Thursday, 19 April 2007 01:09

Documents Filed With the California Department of Forest are Generating Interest

Sierra Pacific Industries’ latest timber harvest plan is generating quite a bit of interest- both from opponents and proponents of forest logging. Documents filed with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or CalFire, show Sierra Pacific plans to log more than two-thirds of the 74,000 acres the company owns in Amador and Calaveras County over the next 80 years. The long term plan and application was originally filed in October of 2006. However at that time the state forestry department returned them because some information was missing or unclear according to state officials.

The plans were redrawn and clarified and resubmitted on March 13th of this year. Sierra Pacific filed with CDF the details 231 acres of proposed clear-cutting and 1,275 acres of commercial thinning, with another 262 acres subject to other selective methods of tree removal. The varying logging would cover a total of 1,768 acres. The acreage is on the north fork of the Mokelumne River, northeast of West Point, near Salt Springs Road. About 100 acres cross over into Amador County.

CDF will be conducting a pre-inspection of the plan on the property later this month. According to SPI spokesman and Director of Governmental Affairs Mark Pawlicki, the plan, called the South Rim Plan, is designed for the Lower Panther creek Water shed area and has taken years of research. The plan includes studies of local wildlife habitats which the plan considers. The plan is consistent with state wildlife requirements and also provides for replanting on the 231 acres that will be clear cut. The rest of the plan involves thinning and removing dense overstocked stands of forest which will reduce fire danger. SPI, states Pawlicki, will be logging by helicopter or cable in the more sensitive areas to avoid issues that could increase erosion of hillsides. Also, SPI will be using larger buffer zones than required by the state to protect the sensitive watershed areas.