Posts Tagged ‘Klamath National Forest’

Westside Community Meeting in Orleans September 11th

Monday, September 7th, 2015
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Westside from BR Lookout

This Friday, concerned community members will be meeting to discuss impacts of the Westside project on our communities. In the coming days, the Klamath National Forest plans to auction off 14 timber sales, that have been analyzed as part of the Westside post-fire logging project, a large commercial salvage logging proposal that covers over 30,000 acres of management including logging on about 10,000 acres of forests affected by the Whites, Beaver and Happy Camp fires of 2014. Areas proposed for logging are adjacent to wilderness areas, the Pacific Crest Trail, within Wild and Scenic River corridors, critical habitat for coho salmon and northern spotted owls and wildlife corridors that are important for providing linkages between the islands of protected areas. The timber sales proposed in the Westside project are all located within the blue circle on the map (below). The Klamath National Forest has not yet released the Record of Decision, which was expected this week, and has not completed formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service. The Klamath National Forest has not yet received a water quality permit from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

EPIC Connecting Wild Places with Westside IDsmallOver the past year, our staff has read and commented on the Westside Environmental Impact Statement and attended the informational meetings put forward by the Klamath National Forest, and we have all agreed that the information and format that has been provided is less than helpful.

In order to better understand the landscape that will be affected by the proposed Westside Project, we have used the shape files for the project boundaries to illustrate aerial images from google earth. These maps more accurately depict the scale, magnitude and context of the proposed project by showing the project in relation to the watersheds that are at stake. These maps will be available at the community meeting.

The Karuk Alternative maps that were developed by the Karuk Tribe have proposed to reduce the project scope to focus on strategic ridge-top fuel breaks to protect rural communities so that fire can be reintroduced to the landscape. The Karuk Alternative is a third of the scale of the Klamath National Forest’s proposal.

Since the beginning of time, fire has shaped the landscape of the region, and it is well documented that cultural burning was used to thin the understory, and allow for healthy larger trees to thrive. prescribed fires were also used to encourage the growth of important resources such as acorns and bear grass, which is used by local tribes to make baskets. Over the last century, these mountains have endured the ecologically damaging practices of clear-cut logging, fire suppression, and plantation forestry, which shape most of the landscape we see today. If you live in or visit the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains and observe your surroundings, you have probably noticed the vicious cycle of:

1. clear-cut logging of the big old fire-resistant, shade-producing trees;

2. plantations that quickly become brush fields due to lack of funds to maintain them in an ongoing way;

3. fire suppression policy that continually increases the size and severity of fires that get away;

4. fire-fighting strategies that increase the size of the burned area; and

5. salvage sales that cost taxpayers more than the government makes on the sale, and in many cases leave huge amounts of slash on the ground, setting us up for the next fire. (And setting the fish up for a hot, sediment-choked, disease-prone environment.)

If you would like to learn about the size, scope and specifics of the Westside salvage sale and discuss potential consequences and community responses, you are cordially invited to come to this important informational meeting for Westside post-fire logging project on Friday, September 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm at the Karuk DNR-Department of Natural Resources Community Room, 39051 Highway 96. In Orleans, CA. All are welcome. Refreshments and dinner included, but bring a potluck dish to share if you can.

DIRECTIONS: Headed northeast on Highway 96, go one quarter mile past Orleans and cross the bridge over the Klamath. The parking lot is on the right hand side (Just after Red Cap Road). Cell phones and GPS Navigation systems do not work here, so you may want to map your route in advance. Allow ~2 hours of drive time from Arcata area.

RESOURCES:

Google Earth image maps with timber sale boundaries – Organized by timber sale and/or watershed.

Westside Fact Sheet and Agency Contacts for Westside Project – 1 page fact sheet for letter writing.

EPIC Guide to Groundtruthing trifold – An excellent guide for analyzing project impacts in the field.

The Westside Story – An in epic analysis of the wildlife, wild rivers, and wild places that would be affected by the Westside project.

Final Comments on Westside DEIS – EPIC, Klamath Forest Alliance and KS Wild comments on the Westside Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The Westside Final Environmental Impact Statement – A link to all of the Klamath National Forest’s documents related to the Westside project.

