Thursday, April 20, 2006

Maxxam/Pacific Lumbers Old Growth Redwood Logging Plans In Elk River

Within the original 60,000 acre Headwaters Forest lies the North Fork of Elk River. The NF of Elk River now contains Californias largest unprotected complex of "Class E" Marbled Murrelet habitat. "Class E" is the designation given to known nesting groves of this endangered sea bird. Marbled Murrelets are adapted to nest specifically in old trees with large mossy branches within 50 miles of the coast.

This part of Elk River has many names, Pacific Lumber calls it Turkey Foot, government agencies call it the Elkheart Complex, environmental activists have called it Boulder Creek Grove. In the past several years Pacific Lumber cut two logging plans named "Elkheart" and "Pass the Turkey" which removed 28% of this stand (150 acres) , leaving 395 acres. Much of this was selectively logged in the pre-Maxxam era (before the 1980s), however, approximatly 22.2 acres of pristine old growth forest containing the highest amount of lumber (board footage) of any other classified Marbled Murrelet stand are located within Boulder Creek Grove. The some of the "Class E" areas of Boulder Creek are not connected to the main stand which is why the contiguous Nanning Creek stand near the town of Scotia was considered higher quality until last year when Pacific Lumber logged most of the oldgrowth in the "Bonanza" logging plan. Several giant trees in Nanning Creek were protected by tree-sitters and seasonal logging restrictions currently prevent them from being cut. This protection will continue until September 15 when Murrelet Nesting season ends again.

A new PL logging plan "Second Serving" #1-05-079 proposes to decimate 78.6 acres of the "Class E" habitat in Boulder Creek Grove. This plan has not yet been approved and is still open for public comment letters (which California Dept. of Forestry (CDF) must respond to). Aside from eliminating crucial Marbled Murrelet nesting habitat, Pacific Lumber proposes to build 2,635 ft. of new logging road. They propose mostly tractor yarding with some cable/helicopter options. PL wants to use ground based equipment (bulldozers/cable yarders)during the winter period. Skyline cables are proposed across class I watercourses. There are 8 skid trail crossings (for bulldozers) over seasonal and year-round creeks. Tractor yarding and road building is especially destructive to the forest floor, causing compaction and increased water runoff during rainstorms in an area already afflicted by increased flooding of downstream communities.

"Second Serving" and the other two new logging plans "Magnum Opus"#1-05-131 and "John Doe" #1-05-161 include other groves of potential murrelet habitat that, although not surveyed to protocol, are assumed by officials to not be unoccupied by the birds. According to official paperwork some of these groves have comparable canopy closure and board footage per acre as many of the "Class E" stands.


More info:

• Class A – Stands that were in approved logging plans before the HCP was signed. (not surveyed to protocol)
• Class B – Stands inspected by wildlife agency or PL personnel and determined to be unoccupied by murrelets and not murrelet habitat.
• Class C – the lower quality half of the unsurveyed habitat.
• Class D – – the higher quality half of the unsurveyed habitat.
• Class E – Stands that have been determined to be breeding groves through protocol surveys, assumed PSG protocol.

The following info was modified from a CDF logging plan status report. These three plans are all in the North Fork of Elk River.

1-05-079 (Second Serving) PHI held on 11/9 & 10/05 and completed on 1/13/06. Received CDF PHI report on 1/25/06. Received CGS PHI report on 1/27/06. Received WQ PHI report on 3/16/06. Need RPF response to PHI recommendations. Submitted as a HCP Option “A” THP utilizing the Elk River/Salmon Creek Watershed Analysis prescriptions. Note: Prior to 2nd review, the THP must be revised to include the final, approved Elk River/Salmon Creek Watershed Analysis Prescriptions

1-05-131 (Magnum Opus)
Recommended for approval with additional mitigation (AM1). Public comment period closed on 3/27/06
Director’s Decision Date: 4/18/06
WQ non-concurrence filed on 3/21/06.
A focused PHI is required to gather information on issues raised in the non-concurrence. Pending scheduling of focused PHI. Once focused PHI is completed and reports from participating agencies are received, the plan will be run through 2nd review and a new close of public comment date will be established.
Submitted as a HCP Option “A” THP utilizing the Elk River/Salmon Creek Watershed Analysis Prescriptions.

