Forests Forever

Restore • Reinhabit • Re-enchant

A.B. 2575 faces next big test

Chesbro's pilot-projects bill advances
__to Appropriations Committee

 

On Wed., May 19, the California Assembly’s Committee on Appropriations will hold a key hearing on A.B. 2575, the “Comprehensive Forest Land Recovery and Restoration Act.” Multiple clearcuts in the Cascade Creek watershed, Tuolumne County

Introduced in February by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro (D-North Coast), Chair of the Natural Resources Committee, A.B. 2575 advanced in that panel in April on a vote of 6-0.

Now as the powerful Appropriations Committee takes up the matter, swift passage there is imperative. As countless legislators have discovered over the years, hundreds of bills end up in the committee’s suspense file, where they often languish and die.

The immediate goal now is to keep A.B. 2575 alive and headed for a full Assembly floor vote. Your emails and calls today to Appropriations Committee members will help immeasurably.

A.B. 2575 focuses on two proposed pilot watershed projects to be conducted by the California Dept. of Forestry (CDF) to evaluate and respond to the cumulative impacts of multiple timber harvests in a single watershed over time.

This reform is imperative if California is serious about restoring and safeguarding its salmon and steelhead habitat.

As the recent steep decline in anadromous fish runs shows, forest health cannot be protected on a project-by-project basis. The state must evaluate timber harvest plans (THPs) cumulatively – but up to now has failed to work out a reliable, agreed-upon methodology for doing so.

Under A.B. 2575, pilot projects will use site-specific, or non-standard, operational methods to measure and minimize cumulative impacts, allowing restoration to proceed.

Forests Forever is the organizational sponsor of A.B. 2575.

“It's way past due for California to take on dealing with cumulative impacts on California forestlands,” says Forests Forever Advisory Council member Richard Gienger. “A good process would not only reduce impacts from individual THPs, it would also inform landowners, agencies, and public and private watershed restoration interests about where the most effective work could be done to recover listed fish and wildlife species, reduce fuel hazards, prevent erosion, improve silvicultural conditions, and realize these and other distinct benefits for the economy and the community.”

Logged watershed. Photo by Richard Gienger

 

 

TAKE ACTION:

Contact Speaker of the Assembly John A. Pérez as well as members of the Appropriations Committee. Urge them to support this important piece of forestry reform legislation.

Let them know you agree that evaluating and addressing the cumulative impacts of multiple timber harvests in a watershed over time is crucial to protecting watershed health, endangered species, public safety, and the long-term economic value of timberlands.

Also contact your Assemblymember and urge him or her to back A.B. 2575. It is especially important to reach conservation-minded Assemblymembers serving on the Appropriations Committee. These include:


Felipe Fuentes, Chair (D-Sylmar)
(916) 319-2039

Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch)
(916) 319-2011


Tom Ammiano
(D-San Francisco)
(916) 319-2013


Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley)
(916) 319-2014


Alberto Torrico (D-Newark)
(916) 319-2020


Joe Coto (D-San Jose)
(916) 319-2023


Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles)
(916) 319-2045


Mike Davis
(D-Los Angeles)
(916) 319-2048


Steven Bradford (D-Gardena)
(916) 319-2051


Isadore Hall III (D-Compton)
(916) 319-2052


Charles M. Calderon
(D-Montebello)
(916) 319-2058


Jose Solorio (D-Santa Ana)
(916) 319-2069

To find your Assemblymember and contact information, visit the California State Assembly Internet portal at http://www.assembly.ca.gov/ http://www.assembly.ca.gov/


BACKGROUND:

Chesbro formulated A.B. 2575 in large part to dovetail with final regulations adopted last September by the Board of Forestry (BOF).

The BOF regulations govern commercial timber harvests on watersheds where anadromous fish species have been designated as threatened or endangered. The rules require the BOF and CDF to work with other agencies, stakeholders, and appropriate scientific participants in a “transparent process to describe and implement two pilot projects to address cumulative watershed impacts.”

The strong emphasis in A.B. 2575 on assessing the cumulative impacts of multiple logging projects in a watershed over time is a key forestry reform long sought by Forests Forever.

“This bill would require the CDF to start really making use of cumulative impact data,” said Forests Forever Legislative Advocate Luke Breit. “And, as pilot projects often become the law of the land, this could have a huge impact on how logging is carried out throughout the state.”

As the Chesbro bill puts it, “A good cumulative effects process can provide the information necessary to restore and recover fish and wildlife populations, to improve the quality and quantity of timber, to take actions to reduce fire hazards, to sequester carbon, to produce energy, and to create jobs in taking on these vitally important tasks.”

In addition, A.B. 2575 would compel the CDF to ensure that its pilot projects balance public, industry and agency involvement. In the past, the public has been effectively shut out.

Toward that end, the act would require the CDF to post all electronically available timber harvest plans online for easy access to the public as well as agencies and timber operators.

 

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Forests Forever:
Their Ecology, Restoration, and Protection
by
John J. Berger

NOW AVAILABLE
from Forests Forever Foundation
and the Center for American Places