Harmful Forestry Bill: AB 2889

AB 2889

I have submitted a letter to the Natural Resources Committee (attached) and added sections from the Forest Practice Act (the proposed leg. language makes the review team (interagency review process noted in the Act and the Forest Practice Rules)) process + plus public comment and Calfire review impossible).

After re-reading #5 in the bill — the language completely subverts the intent of the Forest Practice Act and Rules – by not allowing the Review Team Process , as intended by the act. where the Team may assess and add information or request additional information to complete the review process, and add recommendations in compliance with the Act and/or other California Code.

The only reason THPs are returned or held up is that the Department has found failure of the document to be consistent with the FPA/FPRs and other California Code. Does the proponent of this Bill want plans processed or approved that are not in conformance with the Forest Practice Act, Forest Practice Rules, or other State Code?

All issues are noted to the RPF by Calfire Staff and the RPF is allowed time to respond (which sometimes takes forever – due to inability of the RPF to respond to the non-compliance issue.

Bill Language – with notes in RED

4592.5. (a) This section shall be known as the Timber Harvester’s Bill of Rights.

(b) The department shall implement a Timber Harvester’s Bill of Rights to ensure the uniform and efficient implementation of processes and procedures regulating the filing, review, approval, required modification, completion, and appeal of decisions relating to timber harvesting plans. The bill of rights shall comply with all of the following requirements:

(1) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan to the department shall have the right to assistance provided by the department and the board regarding the regulatory and permitting requirements applicable to timber harvest plans. The board shall make an ombudsperson available to work with and assist persons intending to file a plan at each location where the department accepts those plans for filing, review, and approval.                 Why do trained foresters need an ombudsperson to help them navigate what they should already know?  Cafire responds to Registered Professional Foresters who submit incomplete and inaccurate plans with a list of what needs to be fixed. They do not tell them how to fix it – as these are issues (subordinate to the Forest Practice Rules, Water Code, and Fish and Wildlife Code) that the RPF must assess and address in the plan (as per the requirements of the Forest Practice Rules). It is not Calfire’s job (or the State’s job) to write plans for an Registered Professional Forester or a landowner. There certainly are budget impacts.

(2) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to access all clearly written guidance documents prepared by the department that explain the regulatory process. In this connection, the department shall publish a list of all information required in a plan, using the rules of the board and an explanation of the criteria used to determine whether the information contained in a plan is adequate.                                                           This is currently in place. All information required in a plan is so stated in the Forest Practice Rules and Registered Professional Foresters are supposed to be experts and know the rules. The State should not be writing plans for RPFs.

(3) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to a timely determination under Section 4582.7 and any relevant administrative regulations. The department shall promptly notify a person submitting such a plan regarding whether it is accurate, complete, and in proper order. This is in place. However, negotiations and help for the Registered Professional Forester may take some time to resolve issues due to the nature of passing information back and forth between agencies and allowing time for response. Not allowing such time for communication and responses puts more pressure on all parties and may force Cal Fire to reject incompetent plans outright.

(4) The department shall provide information to explain the meaning of the terms “accurate,” “complete,” and “in proper order” when used in connection with any determination regarding the completeness or sufficiency of a timber harvesting plan.                                                                         Do those words not have accepted meanings? Maybe the Board of Forestry should clarify definitions in the Forest Practice Rules. However, the rules are clear on the need for completeness and accuracy of plan submission. Cal Fire only returns, or holds up plans, for clarification of issues of missing and inaccurate information.

(5) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to know the basis for any determination that a plan is deficient and to understand what further information is needed to make a plan complete. After a plan is accepted as complete, the department and any other public agency that participates in the review of a plan shall not request any new or additional information that was not specified prior to the filing of an accepted plan.                                                                                                                         Not allowing Review Team agencies is a huge problem and subverts the intent of the Forest Practice Act, California Water Code, and California Fish and Wildlife Code to address resource issues (forest productivity, water quality, species protection, etc) with information is the basis of the ACT. Limiting this is contrary to the intent of the Forest Practice Act and managing the State’s Forests and Water Quality values. Also – the Review Team may need new and or additional information in the performance of their responsibility or in compliance with other State Codes.

(6) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to a timely decision on the approval of the plan, and the department shall comply with any time periods set forth for the review and approval of any plan as prescribed in statute or any relevant administrative regulations.  The department can just reject plans that are not in conformance. Is that what they want?

