California state government allowing timber clear cutting where it is funding watershed restoration

Clear cutting a forest is horrifying. It is death multiplied many times over and spreads out and over the landscape into every aspect of the atmosphere and environment. To stand by it and see it is to feel death. It empties you and then fills you with rage that man could do this to nature. Such an arrogant abuse is incomprehensible to the normal person. Yet the State of California is allowing it to happen. It is absurd and maddening but it is allowing it in watersheds that are being restored with your tax dollars.

When done by an industrial timber company the death keeps coming. The fish, birds, butterflies and every animal are driven out of a habitat that is already diminishing steadily. Erosion causes sediment to fill and heat creeks and choke off life. Then the company plants a plantation of single species pine for industrial harvest which chokes off the vitality of the forest. I've seen it too many times and it is a nightmare. Many of us have fought these horrifying abuses and thought we have won against clear cutting.


Photo by Marily Woodhouse

Member Comments  A visit to Battle Creek Watershed

Battle Creek Salmon & Steelhead Restoration
New photos of Battle Creek clear cutting
Join our effort to protect the forests of Battle Creek and salmon restoration

Battle Creek Alliance Sierra People's Forest Service Sierra Nevada Forest Interactive Stop Clear Cutting.org

KQED Forum on Battle Creek

Sierra Pacific, the largest private landowner in California, is doing it now to much of the most vital forested habitat in California. Not only is it a heinous practice, but made much worse in this case because of an expensive effort by the State of California to restore salmon habitat that was destroyed by dams and irrigation.

A serious breakdown in California policy and management allows this ridiculous atrocity. California and the federal government are removing dams in the Battle Creek watershed to restore the salmon fishery while the state's department of forestry and fire protection (CalFire) is permitting industrial clear cutting in the watershed. Sierra Pacific has filed 16 plans to clear cut 20,000 acres in the watershed. This is like taking an aspirin to cure a headache with one hand and cutting off your head with the other because you can get a couple of dollars for it at the pawn shop. It is profligate. It is duplicitous. It is self defeating. It is stupid.

It must be stopped. Please look at these pages and tell the Governor you want this unconscionable practice stopped. PelicanNetwork


Marily Woodhouse in the Battle Creek wtershed


Click for larger version

Photo by Randall Benton and Map by Sacramento Bee

For more information including arial views of clearcuts see the Battle Creek Alliance:

http://www.thebattlecreekalliance.org 

Sacramento Bee front page story of Battle Creek:

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/19/3711308/troubled-waters-of-battle-creek.html#ixzz1PmrDXMuZ

See the reasoning against clear cutting at:
http://www.thebattlecreekalliance.org

Sacramento Bee editorial today:

http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/21/3715189/governor-needs-to-keep-pledge.html

Sierra Nevada Forest Imagery Interactive

http://www.sierraforest.org/
------------------------------------------

Or, send your comments directly to:

Governor Jerry Brown
State Capitol Building, Suite 1173
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 445-2841

Email him through his website at http://gov.ca.gov/m_contact.php

 

John Laird, Secretary of the California State Natural Resources Agency
1416 Ninth Street, Suite 1311
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 653-5656
secretary@resources.ca.gov

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Dear Governor Jerry Brown and Secretary John Laird,

Here are comments from members concerning the Battle Creek watershed restoration issue:

Battle Creek Comment: Re: Battle Creek clearcutting

Battle Creek Comment: I am asking you to consider more facts before allowing Sierra Pacific to do more checkerboard clearcut logging in my local area for 3 reasons:

(1) Have you information on how much loss of species diversity will result? Right now, on Mount Lassen's flanks, there are 6 different types in this mixed coniferous forest: (1) Sugar Pines, (2) White Firs, (3) Incense Cedars, (4) Dougas Firs, (5) Ponderosa Pines, and (6) Kellogg's Black Oak trees. In the natural world, diversity is wealth. SP's goal of stripping this diversity and replacing it with Ponderosa pine plantations which can be harvested like wheat may have an affect on survival of natural forests and the populations they support.

Clear cutting forests above the special Battle Creek Salmon spawning restoration effort equals introduciong a fragmented forest upstream from this critical salmon spawning project.

Fragmented forests are weakened forests. Prior to logging the creeks were more effective nurseries for salmon either spawning or sheltering prior to heading out to the ocean.

(2) Have you considered the cumulative affects on soil productivity and soil loss should a pulse event storm occur (a big, major storm more powerful than weathermen could predict) example a 100 year event thunderstorm could send the type erosion into Battle Creek feeder streams like the big storm on the Russian River decades ago that sent silt filling in all the creeks next to logging roads of dirt that muddied up and ruined the creeks for salmon fingerlings to survive.

(3) Have you considered the possibility of the affect on the understory species like dogwood and coffeeberry (that grow beneath sugar pine, white fir, incense cedar, doug fir, and kellogg's black oak and the wildlife bird, mammal and insect life that are nursed from birth amongst these

bushes and smaller trees growing beneath the Sierra Nevada Mixed coniferous forest that would be clear cut by SP?

Salmon are now endangered as a res ult of loss of habitat...would you consider carefully all the evidence prior to allowing business? I reside in Shasta County just 25miles from the clear cutting south of Highway 44, above Battle Creek Watershed. Mary Martha Weidert

Battle Creek Comment: my family has owned a cabin in Calaveras county for over 10 years. We love the mountain and count our blessings to be able to come to the forest and enjoy it. But over the last few years we have gotten increasingly disturbed by the clear cutting that is allowed on the mountain. Just this week I witnessed truck after truck thundering down Highway 4 loaded with felled trees. Evidently since it was a long winter they are hurrying to cut as much as they can before the snow comes again.

