WALL: Time tells of the Headwaters tragedy

Larry Caldwell larryc at teleport.com
Sun Sep 27 00:18:07 EST 1998


In article <329_9809232200 at extra.lafn.org>, ay903 at extra.lafn.org says...
 
> HEADLINE: The Redwoods Weep;
> In California's ancient forests, the clash between industry and
> idealism culminates in tragedy
 
> BYLINE: John Skow

>    To anyone who has spent a night in Headwaters Grove, awakening at
> dawn to hear the cries of marbled murrelets, the endangered seabirds
> that nest in the huge trees, and to watch the great trunks take form
> in the lightening mist, the idea of owning such a place is daft. But,
> yes, if the Deal goes through, Maxxam won't own Headwaters. Won't cut
> it. And California will have a beautiful new tree museum.

> flourished like mushrooms in the timid Clinton years. They are
> intended to mollify the rage of landowners against the Endangered
> Species Act.  Well, they might, because they immunize loggers, miners
> and the like against ESA violations. It is illegal to kill a marbled
> murrelet or wreck its habitat, but if you should do so while
> conducting your rightful business, that is an incidental taking. The
> "Oops!" factor takes over, and you are in the clear. The HCP filed by
> Pacific Lumber will immunize the company for 50 years.

Interesting focus on the m.m.  This is a funny little bird that flies up 
to 50 miles inland to lay a single egg on a bare horizontal branch 100 
feet up a tree.  They don't build a nest, and only lay one egg a year, so 
if you cut the tree down you eliminate the reproduction of a nesting pair 
for that year.

Regs are that you can't cut murrelet habitat during the nesting season.  
Once the chicks are gone, you can go back to cutting.  Murres are good 
flyers, and will just find another tree next year.  I doubt John Skow 
could tell the difference between a murrelet and a loon.  He sure didn't 
hear any in the woods this time of year.  

We have marbled murrelets here in Oregon too.  As long as you don't 
destroy the eggs, the bird does just fine.  AFAIK, Pacific Lumber wasn't 
violating any ESA provisions regarding the bird.

-- Larry



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