(7) If a timber harvesting plan is returned to a person without a determination that it is accurate, complete, and in proper order, the director shall provide the ombudsperson and the person submitting the plan with information about what is needed to make the plan complete, and the ombudsperson shall assist the person in completing the plan.               Back to ombudsperson – RPFs are supposed to be trained in how to assess THPs in conformance to the rules.

(8) The department shall provide a person submitting a timber harvesting plan with information on the designated lead agency that the person shall work with to comply with any plan requirements prescribed in this division or any relevant administrative regulations.                                                            This is confusing as to the intent or to actual desired outcome. Cal Fire is the lead agency – then there is the Review Team which includes Cal Fire and participating agencies (RB, CDFW, Coastal Commission – if in The Coastal Zone, Geologic Survey).

(9) A person submitting a timber harvesting plan shall have the right to know who will be reviewing the plan and to be provided with information on the estimated time for completion of the full plan review process.          Cal Fire provides this information – and it is noted on the PHI – all external agency/Review Team participants – when an RPF calls or writes Cal Fire on issues – the responsible parties at Cal Fire are evident and noted.

Alan

Areas of Conservation Emphasis (ACE), Mapping Tool by CDF&W

Areas of Conservation Emphasis (ACE)

What is ACE?

ACE is a CDFW effort to analyze large amounts of map-based data in a targeted, strategic way, and expressed visually, so decisions can be informed around important goals like conservation of biodiversity, habitat connectivity, and climate change resiliency. The ACE maps provide a coarse level view of information for conservation planning purposes, ranging from ecological research and modeling to local land-use planning and conservation decision-making. However, they do not replace the need for site-specific evaluation of biological resources and should not be used for regulatory purposes.

All ACE data layers are limited by the accuracy, scale, extent of coverage, and completeness of the input data at the time they were run. We highly recommend reviewing available metadata and ACE Factsheets (found in the folders below) prior to interpreting these data. The ACE data are dynamic and will be updated periodically as new data warrant. A new and improved version, ACE 3.0, was released in February 2018, and we welcome feedback on this latest version.

terrestrial habitats icon  aquatic habitats icon

The Significant Habitat datasets provide a variety of information on aquatic and terrestrial habitats to help determine the likelihood of the presence of habitat or vegetation that are the focus of state, national, or locally legislated conservation laws, as well as significant habitat areas essential to the survival of specific species of conservation concern. Habitat data are synthesized from information on vegetation and land cover, and species-specific habitat information. The attribute tables in the viewer for the Significant Terrestrial Habitat Summary and Significant Aquatic Habitat Summary provide the number of significant habitats in a hexagon or watershed, respectively, as well as references to the original datasets where each significant habitat element is mapped.

The Significant Habitats datasets are expected to be used along with other ACE datasets to provide a robust assessment of the presence and relative importance of elements important for biodiversity conservation.

 

Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests

Greg (et al)

As part of our ongoing discussion of what may, or may not, work to attain Green House Gas emission reduction via the State’s Cap and Trade program – please review this study.
There are strategies and issues in the Cap and Trade program that need review and fixing. Please see my comments – below the Study material

Land use strategies to mitigate climate change in carbon dense temperate forests

Beverly E. Law, Tara W. Hudiburg, Logan T. Berner, Jeffrey J. Kent, Polly C. Buotte and Mark E. Harmon
PNAS March 19, 2018. 201720064; published ahead of print March 19, 2018. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1720064115

Edited by William H. Schlesinger, Duke University, Durham, NC, and approved January 22, 2018 (received for review November 16, 2017)

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/13/1720064115

Significance

Regional quantification of feasibility and effectiveness of forest strategies to mitigate climate change should integrate observations and mechanistic ecosystem process models with future climate, CO2, disturbances from fire, and management. Here, we demonstrate this approach in a high biomass region, and found that reforestation, afforestation, lengthened harvest cycles on private lands, and restricting harvest on public lands increased net ecosystem carbon balance by 56% by 2100, with the latter two actions contributing the most. Forest sector emissions tracked with our life cycle assessment model decreased by 17%, partially meeting emissions reduction goals. Harvest residue bioenergy use did not reduce short-term emissions. Cobenefits include increased water availability and biodiversity of forest species. Our improved analysis framework can be used in other temperate regions.

