CDF Approves Controversial Ancient Forest Logging on Rainbow
before Fish and Game Weighs In
MEDIA RELEASE * For Immediate Release * October 20, 2000
Petrolia, California. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) approved Maxxam Timber Harvest Plan 1-00-031HUM Thursday afternoon, despite questions from the California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) and numerous local citizens. This plan is the third in a series of seven controversial plans on Rainbow Ridge to be approved this fall.
Later Thursday afternoon, Humboldt County resident Daniel Ehresman filed a lawsuit in propria personna in Humboldt County Superior Court challenging the approval of the plan and asking for a Temporary Restraining Order. That suit Ehresman v. CDF is not expected to be heard before Monday. Meanwhile, logging can begin on Friday, and under the current Maxxam-management style of Pacific Lumber (PL), is expected to continue throughout the weekend.
On October 9th, local residents found Usnea longissima, a lichen that lives in ancient forests, in and around the boundaries of the plan. PL had not originally reported this species presence in the timber harvest plan (THP). DFG sent a letter to CDF on October 10th stating, "It has come to our attention that Usnea longissima has been identified in and adjacent to the Long Ridge North THP. This information should be considered significant new information that should be addressed prior to approval. The DFG has stated in previous correspondence to CDF that, given U. longissima's sensitivity to disturbance and apparent rarity in the State of California, a project that threatens to eliminate a population of this species could be found to have a significant adverse effect on the environment. Incidentally, information from the scientific literature and from taxon experts has caused the DFG to place U. longissima on its Special Plants list, with a state rank of S2.1, which corresponds to a status in California of 'very threatened.'"
That same day, Oct. 10th, citizens alerted CDF to the lichen discovery and temporarily stopped the approval that was set for last week. This alert caused a flurry of surveying by PL staff. Over one week later, PL submitted a plan revision giving the "significant population" a 75-foot "no cut" and 100-foot "no burn" buffer, which will likely not be sufficient to protect the lichen populations. PL did not analyze the impacts of clearcutting or burning, nor did they assess impacts due to helicopter yarding - there is a helicopter landing next to one of the "insignificant populations". In the THP PL only disclosed the one significant population, ignoring the other nearby populations. Neither the public, nor DFG, was allowed to review this new information before approval. Despite this, CDF approved the plan today, before DFG had a chance to review the survey results and proposed mitigation measures.
1-00-031HUM proposes to clearcut 24 acres of old-growth forest in groves that dot the prairies on Long Ridge. Long Ridge connects Taylor Peak with Rainbow Ridge and divides the North Fork from the East Branch North Fork of the Mattole River. The plan is ten old-growth Douglas-fir units mixed with mature hardwoods. Logging of these units will generate landslides below them into the North Fork as well as remove important northern goshawk, golden eagle, peregrine falcon and northern spotted owl habitat. Local citizens are rallying to purchase the lands from Maxxam and privately protect them in perpetuity through a community land trust.
For more information:
If you can come up to help local citizens defend this forest, please contact:
Mattole Forest Defense at 707-441-3828.
Donations can be sent to:
POB 117, Petrolia, CA 95558.
For more info: www.mattoledefense.org. MAXXAM OUT OF THE MATTOLE!