Wyden-style Clearcut Causes Mudslide on O&C Lands

Wyden-style Clearcut Causes Mudslide on O&C Lands 
Mudslide found by neighboring resident at Buck Rising Timber Sale
(Photo by Francis Eatherington)
Roseburg, OR Feb 27, 2014 
Earlier this week, neighboring landowners discovered a mudslide in the "experimental" Buck Rising clearcut logging project on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Douglas Buck Rising LandslideCounty.  The type of clearcutting used in the project has been the model for US Senator Ron Wyden's plan to double logging levels on O&C lands in Western Oregon.  
“I am frustrated that Senator Wyden wants more clearcutting in my community and in our state,” said neighboring landowner Ann Chamberlain.  "Clearcuts cause mudslides.  We see this everywhere on private logging lands, and Wyden and the BLM should stop making the problem worse.”
Pictures of a Buck Rising clearcut are featured in an anti-clearcutting billboard on I-5 near Eugene.
Neighboring landowners also found a second area that may soon give way and generate another mudslide.  The slides are occurring on moderate slopes, in an area clearcut in 2013 using a controversial logging practice euphemistically called "variable retention regeneration harvest" or “ecoforestry.”  Approximately 70% of the trees in the stand were clearcut, with just a few patches around the edges and in isolated islands left.  The timing of the slide is especially troubling, given that recent rainfall was not outside the norm for the area.
"No matter what you call it, a clearcut is still a clearcut," said Cindy Haws, a landowner and family farmer facing a similar clearcutting proposal in the White Castle forest.  “Clearcuts and mudslides like this damage our rivers and pollute our water, putting farms like mine at risk.”  
Despite its "experimental" status, US Senator Ron Wyden has proposed federal legislation that would mandate this style of clearcutting across approximately one million acres of public land in Western Oregon in order to generate money to bail out county politicians facing budget shortfalls. Wyden's bill overturns key provisions of the Northwest Forest Plan, the National Environmental Policy Act and the Endangered Species Act to permit this aggressive clearcut logging.
Buck_Rising_Chandra_LeGueIn addition, the BLM is copying Buck Rising's clearcut logging practices in a half dozen other logging projects around Western Oregon, including the controversial White Castle forest.  That clearcutting plan has already drawn a legal challenge from the conservation groups Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands.  A group of tree sitters has weathered winter storms in one corner of the White Castle sale in an effort to save a stand of old-growth trees from the chainsaws.  
"Senator Wyden and the BLM should stop trying to resurrect the clearcutting and land abuse of the 1970’s,” concluded Francis Eatherington with Cascadia Wildlands.  “In 2014, we can do better than clearcutting our public lands to bail out county politicians.”