Abstract

Strategies to mitigate carbon dioxide emissions through forestry activities have been proposed, but ecosystem process-based integration of climate change, enhanced CO2, disturbance from fire, and management actions at regional scales are extremely limited. Here, we examine the relative merits of afforestation, reforestation, management changes, and harvest residue bioenergy use in the Pacific Northwest. This region represents some of the highest carbon density forests in the world, which can store carbon in trees for 800 y or more. Oregon’s net ecosystem carbon balance (NECB) was equivalent to 72% of total emissions in 2011–2015. By 2100, simulations show increased net carbon uptake with little change in wildfires. Reforestation, afforestation, lengthened harvest cycles on private lands, and restricting harvest on public lands increase NECB 56% by 2100, with the latter two actions contributing the most. Resultant cobenefits included water availability and biodiversity, primarily from increased forest area, age, and species diversity. Converting 127,000 ha of irrigated grass crops to native forests could decrease irrigation demand by 233 billion m3 y 1. Utilizing harvest residues for bioenergy production instead of leaving them in forests to decompose increased emissions in the short-term (50 y), reducing mitigation effectiveness. Increasing forest carbon on public lands reduced emissions compared with storage in wood products because the residence time is more than twice that of wood products. Hence, temperate forests with high carbon densities and lower vulnerability to mortality have substantial potential for reducing forest sector emissions. Our analysis framework provides a template for assessments in other temperate regions.

Continued – at the Web – site (link). My issues – below.

 

Greg

I have been doing forestry issues for a long time. I am not opposed to logging. It is just a matter of intensity – how much, where, and in what period of time.

You have indicated your goal – by use of the Cap and Trade program – is to recover our forests to pre-European entry.To put it in perspective, since European intervention in our forests (speaking of California – but I am sure this is true for the whole country) – forest inventories have been reduced by a factor of 90% to 95% (by volume). That is a very large number (and it is becoming a world wide number). Europe was completely forested at one time. On the west coast – with the loss of our forests there has been a similar depletion of salmonid numbers. Now with climate change issues – it is pretty obvious that forests are a significant factor. Increasing the biomass is the issue. This can be done by cutting less than growth. And – as the attached link to a University of Oregon Study – other strategies (e.g. lengthening harvest cycles, etc.) can have a significant effect.

Note: Our coastal temperate forests grow faster than other forests in the US – due to factors of soils, nutrients, rainfall, and temperature. (however, they are not growing fast enough).

One of the major factors in forest policy (Forest Practice Rules in California) is that industry controls the politics. And – the historic management that brought the forest inventory to its current low point – is now a factor that industry considers in their cash flow management. How do you keep the cash coming in when inventories are so low? For them cutting less than growth or lengthening cutting cycles is a cash flow problem.

Cap and Trade is the plan that is supposed to solve this. However, I do have a problem with the Cap and Trade methodology as it is now existing. Though the program is well meaning – and as the rules are applied now – it will not work. The reasons why it will not work are – the following:

Starting from the “Common Practice ” inventory baseline (which the California Forest Practice Rules allow – which can be less than 50 sq. ft. of basal area per acre of standing inventory) – they will allow for credits for carbon retained above that base line – based on growth estimates from modeling projects out 100 years. Each approved and registered credit is worth about $10 per metric ton on the market – today.

Starting from such a low base line is one problem. The use of the modeling for growth and yield projections is another problem. The modeling is adjustable and can show anything you want it to show.

The California Air Resources Board relies on robust verification and assumes that the checks that are in place will assure compliance – Verification of compliance to the rules and check actual growth at many plots will correct for any discrepancies. And – if the carbon is not there – the beneficiary will be charged back for that amount of carbon not produced.

My issues are: 1) starting from such a low base (the common practice baseline ) is inappropriate and not always representative off current conditions, 2) the CARB protocols indicate that the base and practice bottom line should not be below – a business as usual standard (they are not applying this protocol), 3) the CARB protocols indicate external constraints must be considered for baseline considerations (external constraints are rules, obligations, mandated planning projects, and easements) – (CARB is not following this protocol). 4) the program is only enacted by the legislature until 2030 – what happens if the program ends then, ends at another time, or the carbon market falls apart?, 5) the levels of retention of carbon that the program is attaining is low – more forest mass needs to be retained to make a difference (remember the carbon credits sold are mitigations for GHGs emitted by other industries). This last consideration puts the whole program in the realm of CEQA – mitigations for other industrial GHG emissions should be an open process that allows the public and other responsible agency meaningful participation in the process. The process is not open and is not accessible.

I am hoping we can fix some of these issues.

