Dear Members of NAIL,

It was very disturbing to see San Jose Water Company's latest mailing to residents.  From the beginning of the community effort to save the Los Gatos Creek watershed NAIL has been committed to dealing only in facts.. Our information comes from published, expert sources and the San Jose Water Company's own documents. With that in mind, here is a point by point refutation of the content in  SJWC’s latest flyer mailed to residents. Please discuss this freely with your friends and neighbors. You will soon be receiving a separate email summarizing recent NAIL efforts to stop the logging plan.

Thank you once again for your support.

The NAIL Steering Committee




SJWC: NAIL claims the NTMP "allows for logging to occur in perpetuity without any further public or agency review once approved by the California Department of Forestry."


Here is text from the NTMP law. The Legislative findings [4593(c)] give the authority for   â€œapproving nonindustrial timber management plans in advance and withdrawing governmental discretion to disapprove nonindustrial timber harvest notices submitted pursuant to the approved nonindustrial timber management plans.”


Here is an excerpt from a memo written by William Snyder, Deputy Director, Resource Management, California Department of Forestry to Registered Professional Foresters on 8/11/04   describing NTMP logging plans. "Periodic harvest operations would not require a costly Timber Harvesting Plan (THP) but a simple Notice of Operations." 


Unlike a timber harvest plan (THP), an approved NTMP is good forever. It never expires and once approved there is no further public/agency review process per California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). There will be some limited inspections during the life of an NTMP made by the California Department of Forestry. CDF will conduct a limited number of site inspections during or following logging operations, and SJWC’s NTMP proposes having some inspections by the California Geological Survey (CGS). But there is no further opportunity for the agencies' function as a review team or for the public to participate at all. 


SJWC: NAIL claims that water quality protection will be compromised since watershed protection and timber harvesting are "incompatible."


Here are quotes from published sources on how public water utilities deal with the issue of logging and watershed protection. None perform logging of the type proposed by SJWC, a private, for-profit corporation.
East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD): "Charles Hardy, spokesman for the East Bay Municipal Utility District, says logging is a "big no-no" on its watersheds for "obvious reasons." Uprooting trees loosens the soil and results in more runoff into water systems when it rains. The only tree-removal activities his company engages in are to clear paths for fire trucks and clean out the underbrush to maintain trails."  San Jose Metro. 12.7.05
Marin Municipal Water District: "The Marin Municipal Water District manages 22,000 acres of watershed land and does not allow logging, in order to the keep the area as pristine as possible. The last time it removed any trees was in 1997. That was a small population of nonnative pine trees that infringed upon the native ecosystem. Spokesman Michael Swezy puts it simply: "An undisturbed watershed is going to yield better-quality water." San Jose Metro 12.7.05
San Francisco Public Utilities District: "Critics of the logging plan say the company (SJWC) can reduce the fire risk by thinning trees instead of logging the forest. That is how the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission handles fire suppression in the 23,000-acre watershed around Crystal Springs Reservoir, said spokesman Tony Winnicker. "We do an annual survey of our lands, and selectively thin vegetation, especially in areas that are close to urban centers or homes and businesses," he said. "We selectively and strategically eliminate trees and clean some of the ground cover. That tends to be brush and eucalyptus trees, which are rapidly growing and extremely combustible." San Francisco Chronicle. 12.11.05

City of Seattle: "The Cedar River Watershed east of Seattle is a forested area of 90,346 acres. It’s been the region’s primary water supply for longer than a century, providing much of the clean water to more than 1.3 million residents of Seattle, Bellevue and other areas of King County in Washington State. The 50-year HCP, signed in April 2000, established the entire watershed as no-logging forest reserves. Commercial timber harvesting is barred and 40 percent of the area’s logging roads will be removed."  National Oceanographic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Northwest Regional Office website 
City of Portland Oregon: In 1996, The United States Senate adopted the Oregon Resources Conservation Act (ORCA), S.1662, which outlaws logging in the 100-square mile area around the Bull Run Reservoir, the chief source of drinking water for Portland's 800,000 residents. US Congressional Record


Regarding the Sierra Club's position on the logging proposed for the Los Gatos Creek Watershed  - The Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club has stated publicly their opposition to this plan. For more information on the Sierra Club's position visit their web site at.


SJWC. NAIL claims that the NTMP will increase, not reduce, fire risk.


The State of California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has studied this particular NTMP and has made the following comment in their initial official response to the California Department of Forestry. "“Looking at the harvest prescription for all but one vegetation type (DFH) harvest is concentrated on the larger diameter trees.  The opening of a forest for light and regrowth will promote new ground and mid-canopy growth that leads to ladder fuel jumps into upper canopy catastrophic fire, which is not a desired effect for fire hazard reduction."


Furthermore, in the description of the forest affected by the 1985 Lexington Fire, the NTMP document states that the smaller trees suffered the greatest mortality while the largest most mature redwoods survived. .Yet the  NTMP also  states, “While trees in all four size classes will be harvested, timber marking will focus on tees in each unit that have diminishing growth rates, particularly those in the 28-34 inch and 36+ inch size classes.”


This is consistent with NAIL's position that cutting the largest trees in a forest increases fire danger. According to SJWC, 40% of the trees greater than 24” in diameter will be harvested. The average redwood or Douglas Fir in the logging zone is 31” in diameter.   


Residents will also be dealing with the vast amount of dried branches and twigs (slash) that will result from this logging.  In the NTMP, SJWC has put in writing that logging slash will not have to be removed until April 1 of the year following the logging. Hence, the slash can remain on the ground throughout the fall fire season. After April 1, SJWC states that 12" of slash can remain on the forest floor.  


SJWC: NAIL claims that quality of life will be compromised because harvesting operations will occur 12 hours a day, possibly 12 months of the year, and that the noise will be unbearable.


The NTMP states that logging will commence at 8:00AM within 100 yards from a residence and at 7:00AM further than 100 yards from homes and continue till 7:00pm.

In the NTMP, SJWC has requested special permission from the California Department of Forestry to perform logging operations (including the falling of trees and hauling adjacent to streams and on county roads) during the wintertime. They also state in their NTMP that they reserve the right to log more than one unit in a season.


SJWC included a noise study in their NTMP whereby they tested noise levels in the Aldercroft Heights and Chemeketa Park neighborhoods. From as far as 1,000 feet away, the two chainsaws in the study generated a sustained level 52-58 decibels, a noise that exceeds the Santa Clara County Noise Ordinance of 50 decibels. From 200 feet away, chainsaws in this study generated sustained levels of 66-68 decibels which, according to the NTMP, is louder than a noisy freeway heard from 100 yards away. The NTMP document even concedes that during logging operations trucks, tractors, loaders and other equipment will add to the noise generated by chainsaws.


Large Chinook Helicopters will be used in the 25% of the logging zone along Los Gatos Creek specified for Helicopter Logging. According to the NTMP document, these helicopters generate 78-92 decibels from 600 feet away. According to the US Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), prolonged exposure to 90 decibels or more can lead to gradual hearing loss.  The NTMP states that some residences will be as close as 150 feet away from helicopter operations. One landing zone will be within 200 feet of Loma Prieta Avenue. Another will be 750 yards from the Building Blocks Day Care Center. Also, contrary to SJWC claims, Federal Aviation Administration regulations do not prohibit helicopters from flying close to homes in rural areas. (FAA regulation 91.119d). 

Terry Clark
July 6, 2006