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Usal Redwood Forest
Conservation Easement

Positive Findings:
The First Conservation Easement Monitoring Report (2012)

On October 27, 2011, the Redwood Forest Foundation (RFFI) sold a conservation easement on the Usal Redwood Forest to The Conservation Fund (TCF).

Usal Redwood Forest location
Usal Redwood Forest location

Map by The Conservation Fund
This landmark conservation transaction assures that this almost 50,000 acre forest will remain an intact working community forest. The easement prevents subdivision or fragmentation of the property and assures that timber can be sustainably harvested, in perpetuity. It is the responsibility of TCF to monitor the manner in which the forest is being managed by RFFI and their timberland manager, The Campbell Group.

On December 5, 2012, The Conservation Fund submitted their annual monitoring report, which states: "We did not observe any instances of non-conformance with the conservation easement." This positive finding was the result of a monitoring inspection that took place on October 16, 2012.

Usal Redwood Forest, Chimney Rock; photo credit: Richard Gienger

This was a ground inspection by Madison Thomson, The Conservation Fund's Registered Professional Forester in conjunction with Jeff Calvert, CalFire's Stewardship Forester and Forest Legacy Coordinator and Holly Newberger, The Conservation Fund's Office Manager. Robert Ballard, a Campbell Timberland Management Forester was present representing the landowner, the Redwood Forest Foundation, which does business as the Usal Redwood Forest Company.

As part of the monitoring process, The Conservation Fund has access to records of our applications and permits from regulatory agencies, such as CalFire, the Regional Water Control Board, and the Department of Fish and Game. They are provided with all THPs, RWQCB permits, DFG 1603 permits, Restoration Contracts, Scaling Bureau Tickets, Yield Tax records, aerial photographs and other information about the Usal Redwood Forest as deemed necessary.

Highlights of the resulting report include some of the team's activity, observations and review. On the east side of the Highway 1 in the area of highway marker 100, they reviewed pre-commercial thinning.

2012 Pre-commercial thinning; re-planted with redwoods
2012 Pre-commercial thinning; re-planted with redwoods.
Photo courtesy of The Conservation Fund.

After entering the forest on the M&M road, they observed many road upgrades, including new culverts, rolling dips and the removal of inboard ditches.

2012 M&M Road, upgraded road, rolling dip and cut off inboard ditch
2012 M&M Road, upgraded road, rolling dip and cut off inboard ditch.
Photo courtesy of The Conservation Fund.

They observed the Lower Usal Creek Large Woody Debris project, implemented by Christopher Blencowe and funded through the California Department of Fish and Game, Fisheries Restoration Grant Program (FRGP).

2012 North Fork Usal Large Woody Debris Project
2012 North Fork Usal Large Woody Debris Project.
Photo courtesy of The Conservation Fund.

They also observed the Hales Grove rock pit and the Lower Usal (1-12-018 MEN) and Hales Grove (1-11-110 MEN) timber harvests that were in progress. The monitoring found RFFI to be in compliance with the terms of the conservation easement.

2012 Hales Grove THP
2012 Hales Grove THP.
Photo courtesy of The Conservation Fund.

For additional information, including more recent Conservation Easement monitoring reports, see Usal Forest Monitoring Reports.

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