Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sierra Pacific Industries to clearcut log near a pair of rarely seen great gray owls.


Photo By Audubon Society
THP 4-17-013 CAL (Bruce THP) Sierra Pacific Industries, 227 acres; 96% clearcut, 4% selection logging.  Lower Panther Creek (MD: T7N R14E Sec.13, 14, 15, 16, 19, 20, 21, 24, 29).  Winter operations, high erosion hazard, steep slopes up to 60%, landslide terrain, road failure sites, 25 road drainage work sites, herbicides, CA spotted owl, northern goshawk, great gray owl, golden eagle, foothill yellow legged frog, coleman’s piperia, Sierra clarkia, scattered large trees.  Estimated public comment deadline: 12/17/17. VIEW

This THP is just south of the Carson Pass Highway 88 and the Mokelumne River and about 4 miles east of West Point, CA at an elevation of 2,800 to 5,000 feet.  Sierra Pacific Industries is planning a mostly clearcut tractor based logging operation on steep and unstable slopes in ponderosa pine, sugar pine, white fir, Douglas fir and incense cedar forests.  There are 8 unstable areas mostly related to damage from storms during the winter of 2016/2017 including; multiple road related fill slope and crossing failures, erosion along a steep headwall swale within the SE portion of unit 1597, a small fill failure north of a landing in unit 2017, a fill failure off a landing and erosive wet area near the eastern boundary of unit 2068, and a fill failure off a landing that resulted in a debris torrent along the SE border of unit 2080.  SPI is planning to use and construct roads, landings and crossings during the winter period, and use ground based equipment on slopes over 50% grade with a high erosion hazard in units 1597, 2017 and 2080.  They also want to use ground based equipment on unstable areas in units 1597, 2017, 2068 and 2080.  25 road drainage sites are planned for work including rocking, dip construction, ditch cleaning, culvert repair/replacement and restoration of washed out crossings.  In 2016, a nesting pair of great gray owls (rarely seen - state “endangered” species) was spotted in section 21.  In 2008, a golden eagle nest was reported in section 15, a northern goshawk nesting territory is located in section 21, and a foothill yellow legged frog was found sunning itself on a road proposed for use in section 21. There are 14 botanical protection areas for coleman’s piperia (unit 4301) and Sierra clarkia (units 314, 1584, 1597, 2068, 2017, 2082, 4301) in sections 14, 19, 20, 21 and 24.  Seven CA spotted owl nesting territories are located within 1.3 miles of the THP area in sections 13, 14, 16, 18, 22 and 29.

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