Proposed Legislation Addresses Cumulative Effects of Logging

Monday, March 29th, 2010

hellabadslideA new Assembly Bill introduced by Wes Chesbro (D-Arcata) would help to create a framework for evaluating cumulative effects caused by industrial logging operations on privately owned timberlands. The bill focuses on pilot projects that would map out how to do watershed scale planning. Chesbro is the new Chair of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee (replacing Skinner).

AB 2575 “Comprehensive Forest Land Recovery and Restoration Act,” could ultimately improve evaluation of cumulative effects by requiring CalFire (California Department of Forestry), through pilot projects adopted under new CalFire regulations. According to bill proponents, the projects would: incorporate credible experts and representatives of industry, landowners, agencies, and the public; arrive at a process and produce guidelines; and ensure that California’s private and state forestland health — including vital economic, environmental, and social aspects — are recovered and restored for the long-term.

Chesboro’s Bill would also require CalFire to electronically publish timber harvest plans on a watershed basis, which would facilitate effective public involvement in evaluating and responing to cumulative effects of multiple logging operations in a watershed over time.¬† According to Chesboro’s AB 2575 Fact Sheet, “this is a process that has been sorely lacking, and that the normal California forest practice regulatory system has been unable to adequately come to grips with and achieve.”

Goals of AB 2575 are to: restore fisheries and wildlife habitat; reduce the risk of wildfire, recover forest characteristics, which will produce high-quality timber; reduce sedimentation and soil loss; achieve optimum carbon sequestration; and restore and recover unique attributes of a given planning watershed.

Assemblymember Chesbro is also the new Chair of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (replacing Wiggins).