Public Comments Needed by June 3, 2013
The Clear Creek drainage, a tributary to the Middle Fork Clearwater that enters the river just above Kooskia, is the site of the Forest Service’s massive Clear Creek timber sale, erroneously titled the Clear Creek Integrated Restoration Project. Logging and thinning would occur on up to 10,000 acres (alternative C), about one quarter of the entire watershed. Except for the no-action alternative, other options would log between 62-85 million board feet of timber. That is more timber than what comes off the entire Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests in two years.
Impacts to water quality and terrestrial wildlife habitat could be significant. The draft Environmental Impact Statement misleads the public by comparing apples and oranges when it comes to fish habitat and water quality. Thus, it is hard to tell if there has been any real improvement over the past twenty-five years or if the water quality objectives are currently being met.
Furthermore, the cuts will be large. Clear-cuts (which supposedly will admittedly leave a few trees) are grouped together in places so that they may be around 500 acres in size.
Old growth will be logged, ostensibly to improve habitat. There is no scientific basis for doing that in the kind of forests that are found in the Clear Creek watershed. Indeed, the entire premise of the project is based upon faulty assumptions.
Public comments are due on June 3, 2013. Send comments to Lois Hill, Interdisciplinary Team Leader firstname.lastname@example.org or via physical mail at Kamiah Ranger Station 903 3rd Street Kamiah, Idaho 83536.
Possible Points to Consider
–No logging should take place in any watershed not meeting forest plan water quality or fish habitat objectives
–Alternatives should have been developed that didn’t log in old growth.
–Alternatives should have been developed that don’t build new roads.