Indexed News on:

--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors



WE POST NEWS THREE WAYS:
1. long detailed stories on blogspot (here!)
2. short messages on Twitter
3. automated news feeds from CA enviro websites in the right-hand column which change frequently and are not archived by our website (that's why we now have a twitter account to permanently capture the memorable feeds)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

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Logging in Santa Cruz Mountains Halted by State Forestry Board


Thursday October 9, 2008

http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_10661590

San Jose Water Co.'s plan to log more than 1,000 acres of redwood and Douglas fir trees near Highway 17 came to an abrupt end Wednesday when the state forestry board voted unanimously to side with mountain residents who had fiercely fought the proposal.

In a surprise announcement shortly after the nine-member Board of Forestry and Fire Protection made its decision, a representative of San Jose Water indicated that the company would not appeal the decision in court.

So the most contentious logging dispute in Santa Clara County in decades is suddenly over. "I believe this is it," said John Tang, spokesman for the water company. "We're very disappointed." Tang left open the possibility that the company might return in the future with a smaller timber harvest proposal, but he stressed that nothing has been decided.

Residents of Chemeketa Park and other nearby forested communities, who have battled the logging plan since 2005, reacted with joy and said they were shocked the water company was backing down. "We're ecstatically happy," said Kevin Flynn, a Cisco Systems manager who lives in Chemeketa Park. "It really surprises me that the company won't appeal, because they've been such a tenacious opponent. But I guess they realize they've been licked."

Opponents had vowed to sue if the forestry board approved the plan, arguing that the logging would generate noise, trigger landslides and increase fire danger. San Jose Water had said it wanted to log the 1,002 acres to reduce the danger of fire. Fire danger, however, was not the central point of contention before the forestry board Wednesday.

At issue was how much timberland is actually owned by the investor-owned company, which provides drinking water to about a million people in San Jose, Los Gatos, Saratoga, Cupertino and Campbell. After a 3 1/2-hour hearing at which about two dozen people spoke, the forestry board agreed with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (also called Cal Fire) that the company owns more than 2,500 acres of timberland. So, it ruled, the company does not qualify for the open-ended logging permit it was seeking. Without an open-ended permit, the company has to come back for approval each time it wants to log a portion of the property -- a process that is more expensive and time-consuming. Cal Fire and the forestry board say the company owns 2,825 acres of timberland, while the company says only 1,971 acres of that actually bears commercially harvestable trees.

The forestry department's chief counsel has argued that "timberland" is defined in the state Forest Practices Act as any land "available for, and capable of growing, a crop of trees of any commercial species used to produce lumber and other forest products, including Christmas trees." That, the department's chief counsel wrote in legal briefs, means "timberland" includes not only areas with big trees but also land with small sprouts, stumps and even soils capable of growing trees.

San Jose Water and Big Creek Lumber, the Santa Cruz County contractor working with the water company, characterized that definition as unfairly broad.

"We're also disappointed in the decision, but it's up to our client to decide what to do next," said Bob Berlage, a Big Creek spokesman. "The law would absolutely allow other timber harvest plans to be presented."

FOR MAPS OF THE PROPOSED LOGGING:

http://www.mountainresource.org/node/52?PHPSESSID=7f60bb399092aea1737bc4fe0b4d467b
For san jose water company logging map

http://www.mountainresource.org/
santa cruz mountains anti-logging group

http://bio.research.ucsc.edu/people/doaklab/timberland/timberland/index.htm

timberland owned by san jose water co.

http://www.hiway17.com/e107_plugins/custompages/map_for_site.jpg
map of parcels in santa cruz mountains

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