Governor, have you seen what the clear cutters are doing to the Sierra? It is heartbreaking, an environmental atrocity of epic proportions. How can this be? How can the most progressive state in the union, in the most developed country in the world, condone and allow this practice? We are horrified and appalled when developing countries like Brazil allow the destruction of their rain forests for short term economic gain. Governor, it is happening right here, right now, in our own natural wonder. The State stewards the forest on behalf of our citizens. You cannot sit idly by while Sierra Pacific Industries destroys acre after acre of our forests. Please, please, please - suspend their clear cutting licenses and create a commission to define and enforce responsible logging across our entire state. Soon, it will be too late. There will be nothing left to save. Victoria Coleman

Battle Creek Comment: Stop the destruction of the Battle Creek watershed through thoughtless clear cutting. Chuck Hammerstad

Battle Creek Comment: The Calif government, with your lead, is doing a wonderful job by supporting Salmon restoration on Battle Creek near the Trinity Alps. But by allowing SPI to clear cut this watershed at the same time is rather like having one surgeon repair your right hand while another cuts off the arm at the shoulder. Please: stop this nonsense now, and stop the clearcutting. Richard Montgomery

Battle Creek Comment: Twenty-five years ago I became aware of the horrifying clearcutting that has ruined acres of California and the herbicide use that continues to cause problems. Isn't this enough time to have learned that these policies are more damaging than ever. Lois Robin

Battle Creek Comment: If this information about clearcutting at Battle Creek is true, as I believe it is, it is horrible policy. Please do everything you can to stop this degradation of our precious environment and resources.Ted Benhari

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Gov. Brown and Secretary Laird: Please do not allow SPI to continue to liquidate California's rich forest resources at the expense of wildfire and communities. I urge you to act to impose, at minimum, a moratorium on clearcutting in the Sierra Nevada. It is long overdue. Katherine Evatt

Battle Creek Comment: Gov. Brown, THIS IS something for which you should STAND UP and STOP. Clear-cutting is so retro and that isn't your projected campaign image. STOP THIS INSANITY, PLEASE !!!! V L Whiteside

Battle Creek Comment: Is the Lookout THP in the Battle Creek watershed just another example of corporate America wagging the government tail of California, or is it simply inept government handling of the public trust?

I live in Grass Valley and appreciate the need for well managed timber harvests, but no matter how it's viewed...the Lookout THP approval process was flawed and needs to be reexamined. I'm also curious where the milled lumber will be ultimately used. John Boyd

Battle Creek Comment: please stop clear-cutting in the battle creek watershed area, before there is no salmon areas where the salmon can spawn at, please bind the sierra pacific land companies projects til a thorough investigation of the environment issue can be looked at .gloria jimenez

Battle Creek Comment: California allowing timber clear cutting where it is funding watershed restoration does not make sense. Clear cutting a forest is horrifying. It is death multiplied many times over and spreads out and over the landscape into every aspect of the atmosphere and environment. Such an arrogant abuse is incomprehensible. Yet the State of California is allowing it to happen - even in watersheds that are being restored with our tax dollars.

Please continue to restore our watersheds - please STOP clear cutting forests. Heather Richman

Battle Creek Comment: It makes no sense to spend effort and money to restore downstream for salmon and clear-cut upstream, resulting in destruction of habitat on the same stream for the same salmon. Please stop this logging. Rasa Gustaitis Moss

Battle Creek Comment: I only travel through the Battle Creek area, but I see clearcutting throughout the Sierra. Why is this still allowed to occur, when the science and good sense tell us it is not possible to have a healthy forest when it is truncated in large swaths and sprayed with herbicides that harm water and habitat? The situation in Battle Creek speaks to the larger problem affecting the Sierra and the state - clearcutting has got to go. Laurie Davis

Battle Creek Comment: please stop the clear cutting ralph j byrne

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Governor and Secretary of Natural Resources, I am writing you in the hope that you will stop the legality of the clear cutting practice in our forests. Best practices forestry as taught in all Universities does not include clear cutting. Clearcutting is not sustainable as the arial pictures of Battle Creek show. Clearcuts are sprayed with herbicides and replanted with few tree species. These plantations are planted to dense for straight boles growth and harvested at age 60 or 80 years. These stands are a huge fire risk, deplete genetic tree diversity and cause siltation of creeks and rivers when first planted. Pat Lind

Battle Creek Comment: What a sad thing, that we are so unconscious of all the wonderful gifts we have been given. But it seems,profit rules. Betty A. and Peter J. Mich

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop the clear cutting. Lori Kondro

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop the clear-cutting of Battle Creek. Ecosystems must be preserved. It's critical for any kind of healthy environmental future. Regular folks are so tired of policies that hurt our environmental future but are tolerated as they line somebody's pocket. When those in charge of corporate america finally realize that we're screwed environmentally - it will be way, way too late and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will look at them and wonder how they could have been so short-sighted, arrogant, greedy and stupid. What a depressing legancy to leave for any future generations.....if there ARE any future generations.Kara Littell-McWilliams

I own a home in Manton, in the Battle Creek watershed. I raised my family there, and have been involved in efforts to stop SPI's rampage across the Sierra Nevada for more than a decade, as a biologist and as a forest protection activist. SPI s type of industrial clearcutting includes bulldozing, burning, planting, and chemical herbicide applications. It is not forestry, but agricultural tree farming. These practices completely eliminate the natural forest. If this isn t stopped now, restoration of the salmon and steelhead fishery in Battle Creek is going to be seriously jeopardized. It already is at risk from the nearly 20,000 acres of clearcuts that have already been permitted in the short span of a decade. There has never been this level of logging destruction in the Sierra Nevada in history even a hundred years ago, when the first ancient giant trees were cut down (trees that were 500 years old or more), at least the forest could grow back naturally. There is no hope of this now.

Please implement the California Wildlife Action Plan, a blueprint for conservation that we taxpayers paid for, that recommends setting ecologically based limits on clearcutting for each watershed. Please put a halt to the use of chemical herbicides in the headwaters of our drinking water supplies, including chemicals like triclopyr that are lethal to juvenile salmonids. A full scale scientific review of the cumulative impacts of clearcutting this watershed is imperative, and all logging must be halted until a sustainable management plan for logging in the watershed can be created. Credible scientists without ties to the logging industry must lead this effort.Vivian Parker

Battle Creek Comment: Risking the state revenues used for salmon habitat restoration, by allowing Sierra Pacific to continue clear cutting the Battle Creek watershed, is potentially a gross waste of fiscal resources. Clear cutting should stop!Jason Bradley

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting is literally raping the land. I lived in Eureka, CA 1972 to 1975 and it was going on then with impunity. I saw it first hand from a small plane on the other side of the foothills. Please finally put a stop to this careless disregard for our land. Ann Hobson

Battle Creek Comment: Ecosystem management requires all affective elements be coordinated so that the objectives of the plan will not be subverted. All activities upstream affect activities downstream. This type of planning was not done for the Battle Creek Watershed. Please fix this egregious error. And don't do it again! Sandy Sanders

Battle Creek Comment: There are so many ways in which clearcutting damages the environment. Let me count the ways: destruction of salmon habitat through erosion; widespread use of herbicides that pollute water and soil; destruction of diverse forests and replacement with tree plantations of one or two species; increased risk of fire danger due to even-aged management; increased forest temperatures because the large trees are gone; large releases of carbon dioxide that exacerbate climate change; fewer jobs in the woods as huge machinery replaces loggers; and many more. Why is this allowed? The only purpose of clearcutting is increased profits for the timber companies. Please end this practice now.Sue Lynn

sigrid mclaughlin

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting is an outrageous action and results in the destruction of habitat and many species. It destroys the natural beauty of forests which may never recover for decades, if at all.Margery Nicolsosn

