Activist Corner

Green Diamond to Log Sproul Creek

Green Diamond clearcuts adjacent to Redwood National and State Parks
Green Diamond clearcuts adjacent to Redwood National and State Parks

By Sproul Watershed Advocates

Green Diamond recently acquired 9,400 acres in the Sproul Creek watershed, extending from near the Garberville airport to Ettersburg Junction to the ridges south of Whitethorn.  This land once belonged to Barnum Timber, which was infamous for phenoxy herbicide spraying in the 1970s.

Topographic image from USGS Briceland Quadrangle map, showing Gibson Ridge, where Green Diamond plans to clearcut 201 acres in 7 units. This ridge is the major hydrologic divide between the Sproul Creek Watershed and the Upper Mattole. Whitethorn School is in the lower left corner.

Sproul Watershed Advocates (SWA) was formed to keep an eye on their plans. Washington-based Green Diamond (GD) inherited two approved Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) from the former owner, and the company re-submitted a revised Gibson Ridge THP, 1-20-00024-HUM, on March 19, 2020.

This is a revision of a THP that was submitted on Feb. 7, 2020 and returned by CalFire because it was seriously flawed. This THP borders the Van Arken watershed near Whitethorn Junction, and trucks will exit at Ettersburg Junction. Forest & River News readers know that Sanctuary Forest is protecting the ecologically significant Van Arken watershed in cooperation with Lost Coast Forestlands. The GD lands are also important for the recovery of Coho Salmon and other species.

Green Diamond clearcuts adjacent to Redwood National and State Parks

SWA members can assist others in studying and commenting on this and future THPs. Comments on this THP will be due as early as April 27, 2020. The many documents comprising the THP can be viewed at CalFire’s new website, Unless you are submitting something, you do not need a login. At “Search” you can enter the THP number, the record type “THP,” and “submit.” With some patience or help, you can also access a list of newly submitted THPs to review. It may be possible to get information from the CalFire office in Fortuna,
707-725-4413, Resource Management staff.

Sproul Watershed Advocates has met several times and maintains an email list. The group held a meeting with seven Green Diamond employees, including the Vice President, in which GD represented that its “openings” (clearcuts, usually) would average 15 acres, with scattered “leave trees”. However, the Gibson Ridge THP as submitted in February included 201 acres of clearcuts, in approximately 30- to 40-acre units. Members of SWA expressed their hopes that herbicide use could be minimized, and GD said it would no longer use glyphosate (commonly known as Roundup) but listed many other chemical herbicides that it plans to use. They said they tend to harvest 45-55 year old trees, generally. The company has also taken SWA members on a tour of its holdings, including two active THPs near this new THP.

People wishing to make contact with SWA can do so by contacting Richard Gienger at [email protected].