Thursday, March 27, 2014

Logging OK’d in 2004 may have exceeded approved boundary

By Mike Baker and Justin Mayo
Seattle Times staff reporters

Clear-cutting near site of fatal mudslide: In 2004, the state allowed logging company Grandy Lake Forest to clear-cut next to a sensitive area above the landslide-prone Hazel slope.  But it appears it crossed into the restricted area.  Seattle Times
TIMES WATCHDOG: A WA forest clear-cut nine years ago appears to have strayed into a restricted area that could feed groundwater into the landslide zone that collapsed on Saturday and took at least 16 lives.

A forest clear-cut nine years ago appears to have strayed into a restricted area that could feed groundwater into the landslide zone that collapsed Saturday.

A Seattle Times analysis of government geographical data and maps suggests that logging company Grandy Lake Forest cut as much as 350 feet past a state boundary that was created because of landslide risks.

The WA State Department of Natural Resources is supposed to verify a timber company’s proposed cut on the ground and then reinspect the site after the harvest has been taken.

State Forester Aaron Everett reviewed records on the issue Wednesday afternoon and said it appears that a portion of the clear-cut’s footprint extended into the sensitive zone. He said his agency was trying to locate records to show whether it inspected the site after it was logged.

“I was surprised,” Everett said. He will investigate further before concluding whether Grandy Lake went beyond the borders.

Grandy Lake officials have not returned calls seeking comment.  READ MORE

Timber Products Company to log near Kangaroo Lake Recreation Area.


PANORAMIO Photo By Greg Nyquist
THP 2-14-010 SIS (Cooper's Cabin THP) Timber Products Company, 267 acres; 42% shelterwood, 40% clearcut, 18% variable retention logging.  Rail Creek, Kangaroo Creek (MD: T40N R7W Sec.1, 3, 11; T41N R7W Sec.33, 35).  Winter operations, moderate erosion hazard, slopes up to 50%, 18 road drainage work sites, wet area, impaired 303.d watershed, herbicides, coho watershed, 3 spotted owls within 1.3mi, scattered large trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/25/14. VIEW

This THP is about 8 miles east of Callahan CA and about 16 miles NW of Mt Shasta at an elevation of 3,400 to 6,480 feet.  The THP area is adjacent to Kangaroo Lake which is a popular recreation area, and within a few miles of the Pacific Crest Trail.  Timber Products Company is planning a tractor based logging operation in ponderosa pine, sugar pine, incense cedar, Douglas fir and white fir forests.  The THP area flows into the Scott River which is listed as impaired for temperature and sediment.  18 road drainage sites are planned for work including rocking, dip construction and culvert repair/replacement.  There is a goshawk nest within .5 mi of the THP area in section 10. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Campbell Timberlands to log on steep and unstable slopes near the Noyo River.


PANORAMIO Photo By Jan Graeser
THP 1-14-027 MEN (Mud Springs White THP) Campbell Timberlands, 219 acres; 46% selection, 30% variable retention, 19% group selection, 5% clearcut logging.  Pudding Creek, Little N. Fork (MD: T18N R17W Sec.1, 2, 11; T19N R16W Sec.30, 31, 32, 33; T19N R17W Sec.36).  Wet weather operations, extreme erosion hazard, steep slopes up to 75%, landslide terrain, road failure sites, 56 road drainage work sites, impaired 303.d watershed, herbicides, coho watershed, 11 spotted owls within 1.3mi, trees up to 53" dbh.  Estimated public comment deadline: 05/03/14. VIEW

This THP is 4 miles east of Fort Bragg, CA and just north of the Noyo River at an elevation of 240 to 1,040 feet.  Campbell Timberlands is planning a tractor and cable logging operation on steep and unstable slopes in redwood, Douglas fir, grand fir and hemlock forests.  The THP area flows into the Noyo River which is listed as impaired for sediment/siltation and temperature.  There are 9 landslide terrain sites including disrupted ground, debris slides, steep streamside slopes, hummocky ground and rock slides.  Multiple road failure sites were reported including cut bank failures, fill failures, bank cracking and channeling of the road bed.  There is also a steep headwall swale with some slope failure on slopes over 65% grade near a landing in unit C, and some cracking on the lower portion of a landing in unit F.  Campbell Timberlands is planning to use and construct roads on deep seated landslide terrain in unit C, and use existing skid trails on deep seated landslide terrain in units D, E and J.  Portions of units A,C,D,E,J,F and K have tractor operations proposed on steep slopes over 65% grade.  They also want to use heavy equipment within a watercourse on 2 landings in unit J and between units D and E, on tractor roads within units D and J, and to construct and re-construct roads in unit C.  Ground based equipment is proposed for use in areas designated for cable logging for end-lining and for tractor assist in unit F.  There are 56 road drainage sites planned for work including rocking, dip construction, ditch cleaning, culvert repair/replacement and road bed stabilization.  For spotted owl site MEN0500: this THP will reduce foraging habitat by -.2 ac within .7 mi, and nesting/roosting habitat by -12 ac within .7 mi.  For spotted owl site MEN0087; this THP will reduce nesting/roosting habitat by -5.2 ac within .7 mi. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When Clearcuts Kill

