The Caribou Fire area on the Wild and Scenic South Fork Salmon River on the Klamath National Forest was logged the past few summers. EPIC was able to get some of the best snag habitat saved for wildlife. The Forest Service’s environmental analysis (EA) was replete with “Project Design Features” and “Best Management Practices” that were put in place to protect fisheries, hydrology, soils and wildlife. However, after on-the-ground monitoring we discovered multiple inconsistencies between the EA and what is actually happening on the ground.
Countless mitigations were ignored. The Forest Service severely failed to meet their promises, surveys for threatened and sensitive species were not completed, most all of the largest snags and large logs that were to remain standing or within the logged areas were removed, all of the hardwood snags were removed and sold as firewood, despite the requirement for it to remain on the landscape, riparian areas were logged and much of the work took place during rainy weather.
We were extremely disappointed to discover the broad swath of disparity separating the Caribou Project description from the reality of what actually has occurred in this Key watershed that, is critical for Salmon recovery. Further, this project cost over $1.6 million dollars to plan, the contractor paid a less than $50,000 and did not make a profit, leaving taxpayers holding the bill for the destruction of their national forest.
To add insult to injury the Klamath National Forest is not being held accountable. There is no recourse that can come to them aside from your public outcry.