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2013 Annual Update

Annual Update

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2013 Annual Update

Usal Redwood Forest Restoration
by Richard Gienger, RFFI Board and
NOAA "Environmental Hero of the Year"

Our commitment to restoring the essential relationships, values and qualities that characterize healthy forestlands and watersheds is a keystone for both RFFI and the Usal Redwood Forest. The Redwood Region in general and the Usal Redwood Forest specifically have had a tragic history of damage - some irreparable, and some that will take many decades or even centuries to repair. RFFI is addressing the difficult legacy problems and taking steps to correct what's correctible. Our plans are always guided by the long-term big picture, but the aim of our implementation schedule is to get restoration measures underway as soon as possible.

The Usal map (below) shows current restoration efforts and those that have been underway for the last seven years, beginning with the Standley Creek restoration. This project sprang from a partnership of Hawthorne, Campbell Timberland Management, Inc., the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Pacific Watershed Associates and Trout Unlimited. The general approach of watershed evaluation followed by restoration prescriptions is being incrementally applied to the whole of the Usal Redwood Forest. Initially focused on adverse road impacts, the evaluation is now being expanded to include riparian and other interconnected landscape and wildlife attributes. This is an intensive and very expensive effort; e.g., the Standley Creek watershed restoration, now about half completed, has already cost over two million dollars. Please visit RFFI's 2013 restoration report for photos and descriptions of ongoing and future projects.

Your contributions to RFFI and the Usal Redwood Forest are essential to support a robust and comprehensive restoration effort. It is acutely needed for the recovery of the social, economic, and environmental fabric so vital to the future.

Anderson Creek, 2010
Anderson Creek: The very large Chinook salmon redd from the center to the lower right hand corner of the photo contains more than 3,000 eggs. Hundreds of salmon and steelhead spawn each year in this stream in the South Fork Eel River watershed. This spot is about a mile upstream from an enormous logjam that blocked fish passage prior to removal / modification by hand. See RFFI's 2013 restoration report for before and after photos.

RFFI Founder, Supporter and Leader Donald S. Kemp Encourages Others to Help Sustain RFFI

Don Kemp "To me, the RFFI model holds the potential to have a transformative impact throughout the Redwood region and far beyond. Everyone in the Redwood region recognizes that the practice of forestry must change. The financial pressures on property owners push them into practices that cannot be sustained.

The RFFI model offers an alternative; one in which all of the forest's products, not just its timber, are valued and managed in ways that are more sustainable. Figuring out the best ways to implement these new forest practices will take time and patience as new approaches are tried and given time to prove or disprove themselves.

This is why I want to find ways to support RFFI over time - to help them develop the capacity to keep up their work over time. A recurring donation program permits me to do this. I can set up a modest donation that does not impose a burden on me and that I can sustain over time. If RFFI can develop large numbers of these modest regular donations, it will have the dependable cash flow that they need to carry out their important mission over time."

RFFI has recently initiated an online option for making recurring donations. Please visit our Donate page or email to set up a recurring donation.

Don Kemp is a long-term supporter of RFFI and other organizations on the coast. Mr. Kemp has served as a past President of the Board and Executive Director of RFFI. He and his father, Edgar B Kemp, Jr., were honored as RFFI Founders at the Founder's Dedication in June 2013.

A Charitable IRA Rollover Is A Great Way to Give to RFFI
by Lin Barrett, an ongoing supporter of RFFI and other community projects

I donate to RFFI every year because I believe in their work and want to support an effort whose impact and scale are significant and enduring.

Steelhead in Usal Creek This year, I decided that a Charitable IRA Rollover was the best way for me to support RFFI. A Charitable IRA Rollover permits donors who are over 70 ½ years to transfer their required minimum distribution to a non-profit organization (501(c)3). While I cannot claim a tax deduction for this donation, I can use it to reduce my adjusted gross income, which lowers my income taxes more than a deduction would. Charitable IRA Rollover gifts must be sent directly to RFFI from the administrator of your IRA plan, or a check made out to RFFI from the IRA plan can be sent to you to deliver to RFFI.

This method of making a donation is not suitable for everyone. But it can be a mutually beneficial way for some folks to support their favorite organizations. This method is allowable by the IRS this year. Individuals can make direct charitable contributions in amounts of up to $100,000 per year to organizations like RFFI from a traditional or Roth IRA. RFFI encourages you to discuss this option with your attorney or financial consultant. To learn more about how to make such a transfer to RFFI, please visit email or call (707) 937-4808.

President & CEO Report
Mark Welther

Mark Welther
Mark Welther
President & CEO
Redwood Forest Foundation (RFFI) has an opportunity to do something special and influence the way forestry is practiced across the country.

