Thursday, March 23, 2006

Date of Decision on Windmill Postponed Until April 10th

The date of decision has been postponed again, I guess CDF needs even more time to decide. The plan was submitted in 2003.

The THP number is 1-03-232 and is located in Davis Creek (a tributary to the ocean), Hollister Creek and the South Fork Bear River.

For more information on the Windmill THP and Mountain Beavers (Aplodontia rufa) look in the sidecolumn and below.

Windmill Logging Plan Update, Spotted Owl surveys aren't likely to be finished before April 20th.

I just learned that Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) must conduct new Northern Spotted Owl surveys and then make a new request for "Technical Assistance" from Fish and Wildlife. No logging can happen before this process is completed. Last Years Technical Assistance letter instructed that "no operations occur" in 148 acres to make sure there that there is no "incidental take"of Northern Spotted Owls. The meaning of the term "Incidental Take" could be compared to "Collateral Damage".
Now that a certain amount of time has passed SPI must locate the current Owl nests. They have to hire an independent survey company due to their proven lack of credibility on the subject.

The period when surveys for Spotted Owls can be conducted begins on March 15th and ends on August 31st.
Additionally, surveys conducted one month before or after this period that locate occupied nests or roosts are also acceptable.
Surveys must be at least five days apart. They need to be done in good weather and some surveys have to be done at night.

That makes 36 days after March 15 the earliest possible date that the surveys could be completed. Then they would still have to request for Technical Assistance from Fish and Game. (I'm not sure how long that would take for that request to be approved and I don't know if the surveys have begun yet but will continue to update.)

The following is quoted from the [PROTOCOL FOR SURVEYING PROPOSED MANAGEMENT ACTIVITIES THAT MAY IMPACT NORTHERN SPOTTED OWLS], endorsed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

• 1-year (6-visit) surveys are acceptable. However, 1-year surveys provide a somewhat lower likelihood of determining the presence or absence of spotted owls. In addition, 1-year surveys will be valid only until the beginning of the following breeding season.

• 2-year (3 visits/year) surveys are preferable for surveying a management activity or planning area to determine the presence or absence of spotted owls. Surveys may be completed sooner if a response is obtained and status of the owl(s) is confirmed. However, we recommend that every effort be made to determine the highest status for a given site. 2-year surveys may be valid for 2 additional years.

• 2-year surveys are encouraged to provide a higher likelihood of accurately determining presence or absence of spotted owls. They may also be more economical, especially in cases where harvest will occur in more than one year

• Do not survey under inclement weather conditions, such as high winds (> 10 mph), rain, heavy fog, or high noise levels (stream noise, machinery, etc.) which would prevent you from hearing responses. If weather conditions or noise levels are in doubt, be conservative. Survey visits conducted under marginal conditions will reduce quality of the overall survey effort. Negative results collected under inclement weather conditions may not be adequate for evaluating spotted owl presence/absence.

• Systematically survey spotted owl habitat within each planning or activity area (as defined above in SURVEY AREA) until an owl responds, or if no response is heard, until a minimum of 3 complete night visits are conducted each year for a 2-year period or a minimum of 6 complete night visits are conducted for a 1-year period.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Mountain Beavers-Living Fossils, "a lineage traced back 40 million years". More Background Info on "Windmill" THP.

Here are some excerpts from an article about Mountain Beavers. The whole article is linked to in the Windmill Oldgrowth sidecolumn.

[Lewis and Clark made note of an animal which the Lower Columbia people favoured "in forming their robes, which they dress with the fur on them and attach together with sinews of the Elk or deer," and which they called the "siwelel." It has gone by many names: Ground bear, whistler, mountain boomer, kickwilly, showtl, ogwoolal, oukala, kula possum, giant mole, ground beaver, and kulata.

Its scientific name is Aplodonta rufa. While the first hint of its existence was whispered to western science in the 1806 journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, scientists have shed little light on its habits. The academic literature remains informed as much by folklore as by clinical, methodical observation. In the standard reference texts, the animal is said to weep great tears when distressed, grind its teeth when angry, and, by some unknown means, utter loud booming sounds.

In his Yellowstone diaries, the great American naturalist John Muir wrote that mountain beavers routinely alter the flow of streams and construct canals to feed intricate subterranean watercourses and to keep the shrubs it likes well-irrigated. "It is startling," he wrote, "when one is camped on the edge of a sloping meadow near the homes of these industrious mountaineers, to be awakened in the still night by the sound of water rushing and gurgling under one's head in a newly formed canal."

Gyug reckons that the creature merely harvests large amounts of nettles, salal and sword ferns and leaves them in piles around its burrows so that they're handy. That's how you find them. Chances are you'll never see a mountain beaver, but chances are good that if you look for one in the right places - rainforest valleys, thick with undergrowth - you;ll find big piles of succulent shrubs, and the ground will be pockmarked with holes.]

The following is from a very good Mountain Beaver site-

[The mountain beaver (Aplodontia rufa) is an interesting but little known mammal unique to the Pacific Northwest. Its range falls mostly to the west of the Cascades, from northern California to southern British Columbia. First described by Lewis and Clark, the mountain beaver remains rather obscure, even here in the heart of its range. It is primarily nocturnal and is seldom seen.

If you have read anything about this fellow, you know that it is neither a true beaver nor strictly a mountain inhabitant. It is a rodent, though. In fact, with a lineage traced back 40 million years, the mountain beaver is our oldest rodent. While this suggests that it has been a very successful species, it also means that the mountain beaver has a primitive physiology. For example, it cannot pant or sweat and has a low reproductive rate. Studies have shown that its kidneys cannot concentrate uric acid as well as modern mammals so it must take in about 20% of its body weight in water daily in order to remove body wastes.]

This link goes to the Citizens for Alternatives to Toxics letter about Windmill dated March 5, 2005.

This one is a another website about Mountain Beavers.

This is a photo series of a bold Mountain Beaver in someones garden.

"The largest known variety of flea is (Hystrichopsylla scheffleri). This species of flea is known from only one specimen taken from the nest of a mountain beaver. It was 1/3 of an inch long!"-

Mountain Beavers are one of the oldest species of flea bitten varmints still in existence. This link from Flea News might take a while to connect on slower computers. Its pretty technical and dry.

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