Problems with the NTMP Process

The following is a copy of a response sent to a NAIL member who asked about changes that can be made in the NTMP after it is approved:

The rules for an NTMP are set up and managed by the Calif. Dept. of
Forestry. Yes, they must include certain state statutes into their process (state environmental quality acts, Fish and Game and others) but in the end they are an entity empowered to interpret information and make their own decisions. They can choose to act on public feedback or not. Because our quality of life is not something governed by any state statute, it isn't really a concern they need to factor into their decision. Fire, water, environmental impact are the key areas that have some state legislative guidelines behind them. County and city statutes are over-ridden by the state's evaluation unless there is a very hard push by local politicos - and even then it can end up in court unresolved for years.

It is a difficult system, I agree. CDF and the review team are pretty much free to do what they want and operate in this manner, expecting us to believe that they are doing the "right thing" because they are the forestry arm of the state. But you know, just being in charge of forestry does not mean you are 1) incapable of making bad decisions 2) incapable of being influenced by an old-boys network of people in the industry and 3) incapable of weilding unchecked power because there are no real laws (short of the court system after the fact) to challenge you.

Provisions of an NTMP include a process wherein the logger/owner may submit requests for a need to alter the plan after it has been approved. These are not reviewed in the same lengthy manner as the original plan, and are, in the words of experts "rubber-stamp OK'd" in most cases. Things added later can include cutting in more roads, adding more helicopters and landing areas, using more trucks, etc. Increasing the acreage would not necessarily be one of those things, but how they end up logging the approved acreage is
a changeable area in many details.

You can purchase a small book entitled "California Forest Practice Rules" that covers the information. It is published by CDF and costs $5. I believe the Felton CDF office (nearest) has them. Call 831-335-6740 about purchasing a book.

Yes, if someone wanted to tackle a bad system that needs legislative overhaul, this is a prime candidate.

Terry Clark
NAIL Steering Committee

Terry Clark
September 25, 2005