Posts Tagged ‘Northern Spotted Owls’

Panther Fire Salvage Project

Friday, February 12th, 2010
By
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

Enter description
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…)