Archive for August, 2010

New! Short Youtube Video on Richardson Grove

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Thanks to the generous support of the Klamath-Salmon Media Collaborative, a local media effort from Orleans, California, we now offer this brief but informative video about the campaign to protect Richardson Grove State Park. Please share the video far and wide, to build our movement to stop Caltrans from damaging this important gateway.

From everyone here at EPIC, thanks Stormy!

Landmark Ninth Circuit Ruling: Logging Roads = Pollution

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Landmark Ninth Circuit Ruling: EPIC Got It Right In Our Bear Creek Case: Culverts and Ditches Along Logging Roads Are ‘Point Sources’ of Water Pollution, and must be regulated under a permit system.

On August 17, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a landmark ruling in a case from Oregon titled NEDC v Brown. The Northwest Environmental Defense Center (NEDC) is the environmental advocacy group staffed by law students at the Lewis and Clark Law School .

NEDC sued Brown, the Oregon Board of Forestry, and a handful of Oregon timber companies, among others, for their failure to obtain permits required under the federal Clean Water Act for discharges of a pollutant from a ‘point source;’ the key issue in the case is whether the culverts and ditches along the logging roads at issue are in fact ‘point sources’ under the law. In the Oregon case, the district court ruled they were not, and dismissed the case, agreeing with the timber companies, the Oregon officials, and the federal EPA.

However, in 2003, Judge Patel of the Northern District of California came to the opposite conclusion in a case that attorney Mike Lozeau argued with great skill on EPIC’s behalf against the Pacific Lumber Company. (more…)

Huge Caltrans Project Threatens Smith River and Old Growth Redwoods

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Similar to the Richardson Grove highway widening project, Caltrans has submitted a proposal for an STAA expansion along Highways 199 and 197 through the old growth redwoods adjacent to the middle fork of the Smith River.  The project is more severe than Richardson Grove in that it includes seven locations along the Smith River, which has a national designation as a wild and scenic river.  Some of the proposed alternatives include: the removal of several large old growth trees; replacement of several culverts, removal of a bridge that was built in the 1920’s, and installation of  a 400 foot long retaining wall along the scenic highway.

Comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Assessment are due on Monday August 23, 2010.

Click here to take an action to stop this unnecessary project!

Eye on Green Diamond: Jacoby Creek Operations

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. (more…)

Mining Project Decision Withdrawn Near Salmon River

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

The Klamath National Forest withdrew the decision notice for the High Bar Mine proposal rather than address EPIC and our allies’ appeal to the ill-conceived mining project. Now the agency plans to re-do the NEPA documents, for the third time. The mining operation proposal threatens McNiel Creek, a key cold water tributary crucial for the Salmon River’s fish runs.

A little background

Under the terms of the antiquated 1872 mining law, Wabuska Mining LLC has proposed to develop the High Bar Placer Mine in the McNeal watershed near the Salmon River in Trinity County. An Environmental Assessment has been prepared to analyze the project known as High Mar Mine Phase 2, which includes the following activities:

• Removal of approximately 1.75 acres of surface vegetation (and piling for later burning by Forest Service personnel) in preparation for excavation and milling operations,

• Excavation and stockpiling of approximately 19,000 cubic yards of topsoil and overburden soil,

• Excavation of approximately 24,500 cubic yards of ore material for on-site milling,

• Ore milling at the High Bar Placer Mine, including housing of mill personnel,

• Development of a water line for milling purposes from McNeal Creek,

• Continued use and maintenance of the existing non-system access road,

• Reclamation of the mined sites, with a Reclamation Bond to be paid to the Forest Service by the claimant/operator should claimant/operator fail to reclaim the site.

It is interesting to note that in a recent Best Management Practices Water Quality Monitoring Report, the Klamath National Forest assessed the High Bar Mine and access road and determined that the development that has occurred at this location up until this point did not include adequate measures, as layed out in the permit process, to reduce environmental impacts. Clearly outlined “erosion control measures had not been implemented, and removed vegetation had not been properly treated…”

Great letter to the Editor: Save Richardson Grove

Friday, August 6th, 2010

EPIC wants to republish the following letter to the editor by Jere Bob Bowden of Ferndale that appeared in the Times Standard today.

