WILLOW CREEK ALERT #2: THP 1-00-410 (SON)
The 2nd review team meeting is scheduled for 10:00 February 8 at the Dept. of Forestry in Santa Rosa. Five days after this, the public comment period will close. Please address your comments to CDF, 135 Ridgway Ave, Santa Rosa, CA 95401, (707) 576-2959, and/or attend the review.
These are some of the issues:
1. Most fisheries biologists agree that the Coho Salmon is on the verge of extinction, and that if something isn't done quickly, we are going to lose it forever. None were found in Willow Creek in a recent survey by Fish & Game biologist Bill Cox.
2. Renee Pasquinelli, senior ecologist for the Dept. of Parks & Recreation, states that the lower Willow Creek channel is completely filled with sediment. She challenges Mendocino Redwood Commpany to produce some quantitative analysis as to how this new THP will not increase sediment to the stream
3. Department of Fish & Game permits will be required for stream crossings. The Fish & Game Code and CEQA require public notice and review for this process. We call on MRC to apply for and make these permits available for public comment prior to the approval of the THP, as was not done with their previous Willow Creek THP #136.
4. MRC apparently refuses to adopt a Sustained Yield Plan for the Willow Creek watershed as called for in the Forest Practice Rules. They claim to be working on a "watershed assessment" to study the cause of sediment input, yet this will not be ready until "some time in the future." Meanwhile, this company that claims to be a good steward continues to log and produce sediment into Willow Creek.
5. Can we trust MRC to be good stewards in Willow Creek, now that they have been given the "green label" by the Forest Stewardship Council? You be the judge. Certification was granted in private with no public hearings and with no opposing organizations invited to give testimony. The council is heavily influenced by the timber industry (201 out of 443 delegates). FSC guidelines permit clearcutting, old growth logging, use of toxic herbicides and many other unsustainable logging practices.
6. It has been established by several reputable studies that CDF's regulation of the forest ecosystem is not and never has been adequate to protect the fisheries habitat along the Pacific Coast. The evidence is clear. Almost every stream on our coast, including the Russian River, is listed as impaired due to excessive sediment, by the Clean Water Act (Section 303 d).
THP #410 has a class I stream running right through the middle of it which is a potential spawning habitat. There are active rock slides directly above it. The THP area is dominated by downcutting and stream channel erosion with 30 to 50% slopes.
It is time for the public to recognize Willow Creek for what it is: a treasure which represents a magnificent opportunity. Let's use some vision and insist that MRC get out of the logging business in Sonoma County. Then we can apply what David Brower called "CPR": Conservation, Preservation and above all, Restoration.
To help us remain vigilant with respect to Willow Creek issues, please send tax-deductible contributions to "Forest Unlimited-Willow Creek" at the following address: P.O. Box 190, Occidental, CA 95465. Thank you.
Pieter S. Myers
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