April 10, 2022 – MENDOCINO, Calif. – Environmental teams have filed a lawsuit to cease the Mendocino Redwood Firm from logging practically 1,000 acres of redwood forest in a California watershed that gives habitat for endangered northern noticed owls and fish.

The lawsuit, filed April 1 in Mendocino County Superior Court docket, says the California Division of Forestry and Fireplace Safety accepted the logging mission despite the fact that it violates a voter-approved county ordinance designed to scale back fireplace hazards and defend noticed owls ignores California Environmental High quality Act.

“Cal Fireplace manifestly ignored state and native legal guidelines in approving this harmful logging mission, so we hope the court docket will put a cease to it,” mentioned Justin Augustine, legal professional on the Heart for Organic Range. “The very last thing we should always do within the midst of a local weather disaster and an extinction disaster is to chop down magnificent historical redwoods, kill tanoaks and endanger the coast redwood ecosystem.”

The logging mission would doubtlessly take away most of the largest bushes within the space. Northern noticed owls, protected as threatened in 1990, depend on these bushes, however their habitat continues to say no because of industrial logging within the redwood area. In 2020, the US Fish and Wildlife Service mentioned northern noticed owls must be listed as susceptible, however the birds are nonetheless awaiting that extra protecting improve.

Many bushes have been beforehand put aside to scale back harm from logging practices, however the brand new logging plan would enable these giant, mature bushes to be lower down.

“The Mendocino Redwood Firm plans to fell giant, mature bushes which can be protected below a earlier settlement,” mentioned Matthew Simmons, an legal professional with the Environmental Safety Info Heart. “They should not log what they promised to guard.”

The mission would additionally kill off quite a few tanoaks because the tanoaks compete with bushes that may be bought for a revenue. Lumberjacks kill the Tanoaks utilizing a way referred to as “hack and squirt” by slicing open the tree and injecting herbicides to kill it. In 2016, Mendocino County voters accepted Measure V, which bans the hack-and-squirt technique.

The proposed deforestation can even additional degrade the native watershed, which because of its present situation is listed as impaired below the Clear Water Act. Logging is inflicting elevated sedimentation and better water temperatures that stop the Huge River and its tributaries from supporting threatened and endangered fish, together with coho and chinook salmon and steelhead trout.

“The Forest Division just isn’t enjoying by the foundations,” mentioned Alan Levine, director of the Coast Motion Group. “Step one in reforming forest observe is to be in keeping with the Forest Apply Guidelines and the Forest Act.”

The California Environmental High quality Act and the California Forest Apply Act collectively require that logging tasks disclose their potential impacts and forestall or mitigate important harm attributable to logging.

The Mendocino Redwood Firm has refused to reveal which giant mature bushes shall be felled within the mission space, in violation of presidency rules to guard noticed owls. The corporate has additionally refused to adjust to Mendocino County Measure V.

Noticed Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina). Photograph courtesy of Tom Kogut, US Forest Service

The Heart for Organic Range is a nationwide, non-profit conservation group with greater than 1.7 million members and on-line activists devoted to defending endangered species and wild locations.
Supply: Heart for Organic Range