Initial lawsuit filing
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PAUL V. CARROLL/121369
Attorney At Law
5 Manor Place
Menlo Park, California 94025
(650) 322-5652

STEVEN J. ANTLER/41986
Attorney At Law
PO Box 41
Mendocino, California 95460
(707) 937-5925

Attorneys for Petitioners

CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE JACKSON STATE REDWOOD FOREST and

DHARMA CLOUD FOUNDATION

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA

IN AND FOR THE COUNTY OF MENDOCINO

 

CAMPAIGN TO RESTORE JACKSON STATE REDWOOD FOREST and

DHARMA CLOUD CHARITABLE FOUNDATION TRUST,

Petitioners,

v.

CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY AND FIRE PROTECTION, CALIFORNIA BOARD OF FORESTRY and Does I through X inclusive;

Respondents.

__________________________________/

No.:

COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY RELIEF

(Civ. Pro. Code, § 1060)

 

INTRODUCTION

1. Established in 1947, and by far California’s largest state forest, Jackson Demonstration State Forest ("JDSF") is a public treasure. Comprising over 50,000 acres in Mendocino County, it reaches from the Pacific coast to the ridge of the inland valleys to the east. The city of Fort Bragg and the town of Mendocino lie two miles from its western edge. It is criss–crossed by almost 100 miles of streams, including Casper Creek, Hare Creek and tributaries of the Noyo River and Big River. It is a trove of diversity, home to thousands of species, from the yellow-cheeked chipmunk to the red-legged frog, from the downy leatherwing to the spotted owl, some abundant, some declining, and some all but gone.

2. Given these riches, it is not surprising that the California Legislature and California Board of Forestry ("Board") have declared that JDSF may only be managed in accordance with an approved, current management plan. The purpose of such a plan is to intelligently guide the management and logging of this extraordinary place. Yet for the past eight years, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection ("CDF") has approved every one of the more than 20 logging operation submitted for JDSF—all in the absence of a management plan approved by the Board.

3. Members of the public, including Petitioners Campaign To Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest ("Restoration Campaign") and Dharma Cloud Charitable Foundation Trust ("Dharma Cloud"), have informed CDF that its conduct violates the law, and have requested that it cease logging until a management plan is approved. In response, CDF has declared that it will continue to approve timber operations and log JDSF even in the absence of a plan.

4. Restoration Campaign and Dharma Cloud therefore bring this action for declaratory relief. They respectfully request this Court to issue a declaration that CDF’s pattern and practice of logging JDSF in the absence of a management plan, and the Board’s concurrence in this policy and failure to approve a plan, are contrary to law.

GENERAL ALLEGATIONS

5. The Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest is an association of persons, most of whom reside in Mendocino County, that is dedicated to restoring publicly owned JDSF in order to protect salmon and other wildlife, and for recreational, scientific, and educational public use.

6. Dharma Cloud is a nonprofit corporation. It conducts charitable activities for the coastal communities of Mendocino County, including long-range planning for JDSF, preservation of and public access to coastal lands, development of a community plan for the community of Caspar, and support of Buddhist religious activities.

7. The personal, aesthetic, and environmental interests of Petitioners and the persons associated with them are being severely injured, and will continue to be severely injured, if Respondent CDF continues to manage and log JDSF in the absence of a management plan. Petitioners are within the class of persons beneficially interested in and aggrieved by CDF’s pattern and practice of approving logging operations in JDSF without a management plan.

8. Respondent CDF is an agency of the State of California.

9. Respondent Board is an agency of the State of California.

10. The true names and capacities, whether individual, corporate, or otherwise, of DOES I through X are unknown to Petitioners, who therefore sues said Respondents by such fictitious names. Petitioners will seek leave to amend this petition when they have been ascertained.

11. Jurisdiction of this court is invoked pursuant to California Code of Civil Procedure section 1060.

12. Petitioners have performed all conditions precedent to the filing of this complaint.

13. At all times mentioned herein, CDF and the Board ("Respondents") have been able to prepare and approve a management plan. At all times mentioned herein, CDF has been able to stay conduct of logging operations pending approval of a management plan. Despite such ability, Respondents have failed and continues to fail to perform their duty to prepare and approve such a plan, and to manage and conduct timber operations in JDSF in accordance with such a plan.

14. Unless a management plan is prepared and approved and unless CDF ceases its pattern and practice of conducting timber operations in the absence of a plan, JDSF and its environmental resources will suffer immediate, irreparable, and permanent damage.

 

FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS

15. JDSF was acquired by California and established as a State Demonstration Forest in 1947. At the time, the State was concerned about the depletion of California’s forests and timber resource because of the declining supply of old growth trees. The Legislature authorized the acquisition of land as state forests, including JDSF, for "the purpose of demonstration of economical forest management." (Pub. Res. Code, § 4631, subd. (d).)

