Logging companies are required to file a Timber Harvesting Plan that describes the biodiversity of plant life, acreage, and wildlife of an area meant for harvesting. Cal Fire then approves or rejects the plan within 10 days of receipt. This approval process shields SPI from directly facing charges in court because Cal Fire is ultimately responsible for approving the plan.
Sierra Club and the Battle Creek Alliance are now fighting for legislation that will bar the use of clearcutting altogether.
"[SPI] could minimize clearcutting. The method is not appropriate to today's forests," said Beck. "We are demanding that they make the change to completely stop clearcutting."
A new report by the State Water Resources Control Board regarding SPI is scheduled to be presented at a Board of Forestry hearing on Nov. 9, describing whether or not sediment from the clearcuts is reaching the creeks and harming the valuable salmon recovery project. The report is available on the Board of Forestry website.
"[There has been] a lot of evidence that the logging roads have to do with the sedimentation," said Richard Stapler, deputy secretary of communications at the Natural Resources Agency. "It was brought to our attention by Marily Woodhouse, and is very much worth review."
The review may bring about protections for the Battle Creek watershed, but activists remain focused on legislation to prohibit clearcutting on a broad scale. "Right now the only things valued are the short term profit for the timber industry," said Beck. "There needs to be a change in the way the forests are managed"