1-05-161 (John Doe) PHI held on 12/1305, 12/14/05 and 4/4/06. Received additional geology information on 3/17/06. Received CGS PHI report on 4/10/06. Received CDF PHI report on 4/13/06. Need WQ PHI report. Submitted as a HCP Option “A” THP utilizing the Draft Elk River/Salmon Creek Watershed Analysis Prescriptions. Prior to 2nd review, the THP must be revised to include the final, approved Elk River/Salmon Creek Watershed Analysis Prescriptions (approved on 11/16/05 – 8/12/05 version).

you can send comment letters on individual logging plans to California Department of Forestry at;


California Department of Forestry
attn. forest practice
135 Ridgeway Ave.
Santa Rosa, Ca. 95401

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Status of PLs Proposed Bear River Old-Growth Logging Plans

The following was modified from a CDF Timber Harvest Plan Status Report sorry about all the acronyms. It seems like I'm up to my neck in logging plans right now and its a little difficult to keep up with all of them. The Old Growth Redwood logging plans in Elk River will be featured soon.

1-05-237 (PC Road)
PHI held on 4/4/06. Received CDF PHI (pre-harvest inspection) report on 4/5/06. Need Californa Geological Survey PHI report Submitted as a HCP Option “A” THP utilizing the Interim Watershed Prescriptions (Bear River). Going to second review tomorrow, public comment period could close in 10 days.

1-06-001 (Brush Up)
Received PLs response to PHI recommendations on 3/27/06. Recommended for approval WITHOUT additional mitigation (A). Public comment period to close on 4/10/06 (PHI held on 3/8/06). Submitted as a HCP Option “A” THP utilizing the HCP Interim Watershed Prescriptions.
Tenative approval decision date- 5/1/06
Public comment closed.

1-06-036 (Mas Patron)
Filed 4/6/06. Pending scheduling of PHI. Submitted as a HCP Option “A” THP utilizing the Interim Watershed Prescriptions.
Still open for comment.

1-06-037 (Rock/Chadbourne)
RETURNED (due to some unidentified flaw in the plan)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Major Waste Discharge Permit Hearing April 24th-25th (revised)

Flooding in Elk River
photo credit:

Its been over a year since the State Water Board stopped all of Pacific Lumbers logging in the heavily damaged Elk River and Freshwater watersheds. Residents here have faced increased flooding and many blame the widespread liquidation logging and road building done by Pacific Lumber (PL). PL owned by Charles Hurwitz of Houston, Texas. Hurwitz, a corporate raider and buddy of Tom Delay, is liquidating PL assets by logging as fast as possible and now selling the land.

PL is unable to log until new waste discharge permits are created to supposedly address the needs of the watersheds. In this case, waste discharge comes in the form of silt carried down from logging induced disturbances like landslides and debris torrents. The approval of waste discharge permits would allow PL to proceed with their destuctive logging plans which includes multiple Old Growth Redwood groves in Elk River.

Pacific Lumber has at several old growth redwood logging plans in the Elk River Watershed. One of these plans is located in a stand known as Elkheart. Elkheart likely contains the highest quality unprotected Marbled Murrelet habitat remaining on PL holdings following the logging of most of the Nanning creek grove. Expert biologists have declared that the murrelets in our area face an 80% chance of extinction by 2060 and 100% chance of extinction by 2104 taking into consideration the continued destruction of their old growth forest habitat. Three of the logging plans have not yet been approved but could be soon. More info on this asap.

You can read more about murrelets in a past article from saf.

Here are the dates for the hearings

..."in the Matter of Waste Discharge Requirements for Timber Harvesting Plan Activities Conducted by Scotia Pacific Company, Salmon Creek Corporation, and the Pacific Lumber Company in the Elk River and Freshwater Creek Watersheds"


April 24-25, 2006 Meeting
Veterans Memorial Building
10th and H Streets
Eureka, CA

Start Times:
April 24 - 10:00 AM
April 25 - 8:30 AM

The final meeting will be held on-

May 8, 2006 Meeting
Fountaingrove Inn and Conference Center
Camelot Room
101 Foutaingrove Parkway
Santa Rosa, CA

Start Time: 9:00 AM

click below to see the agenda
Hearing Agenda

Volunteers Locate Sonoma Red Tree Vole Nests in Windmill Logging PLan

A comment letter sent to CDf about the Windmill logging plan details the results of extensive independent surveys. During these surveys, folks discovered numerous Sonoma Red Tree Vole nests. They also found what they describe as a large birds nest and that they witnessed a large bird landing in the nest. They couldn't confirm what species they saw but said it was not a turkey vulture due to its head being feathered. They said it may have been a Golden Eagle or Osprey. They made a map of some of the locations as well as providing GPS coordinates of the nests. They wrapped "Caution" tape around trees they found to be occupied by the voles. The surveys were done by looking for the uneaten portions of fir needles and stems that the voles drop to the ground. They also saw suspected vole nests in the trees.
They requested that government surveyors visit the large bird nest to identify the species.
The logging plan requires that loggers survey for the voles before they cut and that they aren't supposed to cut trees with vole nests in the watercourse protection zone... as if.

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