Delivering the Goods – Candidates Support

Coast Action Group: Delivering the Goods – Candidates Support

I have sent you (all) several messages pertaining to wildfire management and the misdirection inherent in State Policy ( new Statute – SB 901 ) – where the Statute allows for, and supports , forest thinning and fuels management (targeted 500,000 acres per year – supported by $200 million dollars per year from the Cap and  Trade funds).     This statute is a knee-jerk, not well thought out, response to these issues – designed to make it look like something was really happening (and with language  that deals with PG & E responsibility – which is a complicated issue that requires its own process).  SB 901 – allows for commercial timber harvest, and related operations – including road construction –  that is not subject to future agency and public review.  These actions can be very damaging to our watersheds. 

To  date there has been little acknowledgement that the most damaging fires, for the most part, were not in forested areas. They were in chaparral, grassland, oak woodland  and lightly populated conifer areas.   There appears to be a misdirection of management disciplines that are needed to address these issues.  There is not enough resources and money to make a dent with these management philosophies (fuel reduction in areas that promptly regenerate,  green belts that are expensive and will  not work and are not feasible on a reasonable scale, reduction of forest inventories as some sort of panacea).

Mature, well managed forests have less propensity for damaging wildfire and threat to humans.  Mega fires – pushed by significant winds  and drier climate – are uncontrollable and a threat.
It will take a major change in planning (including mandatory fire hardening upgrades in construction codes) – and new eyes looking at issues to effect any reasonable future change.

I am asking your paper to look at this issues with new eyes and support reasonable actions that would provide future benefits through appropriate management and planning.

Please take a look at the LA Times Article – attached

——————————— Previous Message

PD Staff

I was not surprised, but was disappointed, with the PD’s support for Jim Wood, et al, for (in your words) for delivering the goods in wildfire response (with the approval of SB 901)
My disappointment arises from some misplaced expectation that PD staff would actually put some effort into assessing the issue of what goods were actually delivered.

The forest management aspect of SB 901 was written and supported by industry that allows for the cutting of larger trees that are not a source of fuel ladder or load causing wildfire threat.  With questions of how really to manage wildfire fuel load reduction – the issue is quite open as to what resources are to be expended, where they will be expended, and how this is to be managed and paid for.  In my mind (and it will probably be proven to be) this is just another government screw up – due haste and a lack of study and planning (supported by experts) that is needed.

Funds supporting such operations are not necessarily in place.  The State (it is not clear which agency – Calfire or the Air Resources Board) must complete GHG analysis before funds are available. And…the “mandated” 200 million to be spent each year needs to be parceled out across the State.

Additionally, as I had mentioned, any such fuel load reduction work in fire prone chaparral/grassland/mixed conifer areas would need to be periodic – as there is rapid regeneration in these areas. Any such work will need to be assessed and managed so as not to produce negative water quality effects – flooding and erosion.

Little effort is being put into community planning for areas of wildfire risk. There are many areas that already developed in such wildfire risk areas.  The idea of protecting these areas with greenbelts is economically and physically impossible.  There is not enough money to support Greenbelts and they will provide little help in the face of a moving fire pushed by 70 mph winds.

So what goods were actually delivered and will anything effective really occur?  Possibly the PD might look into that question.   Do your research – before you report.

Alan Levine
Coast Action Group
Affiliate of Redwood Coast Watersheds Alliance
126 Steiner Ct.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404