Information Vacuum: Green Diamond in Maple Creek Part 2

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Saturday, July 9th, 2011

While Green Diamond continues its onslaught of intensive industrial forest liquidation in Maple Creek, the company is doing very little monitoring or research to discern the consequences of these practices for public trust resources.  We know very little about conditions in the Maple Creek watershed, and Green Diamond Timber Harvest Plans recently submitted for Maple Creek are virtually devoid of any data or other meaningful information.  What data does exist is very limited in scope and size, thus rendering it impossible to discern any real patterns or implications from such data.

Maple Creek is known to support both resident and anadromous fisheries, but Green Diamond does not appear to be conducting any monitoring of these species in Maple Creek.  The aquatic monitoring data that does exist represents a small sample size over a small period of time, and the results are wildly variable.  No information about the conditions of habitat for resident or anadromous fish is provided in Green Diamond’s THPs, leaving a massive informational gap that hampers both agency and public evaluation. The only mention of monitoring activities conducted by Green Diamond in its THPs for Maple Creek indicates that recently-implemented headwaters stream monitoring is showing erosion impacts resulting from existing roads, though this data is also limited.

The fundamental requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act to make decisions based on substantial evidence appear to be largely disregarded by Green Diamond and Cal Fire. The virtual informational void in Maple Creek as evidenced by lack of any data or quantitative analysis in Green Diamond’s THPs makes approval of these plans as written suspect at best.  Cal Fire has systemically failed in its responsibility to make determinations based on substantial evidence in light of the record presented. This fact betrays a lack of regulatory mechanisms and controls over potential impacts to fish and other threatened species.

These disturbing information gaps are part and parcel of the ongoing liquidation practices of Green Diamond. EPIC is working hard to expose the activities of this company in order to leverage on the ground changes that protect natural resources from over-expoitation, and to foment company wide reform. The efforts that Green Diamond makes to hide their destructive practices from a forest products market that is increasingly sensitive to sustainability issues made up a big part of our last edition of the EPIC Environment Show on KMUD radio.