 in the Mattole Watershed
The 10th Annual Coho Confab will be held in the beautiful Mattole Valley on the North Coast of California. This landmark event is sponsored by Salmonid Restoration Federation, Trees Foundation, Sanctuary Forest, Mattole Restoration Council, and the Mattole Salmon Group. This year's Confab will feature restoration tours highlighting sudden oak death, road decommissioning, the Mattole Canyon Creek Delta restoration, installing instream structures, and a headwaters of the Mattole tour addressing water conservation, sediment reduction, conservation easements, and acquisitions. Other field tours will visit Wild and Working Lands sites, instream structures in the lower Mattole to the Estuary, and Mill Creek. Workshops will focus on underwater fish identification, riparian invertebrate monitoring- stream health assessment, and high-tech water quality monitoring. Open forums and resource workshops will include stories and songs of salmon with author of Totem Salmon, Freeman House, singer-songwriter Joanne Rand, co-author of Salmon Nation, Seth Zuckerman, and David Simpson and Jane Lapiner of the theatrical troupe, Human Nature. Saturday night will culminate with a wild salmon feast, a cabaret, and the Joanne Rand band. The Sunday morning workshops include amphibian monitoring, flow monitoring in the Mattole, and “how to build a successful watershed group.”

For more information about the Confab, please visit www.calsalmon.org or www.treesfoundation.org macro-invertebrate sampling, headwaters to mouth restoration tours, underwater fish identification, water conservation techniques, bioengineering projects, hands-on opportunities, networking, great music and food.

Fee: $100-125 includes all food and lodging. Limited scholarships and work trade positions are available.

 

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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