Loggers handle new law

archive_import /


More regulatory eyes are focused on the timber industry now that Gov. Gray Davis has signed a bill to protect California's waterways.

While some loggers say Senate Bill 810 adds another layer of unnecessary bureaucracy to an already over-governed profession, others say coastal streams are the problem, and loggers in the Sierra Nevada won't see much change.

SB 810 gives the state Water Resources Control Board and its nine regional boards the power to block timber-harvest plans.

The water boards can step in if members rule that logging will hurt nearby streams or rivers already listed as "impaired," or polluted by sediment, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Most impaired waterways run near the coast. No streams in Tuolumne or Calaveras counties have been labeled impaired, and work here will carry on as before.

Since 1973, loggers only needed approval from the California Department of Forestry before cutting trees. Now water boards must sign off, too.

Still, "it's not going to affect operations here much, unless the Department of Forestry allows our streams to become impaired like they've become on the North Coast," said Sierra Club spokesman Warren Alford.

But Alford, an outspoken opponent of clear-cutting where all trees on 20-acre plots are mowed down warned that neglect and too many clear-cuts could leave Sierra waterways in the same state as their coastal counterparts.

Removing all trees leaves soil exposed. Heavy rains will wash the dirt down mountainsides, which Alford said could choke now-clear rivers and streams.

Logging giant Sierra Pacific Industries often clear-cuts its private land in Tuolumne and Calaveras counties.

But Tom Nelson, SPI's director of forest policy, said his company works to protect watersheds and will keep that effort up.

"We see no need to add to the list of impaired watersheds," Nelson said.

The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Sunday May 29, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Sheriff’s deputies respond to alarm at Sonora KFC


Tuolumne County sheriff’s deputies responded with guns drawn to a holdup alarm ... more

Avalon Care Center fined for patient death


Avalon Care Center in Sonora has been fined $80,000 by the California ... more

UPDATE: Probe begins in Don Pedro fire


Investigators began sifting through the rubble of the Don Pedro Recreation Agency ... more

Homelessness, high school and the Butte Fire


Cole Baisch arrived at Calaveras High School around lunchtime as the sky ... more

Deputies visit schools, build community ties


You would think Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputy Nate Yorston was Santa Claus ... more