Eye On Green Diamond:Current Logging in Maple Creek Watershed

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Monday, September 20th, 2010

Green Diamond filed start-up (logging commencement notice) on two Timber Harvest Plans this week.  Both plans are in the greater Maple Creek watershed.

THP 1-08-098 lies in Maple Creek proper.  It covers 131 acres, 90.7 clearcutting, and 22.4 selection. The plan area contains suitable habitat for Northern Spotted Owls, and Pacific Fisher, both of which are known to occur in the THP area. This plan will conduct cable selection logging on steep streamside slopes on Class II (non-fish bearing, but amphibian bearing stream) watercourses.  As with most Green Diamond THPs, this plan has adjacency constraints. This means that operations were restricted from occurring before now because adjacent stands were not either five years old or five feet tall at the time of plan approval.  The forest to be clearcut is extremely young, 50-55yrs old. The plan area drains downslope into Maple Creek, a stream that provides habitat for threatened anadramous fish.

THP 1-09-059 lies in Pitcher Creek and Mc Donald Creek. THP area covers 96 acres, 71 acres clearcutting, and 25 selection. The THP area contains suitable habit for Northern Spotted Owl, Pacific Fisher, Osprey, Southern torrent salamander, tailed frog and red-legged frog, all of which are known to occur in the THP area.  The plan proposes potentially damaging ground based yarding in Class II Riparian Management Zones (RMZs) in some areas. Units A,B,C are oversized, meaning units greater than 20 acres for ground based yarding, or 30 acres for cable yarding.  This plan was also constrained from immediate logging due to adjacent previous clearcutting operations. The forest to be clearcut under this THP averages 60 years old, also representing a very young forest, subject to very fast and intensive rotation.

These THPs represent the Green Diamond pattern of clearcutting, burning, spraying herbicides, and then quickly re-entering stands before any true ecological value to species can accrue.  Species such as Northern Spotted Owl and Pacific Fisher are systematically being forced to abandon suitable habitats for younger and younger forests, forests that do not generally provide the kind of structure and ecological value that would facilitate the survival, and ultimate recovery of these species.