Campbell’s Timber Practices Threaten Survival of Coho Salmon

In the Ten Mile River, Mendocino County, Coho salmon appear to be hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Data from the Ten Mile is unfortunately scarce. However, it is clear that Coho populations have declined. Historic and current land use activities have resulted in substantial loss of spawning and rearing grounds for Coho in the Ten Mile through excessive sedimentation. In 1998, the Ten Mile was listed as impaired under Section 303(d) of the Federal Clean Water Act due to excessive sediment. Over 85 percent of the Ten Mile River basin is owned by Campbell Timber Management Company.

Campbell Timber Management’s logging regime in the Ten Mile consists of high intensity practices, including clearcut logging, road building on steep and unstable slopes, and the use of herbicides. For many sub basins in the Ten Mile, Campbell’s intensive management includes an extremely high and intensive rate of harvest. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) has recently inspected proposed logging operations in two sub basins in the Ten Mile and found that Campbell’s rate of harvest in these sub basins far exceeded levels where salmonid habitat simplification is known to occur. DFG recommended that Campbell eliminate clearcutting from these logging plans in order to mitigate the rate of harvest. Recently, a report prepared for the Regional Water Quality Control Board, documented that excessive fine sediment generation and transport that impact salmonid habitat was positively correlated with the amount and the intensity of harvest in a given watershed (Klein et al. 2008). In a letter written by DFG to the Santa Rosa Review Team, Klein’s research was cited when raising concerns over rate of harvest in the Ten Mile. Rate of harvest, is how much of a watershed is harvested in a given period of time.