By Jeffrey St Clair and Alexander Cockburn
Counterpunch Magazine


Snohomish County Landslide Photo by Marcus Yam, Seattle Times
Note: 03/26/14 In the wake of the killer landslides, on steep, heavily logged over terrain, along the Stillaguamish River in western Washington, we are reprinting a story on logging and landslides that Alex and I reported in the print edition of CounterPunch in 1996.  I vividly remember writing it on the phone with him as the waters of the Mattole crested over Conklin Creek Road, approaching Alex’s porch and he was desperately trying get all of the animals to high ground and move all of his books, including the Brittanica (1911 ed.) and OED from the bottom two shelves, before the floodwaters breached the house…..It was grim and a little scary, but also very funny. I think Alex was also trying to juggle three different deadlines that day. Just another thrilling day in a remarkable life…–JSC

When the first big winter rains hit Humboldt County in 1996, the Mattole River, which runs past Cockburn’s door, rose like a rocket. Within a couple of days, his house was cut off. To the West, the river was two feet over the road; 200 yards to the East, a landslide poured 30-feet of dirt over the road.

It’s the landslide that concerns us here. The steep slope above the road was logged in 1993. Many of us had protested that taking the trees would cause slides.

The California Department of Forestry said there was nothing it could do because the owner, a man from Oregon, had invoked emergency salvage regulations after the 1992 Petrolia earthquake. The only recourse would be to sue the owner after he had logged. The logging went ahead. The owner picked up his money, sold the property and returned to Oregon. The hillside has been sliding ever since. Last week, most of the hill-face came down. The bill for the county will probably add up to several hundred thousand dollars.  READ MORE

Green Diamond Resource Company to clearcut near the Klamath River.


PANORAMIO Photo By bullnfrog
THP 1-14-026 HUM (599 THP) Green Diamond Resource Company, 172 acres; 73% clearcut, 17% selection, 8% no-harvest, 2% roadside logging.  Ah Pah Creek (HUM: T12N R2E Sec.16, 17, 20, 21). Winter operations, moderate erosion hazard, slopes up to 65%, landslide terrain in unit B, road failure sites, 9 road drainage work sites, impaired 303.d watershed, herbicides, coho watershed, 4 spotted owls within 1.3mi, red tree vole sighting in unit B, 4 bald eagle nests within 1.5 mi, trees over 30" dbh.  Estimated public comment deadline: 05/01/14.  VIEW

This THP is about 8 miles south of the town of Klamath, CA between Redwood National Park and the Klamath River.  Green Diamond Resource Company is planning a mostly clearcut tractor and cable logging operation in redwood, Douglas fir, bishop pine and hemlock forests at an elevation of 400 to 1,500 feet.  The THP area flows eastward into the Klamath River which is listed as impaired for nutrients, temperature and dissolved oxygen.  There is shallow rapid landslide terrain in unit B, and several misc cut bank and road related fill failures near crossings.  8 road drainage sites are planned for work including rocking, dip construction and culvert repair and replacement.  Over 9,367 feet of new and seasonal road construction is planned.  Bald eagle nests were reported to be .27 mi east of unit E, .42 mi east of unit C, within 1 mi of unit E, and within 1.5 miles of unit E.  There are also spotted owls within .25 mi of unit B, and .5 mi of units E and F. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Mendocino Redwood Company to log on steep and unstable slopes east of Navarro.


PANORAMIO Photo By Arsen Ashchyan
THP 1-14-024 MEN (South of Bailey THP) Mendocino Redwood Company, 979 acres; 73% seed tree, 16% variable retention, 11% selection, misc roadside logging.  Middle S. Branch Navarro River, Lower S. Branch Navarro River (MD: T15N R14W Sec.18, 19; T15N R15W Sec.13, 14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24).  Wet weather operations, moderate erosion hazard, slopes up to 80%, landslide terrain, road failure sites, 70 road drainage work sites, impaired 303.d watershed, herbicides, coho watershed, 6 spotted owls within 1.3mi, scattered large trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 05/02/14. VIEW

