Cow Catcher Timber Sale


Cow Catcher Sale Stopped!!

Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rules that BLM violated protection for the Red Tree Voles

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the BLM failed to conduct a public review before changing the classification of the red tree vole, a small rodent that lives in the treetops of old growth forests, under the "survey and manage" provisions of the Northwest Forest Plan.

The decision to downgrade the red tree vole to a classification where it was no longer necessary to look for their nests before logging, or to protect those nests with a 10-acre buffer area round them, was made without public involvement required by the Federal Land Management and Planning Act, the primary law governing BLM lands, and by the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires public review of all major actions affecting federal lands, the appeals court said.

Based on that finding, the judges enjoined two timber sales, Cow Catcher and Cottonsnake, in the Glendale Resource District outside Grants Pass. Cow Catcher was bought by D.R. Johnson Lumber Co. of Riddle. Cottonsnake was not awarded.


Old Growth forest scheduled for clearcutting.

Unit A.

There must be other ways of catching cows.

Roseburg Rally
9/23/03 photos

Roseburg BLM has made a decision to clearcut Cow Catcher in the Cow Creek watershed. This is Roseburg BLM's first old-growth timber sale in three years. They had stopped clearcutting old-growth because it degraded the watershed, in violation of the Aquatic Conservation Strategy. Why start again? Could it have something to do with Bush?

If this timber sale goes through, 146 acres of mature and old-growth forests will be clearcut, leaving only 6 to 12 trees per acre. Officially, BLM says the reason they will clearcut this old-growth is because "aging stands that are declining in annual growth would be replaced with young, vigorous stands, which would more efficiently produce a sustainable supply of timber and other forest commodities." (EA 21)

Once this centuries-old ancient forest is cut, it will be lost forever -- converted to a "managed plantation" and relogged about every 60 years. Any wildlife that depends on old-growth will have to find some other place to live or die. Though this is our public land, the timber industry will get another plantation, in addition to the millions of acres of their own private land plantations.

This sale is particularly bad news for the spotted owl. Six (6) pairs of owls have home ranges that overlap the units to be logged. Cow Catcher will also clearcut an "Area of Concern" for spotted owls, a narrow corridor connecting the coast mountain spotted owls with the Cascades.

our future's remorse

Old Growth Douglas fir trees in unit A and in the road right-of-way.

Old-Growth in unit E of Cow Catcher.

Surveying for Red Tree Voles, a climber shoots a climbing rope into an old-growth tree.
Over 20 active vole nests were discovered, an important food source for the Spotted owl.
The BLM is required to protect these trees, but has found excuses to log them instead.

Cow Catcher unit E

Unit E is an old-growth forest.

On top of all this public forest Cow Creek logging, Roseburg Forest Products (RFP) just liquidated much of its mature and second growth forests from its private industrial land in the Cow Creek watershed -- likely thousands of acres of clearcutting. Last year, Roseburg BLM put up a "Salmon Watching" recreation sign next to the "scenic byway" pullout along Cow Creek.

Now, one looks out at a recent RFP clearcut, virtually logged right down to Cow Creek. Roseburg BLM took down their sign -- and it's just a blank pullout now.

Also in the Cow Creek watershed is the Formosa Mine, Cottonsnake Timber Sale, and Mr. Wilson Timber Sale. Cow Creek flows into the South Umpqua River at Riddle. Riddle is downstream from all of these projects, and gets its drinking water from Cow Creek.

Clearcuts in the Cow Creek watershed

Poor Cow Creek Watershed

What about fish?

Roseburg BLM had originally wanted to clearcut this sale in 1999. Under the Endangered Species Act, they admitted the sale was Likely to Adversely Affect (LAA) endangered salmon. Soon afterwards, Judge Rothstein stopped most LAA timber sales because they degraded the watershed, which did not comply with the Aquatic Conservation Strategy (ACS) of the Northwest Forest Plan. Roseburg BLM had to withdrawl the Cow Catcher proposal.

But now we are in the middle of the Bush administration's weakening of the ACS and Endangered Species Act (ESA). Roseburg BLM decided to change the exact same "Likely to Adversely Affect" project to a "NOT Likely to Adversely Affect" Coho salmon. This trick will allow Roseburg BLM to further degrade watersheds because the Bush administration is changing the ACS from enforceable standards to an unenforceable wish-list. They are also changing the Endangered Species Act so that consultations on endangered species, such as spotted owls and coho salmon, are "streamlined" (read: rubber-stamped).

In fact, in 1998-99, Roseburg BLM had to drop all clearcutting proposals (which helped them catch up on all the needed thinning projects they should have been prioritizing instead). The courts found that the Northwest Forest Plan simply didn't allow the federal agencies to degrade watersheds further by clearcutting old growth forests. In response, the Bush administration is simply changing the Northwest Forest Plan.

In Roseburg BLM's latest list of upcoming projects, we suddenly see all these old timber sales (nine of them) back on the list -- clearcutting of 2,791 acres of mature and old growth forests, selling 78 mmbf (about 15,600 log truck loads) to the timber industry. If they get away with this, it will be tragic.


The Roseburg Rally . . .

. . . criticized the sale of Cow Catcher and plans to clearcut old growth.

Did you see the news coverage of the rally sponsored by Umpqua Watersheds and the Old Growth Protection Campaign on September 23, 2003 in front of the BLM office? One could hardly miss it, if you were in Roseburg that day or watched southern Oregon news.

It seems our local BLM office is a bit hard of hearing. This sale represents the first old-growth sale proposed in three years out of the Roseburg BLM office. Haven't they figured it out yet? The cutting of old growth is only popular in the mindset of the slow mills left to re-tool from the old days.

Main theme: Stop cutting ( and planning to cut ) mature and old growth forests NOW!

Enjoy some photos of this peaceful demonstration!

On the corner in front of the Roseburg BLM office on 9/23/03.

On the corner in front of the Roseburg BLM office on 9/23/03