July 8, 1999

San Francisco Chronicle

RE: Coho Salmon Habitat

Stephen D. Trafton
California Policy Coordinator San Francisco

Editor - In The Chronicle's July 5 article on the Mendocino Redwood Company ("Activists Hack Mendocino Logging Plans") I was quoted saying that I could not vouch for the environmental sensitivity of "everything" that the company is doing. That is indeed true. When a company manages nearly 250,000 acres of forest and oversees dozens of timber-harvest plans, the difficulties inherent in supporting blanket statements -- positive or negative-make such pronouncements dangerous undertakings (some of the article's other quoted assertions notwithstanding).

My apparently tepid remark belies the true nature of Trout Unlimited's enthusiasm for the efforts that the Mendocino Redwood Company is making toward coho salmon habitat restoration. The company and Trout Unlimited have embarked on an ambitious cooperative project, combining road stabilization, sediment reduction and in-stream work, that will dramatically improve the long-term prospects of coho salmon populations on company lands. This level of cooperation between a major timber company and conservation interests is very rare, and as the project gets under way on the Garcia River, it is supported by a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including some very active local watershed advocates. Finally, it is important to note that the company's commitment to this project extends to the proverbial bottom line; they are very generous and voluntary contributors to the cost of restoration.