August 11, 2003
Mr. Anthony Lukacic
California Department of Forestry
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Re: THP 1-00-484 SON- Haupt Creek, Wheatfield Fork, Gualala River
Dear Mr. Lukacic:
I wish to thank you for your enforcement of the California Forest Practice Rules in the temporary denial of THP 1-00-484 SON regarding Haupt Creek, Wheatfield Fork of the Gualala River. The concerns raised about the possible increased sediments and temperatures of Haupt Creek threatening the steelhead and coho salmon habitat caught my attention.
My legislation passed last year, AB 858 (Wiggins), required the Department of Fish & Game to contract with the University of California for a study of the effects that reduced water flows would have on existing salmon and steelhead populations. The legislation specified that the study would be for selected rivers from the Russian River System northward to the California-Oregon border, including the Gualala. As you know sediment clogged tributaries reduce the amount of flows reaching the rivers.
It is unfortunate that previous land management practices have degraded the creek to the level that the state has declared it impaired for temperature and sediment. However, questions of the future viability of this valued habitat need to be answered to the satisfaction of the participating state agencies.
It seems that the best case scenario would be for the owners to obtain a satisfactory agreement with the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District for permanent preservation of this property. In the absence of such an agreement, I encourage your agency to proceed cautiously.
Thank you for your careful consideration of this environmentally sensitive project.
Assemblymember 7th District