Timber Sale Maps developed by the Klamath National Forest:

Whites Fire Salvage Heli Map

Walker Creek Fire Salvage Heli Map

Tyler Meadows Fire Salvage Heli Map

Tom Martin Fire Salvage Heli Map

Slinkard Fire Salvage Heli Map

Salt Creek Fire Salvage SBA Map

Middle Creek Fire Salvage Heli Map

Hamburg Fire Salvage Map

Greider Heli Fire Salvage Map

Cougar Heli Fire Salvage Map

Cold Springs Fire Salvage Map

Caroline Creek Fire Salvage Heli Map

Blue Mountain Fire Salvage Heli Map

Beaver Fire Salvage Timber Sale Map

 

FlyerWestsideMeeting


Protect the Wild Salmon River – Stop “Salvage” Logging

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014
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Photo#1_KellyGulchTake Action! The Wild and Scenic (W&S) North Fork Salmon River is threatened with post-fire “salvage” logging. The Salmon/Scott River Ranger District of the Klamath National Forest (NF) is proposing to streamline logging on over 1,000 acres of steep slopes, including road construction over trails and overgrown roads.  Over 60% of the project area is within Critical Habitat for the threatened Northern Spotted Owl.  The W&S North Fork Salmon River is designated a Key watershed, meaning it is critical for salmon recovery.  The river is also listed under the Clean Water Act as being impaired. This project jeopardizes the wild and rugged nature of the North Fork Salmon River.

The Klamath NF Environmental Analysis of the Salmon Salvage project continues to claim that no new roads are needed, however one of the “existing” roadbeds, nearly a mile long, has not been used for decade. It is grown over, laden with landslides and located on a steep and unstable hillside. Heavy equipment and severe earth moving would be required to make it ready for 18 wheeler logging trucks. Where there are roads, there are landings to accommodate heavy equipment.  Landings are bulldozed flats that are 1/2-acre to up to two-acre openings.

Photo#2

Kelly Gulch A Spur “Existing” Road

Photo#3_LookCloseFlaging

Same “road” look close for flagging, which indicates location of the road

Over 300 acres of the project is within larger forest stands.  One of these areas along the Garden Gulch Trail provides high quality Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl, and is a popular gateway that leads into the Marble Mountain Wilderness.  EPIC and the conservation community have been defending this beautiful forest stand for a decade, first fighting the Knob Timber Sale, and then recently in opposition to the Little Cronan Timber Sale.  The agency is calling the trail an “existing” road, and now proposes to open the Garden Gulch trail, which is adjacent to a creek, to 18-wheeler logging trucks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment.

Garden Gulch Trail next to the creek and proposed road location

Garden Gulch Trail next to the creek and proposed road location

This particular forest stand, Unit 345, contains hundreds of big older trees, many of which are still very alive and green. It provides a vital link for wildlife connectivity and exemplifies high quality mixed conifer post-fire habitat.  The area burned at moderate to low severity contributing to the ecological quality of this ideal post-fire forest stand.  These trees are providing shade and valuable wildlife habitat, creating a healthy complex forest structure, all part of a natural process. Bulldozers, trucks, roads and landings do not belong on this trail or in this showcase post-fire habitat forest stand.

Southern Boundary next to the Garden Gulch Trail

Southern Boundary next to the Garden Gulch Trail

There are five Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) home ranges within the project vicinity.  Recent science shows that the owls benefit from burned forest stands and that post-fire logging has the potential to increase extinction rates, especially when done within core areas.  The NSO species Recovery Plans calls for “conserving and restoring habitat elements that take a long time to develop (e.g., large trees, medium and large snags, downed wood).

In their rush to implement this ecologically damaging project, the agency has sought an Emergency Situation Determination (ESD) from the regional forester.  If the request for an ESD were to be granted it would mean that trees can be cut down as soon as a decision is issued and a contract is signed, despite any appeal or claims brought in court.  Seeking an ESD circumvents judicial review, eliminating the public’s recourse in challenging poor decisions that threaten our public lands.

