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Anderson Valley Advertiser May 26, 2004

Who Is this Vince Taylor Guy and What's He Doing in Jackson State Forest?

Interviewed by Bruce Anderson

Vince Taylor begins: The year of my birth was 1936. I was born and raised to the age of 14 in rural Vermont. This upbringing gave me an appreciation for the nourishment nature gives to one's soul and deep-seated beliefs in honesty, integrity, and self-reliance. I moved to Los Angeles in 1951 and lived there and in Pasadena, Santa Monica, and Venice for most of the years until 1979. I then returned to my home town in Vermont for ten years, moving from there to Caspar, California in 1989.

My life experience includes a bachelor's degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nine years in the Economics Department of the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California, including three years as the Program Director of the Health Care Research Program, three years doing computer-based analysis of the stock market, one year as an appliance repairman, and eight years consulting on energy policy issues, with emphasis on alternatives to nuclear power. In 1983, I founded Vermont Creative Software, a software development and marketing firm, and was CEO of the firm until 1999. I have three children, Lisa, Karen, and Lilli.

In 1995, I established Dharma Cloud Foundation to work towards improving the quality of life on the North Coast. The Foundation has supported the Caspar Community, the Monday Night Sangha, the Abhayagiri Buddhist Monastery, the Mendocino Land Trust, the Coastal Commission's effort to adopt a scenic bridge railing, the Mendocino Institute, and the Campaign to Restore Jackson State Redwood Forest.

I've actively participated in the Monday Night Sangha and the Caspar Community, and in efforts to improve the design of the new Noyo Bridge to obtain a better scenic railing, to develop an effective program of gorse control in Jughandle State Preserve, and to change the mission of Jackson State Forest from logging to restoration.

* * *

Unwilling to take the actions required to bring its management of Jackson State Forest into conformance with the law, the California Department of Forestry (CDF) attacked the person most responsible for challenging them in court. CDF charged Vince Taylor, Executive Director of the Campaign, with violating timber regulations and filed a civil action imposing $3000 in fines.

In a negotiated settlement, Taylor admitted to inadvertently violating sections of the forest practice act. CDF eliminated the fine and agreed that the violations were fully mitigated by a permit issued a year prior to its filing of the civil suit. Taylor also agreed not to bring a suit against CDF over the case.

In response to a news story on the settlement, Vince Taylor commented:

"Unable to prevail in court, CDF tried to find a way discredit me. It took a minor, inadvertent violation that occurred during preliminary clearing of land for a house I was building and tried to blow up into a big civil suit. The violation occurred despite my best efforts to conform to all laws. Fifteen trees were cut with explicit permission from the County Planning Department and by a Licensed Timber Operator. The Licensed Timber Operator is required by law to have all required permits before cutting trees. He never raised the possibility of needing a permit, nor did any of a number of other building and forestry professionals I consulted. There is no doubt that CDF uniquely singled me out for prosecution. Only 17 notices of violation for similar cause have been issued in Mendocino County since 1997. In none of these were legal charges filed, as in my case. Every other landowner was allowed to mitigate the violation by preparing a conversion exemption plan.

More tellingly, legal charges have been filed in the entire state in only 40 similar cases. In only one of the cases was a fine proposed against a landowner who had hired a licensed timber operator (and in that one case, the landowner directed the operator to violate a permit). In every other case, the forestry professional involved was fined. In my case, the timber operator who I hired to do the cutting was not cited.

Suing someone to get back at them for suing you is known as "retaliatory prosecution." It is illegal. When I confronted the lawyer representing CDF with the evidence that I was uniquely prosecuted and documented the amount of revenue loss the Campaign's lawsuit had caused the state, the prosecution deflated. CDF quickly agreed to settle as long as I would agree not to sue them. I wanted to waste no more time on this distraction and agreed.

I was willing to admit violating the timber laws inadvertently, because ignorance is no defense under the law, and because CDF agreed that the violation was fully mitigated by the permit it issued one year before it filed charges. The settlement conformed to the terms accorded every other similar violation in Mendocino County (although no one else had to go through the time-consuming legal process I did).

This case would never have arisen had it not been for my work on behalf of the public forest. It is part of the price I pay for standing up for what I believe. I pay it gladly.

* * *

The AVA: The general complaint I hear is that a bunch of elitists, with basically suburban mentalities and independent incomes that free them from the exigencies of free enterprise, want to use Jackson State as their backyard playground. They've just moved into town and want to shut down logging in Jackson State Forest because they don't like loggers or logging. Meanwhile, the local high schools are graduating people who, at least in theory, could work at livable wages harvesting the woods at Jackson State and other forests on a sustainable basis, but the neo-busy bodies like you are in the way.