Battle Creek Comment: What a sad thing, that we are so unconscious of all the wonderful gifts we have been given. But it seems,profit rules.Betty A. and Peter J. Mich

Battle Creek Comment:

Please stop the clear cutting.Lori Kondro

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop the clear-cutting of Battle Creek. Ecosystems must be preserved. It's critical for any kind of healthy environmental future. Regular folks are so tired of policies that hurt our environmental future but are tolerated as they line somebody's pocket. When those in charge of corporate america finally realize that we're screwed environmentally - it will be way, way too late and their grandchildren and great-grandchildren will look at them and wonder how they could have been so short-sighted, arrogant, greedy and stupid. What a depressing legancy to leave for any future generations.....if there ARE any future generations.Kara Littell-McWilliams

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Governor Brown and Secretary Laird -

I strongly support the state's efforts to enhance watersheds, remove dams and restore fisheries, particularly in the special volcanic habitat area of Battle Creek. It is just wrong to permit Sierra Pacific Industries to clearcut in the environmentally significant Battle Creek watershed. Forest harvest with clearcut practices is destructive and out-dated. I urge you to take action and reverse the California Department of Forestry permits that allow Sierra Pacific to continue their grossly inappropriate forest resource mining. This watershed and the fishery it supports needs restoration, not devastation.Nikki Nedeff

Battle Creek Comment: It is ridiculous that clear cutting is still allowed when we know it is so damaging to the systems that keep us all alive. Please stop it. Lisa Brown

Battle Creek Comment: WE need to protect our drinking water, salmon, and wildlife. Clear cutting our watersheds destroys these priceless resources. Felipe Garcia

Battle Creek Comment: The Battle Creek Watershed is being devastated by clearcutting. It is not only ugly to look at but the trees that are replanted are usually not the trees that were harvested. This is creating a very disruptive ecosystem not protective of sustainable species. Select cutting and replanting with replacement trees will aid in sustaining the current ecosystem. What must also be taken into account is climate change.

I have observed extremely degraded water quality from clearcut logging operations. Timber companies need to be required to sample for pre and post logging water quality. The Regional Board does not have sufficient funds to do this. The timber companies should either be required to hire independent firms to take regular water samples or pay into a fund sufficient monies to cover credible sampling. Restoration of wildlife habitat should also be required. John Livingston

Battle Creek Comment: Please put a stop to clearcutting in the Battle Creek watershed. It is not compatible with long term wildlife, fish, and soil health. Don Morrill

Battle Creek Comment: Wow! Let's get some logic here! Haven't we learned? about the consequences of this type of logging? about the greediness of logging business to cut as much as fast as secretly as they can when they know resources and informed and concerned citizens are asking for alternative and more sensitive procedures are needed. about our American lifestyle which needs to curb our use of resources to recover our destructiveness to the environment. I just complete a duplex and tried very hard to incorporate appropriate building practices to decrease consumption of wood products and use of more environmentally friendly construction practices... we ALL have to stop consuming like we have in the past... there are too many people, houses, roads, buildings... please recognize this and help the timber industry ease into a transition away from clear cutting and save our forests, animals and their habitat and most importantly, everybody's watershed! Liz Mosher

Battle Creek Comment: Clearcutting only benefits big timber. Downstream recreation is degraded, flora and fauna die, and (desirable) water quality is a joke. The Battle Creek watershed is an ongoing disgrace to this State's status as a white knight for natural beauty.

Please reset our State's priorities and save our resources and beauty for present and future residents.Ann E Garside

Battle Creek Comment: Hello - I have been involved in Forest Activism since the early 1990s. The logging on private lands has intensified since that time. Large clearcuts are the norm now, where in the 90's they were rare. Plantations and watershed destruction are rampant. The logging and clearcuts are literally right next to large creek and streams. The Battle Creek watershed is a perfect example of taxpayers putting money into salmon restoration and private timberland owners taking any benefits away with the other hand. Butte Creek in Butte County is another creek that is heavily impacted by private land logging and has millions of dollars of restoration work in progress.

This is simply ridiculous.

Governor Brown, you are a straight talker. Tell us how this adds up?? Patricia Puterbaugh

Battle Creek Comment: Isn't this "public land"? That means it belongs to me too and I don't want a private company to desecrate the land, wildlife habitat, fish and water of this forested area. Marty Brown

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop the clear cutting in northern California by Sierra Pacific.Charlotte Williams

Battle Creek Comment: I oppose this clearcutting! Sierra Pacific, the largest private landowner in California, is doing it now to much of the most vital forested habitat in California. Not only is it a heinous practice, but made much worse in this case because of an expensive effort by the State of California to restore salmon habitat that was destroyed by dams and irrigation.

A serious breakdown in California policy and management allows this ridiculous atrocity. California and the federal government are removing dams in the Battle Creek watershed to restore the salmon fishery while the state's department of forestry and fire protection (CalFire) is permitting industrial clear cutting in the watershed. Sierra Pacific has filed 16 plans to clear cut 20,000 acres in the watershed. This is like taking an aspirin to cure a headache with one hand and cutting off your head with the other because you can get a couple of dollars for it at the pawn shop. It is profligate. It is duplicitous. It is self defeating. It is stupid.

It must be stopped. Please look at these pages and tell the Governor you want this unconscionable practice stopped. PelicanNetwork & Colin Smith Colin Smith

Battle Creek Comment: Is this a case of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing or something more nefarious? Clear cutting the Battle Creek watershed by Sierra Pacific at the same time taxpayers are funding the restoration of salmon in the same stream, makes no sense at all. Sierra Pacific may have contributed to your campaign, but 'we the people' elected you to work for ALL of us. Stop the clear cutting now please. Thank you. R. Zierikzee

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting destroys the environment, and is not sustainable. Greed is killing the planet. Please stand up against this horrific process. Paul Jimerson

Battle Creek Comment: Clearcutting is undercutting the work done to save the salmon! Betty A. Michelozzi

Battle Creek Comment: I am appalled that clear cutting is still be done and in California! Please stop this atrocity that is happening in the Sierras by Pacific Sierra logging co. Carol Carson

Battle Creek Comment: Restoring balance and harmony w/our natural environment is the only way we can retain a sustainable planet - clear cutting creates havoc. It must stopped and an alternative found. Pauline Allen

Battle Creek Comment: I'm surprised clearcutting is still an issue. I thought we oulawed this devestating practice 40 years ago! So let's outlaw it now. Michelle Miranda

