Do We Want This?
Save Spring Creek from Logging!
En español: ¡1Salva a Spring Creek de Desforestacion!
Friends of the White Salmon River supports our natural resource businesses, farms and forests. We appreciate their detailed knowledge of the environment which supports their work. We see much opportunity to work together to protect the environment which sustains us all. Even as we all are affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the powerful impacts of on-going protests about injustice and violence against people of color, we need to work with love and determination for progress in our own community. This is the time to strengthen protection for the web of life that sustains us all.
Last month, we asked you to write letters to SDS Lumber Company asking that they postpone logging plans for the Spring Creek parcel and engage with us in finding a way to transfer that parcel to public ownership. Many of you did write letters, thank you so much
On July 8, a Forest Practices Application (FPA) was submitted to log the parcel. Now we are asking for letters of comment on the FPA, which can be viewed here: fp2706931. This is time sensitive. The comment period ends July 20, and a decision is due on August 5, 2020.
Even as we all are affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the powerful impacts of on-going protests about injustice and violence against people of color, we need to work with love and determination for progress in our own community. This is the time to strengthen protection for the web of life that sustains us all.
History of the Area
The backstory about Spring Creek
Maps and Photos
See maps and photos of the area.
Check out other resources.
Write a letter today
People need to hear from you as soon as possible.
Talking Points and Background
Here are some things to consider about the current situation. ¡1Salva a Spring Creek de Desforestacion!
- SDS is generous about public access, so this area has long been a community forest of sorts, providing recreation and solitude for locals. It is adjacent to other USFS property. A land trade would strongly increase the level of protection for the river.
- The Wild & Scenic management plan explores in depth the use of the Husum area by Native American people. One site in particular, the Native American Indian Longhouse Site and Cemetery, is specifically identified in the Wild & Scenic management plan as an Outstandingly Remarkable value. The Husum area, including this parcel, is known to have been the site of a permanent settlement and is a place of important spiritual value to the Klickitat band. There has already been significant disturbance of this heritage, with the partial destruction of Husum falls for highway construction, the development of houses on Tum Tum mountain, and the desecration of a traditional burial site by permitted construction of a single-family house just outside the management boundary on the east side of the river. Leaving this parcel undisturbed would be an act of respect.
- The land now being considered for logging has not been logged for many years, probably since the 1960’s, and has near old-growth trees and conditions in some places. This forest environment is rare on the lower White Salmon and needs to be protected.
- Much of the Spring Creek parcel was intended to be in public ownership under the preferred and adopted Alternative 6 of the Wild & Scenic Management Plan, issued in November 1991. The area currently intended to be cut is in large part what was intended to go into public ownership through a land exchange. The process of exchange was well underway when SDS withdrew from the process over a disagreement about appraised value. History of the Failed Land Exchange
- This land is adjacent to US Forest Service property, and a land trade would ensure BOTH sides of the river are protected in this area.
- There is low bank access to the river along a ½ mile section, significant for wildlife and significant in the human history in the area. There are wetlands and riparian habitat unique in the White Salmon watershed. Even with buffers, commercial logging disturbs water movement through the parcels that supports wetlands.
- Legal logging practices do not protect natural values, even in the hands of the most conscientious company. Stream buffers mean that only some or maybe no trees can be cut in the buffer, but the logging goes right up to the buffer in a straight line, so can severely damages roots of trees in the buffer. Commercial logging clears the land, leaving only brush and a few pitiful reserve trees. Commercial logging compacts the ground, destroying plant species and habitat. Commercial logging, however legal, has an extremely detrimental effect on the forest. The land may be replanted to a single species for another harvest in 30 years, but this does not replace the forest, it only replaces the crop to be harvested.
- When the management plan was adopted, it was expected and agreed that Klickitat County would enforce the 200-foot shoreline buffer of the Shorelines Management Act. Despite a written agreement in the management plan, the county has failed to protect the shorelines, continues to fail to do so, and will continue to fail to do so in the future.
- The remaining forest along the river needs to be left alone to do its job for the environment and for the people.
- Global studies have shown that the cumulative impact of forest management practices around the world is a major contributor to rising atmospheric CO2 and the loss of terrestrial carbon sequestration capacity. CarbonCitations-1
- Spring Creek provides habitat for returning salmon and steelhead. Previous logging in 2013, done according to regulations, destroyed shoreline buffers along Spring Creek. This damage was “mitigated” by replanting, but mitigation cannot restore what was lost.
- Threatened and endangered species of salmon and steelhead are returning to the White Salmon following the removal of Condit Dam in 2011. These species depend on undisturbed shorelines for food, shade and protection. They also depend on cold water, which is supported by functioning shorelines, springs, and wetlands. The White Salmon cold water refuge is particularly important now that additional miles of habitat have been opened for these fish.
- There is considerable pressure on the White Salmon River basin for more developable land for increasing population growth and urban flight. This pressure is driving up land prices, potentially making trades and acquisition of these lands in the Wild and Scenic area more expensive and less likely as time passes. As this land in the W&S is deforested, it becomes much more economically attractive for private forest companies to convert the land from forest to residential. Once this land converted to residential it will be lost.
- The USFS and SDS need to get back to the table and resume negotiations to implement the land exchange. This is long overdue. Let’s not look to assign blame for actions so many years ago, but let’s get to the work of protecting the river.
Take Action to Preserve the Creek!
Commenting on Forest Practices Applications is normally a technical process of addressing specific, detailed issues in the context of the legal requirements for a proposed logging action. For example, streams may or may not meander in their floodplain, which are referred to as having Channel Migration Zones (CMZ). If there is a CMZ, its width and nature will affect the size of the required protective buffer which would determine how close trees can be cut near the river or stream. Whether or not a CMZ exists is a matter of specific scientific observation, although in some cases, documentation of stream behavior through pictures can be pertinent.
The point, though, is that a comment on an FPA normally addresses specific issues. For example, documentation of the use of this parcel as elk habitat and how the logging would negatively impact that use is pertinent. So if you have specific knowledge of the potential of landslides to occur on the site because of logging, or you have seen endangered Spotted Owls or Bald Eagles on site, if you have seen rare flowers and can document them, PLEASE DO SO.
Other possible areas of comment are included in our sample letter below. It may be useful to state your support for the FWSR comments. We will be making the strongest possible arguments for further environmental studies, which are certainly warranted. Again, here is a link to fp2706931.
There is a FPA map provided by Stevenson Lumber Company in the FPA. The map shows streams, buffers, roads and other features. We want to point out that the buffers proposed along the White Salmon River exceed legal requirements, and we acknowledge and appreciate that decision by Stevenson Lumber Company. We continue to think that this parcel should not be logged and that a process be started to move the land into public ownership.
Thank you for your time and efforts on behalf of the White Salmon River.
Address your letter to
Mr. Whitney Butler Whitney.Butler@dnr.wa.gov
Klickitat Unit Forest Practices Forester
WA Department of Natural Resources, Southeast Region
And a copy to