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Coastal Update

Redwood cultivars grown for outplant in 2011

January 2011 – Bill Morrison, Coastal District Manager –

Redwood cultivars grown for outplant in 2011

Redwood cultivars grown for outplant in 2011

The 2010 harvest on our coastal properties was tremendously reduced due to a variety of changing regulatory interpretations, agency-induced delays, and limited market opportunities for some coastal commercial species. This turn of events created a domino effect which unfortunately impacted our 2011 tree planting efforts.

Our reforestation planning effort starts years in advance to insure that trees are immediately available to plant in harvested areas and that we have additional stocking on hand for stewardship plantings in non-harvest areas.

The reduced operations of 2010 meant that only a fraction of the area which we had intended to plant would be available, and caused a troublesome surplus of planting stock for 2011.
The end result was that we had well over 100,000 trees ready to plant which did not have a home and could not be held over in the nursery for another year; not an enviable position to be in. Faced with the possible situation of having to destroy most of our nursery crop, we looked for other solutions with the goal of planting as many trees as possible.

Fortunately, we accomplished that goal by selling a portion of the surplus trees to several adjacent landowners, and have dedicated the remaining portion of the trees to larger-than-planned stewardship plantings on company lands in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Sonoma counties.

2011 Outlook
Continued efforts are being implemented for the preparation of harvest plans on several of the coastal properties in Humboldt, Mendocino, and Sonoma Counties. Among some of the challenges we face are new protocols for surveying the Northern Spotted Owl. These new rules will ultimately double the survey cost while shortening the window for operations and greatly extend the time it takes to file a harvest plan, but provide little if any additional protection to the owl. In addition, the Anadromous Salmonid Protection Rules have significantly reduced the opportunity to harvest on most coastal properties, including timber that has been planted by the landowner in the past for the express purpose of harvest. While both sets of regulation may be well-intentioned, the real-world effects of such one-size-fits-all rulemaking is debatable.

Despite these hurdles, we are continually making efforts with the objective of obtaining maximum sustained production on our timberlands while providing a high level of stewardship. To that end, Soper-Wheeler Company LLC has established relationships with various watershed groups, fishery recovery groups, resource conservation groups, and public agencies in the pursuit of restoring or enhancing coastal stream habitat on Soper Company properties, and continues to work in that direction for the mutual benefit of all.

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