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  1. TopTop #1
    O.W.'s Avatar
    O.W.
     

    Another Sonoma County Forest bites the dust, needs YOU to act

    As Robert Swan said: "The biggest threat to our planet is that someone else will save it".

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    Critical Wild Coho Salmon Watershed
    Threatened By Aggressive Logging Plan

    June 21, 2017, Healdsburg, CA — As wild Coho salmon have disappeared in every tributary of

    the Russian River watershed over the past decades, Felta Creek remains the rare exception.

    Even in the low fish years of 2006 and 2008, endangered wild Coho salmon survived in the

    shady pools of this boulder strewn west county stream. This spring, UC researchers discovered

    multiple spawning beds, or “redds,” in the creek’s gravel bars. But the fate of this fragile habitat
    now lies in the hands of an absentee landowner with an aggressive logging agenda.

    In late 2015, Humboldt County resident Ken Bareilles bought a 160-acre Timberland Production

    Zone property that includes a core section of Felta Creek’s headwaters. Bareilles, a logger and

    lawyer, filed a Timber Harvest Plan with CalFire (the California Department of Forestry). It

    appears CalFire is poised to approve the plan — THP 1-17-017 SON (Fox Meadows).

    The fact that Bareilles’ plan progressed this far this quickly has alarmed both professionals and

    community members. Of the 160-acre property, registered forester Randy Jacobszoon’s plan

    calls for logging on 146 acres. Of that, 130 acres are slated for Group Selection and Transition

    Harvest — essentially, multi-acre patch cuts. According to the California Geological Survey, "site

    slopes range from 10 to 80 percent gradients … geologic mapping identifies dormant and active

    deep-seated landslides as underlying the plan area.” How will heavy equipment, logging and

    hauling affect a slide-prone landscape?

    "I have reviewed logging plans in Sonoma County for over 20 years, and this is one of the
    worst,” says Larry Hanson, president of Forest Unlimited. “There is the delicate and biologically
    important stream that runs through it. And there are critical safety issues related to school
    children and to local residents who use the one-lane gravel Felta Creek Road to get in and out
    of their homes.”

    The National Marine Fisheries Service, recognizing the need to protect this watershed,

    recommended a more selective approach to limit erosion and preserve more of the forest

    canopy. In a public meeting on Thursday June 15, 2017, it was noted that one of NMFS’s

    primary recommendations made it into the final plan. Anthony Lukacic, the CalFire official in

    charge of recommending the proposed timber harvest plan for approval, said he considered but

    rejected others, deciding that CalFire’s Forest Practice Rules would suffice if adequately

    implemented.

    According to Russian Riverkeeper, the stakes couldn’t be higher. “Losing one of the single best
    juvenile Coho salmon habitats on Felta Creek that get baby Coho through the hot summer
    months would be a massive blow,” says Don McEnhill, the group’s president.

    Community members and county officials are also alarmed by the scope of the proposed

    hauling operation. The landowner claims an easement to use Felta Creek Road, a private onelane

    gravel road that winds immediately adjacent to Felta Creek. Four full-time families reside

    there amidst some grape cultivation. The use and maintenance of this rural road have been

    sufficient to balance light traffic and the health of the fishery. But Felta Creek Road has never

    been used for hauling of the proposed scale of this timber operation.

    The plan does not disclose or limit the number of logging trucks or the time of day that logging
    trucks will use Felta Creek Road. There are sharp turns around big trees, few turnouts, waterfall
    crossings and seeps, a mile-plus section of road susceptible to sedimentation of the creek. At

    the bottom is West Side School, with over 170 students, some who walk down Felta Creek

    Road to attend classes. Most students and families commute via Felta Road, a publicly

    maintained county road where school traffic is already congested.

    No traffic impact or safety studies of the hauling operation were completed as part of the timber

    harvest plan. At the June 15 public meeting, CalFire’s Lukacic asserted that the hauling

    operation was a civil matter. A licensed structural engineer requested that a lower wooden

    bridge be inspected to assess its structural integrity. And numerous concerns about

    sedimentation of the creek as well as fire and public safety issues have all been filed during the

    public comment period, set to close on Monday, June 26.

    What could all this mean for the one of last recognized refuges for wild Coho salmon in the

    entire Russian River watershed? One local timber operator who reviewed the plan predicted:

    “this is going to be ugly.”

    One official at the CalFire meeting, expressed her agency’s concern about the THP applicant’s
    record: a cleanup and abatement order with the Regional Water Quality Control Board in 2002,
    as well as previous CalFire violations.

    The 160-acre TPZ-zoned property also happens to be for sale. This means a buyer, or coalition

    of buyers, could potentially prevent logging in this critical watershed.

    “There has to be a better way,” says Felta Creek Road resident Dan Imhoff. “Deforesting the

    hills around one of Sonoma County’s finest creeks makes no sense.” Imhoff and his wife,

    Quincey Tompkins Imhoff, helped organize “Friends of Felta Creek” to advocate for the health

    and protection of the watershed and surrounding community.

    HOW YOU CAN HELP

    Documents related to the plan can be accessed at

    ftp://thp.fire.ca.gov/THPLibrary/North_Coast_Region/THPs/THPs2017/1-17-017SON/

    Public Comments can be submitted until June 26 at
    [email protected].

    Tax exempt donations can be made to
    Forest Unlimited for the “Friends of Felta Creek.”

    Contact 707.303.6091 for more information.
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  2. Gratitude expressed by 7 members:

  3. TopTop #2
    beshiva's Avatar
    beshiva
     

    Re: Another Sonoma County Forest bites the dust, needs YOU to act

    Step right up make a plan and 'rape the land. the only thing the residents of 'Felta Creek can do is research and find out who paid who off to get even this far in the process.

    nothing is sacred - everything has a price- and if it takes steamrolling over the bucolic countryside and people along with it to make the almighty dollar then that's the price the good people of SoCo will pay unless they Fight with every ounce of strength they have left to defeat these robber barons.

    Quote O.W. wrote: View Post
    ...
    Critical Wild Coho Salmon Watershed
    Threatened By Aggressive Logging Plan

    June 21, 2017, Healdsburg, CA — As wild Coho salmon have disappeared in every tributary of

    the Russian River watershed over the past decades, Felta Creek remains the rare exception....
    Last edited by Barry; 06-25-2017 at 12:03 PM.
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  4. Gratitude expressed by 3 members:

  5. TopTop #3

    Re: Another Sonoma County Forest bites the dust, needs YOU to act

    Quote O.W. wrote: View Post
    ...
    Critical Wild Coho Salmon Watershed
    Threatened By Aggressive Logging Plan

    June 21, 2017, Healdsburg, CA — As wild Coho salmon have disappeared in every tributary of

    the Russian River watershed over the past decades, Felta Creek remains the rare exception....
    This sounds absolutely HORRIBLE! Please, some local rich person/persons get together and buy and preserve this forest NOW!!
    Last edited by Barry; 06-26-2017 at 02:33 PM.
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  6. Gratitude expressed by 2 members:

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