A local community member tipped off local papers to the upcoming meetings.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the California Department of Fish and Game will be accepting public input on MRC's plan at a Tuesday, December 11, meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Fine Arts Building at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds, 1055 North State Street in Ukiah, and on Wednesday, December 12 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the C.V. Starr Center, 300 South Lincoln Street in Fort Bragg.
The 90-day public comment period on the agencies' draft environmental impact analysis of MRC's plan started with a November 27 press release posted online and will extend through February 21.
"Mendocino Redwood Company has got to expect that the public perception will be that this is being rushed through the process without adequate notice," said forestry activist Linda Perkins of Albion. "It's outrageous in the first place that the public is being given only 90 days to review a project that's been 10 years in the making and will be in effect for 80 years."
Printed copies are available at county libraries, including the Willits library at 390 East Commercial Street. The drafts are available online at www.fws.gov/arcata or swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/nepa.htm.
Mendocino Redwood Company is the largest private timberland owner in Mendocino County. The proposed habitat conservation plan would cover about 213,244 acres of timberland, most of it west of Willits.
The plan would grant Mendocino Redwood Company "incidental take permits" for 80 years for nine species listed as threatened or endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act, including the California red-legged frog, northern spotted owl, marbled murrelet, Point Arena mountain beaver, coho salmon, chinook salmon and steelhead.
Under the terms of the permit, Mendocino Redwood Company will be considered in compliance with the Endangered Species Act, as long as the company implements the mandated overall conservation and mitigation measures detailed in the habitat conservation plan.
According to the agencies, these plans "benefit threatened and endangered species by providing an incentive for landowners to integrate conservation measures into the management of their lands."
After a habitat conservation plan is adopted, public comment on individual timber harvest plans for the 80-year duration of the permit will be limited to whether or not the proposed logging is or is not consistent with the approved property-wide plan, unless there are new, unanticipated and significant changes that would require revisions to the overall plan.