September 9, 2005
OLD-GROWTH REDWOOD LOGGING TO BEGIN SOON
THP #: 1-05-097 HUM
Location: Nanning Creek, Humboldt County, California
Total acres: 259
# of units: 1
Prescription: Shelterwood Preparatory Step
Forest type: mostly oldgrowth redwood and Douglas fir
At stake is; 192 acres of old-growth redwood and Douglas Fir (some uncut, some residual) that is habitat for the pacific fisher, California red tree vole, Marbled murrelet, Osprey, Coopers hawk, Purple martin, Bald eagle, Northern spotted owl, Vaux's swift, Red-legged frog, Tailed frog, Foothill yellow-legged frog, Cutthroat and Steelhead trout.
Old-growth logging season is clearly defined in Humboldt County by the nesting season of the endangered marbled Murrelet, a little sea bird who uses the branches of old-growth redwoods and Douglas fir for breeding between March 24th and September 15th. Although the federal Endangered Species Act makes illegal the killing of endangered species, Pacific Lumber (with its glowing corporate halo) obtained a permit to do so outside of the murrelet nesting season via the 1999 Headwaters Deal.
A recent federal report stated that under the current logging practices in California, the marbled murrelet faces an 80% probability of extinction in the next 60 years. With 192 acres of occupied habitat, the Bonanza THP harbors one of the last intact nesting areas for the murrelet remaining on Maxxam/Pacific Lumber land. Even short-term existence of the marbled murrelet in our area is put at great risk by the destruction of these irreplaceable stands.
Nanning Creek will not be the only scene of murrelet habitat logging this year, other THPs, approved or pending, include approximately 50 acres occupied by the murrelet in Grizzly Creek and Elk River.
The entire Nanning Creek THP is on very steep slopes where PL plans to use some helicopter yarding but will depend primarily on the earth-scaring practice of cable and tractor yarding. Construction of small spur roads are also planned, but felling will not be dependent on them as there are already a few different roads into the THP area.
There is also a Northern spotted owl nest in the portion of the THP with the highest concentration of old-growth. The presence of this threatened species requires a 400 foot buffer with 18 acres of "suitable habitat" around the nest. It is possible that PL will be able to change the status of the owl nest at the last minute to allow harvest of the area except the nest tree.