Archive for February, 2010

Orleans Fuels Reduction: An EPIC Perspective

Thursday, February 25th, 2010
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OCFUkayla

Kimberly Baker inspecting logging within the Orleans Community Fuels Reduction project.

I work with the Klamath Forest Alliance and EPIC to protect and defend our North Coast Watersheds. Our organizations strongly support the Traditional Ecological Knowledge and cultural management techniques of the Tribes. This is a very brief rendition of a very heated story. The Orleans “Community Fuels Reduction” Project (OCFR) is a tangled mess of broken assurances. (more…)


Feinstein’s Water Grab Would Threaten Salmon Population

Friday, February 19th, 2010
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Send an email to Senator Barbara Boxer asking her to oppose Diane Feinstein’s Water Grab Plan that Will Seriously Threaten North Coast Salmon Populations

chinook tinyOver the last week, EPIC has been working with fishing and conservation groups across Northern California and the Pacific Northwest to build resistance to California Senator Dianne Feinstein’s proposal to suspend Endangered Species Act protections for endangered salmon and other wildlife in California’s Sacramento Delta. Senator Feinstein’s proposal would send more water from Northern California’s Trinity and Sacramento Rivers to the Westlands Water District, despite the harm to crashing salmon populations and the people and ecosystems that depend on healthy fisheries. (more…)


Panther Fire Salvage Project

Friday, February 12th, 2010
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Shep is looking down a steep hill within a proposed unit of the Panther Salvage project just above Norcross campground.

1/8/13 EPIC fought the Panther Fire “Salvage” Timber Sale all the way to the 9th Circuit Court of Law in Sacramento, but despite our best effort logging moved forward.

The Panther Fire started from a lightning storm in July 2008.   A combination of topography and weather resulted in a run that engulfed 13,000 acres, in a single day, October 1st.

The Happy Camp District of the Klamath National Forest logged 254 acres of steep post-fire hillsides within the Elk Creek watershed.  Elk Creek is listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act and is also a Key Watershed, which is critical habitat for salmon recovery.  Despite the impaired nature, the creek is home to Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, resident trout and the Pacific lamprey.  All of these species rely on the streams within Elk Creek for all life stages (migration, spawning, incubation, rearing, and holding).  The Elk Creek Watershed is extremely sensitive to disturbance and has been affected by too many roads and intensive timber harvest.

Logging took place in Late Successional Reserves, areas set aside to protect and enhance old growth forest structure and species; in Riparian Reserves, waterways and unstable areas and within Recreational River boundaries.

The Panther post-fire logging project is within Critical Habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl a species listed as “Threatened”  under the federal Endangered Species Act. There is overwhelming scientific evidence that northern spotted owls roost and forage in post-fire habitats, and owl territories with severely burned stands in the Panther fire area may continue to be occupied by owls.  Fire-killed trees provide perch sites and future nest sites.  Recent scientific evidence found that survival and reproduction depended upon significant patches of high severity post-fire habitat because it is suitable for a key prey species, the Dusky-footed wood rat.  This habitat is not mimicked by logging as proposed by the Panther project, which would remove snags and prevent recruitment of large downed logs.

Forest visitors regularly use the area for many reasons including the Sulphur Springs and Norcross Campgrounds and to access the Bear Lake and Bear Creek Trailheads, the Kelsey National Recreational Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, which lead to the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

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Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Large snags on steep slopes
Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Looking out into the Marbled Mountains
Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panther Pre-Salvage Logging

Panoramic Viewscape
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Wet weather logging next to Elk Creek
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Denuded hillsides
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Denuded Riparian Reserves
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Dedunded Riparian Reserve
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panoramic Viewscape
Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Panther Post-Salvage Logging

Rutting and erosion

 

 

6/3/10 Once again, the Klamath National Forest has proposed a heavy handed post-fire logging project in the Elk Creek watershed, amidst controversy. This project, the Panther Fire Salvage represents the third attempt the Happy Camp District has organized a sanitary-sounding plan to log within the Panther fire area. If approved, the Forest Service would give the thumbs up to log 536 acres of steep post-fire hillsides right above the Norcross campground, a popular recreational destination. The fire itself started from a natural ignition during a lightning storm in July, 2008.   A combination of topography and weather resulted in a run that engulfed 13,000 acres, in a single day, October 1st.

In the days of recovery, when soils are sensitive and young seedlings are emerging in their natural cycle, the Forest Service planned to remove large snags in what they continue to call “restoration.” This type of logging not only threatens future forest health through commercial logging on steep slopes and could impact critical habitat for decimated coho and chinook salmon,  it also could undermine the benefit of fire on this fire-dependent landscape.

