fwd: massive landslide threatens Headwaters

Larry Caldwell larryc at teleport.com
Sat Feb 14 03:03:44 EST 1998


In article <19980213084400.DAA04279 at ladder03.news.aol.com>,
camillah at aol.com (CamillaH) wrote:

> Now, I would welcome input from foresters because I want this thing somehow to
> make some kind of sense.  FMP, foresters know forests. Headwaters Forest
> Complex and the surrounding land is a beautiful forest.   So, how is it that if
> look at *any* Headwaters issue,  you find insanity on the part of the
> authorities. 

This seems to be more of a fisheries issue than a forestry issue, so you
may be asking the wrong people.  However, in Oregon we have been studying
the logging/landslide issue intensively ever since last year, when heavy
rains and landslides killed several people.  Logging slide prone slopes
above human habitation or roads has been temporarily banned while the
studies run.  

The most recent reports indicate that logging operations do not cause
enhanced slide risk, but road construction does.  A ground survey also
indicates that air surveys greatly under-report slides in undisturbed
mature forests.  Slides are a natural component of mountainous forest
terrain, and will occur whether there is any logging there or not.
 
> Today I read that Gov. Wilson wants the coho salmon listed as endangered in all
> but the northernmost rivers of CA.  The southernmost boundary for what Wilson
> considers "northernmost" looks to be about 10 miles south of Headwaters. 
> Pardon my conspiracy theory, but it screams at me that this is one!  

The Coho was listed in the streams of Northern California last year.  I don't
understand this part, but it sounds like Wilson wants the listing expanded.
How far south does the natural range of the Coho run?  It's a cold water
fish.

If there are in fact endangered salmon in the Headwaters drainage, that
could result in a number of restrictions, including removal of any dams
or reservoirs on the watershed, elimination of all fishing activity, and
tough restrictions on all activities near the main channel or tributary
streams.  This would extend far beyond a few logging restrictions.
 
> So, you dump 3 MILLION CUBIC FEET of earth in a stream, make the salmon go
> elsewhere to survive.  I wonder if Fish & Game is prepared to go out and rescue
> those juvenile salmon?   Or are they off the hook because these salmon can't go
> back to its stream of origin?  I know these are forestry questions, but does
> any of this make any real sense to you?

Three million cubic feet of earth is a pretty big slide, but it's hard to
judge the effect from a news post.  It could completely block a small 
stream, or just make a typical river a little muddier during a very muddy
flood stage.

My understanding is that the salmon fry are not the problem.  Rather,
silting of the spawning beds will result in reduced spawining success
until the natural scouring action of the river cleans the silt out of
the spawning beds.  The amount of damage will depend on how much of
the spawning area was downstream of the slide.  Salmon require a gravel
bed for spawning.

I would imagine the reason they are not out there rescuing distressed
salmon is that it would defeat the purpose.  The Coho salmon is one
of the commonest fish in the world.  While it is native to the PNW,
it has been transplanted and farmed all over the world.  Massive
hatchery operations are in place in Europe, Asia and South America.
Peruvian salmon is now a major economic competitor for North American
salmon.  The whole point of the endangered species listing is to
preserve the wild population, and if you go mess with them they aren't
a wild population any more.  

There is no shortage of coho, and nobody is saving the species from
extinction.  What they want to preserve is the wild run.

That's about all the comment I can make based on the information you
provided.  

-- Larry




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