Battle Creek Comment: This is craziness. How can the Board of Forestry allow clearcutting to sabatoge all the work being done to restore the Batlle Creek fishery? James Feichtl

Battle Creek Comment: This is craziness. How can the Board of Forestry allow clearcutting to sabotage all the work being done to restore the Battle Creek fishery? James Feichtl

Battle Creek Comment: Clearcutting in the headwaters of Battle Creek at the same time the state is trying to restore salmon there is not good policy. I urge a moritorium on clearcutting in the area. John Trinkl

Battle Creek Comment: Stop the clear cutting. RON GABEL

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Governor Brown,

In April 2002 the IRON MOUNTAIN MINE TRUSTEE COUNCIL consisting of State and Federal Agencies:
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
California Department of Fish and Game
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Bureau of Land Management
Bureau of Reclamation issued its FINAL
RESTORATION PLAN FOR NATURAL RESOURCE INJURIES
FROM IRON MOUNTAIN MINE

That plan allocated $9 million for ecological and lost human-use restoration. "Proposed restoration actions will occur along the

Sacramento River and its tributaries between Keswick Reservoir and Red Bluff Diversion Dam, Redding to Red Bluff."

In April 2005, our organization, a 501(c)3 non-profit applied for a grant under this plan to preserve 215 acres of upper Salt Creek, a vibrant Salmon and Steelhead habitat, just below Iron Mountain Mine. We were denied because the bulk of the $9 million was going to be dumped into a single watershed, Battle Creek, located many miles south of the Iron Mountain Superfund Cleanup Site.

That Battle Creek is now being assulted with clear cutting is evidence that restoration should not be concentrated on single watersheds, but on multiple watersheds. That Battle Creek riparian habitat is being destroyed by Sierra Pacific clearcuts is a double insult in that federal and state funds were directed to Battle Creek instead of many deserving watersheds north of Battle Creek below Keswick Dam. The purpose of public investment was salmon and steelhead restoration!!!

This is a fiscal and environmental travesty needing your intervention. Susan G. Weale

Battle Creek Comment: please revise plans of clear-cutting made by sierra pacific. the devastation caused is inhumane for our environment at this time. gloria jimenez

Battle Creek Comment: I have spent time on Battle Creek and know what a special place it is. Please protect it and give the salmon a chance to survive Susan Hubbard

Toni Wolfson

Battle Creek Comment: Governor Brown: Please investigate the clear- cutting of 20,000 acres in the Battle Creek watershed. It is a big and stupid plan! We are depending on you to look very seriously into this and stop this. Many thanks for your consideration! Audie Housman

Battle Creek Comment: I'm not a Californian but I stand with them on this clear cutting outrage that it's going on their beautiful state. When is all this madness going to stop? Hasn't human kind done enough to destroy our beautiful God given planet?

Truly ypours, Antonio DeSousa

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting watershed is the height of self-destructive stupidity. Please stop this. Joseph Christensen

Battle Creek Comment: The clear cutting and use of herbicides in this critical Battle Creek watershed, where so much is being done to salvage the salmon population, is dangerously counter-productive and absurdly threatens to undermine the expensive and important project. Please restrict this logging practice in this area. Tom Dodd

Battle Creek Comment: Governor Brown,

This is a moment of truth so the effect of your decision in this matter involves much more than the health of a salmon population and a micro ecology.

As well as anyone, you must be aware that clear cutting Battle Creek or anywhere else would be hypocritical, short-sighted cynical and stupid.

You also know that the cost to the public of such environmental neglect equals that of the "pioneers" who destroyed most of California's ancient forests in the 19th century and that the cost to us far surpasses any economic benefit and further, you know that this benefit is to a handful of forest investors. You know that logging is done mechanically today, often using the cheapest labor available--recently immigrated.

You know that previous appointments to the Board of Forestry literally destroyed the department's commitment to environmental preservation and that CalFire, a public agency, is nothing more than a means of protecting the assets of timber managers, cares not a whit for environmental issues nor for public recreation, and that Battle Creek is but one example of this agency's neglect.

But you also know that today's environmental problems, as vast as they are, can only be solved by setting precedents in local actions, such as, Battle Creek and thus, I expect you know that this is a place where we must take a stand for the future or there may not be a future very long. Michael Winn

Battle Creek Comment: sir not only is it fiscally iresponsible to allow clear cutting for a fee,but then use tax paper funds,both state and federal to apply environmental remediation. this practice in forestery and mining is costing my great,great grandchildren to much reduction in quality of life. long before they come. let us all embrace reason,and honourably in this and all governanace. thank you James otha wolfenden

Battle Creek Comment: Salmon, Yes.
Logging, No.

Please help get rid of the practices that are cutting down trees and removing dams while permits allow clear cutting of watershed. We need some balance here and need Gov. Brown to provide the necessary leadership. Maris Sidenstecker

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting does permanent and irrevocable damage to an ecosystem and should not be permitted under any circumstances. Cosmetic improvements such as tree plantations do not restore the lost biodiversity. Tim Goncharoff

Battle Creek Comment: stop the clear cutting. Stop the destruction of our natural resources. john ruffner

Battle Creek Comment: This is the kind of bureaucrat not-knowing-what-the-other-hand-is-doing stuff that drives the public crazy and gives government a very black eye.

Fix this and save the salmon. betty winholtz

Battle Creek Comment: PLEASE stop clear cutting! The fish, birds, butterflies and every animal are driven out of a habitat that is already diminishing steadily. Erosion causes sediment to fill and heat creeks and choke off life. Then the company plants a plantation of single species pine for industrial harvest which chokes off the vitality of the forest. This is ABUSE of our natural resources. Climate change is here because of abuse. Now clear cutting WILL contribute to more catastrophic conditions. Frankie English

Stacey Gledich

Battle Creek Comment: There is no question that clear cutting is severely damaging to watersheds. Allowing this practice to continue in the Battle Creek watershed is undoing years of work and millions of dollars spent on restoring salmon and steelhead to this system.

