DNR Begins Road Building
Ignores Legal Appeal
In a shameless attempt to avoid an injunction, DNR has moved the auction of the Elochomotive timber sale up six months ahead of schedule, is racing to log century-old trees, in violation of their own policies to protect older forests.
RECENT ROAD BUILDING IN UNIT 2
Last month, the Center for Responsible Forestry appealed the decision by the Board of Natural Resources to approve the Elochomotive timber sale to the Wahkiakum Superior Court. This timber sale is located within one of the largest remaining blocks of older, un-planted forest in the Lower Columbia River basin. Native forests have all but disappeared from Southwestern Washington. Protecting the older, un-planted forests in and surrounding the Elochomotive sale may be critical to preserving the natural genetic and biological diversity of the region.
Auction Moved Up Six Months Ahead of Schedule
The auction was originally scheduled to take place in December. Immediately after DNR learned that we were planning to appeal the timber sale in court, they re-scheduled the auction for July 29th. But DNR is not waiting until the end of the month. Last week, we discovered DNR had already hired a logging company and that the construction of new spur roads through the forest had begun.
An injunction would prevent DNR from logging the sale until the appeal is argued in court. DNR is attempting to end-run the legal process by racing to cut the trees down before a motion for an injunction can be brought.
DNR Violating Its Own Policy
Our interest is in seeing DNR manage its land in a manner that is consistent with the objectives of the Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), and existing DNR policies that are intended to conserve biodiversity and prevent the future listing of endangered species. The 10-15% "older-forest target" is the primary means provided in the HCP and DNR's Policy for Sustainable Forestsfor achieving those objectives in the Columbia HCP planning unit. The target requires DNR to work toward preserving or restoring at least 10-15% of all state trust lands to "old growth" conditions.
All of the data DNR has provided to us, including but not limited to the data presented to the Board of Natural Resources during their meeting last month, recent forest inventory data, and spatial data we received last month from the Public Disclosure Office, indicates that DNR is hopelessly behind in meeting its older-forest target for the Columbia HCP planning unit, and will never catch up if they continue logging those stands that are mostly likely to bring them into compliance.
What We are Seeking
There are approximately 53 acres of natural, un-planted, and biologically diverse forest scheduled to be clearcut as part of the Elochomotive timber sale, represented by the area outside of the old 1967 timber harvest boundary in this 1979 aerial photo. This represents about three-quarters of "unit 2" of the timber sale. Approximately 11 out of the 53 acres are located within leave tree areas and have already been excluded from the sale by DNR. That leaves a net of approximately 42 acres (or about two-thirds of the remaining area that is to be clearcut) that should have been excluded from this sale. We hope to bring a preliminary injunction against DNR to halt the logging of these 42 acres of older forest, but time is running out, and we need your support now to raise the necessary funds to cover legal expenses.
Donations are urgently needed to stop the clearcutting of this and other legacy forests in Western Washington. Every small donation gets us closer to our goal!