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Public to get second chance to comment on timber harvest plan

Independent Coast Observer of Gualala, California

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New 30-day public comment periods for the controversial timber harvest plans 1-15-033SON and 1-15-042SON, Apple and Dogwood, respectively, will open up again within the week, according to Cal Fire Deputy Chief Leslie Markham.

That's because Gualala Redwood Timber replied to questions from Cal Fire. According to Markham, the next steps are for her to look at Gualala Redwood's responses and incorporate them into the plans.

Then, for each plan, a letter of recirculation will be sent out, starting the new comment period. Markham said she hopes to have one letter sent out by Friday and another one sent out last week.

The Apple THP proposes a harvest of 121 acres and the Dogwood THP seeks to harvest 332 acres of trees near Gualala. Dogwood also proposes to draft up to 25,000 gallons of water a day from the Gualala River during the project, should it be approved. The harvest would be in an area adjacent to the main steam, south fork and Wheatfield fork of the Gualala River. The harvest is also adjacent to The Sea Ranch.

A lot of concerns have been expressed to Cal Fire and in the ICO via letters to the editor that the Gualala River cannot handle the extra pressure of these harvests, especially during the drought. Cal Fire received letters from State Senator Mike McGuire, Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carillo and Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Hamburg requesting a second look at the THPs. Hamburg said he did "not believe sufficient time [had] been allowed for the comment period" and requested an extension back in August.

Additionally, a petition against the Dogwood and Apple THPs, spearheaded by Jeanne Jackson of Anchor Bay, received more than 1,500 signatures, all which were sent to Cal Fire. The petition says the THP fails to comply with state and federal laws protecting threatened and species.

But as the ICO reported last week, Henry Alden, forest manager at GRT, said agencies have vetted the plan and haven't found issues with either THP.

"The lack of comments by federal and state agencies does not mean these impacts weren't vetted" Alden wrote about the impacts the water drafting, logging and road construction would have on the canopy, flood plain and wildlife. "If an agency does not comment on a proposed THP, it is usually because their concerns have been addressed."

To find out when a letter is sent starting the new comment period, check the Cal Fire website, which can be found at

Once the public comment period is reopened, the public can send comments to Cal Fire at

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Original Publication Date: November 6, 2015

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