Please take a moment and submit a comment letter to Patty Granthum and Ken Harris, who could turn this project around and address the critical issues within their management areas. Also, it really helps if you take the extra two minutes and customize your comments to include your personal reasons for opposing destructive post-fire salvage logging projects like this one.

Some legal reasons why this project should be stopped:

The Panther Salvage project is within the steep slopes of Elk Creek Watershed, which is listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act.  It is also a key Watershed, which is critical habitat for salmon recovery.  Despite the impaired nature, the creek is home to Coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, resident trout and the Pacific lamprey.  All of these species rely on the streams within Elk Creek for all life stages (migration, spawning, incubation, rearing, and holding).  The Elk Creek Watershed is extremely sensitive to disturbance and has been affected by too many roads and intensive timber harvests.

Logging is proposed in “Late Successional Reserves,” (areas set aside to protect and enhance old growth forests and species), in “Riparian Reserves,”(waterways and unstable areas), Roadless Areas and within Recreational River boundaries.

The Panther post-fire logging project is within critical habitat for the northern spotted owl (a species listed as “Threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act). There is overwhelming scientific evidence that northern spotted owls roost and forage in post-fire habitats, and owl territories with severely burned stands in the Panther fire area may continue to be occupied by owls.  Fire-killed trees provide perch sites and future nest sites.   Recent scientific evidence found that survival and reproduction depended upon significant patches of high severity post-fire habitat because it is suitable for a key prey species, the Dusky-footed wood rat.  This habitat is not mimicked by logging as proposed by the Panther project, which would remove snags and prevent recruitment of large downed logs.

EPIC’s ongoing campaign to educate the public on why forests need fires includes fighting bad projects like the Panther, and working with the agencies as much as possible to prevent bad, post-fire logging and promote plantation thinning and other remediating techniques like prescribed fire.

Forest visitors regularly use the area for many reasons including the Sulphur Springs and Norcross Campgrounds and to access the Bear Lake and Bear Creek Trailheads, the Kelsey National Recreational Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail, which lead to the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

Click here to send a letter to Forest Service representatives telling them you oppose the destructive project.

 

2/12/10 The Happy Camp District of the Klamath National Forest is planning to log 254 acres of steep post-fire hillsides. The hillsides were burned during the Panther Fire started during a lightning storm in July 2008. A combination of topography and weather resulted in a run that engulfed 13,000 acres, in a single day, on October 1, 2008. (more…)


EPIC and Allies Intend to Sue to Protect Pacific Fisher

Thursday, February 11th, 2010
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PACIFICFARCATA, CA – The Environmental Protection and Information Center (EPIC), the Center for Biological Diversity, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Sierra Forest Legacy filed a notice of intent to sue the Department of the Interior last week, for its failure to protect the Pacific fisher. The fisher is a relative to the mink and otter with populations in northwest California and southwestern Oregon as well as the Sierra Nevada. (more…)


EPIC Contributes to Forest & River News

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
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seiad-creekIn an effort to contribute to the Trees Foundation family of participating organizations, EPIC authored two articles for their upcoming Forest and River News this month. Read sneak preview excerpts from the stories by Kerul Dyer and Scott Greacen.

Northwest California’s National Forests in the Big Picture by Scott Greacen

A decade into the 21st century, the US Forest Service is only beginning to face the challenges that nearly overwhelmed it in the 20th. The tension between competing desires to exploit western forests for immediate gain or to protect them to provide for long-term sustainability first drove Teddy Roosevelt to create the national forest system to secure both forests and key sources of clean, abundant water. But following World War II, the national forests became the focus of an enormous logging and road-building boom.

By the 1970s, the timber extraction boom had begun to create busts for wildlife and water, with salmon populations crashing and serious questions being raised about the long-term viability and desirability of plantation forestry on the public landscape. The reforms that followed, including laws like the National Forest Management Act (NFMA), sought to mitigate but not to challenge the fundamental premise of “multiple-use” management – that the public forests could continue to support functional, productive ecosystems, endless recreational opportunities, and a timber program that would, not incidentally, pay to build and maintain a road network ten times larger than the interstate highway system.

Today, Northwest California’s four national forests offer a particularly compelling case study of both the risks of continuing down the path of least resistance – of trying to pretend that we can have our cake and eat it too – as well as the potential rewards of setting a new course for the Forest Service, one that focuses on the restoration and protection of ecosystems for the critical services they provide, including clean water, biodiversity, and climate stability.

