This map illustrates the environmental impacts of Caltrans’ plan to widen Hwy 101 through Richardson Grove State Park, in Humboldt County, California.
UC Berkeley Professor and registered forester, Joe McBride, concluded 108 trees would sustain damage including fatal damage to ancient redwoods. Substantial irreparable damage would occur to the trees in the project area as a result of the proposed project. “It is my opinion that this would, in turn cause negative impacts to the overall health of the forest in the vicinity of the Project area.”
The importance of the old growth redwood stand, in view of the important heritage of the redwood forest, requires special consideration before projects that would impact the stand are allowed to go forward.
Marbled Murrelets are listed as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act, and threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act. Populations in California are especially vulnerable to extinction due to limited nesting habitat, lack of preferred prey and significant threats from predators attracted by human development. Richardson Grove is Federally Listed Marbled Murrelet Critical Habitat. Caltrans failed to survey for murrelets. Instead, the agency proposes to conduct a survey for these sensitive birds only after construction is completed. Construction is scheduled to take place during the height of the murrelet breeding season.
Linking the forest to the sea, marbled murrelets hunt fish in the ocean and nest in old growth forests. With small pointed wings, murrelets dive underwater in pursuit of fish and then fly inland at very high speeds delivering food to their nestlings. The pre-dawn flights into the forest can take the birds many miles from the sea, sometimes over 30 miles. Only very old trees, with wide moss covered limbs or broken tops are used for nesting.
This giant, hollow redwood, famously known as the Bat Tree, is a maternity roost for a colony of female Yuma bats and their babies. If disturbed, the mothers are likely to abandon the roost and their young. The solitary males are not seen near the maternity colony. These bats are efficient feeders, flying over the Eel River and eating their fill of insects each evening. The Bat Tree is one of 86 trees proposed to have its roots excavated and cut.
This one-mile stretch contains some of the last 3% of old growth coast redwoods,
sequoia sempervirens, California’s State Tree.