Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sierra Pacific Industries THP threatens Wolverine and Pacific Crest Trail

PANORAMIO photo by clarkaw
THP 2-13-001 SIE (Cove THP) Sierra Pacific Industries, 2304 acres; 52% group selection, 24% selection, 19% sanitation salvage, 3% seed tree, 2% thin around aspen logging.  English Meadow, Jackson Meadow Reservoir (MD: T18N R13E Sec.3, 11, 13; T19N R13E Sec.21, 33, 35).  Winter operations, high erosion hazard, 3 unstable areas, steep slopes up to 75%, 14 road drainage work sites, wet areas, high elevation meadows, helicopter logging of large trees, wolverine sighted within THP (2009), 3 CA spotted owls within 1.3mi, 3 goshawk territories, 3 marten sightings, 2 mountain beaver sightings, subalpine fireweed, Donner pass buckwheat, obtuse starwart, trees up to 70" dbh.  Estimated public comment deadline: 02/18/13.

This THP is 12 - 19 miles NW of Truckee, and just south of Jackson Meadows Reservoir, a popular fishing and boating lake high on the Sierra Crest.  SPI is planning a large timber sale at the headwaters of the Middle Yuba River at an elevation of 6,130 - 8,080 feet amongst steep highly erosive and granitic soils.  This THP contains some nice high elevation stands of red fir, lodgepole and hemlock, and is near 6 campgrounds and boarders the Pacific Crest Trail which runs along its eastern boundary.  SPI is claiming the presence of insects and disease in red and white fir stands, and mistletoe in Jeffrey pine stands which is normal for such stands at higher elevations to justify their logging.  They are also planning to remove conifers around aspen stands at 8 sites, and to construct 2,735 feet of new road.  Helicopter logging is proposed which means it is likely they will be removing large trees from the area, which have been reported to be as large as 70” dbh.  They are also proposing to use 5 landings in or adjacent to class III watercourses, and to construct 2 spur roads that lead to a watercourse.  14 road drainage work sites are planned including installation of temporary bridges, construction of vented fords and low water crossings.

According to the THP; California’s only Wolverine was documented in the THP area by carnivore camera in 2009 and has been known to use the area since then.  There were 3 American Marten sightings reported (.5-1.3mi of THP), 3 Northern Goshawk sightings reported (.3-1.3mi of THP), and two 2012 Mountain Beaver sightings within the THP.  There are also historic Pacific Fisher, Badger and Sierra Nevada Red Fox sightings in the THP area.  SPI reported 2 CA Spotted Owl (.13-.75mi of THP) in the area, although I found 3 (SIE0076, SIE0087, NEV0069) CA Spotted Owls within 1.3mi using my database.  So far according to the THP, DFG has failed to do consultation due to budget constraints.  3 occurrences of Subalpine Fireweed, 1 occurrence of Donner Pass Buckwheat and populations of Obtuse Starwart were reported. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website. 

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