Friday, September 5, 2014

Sierra Pacific Industries to log out large trees near where the wolverine was spotted in 2013.

PANORAMIO Photo By John Saltenberger
THP 2-14-058 NEV (Ahart THP) Sierra Pacific Industries, 767 acres; 59% group selection, 31% clearcut, 10% shelterwood logging.  East Fork Creek, Jim Crow Creek (MD: T19N R12E Sec.11, 13, 25, 27).  Winter operations, high erosion hazard, steep slopes up to 65%, impaired 303.d watershed, middle yuba roadless area, herbicides, wet meadows, 5 CA spotted owls within 1.3mi, 3 goshawk sightings within 1 mi, 2013 wolverine sighting, willow flycatcher and bald eagle sightings at Milton Reservoir, scattered old growth trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 09/28/14. VIEW

This THP is about 4 miles SE of Sierra City, CA and about a dozen miles north of I-80 and Emigrant Gap.  Sierra Pacific Industries is planning a tractor based logging operation at high elevations (5,600 to 6,800 feet) in white fir, ponderosa pine, sugar pine, Jeffrey pine, incense cedar, lodgepole, western white pine and red fir forests.  According to SPI, "the plan area contains individual large trees, and some large old trees, some of which will be harvested”.  The THP is also located adjacent to Milton Reservoir near where CA’s only Wolverine was spotted in 2013 (See THP Blog SPI Wolverine THPs Map).  According to SPI, most of the red and white fir stands are suffering from fir engraver beetle, true fir canker, mistletoe, laminated root rot, and the pine stands are suffering from mistletoe and pine blister rust.  Often such conditions are used by timber companies to justify logging in higher elevation stands, even though such processes are natural and logging can further spread root diseases, etc.  There are dispersed camp sites at Milton Reservoir and Jackson Meadows Reservoir which are close to THP units.  Section 11 is adjacent to the Middle Yuba Roadless Area.  Sierra Pacific Industries is planning to use tractors on slopes over 50% grade at 6 locations with a high erosion hazard, and on slopes over 50% grade that lead without flattening into a class I (year round) watercourse in section 11.  They also want to use 6 landings inside a class III (intermittent) watercourse and to remove conifers around 4 small seasonally wet meadows in section 11.  SPI is proposing to reduce the required buffer widths for a class I watercourse down to 50 feet so they can use feller bunchers with grapple hooks to remove trees from an inner gorge area in section 11, and also to remove hazard trees between a converging power line and class I watercourse.  Osprey sightings were reported at Jackson Meadows Reservoir, and goshawk sightings were reported in sections 11, 13 and 26.  There were multiple willow flycatcher and bald eagle sightings reported near Milton Reservoir 1,500 feet away from the THP area.  Two CA spotted owls were seen in section 11. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

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