>Date: Sat, 13 Jun 1998 18:56:38 -0800
>To: Headwaters Forest Coordinating Council <HFCC@lists.sanmateo.org>
>From: Mark Bult <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>Subject: 6/10/98 Byron Sher OpEd, Examiner
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>June 10, 1998
>©1998 San Francisco Examiner
>Headwaters plan won't save the coho salmon
>By Byron Sher
>LOOK BEYOND the hype over the deal to save the Headwaters Forest
>and you'll see that taxpayers may not be getting their money's
>Soon the Legislature will decide whether to appropriate $130
>million for purchase of 7,500 acres of redwoods in Humboldt
>County. With an additional $250 million in federal money, the
>purchase price of these majestic trees is $380 million.
>In my view, the 7,500 acres of virgin and second-growth redwoods
>are not by themselves worth $380 million. This huge expenditure is
>justified only if the public can be assured that the side
>agreement - a giant string attached to the purchase, known as a
>"habitat conservation plan," or HCP - won't imperil the future of
>endangered species on the rest of Pacific Lumber's 200,000 acres
>As it stands now, the HCP negotiated by Pacific Lumber and
>government officials would not only permit the logging of ancient
>redwoods. It could also lead to extinction of the coho salmon
>population in California.
>In March, the Legislature's Joint Committee on Headwaters Forest,
>which I co-chair with Assemblywoman Carole Migden, D-San
>Francisco, uncovered the following:
>* The proposed Headwaters HCP may not preserve the other 12 groves
>of ancient redwoods owned by Pacific Lumber. Contrary to the
>"50-year protection" allegedly locked in for these groves, Pacific
>Lumber is negotiating a separate side agreement with federal
>wildlife officials that would allow the company to seek changes to
>the HCP periodically for the purpose of logging one or more of
>* The coho salmon to be affected by the Headwaters HCP now amount
>to just 1 percent of their original numbers. In 1973, there were
>40,000 fishing jobs on the North Coast. Now there are just 5,000.
>Those jobs disappeared after logging and mining destroyed the coho
>* Under the proposed Headwaters HCP, Pacific Lumber would
>establish a 30-foot "no-cut" zone on the sides of streams to
>protect spawning habitat for coho salmon. Yet two of the U.S.
>Forest Service's top coho salmon experts - geologist Leslie Reid
>and hydrologist Robert Ziemer - have asserted that the "no-cut"
>buffer zones are inadequate. The scientists noted "significant
>discrepancy" between the protections in the Headwaters HCP and the
>two most widely accepted, scientifically based sources, which
>recommend "no-cut" zones of 170 to 300 feet.
>* To date, officials with the National Marine Fisheries Service,
>the agency responsible for survival of the coho salmon, have been
>unable to rationalize the inconsistency between the previously
>recommended national standards of 170 to 300-foot "no-cut" zones
>and the Headwaters plan, which requires only 30 feet.
>To be sure, politics is the art of compromise. Wildlife biology,
>however, is not. If we compromise the habitat of the coho salmon
>for Pacific Lumber, we will be forced to do so for other private
>landowners up and down the coast.
>Although the struggle for Headwaters Forest has already gone on
>for more than 15 years, we must remember that extinction is
>Stepping back to rethink the Headwaters agreement will be a
>prudent step. We must insure that the Headwaters deal does what it
>ought to do: Strengthen rather than weaken environmental
>Examiner contributor Byron Sher, a law professor at Stanford
>University, is a Democrat and a member of the state Senate.
>©1998 San Francisco Examiner Page A 17
David M. Walsh
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