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Unlike many wood species, redwood is harvested
primarily from privately-owned land. This makes redwood lumber companies the guardians of
the birds, animals and fish that live on their property. It is a role that they take
seriously. In fact, the industry employs more biologists than foresters.
An example is The Pacific Lumber
Companys (PALCOs) unique and successful fisheries program which has won a
Wildlife Stewardship Award from the American Forest & Paper Association. PALCO is
working in voluntary cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game, the
Humboldt Fish Action Council, the California Conservation Corps, as well as other groups .
So far, PALCOs program has released
more than 750,000 salmon and steelhead into streams, and it has opened up more than 30
miles of in-stream habitat for migrating fish.
PALCO fisheries biologist explains,
Since the early 1990s, we have been fertilizing and incubating fish eggs at
our Yager fish hatchery. The salmon and steelhead are then placed in rearing ponds, and
most are released into local streams when they are between six and nine inches long.
Habitat is also carefully monitored and
evaluated. This process includes watershed analysis, biological sampling, and identifying
potential erosion and sediment problems and ways to prevent adverse environmental impacts.
Foresters have learned from experts how to
harvest trees in order to minimize erosion on the hillsides and to keep streams clear of
Much work has also been done to stabilize
banks, install stream structures to create spawning pools, dredge existing silt and
construct fish ladders to help salmon and steelhead return to their spawning beds.
A regional director of the National Marine
Fisheries Service recently inspected the program and enthused, This is the way to
go. We have to get beyond seeing it as loggers vs. fishermen vs. government. In
fact, the Service has made PALCOs program a model for other communities.
Permits for logging are scrutinized by the
State to ensure that wildlife is adequately protected. The PALCO fisheries program is only
one example of how the redwood industry has taken regulations far beyond the legal
requirements to create widely-praised, long- term habitat conservation programs.
this page last updated: April 02, 2004