Eye on Green Diamond: Jacoby Creek Operations

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Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

If you have been wondering the origin of the small logs being hauled through the residential neighborhood in the Jacoby Creek area of Bayside, look no further than Green Diamond’s 2008 logging plans. Two Green Diamond clearcut logging plans, approved last year and filed to begin operations at the end of July, are underway.

While there are a total of three active Green Diamond clearcut plans within Jacoby Creek watershed, two (1-08-145 and 1-08 153) have had “start-ups” filed with the California Department of Forestry and Fire (CalFire) in the last several weeks. Green Diamond has prepared to clearcut in very young stands in this area, underscoring the problems of short rotation, clearcut based logging operations. Aside from the almost exclusive use of clearcutting, the units to be cut are surrounded by areas plagued by years of clearcut logging. As is required under the California Environmental Quality Act, the list of historic plans within the planning documents has been included, and is daunting. (See graphic below)

It may be a bit difficult to understand how much logging has occurred in this region until you examine the attached maps showing a century of clearcut logging and roadbuilding that has increased the slope instability and damaged the watershed. What’s unique about these logging plans is that they are in such close proximity to residents along Jacoby Creek, including a certified organic farm.

To find out more about these plans or other private industrial logging operations, contact Calfire in Fortuna at (707) 725-4413 or visit the Forest Practice section of their website.  Click here to see what local redwood forest defence activists are doing to save this place.

Eye on Green Diamond: Jacoby Creek Operations

by Rob DiPerna

Green Diamond is currently operating on two adjacent Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) in the its Jacoby Creek ownership.  THP 1-08-145 and THP 1-08-153 are both located along the property line with units adjacent to residences.

The stands in these plans average a paltry 50 years old.  The tree size in these stands averages less than two feet in diameter.  These largely young, homogenous stands have already been the subject of several overlapping logging entries in the last 10-12 years.  Both plans were subject to selection and commercial thinning operations under four overlapping THPs.

These THPs contain Steep Streamside Slopes as defined in Green Diamond’s Aquatic Conservation Plan (AHCP) on Class I (fish-bearing) and Class II (non-fish-bearing but support amphibians) watercourses. Green Diamond will conduct selection-logging operations within the outer zone of these steep streamside slopes. Selection logging is also proposed in the Riparian Management Zones as defined in the AHCP, with the exception of Units C and D of THP 1-08-153.  These RMZs do not contain enough overstory canopy for Green Diamond to conduct further operations, likely as a result of the previous, overlapping harvest entries.

These two plans combine for 72 acres of clearcut logging of these young, heavily impacted and homogeneous stands.  This is a ‘clear-cut’= example of multiple entries, quick rotations, and intensive even-aged forest management. According to the THPs, the last commercial thinning entry into these units was under a THP filed as recently as 2001 (1-01-346). Now, less than ten years later, Green Diamond is back again, this time to completely liquidate as much of these young stands as the Forest Practice Rules and the AHCP will allow.

Jacoby Creek watershed in the vicinity of these THPs is home to resident Cutthroat trout, and represents potentially suitable habitat for listed species such as Coho salmon.  In addition, these areas are littered with historic Osprey nesting sites.  While the area does not contain Northern Spotted Owls, this species is known to occur in the biological assessment area.  In Addition, both these THPs represent habitat for the Pacific Fisher.

Green Diamond’s future projections for logging on its Jacoby Creek ownership demonstrate that nearly 500 acres more logging is likely in the next ten years, with nearly 400 acres of this slated for clearcutting.  Green Diamond’s frequent and intensive logging entries into these young stands represent a significant threat to trout and salmon species within Jacoby Creek.  Furthermore, the proposed logging operations on Steep Streamside Slopes runs the substantial risk of creating landslides or other mass wasting events.

Green Diamond’s intensive even-aged management in Jacoby Creek reflects the company-wide preference for liquidation forestry wherever the Forest

Practice Rules and the AHCP allow.  The Forest Practice Rules require “Maximum Sustained Production of High Quality Timber Products.” It is difficult to ascertain how Green Diamond can achieve maximum production of high-quality products when its intensive management strategy necessitates fast “rotation” i.e. logging and replanting, which results in the creation of young, homogenous stands that do not have time to develop into a high= quality product.

The consequence of this intensive even-aged management strategy is to sterilize the forest and significantly retard any attempts at biological recovery as a results of such frequent entries. Green Diamond’s 45-50 year rotation policy all but prevents the forest from developing the necessary characteristics of older more mature forests that would support a wider array of threatened species.

Clearly Jacoby Creek is but one example of Green Diamond’s intensive management which necessitates frequent entries, and ultimately results in clearcutting, burning, and the use of potentially dangerous herbicides. In a watershed such as Jacoby Creek where threatened trout and salmon are struggling to survive, Green Diamond’s intensive even-aged management practices will only serve to remove overstory canopy from critical streamsides, and clearcut the hills above.  In such an environment, it is difficult to see how the creek, or the species that depend on it can adequately recover from such frequent, and intensive even-aged management entries.