Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

LOCAL Announcement :: Environment & Food

Speak Out For The Lompico Creek Headwaters Area - Nov. 2nd

The Lompico Watershed Conservancy needs your help to stop a potentially devastating Timber Harvest Plan. The plan would involve cutting old growth trees on the lands in and around the watershed. This would not only cause disruption of the environment and habitat destruction, it would also signficantly destabilize the land, creating erosion and potential landslide risks. Come out and speak at the hearing for this plan on November 2nd at 7:00 p.m.
Click on image for a larger version

Could the beautiful Lompico Headwaters end up looking far different?
Public Hearing on the Lompico Headwaters Timber Harvest Plan

September 29, 2005

Redwood Empire is at it again. A new Timber Harvest Plan number 1-05-158 SCR has been released, officially filed and is currently under review. This "new" THP is very similar to the last Lompico Creek Headwaters THP. The California Department of Forestry accepted this "new" plan for filing and set a Pre-Harvest Inspection (PHI) date of October 13, 2005.

The Public Hearing for this logging plan is tentatively scheduled for November 2nd, 7:00 PM at the Zayante Fire House on 7700 E. Zayante Rd. across from the Trout Farm Inn in the Zayante area of Felton. For rides to the hearing, please contact lowtechhealth (at)

There are twp THPs pending or active in Lompico Canyon, both from the same forester. The other THP 1-05-030 SCR is across from lower Lake Blvd. This plan has been approved. There is an Non-Industrial Timber Management Plan (NTMP) in the headwaters area adjacent to the "new" Redwood Empire THP.

Please attend this hearing. The hearing in 2001 was attended by over 200 area residents and was a remarkable event. Having a strong presence at this meeting can have a considerable effect on the outcome. We stopped the last Headwaters THP. Now we will have to do it again.


What is the Lompico Watershed Conservancy?

The Lompico Watershed Conservancy is a non-profit corporation originally organized as a land trust. It is operated by a volunteer board of directors. The original and continuing goal of the organization is to place important land parcels in protected status through the use of conservation easements or through purchase. The Conservancy also conducts restoration projects for native steelhead and salmon habitat. Our third important project is to monitor and comment on the decisions of our Regional Water Quality Control Board. Beginning in late of 2002 we began working to promote action by this Board to require a legitimate monitoring and regulatory program to control sediment discharge from logging activity. This is a requirement of State law. The Conservancy monitors and comments on the actions of several State and local agencies and departments whose actions affect water quality and wildlife habitat.

The headwaters of Lompico Creek is the area of greatest concern to the organization A group of parcels with the traditional name of "Islandia" is the most significant watershed area in the drainage of Lompico Creek and produces a major portion of the water available to the community of Lompico. This 425 acres of deeply incised sandstone canyons and ravines is currently under the control of Redwood Empire, an aggressive logging company. The Conservancy has attempted to engage the land's owner, Roger Burch, in negotiations for the sale or transfer of this crucial watershed and wildlife habitat. Burch applied for a State permit to log the property in 2001. This permit ran into considerable opposition from local communities. The Conservancy presented scientific analysis that refuted the conclusions in the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) document. When this logging plan was eventually approved after over 2 years of delay by CDF, Santa Cruz County appealed that approval to the CA Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. In an unprecedented ruling the Board of Forestry upheld the County appeal and stopped that logging plan.

The Conservancy is working to correct steelhead and coho (currently extirpated salmon) migration barriers in Lompico Creek and associated watersheds of the San Lorenzo River. The organization received a grant from the California Dept. of Fish and Game to correct a migration barrier at the Old Lompico Pool. This project was finished in September 2004. We are now seeking out another habitat improvement project. The complexities of these problems reach across many aspects of the effects people have on native habitats. The Conservancy publishes newsletters which explain how we can lessen the damage we do to wildlife. Portions of these newsletters can be found on this web site.

