About four years ago, the Rim Fire spread across and burned 257,000 acres near and in Yosemite National Park.
In the immediate aftermath of that fire logging interests began pressing the U.S. Forest Service to open up burned forest lands to clearcutting.
Environmentalists challenged the logging interests, in an effort to protect California Spotted Owls that were nesting in the burned area after the fire. The Court challenge focused attention on this imperiled species and resulted in a significant portion of the area (approximately 25,000 acres) not being logged. It has now been four years since the fire and in the areas which were not logged, the owls are still there, as are woodpeckers, blue birds, Northern Flickers, beautiful shrubs and flowers as well as an amazing carpet of naturally regenerating pine, cedars and fir seedlings. It is an amazing example of Nature knowing what’s best – but it is still not safe!
Logging interests have combined with state and local agencies and nonprofits to apply for grants for so called “watershed restoration and reforestation” which will include all of the elements (logging dead and live trees, spraying deadly herbicides and eliminating all those flowering shrubs) that actually destroy habitat and all of the newly sprouted trees. After they have “restored the area” they then plan to waste millions of taxpayer dollars to reforest the newly denuded area by planting trees.
The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) is proposing to use an inadequate and outdated environmental impact statement prepared by the Forest Service to support their decision to spend $28,000,000.00 to eliminate the vibrant habitat that exists in the unlogged areas today.
To make matters worse, all of the vegetation and trees that are removed will be burned in local biomass facilities emitting thousands of tons of carbon into the atmosphere, while at the same time removing fast growing carbon sequestering shrubs and trees from the forest. This is a lose lose for the environment. Please help by letting HCD know that a new assessment of the impacts to the environment is needed before they proceed with funding these harmful and unnecessary actions.
email comments to HCD: email@example.com
Or Mail comments to:
Department of Housing and Community Development
Division of Financial Assistance
2020 West El Camino Avenue, Suite 400
Sacramento, CA 95833
Sample Comments are below:
SUBJECT HEADER: Opposition to the Adoption of the USFS Rim Fire Reforestation FEIS
I am a California resident who appreciates the state’s forests and wildlife. California forest lands have proven time and again that they can regenerate without disruptive human intervention. The Rim Fire site is further evidence of that. I urge you to abandon your plans to use this grant to log live and fire killed trees, disturb undergrowth with heavy machinery, apply poisonous herbicides and then plant seedlings in Rim Fire sites that are already naturally regenerating with native trees. I urge you to reject the inadequate and outdated Forest Service Reforestation Final Environmental Impact Statement, and start fresh with new environmental analysis that takes into account not only the habitat loss that will occur, but also the damage to watersheds which will result from removing all the current vegetation, and the impacts to our climate that will result from biomass burning carbon emissions.