Taylor: This is a very complex question. I need to break it down. I'm not a suburban type. I was raised in the country in Vermont. I lived in Southern California for a number of years but returned to Vermont ten years before I came out to Mendocino. I do have an appreciation for nature and for the woods, and I am retired. I'm grateful for the gift of being able to retire while I was still young enough and with enough energy to fight for something I believe in. I continue to feel that Jackson State is a public forest owned by all of California's people.

I am not against logging in Jackson State Forest. Not at all! I thought about publishing an ad saying, 'We want to log Jackson State. The Campaign To Save Jackson State Forest wants to log Jackson State Forest.' But what we don't want to do is log it for profit for the state forestry program; log it as a revenue generator. An intelligent way to make a demonstration in our public forest is to ask the question, 'How can you, if you have the goal in mind of restoring the forest towards full ecological health, ecological integrity, keep its watersheds healthy, its streams healthy, restore fish habitat, if this is the goal and you still want to log, how do you do it and what amount can you reasonably get out? Do that research. Have a scientific design when you do the timber harvest plans.

Jackson State Forest is not owned by the timber industry. The concern of the timber industry is a legitimate concern, but focusing on Jackson State as an answer to the woes of the County's timber industry is misguided because Jackson State comprises only 5% of the commercial timberland of Mendocino County. Only 5%! The fate of the timber industry hinges on what happens with the other 95%. What happens to Jackson State by itself cannot solve the problems created by the recent liquidation of the timber inventory in Mendocino County. In 1989 Timber production in Mendocino County was 515 million board feet. In 2002 it was 97 million. Production decreased by 418 million board feet per year. Jackson State typically harvested 29 million board feet per year before being halted, so Jackson Forest's decrease amounts to only 7% of the total decline. It's true that the production in Jackson State was reduced. But it's not an explanation for what has happened to the timber industry in Mendocino County.

I very much support the approach for managing private land that the Redwood Forest Foundation Incorporated set up by Harwood, Giusti, Perkins, etc. A non-profit that buys up private timberlands with a focus on managing the acreage in the community interest on a sustained yield basis,.employing local people, and keeping the timber sales small enough for small mills to participate. This approach holds out some hope for restoring forestry and timber production in Mendocino County. Jackson State by itself cannot do that.

Jackson State is a rare asset for California, particularly south of Humboldt County. It's the only publicly-owned significant redwood forest in the whole area to San Francisco. If you look at watershed health, stream health, salmon, water supply for Mendocino and Fort Bragg, their whole watershed is basically in Jackson State Forest. A few creeks: Hare Creek, Jughandle Creek and Caspar Creek, are basically all within Jackson State. If they were restored and allowed to return to health, they'd provide salmon runs that would be unequaled anywhere in the area.

Take a look at the Mendocino County Coastal Conservation Plan done recently by the Mendocino Land Trust in cooperation with the Coastal Conservancy. The considered area extends from Ten Mile north of Fort Bragg to the Gualala and Garcia rivers on the South Coast. All that area is a high priority for restoration and conservation. Jackson State Forest lies right in the middle of this 'high priority' conservation area. We have outside foundations coming in who recognize the importance of our redwood forests as ecological treasures. We don't need to buy Jackson State, it's already owned. So the question is what do you want to do with it?

I looked at what had been going on in Jackson State and discovered that it was being used purely and rapaciously to generate revenues for the State Forestry program. My education and experience led me to go in and poke around. Why are they so hot on logging there when they're all foresters? They mostly review other people's harvest plans. But some of them seem to think, 'Here's a chance for us to do our own stuff; the thinking is a macho thing, I'd say.

But that turned out to be naive of me. I didn't know CDF was getting $10-$15 million a year for their state forestry programs. In the early 90s when they started revving up their chainsaws, it was Pete Wilson's budget people who collected the money from Jackson State to help cover the overall state budget deficit. $8 million a year was diverted from Jackson State logging to finance the review of private timber harvest plans. This is not acceptable, I say. When the price of redwoods was high one year CDF made $15 million from Jackson Forest logs that went back into CDF's purse.

In the mid-90s when I got involved they started a big plan in Caspar, thus inspiring the first kind of citizen protest over logging in Jackson Forest. Caspar organized and demonstrated in front of CDF's offices in Fort Bragg, and CDF backed down somewhat and didn't do as much logging in Caspar as they wanted to do. They had already clearcut north Caspar Creek the previous three years and had sprayed half of it with herbicides as part of their experimental design or whatever they called it. They were very badly mistreating the forest. I came to see that it was money driving it all money, and not paying attention to local people.

I have documentation showing that CDF deliberately and knowingly violated the maximum allowable cut approved by the Board of Forestry of 28.5 million board feet. In their management plan they said they would not exceed this figure on a five year average. They could go over for one year, but the running average should not be more than 28 million board feet. But in 1996 they actually cut 46 million board feet. Then in 1997, 48 million board feet. These figures and the allowable cut include salvage, which was very substantial in 1996 due to the preceding year's fierce storms.

In mid-1997 John Griffin, the senior forester in charge of all the timber harvest plans in Jackson Forest, wrote a memo to CDF Sacramento saying, 'We have harvested so much timber in the last four years, according to our management plan approved by the board, we can only harvest about 21 million board feet in the coming 1998 fiscal year.' Back comes an email from Sacramento saying, 'For the initial revenue projections, I will use 28 million board feet for the '98 sales as the harvest volume.' The memo is initialed 'JR'. John Rea was then the Assistant Deputy Director of CDF in charge of state forests. Eventually they did reduce the desired harvest to 25 million board feet, but this still exceeded the legal allowable cut established by John Griffen. I have calculated that they exceeded the legally mandated allowable harvest for four years in a row beginning in 1997. CDF Sacramento knew the law, were informed of the need to reduce planned harvest, and ignored it because they wanted the extra money. They didn't even need the money at the time. They just wanted it.

In 1998 or 1999, CDF stopped funding the timber harvest review division out of Jackson Forest revenues. They began using general fund revenues because state revenues were up. Suddenly they had this huge surplus in the Forest Resources Improvement Fund (FRIF) where Jackson Forest revenues were deposited! And it was Christmas in Sacramento!. All the legislators came around and CDF doled out money for other programs from the big surplus created by logging Jackson Forest.

If you look at the law, it says 'Maximum sustained production.' The Board of Forestry interpreted that stipulation differently for state forests than it actually means in the context of the law, which in this case is the Forest Practices Act. Private landowners can establish plans for their land at basically whatever they want maximum sustained production to mean. But for state forests the maximum sustained yield is when the culminating mean annual increment (CMAI) occurs. This occurs when the incremental growth falls below the average. For slow growing redwood forests, it's easy to fall below the annual increments if you cut too much. For redwoods, according to the man who developed the models CDF uses to forecast yields, these annual increments do not culminate before redwood trees reach 160 years in age. Strictly speaking, no tree in Jackson State should be cut now because none of them are 160 years old. CDF says in their 1983 Management Plan and the current one that MAI doesn't culminate until 160 years or something, but to follow that would be 'impractical.'

That means if they followed the law and Board policies, they couldn't cut any timber. CDF's Management Plans going back to 1955 have in essence said, 'We can't figure out what to do so we'll try to cut the amount we estimate that has been the growth in the forest. It won't make it worse, may not make it better, but it'll hold the Forest where we are until we figure out the right thing.' Over 50 years that rule of thumb has become embedded in concrete. They don't think about deviating from that now.

In the mid-1980s CDF did a new study. They went out and cut a lot of trees down. They measured the diameters at breast height. From that they calculated how much wood is in the tree. They found there was 10 to 20% more, on average, than the inventory estimate. The average tree would give you, with the new model, about 10, 20%, probably 15% more. I think those were honest studies. John Griffin was in charge of them, and I have a lot of faith in him.

About the same time they put in this new inventory system, CDF realized they needed more detailed information on the structure of the forest. The one they had contained about 140 plots, which is OK for total inventory, but not for sub-watershed calculations. There wasn't anything by tree types, or wildlife and so on. But it was an attempt to get more detailed knowledge of Jackson Forest. So they put in 2500 plots. The old plots were 1/4-acre, rectangular. They went to 1/5-acre circular plots. And different things inside the plots. The circles were small so they counted and measured each tree. It was quite a sophisticated study by outside contractors. The old system they ran on their PCs could run the estimates readily with 140 plots. The initial new one was run on the contractor's computer. CDF could not run the whole program themselves. Accordingly, they put in a new inventory system. It turned out the new system estimated inventory 50% higher than their old system. CDF loved that result and started trumpeting their careful management techniques. Look! We've taken all this timber out and still we've grown inventory! As if it was CDF's intent! It was never their intent to grow the inventory.

I've been after them about this since 1998. I didn't focus on this aspect overall inventory of Jackson Forest management in 1995. I was focused only on Caspar at first. So I went back into the historical numbers. The old system showed the inventory going down and down. Then this new system says it's up by 50, 60, maybe 120%! One explanation was that their old sample was very biased and not based on a representative sample of the Forest's trees. The new one has 2500 points, can't be off by much. The old one had 140. Possibly they had them in the wrong places, maybe they underestimated. But they included all the old points as sample points in the new system. They took the same 140 points and measured them again in 89. That was straightforward to apply the new equations to the old inventory. Did it come out with a lot different? Only 1.6 billion? instead of 2.1 billion? NO! It was 2.1 billion in the same inventory plots.

So this convenient new program has taken the same data points and inflated the inventory by over 50%. The first ones were 80%! But they brought it down from an 80% to a 50% increase after I started giving them a hard time. They found some things to correct. But they have no explanation for a 50% increase in inventory. These new volume-diameter equations can only explain a 15% increase. They can't explain 50%. CDF has provided no credible explanations whatsoever for this huge discrepancy. They refuse to explain it. They simply say it's a new inventory system. But you have to be able to reconcile the old one and the new one, but all they do is wave their hands around and say there are many ways to approach inventory, but that's no answer.

I don't intend criticism of the old system; it was good. The new system is good too. But there has to be an explanation for the difference. But CDF will not focus on explaining it because they love the new answer. My own explanation I did a lot of this kind of stuff in my old professional life I think there's an error in the program somewhere.

CDF fired the consultants who put the program together back in the 1990s when their budget got tight. I don't think they can reproduce accurate figures from this program, although they did their new EIR for the Management Plan based on it. People want to see inventory estimates by watershed. Historically, CDF had those. They also had plots of the inventory broken down by diameter and number of trees by species. You could see the distribution of diameters over time. This latter series is another piece of evidence that the new numbers are complete poppycock.. Until the 1984 inventory, their last one, when they plotted the number of trees in each diameter class every five years, the number of stems went down every year in every diameter class! Fewer trees. Not more bigger ones. It went down across the board.

In the 2000 Management Plan they didn't publish any of those historical charts. Nothing by watershed type by compartment. Which they historically did. All they did was this completely incomprehensible list of numbers over about four pages that had no relationship to anything. Roger Sternberg, the Mendocino Land Trust forester and others said, 'We'd like to see your inventory by watershed.' They refused to provide that information. I suspect they do not have the capability to provide them, but I may be proven wrong. I think they just came out with these numbers which made them look good, so they didn't bother to look to see if they're accurate.

I think this time they want to cut the 32 million board feet, which is a 10% increase. What they refused to do when they did the estimates this time was to look at the part of the forest that they're able to do unconstrained logging on and adjust the numbers where they can't do unconstrained logging. For example, the Mendocino Woodlands has a "special treatment area" where logging is restricted. by law. By law, the whole 5,000 acres was deeded by the feds to the State of California and came with a deed restriction that it should be used in perpetuity exclusively for public park, recreation, and conservation purposes, not logging. That's pretty clear. But CDF got somebody to interpret 'conservation' to include some logging. CDF did this one experiment on 100 acres right next to the Woodlands, an incredibly big square area, under the heading of education, I think. Nobody took CDF to court on that one, but we would win in a walk in court.

The new watershed protection laws are part of the Forest Practices Act. CDF can't say they don't apply, but at a minimum they can't do much logging along Class I streams. And CDF agrees in their Management Plan to manage the watercourse protection zones for late seral, old growth, almost old growth, which is maybe 20%, 23% of the forest. And that's the most productive area of the forest! Around the streams, there's the most growth, and that can't be logged. So that's almost 25%, or maybe 10,000 acres of Jackson State they can't log anywhere near to what would be full productivity. So that's 15,000 acres beyond reach. Then there are mandated corridors along the roadside, beauty screens and so on. CDF actually lists them.

So I went through using reasonable judgments about what they could expect to log; what they could reasonably expect to take if they exploited the Forest to the max while keeping the inventory constant. It turned out to be around 20 million board feet per year. So if they're cutting 33 million board feet in eligible areas of the forest, they're going to be seriously degrading those parts of the forest.

During my comments on the Management Plan, I said, 'You need to go through and actually look at the areas that can be logged. It's ironic that the guy in Sacramento who runs the state forest system, Ross Johnson, deputy director, once worked at Jackson State in the 1980s before he went to Sacramento. When he was here, he did that particular step by step analysis to come up with an allowable cut. I cited Ross Johnson's paper in my comments. I had a copy of it. 'This is the way you should go about this,' I said. CDF replied, 'There are different ways to get an allowable cut. And we use this other way.' But their 'other way' didn't make any allowance for anything. It was a computer simulation of the growth.

CDF squeezes their staff here in Mendocino County. 90% of the revenues they get out of Jackson State go to Sacramento. Only 10% of the revenues are spent on management here in Jackson Forest. And 90% of the money spent in Jackson Forest is related to timber production. Only the 10% that was left after preparing and managing timber harvest plans goes to anything else. And only 1% of the revenues go to anything like recreation, research, or biology. There's no biologist on staff. No geologist on staff. They have two security officers. They've so trashed the forest themselves that people treat it as a dump. As soon as there was a budget cut, the recreation person was let go. They did no research in the 90s at all! No research, except for the continuation of the Caspar Creek Watershed Study. (Andrea Tuttle came in and did increase the budget for research in Jackson Forest.) The mismanagement of Jackson State has been extreme. That's why CDF never did a Management Plan. They didn't want to spend the money on staff that it would take to do it right. They didn't want to expand the staff.

Nobody has tried to do restoration forestry, really. There's a need to understand how much you can cut and what kind of canopy you must retain. You can't cut what they were cutting. That's clear. Go up Road 500, east of Caspar. If you go on the other side of the Caspar Creek, there is so much pampas grass along the road, it's very hard to see down in. From 1950 to 1970 CDF only logged the eastern third of Jackson State; there was a lot of old growth in the forest when they first bought it so that's what they removed as 'diseased and dying.' Not until the 1970s did they move to the west, and it was the 1980s when they got into South Caspar Creek. They left the north fork of Caspar Creek alone as the 'control area.' Ten years later they were looking for where in the hell they could get any lumber, and, oh, what do you know? There it was on the north fork of Caspar Creek. Then they made the south fork the control for clear cutting of the former control area, the north fork! No joke! They also cut a lot of Hare Creek, a high inventory there, also. In the 1980s, that's where CDF got most of their timber. What was left was the north central area of the Caspar watershed that had last been logged at the turn of the 20th century.

There's been some help from elected officials, but before the last go around last year, they were reluctant. Politicians stay away from controversy, and all this was controversial. Supervisor Colfax is helpful but I can't get Patti Campbell to return my phone calls anymore. Par for the course, actually. We think Kendall Smith will be reasonable when she becomes a supervisor in place of Campbell, but that isn't until next January. When I walked through Hal Wagenet's redwood lumber yard in Willits to get to his office, I didn't feel hopeful. His father's in the redwood lumber business, and I could see from his reaction to prior information I'd sent him that his mind was made up. He challenged me on every point, but his arguments weren't very effective. He didn't listen to my answers. He's tied to timber harvesting, but you can be for harvesting timber on public land if it's done right. Most people who live here don't want to tie up the whole place; they only want to see logging done responsibly.

Art Harwood says in 20 years there will be some inventory again. I want to make it clear that I have a great sympathy for the people who work in the woods. It's very dangerous and they're under a lot of pressure. But it's out of their control. The regulation that was intended to try to prevent over-cutting Jackson State Forest has been completely ineffective and it falls unequally, like all regulation, on the smaller operator, the little guy who can't afford staffs and experts. The paperwork is the same for 10,000 acres as for a couple hundred acres.

I have somebody, a highly respected retired forester who advises me. But working foresters won't touch me with a ten foot pole. They have to deal with CDF. I don't blame them. I can't even get a lawyer in town. I know some sympathetic ones, but they refuse to come out publicly and support what we're trying to do 100% sympathetic. They say, 'I just could not deal with my clients. I don't want to spend hours and hours arguing about this. I just want to do my lawyer work.' It's unfortunate when things are this divisive. I tried to bring in an outside firm or group who specialize in conflict resolution to maybe hold a series of meetings to identify common, shared goals.

We all want clean water, logger or not. We all want the salmon back. We all agree we want the Jackson State money to stay in Mendocino County, right? We can all agree on that. We can start there. People like the woods, the forest. We'd all like accessible forests for recreation, for hunting. Most people would say that's reasonable. I'd like to get these discussions going. Here are areas we agree on, here's where we don't agree. Get people to talk together. Most people feel that public policy is dictated to them, that they have no say about what happens to the areas they live in. We should solicit their input. Bring them in. I hope it will happen. We're investigating how to do that.

* * *

Only July 30, 2003, Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Richard Henderson issued the following decision.

"The management of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest has been an area of controversy for several years. The legislature established the state forest system for the specific purpose of retaining the forest land "in timber production for research and demonstration purposes" and charged CDF. as the manager of that system, "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." Timber harvest from the JDSF represented 11.1% of the total timber harvest within Mendocino County in 1991-2000 (AR: 50) and directly or indirectly sustains approximately 550 jobs and contributes approximately $12 million in wages. Timber production in the county has declined gradually over the last ten years, but very sharply in the last two years. The county's unemployment rate (6.65) is 25% higher than the state average of 5.3%.

"County residents, local employers and the timber industry are justifiably concerned about any proposals to substantially reduce the annual timber harvest from JDSF. A great number of people both from within and without the county believe that the state forest system represents one of the best opportunities (and, perhaps, the last opportunity) to remedy the over-cutting of timber and depletion of resources that has occurred on much of the privately managed forest properties. They argue persuasively and passionately that the primary purpose of the state forest system should be changed from timber production to timber preservation. They have demonstrated great energy in lobbying during the development and approval of forest management plans and a willingness to resort to litigation, when necessary, to oppose decisions which they believe improper.

"CDF his been embroiled in this philosophical clash between opposing public concerns for several years. Almost every one of the timber harvest plans approved within the JDSF in recent years has been bitterly litigated. CDF must have anticipated that its proposed JDSF Management Plan and the supporting environmental documents, regardless of their contents and recommendations, would be microscopically examined for any legal deficiencies. The courts may not and should not interfere with decisions that are property made by governmental agencies and entities. However, the courts are required by law to intercede if the decision-making agencies fail to follow the established approval procedures. One of the primary purposes of CEQA is to inform the public in such a way that it can intelligently weigh the environmental consequences of a project and have an appropriate voice in the formulation of the ultimate decision. (EPIC v County of El Dorado (1982) 131 CA3d, 350, 354) To achieve these purposes, the legislature has required that every EIR include a discussion and analysis of a number of required topics and that this discussion be set forth in a separate section or appropriately indexed. CDF inexplicably failed to follow the very clear legislative directives and produced an EIR that failed to adequately discuss the environmental setting in the area surrounding the JDSF and the cumulative impact the implementation of the management Plan would have in combination with other activities in the area.

"I realize that the burden of any suspension of logging operations within the JDSF falls primarily and immediately upon both the employers and employees involved in coastal timber operations. However, the failure of CDF to prepare an EIR that complies with the minimal statutory standards leaves me with no alternative but to direct CDF and the Board to rescind the approval of the BIR. CDF and the Board [of Forestry] had every reason to believe that their approval of the updated Management Plan would be subjected to close judicial scrutiny. With that in mind, CDF and the Board should have scrupulously followed the procedures adopted by the legislature to minimize the risk of an inevitable court challenge and the potential economic hardship on the management of the JDSF and on the local timber industry. Instead, CDF virtually ignored the relatively clear guidelines and conducted a deficient environmental review that will inevitably further delay logging activities in the Jackson Demonstration State Forest.

Disposition:

"I find that the Board of Forestry was the project lead agency within the meaning of Public Resources Code Sec. 21067 and that the Board failed to proceed in the manner required by law in that It failed to certify the final EIR, to either adopt required findings or to make a statement of overriding consideration regarding the significant environmental impacts identified in the EIR and to specifically adopt a mitigation measure monitoring program(17) and that such failures were prejudicial. I further find that the EIR, upon which the Board relied in its approval of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest Management Plan, is deficient in that it does not contain adequate discussions of the project's environmental setting and cumulative environmental impacts.(18) Petitioners are entitled to a writ of mandate directing respondent Board of Forestry to rescind its November 2002 approval of the updated Jackson Demonstration State Forest Management Plan and to make a return to the writ in not less than sixty days showing full compliance therewith.

"I further find that the conduct of timber operations will prejudice the consideration or implementation of potential mitigation measures and could result in an adverse change or alteration to the physical environment.

"Petitioners are designated as the prevailing party and shall prepare, serve and submit a proposed judgment and writ consistent with this ruling no later than August 15, 2003. If petitioners fail to timely submit the proposed documents, respondents may prepare, serve and submit the proposed documents. Any party, including real parties in interest, may notice a hearing on the form of proposed judgment and writ."

 

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