In a surprise move, on January 16, the California Department of Forestry (CDF) rescinded its approval of a timber harvest plan (THP) submitted by the Davenport cement plant owned by Cemex/RMC, a Mexican multi-national corporation. CDF took this extraordinarily unusual move in response to a phone call and follow-up letter submitted earlier that day by Jodi Frediani, Chair of the Santa Cruz County Group’s Forestry Task Force.
The Cemex THP has the potential to further devastate the San Vicente Creek watershed with detrimental results for the drinking water source of the community of Davenport. As noted in the last issue of The Ventana, 20 years of logging, which created an extensive dirt road network in the San Vicente Creek watershed, has resulted in high turbidity levels in San Vicente Creek. The resultant turbid water has necessitated a “Boil Water” order for the residents of Davenport for the last two winters. In November, 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) listed San Vicente Creek as a sediment-impaired waterbody. The contaminant source was listed as silviculture, or logging.
The Santa Cruz County Group applauds this rescission. CDF prematurely approved the THP on January 10, by closing public comment before the public had a chance to review and respond to the plan. In addition, the Santa Cruz County representative on the Timber Harvest Review Team not only did not receive notification of a Review Team meeting in December (and was therefore unable to attend), but also was not informed that public comment had closed before she submitted comments on behalf of the County.
As a result, the public comment period has been extended for 30 days, until February 20. Both the Sierra Club and COAST, a Davenport environmental group, intend to submit comments on the logging plan which did not adequately respond to the recent EPA listing of San Vicente Creek as an impaired waterway.
How to help
• Write Leslie Markham, Division Chief, Forest Practice, California Department of Forestry, 135 Ridgeway Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 regarding the Cemex/RMC THP, 1-06-080 SCR; or e-mail Ms. Markham:
• Tell Chief Markham to prohibit Winter Operations as requested by the County and to require no cutting next to the streams as specified by the Department of Health Services in order to protect drinking water sources. Some writers might want to ask that no more logging be permitted until the current water quality problems for Davenport are resolved.
• Comments must be received by February 20, 2007.