This THP is about 1.6 miles east of the town of Navarro, CA and Highway 128 at an elevation of 320 to 1,400 feet.  Mendocino Redwood Company is planning a tractor and cable logging operation in redwood, grand fir and Douglas fir forests.  The THP area flows into the Navarro River which is listed as impaired for sedimentation/siltation and temperature.  There are 15 road related failure sites including fill failures, cut bank failures, cracking and road bed channeling.  Mendocino Redwood Company is planning to use an existing landing and skid roads within a watercourse, and also to use ground based equipment in areas designated for cable logging for swing yarding, to construct fire breaks, tail holds and for end-lining. 70 road drainage sites are planned for work including dip construction, rocking, culvert repair/replacement and ditch cleaning. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mendocino Redwood Company to log on steep and unstable slopes NW of Ukiah, CA.


PANORAMIO Photo By Cascadia Vision Committee
THP 1-14-023 MEN (JohnSon Ditto THP) Mendocino Redwood Company, 1417 acres; 50% seed tree, 25% transition, 10% selection, 8% variable retention, 6% rehab logging.  South Daugherty Creek, Little N. Fork Navarro River (MD: T15N R14W Sec.3, 4, 5, 9; T16N R14W Sec.29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35).  Winter operations, high erosion hazard, steep slopes up to 85%, steep roads, landslide terrain, road failure sites, 83 road drainage work sites, impaired 303.d watershed, herbicides, coho watershed, 9 spotted owls within 1.3mi, redwood Lilly, scattered large trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/21/14. VIEW

This THP is about a dozen miles NW of Ukiah, CA at an elevation of 600 to 1,400 feet.  Mendocino Redwood Company is planning a tractor and cable logging operation on steep and unstable slopes in Douglas fir and redwood forests.  The THP area flows into the Little North Fork of the Navarro River and the Big River which is listed as impaired for sediment and temperature.  This area is also close to the 2008 Mendocino Complex Fires which burned over 1,043 acres of MRC lands. Multiple landslide terrain sites exist including disrupted ground, debris slides and debris torrents.  Within these areas, there are road related fill failures, cut bank failures, bank slumping and road reconstruction projects planned on landslide terrain.  Mendocino Redwood Company wants to use ground based equipment in areas designated for cable logging, and to use tractors on skid roads and a landing within a class II watershed, and re-construct a seasonal road inside a class I watercourse.  They also want to use ground based equipment to construct a road through 3 unstable areas, and to use ground based equipment to construct a road on steep slopes over 65% grade.  83 road drainage sites are planned for work including rocking, dip construction and culvert repair and replacement.   A population of Redwood Lily was found along the banks of Daugherty Creek.  There are spotted owl sites adjacent to units 2,3, 6 and 9. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Green Diamond Resource Company to clearcut north of Highway 299.


Click on photo for FULL SIZE version
THP 1-14-022 HUM (NF 1000 Bridge THP) Green Diamond Resource Company, 102 acres; 72% clearcut, 24% selection, 5% no-harvest logging.  Denman Creek (HUM: T7N R2E Sec.33, 34).  Winter operations, moderate erosion hazard, steep slopes up to 65%, landslide terrain, impaired 303.d watershed, herbicides, coho watershed, 6 spotted owls within 1.3mi, steelhead and cutthroat trout adjacent to units B and C, southern torrent salamander sightings in unit B, northern red legged frog sighting in unit A, trees up to 60" dbh.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/15/14. VIEW

This THP is about 6 miles NE of Arcata, CA and a few miles west of the Highway 299 Coast Range summit.  Green Diamond Resource Company is planning a mostly clearcut feller buncher, shovel and cable logging operation in Douglas fir and redwood forests.  There are 3 shallow landslide areas located within a class I watercourse area in unit C.  The THP area flows into the North Fork of the Mad River and Mad River which is listed as impaired for sediment, siltation and temperature.  Steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout are known to occupy the class I streams adjacent to units B and C, although there are no coho salmon because of a barrier downstream of the THP area.  Southern torrent salamanders were reported in unit B, northern red legged frogs were spotted in unit A, and there is del Norte salamander habitat throughout the THP area. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sierra Pacific Industries to clearcut log near Arnold, CA


PANORAMIO Photo By vistalinks
THP 4-14-006 CAL (Swiss Ranch THP) Sierra Pacific Industries; 361acres; 72% clearcut, 25% no-harvest, 1% shelterwood, 1% selection, 1% roadside logging.  Upper O'Neil Creek, Fine Gold Mine, Upper Jesus Maria Creek (MD: T5N R14E Sec.2, 3, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 24).  Winter operations, high erosion hazard, steep slopes up to 60%, unstable areas in units 1770 & 1099, herbicides, 7 CA spotted owls within 1.3mi, goshawk territory within .25 mi, trees up to 42” dbh.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/25/14.VIEW