Please put a stop to the clear cutting in the Battle Creek watershed. Dougald Scott

Battle Creek Comment: Please Stop All Further Industrial Clearcuts in Watersheds. David Dilworth

Battle Creek Comment: In a time when global warming threatens life as we know it, continued clear cutting for short term gain does not make sense. Forests act naturally to restore the balance of composition in the atmosphere and provide a home to diverse species of animals. Please take action to stop this senseless clear cutting and loss of an irreplaceable resource. Please help preserve the Battle Creek watershed forest. John Schlottig

Battle Creek Comment: Re Sierra Pacific and the Battle Creek watershed: Clear cutting in this day and age?? Please stop this madness. Gary L. Auth

Battle Creek Comment: Any practice that is destructive to ecosystems or is unsustainable must be stopped, redesigned to be non-harmful and sustainable practices. This applies globally to all actions and cannot be compromised. Period. Marshall Sanders

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Governor and Secretary of Natural Resources,

I am appalled by the clear cutting of the watershed! While I understand the need for forest management, this is, in my opinion, a terrible travesty to our precious forests! Why restore the salmon fishery at the same time destroy the forests with clear cutting? Please put a stop to this so that the salmon fisheries, with the restored watershed at Battle Creek, can have a forest to come back too and complete the balance needed in our ecosystems! Greg Minuskin

Battle Creek Comment: I attended meetings of the Jackson Forest Advisory for 2 years. CalFire is an enabler of the timber industry, it's policies are not in the public interest but to serve the goals of timber production. Michael Winn

Battle Creek Comment: this clearcutting is shortsighted greed at the expense of our grandchildren's legacy. We must stop thinking selfishly. Stop this industrial clear cutting now. Linda Hanes

Battle Creek Comment: Matt Weiser's excellent article on Battle Creek pointed out a problem that exists across the Sierra and southern Cascades: Sierra Pacific Industries' clearcutting is at total odds with state, federal and local conservation efforts and investment.

While communities and agencies work to reduce the risk of damaging fires, SPI is logging large, fire-resistant trees and replacing them with highly flammable pine plantations. While PG&E, conservation groups, and wildlife agencies invest millions to restore rivers, fish habitat, and frog populations, SPI is dumping millions of gallons of herbicide in the watersheds and creating huge erosion risks. While the state works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, SPI is releasing huge amounts of carbon by deep-ripping forest soils.

This is not enlightened forest management. It's forest liquidation, a late 19th century robber-baron approach to resource management. And it's putting the public's wildlife, fisheries, and water quality at risk. Betty A. and Peter J. Mich

Battle Creek Comment: Please ensure that Sierra Pacific is not allowed to clear cut in the Battle Creek area. It should be obvious by now that clear cutting causes irreversible damage, and it's an irrespo0nsible way of harvesting wood. Kermit Cuff

Battle Creek Comment: Battle Creek is the wrong place and the wrong time for clearcut logging. Please put a stop to it! Steven Singer

Battle Creek Comment: Totally destroying entire ecosystems and undermining the health of hundreds of watersheds can no longer be considered acceptable. Make clear cutting illegal. Nancy B. Macy

Battle Creek Comment: We need more trees and we need more salmon. Stop the clearcut, don't waste our tax dollars by letting Sierra Pacific do this. Greg Meyer

Battle Creek Comment: What the hell is this??? this plan is in direct opposition to protecting the watershed and in restoring the salmon fisheries.What insanity--no coordination, planning or good judgment. anita jennings

Battle Creek Comment: I think the State of California shouldn't allow clearcutting of its forests. Kevin Wacknov

Battle Creek Comment: Matt Weiser's excellent article on Battle Creek pointed out a problem that exists across the Sierra and southern Cascades: Sierra Pacific Industries' clear cutting is at total odds with state, federal and local conservation efforts and investment.

While communities and agencies work to reduce the risk of damaging fires, SPI is logging large, fire-resistant trees and replacing them with highly flammable pine plantations. While PG&E, conservation groups, and wildlife agencies invest millions to restore rivers, fish habitat, and frog populations, SPI is dumping millions of gallons of herbicide in the watersheds and creating huge erosion risks. While the state works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, SPI is releasing huge amounts of carbon by deep-ripping forest soils.

This is not enlightened forest management. It's forest liquidation, a late 19th century robber-baron approach to resource management. And it's putting the public's wildlife, fisheries, and water quality at risk Beverly Anderson

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Sirs,

You still have my full faith and confidence but please act to correct this terrible mis-use of our state's treasured natural resources. Mike Dusharme

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting has got to stop. The value of our forests far exceeds the short term financial gain received by the private sector. the public has a right to preserve this valuable land that sustains the environment and so many interdependant ecosystems. I have supported Governor Brown. Please stop this misuse of a valuable and irreplaceable treasure. Saarah Romo

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Governor Brown and Secretary Laird:

There is a problem that exists across the Sierra and southern Cascades: Sierra Pacific Industries' clearcutting is at total odds with state, federal and local conservation efforts and investment.

While communities and agencies work to reduce the risk of damaging fires, SPI is logging large, fire-resistant trees and replacing them with highly flammable pine plantations. While PG&E, conservation groups, and wildlife agencies invest millions to restore rivers, fish habitat, and frog populations, SPI is dumping millions of gallons of herbicide in the watersheds and creating huge erosion risks. While the state works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, SPI is releasing huge amounts of carbon by deep-ripping forest soils.

This is not enlightened forest management. It's forest liquidation, a late 19th century robber-baron approach to resource management. And it's putting the public's wildlife, fisheries, and water quality at risk.

Please put a stop to this! Jim Curland

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting has got to stop. The value of our forests far exceeds the short term financial gain received by the private sector. the public has a right to preserve this valuable land that sustains the environment and so many interdependant ecosystems. I have supported Governor Brown. Please stop this misuse of a valuable and irreplaceable treasure. Saarah Romo

Battle Creek Comment: We are shocked and horrified to hear of the extensive clear-cutting of the Sierra forests in our beautiful state!! Have we gone back to the dark ages!!??! Please make it stop and NOW!!! We will be in the streets protesting if it doesn't stop. What an embarrassment to our state! What a crime against our forests, our children's heritage!! Bill and Jan Tache

Battle Creek Comment: Jerry, and John. Please do not allow Sierra Pacific to clearcut forest in the Battle Creek watershed. This harvesting is a travesty to the environment.

