The Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) is planning to log a section of forest containing old growth trees, salmon habitat, and northern spotted owl habitat. Let them know that you oppose destructive logging in this sensitive area!
The proposed Russell Brook Timber Harvest Plan (THP) “1-20-00218-MEN” would conduct 830 acres of logging within a variety of sensitive habitats. First, the THP proposes 72 acres of selection logging immediately adjacent to streams containing anadromous salmon. While selection logging is less destructive than other techniques, anadromous salmon are incredibly sensitive to impacts from logging along streams. Removing trees can remove shade which keeps the water cool and viable for these salmon. Not to mention, sedimentation caused by logging can degrade the quality of the water and lead to fish kills. It is unacceptable that MRC proposes to harvest within these areas.
Second, the THP envisions 333 acres of variable retention. For those that don’t speak forester, variable retention is a technique that involves leaving behind some trees (usually between 15-25% but harvesting the rest). The biggest problem with this section of the THP is that some of the areas that are proposed for harvest using this method contain residual old growth trees. We know those trees are there because MRC actually traded the right to log them as mitigation for an earlier deal they struck with environmental regulators. MRC promises not to log any trees that meet their definition of old-growth, but this is shallow comfort given the fact that MRC has stated that they are intending to log trees that were previously spared as the result of mitigation. Even though the California Department of Fish & Wildlife has asked MRC not to harvest trees that were previously spared, MRC has refused to listen.
Finally, this THP envisions the removal of an extremely large amount of tanoak. Tanoak is seen by foresters as a “trash tree” because its wood does not fetch as much value as conifers. But, tanoak is an incredibly important part of coast redwood ecosystems, providing much needed nutrition and habitat for certain key prey species. Without enough tanoak in an area, those prey species can’t survive and the animals that hunt them like the northern spotted owl can’t either. Right now, the disease Sudden Oak Death is decimating tanoak populations across our state. We can’t afford to be contributing to its demise. MRC proposes to remove the tanoak through a combination of harvesting it and spraying it with herbicides. This includes the controversial technique known as “hack & squirt”, wherein the forester hacks into a mature tanoak, sprays the cut with herbicide, and leaves a dead tree standing. This technique was actually banned in the county of Mendocino by a ballot initiative known as Measure V. Despite this, MRC continues to utilize this technique and CAL FIRE continues to approve it.