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In the early morning of November 6th, logging crews from Interfor used a large feller buncher to log the first unit of the Jazz Timber Sale: Unit 37 of Bass (a component timber sale of the larger Jazz project). As the logging season ended October 31st, this came as a shock to Bark - who has an ongoing lawsuit challenging the Forest Service's proposed Jazz Timber Sale, filed in July of 2013. Turns out that the Forest Service granted a "waiver" allowing out of season logging, because its been "so dry" (shocker to those of us watching it rain for the last six days).
Luckily, Bark caught wind of the logging the afternoon before it started, and by mid-day November 6th had filed a Motion for Temporary Restraining Order with the court, and suceeded in making the timber company agree to not log until the court could make a decision on the request for injunction. However, damage had already been done, as the pictures below illustrate.
Bark's lawsuit alledges that the Forest Service did not comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Forest Management Act (NFMA) in its decision to log this sensitive and geologically unstable watershed. Despite active litigation, the Forest Service proceeded with entering into contracts with Candian timber giant Interfor to log the component Bass and Drum sales (note the Jazz theme?). For more information on the details of our lawsuit please read the article, ‘Bark Sues on Jazz Timber Sale.’ Bark is represented in the lawsuit by NEPA Coordinator and Staff Attorney Brenna Bell, and by Dave Becker of the Law Office of David H. Becker, LLC.
The Forest Service initiated planning for the Jazz Timber Sale in 2011, with a proposal to log about 2,000 acres spread throughout 30 square miles of the Collawash River watershed. The Collawash is a tributary to the Clackamas River and is host to the last wild late run of winter coho salmon, making it key spot for the survival of this species. The Collawash is also considered the most geologically unstable area in all of Mt. Hood National Forest, having experienced seven landslides in a single year alone. Logging loosens soil and increases sediment runoff into streams and rivers, and Bark is concerned these impacts would be magnified on this unstable landscape, and would negatively impact water health and salmon habitat.
The Jazz Timber Sale is being billed as restoration, yet would allocate time and money to re-build 12 miles of old roads that have been either been actively decommissioned by the Forest Service or are naturally reincorporating into the landscape, and would construct 0.4 miles of new road. Additionally, the large size and vast span of Jazz makes it very difficult for the public, let alone the Forest Service, to accurately gauge the environmental effects. Nonetheless, Bark groundtruthers have spent more than 600 hours to survey all proposed Jazz units.
Background: The Forest Service issued a Decision Notice and Environmental Assessment, essentially approving the Jazz Timber Sale on September 7th, 2012. Bark filed an administrative appeal of the decision in October 2012, challenging the re-opening of 12 miles of previously decommissioned roads, among other ecological concerns associated with the logging proposal.
Bark temporarily stopped the Jazz Timber Sale on December 7, 2012, when the Forest Service withdrew its decision of approval. We had anticipated the agency would revive the timber sale by re-introducing a revised Environmental Assessment (EA), but were especially disappointed when a new EA was issued in March of 2013 with essentially no substantive changes to address the ecological concerns that had caused the original timber sale to be cancelled. This prompted a second appeal by Bark, and ultimately our current lawsuit. For more information on the revived Jazz Timber Sale proposal (we call it Zombie Jazz), read the article ‘Defeated Jazz Timber Sale returns- Zombie Jazz.’