Thank you for your consideration. Tauria Linala

Battle Creek Comment: I have taught Fisheries at Humboldt State for the past 30+ years and have been involved in efforts to restore the Battle Creek watershed. I cannot imagine a worse location to allow large clearcutting. There is hope that Battle Creek could possibly become an additional refuge for endgangered winter Chinook, in addition to providing quality habitat for other anadromous salmonids in one of the few Sacramento tributaries that has any substantial production potential. Please do not allow clear cuts in this drainage. david hankin

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop the timber clear cutting by Sierra Pacific in the Battle Creek watershed. Not only is the clear cutting atrocious in its destruction of the habitat and its wildlife, it is in ludicrous conflict with taxpayer-funded watershed restoration in the same area!!! Emiko Isa

Battle Creek Comment: I find it difficult to understand why the State of California and the Federal Government can get together and invest upwards of $138 million on the Battle Creek Restoration Project and allow the Sierra Pacific Lumber Company to jeopardize the project by strip logging above in the same watershed. What is found to be legal sometimes is not just, good government must find a way to preserve and protect from those who would destroy for profit. James G Kimball

Battle Creek Comment: I have taught Fisheries at Humboldt State for the past 30+ years and have been involved in efforts to restore the Battle Creek watershed. I cannot imagine a worse location to allow large clearcutting. There is hope that Battle Creek could possibly become an additional refuge for endgangered winter Chinook, in addition to providing quality habitat for other anadromous salmonids in one of the few Sacramento tributaries that has any substantial production potential. Please do not allow clear cuts in this drainage. david hankin

 

Battle Creek Comment: Governor Brown: You must, absolutely MUST stop this egregious clearcutting by Sierra Pacific in the Battle Creek forest. Only you have the power to do this. You know the reasons why. Toby Rowland-Jones

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting is devastating and should be banned. And to let it occur in a place where where we all are invested in a restoration of the nearly destroyed salmon habitat is just too ridiculous to comprehend.

It has been a long arduous effort to create to restore rivers and habitat for salmon. An astounding amount of work and hope has been invested in this effort. Like redwoods, this unique California heritage has been reduced to less than 5% of its historical greatness. We are on the brink of experiencing a total elimination of these wondrous fish in these once marvelous rivers. Shoddy logging practices and clear cutting have devastated our landscapes. This has been a principal problem for the recovery of these spawning streams.

The State of California and the federal government have recognized citizen initiative and contributed $128 million for the removal of 5 dams and recovery of Battle Creek native fishery. But one California agency has allowed Sierra Pacific, the largest private land owner in California, to clear cut up to 20,000 acres in the watershed. Julie

Battle Creek Comment: Secretary John and Gov Brown,

Having known Red Emerson and worked with him and his staff for a number of years, I can say that he always struck me as caring a lot for his employees and the communities in the areas that he worked. I am confident that were he in charge today this issue would never have reached this point. I urge you to interject yourselves into this issue and require all state departments to back and return to the table and resolve this issue in a more equitable manner. We hope that Sierra Pacific does not become the Pacific Lumber of this decade. If so, no one wins. Dan McCorquodale, Sen. Rtd

Battle Creek Comment: Battle Creek is part of the tiny portion of the entire Sacramento River Watershed still accessible to wild salmon. As such this creek is priceless to the future survival of salmon in California. To both fund salmon habitat restoration work and simultaneously approve massive clear-cut logging in the same watershed basin is preposterous. Stand up and prevent this absurd abuse of the public trust. Battle Creek and the other Lassen Mountain salmon streams need special status protection. These creeks are all that is left of the Sacramento River's original salmonid genetic diversity. Kevin Collins

Battle Creek Comment: What the heck? Stop this ridiculous conflict of policies. Barry Frantz

Battle Creek Comment: The Battle Creek clearcut idea is so illogical it is preposterous. Could this be the smell of corruption? Fred Walker

 

Battle Creek Comment: We are totally opposed to clearcutting of the Battle Creek forest. What could the permitting powers be thinking of when that is restored fishing habitat? Doug and Lee Buckmaster

 

Battle Creek Comment: I cannot imagine either John Laird or Jerry Brown consenting to such damaging clear-cut logging. If either of you reason differently please email me reasons. harriet mitteldorf

Battle Creek Comment: Dear Governor Brown,

I love forests and clean watersheds. I have been made aware of clear cut logging plans by Sierra Pacific that would have a severe negative impact on their respective watersheds. I request that you use the powers of your office to stop the proposed clean cuts for the sake of our environment. Dr. Peter Moras

Battle Creek Comment: Please do the right thing and prevent the destructive "clear cutting " of the forests. Bill Buttler

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop this rape of the forests. We pay you people to use good stewardship principles; not to practice crony capitalism. Hy Libby

 

Diane Schwanbeck

Battle Creek Comment: Stop the clear cutting in the Battle Creek watershed and help restore the salmon fishery John Gurley

Battle Creek Comment: Clearcutting anywhere is not sustainable and certainly not healthy for the forest, ecosystems or human culture. Stop what you know is harmful. Start taking care of this precious and fragile place we call home. Katherine Steele

Battle Creek Comment: NO to clear cutting forests. YES to continuing watershed restoration. Julie Hicks

Battle Creek Comment: Sierra Pacific Industries' clearcutting is at total odds with state, federal and local conservation efforts and investment.

While communities and agencies work to reduce the risk of damaging fires, SPI is logging large, fire-resistant trees and replacing them with highly flammable pine plantations. While PG&E, conservation groups, and wildlife agencies invest millions to restore rivers, fish habitat, and frog populations, SPI is dumping millions of gallons of herbicide in the watersheds and creating huge erosion risks. While the state works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, SPI is releasing huge amounts of carbon by deep-ripping forest soils.

This is not enlightened forest management. It's forest liquidation, a late 19th century robber-baron approach to resource management. And it's putting the public's wildlife, fisheries, and water quality at risk. Margie Whitnah

 

Battle Creek Comment: Matt Weiser's excellent article on Battle Creek pointed out a problem that exists across the Sierra and southern Cascades: Sierra Pacific Industries' clearcutting is at total odds with state, federal and local conservation efforts and investment.

While communities and agencies work to reduce the risk of damaging fires, SPI is logging large, fire-resistant trees and replacing them with highly flammable pine plantations. While PG&E, conservation groups, and wildlife agencies invest millions to restore rivers, fish habitat, and frog populations, SPI is dumping millions of gallons of herbicide in the watersheds and creating huge erosion risks. While the state works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, SPI is releasing huge amounts of carbon by deep-ripping forest soils.

This is not enlightened forest management. It's forest liquidation, a late 19th century robber-baron approach to resource management. And it's putting the public's wildlife, fisheries, and water quality at risk. Jennifer Lance

 

Battle Creek Comment: How frustrating and sad to know that Sierra Pacific is being allowed to clearcut timber where a native fishing watershed is being restored. I truly thought we had advanced beyond such terrible practices. I realize the Governor has serious budget problems to deal with but he must tell the Department of Forestry to stop Sierra Pacific what they're doing.....stop immediately! Lupe Robles-Sane

 

Battle Creek Comment: I want the unconscionable practice of clear cutting stopped. Judson Vandevere

 

Battle Creek Comment: Please don't allow this. You know it's horrible and we in California do not clearcut. Tell the company to go to the moon instead, or get with the program! Respectfully, Leslie Krinsk Leslie Krinsk

 

Battle Creek Comment: This is wrong and you know it. STOP!! kirby g settle

 

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop any clear cutting of forests or watershed regions. We need to protect our future and not let it be destroyed by industry wanting to sacrifice it for their monetary gain. Please lead by protecting our land. I am thankful for Governor Brown's courage and call to personal integrity and have faith that he will do what's right. Mary Kreutz

 

Battle Creek Comment: Please do not clear cut any forest. We must use wisdom in these types of decisions that effect so many people, plants, animals, the earth. Thank you for your help. Sharon Velasquez

 

Battle Creek Comment: We've all, including CA and Fed government agencies, worked hard on this salmon habitat watershed restoration. Please don't let the Sierra Pacific industrial logger wreck it! Marijane Osborn

 

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting is the last type of timber harvesting that should be considered for salmon habitat watersheds. Please halt plans to clear cut in the Battle Creek watershed. Russell Hodin

 

Battle Creek Comment: Please stop clear cutting that nullifies preservation efforts.

