Petition to Protect Los Gatos Redwoods and Mountain Environment (Opposed to SJWC Timber Harvest Proposal)

This summary is based on information released to the press by San Jose Water Company (SJWC) and Big Creek Lumber Company. San Jose Water Company (SJWC), with the assistance of Big Creek Lumber Company of Davenport, California, has prepared a Non-industrial Timber Management Plan on 1000 acres of SJWC’s forested watershed lands in the mountains above Los Gatos. Information they have released to the public indicates that the impending “Timber Harvest Proposal” will result in:

  1. Increased Fire Risk: SJWC’s selective logging plan to remove 40% of the largest trees (redwoods and Douglas fir,) while leaving untouched the dead oaks (Sudden Oak Death trees,) broom and other underbrush, will, we believe, increase fire risks for all residents. Studies done by the Congressional Research Service, a branch of the Library of Congress, and other scientists and fire ecologists show that fire risks may increase when only the larger trees are removed.
  2. Impacts to Water Quality: Any commercial logging activity in the fragile and steep sloped areas on SJWC’s watershed land will have the potential to put silt into the streams, result in mud slides, and adversely affect the water supply of local residents. The proposed long-term NTMP will most likely require an extensive road-network with numerous culvert crossings. All have the potential to deliver sediment to Los Gatos Creek and the Lexington Reservoir. Drive Highway 17 during the rainy season when silt constantly washes across the road and understand how fragile the slopes are. Residents may also recall the structural failure and required re-engineering of the newly-installed Bear Creek overpass some years back when Cal Trans engineers were expensively surprised by the effect that water drainage and unanticipated slope failure had on cleared land.
  3. Change in Forest Ecosystem: Without question, turning the water supply watershed from a forest into a profit-generating tree farm will financially benefit a corporation responsible for safeguarding the watershed. This land contains 115+ year old trees, some as large as 7 feet in diameter. Logging will negatively change the environmental character of our mountain community. The impact to nesting osprey and the population of beavers, bobcat, mountain lion, coyote and deer will be serious. With their habitat disturbed, many of these animals will migrate to other open space and feeding grounds, including gardens, back yards and residential neighborhoods.
  4. Quality of Life and Noise Impacts: The NTMP proposes running a logging operation 5 days a week starting at 7:00 in the morning in the midst of a large, residential area. Helicopters and chain saws will be operating 9 hours a day, ending at 4:00PM. Noise pollution is a high concern. A helicopter hovering at 500 feet generates 100 decibels of sound; a chain saw generates 125 decibels, while a jet plane generates 120 decibels. The degradation of quality of life and resultant lowering of property values will be enormous for thousands of people. The proposal includes logging every other year for 18 years, with the opportunity to start over again at that time.
  5. Incompatible with Public Open Space and Residential Neighborhoods: The recent purchase of the surrounding Sierra Azul and Bear Creek properties and their conversion into public park lands is inconsistent with the watershed forest lands being converted into an active and ongoing logging venture. Adding the SJWC lands to the Sierra Azul and Bear Creek Preserve as an alternative to logging would help protect the Los Gatos to Summit Rd greenbelt as it now exists, protecting our environmental community, our water supply and the stunning forested hills that surround the town of Los Gatos.
  6. Impact to roads: The wear, tear and increased traffic on county maintained roads by heavy logging trucks will increase repair costs on our local roads. The opportunity sharply rises for traffic fatalities and worsening traffic congestion as 80,000 pound logging trucks travel our local, 2-lane roads and merge onto Highway 17 at both Summit and Bear Creek. The wear and tear from an 80,000 lb vehicle is equivalent to over 9,600 automobile trips according to a report from the US General Accounting Office.

Based on information released to the press by both San Jose Water Company (SJWC) and Big Creek Lumber Company, I oppose the impending Timber Harvest Proposal: Signature (sign your own name, do not print) Address (home address, city, state, and zip code)

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Debbie Daly
September 14, 2005