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Siskiyou Mountain Range

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Nedsbar Timber Sale: Units 33-30 and 34-30

Boaz Mountain in the Boaz Mountain Roadless Area. The area is a mixture of chaparral, white oak woodland and conifer forest. The forested slopes at the center of this photo are unit 34-30 in the Nedsbar Timber Sale and would be reduced to 40% canopy closure. 

Boaz Mountain rises from the banks of the Applegate River
near Eastside Road. The mountain dominates the eastern horizon from Star Ranger
Station to McKee Bridge on Upper Applegate Road. The slopes of the mountain are
roadless on three sides, providing a natural backdrop to many Upper Applegate
Valley residences. The Boaz Mountain Roadless Area provides connectivity
between the Little Applegate and Upper Applegate watersheds. It also provides
connectivity between the Little Greyback Roadless Area and Buncom Roadless Area
on the ridgeline dividing the Little Applegate and Upper Applegate Valleys.

Units 33-30 and 34-30 lie within the Boaz Mountain Roadless
Area on the mountain’s western slope. 34-30 is high on the mountain overlooking
the Upper Applegate Valley, while 33-30 is tucked into the north slope of a very
prominent bluff rising from Eastside Road. Both units should be canceled to
protect the area’s old, complex, low-elevation forest, the habitat connectivity
provided by the Boaz Mountain Roadless Area, and the scenic values of the Upper
Applegate Valley.

Unit 33-30 
A very prominent rocky bluff rises from the banks of the
Applegate River off Eastside Road, halfway between Star Ranger Station and the
historic McKee Bridge and Forest Service day use area. Unit
33-30 is located on the north slope of these rocky bluffs. At only 2,000′ in
elevation, the unit represents a rare example of low-elevation, late seral
habitat adjacent to the valley floor. Being so low in elevation the forests of Boaz Mountain provide important connectivity for species such as the
Pacific fisher, a candidate for listing as threatened under the Endangered
Species Act. The forests also provide important dispersal as well as nesting,
roosting, and foraging habitat for the northern spotted owl. 
The open, late seral forest of unit 33-30.
Unit 33-30 consists of a highly variable and diverse forest
supporting a few dense pole stands speckled in remnant, old trees and relatively
spacious groves of late seral Douglas fir forest. Douglas Fir dominates the
stand with scattered madrone — some of large stature. Understory conditions are
generally open and grassy with isolated patches of Oregon grape. A few sections
support an understory of shrub-form live oak, not more than four feet in height and
suppressed by the tall, filtered canopy of large, old trees. The forest is
relatively well adapted to fire with large areas of open-grown Douglas fir in
the overstory, many over 30” in diameter. These trees have tall canopies,
thick, fire resistant bark and very little ladder fuel. Canopy closure is
roughly 75%-85%, but dominated by large, old, open-grown trees and complex
branch structure.

The prescription proposed by the BLM is a “Structural
Retention Regeneration Harvest,” meaning the existing overstory will be thinned
to 30%-40% canopy coverage. Large trees (defined as 20” or more in diameter) in
the unit would be reduced to 16-25 trees per acre. The drastic reduction in
canopy is designed directly to “Create growing space for a new cohort of trees
and/or increase the growth of existing understory trees.” This means that the
fire resilient overstory trees will be heavily logged in an attempt to
encourage the growth of young, low statured vegetation that is poorly adapted
to fire. The condition that would result from such management is the
development of excessive ladder fuels in a stand that currently does not
support high levels of young understory growth or ladder fuel. The impact will
be a drastic increase in fuel hazards in the Wildland Urban Interface along
Upper Applegate Road. 
Unit 33-30 viewed from Boaz Gulch Road. The forest in this picture would be reduced to 30%-40% canopy coverage and 16-25 large trees per acre.

The impact will also be a drastic reduction in important
habitat for the Pacific fisher and northern spotted owl, as well as a reduction
in thermal cover in important winter range habitat for ungulate species. Unit
33-30 is not an overstocked, unhealthy stand in need of thinning. The proposed
treatments will increase fire hazards in the Wildland Urban Interface and
impact habitat connectivity within the region. Unit 33-30 should be canceled to
protect these important values and encourage fire resilience in the Upper
Applegate Valley. To do otherwise is irresponsible and fails to serve the
public interest. This proposal is not supported by the best available science.

Unit 34-30
A large Douglas fir tree over 30″ in diameter in unit 34-30. This tree and many other dominant overstory trees were marked in the 2002 Bobar Timber Sale and never cut. The same units are now being proposed for commercial harvest in the Nedsbar Timber Sale. 
Unit 34-30 lies directly above unit 33-30, yet extends much
further to the north around the face of Boaz Mountain. The unit consists of a
broad forested stringer bordered by white oak woodland. The unit is highly
variable and diverse with portions of the stand consisting of closed canopy
pole stands of Douglas fir and madrone. Other portions of the unit — especially
on draws and small, relatively flat benches created by old landslides — support
late seral forest habitat of pine and fir. Numerous areas support large, old-growth ponderosa pine and Douglas fir stands with little understory fuel. Other
areas support small groves of big, old madrone trees.

The unit was marked in the Bobar Timber Sale that was
offered to bidders through federal auction by the BLM around 2002 and received no bidders. Many of
the units proposed in Nedsbar were originally proposed and marked in the Bobar
Timber Sale. The old mark is visible throughout the stand and in many areas
proposed logging large, overstory trees. It is expected that a similar mark
would be proposed in the Nedsbar Timber Sale, except the agency has identified much more
intensive timber management objectives for Nedsbar than in the Bobar Timber

The prescription for unit 34-30 in the Nedsbar Timber Sale
is a “group selection 40%,” meaning the canopy of the stand will be logged to
40% canopy coverage by removing grouping of trees. These groupings will consist
of logged canopy openings of up to one-half acre. The proposed reduction in
canopy will increase fuel hazards in the stand, impact habitat connectivity,
decrease or “downgrade” habitat for the northern spotted owl and the Pacific
fisher. The unit should be canceled to protect the area’s biological and scenic
values. Boaz Mountain is roadless and relatively intact, supporting late seral
stands and old-growth trees important for their habitat value — it should
remain that way.  
The blue marked trees were marked for removal in the Bobar Timber Sale, a BLM timber sale that received no bids at auction and therefore was never cut. The mark in the Nedsbar Timber Sale is likely to be very similar and would reduce canopy coverage in unit 34-30 to 40%.

The yellow star on the map represents Star Ranger Station.
Unit 33-30, marked in red, is a “structural retention regeneration harvest.”
Unit 34-30 is a group selection unit. The brown area below, marked F-28, is a
fuel reduction unit.

The Siskiyou Crest blog and Klamath Forest Alliance have joined forces to organize the Nedsbar Community Monitoring Project. We have successfully reviewed many of the proposed logging units. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Klamath Forest Alliance to support this important work. Some of the last and best low elevation forest in the Applegate Valley is threatened by the Nedsbar Timber Sale. Our goal is to inform the public, document the sale’s potential impacts, generate high quality public comment and STOP THE NEDSBAR TIMBER SALE!

Contribute to the Nedsbar Community Monitoring Project.

Contribute online or by mail:

PO Box 21
Orleans, CA 95556
Please specify that your donation is for the Nedsbar Timber Sale