Chetco Bar Proposal

The U.S. Forest Service Chetco Bar Environmental Assessment proposes to log over 4,000 acres in the Chetco River Watershed, and many more acres will be logged through the roadside hazard assessment exclusions. Nearly 10,000 acres of private industrial lands have already been logged in the Chetco Bar Fire area. Below are some of the issues found in the Chetco Bar Environmental Assessment that are most concerning to watershed health. We are asking the Forest Service to consider the following information as it proceeds with its plans: Submit a comment

The Chetco River is a world class river, designated as a National Wild and Scenic River. A substantial sport and commercial fishing industry is dependent on the river and its health. It has some of the clearest water, best fish runs, and most intact headwater streams on the West Coast that make it both a destination and a key local resource. Keeping the Chetco River running clear and protecting the wild Chetco fish runs should be the top priority of the U.S. Forest Service. 

 Credit: BLM

Credit: BLM

 Credit: USFS

Credit: USFS

The U.S. Forest Service should take a watershed focused approach, and avoid building new roads, logging native post fire forests, logging near streams, or logging on steep slopes. It is concerning that the plans are to build 13 miles of roads, log native forest stands, and haul logs across the watershed without enough mitigation. Those activities are known to cause erosion that could harm the river. We urge the U.S. Forest Service to choose a path forward that restores, rather than degrades, the aquatic values of the Chetco Watershed that many hold dear. 

The Forest Service needs to address log haul related sediment delivery to Coho critical habitat. Ensuring that full and effective stream side buffers are established to protect aquatic resources should be priority number one for the plan, but it does not appear that the U.S. Forest Service is prioritizing stream side buffers.  

Please consider limiting logging activities to previously managed stands while retaining un-roaded wildlands. These road-less areas contain wilderness characteristics and should be protected for their wilderness values. The proposed logging of 826 acres of undeveloped forest stands greater than 1,000 acres in size would permanently alter the character of road-less public lands that many Americans would like to see retained.

Salvage logging of previously unmanaged forest stands will increase fire hazard, fine fuels, flame lengths and fire spread compared to untreated post-fire forests. Do not take actions, such as post-fire clearcutting and plantation establishment, that will increase future fire hazard in the project area. 

Learn more about the Wild and Scenic Chetco River