News

June 8, 2019: Dinner Under the Redwoods

Join us for a barbecue under the redwoods!

Please join the fun at our Fifth Annual Summer Dinner under the redwoods.   Great food, lively music, awards and current forest news.  Plus a special guest: Brian Nowicki, California Climate Policy Director of Climate Law Institute, Center for Biological Diversity will give an informative talk .

Forest Unlimited will also presenting an Environmental Activist awards to a deserving forest activist.

When:  Saturday, June 8, 2019, 3-6pm
Where:  Anderson Hall, Camp Meeker
Live music: All Swing Considered
Food:  Wild salmon is back as well as veggies on the grill!  There will be side salads, appetizers, and desserts.
Tickets: $55 salmon/$35 veggie per person on or before May 15. $65 salmon/$45 veggie after June 1.  Mail check to: Forest Unlimited, PO Box 506, Forestville CA 95436.  Please write “Dinner” on the memo line
or
Tickets Online: Select Salmon or Veggie Dinner in “Dinner Under the Redwoods” in the sidebar and pay through Paypal.
Further information: call 707-887-7433 or email larryjhanson@comcast.net.
Don’t miss it.  Mark your calendar now!  This is a fundraiser for Forest Unlimited.

January 2020: 20th Annual Redwood Seedling Reforestation Project

January 4th and 5th, Forest Unlimited volunteers will be planting approximately 1,600 one-year old redwood seedlings for reforestation and erosion control.

Forest Unlimited will provide trees, all equipment and a free hot lunch, including drinks and snacks. Vegetarian food will also be available.

If you would like participate in our January planting, please contact our Reforestation Manager, Harlie Rankin at harlierankin@gmail.com.  Further information on the rendezvous location, appropriate attire, etc. will be sent to all volunteers by mid December.

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.

Court Halts Gualala River Floodplain Logging

Redwood Logging – “Dogwood” Timber Harvest Plan

On Tuesday, September 13, Sonoma County Superior Court granted a Preliminary Injunction to petitioners Forest Unlimited and Friends of Gualala River to temporarily halt further logging of the controversial Gualala River floodplain within the “Dogwood” timber harvest plan area while litigation proceeds.

The court determined that “Petitioners have demonstrated a clear, imminent threat of irreparable injury. Without the injunction, the logging activities under the Project will permanently remove trees and alter the environment. Petitioners’ evidence also demonstrates that the logging activities may harm ecologically sensitive, protected wetlands, flora, and fauna.

The court also agreed that the other requirement for a preliminary injunction – a sufficient basis for finding a likelihood of success on the merits of the lawsuit – was met.
The text of the decision is provided below.

“Motion is Granted. Undertaking of $10,000 is required. Petitioners have demonstrated a clear, imminent threat of irreparable injury. Without the injunction, the logging activities under the Project will permanently remove trees and alter the environment. Petitioners’ evidence also demonstrates that the logging activities may harm ecologically sensitive, protected wetlands, flora, and fauna.”

The evidence provided also demonstrates some basis for finding a likelihood of success on the merits. Petitioners raise several arguments about the validity of the timber harvest plan (“THP”) which they claim were raised in the administrative proceedings. Petitioners’ evidence in their moving papers provide explanations about deficiencies in the THP while the portions of the THP to which both real party in its opposition and Petitioners in their reply cite further demonstrate possible defects which Petitioners raise and which were raised in the administrative proceedings. For example, real party’s opposition appear to shows that the THP relied on only a generic list of plants that might be affected, as the basis for its findings, instead of demonstrating evidence of what plants are actually on the Project Site. Some of these pages are headed “common plant species list.” This failure to determine what plants are actually on the site, and thus likely to be affected, is clearly a potential violation of CEQA.

Petitioners’ Ex.1 at 122-124, 130 demonstrates that a botanist expert on wetlands provided comments explaining how the Project may affect wetlands and the responses consisted solely of an assertion that two foresters walked the area and felt that no sensitive, protected wetlands were there but, as Petitioners argue, it is arguably not demonstrated that they were necessarily qualified to make such an assertion. The responses also state that real party is “confident” that it located all of the sensitive wetlands, an equivocal statement that arguably shows a lack of meaningful evidence.

Although Petitioners’ initial evidence may arguably be objectionable with respect to the merits of the action because not taken from the administrative record, this is not fatal to Petitioners’ motion and the court overrules any objection to the evidence on that basis. The court notes that at this time the record is not yet available and thus the parties should not be restricted to it while real party in its opposition, despite objecting to extra-record evidence, presents and relies on similar extra-record evidence itself. Moreover, the documents which are presented in the opposition and reply are ostensibly from the THP and thus clearly could be considered.

Finally, the balancing test and goal of preserving the status quo weigh in favor of the injunction due to the nature of the likely harms. Despite some weaknesses in Petitioners’ showing of a probability of success, the balancing test involves a mix of the two elements and the greater the showing on one element, the weaker it may be on the other. Butt v. State of Calif. (1992) 4 Cal.4th 668, 678. In contrast to the clear, and certainly irreparable nature of the harm which Petitioners raise, Real Party demonstrates no threat of irreparable injury that the injunction would cause, only a possible and temporary monetary injury to it. Real Party will merely suffer a delay in logging and if it ultimately prevails may still conduct the logging, obtaining the profits it would have obtained. Real Party claims that the injunction will threaten a sawmill which relies on the logs and that it will suffer $1.4 million in expenses, but this is not persuasive. Nothing shows that Real Party owns and operates the mill, the relationship between them being unclear at best. Even if Real Party owns the mill, the issue for threatened injury is not the lost profits, which again will be delayed only, but injuries that may result from going out of business due to a lag in production, which Real Party has not shown. Real Party also only asserts that it needs to proceed with the logging in order for the mill to operate at “full capacity” but this does not demonstrate that without this logging this mill could not operate adequately, at less than full capacity.

Because of the lack of evidence of injury resulting from the injunction, the court finds no support for the requested undertaking of $700,000. Due to Petitioners’ demonstrated lack of financial resources, and the unclear, tenuous nature of any material harm from the injunction, the court finds that an undertaking of $10,000 is appropriate.

For more information:

contacts: Forest Unlimited  Rick Coates 707.632.6070 or Larry Hanson larryjhanson@comcast.net  Peter Baye, Friends of Gualala River botanybaye@gmail.com 415.310.5109 www.gualalariver.org