In the early 1990s, it was publically revealed that Louisiana Pacific (and other Mendocino coast timber corporations) had so overcut their timberlands in Mendocino County as to endanger the timber supply, the local economy, and all forest-dependent wildlife and fish. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors voted for special County logging rules to reverse this depletion course. The California State Board of Forestry said no to these rules, but then, under threat of a lawsuit, directed the timber corporations to create "sustained yield" plans by which they would prove that they had mended their ways. Louisiana Pacific (SYP #95-003) and Georgia Pacific (SYP #95-002) have now filed "Sustained Yield" Plans for public review. L-P has also announced the sale of all of its California timberlands and most of its facilities, and G-P announced the closure of its old growth sawmill in Fort Bragg (no more big trees) amidst rumors of a G-P sale.
The "Sustained Yield" Plan rules were written by timber industry lawyers. They allow a company to set its own "sustained yield" goals. (They could choose, for instance, to "sustain" a tree farm.) The California Forest Practice Act states that California's private timberlands shall be managed for "maximum sustained production of high quality timber products," while protecting other forest values. In writing its own so-called "sustained yield" rules, industry has re-written the Forest Practice Act, with the complicity of the State Board of Forestry and the Governor.
It is tempting to regard these so-called "Sustained Yield" Plans merely as a joke on the public. However, if approved, they could have a tremendous impact on Mendocino County's natural resources.
Following are several letters regarding the local impacts of L-P logging. The subject is Greenwood Creek watershed, a small 15,600 acre watershed in coastal Mendocino County that supports a struggling Coho Salmon and Steelhead fishery, and is the sole source of water for the coastal village of Elk. The local community environmental group, the Save The Redwoods/Boycott The Gap, and the local water district (Elk County Water District-ECWD), have been working for many years to improve local forest practices, in the face of overwhelming corporate political power within the California state natural resources agencies and in the Governor's office.
The letters pertain to L-P's "Sustained Yield" Plan (SYP) and to a recent Timber Harvest Plan in Greenwood Creek watershed (THP 1-97-352 MEN). The local community was successful in getting the old growth trees on top of Cliff Ridge removed from THP 352. Recently, the California Department of Forestry has begun to questions other aspects of the remaining clearcutting plan. Neither this THP nor L-P's overall management plan, the SYP, has been approved as yet.
Letters from the public about these plans are critically important at this time. Write to:
Richard Wilson, Director
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
1416 Ninth Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
fax. (916) 653-4171
tel. (916) 653-7772
fax. (916) 653-8957
tel. (916) 653-5843