Submitted by Rose Zimmer
The public review draft of the Mendocino Redwood Company Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), Natural Communities Conservation Plan (NCCP), and Timber Management Plan (TMP) has been released for public comment. Approval of the HCP and the NCCP lead to federal and state permits to "take" eleven animal and thirty-three 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's term is 80 years.
During the 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, unanticipate 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 associate environmental impact report. Close of comment is scheduled for February 21st.
A ten day notice has been provided that public meetings on the plan will be held this month. The Fort Bragg meeting is Wednesday, December 12th from 7-9 pm at the C.V. Starr Center.
The plans may be viewed at county public libraries and if your internet connection can handle huge files, there is a link to the file 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 this plan call John Hunter at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Arcata at (707) 822-7201. The addresses to submit comments are included in the plan.