passes Forests Forever’s AB 2575!
Forest Land Recovery Act now headed to governor’s
By a vote of 50-24 the California State Legislature on Aug.
23 gave final approval to Assembly Bill 2575, the "Comprehensive
Forest Land Recovery and Restoration Act," sponsored by
Forests Forever and authored by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro
If California is serious about restoring and safeguarding its
endangered anadromous fish habitats, this reform is imperative.
The bill’s enactment could reverberate across the state’s
forests and watersheds for decades.
“It’s a great day for all those who worked so hard
to shape this bill,” said Forests Forever Executive Director
Paul Hughes. “All of our members who made calls and sent
emails on behalf of this bill – their efforts made a difference.
Right now all eyes are on the governor in anticipation of him
signing A.B. 2575 into law.”
Emails, calls and letters to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
are now urgently needed. Please ask him to sign the measure
when it reaches his desk. (See the action item below.)
Getting to this point has required enormous effort on the part
of many people, not the least of them the legislators who voted
for the measure as it worked its way through the process.
Just in the nick of time, as the legislative season approached
closure on Aug. 31, the Senate on Aug. 19 cast a decisive 22
to 10 vote in favor of A.B. 2575.
The bill then moved back to the Assembly for a final “concurrence”
vote on the Senate’s amendments to the bill.
Now that all have agreed on the outcome, the measure is “enrolled”
(printed and proofread) and will be sent to the governor for
his signature or veto.
Enactment of A.B. 2575 would put the force of law behind Board
of Forestry (BOF) administrative actions already underway.
Introduced in February by Chesbro, A.B. 2575 dovetails with
the Anadromous Salmonid Protection Rule (ASP) adopted by the
BOF in September 2009. The rule governs timber harvesting in
watersheds where anadromous fish species have been designated
as threatened or endangered.
Once Schwarzenegger signs A.B. 2575 into law (assuming he does),
the act will put his and the state legislature’s imprimatur
on two pilot forestry projects already being set up by the California
Dept. of Forestry (CDF) in accordance with ASP guidelines. One
pilot project would located on the coast, the other inland.
The ASP rule states that every timber operation in California
“shall be planned and conducted to contribute to restoration
of properly functioning salmonid habitat.” In fact CDF
officially deems this a primary objective of the rule.
A.B. 2575 decrees that CDF’s pilot projects will contribute
to this objective by gathering the scientific data necessary
for tallying the cumulative impacts of logging operations on
impaired salmon runs. It also calls for developing guidelines
on how to conduct cumulative-effects evaluations of timber harvesting
in watersheds with listed anadromous fish.
Ultimately these actions will allow for non-standard operational
measures to minimize the cumulative impacts of timber harvesting
Once methodologies have been worked out for addressing these
impacts, the process can be applied to all California watersheds
harboring listed anadromous fish.
Only by analyzing the impacts of multiple logging sites up and
down a watershed – past, present, and into the foreseeable
future – is it possible to piece together the puzzle of
why, for instance, the fall Chinook salmon runs on the North
Coast have been collapsing.
“It's way past due for California to take on dealing with
cumulative impacts on California forestlands,” said Forests
Forever Advisory Council member Richard Gienger, who helped
shape A.B. 2575. “Overall it’s a very positive step
forward. Hopefully the governor will sign it and then we’ll
have to work real hard to see that it’s implemented and
improved/advanced as time goes on. I really think it is foundational.”
A.B. 2575 will also enhance public participation in timber harvests,
watershed management and salmon restoration. All documents that
form the basis for the pilot projects, including timber harvest
plans, will be posted to CDF’s website.
Moreover the technical advisory committee created by the ASP
rule to oversee the pilot projects will include government,
industry and public representatives.
“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.”
or call Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Urge him to sign A.B. 2575
as soon as it hits his desk. Let him know you agree that understanding
and ultimately mitigating the cumulative impacts of timber harvests
on salmon habitats is crucial to California’s economic
and environmental well-being. It’s a crucial step in restoring
Coho, Chinook and other salmon runs to some semblance of their
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Fax: 916-558-3160 (new number)
Also please email or call Contact Assemblymember Wesley
Chesbro (916-319-2001) and thank him for authoring A.B.
2575. Let him know you appreciate his efforts on behalf of the
citizens of the North Coast and all of California.