Alarming Rate of Forest Loss Threatens a Crucial Climate Solution

by Georgina Gustin, Inside Climate

The world’s forests continue to disappear at an alarming rate, threatening a resource that scientists say is a crucial “natural solution” for controlling climate change on an urgently short timescale.

Last year, the planet saw its fourth-highest level of tropical tree loss since the early 2000s—about 30 million acres, according to a new analysis published Thursday.

Those losses have continued even as more corporations and countries made commitments to preserve forests, and as scientists emphasized that maintaining forests must be a global priority—as crucial to staving off the worst risks of climate change as cutting fossil fuel use


Felta Creek Update

Friends of Felta Creek held its first official community gathering in late March at the historic Felta School in Healdsburg. Neighbors and community members packed the one room schoolhouse for the event, eager to learn more about the ecology of Felta Creek as well as the status of the Timber Harvest Plan that was struck down by a judicial determination in the fall of 2018 and included a restitution of legal fees. 

A scientist from Sea Grant California, Nick Bauer, gave a report on fish monitoring efforts in Felta Creek, which continues to provide critical spawning habitat for endangered wild coho salmon and steelhead. The above average rainfall this year has been a blessing and it has been many years since there has been so much water this late in the season in the creek.

It is still possible that a revised Timber Harvest Plan could be submitted this year. Friends of Felta Creek is on alert for the submission of any future plan to CalFire that could affect the watershed and will engage vigorously in the Public Review process and pursue legal action if necessary. In the mean time, much work is being done to achieve a conservation solution in order to protect an invaluable stretch of the creek’s headwaters where shady pools provide unique spawning habitat for the Russian River’s decimated salmonid populations. 

Stay tuned for ongoing developments. Friends of Felta Creek would like to thank all those who contributed comments and donations to the case against the previous THP and to know that all recuperated funds will go directly to future litigation or conservation efforts.

Free Calder Creek Project

Forest Unlimited advocates for daylighting (bringing to the surface) major creeks that have been confined underground in large pipes. We want them to live again with a riparian forest, life-giving daylight and oxygen where citizens can see, appreciate, enjoy and protect them. Where possible we want bicycle trails along them.

Our first such project is the Free Calder Creek Campaign in the City of Sebastopol. Calder Creek flows through Ives Park into an underground culvert beneath two parking lots and the two branches of Highway 116: Petaluma Avenue and Main Street. The culvert empties into a channel feeding the Laguna de Santa Rosa adjacent to the Joe Rodota multi-use trail.

Calder Creek culvert.
Calder Creek runs through an ugly culvert behind a chain-link fence in Ives Park in Sebastopol.

Our proposal to the City is this: Daylight the creek from Ives Park to the Laguna. Plant a greenway along the Creek. Add an extension of the multi-use trail along Calder Creek to the park beneath Petaluma Ave. and Main Street. If the city-owned parking lot between Petaluma Ave. and Main Street is sold to a developer to construct first-floor commercial along with second story residential, some of the cost of daylighting the creek could be born by the developers. It would be an ideal location for both residents (close to the park, Laguna and business district) and business (near the commercial district). A greenway across the highway would be useful for attracting tourists to stop, dine and shop in Sebastopol. It can promote events in the park and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts. It could provide environmental education for students of the Charter School adjacent to the Creek.