Tonka Timber Sale on Kupreanof Island

Following this letter is a description of this controversial timber sale.

Petersburg Pilot -Letters to the Editor

April 4, 2013 | Vol. 39, No. 14 No EIS done on Tonka

To the Editor:

The March 28, 2013 Petersburg Pilot article on the Tonka log sorting and storage facility did not inform the public with all of the facts. On March 28, 2012 the Tonka Timber Sale FEIS was released and the Record of Decision (ROD) was signed which provided for the construction of a new Sort Yard of 5 acres. On April of 2012 the USFS performed a Change Analysis to expand the area another 11 acres which now total 16 acres (a 16 acre loss of productive oldgrowth, deer winter habitat, and an important wildlife corridor).

This U.S.F.S Change Analysis has also provided an additional timber harvest of 137 acres of productive old growth and loss of critical deer winter habitat. Additionally this Change Analysis now mentions 112 streams that were not properly identified. There was no environmental impact study done for this Change Analysis because the USFS Ranger and the Supervisor deemed no further analysis required.

The R.O.D. clearly states that (1) “activities authorized by this ROD will be monitored to ensure that they are carried out as planned and described in the FEIS” and (2) ”Resource effects will not be greater than these described in the FEIS” and (3) “Proposed changes to the authorized project actions or newinformation will be subject to the required documents” (NEPA, NFMA, TTRA, Section 810 of ANILCA).

The public had no opportunity to respond to this Change Analysis before implementation nor has the USFS adhered to the City of Petersburg’s letter of support (December 7, 2011) which asked the USFS to (1) “provide fish habitat and wildlife protection” and (2) “not further reduce the tree canopy for winter deer habitat”.

The USFS has conducted a breach of faith upon our community and the public with their actions. My conversations upon deer winter habitat and subsistence issues are prompted by USFS continual disregard for these values which generations of our community are entitled.

David B. Randrup

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TCS, along with Greenpeace, GSACC and Cascadia Wildlands submitted comments on the Tonka timber sale, located on the Lindenburg Peninsula on Kupreanof Island. Despite the points raised, the Forest Service chose Alternative 4, clearcutting 38.5 MMBF.  Units were dropped from the sale that are included in Roadless.

The Lindenburg Peninsula has already been heavily impacted by previous timber sales.  As a result, deer harvests have crashed.  Additional clear cutting will further decrease deer numbers.

The Forest Service is holding community meetings in a show of achieving consensus.  However, community meetings do not satisfy the concerns of stakeholders; true consensus for this particular sale would protections for the Pothole, a protected cove in Wrangell Narrows, home to significant numbers of Dungeness crab.  The Forest Service is applying for a permit that would allow them to store  logs in Pothole. If the State does approve the permit for log storage, crab fishermen will lose an important crab fishing area.

TCS will appeal the Record of Decision.

 

 

 

 

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