May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29

both classes of trucks are subject
to the same weight limitation. Because of their longer length, STAA
trucks navigating the highway's
tight curves frequently " off-track "
into the opposing traffic lane or
onto the roadway shoulder.
In 2007, Caltrans learned that the
existing roadway could be strategically widened to render it accessible
to STAA trucks, and Caltrans developed the Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project (the
Project) to do just that. The Project
involved slightly widening the roadway and straightening some curves
in certain locations along a onemile stretch of Highway 101, largely
within the Grove. Its purposes were
to accommodate STAA truck travel, improve the safety of Highway
101, and improve the movement
of goods into Humboldt County.
The speed limit would remain unchanged at 35 miles per hour. Caltrans assumed responsibility for obtaining environmental approval for
the Project pursuant to NEPA. Under federal law, the U.S. Secretary
of Transportation is authorized to
enter into a memorandum of understanding, in which a State assumes
" the responsibilities of the Secretary
with respect to one or more highway projects within the State under
the National Environmental Policy
Act of 1969. " 23 U.S.C. ยง 327(a)(2)
(A), (B)(i).

2010 Original
Project Proposal
The original 2010 EA included
extensive analysis of the Project's
environmental effects and efforts to
minimize those effects, developed
in consultation with the California
Department of Parks and Recreation (State Parks). More than 100
	

pages of the 2010 EA were devoted
to analyzing various environmental impacts, such as the effects on
the nearby South Fork Eel River,
the Grove and its recreation facilities, economic growth, traffic, water quality, noise, local plant and
animal species (particularly oldgrowth redwood trees), and protected or threatened species.
Caltrans ultimately determined
that the impacts to the Grove would
be minor and would primarily consist of " tree removal resulting from
cuts and fills that are necessary to
accommodate the highway improvements, " as well as the effect
on trees whose structural root zones
were within the construction area.
Although some trees would be
removed, none of those would be
old-growth redwoods. While construction would occur in the structural root zones of fewer than 80 oldgrowth redwoods, plans were made
to mitigate its effects, including raising the height of the roadbed where
possible to avoid severing tree roots
and using a thinner roadbed material
to allow greater permeability.
In light of those measures, both
the Caltrans arborist (Darin Sullivan) and the arborist hired by Save
the Redwoods League (Dennis
Yniguez) determined that the Project as proposed in 2010 " would not
significantly impact the root health
of the old growth trees adjacent to
the construction. " Caltrans subsequently issued an EA and Finding
of No Significant Impact (FONSI)
for the Project in May 2010.

2010 and 2014 Litigation
In a 2010 lawsuit, Bair claimed
the Caltrans EA/FONSI violated
NEPA. The federal district court
agreed and granted partial summa-

ry judgment to Bair. In so doing, the
district court ordered Caltrans to
undertake additional studies, such
as preparing new maps of each
old-growth redwood tree, its root
health zone and the environmental
impacts to each tree. Caltrans then
revised its analysis accordingly.
After commissioning a tree report from arborist Yniguez, Caltrans issued a 2013 Supplement to
the 2010 EA. Caltrans then took
public comments, responded to
them, and finally issued a NEPA
re-validation for the Project in
January 2014. Caltrans had found
that the 2010 EA and FONSI remained valid. In 2014, Bair again
challenged the re-validated Project,
but Caltrans withdrew the FONSI
in light of an adverse ruling in a
parallel proceeding in the state California Court of Appeal.

2017 Proposal
Following the original issuance
of the EA in 2010, Caltrans had
modified the Project to reduce its
impact, primarily by narrowing the
proposed roadbed (roadway shoulders). The modified Project would
now require the removal of 38 trees,
none of which are old-growth redwoods. Construction would occur
within the structural root zones of
78 old-growth redwood trees, 72 of
which are within the Grove.
Caltrans, once again, retained
arborist Yniguez to evaluate the effects of the revised Project on the
redwoods and to produce two reports summarizing his conclusions.
In general, Yniguez determined
that the Project " would not have
any substantial detrimental effect
on individual old-growth redwoods
or the overall health of the stand of
redwoods in Richardson Grove. "

PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G | M AY 2 02 1 |

Parks & Recreation

29



May 2021 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2021 - Parks & Recreation

May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 1
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 2
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 3
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 4
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 5
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 6
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 7
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 8
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 9
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 10
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 11
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 12
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 13
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 14
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 15
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 16
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 17
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 18
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 19
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 20
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 21
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 22
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 23
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 24
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 25
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 26
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 27
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 28
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 29
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 30
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 31
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 32
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 33
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 34
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 35
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 36
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 37
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 38
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 39
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 40
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 41
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 42
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 43
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 44
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 45
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 46
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 47
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 48
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 49
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 50
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 51
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 52
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 53
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 54
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 55
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - 56
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
May 2021 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com