Caltrans thinks that a highway construction project—that goes right through the middle of the old growth redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park—will not result in any significant impacts. The proposed construction project includes plans to cut down 54 trees and impact the structural root zone of many old growth redwoods.
The removal of trees along the highway would further open up the canopy, which could:
result in a change in the microclimate, causing more solar radiation and thus contributing to global warming;
make trees more prone to blowing down;
decrease cover for wildlife, including threatened and endangered species who are typically found in old growth groves;
reduce the ability for flora and fauna dependent on the cool climate of old growth stands; and
increase fire hazards by creating more sunlight and allowing underbrush to grow.
Furthermore, the destruction of root systems of old growth redwoods would surely cause long term cumulative impacts to the ancient redwood grove. It is a known fact that redwoods do not have a deep tap root, and their root systems lie primarily just below the surface of the forest floor. If they are cut, large parts of the giant trees -if not the whole tree- will die. One need not venture far to see the fatal results of old growth root obstructions caused during construction in the Avenue of the Giants, and along many of the other parts of the Redwood Highway. The tree tops are dead (view picture on right).
And by the way, ancient redwood groves are home to many threatened and endangered species, not to mention these are some of the last protected old growth redwoods remaining in the world, and they should remain protected (hence the fact that it is a State Park).
But Caltrans is still saying that their project will have “no significant impact.” Now that Caltrans has released the Final Environmental Impact Report/Finding of No Significant Impact (FEIR/FONSI) for the operational improvements to U.S. Route 101 through Richardson Grove, it is time for us to take action and persuade Caltrans and other decision makers to halt the destructive project.
EPIC needs support from people like you to keep Richardson Grove safe from Caltrans. Click the links below to do your part.