Thursday, June 29, 2006

Windmill Logging Plan May Be Approved in Two Weeks

The public comment period for this Old Growth logging plan closed yesterday. The California Dept. of Forestry (CDF) now has 14 days to approve or deny the plan. Technically the plan could be approved sooner if CDF has all of their responses to the public comments ready but its fairly unlikely. This plan was filed by Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) and is located near the coast a few miles north of Petrolia, Ca.

Spotted Owl Protection-148 Acres Off Limits
The plan has been delayed for several years for various reasons. Most recently, the company had to resurvey for Spotted Owl nesting sites. The nesting sites appear to be in the same locations so the old results still stand. 148 acres of forest that they wanted to log are off limits to protect the owls. This is because of the severe lack of habitat in this area due to SPI's intesive industrial logging, mostly clearcutting. Most of the 148 acres where "no operations shall occur" due to the owls presence is Old Growth Douglas Fir forest.

Some Old Growth still on the Chopping Block
Not all of the Old Growth in the logging plan was put off limits. There are at least two areas of Old Growth containing Mountain Beavers that can still be logged and burned or sprayed with herbicides.


At 7/17/2006 06:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SPI logging plan 03-232 “windmill” Davis Creek, Cape Mendocino
July 16, 2006 Update

The Windmill Timber Harvest Plan (THP) is now in its final stages of agency review awaiting approval or disapproval by the Santa Rosa office of the California Department of Forestry (CDF).

• Court ruling, Herbicides and BAAs
On June 13. 2006 CDF reopened public comment for 10 days after Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) added a lengthy section to their THP regarding herbicide use and their scope of assessment of impacts to animals.
The addition of this information was clearly prompted by a ruling against two of SPI’s THPs in the Sierras. The court concluded that SPI’s herbicide assessment and “biological assessment areas” were inadequate. As outlined in EPIC’s public comments* the ruling applies to the Windmill THP.

an article on the court's decision:

• Public Comment
On June 28, 2006 Public Comment closed.

• Approval
The forest practice rules give CDF 15 working days from the end of the public comment period to approve the plan (deadline=July 5th). Responses to public comments must also be sent out before plan approval. Usually, as is the case with this THP, CDF extends their approval deadline as needed.

•136 acres removed for Spotted Owls
On April 27, 2006 the FWS determined that approximately 136 acres had to be removed from the THP, otherwise the logging would result in “take” (illegal harm or killing) of the threatened northern spotted owl. 136 acres constitutes 1/4 of the original THP and includes 72 acres of oldgrowth. 129 acres of oldgrowth remain proposed for logging.

This type of decision is made each year based on the results of spotted owl surveys in the THP area. If SPI does not log the THP this year the spotted owl “take” issue must be revisited by the FWS.


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