News

SEA LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS

The Creek Fires:  An arsonist set five fires along Clear Creek Road on June 25 resulting in fires from several miles west of Highway 273 to the Richard W. Curry Shasta County Landfill west of Cloverdale Road.  At the Clear Creek Bridge, it raced up the BLM land across from Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve parking lot. It took out a footbridge at Horsetown and burned some of the area that burned in the 2013 arson caused Cloverdale fire.  Some areas of the fire weren’t extremely hot and many of the trees will survive including blue and interior live oaks as well as a few gray pines.  West of Cloverdale Road to the landfill, almost everything burned and it looks pretty desolate, but a few blue and interior live oaks will make it.

Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve is a supporter of Shasta Environmental Alliance and is a small non-profit that regularly leads fieldtrips at the Preserve covering topics such as birds, butterflies, plants, fish and aquatic insects.  Board member Ray Pfister said they plan to apply for grants to pay for the bridge and restoration work.  You can help this all volunteer organization by sending $25, $35, $50 or more to help them continue their environmental educational work.  Horsetown Clear Creek Preserve, PO Box 991183, Redding, CA 96099 or on their website at horsetownhccp@gmail.com.  You can also help them working on their trails on National Public Lands Day in September.  This group had a large part in persuading BLM to start developing trails along Clear Creek about 25 years ago.

Highway 299 West at Whiskeytown NRA to be improved.
CalTrans has sent out public notices seeking comments on its project to widen and straighten a few areas of Highway 299W through Whiskeytown National Recreation Area from the French Gulch turnoff to the Visitor’s Center.  SEA may not be commenting on this as the Park Service will be involved and advising as the project is developed.  They are very protective of their resources.

Dollar General Store Proposed for South Redding
Dollar General Store and fast food restaurant development proposed for Cedars Road and Highway 273 along Olney Creek.  This is the vacant lot on the west side of Highway 273 where South Bonnyview hits Highway 273 and Cedars Road.  SEA will be commenting on the project recommending the large valley oaks be preserved.  This will be in the 100-year flood plain of Olney Creek and after looking at the hydrology study we may be commenting on that aspect.  Sierra Pacific has an approved subdivision upstream of the project on Branstetter Road along Olney Creek.

Sacramento Drive Subdivision
SEA has sent in written comments to Redding Planning Department recommending the retention of large valley oaks on a small subdivision on Sacramento Drive, Redding.  One tree has a diameter of about 48 inches and others are about 36 inches in diameter.

Churn Creek Market Place, worse than we thought.
Many of you can remember the forest of oak trees along Churn Creek Road which was recently clearcut with only three trees saved from the chain saw.  It is even worse than that!  SEA observed that equipment was operating under the dripline of two of the two blue oaks left standing and required fencing was not placed 10 feet out from the edge of the dripline, but was just a fence about 10 feet square, which is not enough to protect the root zone.  Photos and a complaint was sent to the Redding Planning Manager and he responded that the trees were not protected by the Use Permit or Mitigated Negative Declaration and that the developer is under no obligation to protect or save the trees and they could be cut down at will.  A year ago, when I had talked to the Planner, he told me that he had saved three of the blue oaks.  In actuality it was just an informal request to the developer to save the trees, but they can be cut at anytime and for any reason.  I looked at the Use Permit and Negative Declaration and they do not have to be saved. So much for Tree City USA Redding’s great Tree Management Ordinance.

Costco River Crossing Market Place.  The formal deadline for submitting comments on the draft EIR is over, but you can still submit comments, just make sure you CC to all City Council Members as they can still influence Costco and the Planning Department.  Send comments to kmanuel@cityofredding.org

Dignity Health North State Pavilion.  Dignity Health is planning on building a large health complex near Henderson Open Space next to E. Cypress Ave. and behind the old Raley’s shopping center on Hartnell Ave.  The City is now preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Report which will take a few months before it is open to comment.  One of the major environmental issues is placing an additional parking lot in the Sacramento River floodplain.  Previously the proposed parking area was a lumber mill and later a concrete plant.  SEA is opposed to this parking lot because it continues the City’s encroachment on the riparian areas of the Sacramento River and it will add pollutants to the river.  The complex will also include a four story building near the river.

The trees and shrubs along the Sacramento River are an important part of the aquatic food web from Redding to the San Francisco Bay.  When leaves and trees fall into the river they provide nutrients to bacteria, fungi and various insects and on up the food chain to our salmon and steelhead trout.  Keswick and Shasta Dam have shut off much of this food source. For too long the City has often made exceptions to preserving important riparian areas along the river.  Lack of knowledge (or concern) of the ecology of riparian habitats has contributed to the continued degradation of our riparian areas.

Kayak Launch site at Henderson Open Space:  Redding Community Services is proposing to build a kayak launch site on the river near Cypress Street bridge including a gravel road to the launch area through a grove of Fremont cottonwood trees.  This road will be in the floodplain and riparian area.  SEA supporting organization Streams and Greenways Alliance (SAGA) is opposed to the proposed location, because of it goes through a grove of trees and is an unsafe launching site for inexperienced kayakers. It supports using an alternate site via a gravel access road for City crews and mosquito abatement trucks.  SEA has not taken a position on this at the time.

Proposed New Trails and Pedestrian Bridges at Henderson Open Space.  Shasta Western Resources Conservation District (SWRCD) will be building some new trails and pedestrian bridges at Henderson Open Space as soon as the get their final permits from governmental agencies. These trails are south of the proposed Dignity Health Project and are unrelated to it.  They have all contracts and grants ready to go and can start building as soon as they get the required permits.

Previous trail work by an unrelated contractor resulted in the inadvertent weed whacking of as many as 200 native plants which had been planted by volunteers in previous restoration work not to mention a large elderberry shrub and a huge native vine, California greenbriar sprawling up a concrete tower of the historical remains of a hydro-electric plant.  The restoration plants were donated by California Native Plant Society, Shasta Chapter.  SWRCD’s experience in building trails as well as their knowledge and concern about native plants should prevent mistakes like these.

Donations to SEA:  You can now donate to Shasta Environmental Alliance through our website at www.ecoshasta.org.  Please consider a donation of $20 to $100 as we have a button on our website now, or you can mail donations to SEA, P.O. Box 990027, Redding, CA 96099.

Thank you to Bea Curry, Wintu Audubon and Shasta Group of Sierra Club for their very generous donations.

Volunteers:  We could use someone to setup a Facebook site and manage it.

Upcoming films on water issues:  We are working with Whole Earth and Watershed Festival to show several more films on water issues.

Redding City Council Election Forum:  We are planning on conducting a candidates’ forum for the upcoming Redding City Council election.  This should be in late October.  Details soon.

Outdoorsman RYAN ZINKE:  Do you want to get an idea of plans Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has for our public lands besides mining and oil drilling.  Below is a link to a 60 second You Tube video that was in a Department of Interior PSA with ideas about “new technology” for public lands.  Start your engines.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N3ikzR5K6sU