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Discussion on Threat of Logging Plans

I sent the message – below – to Stephen.  If this is allowed to be how forests are managed on private lands in California – virtually all private forest lands will be put in these permanent large scale Non-industrial Timber Management Plans (NTMPs) – with no future environmental review or ability to update to new rules – we, the public, will be left in the dust.

Your thinking on this – please.

Stephen

You might want to start talking about this.  You  are not going to have much water, or slow down global warming, without trees.

If this goes unchecked – the public and responsible agency will be, forever, removed from the process of managing private (non-industrial) forests in our State.
New rules for the forests of the State of California – Statewide – creating Working Forest Management Plans – where combined acreages can be put into a single plan – where a simi-CEQA  process is applied once –  the the plans are good forever – without future review of harvest plans or updates in new rules governing forest management.  This will occur (the rules are approved) – even though these rules  allowing for forever WFMPs are not consistent with other State Code (as mandated in the authorizing legislation).

This is a very large problem and significant threat to our forests. . Coast Action Group (CAG) is currently working with Sharon Duggan and EPIC on future litigation. .

See brief summary (and note on combining properties from BoF) of the WFMP issues – below.  We need to hear from you about your thinking on this issue – before we make any financial decisions.

The TNC supported a bill  AB 904 –  the legislation would permit large long term timber harvest plans  “Working Forest Management Plans” (up to15,000 acres)  – where the plans would  forever (in perpetuity – one could question anything  land use plan with no horizon). These plans could (and likely would – eventually) comprise up to 2 million acres of forestlands in California. Additionally, once approved – the WFMP may  not be upgraded to comply with new advanced management criteria.

The benefit to the environment would be  the goals of: long term planning that would allow un-evenaged management (no clear-cutting), rigorous standards applied to inventory management attain a goal of Long Term Sustained Yield – allowing for recovery of watersheds, forest stands,  wildlife and water quality values – with carbon benefits.

The legislation required the  California Board of Forestry to promulgate rules consistent with the legislation and consistent with “all applicable code.”  To a great extent the Board of Forestry did not follow the plain language or the intent of the legislation.

The Nature Conservancy staff – not knowing how forestry works in California – left the rule writing unattended with the result (final rules)  that none (zero) of the stated goals (stated above – and – below – brief summary) can be meet.

Considering (above and below) –  what do we do  now?

The Legislation called for:

Rule writing by the Board of Forestry – Consistent with all California Law – The newly approved rules do not comply with Cal Water Code, Forest Practices Act, and  Federal Clean Water Act

Rule writing by the Board of Forestry – Providing for Erosion Control Management Plans to address existing and potential sediment sources  – The newly approved rules do not include potential sediment sources and allow for workarounds to this requirement – thus not consistent with Porter-Cologne (Cal Water Code), regional Basin Plans, and the federal CWA (not TMDL compliant)

Rule writing by the Board of Forestry –  that plans provide  analysis  that assures and measures the intent to meet long term Sustained Yield – Growth and Harvest analysis.  The current approved rules do not assure and do not provide  capability for rigorous analysis (stated by the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection – see file on agency comments).  In fact, current rules make the goal/task impossible.

Rule writing by the Board of Forestry – to provide a 5 year periodic review process that includes public participation.  The public may write letters but is locked out of any meaningful position to review data and have any say in the future of these plans

Rule writing by the Board of Forestry is supposed to protect forest resources as well as water quality resources.  Nope ! – the rules circumvent these responsibilities – including compliance with TMDLs and Porter – Cologne.

Rule writing by the Board of Forestry – does not assure un-evenaged forestry management or Long Term Sustained Yield.

Rule writing by the Board of Forestry – revised the intent of the legislation that the lands comprising a Working Forest Management Plan be owned by a single entity (“A person” or a single ownership entity).  Combining ownerships was explored and found impossible to manage due to differences in land types, inventory bases, management styles and goals, types of silviculture used – and/including – effects of potential changes of ownerships complicating issues. Calfire sees issues in apply rigorous standards, assessment of compliance,and other issues (see – Cal fire comments at the Rule Making Website).  This all can turn into a huge problem – subjecting much more than the 1,200,000 acres (projected) that could be combined in these plans. Please understand that individual and grouped landowners can keep Notices to Harvest open for 7 years (with no acreage limitations) on multiple ownerships with varying types of management goals and silviculture (with no assurance of  un-evenaged management – while not being consistent with other State Code or rules upgrades).

If you ask me this is pretty crazy.  Who  would not want to sighn up for a forever timber harvest opportunity?

Here is the link to all the pertinent documents @ Board of Forestry web-site: http://www.bof.fire.ca.gov/regulations/proposed_rule_packages/

This is just a summary.  In short this is a mess.  What do we do now – that the rules have been approved by the Board of Forestry?

Note on combining properties from Matt Dias – BoF- Below

Alan,

Sorry for not getting back to you earlier. The WFMP regulation would allow for multiple landowners to engage in a single WFMP, but the total acreage of a single WFMP cannot exceed 15,000 acres (per WFMP Definition in 1094.2).  The Board recognized the issues of multiple landowners and therefore provided clarity on the fact that each landowner must have their own growth and yield so that the Department can review the growth and yield standards of each individual landowner at plan submittal and to assure compliance with those approved standards during the 5 year review.  This is attained by having growth and yield data by individual management unit (defined in 1094.2) and each individual management unit is restricted to a single ownership entity (1094.6(e)(1)).

Multiple landowners have long been allowed to cooperatively participate in a NTMP. During the development of the WFMP CAL FIRE did express some concern over the issue of having multiple landowners associated with a single NTMP.  It was for that purpose that the Board, in conjunction with CAL FIRE, developed the idea of the Designated Agent (as defined in 1094.2).  Throughout the regulation there are multiple references to the responsibilities of the Designated Agent and how this single point of contact will aid the Department in the long term interaction between Working Forest Landowners and the Department.

Talk with you soon.

Matt Dias, Assistant Executive Officer
State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection
916.653.8031 Office, mailto:matt.dias@bof.ca.gov