This THP is about 3 miles NW of Arnold, CA and Highway 4 near the South Fork of the Mokelumne River.  Sierra Pacific Industries is planning a mostly clearcut tractor and cable logging operation in ponderosa pine, sugar pine, white fir, Douglas fir and incense cedar forests at an elevation of 3,000 to 4,700 feet. Several prominent swales are located inside units 1770 and 1099.  SPI is planning to use excavators for fuels work on slopes greater than 30% that lead without flattening into a class II watercourse.  There are also 2 oversized units, and 89 acres of so-called operational buffers outside of units to be used for skid trails, landings and for fire line construction.  The Irish Creek goshawk territory is located within 1,600 feet of THP units. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Green Diamond Resource Company to clearcut adjacent to Redwood National Park.


Click on photo for FULL SIZE version
THP 1-14-019 HUM (BL 1000 14 THP) Green Diamond Resource Company, 102.8 acres; 58% clearcut, 23% selection, 13% visual retention, 5% no-havest, 1% roadside logging.  Bridge Creek, Pitcher Creek (HUM: T9N R1E Sec.22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 36; T9N R2E Sec.31).  Winter operations, moderate erosion hazard, steep slopes over 65%, herbicides, impaired 303.d watershed, coho watershed, unit C adjacent to redwood national park, 5 spotted owls within 1.3mi, southern torrent salamanders adjacent to unit A, trees up to 60” dbh.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/13/14. VIEW

This THP is about 8.25 miles NE of Trinidad, CA and Highway 101, and adjacent to Redwood National Park.  Green Diamond Resource Company is planning a mostly clearcut shovel, feller buncher and cable logging operation in redwood, Douglas fir, Sitka spruce and Grand fir forests at an elevation of 600 to 2,100 feet.  Unit C is adjacent to Redwood National Park and there is a 200 foot special treatment area to help hide the effects of clearcutting along the park boundary.  Green Diamond Resource Company is planning to use ground based equipment in an area designated for cable logging within unit A. They also are planning to construct 2,500 feet of new temporary road, and to construct 3,000 feet of new seasonal road.  Southern torrent salamanders were reported adjacent to unit A, and coastal tailed frogs may be present in class II watersheds within units A & B. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sierra Pacific Industries planning a pair of clearcut THPs along the North shore of Trinity Lake.


Click on photo for FULL SIZE version
Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) is proposing a pair of clearcut THPs totaling 949 acres near the north shore of Trinity Lake between the Upper Trinity River and the East Fork of the Trinity River.  These 2 THPs combined will have a significant impact along the northern shore of Trinity Lake which is already suffering from excessive loads of sediment.  Trinity Lake is part of the Central Valley Water Project which provides drinking water to Northern California.  These THPs which are interspersed will also remove a large amount of habitat near 2 Northern Spotted Owl territories.  

THP 2-14-007 TRI (Boomer THP) Sierra Pacific Industries, 640 acres; 93% clearcut, 4% selection, 3% shelterwood, misc rehab logging.  Squirrel Gulch, Cedar Creek, Watson Creek (MD: T36N R7W Sec.1, 3; T37N R6W Sec.19; T37N R7W Sec.15, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 35).  Winter operations, high erosion hazard, steep slopes over 65%, 5 unstable areas, impaired 303.d watershed, herbicides, bonanza king roadless area, 3 spotted owls within 1.3mi, 7 sensitive plant species, scattered large trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/17/14. VIEW

This THP is 2-6 miles NE of Trinity Center, CA near the north shore of Trinity Lake at an elevation of 2,400 to 5,000 feet.  Sierra Pacific Industries is planning a mostly clearcut tractor and cable logging operation in Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, white fir, sugar pine and incense cedar forests.  The THP area drains into the north shore of Trinity Lake between the Upper Trinity River and East Fork of the Trinity River which is listed as impaired for sediment and siltation.  At least 5 unstable areas are indicated on THP maps (SPI THPs are notorious for not fully disclosing information about unstable areas within the text of THP documents).  SPI is planning to reduce the width of a class I watercourse protection zone below the standard width inside unit 2056.  They also want to use tractors on steep slopes up to 60% grade to construct fire lines within units designated for cable logging.  There are 6 oversized units, and over 3,350 feet of temporary seasonal roads are planned.  Section 19 is adjacent to the Bonanza King Roadless Area.  7 sensitive plant species were reported within the THP area including: Shasta County arnica in units 6037, 6104, 2068, 2036, 2037, 1949 and 1913; lemon colored fawn lily in units 6037 and 1913; slender false lupine in units 6037, 2068 and 1983; tauchia glauca in unit 6037; English Peak greenbriar in unit 1913; Sierra Valley lewisia in units 1980, 2026 and 2036; and Klamath Mountain catchfly was found in units 2026 and 1960.

