THP 1-00-484 SON – Haupt Creek
To: California Department of Fire and Forestry – Timber Harvest Plan Approval Division
Comments: THP 1-00- 484 SON – Haupt Creek old growth plan
This plan impacts 800 acres of un-entered old growth undeniably unique in the world. The owner of this property has publicly indicated an unwillingness to allow an alternate prescription for preservation of the forest.
The final review for this THP was conducted on 4/24/03 in the presence of 36 members of the public and press with the applicant and RFP in absentia. Representatives of California Fish & Game and Water Quality agencies were present and they offered compelling arguments for further data, particularly for the Red Tree Vole, and for stream shade co-incidence in a dangerously impaired watershed.
In presenting a ruling on the THP, the team leader stated that 1. There was a significant need for further data and mitigation plans before a ruling could be made. 2. There was a possibility that the RFP/owner would provide the data or adjustments/mitigations even though some portion of the data had been requested almost one year ago and was not supplied to CDF. 3. Rejection of the plan was not a “fair” option for the owner.
The result of the review was a decision to defer the final ruling until both Water Quality and Fish & Game agencies could speak with the applicant and discover his willingness to comply with the agencies requests. A new final review and a final ruling would be scheduled informally after the agencies had spoken to the applicant. The schedule for this final review was to be communicated to one activist for dissemination among the environmental activist and concerned citizen community to allow them to attend.
After the ruling, I queried the team leader regarding his decision to delay the final ruling and was told that CDF’s responsibility was to accept or reject THP’s.
It appears to me that the team leader was acting beyond his authority in not rendering a final judgment at this hearing. Not doing so gives the appearance of CDF acting on the behalf of the absent owner as opposed to acting on behalf of the citizens of the state of California.
Is this unusual procedure consistent with California Forest Practice Rule procedures and the California Forest Practice Act? Does this procedure provide fair notice for public oversight?
POB69, Albion, CA 95410-0069