Sunday, February 03, 2008

Brief Comments on Reorganization Plans

Haven't seen the detailed reorganization plans yet but I expect to soon.

My initial reaction based on info from the local media is this:

Pacific Lumbers plan hasn't changed much and still sounds bad. Any plan that keeps Maxxam in the picture to any degree is suspect, not to mention the proposed residential developments on timberland.

The Noteholders plan to auction off the company to one or more bidders sounds terrible too. Pacific Lumber could end up in the hands of Simpson/Green Diamond, Sierra Pacific Industries or be re-purchased by Maxxam. The coalition of The Nature Conservancy, Bank of America and the Community Forestry Team say they would bid in such an auction but I don't know how good their chances of winning are.

The Marathon-Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC) plan would bring the MRC's logging practices to Humboldt County which are better than Maxxam's practices but still unsatisfactory in some ways. MRC has a company policy prohibiting logging of single Oldgrowth trees and cutting in unlogged forests. However they still utilize toxic herbicides to kill off hardwood trees like Tanoak and continue to clear-cut. Looking at their land base overall, they say they have a low rate of harvest. But it appears that they log more heavily in some watersheds and not in others, targeting areas that have higher amounts of "inventory", i.e. merchantable trees.

I certainly wouldn't endorse any of these plans but some are clearly worse than others.

Update: Click here to read EPICs current review of the plans.

7 Comments:

At 2/03/2008 10:28:00 PM, Anonymous amanita said...

good analysis. i also hesitate to jump to conclusions before all the cards are on the table.

 
At 2/06/2008 07:18:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

Again buddy I have to ask - what is you basis for determining that MRC has logging practices that are negative? Herbicide use is not inherently bad. Either is clear-cutting. (There are of course situations where these practices can have negative impacts, but not always) CA state law only allows a max CC of 30 acres. Under MRC and PLACOs HCP, they are required to go beyond the normal rules for protections (in terms of wildlife protection, buffer strips, and road mitigations) and every new plan will result in a large net savings of sediment - leading to the immediate improvement of watershed conditions.

Because these practices are expensive to do, legacy effects in the form of point sediment sources occurring on non-industrial lands likely will Not be treated. Things like this are reasons timber company management are important for us now.

Not to mention that MRC and Green dimon lead the north coast in watershed improvement, restoration, and fisheries research.

Not trying to be a cheerleader (lol sounds like it) - but if we are going to state the negatives (maxxam - out of the area cooperate control, shady land policies etc...) we have to state the good...

 
At 2/06/2008 12:47:00 PM, Anonymous A said...

it may be true that clearcutting and herbicide use are not inherently bad but a) they are used as a standard practice on the north coast - not a one in awhile treatment for unusual circumstances which might warrant it, and b) maybe we dont WANT any more evenaged mangement and use of herbicides. we seen enough abuse of these methods

the southern district rules seem to be working out for those guys, i see no reason why it can be the status quo here.

 
At 2/06/2008 01:36:00 PM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

I'm adamently opposed to clear cutting. Not sure how small it would be until it's not longer a clear cut though. Something more like group selection would be better. I don't like herbicides because of the potential toxic effects on humans and wildlife, not worth it to me. Sure, there's a 30 acre limit on clearcuts per THP. But there's no limit on how many near-contiguous CC THP's can be filed in a given area.

I have pointed out how MRC is better but I don't think they are the greatest ever.

PL's HCP required larger interim buffers while waiting for the completion of watershed analysis. In impaired watersheds, Forest Practice Rules give larger buffer zones to watercourses. Under the PL HCP watershed analysis, the buffers in impaired watersheds could be reduced below the impaired protections. I guess I don't have faith that PL won't screw around with the numbers.

Green Diamond is clearcutting as fast as possible, their preffered method in the Redwoods and Douglas Fir is even-aged management. Reducing point source sediment delivery is great but what about stream bank erosion from rapid runoff? I don't know this for a fact but I've heard that GD logs on a 30 year rotation too. Maybe time to do some ground truthing on GDS lands.

I'm for harvests of 2% volume per year, per drainage, at the max. MRC ain't so far from this, maybe they can be swayed. Just need to balance out their logging and not focus harvest in a few drainages.

Sorry if this is a jumble. I've got some kind of cold/flu thing, messing up my concentration.

