Thursday, June 12, 2008

Pacific Lumber Logging Plans Threaten Grizzly Creek State Park

by Kerul Dyer ( kerul [at] ) Monday Jun 2nd, 2008 11:32 AM
In the long list of destructive logging plans Pacific Lumber is trying to sneak past state review while shielded by bankruptcy proceedings, the Root 09 Timber Harvest Plan deserves special attention. Two hundred twenty-four acres of redwood forests are slated to be cut in the Root Creek watershed, above Grizzly Creek State Park, on Hwy 36 along the Van Duzen River.
In the long list of destructive logging plans Pacific Lumber is trying to sneak past state review while shielded by bankruptcy proceedings, the Root 09 Timber Harvest Plan deserves special attention. Two hundred twenty-four acres of redwood forests are slated to be cut in the Root Creek watershed, above Grizzly Creek State Park, on Hwy 36 along the Van Duzen River. If logged, the timber giant will destroy Marbled Murrelet habitat and threaten the stability of sensitive slopes above the sediment-impaired Van Duzen River. Two of Root 09’s six units, numbered two and three, lie within a "translational/rotational landslide" upslope from the Van Duzen river, and directly above a residential property. As well, unit one is within an active debris slide, further marking this plan as severe and careless forest management. "Its a total affront to our park system," said Noel Soucy, THP monitor for the Environmental Protection Information Center. "We have set these beautiful areas aside for a forest sanctuary, but now when you go to the park, you will be bombarded by the sounds of screaming chainsaws and giant helicopters.” Since PL filed for bankruptcy some 18 months ago, the company is essentially insulated from litigation because any legal challenge would have to happen in Texas bankruptcy court. During that period, PL has proposed more logging plans than Soucy can count on both hands. "There simply isn't enough time to review all of these THP’s,” Soucy said, "to catch the inconsistencies, we would need several people working full time sifting through proposed plans." After years of successful lawsuits, popular movements and sustained, on-the-ground forest defense opposing clearcuts in the redwoods, Pacific Lumber is still liquidating forests, leaving little for future generations. Species like the pacific fisher, spotted owl, marbled murrelet, salmon and steelhead already struggle to survive in this fragmented landscape. They will suffer from the logging practices proposed in Root 09 and related plans. Soucy spent 14 years conducting extensive wildlife fieldwork in Northern California, including ten field seasons specifically studying northern spotted owls for various governmental agencies. "There are a lot of spotted owls in this area, ten or 11 activity centers within just over a mile of this plan,” Soucy concluded. EPIC is not the only voice critical of the Root 09 logging plan. Four government agencies, including the California Geological Survey, submitted reviews of the proposed logging. The geologic review points out two areas of concern along a roadway parallel with the Grizzly Creek State Park boundary. The narrative description estimates that a fill area within a watercourse channel (stream) between the road and down slope property line is about 40 feet thick. While the park recognizes the problem, no plans exist to repair this problem, because the activity itself could compound issues, affecting the stands within Grizzly Creek State Park. According to the text of the CGS review, public safety is also at risk. "It was also discussed during this focused inspection the potential for threats to public safety by leaving this deep void open.” The holes left could be 40 feet deep. The CGS review further indicates, “it is clear that the adjacent property, within about 75 feet of this site, will eventually be part of the California State Park system and that hikers could inadvertently wander off site and fall into the deep void." "If the logging leads to slope or fill failure, as has happened over and over again after ill-advised PL logging, this sediment would end up in the Van Duzen river,” concluded a saddened Soucy. Thirty year Mateel forest and fishery advocate Richard Gienger explained that without taking action to restore these areas, the situation will only get worse. “California State Parks and Recreation and PL should have a comprehensive survey of conditions, and a restoration plan with an implementation schedule,” said Gienger. PL’s Root 09 would log 224 acres, including more than 60 acres of clearcuts. More than two thousand acres will be logged in the region, If all of the Pacific Lumber/Scotia Pacific THP’s receive approval from CalFire. All of these plans were proposed during the bankruptcy process, and are insulated from legal action. During EPIC's 30-year history, volunteers and staff have labored over documents in attempts to use every available legal tool to defend ecological principals and economic stability for this region. To get involved, visit, write kerul [at], or call 707.822.7711.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

National Forests Next Target For Anhilation?