16. The Legislature defined "management" to mean "the handling of forest crop and forest soil so as to achieve maximum sustained production of high-quality forest products while giving consideration to values relating to recreation, watershed, wildlife, range and forage, fisheries, and aesthetic enjoyment." (Pub. Res. code, § 4639.)

17. CDF is authorized to manage California’s state forests, including JDSF, "in accordance with plans approved by the board [California Board of Forestry]" (Pub. Res. Code, § 4645), and "acting in accordance with policies adopted by the board." (Pub. Res. Code, § 4646.)

18. Board policy relating to state forests states: "Management plans shall be prepared and maintained current for the Jackson…State Forests. All operations on the Forests shall conform to the management plans."

19. The Board has also promulgated a regulation that commands: "The harvesting of forest products from state forests and management of state forests shall follow management plans developed for each forest...." (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 14, § 1510.)

20. During the 24-year period from 1958 to 1982, JDSF was governed by four management plans. In 1983, CDF approved a fifth management plan for the 10-year period from 1983 through 1992. By its own terms, the 1983 plan was to have "a major review at the midpoint of its effective period (1987), and be completely revised in 1992."

21. However, the 1983 management plan for JDSF was not subjected to a major review in 1987, nor was a new management plan for JDSF approved in 1992. JDSF thus has been without a current management plan for the past eight years.

22. Despite the lack of a management plan for JDSF, CDF has approved more than 20 timber operations in JDSF during the past eight years.

23. CDF is currently considering approval of three timber operations in JDSF comprising 1,130 acres. The timber harvest plans are 1-99-459 MEN, 1-99-483 MEN, and 1-99-484 MEN. Based on CDF’s pattern and practice of approving and conducting logging operations in JDSF, the three timber harvest plans currently under review will eventually be approved. In the last eight years, CDF has approved and conducted every proposed timber harvest plan in JDSF that was submitted for approval.

24. Members of the public have complained to CDF on numerous occasions in the past about its pattern and practice of approving timber operations in JDSF in the absence of a management plan. The public’s complaints are frequently lodged as comments on individual logging operations. CDF has responded to public criticism by indicating that it intends to continue approving and conducting logging operations in JDSF despite the absence of a management plan.

25. On November 19, 1999, the Sierra Club California wrote CDF requesting a moratorium on logging in JDSF until CDF prepared and approved a management plan for the state forest. By letter dated December 20, 1999, CDF replied to the Sierra Club’s letter and refused to impose a moratorium on the approval and operation of new logging operations in JDSF pending approval of a new management plan. In the letter, CDF stated that the Board had concurred in its position.

26. By letter dated January 11, 2000, Dharma Cloud also requested CDF to cease logging JDSF until it approved a management plan for the state forest. CDF did not respond to Dharma Cloud’s letter. In commenting to CDF on the three THPs submitted for approval, Restoration Campaign has stated that approval of the THPs without the option of a new management plan would be contrary to California statutes and regulations.

 

FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION

(Declaratory Relief)

27. An actual controversy has arisen and now exists between petitioners, Restoration Campaign and Dharma Cloud on the one hand, and Respondents on the other concerning their respective rights and duties. Restoration Campaign and Dharma Cloud contend that Respondents are in violation of the law in pursuing a pattern and practice of managing and logging JDSF in the absence of an approved management plan as required by statute, regulation, and Board policy.

28. Restoration Campaign and Dharma Cloud desire a judicial determination of their rights and duties and a declaration as to whether Respondents’ pattern and practice of managing and logging JDSF in the absence of an approved management plan is lawful.

29. A judicial declaration is necessary and appropriate at this time under the circumstances in order that Restoration Campaign and Dharma Cloud may ascertain their rights and duties in regard to Respondents’ pattern and practice of managing and logging JDSF in the absence of an approved management plan. A judicial declaration at this time will avoid a multiplicity of lawsuits. CDF is poised to approve no less than three logging operations in JDSF. CDF has indicated it will not delay approval of these timber harvest plans pending approval of a management plan.

30. A declaration from this Court that Respondents’ pattern and practice of approving and conducting timber operations in JDSF is illegal in the absence of an approved management plan will avoid the necessity of piecemeal litigation against each approval and logging operation.

WHEREFORE, Petitioners pray for judgment as follows:

1. For a declaration that Respondents’ pattern and practice of managing and logging JDSF in the absence of an approved management plan is contrary to law.

2. In the event CDF approves the pending timber harvest plans 1-99-459 MEN, 1-99-483 MEN, and 1-99-484 MEN, for a preliminary and permanent injunction barring CDF from commencing operations on those plans pending completion and approval of a management plan for JDSF.

3. For reasonable attorney fees under California Code of Civil Procedure section 1021.5.

4. For costs of suit.

5. For such other and further relief as the Court deems proper.

Dated: June ____, 2000

 

   
  PAUL CARROLL

Attorney for Petitioners