Mattole Defense
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Activists Defend Golden Eagle in the Mattole


Cutting Stopped in Green Ridge/Devil's Hole THP

Earth First!
For Immediate Release: Thursday, August 9, 2001
Contact: Naomi Wagner, (707)-629-3546

Since an immature golden eagle was found on the ground in the middle of a operating clear cut in early July by a Columbia contracted tree faller, it has had a turbulent and disturbing lifestyle for that eagle. After initially being taken to Sacramento for rehabilitation and then returned it has learned to fly and stayed around its original nest site on Green Ridge in the Mattole river watershed.

Within a week of its return the birds parents had been sited back in the area but that did not stop Columbia Helicopter, operating under contract for Pacific Lumber, from resuming helicopter yarding operations across the canyon on Van Schoiak ridge, and clear cutting young to late seral, and old growth Douglas Fir trees on lower Green Ridge and two plans in the nearby Devil's. Three to four dozen log trucks a day leave the area full of logs bound out of the Mattole through the adjacent State Park.

On Friday, August 3, 2001, nearly a dozen forest defense activists met a three person falling crew that were starting their eighth day of cutting on the two units above Devil's Hole. The fallers stopped cutting at contact and proceeded to spend an entire workday in dialogue with activists before leaving the area for the day. The fallers, independently sub-contracted to cut just those two units, decided to leave the last small pocket of defended trees in the nearly completed unit and return home to Oregon. This same tactic was pursued by activists the next Tuesday, August 7, as they met one faller at sunrise before he started work cutting very large Douglas fir, oaks, madrones, and buckeyes on the southern side of Green Ridge less than a mile from the eagle's nest site. He claimed to be the faller who had found the eagle on the ground and initially reported the bird, halting their logging operation for weeks. No one returned to the unit the rest of the day.

"I saw the eagle on Monday in the sky while at the same time I watched that giant helicopter carrying logs," said Cricket, an activist. "The noise and turbulence that machine causes is terrible. I hope this situation will be changed soon because I can't imagine any animal will want to stay here by the time they are finished"

This incredibly steep area of the Rainbow Ridge complex has been heavily impacted by a history of logging, cattle grazing, a huge wildfire in 1990 and the subsequent clearcuts of hundreds of acres. What is left of the units on Green Ridge is almost the last late-seral to old growth forest left in the area that is legal for Pacific Lumber to cut under the restrictions of the HCP. This is a native forest that has naturally existed with fire for millennia. There is a diverse flora and fauna sustained by this pocket of habitat including a large population of nesting raptors and potentially owls. The units on Green Ridge were designated as not eagle or comparable raptor habitat by the Registered Professional Forester (RPF) who wrote the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) and this was not contested, monitored or even hardly noticed by the California Department of Fish and Game (CDF).


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