Roseville Parks & Rec. Dept. Expresses Opposition to SJWC Logging Plan

 The editorial  letter below appeared in the Wednesday, Dec. 27 Los Gatos Weekly Times.

Combined voices sound off on logging plan

The San Jose Water Company timber management plan for the Los Gatos Creek watershed is destructive to the environment and will severely decrease the quality of life for residents. The San Jose Water Company logging plan needs to be discarded. The plan proposes cutting trees atop the San Andreas fault for 6 miles along Los Gatos Creek. Deforestation, road Cat track construction and the burning of fossil fuels pollute the drinking water of residents. When a forest is cut, especially on slopes, sediment is washed into rivers. Sediment will decrease the downstream reservoir capacity at Lexington and Elsman.

Forest watersheds perform valuable work for humans. They filter water, air, soil and decrease atmospheric and ocean temperatures. Forest and watersheds store rain, replenish groundwater supplies and control floods. Forests inhale carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen. Forests stabilize the soil. The value of the work accomplished by natural areas is staggering. For example, the average 50-year-old tree in America is worth $600 if cut for timber. If the single tree is kept alive for another 50 years, it will produce $196,000 worth of ecological services. Coast redwood are the tallest living things on Earth; therefore, they accomplish more work than an average tree. Old-growth trees perform more work and sustain more life than if they are cut. Our entire economic system is backwards because we do not take into account ecological services rendered by natural areas.

Old-growth trees are extremely fire-resistant and act as a barrier against fire, protecting lives and property. Most old redwood trees have fire scars on their trunks. When old-growth trees are cut, dense underbrush grows back, increasing the fuel load and likelihood of fire. The largest and most healthy trees are planned to be cut along Los Gatos Creek, 40 percent of redwoods over 36 inches in diameter. Instead of cutting old-growth, fire- resistant trees, the under-story needs to be aggressively harvested. Before the 1950s, fire was a returning occurrence in nature. Fire germinates seeds, releases seeds from pods, kills disease, stimulates new growth and forces trees to grow larger. Fire damage is a result of 50 years of clear cutting of forests in the Western United States and intensive fire suppression. Overall, the San Jose Water Company's logging plan is destructive. Instead of controlling fire, fire destruction will be assured.

Ninety-six percent of old-growth forest in California has been cut. It is time to get serous about protecting our natural resources. The Santa Cruz Mountains' forests and rivers generate the water and air that local residents consume. The Santa Cruz Mountains are habitat for deer, red-legged frogs, Pacific giant salamanders, arboreal salamanders, banana slugs, terrestrial garter snakes, rainbow trout, great blue heron, white snowy egrets, cougar, bobcat, raccoon, possum, beaver and raptors.

No logging of large trees in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Cutting old, large trees is an archaic and destructive activity. Do not support San Jose Water Company's logging plan. The plan is not updated to sustainable, healthy forestry practices. Please do what is in your power to protect the Los Gatos watershed and the humans that depend on it.

Michael Lee

Roseville Department of Parks and Recreation

Seven others signed this letter.

Original letter may be found here

Terry Clark
December 29, 2006