The Obama administration has a critical opportunity on this front to take actions today that could set us collectively on a better course, and so save a great deal of pain in the future. Unfortunately, there is little evidence that the new administration is paying much attention to the national forest system as such. Today’s opportunities could too easily become tomorrow’s regrets. …to be continued

Navigating the Timber Harvest Plan Process

by Kerul Dyer and Rob Diperna

Looking out over the hills of the Northcoast region, the expansive patchwork of clearcuts and young tree plantations mark a stark contrast from the tiny patches of preserved old growth redwood forests within parks and the Headwaters Preserve. Private timber operators logged for years without regulation, and nearly destroyed the integrity of forest ecosystems for all of the species that depend on them. Since the 1970’s local community activists and EPIC have worked to support better logging practices and provide habitat protection in our region, by monitoring industrial timber operations through the Timber Harvest Plan (THP) process.

While the California Department of Forestry and Fire ‘s (CalFire) process for reviewing logging plans can be daunting at first glance, improvements in access to information, online mapping tools and published opinions can help people interested in monitoring THPs participate easier than ever before. To quickly find information about THPs online, check out thptrackingcenter.org. This website offers summaries of all THPs submitted to Cal Fire, with interactive maps and links to Cal Fire documents.

(more…)


Del Norte County Encourages Illegal Off-Roading in State Park

Monday, February 1st, 2010
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An example of one of the signs the County of Del Norte has put up around Tolowa Dunes State Park.

An example of one of the signs the County of Del Norte has put up around Tolowa Dunes State Park and the Lake Earl Wildlife Area.

Take Action Now! Send a letter to California State Parks and the Department of Fish and Game.

It looks like the County of Del Norte likes to disregard the law and play by its own rules. A series of signs designating county roads as combined use—allowing both cars and off highway vehicles (OHVs)—have been placed within the Pacific Shores subdivision providing easy access to adjacent Tolowa Dunes State Park and the Lake Earl Wildlife Area north of Crescent City, California. (more…)


Rebirth of Environmentalism Book Signing

Monday, February 1st, 2010
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rebirthPlease join EPIC Friday, February 19 at 7 p.m. at Northtown Books in Arcata, to hear excerpts from Doug Bevington’s new book, The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Grassroots Organizing from the Spotted Owl to the Polar Bear. Admission is free and donations are welcome. (more…)


Eye on Green Diamond: Week 2

Monday, February 1st, 2010
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GDclearcut2Among the trends being born out in Green Diamond’s 2010 Timber Harvest Plans so far, the use of the over sized clearcuts proves most glaring.  So far in 2010, Green Diamond has filed five THP’s containing seven oversized clearcut units.  The Forest Practice Rules restrict the size of clearcuts to 20 acres for ground-based yarding, and 30 acres for cable or other yarding system.  Green Diamond may however propose over-sized units if justified in the plan and approved by Cal Fire during  THP Review.

THP 1-10-001 in Maple Creek proposes Unit B as an oversized clearcut of 23 acres ground-based yarding.  This plan was approved on 3/26/2010 by CalFire with the oversized unit included as proposed.

THP 1-10-011 in the Headwaters of Little River proposes two oversized clearcut units.  Unit A proposes 22 acres of ground-based clearcut, while Unit D proposes 21 acres of ground-based clearcut.  Green Diamond justifies these oversized units by potentially utilizing the option of shovel yarding.  However, shovel yarding is still classified as a ground-based yarding operation in the rules, thus these units are oversized.  This plan is currently open for public comment.

THP 1-10-014 in the Headwaters of Little River proposes Unit B as a 33-acre ground-based yarding clearcut.  This giant ground-based clearcut unit constitutes over a third of the 88 total clearcut acres proposed in this plan.  This plan is still open to public comment.

THP 1-10-016 sits on Berry Ridge above the Mad River.  This plan contains two oversized clearcut units.  Unit A is a 22.5 acre tractor yarded clearcut.  Unit C is a 28 acre tractor yarded clearcut.  These units comprise 50 of the 59 total clearcut acres under this plan.  This plan is still open to public comment.

THP 1-10-017 in Maple Creek proposes Unit  C as  a 31.5 acre oversized clearcut to be yarded either by cable or shovel.  In either case, the unit is oversized.  This unit comprises more than a third of the total 77.7 acres of clearcutting proposed in this plan.  This plan is still open to public comment.

These oversized, mostly ground-based clearcut units pose a threat not only to water quality in the various watersheds, but also threatend to continue the Green Diamond trend of voraciously fragmenting the landscape.  Also these oversized clearcuts act to wipe out larger swaths of actual and potential habitat for species of concern in those watersheds, including Northern Spotted Owls, Pacific Fisher, and others.

Please comment to Cal Fire on these THP’s.  Let Cal Fire kow that clearcutting, and particularly oversized clearcutting is the most potentially damaging logging alternative available to Green Diamond. Tell Cal Fire to enforce the clearcut unit size limitations on all Green Diamond THP’s.

For comments, please email CalFire at santarosapubliccomment@fire.ca.gov.