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Houston Regional Group - News
Sierra Club Monitors Implementation of Lawsuit Settlement
Brandt Mannchen

On October 11th and 18th the Houston Sierra Club visited Sam Houston National Forest (SHNF) and walked part of the Boswell Creek area with the U.S. Forest Service (FS) to monitor implementation of a lawsuit regarding proposed logging on thousands of acres of national forest. The lawsuit, called Sierra Club v. Jacobs, includes the Boswell Creek Healthy Forest Initiative Project and the Compartments 28 and 37 Project.

Since the final approval of the settlement agreement over a year ago the Houston Sierra Club has gone out into the field with FS personnel about one-half dozen times to review various settlement agreement provisions.

In October, some of the settlement agreement provisions that were monitored include the requirements for:

  1. A primary buffer zone of 50 feet on both sides of the Lone Star Hiking Trail (LSHT) in Compartments 70 and 72 in the Boswell Creek area (also called the Four-Notch area) where no thin logging will occur.
  2. A secondary buffer zone of another 50 feet where thin logging will be limited to 80-100 feet of basal area (called variable basal area thinning).
  3. The marking of, protection of, and the minimization of logging damage for oak, hickory, red maple, magnolia, dogwood, sassafras, winged elm, holly, and blackgum trees 5.0 inches in diameter or greater.
  4. Marking trees that will be logged with paint on the sides of those trees that face away from the LSHT.
  5. Utilization of hardwood clumps and individual trees to increase variety in Pine/Hardwood communities.

Letters were written on October 12, 2001 and October 19, 2011 by the Houston Sierra Club to Mr. Warren Oja, District Ranger of SHNF, to document the results of the monitoring. At several sites the primary buffer zone was found to be less than the 50 feet that is required. The Houston Sierra Club requested that this inconsistency with the settlement agreement be corrected. Other than this inconsistency the monitoring found that the FS was in compliance with all settlement agreement provisions that have been implemented at this time.

The Houston Sierra Club will continue its citizen monitoring of FS implementation of the lawsuit settlement agreement.

November 2011

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Last updated:  11/21/2011.   Content 1999-2011 by the Sierra Club.