Save Richardson Grove

Letter to the Editor
Posted: 08/06/2010 01:15:38 AM PDT

Recently, I drove home to Ferndale from Sonoma County. Since the last time I made this 101 drive, someone had stretched a banner between two redwood trees at the southern entrance to Richardson Grove. Just before plunging into the dark woods, the words “Save Richardson Grove” flashed by. I paid close attention to what I was seeing, thanks to that sign.

Some time ago, I attended Caltrans’ elaborate presentation which was held at River Lodge in Fortuna. The layout of designs and options displayed at that meeting came to mind as I slowed down and made my way through the forest. I could visualize exactly what Caltrans is “offering” to us, and I did not like what I could imagine.

The entire journey from south entrance to north entrance through the grove is not long. What Caltrans proposes will rip the heart out of this park — a park which (as we all know) belongs to the citizens of the state of California.

Richardson Grove does not belong to Caltrans, nor to the trucking industry, nor to the various chambers of commerce in Humboldt County.

Will it be possible to stop this project in a traditional and systematic way? Will public commentaries have been persuasive? Or will it be necessary for several thousands of people to stand in silence next to the silent trees who are unable to defend themselves?

We had a Redwood Summer years ago. Another one could be arranged to save Richardson Grove, if required.

Jere Bob Bowden

Eye on Green Diamond: Future Clearcuts Planned

Friday, August 6th, 2010

A bird's eye view of the Maple Creek watershed.

Green Diamond Resource Company (GDR) has been intensively working to churn out dozen of new logging plans for 2010.  Thus far in 2010, GDR has filed 37 THPs covering thousands of acres.  Nearly all of these plans call for a vast majority of logging operations to be conducted by clearcut.

Most of these proposed new logging plans are concentrated in a few, heavily impacted watersheds.  For example, six of these new THPs are slated to conduct clearcut logging in Little River, four of which are proposed in the Headwaters region, a watershed area that has been heavily impacted by past and current clearcutting. Little River Still provides habitat for salmon and steelhead populations. (more…)

Richardson Grove Campaign Update

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Now that EPIC and our allies have filed a lawsuit against Caltrans for the Richardson Grove project, we are going through the statutory requirements right now, which include mandatory settlement discussions and the preparation of the entire administrative record.  As far as we know, the project is not going to begin for some time. According to Diane Feinstien’s office, “construction is proposed to begin in the winter of 2011.”

On June 30, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved a resolution to provide “approval for consideration for funding” of the the recommendation that the project be funded. It is interesting to note that nowhere in the resoultion language did the words “park” or Richardson Grove” or “Old Growth redwoods” appear. Perhaps this is the reason that with so many people paying close attention to procedures related to the project, no one caught that the item appeared on the CTC’s agenda. According to the Memorandum that laid out the resolution, the “total estimated project cost is $10,053,000 for capital and support.” This is approximately one third more expensive than earlier estimates.

In related news, CalTrans has proposed another project like the one through Richardson Grove, that would allow STAA access on Highway 199 and 197. This project damage  old growth redwoods in Del Norte County and would occur in nine locations along the Wild and Scenic Smith River. Public comments on the project will be accepted by District 1 Caltrans until August 23. To read the project Environmental Impact Report, click here.

EPIC volunteers have put together activist packets that we intend on distributing to motivated individuals to spread the word and gain support to save Richardson Grove. Packets include brochures, stickers, post cards, petitions, T-Shirts and other Richardson Grove paraphernalia. Please call or email the EPIC office if you have the time and energy to reach out to your family, friends and neighbors about the campaign to save Richardson Grove.

We’d love to raise the visibility of the pending devastation of our environment and way of life to those outside our immediate area. We have had a couple of articles published in the San Francisco Chronicle. We’d like to see more letters to the editor and op-eds written to the Chronicle and other newspapers such as the San Jose Mercury News, the Santa Rose Press Democrat, the the Marin
Independent, as well as environmentally and progressively oriented magazines and campus newspapers.

Naturally, donations for the cost of the lawsuit are badly needed. Please donate what you can.