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Gualala River logging project clears hurdle in state court as federal case ramps up

by Mary Callahan, The Press Democrat, March 28, 2021

[excerpt:]

A legal battle over plans to log in the lower Gualala River flood plain is heading into a fifth year, despite a recent victory in state appeals court by Gualala Redwood Timber and Cal Fire which first approved the project back in 2016.

The fight over the 342-acre timber project in the northwest corner of Sonoma County adjacent Gualala Point Regional Park is now shifting to a new case gearing up in federal court.

. . .

The new case was filed last September in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. It asserts that the tree removal and attendant use of heavy equipment, logging roads and skid trails will almost certainly lead to the illegal “take” of California red-legged frogs and Northern spotted owls, both federally protected under the Endangered Species Act, as well as endangered Central California Coast coho salmon and threatened Northern California steelhead, through habitat loss.

“The Gualala River’s redwood ecosystem is a California treasure that must be protected to stop the extinction crisis facing species like the steelhead and coho salmon,” Peter Galvin, co-founder of the Center for Biological Diversity, said at the time.

. . .

“I think that we can make a difference, even though it’s a David versus Goliath kind of thing,” [Charles Ivor, president of Friends of the Gualala River] said.

 

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Gualala River logging project clears hurdle in state court as federal case ramps up

Northern Spotted Owl chick, photo by Ron LeValley