At their July 26th meeting, California’s Wildlife Conservation Board approved 19.5 million dollars of funding for the conservation easement to ensure that the Usal Redwood Forest be protected in perpetuity as a functioning community forest. The funding was awarded to The Conservation Fund, which will purchase and oversee the terms of the easement. There were more than 760 letters/e-mails in support and only 3 opposed. Many of the letters in support of the easement were from people who responded to
EPIC’s action alert. Thank you for your participation, it made a difference in Usal!
The WCB vote was 2-0. The Board Members were confident the easement had adequate scrutiny, was of high quality, and ready for approval. Chris Kelly, representative of The Conservation Fund, the actual holders of the easement, answered an assortment of questions from the Board Members and from the Legislative Advisory members or their representatives. Some specific issues included how the easement supported the Coho Recovery Strategy, how the easement would be enforced, the 2.9% per year cutting limitation, and prevention of road-related sedimentation. Mr. Kelly referenced the requirements in the easement for application of the standards and procedures found in the Weaver/Hagans Forest and Ranch Road Manual.
Related matters and policy issues regarding the WCB Prop 84 Forest Conservation Program will be discussed at the next Wildlife Conservation Board meeting, which will probably be some time in September. At that time, the Gualala Forest may be up for a conservation easement.