Alan Levine

Celebrate Wild & Scenic Rivers @ River Rally

Celebrate Wild & Scenic Rivers @ River Rally
2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act.
Join us for these meetings, keynotes, and workshops.
River Rally
Apr 29-May 2, 2018
Learn more

Wild & Scenic Rivers Pre-Meeting
River Rally this year will include a focus on the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act 50th Anniversary, and there will be strong participation by Wild and Scenic River leaders. On Sunday, April 29th, there will be an opportunity to come together to map out some concrete actions and goals to work together on behalf of wild rivers. While the primary focus will be on seeking participation from NGO partners, we will include a session to meet with our essential agency partners. $20 fee includes lunch.

Keynote: Why Wild Matters – The Wild & Scenic Rivers Act
From the remote rivers of Alaska, Idaho and Oregon to rivers threading through the countryside of New Hampshire, Ohio and Massachusetts, free-flowing rivers are an essential feature in the American landscape—and in our collective imagination of wild places. As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, we look back at the history of this important legislation and celebrate the many reasons why wild matters.
Introduction: Chris Brown, River Network Board Member
Speaker: Tim Palmer, Author

Restoring and Connecting a Wild & Scenic River
Using the National Wild & Scenic Westfield River, participants will learn about efforts to restore and reconnect a river system. Attendees will be introduced to online decision support tools developed to identify the best opportunities for river restoration. Case studies will illustrate how the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act has resulted in technical assistance and funding for culvert projects.
Presenter: Carrie Banks, Division of Ecological Restoration–Dept. of
Fish and Game

Plus wild and scenic river films, and more! See the full program for details.

Early bird rates end March 30th!
Register today

Our mailing address is:
River Network
P.O. Box 21387
Boulder, CO 80308

Sanctuary Forests Recent Land & Water Stewardship Guides

Hi Watershed Workers,

I just wanted to bring to your attention these two newish Land and Water Stewardship Guides published by Sanctuary Forest & written by Kyle Keegan with wonderful graphics rendered by his brother Evan Walbridge. http://www.sanctuaryforest.org/got-stewardship-guides/ <http://www.sanctuaryforest.org/got-stewardship-guides/>

Land Stewardship Guide: Reducing Runoff and Increasing Infiltration in the Mediterranean Climate of Northen California
http://www.sanctuaryforest.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Land-Stewardship-Guide-Booklet-Form.pdf <http://www.sanctuaryforest.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Land-Stewardship-Guide-Booklet-Form.pdf>

Water Stewardship Guide: Conserving and Storing Water to Benefit Streamflows and Fish in North Coast Creeks and Rivers
http://www.sanctuaryforest.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Water-Stewardship-Guide-Booklet-Form.pdf <http://www.sanctuaryforest.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Water-Stewardship-Guide-Booklet-Form.pdf>

I think that they created a really accessible and pragmatic document here covering a number of watershed recovery issues and solutions – especially for upland flow reduction/infiltration, erosion control/headcut mitigation, forest thinning/fuel loads, gully brush packing, roads, water storage and many other important practices for helping keep more soil & water in land while yielding clean and copious water for creeks, coho and communities.

Have a read – I think you will find it informative and inspirational – Nice work Kyle, Evan and Sanctuary Forest Friends!

Slow it Spread it Sink it – but ya gotta first Think It!

Mostly Water,
Brock

March 1- Brock Dolman: Conserving and Restoring Watersheds

To All,

March 1st, we have a true water wizard joining us: Brock Dolman of OAEC. Brock is a biologist who’s spend decades of his life researching and campaigning for restoring watersheds and beavers across California. He brings a true understanding of water dynamics, and will show how we can protect our watersheds, and restore them back to health.

Click Here to Sign Up

Hope to see you there Thursday at 3PM PST. As the threat of drought stands front and center worldwide, so should the solutions. From capturing the rain from the rooftop, to building ponds on farms, to restoring watersheds across regions and continents, we can bring back water to where it is needed.

Action to Help Pesticide Contamination in the Smith River

Help Stop Pesticide Contamination in Smith River Estuary

By Greg King, Siskiyou Land  Conservancy

After many years the California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has finally released a long awaited report that provides new and devastating data from the Smith River estuary: From 2013-15 state scientists found 17 highly toxic pesticides in surface waters of the lower Smith River. They also found at least ten instances of that water being so toxic that it destroyed the invertebrates that make up the basis of the salmonid food chain (aka “acute and chronic reproductive toxicity”).

Perhaps more devastating, though, is the state’s response to the contaminated waters of California’s healthiest and arguably most important remaining wild fishery: Water Board officials say that the water’s toxicity is not the result of the 17 pesticides (most of which are used on surrounding bottom lands to grow Easter lily bulbs and are highly toxic to fish), but stem from the water’s “lack of hardness.”

