Comments Needed: Black Butte River Tributaries At Risk


Wild and Scenic Black Butte River courtesy of California Wilderness Coalition

The Mendocino National Forest has released the Environmental Analysis for Plaskett-Keller August Complex Fire Phase 1 Recovery Project. Please act now to protect these recovering ecosystems. There are over 2,000 acres at stake from post-fire logging in the Wild and Scenic Black Butte watershed, a major tributary to the Eel River southeast of Covelo.


A majority of the project would take live green trees and snags. The Plaskett-Keller project has been reduced dramatically since scoping and now includes 944 acres of straight up “salvage” and 1,220 acres of roadside hazard logging. All acres would be ground-based logging systems, which includes over 2 miles of “temporary” road construction. Nearly the entire area has a high soil erosion hazard. According to the Hydrology Report, all of the creeks are over the Threshold of Concern. Further, the Black Butte River is already listed as impaired for sediment under the Clean Water Act and has been designated as a Key Watershed critical for salmon survival!


In short, the Mendocino National Forest claims that logging slash, waterbars, ripping skid trails, and “temporary” roads would cure any possible erosion and that it needs to cut big live trees and snags to make the project economically viable. Logging and road construction in these sensitive watersheds would take place in riparian reserves, on closed roads, around Keller Lake and Snow Basin and throughout Plaskett meadows.


Let the Forest Service know that you value clean water and healthy ecosystems over economics. Fill out and personalize the comment form below!