by The AVA on Dec 3rd, 2012
THE PUBLIC REVIEW DRAFT of the Mendocino Redwood Company Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), Natural Community Conservation Plan (NCCP), and Timber Management Plan (TMP) has been released for public comment. Approval of the HCP and NCCP lead to federal and state permits to “take” 11 animal and 33 plant species that are listed as threatened or endangered by federal or state governments. In this context, “take” means “harm, harass, or kill.” These permits will cover all 213,244 acres of the MRC lands and the proposed permit term is 80 years. During this 80-year term, the only allowable public comment on timber operations will be whether a specific Timber Harvest Plan is or is not consistent with the approved property-wide Timber Management Plan or whether there are new, unanticipated significant changes in the environment that require revision of the plan. The permits bind the government and the public for the 80-year term, but the company can walk away from the permits whenever it wants to, for instance, if it sells the property. The MRC Plans have been in development since 2002. The public has been given 88 days to review the multi-volume plan and its associated Environmental Impact Report. Close of comment is scheduled for February 21, 2013. Most of this brief comment period coincides with the Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year holiday season. Oh Joy! A TEN-DAY NOTICE has been provided that public meetings on the plans will be held on Tuesday, December 11 from 7-9pm at the Redwood Empire Fair Fine Arts Building in Ukiah, and December 12, 2012 from 7-9pm at the CV Starr Center in Fort Bragg. THE PLANS may be viewed at various public libraries around the County and, if your internet connection can handle huge files, there is a link to the plan at the bottom of the page at http://www.fire.ca.gov/resource_mgt/resource_mgt_EPRP_PTEIR.php or at http://swr.nmfs.noaa.gov/nepa.htm. For a CD copy of the plan, call John Hunter of the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Arcata at 707-822-7201. The addresses to submit comments are included in the plan. EIGHTY YEARS AGO was 1932. Eighty years from now is 2092. The MRC lands stretch from the headwater streams of the Gualala River watershed to the north Mendocino County line. It took teams of company and agency experts more than 10 years to come up with the plan. The Public gets less than 90 days for review. What could possibly go wrong!