The Islandia Headwaters property is also of interest to the Lompico County Water District, as well as the Conservancy, and other conservation groups. We are hopeful that since professional appraisals, produced for the Lompico County Water District, have previously established a value for this land far in excess of the price that was last paid for it, that the landowner will consider negotiating a sale agreement. Only with a completed sale agreement, can we can begin to raise the funding for a purchase. At the suggestion of our former County Supervisor, Jeff Almquist, the Water District conducted a survey of their customer base to determine if the community was willing to cover some of the cost of purchasing Islandia. That survey came back with an overwhelmingly positive response indicating that the community of Lompico is willing to help afford some of the cost of protecting their watershed.

Islandia has remained undisturbed since the clear-cut at the turn of the last century. It's redwood forests are restored and maturing toward old growth conditions. Fragments of ancient forest remain on the property. The terrain of Islandia and the headwaters of Lompico Creek are very steep and erosive. The land is underlain with sands, sandy loam and other unstable soils. The root strength of the living forest helps to hold together steep unstable areas that would otherwise be subject to repeated landslides. It is the forests which keep this land stable and prevent excessive erosion into Lompico Creek.

The Islandia area is extremely important to the water supply for Lompico. It is the highest elevation large undeveloped area in the Canyon, and as such, collects and stores more water than any other part of the Canyon's terrain. The ability of this land to store water in its soil mantel and deeper aquifers is why the Creek never dries up. Islandia is underlain with sandstone, an excellent water storage rock. It acts like a sponge. The Creek becomes a continuously flowing, fish bearing stream, with less drainage area than many other San Lorenzo River tributaries. The forests of Islandia shadow and cool the Creek, protecting it from sunlight and soil erosion. During intense rain storms, the tall forests break the force of the falling rain protecting the surface of the land from impact erosion. The forests also slow the progress of the rain in reaching the ground, and allow the ground to absorb more water, water which would otherwise run of into the Creek in violent high water events. This process can also work in reverse (depending on atmospheric conditions) when evaporative losses from the rain soaked forest canopy return water back into the air thus reducing the input of water into the soil during storms when the risk of slides is greatest. In other words, the forests help the land to absorb water while reducing the frequency of destructive landslides. These hydrological effects of forest cover are very complex, interrelated and dynamic, so that two or more different processes are taking place simultaneously. These moderating effects of the forest canopy help the Creek to remain less polluted with sediment during the winter while insuring that the creek continues flowing all year. Lompico has a water supply deficit which has resulted in a long standing State ordered moratorium preventing the release of new water connections. We have no margin for error in the protection of our water resources.

Steelhead Rainbow Trout spawn in Lompico Creek and are found deep into the Islandia boundaries. These animals are listed as threatened under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The ability of these rare and beautiful fish to continue to survive is dependent on the presence of good spawning habitat. Logging and development would release large volumes of soil and sand into the Creek, potentially disrupting the ability of these animals to survive in our Canyon. Islandia is important to many other wildlife species, and the area has highly diverse plant communities. Besides redwood and Douglas fir forests, the area contains extensive hardwood stands and large areas of chaparral and sand hills habitat. The bird life in Lompico Canyon is very diverse and includes several species of owls and accipiter hawks. Bats are also common. The aerial photographs which are included in the photo gallery of this web site give a good picture of Islandia and show it to be a beautiful place with complex steep terrain.

Related Stories:

Feb. 2005, Big Basin Logging:

July. 2004, History of EF! (includes info. on Redwood Empire Company):

Sept. 2002, Tree Sitters Threatened By Redwood Empire Co.:

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Logging at Fritch Creek

This is how loggers left Fritch Creek.
Don't let this happen to the Lompico Creek Headwaters
Take a stand now.

Or, there might not be much left to stand up for.

Zayante Firehouse -- PACKED for the Hearing on Nov. 2nd

I understand there was standing-room-only for the hearing last night -- all against this logging plan. Anyone know when the decision about the plan will be made?


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