Bush's forest legacy may yet prove simliar to the administration's disregard for humanity, the environment and justice. The 2005 National Forest Management Act was struck down by a federal court recently, a major victory for the environment. However, new developments may demonstrate the abilities of the Bush administration to undermind the ruling.


*National parks at risk of private development*
editorial By The Denver Post
04/25/2008 02:11:27 PM MDT
http://www.denverpo ci_9044893
More than 40 years ago, federal lawmakers decided to set aside specific oil and gas leasing revenue to buy recreational land for the enjoyment of the American people.But instead of establishing a strong tradition of land acquisition, raiding that fund appears to have become the norm. It's a practice that must be reconsidered.Lack of funding is the crux of why 55 national parks are left without money for critical land acquisition needs, according to a recent report by the National Parks Conservation Association.

Monday, April 21, 2008

LE 59 THP#1-08-002 "Scotia Bluffs"

The Scotia Bluffs is one of our local treasures…a beautiful panoramic feature of the small town of Rio Dell. Located along the Eel River, the Scotia Bluffs are part of the divide separating the fork of the Eel and the Van Duzen Rivers.

Overlooking the Scotia Bluffs and the town of Rio Dell alongside the Eel River. Notice the parallel features of the sedimentary layers of sandstone(center right). Nanning Creek runs from the lower left of the photo west to the Eel River. Scotia is on far upper left side of photo.

Sadly, this area is slated to be logged. Pacific Lumber(PL) Timber Harvest Plan(THP)#1-08-002 dubbed “LE 59” threatens to destroy the fragile sandstone slopes bordering Nanning Creek and the Eel River. Destruction begins this Fall 2008.

Notice the layers of sediment and stone that form the bluffs. Locked inside the brittle sandstone are ancient fossils from a prehistoric ocean floor. The vegetation above the bluffs helps keep the steep walls stable. Please do not pull fossils from the walls, this further weakens the fragile area. Fossils are found scattered along the tracks and on hazardous active landslides.

The bluffs are layers of earth that were an ancient seabed, about three million years old.
This ancient seabed became sandstone from the pressure and weight of the earth and ocean on top of it. Over time, this ancient sea bed was elevated by two faults pushing against each other, known as a thrust fault. The collision lifted the layers of the ancient seabed up over the other fault, creating the bluffs. Over a period of time, the Eel River and Nanning Creek carved the steep slopes alongside the bluffs allowing the ancient seabed to be visible to the residents of Rio Dell and to all who pass through here on Highway 101.

These tracks run alongside the Eel River, the easiest and most legal access point to get a closer look at the fossils contained in the bluffs. Please do not pull fossils from the walls, this further weakens the fragile area. Fossils are found scattered along the tracks and on hazardous active landslides.

If you hike the old rail tracks owned by the defunct North Coast Rail Authority east from Eagle Prairie bridge between the Eel River and Scotia, you can get a closer view of these amazing bluffs. You can also find fossils there, most are from GIANT scallops that are millions of years old. Please do not pull fossils from the Bluff’s walls.

What makes the Bluffs THP so destructive? PL plans to log above the ridge along the bluffs. This area also contains some of the last remaining Marbled Murrelette nesting stands.

The angles of the layers change throughout the Scotia Bluffs area. Truly, an amazing feature of Humboldt County.

Imagine the landslides that will be created by this terrible THP. The Eel River is already heavily silted, and Salmon populations are on the decline. Governor Schwartzenegger has declared the North Coast as a disaster area in regards to commercial salmon fishing for 2008. Our salmon cannot survive without clear, cool water. As forests are removed alongside creeks, rivers, and streams, the end result is water temperature increases from the lack of shade from the lost canopy.

