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Action for North Coast Streams Involving Forestry

Interested Parties concerned with impaired status of north coast rivers
and streams please note:

The Regional Board is proposing suspension of regulations now in place to
control pollutant contributions from timber harvest activity on impaired
waterbodies in the north coast region. 

Timber harvest and related activities are responsible for a great
percentage of impairment on impaired listed waterbodies. 

The Gualala, Garcia, Albion, Big, Ten Mile, Mattole, and  Van Duzen
Rivers - and -  Freshwater Creek, Elk Creek, Redwood Creek are
primarily impaired by timber harvest and timber harvest related activity
( road and skid trail construction and re-construction, landings,
yarding, etc.). 

Russian River, Navarro River Shasta River, Scott River, Klamath River,
Eel River, Mad River are all also impacted by timber harvest - with
additional agricultureal and urban issues adding to impairment issues. 

There is no argument that Timber Harvest activity under the Forest
Practice Act as administered by Cal Fire does not adequately protect the
Beneficial Uses of Water - the cold water fishery. 

To control pollutant effects from timber harvest land use the Regional
Board correctly included NTMPs under the standards set for industrial
timber harvest as Waste Discharge Requirements and Categorical Waivers.
Waste Discharge Requirement and Categorical Waiver conditions are imposed
as TMDL backstops (otherwise known as Implementing Programs) to control
pollutant (sediment, temperature, and nutrient) inputs related to timber
harvest activity.

In short, these regulations provide greater shade requirements and
Erosion control requirements for all classes of watercourses than the
Forest Practice Rules. 

Non-industrial private timberlands comprise 40% of the forested land base
of the State. NTMPs represent a minor share of that landbase. That
percentage is increasing every year as NTMPs represent a regulatory
loophole in environmental review and approval process these forever
permits to harvest. 

There is no credible evidence or argument that NTMPs represent a lessor
threat to water quality than industrial timber plans and should not be
subject to the same rules. 

And, in fact if the Regional Board, is willing to backslide on regulation
on this sector of the timber land base it is fairly clear that: 1)
recovery actions become a larger burden to those remaining subject to
this regulation, 2)recovery becomes more elusive and that much harder to
attain, 3) that the use of Waste Discharge Requirements and Categorical
Waivers as TMDL backstops to deal with impairment issues is greatly
compromised. 

Finally - this action now proposed by the Regional Board is being
considered on the basis of a large scaled outcry by NTMP owners and the
Forest Landowner's Association.  NTMP owners think that they have
given up the right to clear cut and should receive in turn the right to
not be subject to rules necessary to be in compliance with Basin Plan
requirements - i.e. erosion control for roads and erosion sources and
necessary stream protection. 

ACTION:  

CAG is prepared with documents and arguments address this issue. Due, to
previous commitments I can not be at the March 24 meeting. 

CAG is not prepared to move forward with actions to address this issue
unless there is significant commitment from other interested parties. 

Please respond -
       1)If you are willing to write a letter - you will be provided information - and -
written copy in support        

      2)If you willing to attend the March 24th meeting in Weaverville

Without significant participation by other interested parties in this
issue CAG will lie down and let the dice roll. 

Notice of Public Hearing In The Matter Of:

Limited Term Amendment to NTMP Provisions of
Order No. R1-2009-0038,
Categorical Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements
for Discharges Related to Timber Harvest Activities
on Non-Federal Lands in the North Coast Region

On March 24, 2011, the Regional Board will consider Order No.
R1-2011-0038, amending Categorical Waiver of Waste Discharge Requirements for Discharges Related
to Timber Harvest Activities on Non-Federal Lands in the North Coast Region (Order
No. R1-2009-0038) to temporarily suspend the new (2009) NTMP
provisions.  This will allow an inquiry into water quality protections provided for NTMPs by the
Forest Practice Rules (FPR), including the new ASP rules. 

During the suspension period, Regional Water Board staff will work with
timber landowners, CalFire and other interested parties to evaluate the adequacy
of the existing FPRs and their effectiveness and implementation to achieve
compliance for protecting water quality, particularly in areas designated as sediment
and temperature impaired. 

As proposed in Order No. R1-2011-0038, NTMP provisions from the 2004
Waiver will apply until February 1, 2012, after which time the conditions of Order
No. R1-2009-0038 for NTMPs will automatically become effective again, unless
the Regional Board takes action to modify the conditions in the Waiver.

Public Hearing Procedures

The public meeting to consider the proposed Amendment has been scheduled
for March 24, 2011, at the Trinity PUD Community Room, located at 26 Ponderosa
Lane, Weaverville, California beginning at 9:00 a.m., or as announced in the
Regional Water Board agenda to be mailed on or around March 8, 2011.  At the
hearing, the Regional Water Board will consider whether to affirm, reject, or modify
the proposed Amendment Order, or take another action.

Order No. R1-2011-0038 will be available for review upon request on or
after February 22, 2011 by contacting the Regional Water Board office at (707)
576-2220 or on the website at:

http://www.waterboards.ca.gov/northcoast/board_decisions/tentative_orders/

Comments on the proposed Order No. R1-2011-0038may be submitted in
writing and received at the Regional Water Board up to the day of the Board Meeting
on March 24, 2011.  

All those who plan to testify at the hearing must submit written
statements to the Regional Water Board prior to the consideration of the tentative Order on
March 24, 2011.  The statements should provide the name of the witness, their
qualifications (if an expert), and the scope of their intended testimony. 
Testimony at the above-scheduled hearing may summarize or explain timely submitted or late
accepted written evidence, but shall not add new evidence.  The time
constraints for oral testimony or comments will be set by the Regional Water Board Chair and
usually allow no more than 15 minutes for Regional Water Board staff and the
Discharger and three minutes for other interested persons.  A timer may be used and
speakers are expected to honor the time limits.  Where speakers can be grouped by
affiliation or interest, such groups will be expected to select a spokesperson and not
be repetitive. 

For further information, please contact Regional Water Board staff member
Jim Burke at (707) 576-2289 or at
jburke@waterboards.ca.gov.