Dyer Mountain timber harvest plan stalls
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection could have filed the THP as early as September, but has yet to do so.
Timber harvest plans are strictly for timber management, according to Bill Schultz, CDF’s deputy chief for forest practice in Redding. DMA cannot receive a THP to harvest timber for ski hill clearing without approval of a timber-land conversion plan.
DMA has not applied for a TLCP. However, Nick Ceaglio, director of community relations for Dyer Mountain Associates, told the Westwood Chamber of Commerce in January timber harvesting this year would include partial clearing for ski runs on Dyer Mountain and in staging areas, such as the site of the ski lodge.
The proposed resort includes golf and skiing, more than 4,100 single family, multi-family and lodging units and approximately 333,800 square feet of commercial/retail and support facilities on about 7,000 acres.
Schultz said the THP for 2,322 acres, jointly submitted in July by three landowners — DMA, Roseburg Resources and Pacific Gas and Electric Company — disclosed the plan for the ski hills. He added the THP did not include any long, stringy, downhill cuts that look like ski runs.
Three groups — the Honey Lake Maidu, of Susanville; the Mountain Meadows Conservancy, of Westwood; and the Maidu Cultural and Development Group, of Greenville — objected during the public comment period, which is still open.
A fourth group claims to have filed an objection but Schultz said CDF has not received it.
“This THP would inappropriately segment the environmental review of the Dyer Mountain Resort Project … and as such it is illegal and should be denied by CDF,” Nathan G. Alley, an attorney for Sierra Watch, a Nevada City conservation group, wrote in a Sept. 15 letter to Shultz.
Schultz said CDF has no record of receiving a comment on the THP from Sierra Watch. But he said he would look for the letter posted at the Web site sierrawatch.webfactional.com.
“Any comment letter we get we have to address with an official response,” Schultz said.
A multi-agency team did a pre-harvest inspection to assess whether the THP was complete, accurate and in proper order. The team includes members from CDF, the California Department of Fish and Game, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Geological Survey and Native American groups.
Since then, the team has been asking questions of the registered professional forester who prepared the THP. Schultz said the team’s review is the functional equivalent of an environmental impact report.
“There’s been a lot of back and forth between the review agencies, a continual exchange with the project proponents to clarify their comments,” Schultz said.
Once the review process is complete, CDF will issue final recommendations. The public, and specifically the groups that have commented on the THP, will have 10 days to comment on the recommendations. Then CDF has 15 days to approve or deny the THP. CDF must also prepare an official response to the comments.
“If we need more time, we do that,” Schultz said. “If we overlook something, it can hold up a project.”
When DMA starts to develop the ski runs and takes forestland out of production, it must apply for a timberland conversion permit. The TLCP review may be based on the EIR for the resort, if it is complete.
Then DMA will have to submit a new harvest plan to remove the trees on the ski runs. Schultz said review of the conversion permit and the THP can be done at the same time, which usually takes about 80 days. But CDF can’t approve the harvest plan for ski runs until the timberland conversion plan is complete.
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