Beaverslide Timber Sale Threatens Mad River Watershed

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Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

The Beaverslide Timber Sale is located just south of Ruth Lake in the Mad River watershed.  The Six Rivers National Forest is planning to commercially log nearly 2000 acres approximately 560 acres with ground based equipment, 1350 acres of skyline and 380 acres by helicopter and would extract 22.4 million board feet of timber.   EPIC with Conservation Congress appealed the project months ago and in response the USFS has just issued a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement.  A few changes were made but may not be significant enough to protect the wildlife and watershed. If you’ve read enough, you can skip ahead and submit your comments here.

Here are a few major details:

NSO- Northern Spotted Owl

The project area contains 13 Northern Spotted Owl nest sites and logging is proposed to degrade up to 345 acres of Nesting and Roosting habitat and 1651 acres of Foraging habitat.  The agency claims that 60% canopy will remain post logging, however, they did not consider the effect of clearing hundreds of swaths in forest stands for skyline cable logging and that NSO nest areas and home ranges are already deficient in suitable habitat.

Water Quality

The 13,241acre planning area lies within the Mad River Watershed, which has been listed as water quality impaired under section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act for sediment and turbidity. A Total Maximum Daily Loads for Sediment and Turbidity Report (TMDL) was completed in December of 2007, recommending a reduction of sediment inputs from current levels.  While the agency did increase riparian (stream) buffers, the widths are still only half of what the Northwest Forest
Plan recommends.

The Mad River district is also planning Kelsey Peak Timber Sale, another 1521 acres of logging in the same watershed.  Approximately 271 acres are within Riparian Reserves, 1.4 miles of “temporary” roads and 4.3 miles of reconstruction are proposed.  Harvest volume is estimated at 15 million board feet.

Roads

“The Upper Mad River Watershed is a heavily roaded watershed, which contributes additional fragmentation to a landscape that is already fragmented by natural conditions and previous timber harvest units. Fragmentation reduces habitat for species that require large home ranges with continuous habitats, and species that use interior, non-edge influenced late-successional habitats.

-Upper Mad River Watershed Analysis p 72.

The agency does have an Alternative that would not build more roads, however the others propose over 5 miles of new “temporary” roads.  As we have seen “temp” roads exist on the landscape for decades and damage from compaction and soil damage is imminent.

We’ve made it really easy! Please click here, to write to the Six Rivers Forest Supervisor and the Mad River Ranger to voice you concern.