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The Ancient Forests of the Mattole River
Lost Coast League, Humboldt Watershed Council and EPIC v. Pacific Lumber and CDF
Date Filed: September 8, 2000
While we believe that this case clearly raises a number of critical issues regarding implementation of PLs HCP, we failed to secure a Preliminary Injunction pending the trial. The future of this case is somewhat uncertain.
On Friday September 8, 2000, EPIC, the Lost Coast League, and the Humboldt Watershed Council won an emergency stay from the California Court of Appeals to stop a 53 acre logging plan in ancient forest in the North Fork of the Mattole watershed. Our local trial court was unable to find an unbiased judge to hear our motion for a restraining order, but fortunately we had anticipated this hurdle and were able to get an emergency stay from the District Court of Appeals by the afternoon.
THP 475 proposes a clear-cut in the heart of the states largest contiguous stand of unprotected low-elevation old-growth Douglas fir forest, in one of the most seismically active and geologically unstable areas in the U.S. The area is home to the threatened Coho salmon and steelhead trout, as well as rare River Otters, Peregrine Falcons, Pacific Fishers, and Northern Goshawks. This plan is the first of six pending harvest plans in the immediate area.
If these plans go forward, PL could potentially liquidate much of the 4,000 acres of ancient Douglas fir in the Mattole River watershed. Unfortunately, the California Department of Forestry has illegally waived PLs responsibility to analyze the effect of leveling this old growth forest.
This is the first logging plan that we have challenged in court that allegedly complies with the standards of the Headwaters Deal. This challenge has illustrated how difficult it is going to be to overcome the perception by the court that the Headwaters Deal protections are adequate, just because the Deal entailed mountains of paperwork and documentation. Either through this case or in some other forum, the weaknesses of the Headwaters Deal urgently need to be exposed and remedied, before all remaining high-quality habitat is liquidated.