Despite the fact that this plan has been approved by California Department of Forestry(CDF), hope remains that this destructive plan by Pacific Lumber can be stopped. We call upon the residents of Rio Dell and neighboring Scotia to stand with us to defend the Scotia Bluffs. We may not share the same views with PL’s employees on forest issues, but this plan WILL affect Rio Dell’s view… quite literally.

Overlooking the Eel River from the Scotia Bluffs towards Rio Dell at sunset.

Please visit Humboldt Forest Defense for more information on how to get involved.

Stafford Left THP#1-08-047

THP # 1-08-047 sounds like an identification number given to a prisoner. The “Stafford Left” Timber Harvest Plan(THP) is one of the few areas left of older forests help prisoner by Pacific Lumber Company(PL). Unfortunately, this area located just south of Stafford along Highway 101, is on PL‘s “death row”. It is up to you to call or write CDF in support of an execution stay for these rapidly deceasing stands of Late Seral Redwoods. This area is up for execution after April 28th, 2008.Stafford Left(dead center), note the steep slopes and location to Hwy 101‘s Avenue of the Giants. Also take notice of the sediment discharge into the Eel River from Jordon Creek(lower left), likely from bordering clear-cuts.

Stafford Left is so close to Redwoods State Park. In fact, you can see the groves of Old Growth along the Eel River just across Highway 101 from Demonstration Forest. These lucky trees were fortunate to be spared from the wrath of PL. Stafford Left could(and should) be annexed to the park, units containing the largest trees are located right alongside the Redwood State Park boundary.

Photo from Stafford Left looking east over Hwy 101 and The Eel River. The Avenue of the Giants is in the background(right).

The town of Stafford has a somewhat unfortunate history in regards to MAXXAM controlled PL. More than a decade ago, residents lost their homes in a massive mudslide that consumed everything in it’s path. It was determined without a doubt that the steep slope logging practices used by PL caused the slopes to lose stability. Everything moved once the rains hit, an inescapable wall of mud and gravel. Families lost their homes. Luckily, no one was seriously hurt.

Stafford Left is steep!

The 50 Acre Stafford THP proposes logging on extremely steep slopes. These sharp inclines are right above the southbound lanes of Highway 101. These slopes are already impaired due to past logging practices. The soil composition is mostly sand and gravel, which is barely hanging onto the sharp hillside. After these areas are wiped out, nothing will stop the slopes from sliding into the highway. Jordan Creek is adjacent to the plan which directly flows into heavily sediment impaired Eel River.

One of the lucky "Leave Trees" marked with white "L". Blue striped trees are doomed!

Large Coast Redwood trees are getting rare and hard to find on PL‘s property. The fight used to be to save the Old Growth. Now there is little left of both Old Growth and Second Growth. These two marked trees are of the scattered lucky survivors left… on Stafford Left.

With so few big Redwoods left, no wonder this plan is called “Stafford Left“, or better said “What is left of Stafford“. The fact that this grove is so close the State Park, Highway 101, and The Eel River makes these trees much more valuable to the State Park, than a view of landslides and clear-cuts on your way North leaving the Avenue of the Giants.

These stands are prime nesting habitat for the endangered Marbled Murrelett.
As these Giants disappear, countless species are affected(including amphibians, plants, and mammals), further pushed to the edge of extinction. As our planet begins to heat up, these vital components of our fractured climate and micro-climate are plundered and sold to the highest bidder, all in the name of greed.

The Eel River is crucial for North Coast salmon reproduction. Sadly, the salmon have had one of the worst years on record due to disease, water turbidity, and river temperature increases. Aside from dams, a majority of these issues are unarguably due to irresponsible logging. Irresponsible forestry practices affect more than just the birds and the trees.

The blue mark of death. Trees marked for execution are usually given a blue spray paint band by PL surveyors.

Please take a moment to write an email to CDF opposing this execution of these defenseless and irreplaceable beings. It’s about more than the trees. It’s about everything that connects us to the Earth.

A view that usually cannot be seen by the travelers along Hwy 101 due to the “scenic corridor“. “Please, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain“.

Visit Humboldt Forest Defense for more information on ways you can save trees.