California and the federal government are removing dams in the Battle Creek watershed to restore the salmon fishery while the state's department of forestry and fire protection (CalFire) is permitting industrial clear cutting in the watershed. Peter van Bemmel

 

Battle Creek Comment: Clear cutting is not only destructive from the erosion caused by loss of plant cover, but also, the loss of plant habitat causes an immediate drying out of the landscape.

We need the trees and all the other plants that comprise a forest, to balance out the ecosystem.

Kindly do not allow clear cutting by Sierra Pacific. Let's look for ways to no longer be dependent on timber resources. Anneliese Agren

 

Battle Creek Comment: California has no environmental credentials if it allows clear-cutting.

Are we serious about environmental protection -- our air, our water, our earth, our future -- or are we really just about photo ops without reality.

If CalFire is permitting clearcutting, then perhaps the state can help balance its budget by gutting CalFire. Clearly, CalFire has no biological credentials to be making the decisions they are.

I have no patience with people who have left so far behind their indigenous roots of living in relationship with this living earth and with no respect for future generations.

And perhaps eminent domain should be invoked against a company that shows such a patent disregard for our earth, and these lands restored to the commons. Nina Beety

 

Battle Creek Comment: In a position of the public trust, you and your constituents must put the public concerns and lands above the private and commercial concerns. We have seen what devastation comes when greed is unleashed solely for financial gain. Please be an upstanding leader we can trust and respect. Nola Barnick

 

Battle Creek Comment: I would like to add my voice to others you've heard opposing the plan that Sierra Pacific filed to clear cut 20,000 acres in the Battle Creek watershed. It is my understanding that the State Of California is trying to restore the salmon fishery in the Battle Creek area -- seemingly competing goals. Thank you for allowing me to comment on this important issue. Al Bradley
Troubled waters of Battle Creek

By Matt Weiser

mweiser@sacbee.com The Sacramento Bee

Published: Sunday, Jun. 19, 2011 - 12:00 am | Page 1A

MANTON &endash; Here at Battle Creek, an icy stream that tumbles off Mount Lassen, state and federal agencies are spending $128 million to bring endangered salmon back to 48 miles of water blocked by dams for nearly a century.

At the same time, another arm of state government is allowing clear-cut logging on thousands of acres just upstream, which some scientists say could jeopardize the costly restoration project.

The Battle Creek Salmon and Steelhead Restoration Project is considered the largest of its kind in the nation. It involves removing five dams owned by Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and modifying four others so steelhead and winter- and spring-run salmon can pass.

Battle Creek may be the last shot at survival for the species, all of which are endangered.

Scientists say the logging, if not managed carefully, could handicap the expensive restoration. The danger: Erosion from clear-cut forest tracts could smother spawning habitat before salmon have a chance to use it.

The apparent conflict in government missions, critics say, points to flaws in the state's management of logging on private land.

"There should be enforcement to protect (Battle Creek) water quality," said Pat Higgins, a fisheries biologist who has consulted on the restoration. "Instead, they're allowing unlimited (tree) cutting, and it's still going on."

The trees are cut by Sierra Pacific Industries, a privately held company based in nearby Anderson and the state's largest property owner.

The company is in the early stages of a strategy to boost lumber production. It includes logging in other watersheds important to salmon, such as the American River, where federal officials face a 2020 deadline to restore salmon above Folsom Dam.

The logging at Battle Creek complies with state law and is overseen by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, also known as Cal Fire. Sierra Pacific says its operations are tightly regulated.

"There is a whole lot of inherent protection in the rules," said Ed Murphy, the company's manager of resource information systems.

Sierra Pacific uses a technique called "even-age management," the California regulatory term for clear-cutting. The goal is to convert a large percentage of its acreage, essentially, to pine plantations.

Sierra Pacific has submitted 16 logging plans over the past 12 years for almost 20,000 acres in the Battle Creek watershed.

In a typical even-age logging plan, all vegetation is removed from multiple 20-acre parcels, leaving a checkerboard pattern of bare ground that may span 1,000 acres or more. One or two oaks and standing dead trees are usually left as "habitat diversity."

Then each parcel is replanted with pine seedlings. Herbicides are sprayed to eliminate competing vegetation before planting.

Marily Woodhouse has lived in Manton for 22 years. She is co-founder of the Battle Creek Alliance, which has filed suit against several Sierra Pacific logging plans.

"We're not telling them not to log their land," she said. "We're saying, don't clear-cut and don't use a ton of herbicides."

Cloudy scrutiny

Clear-cutting, as opposed to selective logging, leaves little vegetation behind to trap erosion. And the state does not require logging companies to monitor water quality.

The primary agency charged with making sure logging doesn't ruin fish habitat is the state Department of Fish and Game, which works in concert with Cal Fire. But Fish and Game has been strained by budget cuts.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger last year cut $1.5 million from Fish and Game's logging review program. A similar cut remains in Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed budget for the new fiscal year.

Eight jobs were cut from the Fish and Game staff that monitored logging in the north state, said Curt Babcock, the department's regional habitat conservation program manager. Now, only half the logging projects in the area get a field inspection before approval.

Fish and Game still scrutinizes logging roads, often the source of most erosion. But it gives little attention to wildlife and aquatic habitat threats, Babcock said, and it doesn't monitor logging rules for protecting streams.

"Overall, I'd say there is definitely a potential for the timber harvests there to affect salmon," Babcock said of Battle Creek. "We're spread pretty thin."

With the state role reduced, Woodhouse's group decided to conduct its own water monitoring tests. It began taking samples 18 months ago.

Each week, Woodhouse loads testing gear into her Chevy S-10 pickup and ventures on unpaved county roads to assess the forks and tributaries of Battle Creek.

