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Redwood Forest Foundation

Spring 2015 Newsletter

How We Can Be Outstanding in Our Field
by Mark Welther

When I was 17, I worked on a small Wisconsin farm, and we used to joke that we were "out standing in our field."

Mark Welther
Mark Welther
President and Chief Executive Officer
Redwood Forest Foundation

Today, RFFI is changing the way forestry is practiced in California's redwoods and, with your help, aims to change forestry everywhere. We are outstanding in our forest, but to be successful, we need you to join us!

After summarizing the exciting activity going on in Usal, I'll explain how you (and every like-minded person you know) can get involved.

Biochar: In October, RFFI's long-awaited biochar machine was delivered to the Branscomb mill site. This machine is designed to turn tanoak, Usal's low-value "weed" tree, into a marketable gardening product. Under the guidance of Project Manager Judy Harwood, we began producing high-quality RFFI North Coast Biochar and by March were selling in bulk. Sales continue as we help establish a local market.

Carbon: Through the sale of carbon sequestration credits, RFFI hopes to receive funds that will enable us to leave more trees standing; an important component in our financial strategy for improving Usal Forest health. In November, respected carbon certifier SCS Global audited Usal, a significant step toward registration with the State of California to sell carbon credits. We hope to complete registration before the end of 2015.

FSC Certification: In January, SCS conducted a second Usal audit, this time for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. We are working to achieve the FSC label as a "well run forest" by this spring. RFFI plans to treat FSC as the minimum standard, the type required by our 2011 conservation easement, and then to exceed it in every way we can. In so doing, we can help raise forest management standards and awareness across the landscape beyond RFFI borders.

Forest and Watershed Restoration: In January, Usal was awarded grants for two significant restoration projects. The first is for Standley Creek Phases 5 & 6, the final two phases of our five-year road decommissioning and stream bed restoration project. Standley Creek is one of the most important salmon-bearing tributaries of the South Fork of the Eel River. The second grant is for the Usal Creek Coho Recovery Plan. Completed the Coho Restoration Plan for the South Fork of the Eel - including the identification of projects on Usal Redwood Forest.

Vegetation Management: In 2013, RFFI instituted a voluntary three-year ban on the use of herbicides in Usal to control low-value hardwoods that compete with redwoods. This year marks our second full season of replacing herbicides with much more expensive manual removal methods (see for information).

Forest Management: In 2015, RFFI plans to hire our first staff foresters to work side-by-side with our forest management company and advise the RFFI Board of Directors. Wood Products and Jobs: Our forestry team will move all of these projects forward, while at the same time harvesting seven million board feet of Douglas fir and redwood in 2015 in order to fulfill our financial obligations.


Give Us Your Input - Your opinions matter to us! In late May, as an element of FSC certification, RFFI will post our first-ever Community Input website page, as well as posting our inaugural Forest Management Plan and monitoring reports that can help you learn more about Usal Forest operations. You are invited to send your input directly to me and other RFFI decision-makers.

Buy North Coast Biochar - now available from Willits Soil.

Attend the RFFI Annual Meeting and Barbeque - July 18 at Standish-Hickey Park, Leggett - Make your reservation at and join the feast. Learn about new initiatives and mingle with RFFI leaders and members. Usal tours are planned.

Make a gift to RFFI - A dollar given to RFFI leverages over $10 in results. Your gift of $50, $100, $1,000 or more builds RFFI's capacity to secure grants and engage in innovative freemarket solutions that address natural resource issues, like restoring Usal salmon streams, practicing manual vegetation management, producing biochar and a variety of other forest improvement projects that provide jobs in the woods and in the community. Donate safely online at

Get involved - Help RFFI protect the Usal Forest today and you, too, can be outstanding in your forest!

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Spring 2015 Newsletter
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