Green Diamond Resources Company

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Green Diamond’s Holiday Gift to Headwaters: Clearcuts, Roads and Herbicides

By Rob DiPerna
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

As the holiday season approaches, most of us are thinking about how we can give back to our friends, families, and communities. Apparently, Green Diamond Resource Company has something a little different in mind for the Elk River and Headwaters Forest Reserve. Instead of giving the landscape surrounding Headwaters much needed forest and watershed restoration, Green Diamond has opted instead to give clearcuts, roads, and herbicides. Comic Scrooge and Grinch-like characterizations of Green Diamond’s holiday behavior aside, there is nothing funny about the lump of coal that Green Diamond is stuffing in the holiday stocking of the ancient forest refuge of Headwaters with their new proposed logging activities in the Elk River watershed.

1997 Flooding on the Elk RiverPhoto Credit: Salmon-Forever.orgSpecifically, EPIC’s monitoring of the timber industry on the North Coast of California reveals that Green Diamond has filed a new Timber Harvest Plan that threatens more than 70 acres of clearcutting in the upper reaches of McCloud Creek, a tributary of Elk River, and at a stone’s throw of the hard fought over Headwaters Forest. The destructive potential of this proposed industrial forestry operation merits a quick history lesson in the evolution of forest management in the Elk River watershed surroundings of the globally important Headwaters Forest Reserve.

The Elk River watershed, located south east of Eureka, is a tributary to Humboldt Bay. The Elk River watershed has been heavily logged over the last century and a half, with only fragments of the original forest such as the Headwaters Forest remaining. Though the Headwaters Forest Reserve provides protection for one of the worlds last remaining intact remnants of the ancient redwood temperate rainforest ecosystem, the rest of the watershed is a myriad of young, recovering forest and regenerating clearcuts.

In the 1990s, the now infamous MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company began the process of liquidating the remaining old growth and mature second growth in the Elk River watershed. This second cycle logging resulted in intensive road building, tractor yarding, and clearcutting throughout the watershed. Eventually, with the advent of the 1996/1997 winter storms, the sensitive geology of the Elk River watershed began to unravel, suffering from the combined effects of weather and intensive logging.

It was not until after these historic storms of 1996/1997 that State agencies began to stand up and take notice of the damaging effects of the contemporary forest liquidation of MAXAAM/Pacific Lumber Company. In fact, in 1997, an interagency team determined that Elk River, along with four other watersheds heavily managed by MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company, were significantly, adversely, and cumulatively impacted, with timber harvest being a contributing factor.


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