Click here to take action now. The Klamath National Forest is proposing one of the largest timber sales in US history! Over 30,000 acres of post fire habitat are at risk of elimination. These steep and rugged watersheds support the most productive wild salmon and steelhead fisheries outside of Alaska, the largest acreage of unprotected low elevation ancient wild forest remaining on the West Coast, a high concentration of Wild and Scenic rivers and are world renowned for their rich biodiversity with many rare and endemic native species.
The recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement contains multiple action alternatives, however none of them are ecologically sound. The project proposes to log between 100 -200 million board feet from 6,800 acres in larger forest stands, 650 miles of roadside equaling 20,500 acres, another 3,000 acres on ridge tops and outside of private property. The project also proposes to re-open decommissioned roads as well as create 22.6 miles of new roads requiring at least 14 new stream crossings.
Nearly half of the treatment area is within mature forest reserves, which were designated to protect and enhance mature forest ecosystems that serve as habitat for old growth dependant species. A vast amount of the project is within Critical Habitat for the Northern spotted owl and would remove over 1,000 acres of habitat. Other rare species such as the marten, fisher and the endemic Siskiyou Mountain salamander are in danger. Visual quality and fisheries on six Wild and Scenic Rivers are threatened, as well Key watersheds deemed vital for salmon survival and Critical Habitat for Coho salmon. The project would negatively affect six different Inventoried Roadless Areas, which are vitally important because they are the last large tracts of un-roaded wild lands outside of wilderness.
The Westside project considers logging in three distinct fire areas but fails to analyze them separately. The Beaver Fire area is north of the town of Scott Bar near the Oregon border. Here the public land is intermixed with forests long abused by industrial timber management. In fact, the entire area has been logged and replanted since 1955. The Happy Camp Fire area, on the Klamath River contains one of the most important wildlife corridors on the North Coast, the Grider Creek watershed, which is threatened by the proposed project. The Whites Fire, on the Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River, burned within and adjacent to the Russian Wilderness. The entire watershed has been impacted by two years of fire, fire suppression and multiple timber sales. The Salmon River watershed is a stronghold for the last remaining viable run of Spring Chinook salmon.
The project would multiply the damage already incurred by last summer’s fires and fire suppression, which cost taxpayers $195 million dollars. Nearly 200 miles of ridgelines were bulldozed to bare earth leaving behind swaths of clearcuts and huge amounts of slash. Hundreds of thousands of gallons of fire retardant coated entire ridgelines and the heavy use of roads and fire effects caused severe sedimentation into salmon bearing creeks.
Comments on the recently released Draft Environmental Impact Statement are due April 13th. Because vital wildlife information has not been released but is referenced in the document, EPIC is asking for an extension on public comment.
Please tell the Klamath National Forest that the ecological costs of the Westside project are too high. Our forests have higher than monetary value. Our communities, wildlife and watersheds deserve better.
Click here to voice your opposition and share your concerns- Sign the petition and please attend a public meeting hosted by the Klamath National Forest Tuesday April 7 @ 5:30 at Six Rivers Headquarters by the Bayshore Mall.