The results, she said, show an increase in the water's cloudiness, suggesting erosion has increased. "You used
M to be able to look at the water and it was clear," she said. "Now it's a gray or green color, or it has a soapy appearance."

Erosion is a threat to spawning habitat everywhere, but it is an especially urgent concern at Battle Creek, given the expensive effort to bring back salmon and steelhead.

"It's unlikely we can recover those species in the Central Valley if we don't get viable populations in Battle Creek," said Brian Ellrott, regional salmon and steelhead recovery coordinator at the National Marine Fisheries Service. "It is critically important."

Cold conclusions

After a decade of study and buy-in from PG&E, the restoration began in 2009 and is expected to be finished in 2015. It is overseen by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which was required by the 1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act to double naturally spawning salmon populations in the region.

The cost, estimated at $43 million in 2004, has swelled to $128 million. That includes $47 million in federal funds, including $9 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, and $58 million from various state sources.

The money mostly pays contractors to remove five dams and build new fish ladders on four others. PG&E is giving up $20 million in hydropower to provide more flow for salmon.

"We're opening up streams that have not been accessible to salmon for 90 years," said Paul Moreno, a spokesman for PG&E.

Battle Creek is special because its waters start atop 10,000-foot Mount Lassen, then trickle through underground passages. The meltwater emerges in seeps and springs, keeping the creek cold.

Salmon require cold water to survive and breed. This is especially true of the endangered spring-run chinook, which has the unique habit of migrating upstream from the ocean in spring, then waiting until fall to spawn.

But erosion has already compromised the creek's suitability for spawning, according to a 2004 watershed assessment. It called the spawning habitat "moderately favorable" overall, the equivalent of a "C" grade.

Nearly half the 50 individual stream sites surveyed had too much sediment to be good spawning habitat, earning "D" grades; and 60 percent of pools in the creek got "F" grades because they are too shallow to support spring-run salmon through the summer.

The report suggested 1997 storms likely caused erosion that led to those poor grades. But it did not rule out other problems, including those linked to logging.

The research by Terraqua Inc. was commissioned by the Battle Creek Watershed Conservancy, using federal funds. The conservancy is a local nonprofit that works closely with government agencies on the restoration project. Another study for the project by Kier Associates blamed the erosion largely on logging.

"There was definitely a profound change in habitat in Battle Creek, and it's consistent with extensive upland disturbance," said Higgins, who prepared the report.

The Kier report, however, was excluded from the final study. When the firm published the analysis itself in 2009, it said the work was excluded "at the request of a major private timberland owner" on the conservancy board.

That timberland owner is Sierra Pacific Industries.

Complex science

Sierra Pacific's Murphy denied his company suppressed the report. He said the whole conservancy board decided to exclude it, noting Higgins' methods were more appropriate to coastal forests.

It is a complicated science, one that Cal Fire has been repeatedly criticized for handling poorly.

The State Board of Forestry, a politically appointed panel, sets the rules that Cal Fire enforces to regulate logging on private land. Studies as far back as 1994 have urged the board to overhaul its rules on cumulative analysis, yet it has not done so.

A University of California panel in 2001 said cumulative analysis is so vital that it should be stripped from Cal Fire and given to a new agency with special training.

The panel called many of the state's erosion-related logging rules "demonstrably inadequate."

"The State has apparently never explicitly acknowledged the need to protect the runoff regulating functions of forests," the panel wrote.

The Board of Forestry's executive officer, George Gentry, said the board will likely begin reviewing the cumulative effects rules in 2012.

"People can say, 'Well, you need to do it better'," Gentry said. "We should do it better. But show me how. There's no easy answer to that. It's a very complex science."

 

 

Sacramento Bee Editorial: Governor needs to keep pledge at Battle Creek

Jerry Brown campaigned for governor on a strong set of environmental planks. In one of these he promised "to take reasonable steps to ensure a healthier habitat for California's unique fish species by limiting sediment and other runoff entering streams." Brown now can deliver on that pledge at Battle Creek, one of the Sacramento River's most crucial tributaries for imperiled fish. But to do so, the governor may need to buck a timber billionaire who has contributed to his campaigns and one of his charter schools &endash; A.A. "Red" Emmerson, owner of Sierra Pacific Industries.

As The Bee's Matt Weiser reported Sunday, state and federal agencies are spending more than $100 million to restore populations of wild spring-run salmon and steelhead in Battle Creek, which tumbles down the western slopes of Lassen Peak to the Sacramento River.

Because the volcanic springs of this area produce vast amounts of cold, clear water, biologists see Battle Creek as one of those rare habitats where salmon could rebound and flourish.

Yet even as state and federal agencies invest in removing dams and restoring spawning habitat, another agency &endash; the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection &endash; has been allowing Sierra Pacific Industries to clear-cut thousands of acres in the Battle Creek watershed. Scientists have found evidence that logging is contributing to erosion that has degraded spawning grounds in the creek. While Cal Fire officials say they've worked to buffer the creek from any logging sediment, they haven't yet analyzed the cumulative impacts of all the various clear cuts.

Brown and the Legislature could turn this situation around. Last year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cut $1.5 million from the logging review program of the California Department of Fish and Game. While the state's budget problems have since worsened, lawmakers could set fees on businesses seeking timber harvest plans to pay for these reviews. The budget Brown vetoed last week included roughly $10 million yearly in such fees. The governor should insist that the final budget include fees for timber harvest reviews, although perhaps not at the $10 million figure.

Brown also needs to make key appointments to the state Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. Currently, three of the board's nine seats are vacant, including one for a public member. Brown must ensure this board, traditionally friendly to industry, can balance the demands of timber production with environmental protection, and be willing to use all of its available tools. For instance, the board has the legal authority to impose special logging restrictions in sensitive watersheds, but has yet to use that authority. Battle Creek may be one place to start.

The state's largest private landowner, Sierra Pacific has worked to cultivate a close relationship with previous governors, and Brown is no exception. The company contributed more than $46,000 to the governor's campaign last year. Emmerson and another Sierra Pacific executive also paid $10,000 to attend a gala reception last year for Brown's Oakland School for the Arts, which featured an appearance from actor Robert Downey Jr.

While the governor no doubt appreciates these contributions, we'd hate to think they'd have any impact on his dealings with Sierra Pacific. Quite the opposite. Californians elected him at least partly because of the promises he made on the campaign trail. One of these was to "ensure a healthier habitat for California's unique fish species by limiting sediment."

------------------------

 

"In the end, we will conserve only what we love;

We will love only what we understand:

And, we will understand only what we are taught."

Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist

Contact: Jack Ellwanger 831 667 2025 PO Box 144 Big Sur, CA 93920

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