THP 2-14-008 TRI (Scorpion King THP) Sierra Pacific Industries, 309 acres; 83% clearcut, 16% seed tree, 2% selection logging.  Carrville, Copper Creek, Scorpion Creek (MD: T36N R7W Sec.3; T37N R7W Sec.3, 9, 15, 21, 22, 27, 33).  Winter operations, high erosion hazard, steep slopes up to 65%, 4 unstable areas, 22 road drainage work sites, impaired 303.d watershed, wet areas, herbicides, 3 spotted owls within 1.3mi, 6 sensitive plant species, scattered large trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/17/14. VIEW

This THP is 2-6 miles NE of Trinity Center, CA near the north shore of Trinity Lake at an elevation of 2,440 to 5,000 feet elevation.  Sierra Pacific Industries is planning a mostly clearcut tractor and cable logging operation in Douglas fir, ponderosa pine, white fir, sugar pine and incense cedar forests.  The THP area drains into the north shore of Trinity Lake between the Upper Trinity River and East Fork of the Trinity River which is listed as impaired for sediment and siltation.  At least 4 unstable areas are indicated on THP maps (SPI THPs are notorious for not fully disclosing information about unstable areas within the text of THP documents).  SPI is proposing to use tractors on steep slopes up to 60% grade to construct fire lines within units designated for cable logging, use tractors on steep slopes designated for cable logging within units 1740 and 2018, and to use a tractor inside unit 2018 to construct a skid trail on slopes over 50% grade with a high erosion hazard rating.  They also want to use a portion of a landing inside a class II watercourse, a skid trail close to a class II spring, and an existing road inside a class II watercourse.  22 road drainage sites are planned for work including rocking, dip construction and culvert repair and replacement.  There are 4 oversized units, and wet areas located in units 2014, 2018, 1486 and 1495.  Siskiyou onion was found in unit 1478; Shasta County arnica was found in units 6005 and 1478; lemon colored fawn lily was found in unit 6005; Sierra Valley lewisia was found in unit 1478; Klamath Mountain catchfly was found in units 1478 and 1461; and slender false lupine was found in unit 6026. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.

FGF US Forest Holdings to log on steep and unstable slopes near Redwood Creek and Highway 299 summit.


PANORAMIO Photo By Larry Butcher
THP 1-14-017 HUM (FGF US Lord Ellis #2 THP) FGF US Forest Holdings, 300 acres; 61% transition, 39% rehab logging.  Toss-up Creek (HUM: T7N R3E Sec.19, 20, 21, 28, 29).  Wet weather operations, low erosion hazard, slopes up to 50%, steep road, landslide terrain, road failure sites, 40 road drainage work sites, impaired 303.d watershed, coho watershed, 6 spotted owls within 1.3mi, northern red legged frog sightings, long beard lichen, scattered large trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 04/07/14. VIEW

This THP is a couple miles NE of the Highway 299 summit on the Coast Range between Arcata and Willow Creek, CA.  It is an extension of the previous FGF US Lord Ellis #1 THP 1-13-030 HUM.  The THP area flows into Redwood Creek which is listed as impaired for sediment and temperature.  FGF US Forest Holdings is planning a tractor and cable logging operation on steep and unstable slopes in Douglas fir, western hemlock, grand fir and redwood forests.  Most of the landslide terrain within the THP area is related to the Dolly Varden Road which has a large amount of side cast construction.  There are multiple fill failures along roads; including several fill failures and unstable areas along Dolly Varden Road, multiple Humboldt crossing failures, bank seeps, bank slumps, ditch channeling, debris slides and sink holes.  One steep road that exceeds 15% grade for 700 feet is proposed, along with a portion of an existing road, 3 skid trails and a landing inside a class II watercourse.  40 road drainage sites are planned for work including rocking, dip construction, culvert repair/replacement, ditch cleaning and road failure related repairs.  For spotted owl site HUM0405; this THP will reduce nesting/roosting habitat by 131 acres within .7 mi; for spotted owl site HUM0406; this THP will reduce nesting/roosting habitat by 29  acres within .7 mi, and will reduce foraging habitat by 36 acres within .7 mi; and for spotted owl site HUM0791; this THP will reduce nesting/roosting habitat by 43 acres within .7 mi. More information is available on the THP Tracking Center website.