Take Action Today to Stop the Salmon River Salvage Project! Let Patricia Grantham, Forest Supervisor of Klamath National Forest know that you oppose post-fire logging that results in habitat destruction and road construction in designated Key watersheds like the North Fork Salmon River. Post-fire landscapes are considered to be one of the most rare, endangered, and ecologically important habitats in the western U.S.  They are rich, vibrant and alive and often provide more biodiversity than green forests.  Read more about the environmental effects of post-fire logging.  Take a walk in Garden Gulch.   See the overgrown unused Kelly Gulch A Spur Road on steep and unstable hillsides proposed for re-construction.  View more photos here.


Nesting Eagles Harassed with Helicopter Logging

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014
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IMG_2140Last week the Klamath National Forest took a calculated risk to knowingly harass a pair of Bald eagles and their babies with helicopter logging just 1,500 feet from their nest. Logging this close to the nest occurred continuously for over a week and is expected to continue in this general area.

A Happy Camp resident who has been observing this pair raising their young every year for the past 24 years, alerted EPIC last week. The adult eagles have shown very erratic behavior and have been heard screeching in distress every day logging has occurred. We contacted the ranger, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the wildlife biologist to understand why and by what legal authority allowed the Klamath National Forest to risk killing the nestlings.

Although there were limited operating periods designed and put in place to protect the nestlings, logging was taking place just outside of a Bald Eagle Management Area set up for this particular nest site. Eagles are no longer listed under the Endangered Species Act but are still protected by the Bald Eagle Protection Act, which can bring criminal and civil penalties for any person or organization taking or disturbing them. A violation of the Act can result in a criminal fine of $100,000 ($200,000 for organizations), imprisonment for one year, or both, for a first offense.

Management recommendations from the 2007 Bald Eagle Management Plan does allow some level of disturbance and is very lenient. Because of the public outcry and immediate attention from our organization the Happy Camp Ranger District has a wildlife biologist monitoring the nest during logging activity. The biologist has seen one nestling and the eagles are still tending to their babies.

Disruptive activities in or near eagle foraging areas can interfere with feeding, reducing chances of survival. Young nestlings are particularly vulnerable because they rely on their parents to provide warmth or shade, without which they may die as a result of hypothermia or heat stress. If food delivery schedules are interrupted, the young may not develop healthy plumage, which can affect their survival. Interference with feeding can also result in reduced productivity (number of young successfully fledged). Older nestlings no longer require constant attention from the adults, but they may be startled by loud or intrusive human activities and prematurely jump from the nest before they are able to fly or care for themselves. Once fledged, juveniles range up to 1⁄4 mile from the nest site, often to a site with minimal human activity. During this period, until about six weeks after departure from the nest, the juveniles still depend on the adults to feed them.

Where a human activity agitates or bothers roosting or foraging bald eagles to the degree that causes injury or substantially interferes with breeding, feeding, or sheltering behavior and causes, or is likely to cause, a loss of productivity or nest abandonment, the conduct of the activity constitutes a violation of the Eagle Act’s prohibition against disturbing eagles. If observations show that the logging has resulted in any of these negative affects EPIC will look into pressing charges for violations of the Bald Eagle Protection Act.


Panther Fire Salvage Project

Friday, February 12th, 2010
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DSC09000

Shep is looking down a steep hill within a proposed unit of the Panther Salvage project just above Norcross campground.

1/8/13 EPIC fought the Panther Fire “Salvage” Timber Sale all the way to the 9th Circuit Court of Law in Sacramento, but despite our best effort logging moved forward.

The Panther Fire started from a lightning storm in July 2008.   A combination of topography and weather resulted in a run that engulfed 13,000 acres, in a single day, October 1st.

The Happy Camp District of the Klamath National Forest logged 254 acres of steep post-fire hillsides within the Elk Creek watershed.  Elk Creek is listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act and is also a Key Watershed, which is critical habitat for salmon recovery.  Despite the impaired nature, the creek is home to Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, resident trout and the Pacific lamprey.  All of these species rely on the streams within Elk Creek for all life stages (migration, spawning, incubation, rearing, and holding).  The Elk Creek Watershed is extremely sensitive to disturbance and has been affected by too many roads and intensive timber harvest.

Logging took place in Late Successional Reserves, areas set aside to protect and enhance old growth forest structure and species; in Riparian Reserves, waterways and unstable areas and within Recreational River boundaries.

