Friends of the Gualala River (FOGR) haae gone to court and once again prevailed in shutting down plans by CalFire and Gualala Timber’s THP (Timber Harvest Plan). In a 24 page decision, the judge has halted plans to log along the floodplains of the Gualala River.
Summary of the actions coming soon!
Thank you FOGR for all your time and money saving this last jewel along the scenic and severely impacted river due to past logging. Numerous rare and endangered species including plants have been saved for now.
Response from Coastal Action Group: More work to do!
Problems – with the Gualala “Victory”. I am not jumping for joy over this “Victory”. Yes, FoGR prevailed on some issues and may live to fight another battle. The battle of “Dogwood” is not over.
If you look at the case, we did not prevail on major (pertinent issues) – the need for appropriate botanic surveys and protection of endangered plants. We also lost on the wetland issues, GHG effects, and salmonid protections.
So… where have we prevailed – Cumulative Watershed Effects analysis were the THP failed to disclose the analytic rout to the conclusion that continuing effects from harvest operations are not significant, and that the plan did an inadequate job of considering the full range of Project Alternatives.
It should be obvious that the two areas the Court found inconsistent with statute can easily be remedied. GRT will get this work done and resubmit this plan and it will be approved and there will be no case – unless:
FoGR can be inventive and dogged in the pursuit of issue that must be addressed in the new CWE analysis that will be presented.
The Plan, “Dogwood” proposes timber harvest operations in a migrating stream channel in a watershed that is impaired by sediment and temperature. The plan preparer must present analysis and conclusions related to the potential impact of these operations and related remedies.
Thus: all relevant information and methodology related to this issue must be presented. This includes consideration, and analysis of the following:
Calfire, or the RPF, must supplement the information provided in the THP “when necessary to insure that all relevant information is considered.” See – 14CCR section 898. Does this mean that Calfire should independently assess the cumulative impact analysis in the plan? And/or or should Calfire supplement analysis with information in Calfire’s possession – which , in this case should include Calfire’s own methodology for the management of timber harvest in flood plans -” FLOOD PRONE AREA CONSIDERATIONS IN COAST REDWOOD ZONE”. See 14 CCR Section 896 (a) and (b). ”RPFs are expected to submit sufficient information to support their findings if significant issues are raised during [Calfire’s] review of the THP” In the case of Dogwood – this information/methodology and analysis should be applied.
Section 898 has been amended to require specific evaluation for cumulative impacts that may occur in waterbodies listed under section 303 (d) ( California’s List of Water Quality Limited Segments). When any waterbody, or portion thereof, listed under section 303 (d) is located within or downstream of a proposed timber operation, the RPF must assess “ the degree to which the proposed operations would result in impacts that may combine with existing listed stressors to impair a waterbody’s beneficial uses, thereby causing a significant adverse effect on the environment.” The plan submitter must provide feasible mitigation measures to reduce any such impact to a level of insignificance. This, when applied to FRP 916.9 (a) (1) indicates that the plan submitter must show how the plan meets any approved TMDL – with mitigation factors that are feasible.
The suggestion is to attempt to introduce appropriate methodology in the standard of review for assessing these operations. In Dogwood – Calfire, and the RPF, did not use Calfire’s own methodology in assessment of operations and related CWE – nor – did they present lucid and comprehensive of cumulative sediment production.
Additionally, in the review of future THPs in the Gualala – it would be good if more work – including consultation with Tom Lippe, Sharon Duggan , and your attorney – on how to make arguments on GHG issue work for us. This is an area, if pursued, may provide benefits in the comment on future timber harvest plans.
If FoGR intends to be successful in addressing forestry issue in their chosen watershed, every GRT THP should be addressed. There is some momentum associated with this Court action. Now this momentum needs to be used.
Coast Action Group
Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance