Attorney at Law

5 Manor Place

Menlo Park, California 94025

telephone (650) 322-5652
facsimile (same)

July 18, 2002


Mr. Christopher Rowney
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
P.O. Box 944246
Sacramento, CA 94244-2460

    RE: DEIR for Jackson Demonstration State Forest Draft Management Plan

Dear Mr. Rowney:

Inexplicably, the draft EIR does not consider cumulative impacts. Indeed, it states: "CEQA also requires an examination of cumulative and growth-inducing effects. These have little or no applicability to the JDSF Management Plan project." (DEIR, p. 79.) Elsewhere, it states that "cumulative impacts assessments are inherent in the programmatic approach to development (sic) the JDSF Management Plan EIR." (DEIR, p. 429.)

It also claims that cumulative impacts were considered in various specific resource sections. (DEIR, p. 429.) But a review of those sections shows that for the most part cumulative impacts are not even mentioned, let alone considered.

The DEIR’s lack of cumulative impacts analyses is perplexing, because it is a program EIR. One of the major purposes and benefits of a program EIR is its capacity to measure cumulative impacts that tend to get slighted in a project-level EIR. According to the CEQA Guidelines:

Use of a program EIR can provide the following advantages. The program EIR can:

(1) Provide an occasion for a more exhaustive consideration of effects and alternatives than would be practical in an EIR on an individual action,

(2) Ensure consideration of cumulative impacts that might be slighted in a case-by-case analysis…. (CEQA guidelines, § 15168, subd. (b)(1)-(2).)

In light of the purpose and advantages of a program EIR, the failure to analyze cumulative impacts is baffling. And the omission in this case is especially serious, because the draft management plan includes a five-year schedule of actual, known future logging operations. What are the cumulative effects of these projects combined with one another, combined with past projects, combined with present ones, and combined with future ones? The answer to these questions is the essence of a cumulative impact analysis, but it does not appear anywhere in the draft EIR.

Simply put, there is no consideration whatsoever of past, present, or future cumulative impacts in JDSF, that is, how the hundreds of past, present, and future projects have combined or may combine to cumulatively affect the environment. One can pick virtually any environmental concern—marbled murrelet, coho salmon, water drafting, sedimentation, rare or threatened plants—and not know to what extent they may be cumulatively affected by the many logging operations that have occurred, are occurring, and will occur in JDSF.

Nor is there any consideration of how the management of JDSF may combine with projects on the lands surrounding it. Much of JDSF is surrounded by private timberland that is aggressively managed. How will the incremental effects of the past, present, and future projects on JDSF combine with the incremental effects of projects on surrounding lands? There is absolutely no consideration of these potential cumulative impacts in the draft EIR.

The omission of consideration of cumulative impacts is troubling in this case for another reason, namely that CDF does not properly or effectively evaluate cumulative impacts on a THP–by–THP basis. This is the conclusion not only of CDF’s own task force, but of every independent and agency evaluation of CDF’s THP program. We attach many of these reports. They are remarkable for their common agreement that CDF’s program fails to effectively measure cumulative impacts.

The draft EIR for JDSF represents a rare opportunity to evaluate cumulative impacts on a landscape or watershed basis—something long recommended by virtually every analysis of the THP program. Yet the draft EIR does not consider cumulative impacts, let alone consider them from a wider landscape or watershed perspective.

We attach the following documents:

Exh. A – Little Hoover Commission, Timber Harvest Plan: A Flawed Effort to Balance Economic and Environmental Needs

Exh. B – LSA Associates, Final Report: Conclusions and Recommendations for Strengthening the Review and Evaluation of Timber Harvest Plans

Exh. C – 61 Fed.Reg. 56138: Endangered and Threatened Species: Threatened Status for Central California Coast Coho Salmon

Exh. D – July 28, 1997, Memorandum From Division Of Mines And Geology To CDF re THP 1-97-232 HUM

Exh. E – August 21, 1997, Memorandum From Division Of Mines And Geology To CDF re Bear Creek Drainage

Exh. F – 1997 letter from Alexis Strauss, acting director of the Water Division of the United States Environmental Protection Agency to the California Board of Forestry

Exh. G – October 17, 1997, letter from National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to CDF

Exh. H – September 11, 1997, article appearing in the Humboldt Beacon: CDF Says Logging Has Adverse Effect

Exh. I – October 14, 1997, Memorandum from Department of Fish and Game to CDF re fish habitat conditions in Bear Creek


Exh. J – November 25, 1997, article appearing in the San Jose Mercury News, Critics scorch forestry agency

Exh. K – January 22, 1998, letter from NMFS to the Regional Water Quality Control Board

Exh. L – February 11, 1998, letter from CDF to Pacific Lumber Co.

Exh. M – April 7, 1998, letter from NMFS to CDF

Exh. N – November 20, 1998, Water Quality Control Board, Executive Officer’s Summary Report: Cumulative Watershed Effects Assessment on North Coast Timberlands

Exh. O – January 21, 1999, letter from CDF to Pacific lumber Co.

Exh. P – May 24, 1999, letter from Dr. Leslie Reid to Assemblyman Fred Keeley; Dr. Leslie Reid: Forest Practice Rules and cumulative watershed impacts in California

Exh. Q – May 26, 1999, article appearing in the San Diego Union-Tribune: Logging regulation should be tightened, scientist says

Exh. R – Scientific Review Panel (June 1999): Report of the Scientific Review Panel on California Forest Practice Rules and Salmonid Habitat

Exh. S – Cumulative Impacts Analysis: A Report of CDF Director’s THP Task Force (July 1999)

Exh. T – December 2, 1999, letter from NMFS to CDF

Exh. U – 65 Fed.Reg. 36074: Endangered And Threatened Species: Threatened Status for One Steelhead Evolutionarily Significant Unit in California

Exh. V – The University of California Committee on Cumulative Watershed Effects (June 2001): A Scientific Basis for the Prediction of Cumulative Watershed Effects

Exh. W – August 2, 2001, Water Quality Control Board, Executive Officer’s Summary Report: Timber Harvest Division Regulatory Coordination

In one way or another, all of these reports, studies, and miscellaneous documents demonstrate that CDF has failed to consider cumulative impacts in its environmental review of logging operations in California. Unfortunately, CDF

and the Board continue that trend in the draft EIR.

Because the draft EIR fails to consider cumulative impacts, it cannot be approved under the California Environmental Quality Act.

Very truly yours,


Paul V. Carroll