 
At 2/08/2008 11:06:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

response to "a"; what ever district you are in, you must follow the district rules regardless. I once filed a THP that had 5 acres overlapping into another district. Even though my assessment area, watershed, timber type ect were consistent, I had to address the 5 acres separately, and submit a separate THP for them.

JD - hope you feel better.

I wish I could convince you that CCing isnt bad. Perhpas in your feaverish state I could plant a suggestion...lol

I regards to PL and stream side buffers - trust me they are way beyond anything a non-industrial plan would do. They have up to 3-4 separate flagged bands of protection.

GD - I dont think they are CCing 30 year old stands, but I bet they are around 40 depending on the site. The higher site the quicker the turn around...

Limits on CCs, as far as adjacency, require that the units must be separated by logical units, and must be adjacent to a stocked unit. In other words, no back to back clear cuts.

"Reducing point source sediment delivery is great but what about stream bank erosion from rapid runoff? "

Good question. This would be a Peak Flow concern. If vegetation is removed, is the surface run-off from a unit going to reach watercourse and cause problems within them? Here is this issue addressed from a THP:

Increases in runoff, if any, are likely to have a positive effect on all salmonids by accelerating downcutting and recruiting in-stream habitat and spawning gravels. Increases in peak flows following logging, however, are more closely related to the extent of soil compaction than to silvicultural systems used (Harr and others 1979). Studies on the H.J. Andrews experimental watershed found that logging had only minor effects on the major peak streamflows which occurred when soils were thoroughly wet, and that neither the size nor timing of peak flows changed significantly after shelterwood and clearcut logging (Harr et al. 1982). Further, research of Evans and Patric (1983), Hess (1984), Hicks and others (1991), Rice and others (1979), Rothatcher (1973), Sendek and others (1990), and Zeimer (1980) have shown that in rain-dominated hydrologic environments, logging or forest road construction is unlikely to change the peak flows of streams. (Harr et al. 1982).

So in light of that, it comes back to road construction in regards to hyrdrologic connectivity being the biggest concern in regards to water quality. If logging systems are designed in a manor that will avoid direct delivery from roads, skid trails and landings from watercourses, in combination with protection buffers around them, will mitigate any potential impacts.

 
At 2/14/2008 11:52:00 AM, Blogger John Doe #86 said...

Bolithio-

Thanks for the extensive comment. One thing that stands out to me is that clearcut placement seems especially lax. As long as you replant (stock) a clearcut you can clearcut directly adjacent to it next year right?. This is more common than not in the Simpson/GreenDiamond plans I read and look at on Google. In the hills east of Eureka the small islands of second growth stand out on the mowed hillsides like a sore thumb. It's a systematic style of incremental clearcutting that spans miles. The riparian buffers would be a joke except what they're doing to the land isn't really funny.

Saying that increased peak flows are likely to have a positive effect is a real blanket statement. If most of a stream channel is buried in sediment like in Elk River or Freshwater, the increased flow will just jump the bank or undercut the bank. If a stream was healthy to begin with then maybe it would function like a healthy watercourse and flush sediment. All I'm saying is that I don't think it's safe to assume that increased flows will accelerate downcutting in all circumstances. It could just as easily accelerate bankcutting in some circumstances, which in turn widens the channel and increases sedimentation etc.

 
At 2/26/2008 11:36:00 AM, Anonymous Bolithio said...

- The FPR require that a adjacent stocking be at least 5 year old prior to harvesting adjacent stands.

- Timber industry logging is absolutely systematic (well maybe not PALCO which comes across as erratic to me). If it wasn't, it would not be efficient.

- When speaking of riparian buffers they must be put into context. I don't think they are a "joke". There are several key benefits to these buffers: Sediment filtering, Streamside bank stability, large Woody Debris recruitment, Shade/Canopy, and nutrient inputs. These factors are huge for water quality.

Remember that the buffers are not meant to be reserves of trees in general - They are only there to serve the purpose of protecting water quality.

- Also, you are absolutely correct that blanket statements are dangerous. In science, everything should be applied to a site specific situation. Peak flows are not always going to help - but I think the point of the argument was that timber harvesting (under current regulation) is unlikely to effect or increase peak flows in a watershed.

 

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