In other words, the state Water Board is currently in the process of abandoning the vital Smith River to the whims of agriculture, where lily farmers annually apply 300,000 pounds of pesticides on bottomlands that surround the Smith River estuary — some of the heaviest concentrations of pesticide applications in California. State officials are now even saying that they may not get around to developing a “discharge permit” for the lily growers, without which the farmers are technically operating illegally (as they have since 2003). Rather, the risk of further pesticide destruction of threatened and endangered estuary wildlife — home to coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, and the world’s northernmost population of Endangered tidewater goby — will be addressed via the lily growers’ voluntary measures and “best management practices.”

Since its founding in 2004, the Siskiyou Land Conservancy has worked to reduce and eliminate pesticide contamination in the Smith River estuary, the most vulnerable reach of a watershed that is otherwise one of the wildest, healthiest, and most beautiful rivers in the world. Never has there been a more egregious, and Orwellian, abrogation by the state of its duty to protect wildlife in this isolated corner of California. The pesticides are also impacting the health of 2,000 residents in the town of Smith River, according to the Smith River Community Health Assessment conducted by SLC in 2016.

To take action, click on this link to the EPIC site where you can use a sample letter with addresses.

Thank you!

Larry


 

 

Questions for Water Fix Hearing, February 13th

To All,

During the Water Fix hearing on February 8, 2018, the hearing officers directed the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) (collectively petitioners) to respond to the Natural Resources Defense Council, et al.’s February 7, 2018 Renewed Motion for Stay of Part 2 of the hearing as well as the other comments and issues raised during the hearing that day. Petitioners have until 5:00 PM on Friday, February 9, 2018 to respond.

The hearing officers set a deadline of 12:00 noon on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 for all other parties to respond to petitioners’ forthcoming submittal.

As part of their response, petitioners should brief the following six questions. All other parties are invited to brief all or some of questions three through six in their replies.

Questions Directed to Petitioners:

1. Does the certified final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) address all potential impacts if the WaterFix Project is constructed and operated in stages? In the supplement to the EIR, what additional analyses will be performed and what specific environmental issues will be evaluated?

2. If DWR constructs and operates the WaterFix Project in stages, to what extent would Reclamation participate during the first stage? Would the WaterFix Project be operated differently if Reclamation does not participate?

Questions Directed to All Parties:

3. If the WaterFix Project is intended to be constructed and operated in stages, is an amendment to the change petition or any additional supporting information under Water Code sections 1701.1, 1701.2, and 1701.3 necessary? Why or why not?

4. If the WaterFix Project is constructed and operated in stages, are there potential impacts to legal users of water, fish and wildlife, the public interest, or consideration of appropriate Delta flow criteria that would warrant revisiting any Part 1 or Part 2 key hearing issues? Which issues?

5. If a supplement to the EIR is entered into the administrative record, what is the most efficient way to address any new information included in the supplement?

6. Would any conditions necessary to adequately protect the rights of legal users, fish and wildlife, or the public interest be different if the WaterFix Project were constructed in stages? Would appropriate Delta flow criteria be different? Why or why not?

Respectfully,

CA WaterFix Hearing Team
=================================
https://www.waterboards.ca.gov/waterrights/water_issues/programs/bay_delta/california_waterfix/water_right_petition.shtml

Phone: 916‐319‐0960

No Oil Rigs Off Our Coast! Action, Feb. 8th

Join the resistance – ride to the rally at the only California public meeting in the beautiful coastal city of Sacramento.

Spread the word – this is not a drill (yup, I did say that)

Take care, don’t give up.
Rue

No Oil Rigs Off Our Coast! Ride With the Resistance to Rally in Sacramento Feb 8th
Make a Fuss! Take the Bus!

Only the Trump Administration would choose inland Sacramento to be the location of their only public meeting in California on their disastrous plan to plant oil rigs off our coast. We are not deterred!

On February 8th, a bus sponsored by The Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity will take riders from Santa Rosa to Sacramento for a rally on the Capitol steps and the meeting. We will leave from the Environmental Center at 10 am in the morning, stop for additional riders in Petaluma at 10:35 am and return around 6:10 to 6:40 pm. Roundtrip Fare is only $15 and $5 for students and children – no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

You can purchase your ticket on-line by going to https://www.universe.com/events/santa-rosa-bus-to-protest-against-offshore-drilling-at-boem-public-hearing-tickets-santa-rosa-KGMWY5

Ride with the Resistance! But act quickly, seats are limited.

For further information or to participate in other transportation options out of county, send an email to shoshana.hebshi@sierraclub.org
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