The Panther post-fire logging project is within Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl a species listed as “Threatened”  under the federal Endangered Species Act. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that northern spotted owls roost and forage in post-fire habitats, and owl territories with severely burned stands in the Panther fire area may continue to be occupied by owls.  Fire-killed trees provide perch sites and future nest sites.  Recent scientific evidence found that survival and reproduction depended upon significant patches of high severity post-fire habitat because it is suitable for a key prey species, the Dusky-footed wood rat.  This habitat is not mimicked by logging as proposed by the Panther project, which would remove snags and prevent recruitment of large downed logs.

Forest visitors regularly use the area for many reasons including the Sulphur Springs and Norcross Campgrounds and to access the Bear Lake and Bear Creek Trailheads, the Kelsey National Recreational Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, which lead to the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

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Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Large snags on steep slopes
Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Looking out into the Marbled Mountains
Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panoramic Viewscape
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Wet weather logging next to Elk Creek
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Denuded hillsides
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Denuded Riparian Reserves
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Dedunded Riparian Reserve
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panoramic Viewscape
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Rutting and erosion

 

 

6/3/10 Once again, the Klamath National Forest has proposed a heavy handed post-fire logging project in the Elk Creek watershed, amidst controversy. This project, the Panther Fire Salvage represents the third attempt the Happy Camp District has organized a sanitary-sounding plan to log within the Panther fire area. If approved, the Forest Service would give the thumbs up to log 536 acres of steep post-fire hillsides right above the Norcross campground, a popular recreational destination. The fire itself started from a natural ignition during a lightning storm in July, 2008.   A combination of topography and weather resulted in a run that engulfed 13,000 acres, in a single day, October 1st.

In the days of recovery, when soils are sensitive and young seedlings are emerging in their natural cycle, the Forest Service planned to remove large snags in what they continue to call “restoration.” This type of logging not only threatens future forest health through commercial logging on steep slopes and could impact critical habitat for decimated coho and chinook salmon,  it also could undermine the benefit of fire on this fire-dependent landscape.

Please take a moment and submit a comment letter to Patty Granthum and Ken Harris, who could turn this project around and address the critical issues within their management areas. Also, it really helps if you take the extra two minutes and customize your comments to include your personal reasons for opposing destructive post-fire salvage logging projects like this one.

Some legal reasons why this project should be stopped:

The Panther Salvage project is within the steep slopes of Elk Creek Watershed, which is listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act.  It is also a key Watershed, which is critical habitat for salmon recovery.  Despite the impaired nature, the creek is home to Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, resident trout and the Pacific lamprey.  All of these species rely on the streams within Elk Creek for all life stages (migration, spawning, incubation, rearing, and holding).  The Elk Creek Watershed is extremely sensitive to disturbance and has been affected by too many roads and intensive timber harvests.

Logging is proposed in “Late Successional Reserves,” (areas set aside to protect and enhance old growth forests and species), in “Riparian Reserves,”(waterways and unstable areas), Roadless Areas and within Recreational River boundaries.

The Panther post-fire logging project is within critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (a species listed as “Threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act). There is overwhelming scientific evidence that northern spotted owls roost and forage in post-fire habitats, and owl territories with severely burned stands in the Panther fire area may continue to be occupied by owls.  Fire-killed trees provide perch sites and future nest sites.   Recent scientific evidence found that survival and reproduction depended upon significant patches of high severity post-fire habitat because it is suitable for a key prey species, the Dusky-footed wood rat.  This habitat is not mimicked by logging as proposed by the Panther project, which would remove snags and prevent recruitment of large downed logs.

EPIC’s ongoing campaign to educate the public on why forests need fires includes fighting bad projects like the Panther, and working with the agencies as much as possible to prevent bad, post-fire logging and promote plantation thinning and other remediating techniques like prescribed fire.

Forest visitors regularly use the area for many reasons including the Sulphur Springs and Norcross Campgrounds and to access the Bear Lake and Bear Creek Trailheads, the Kelsey National Recreational Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, which lead to the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

Click here to send a letter to Forest Service representatives telling them you oppose the destructive project.

 

2/12/10 The Happy Camp District of the Klamath National Forest is planning to log 254 acres of steep post-fire hillsides. The hillsides were burned during the Panther Fire started during a lightning storm in July 2008. A combination of topography and weather resulted in a run that engulfed 13,000 acres, in a single day, on October 1, 2008. (more…)