RFFI was founded in 1997 with the mission of acquiring, protecting, restoring and managing community redwood forests to restore forest health and bring the long-term benefits back to local communities. Our first major acquisition was the 50,000 acre Usal Forest, purchased in 2007 and protected in 2011 from over-harvesting, subdivision and development by a conservation easement.

Now, RFFI stands at a crossroads. As a small nonprofit with a large debt, we face difficult decisions: should we pay our debt by employing even-aged forestry practices, aggressively harvesting conifers while applying herbicides to fight back hardwoods that currently dominate our precious young redwoods? This traditional method is cheap, easy and profitable.

We at the Redwood Forest Foundation, however, are dedicated to sustainable forest management, moving as quickly as possible to uneven-aged forestry and reducing or eliminating the use of herbicides while restoring habitat for threatened species. That's why RFFI's board agreed in 2013 to a three-year moratorium on the use of herbicides while we experiment with alternative vegetation management.

In 2014, we will pilot a biochar demonstration project to help establish marketable uses for excess biomass, apply for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification and submit eleven timber harvest plans. RFFI will continue stream restoration with our partners on Usal Creek and the tributaries of the South Fork of the Eel River. We will also work with federal agencies on Safe Harbor Agreements for the protection of threatened Northern Spotted Owls and Steelhead and Coho salmon.

How quickly we can move down this sustainable road depends largely on you. Community support now is essential for RFFI to take the financial pressure off the land and experiment with new forestry practices.

We are at a critical juncture - please contribute to RFFI today. Every gift hastens the day when we will be able to return benefits from our thriving redwood forest to our communities.

Warren DeSmidt

Warren DeSmidt,
RFFI Volunteer of the Year

Warren DeSmidt said, "I never thought that I would see this kind of progressive action, around our forests, in my lifetime.. we have a chance to do business and treat our forests and livelihoods in a different way, one that respects people and the environment."

Judy Harwood

Judy Harwood,
RFFI Volunteer of the Year

Judy Harwood, a consultant who heads RFFI's biochar project, said, "The Redwood Forest Foundation has created a model of community-based forestry that truly integrates environment, economy and equity in a way that creates community excitement and a desire to help make their vision a reality."

Jeff Hedin

Jeff Hedin,
RFFI Volunteer of the Year
Jeff Hedin, who is a neighbor to the Usal Forest, reports that for the first time since 1978 he has heard Spotted Owl hooting in the McCoy creek tract.

RFFI Says Thank You To:
  • The Giles W. and Elise G. Mead Foundation for their continuing support;
  • Cathryn Heart Living Trust for a legacy gift;
  • Our Challenge Grant Donors and all whose gifts helped us meet the Challenge;
  • You, our many donors and volunteers, whose generosity helps us keep Working Community Forests.

RFFI Awarded $75,000 Grant

RFFI is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a two year, $75,000 Conservation Innovation Grant from the National Resource Conservation Services (California) to expand the Biochar Demonstration Project and to provide information and training to NRCS contacts and other landowners.

Plant a Redwood Now
A Green Gift for any Occasion

In Honor Of

RFFI will plant young redwood trees in honor of a friend or loved one in a redwood forest in northern California. The Honoree receives an attractive 8" x 11" certificate suitable for framing with a customized message acknowledging you as the donor. These enduring gifts are suitable for any occasion. Visit Plant a Redwood Now.

Working Community Forests

Thank you for your past support! Check out the map below. Your support has leveraged resources to allow RFFI to conserve and restore the Usal Redwood Forest.

RFFI needs your support to continue to practice a high level of forest stewardship. You can help us restore the forest and its watersheds. Please be a part of keeping this Working Community Forest working.

Donate online, or mail your gift to:
PO Box 12
Mendocino, CA 95460

Click to enlarge
Usal Redwood Forest 2013 restoration project map
Usal Redwood Forest 2013 restoration project map

Redwood Forest Foundation, Inc.
Board of Directors
  • Kathy Moxon, Chair
  • Candace Skarlatos, Treasurer
  • John Rogers, Secretary
  • Mike Balok
  • Richard Gienger
  • Greg Giusti, ex officio
  • Heidi Knott Gundling
  • Kendall Smith

RFFI Board & staff at Founders Grove
RFFI Board & staff and Campbell staff at Founders Grove

Credits: Front Cover Photo: Frances Freyberg
Usal Forest Map: Karen Youngblood CTM, LLC.
Other Photos: John Birchard, Mitzi Rider, Richard Gienger.


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