Cumulative Impacts Assessment

(Last Revised 10/18/2002)

Each individual Timber Harvest Plan (THP) completed by MRC must be approved by the California Department of Forestry (CDF) with input from other government agencies and the public. In order for an individual harvest plan to be approved, it must contain an adequate assessment of the cumulative impacts of any harvest activities. The California Forest Practices Rules (CFPR) dictate the manner in which cumulative impacts must be addressed within each THP. Beyond the need to respond to the requirements of the State, MRC is constantly evaluating its practices to improve assessment of cumulative impacts. This is addressed in MRC's landscape plan that was recently shared with the public during MRC's initial scoping phase for its Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP). It is likely that this landscape plan and the impacts addressed by it will undergo further revisions as conservation strategies emerge from the HCP discussions and through additional monitoring of impacts and watershed level analysis.

Currently, the items evaluated in every THP include the following:

A. Watershed Resources

    1. Impacts to watershed resources within the Watershed Assessment Area (WAA) based on on-site and off-site cumulative effects on beneficial uses of water, as defined and listed in applicable Water Quality Control Plans.
    2. Watershed effects produced by timber harvest and other activities including the following:

a. Sediment Effects
b. Water Temperature Effects
c. Organic Debris Effects
d. Chemical Contamination Effects
e. Peak Flow Effects
f. Watercourse Condition
g. Gravel Embedded
h. Pools Filled
i. Aggrading
j. Bank Cutting
k. Bank Mass Wasting
l. Downcutting Scoured
m. Organic Debris
n. Stream-Side Vegetation
o. Recent Floods

B. Soil Productivity

  1. Organic Matter Loss
  2. Surface Soil Loss
  3. Soil Compaction
  4. Growing Space Loss

C. Biological Resources

    1. Known rare, threatened, or endangered species or sensitive species directly or indirectly impacted
    2. Significant known wildlife or fisheries resource within the immediate project area and the biological assessment area (BAA)
    3. Aquatic and near-water habitat conditions in the THP and in surrounding areas

a. Pools and riffles
b. Large woody debris (LWD)
c. Near-water vegetation

  1. Biological habitat condition of the THP and immediate surrounding area

    a. Snags/den/nest trees b. Downed LWD
    c. Multistory canopy
    d. Road density
    e. Hardwood cover
    f. Late seral (mature) forest characteristics
    g. Late seral habitat continuity
    h. Special Habitat Elements

D. Recreational Resources

  1. Recreational activities involving significant numbers of people within 300 feet of logging area
  2. Recreational special treatment areas (STA) identified by the Board of Forestry within or adjacent to the plan

E. Visual Resources

  1. STAs designated by the Board of Forestry because of their visual values
  2. Distance the proposed timber operation is from the nearest point that significant numbers of people can view the timber operation.
  3. Identify the manner in which the public affected by the above 1 and 2 will view the proposed operations

F. Vehicular Traffic Impacts

  1. Identify whether any publicly owned roads will be used for the transport of wood products
  2. Identify any public roads that have not been used recently for the transport of wood products and will be used to transport wood products from the proposed timber harvest
  3. Identify any public roads that have existing traffic or maintenance problems
  4. Identify how the logging vehicles used in the timber operation will change the amount of traffic on public roads, especially during heavy traffic conditions