Archive for October, 2010

Feds to Critically Endangered Humboldt Marten: You’re On Your Own

Thursday, October 28th, 2010
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By Scott Greacen

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has written us back well before the 90-day deadline to respond to our petition to list the Humboldt marten under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). You can read their response here.

The agency basically says it isn’t even going to look at the petition.

Technically, within three months of receiving our petition, FWS is supposed to determine if the petition does in fact present information indicating that the species may be in trouble and a status review should be conducted. (Note: it does, and a review should be conducted, and not to kill the suspense, but with fewer than 100 individuals in a declining population, we can probably skip the next five steps too and go to the bottom line: the Humboldt marten deserves and requires protection under the ESA, as soon as possible.)

So how can FWS say that it isn’t even going to look at our marten petition? The agency claims that it doesn’t have to issue a 90-day finding (ie, state whether it’s going to start a status review) because it has no free budget for any listing-related activities in 2011. To support this claim, FWS points to court orders requiring it to address other listings. (more…)


Navy Proposes Warfare Training Range in Pacific Northwest

Sunday, October 17th, 2010
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Click Here to Sign the Petition to Stop the Navy!  

The Navy has proposed to increase its warfare training operations off of the Pacific Northwest.   The 134 thousand nautical mile warfare training zone (right) is being called the Northwest Training Range Complex, which is actually part of a much larger project that encompasses the entire coastline of the United States and its territories including the Pacific, Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, and Alaska. 

Proposed warfare testing includes but is not limited to: gunnery exercises, bombing missions, missile and torpedo firing, underwater detonations, research and testing, vessel sinking, undersea warfare training range exercises, mid and high frequency sonar experiments. Both land and ocean exercises will use planes, drones, rockets, and sonic booms.  The Navy has also proposed the use of hundreds of toxic chemicals like lead, mercury, cadmium, tungsten, and red and white phosphorus. 

The Environmental Impact Statement includes inadequate mitigation measures such as “establishing marine mammal safety zones around each vessel using sonar, and using Navy observers to shut down sonar operations if marine mammals are seen within these designated safety zones.” Ironically, the Navy has also published another document stating that estimated shipboard visual monitoring for marine mammals – the most commonly employed sonar mitigation measure – is only effective 9% of the time. 

Sonar is extremely dangerous to marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises.  These animals rely on their own sonar for food, navigation, mating and when high frequency sonar like the Navy is proposing to use reaches these mammals, they can be severly affected.  Sonar has a huge impact on marine life anything from frying fish eggs, disorienting marine mammals causing them to be stranded, to permanently damaging their ears.  Additionally, underwater explosions and mining fields, which are being proposed would result in instant death for these creatures. 

A navy report in 2000 said that sixteen whales from at least three species— including two minke whales—stranded…over 150 miles of shoreline along the northern channels of the Bahamas. The beachings occurred within 24 hours of Navy ships using mid-frequency sonar in those same channels. 

Beached whales, Western Australia, 10/3/09

 

On March 3, 2009, 192 whales and seven dolphins had beached themselves in Australia (left).  Twenty days later, on March 23, 2009 officials were trying to discover why 80 long-finned pilot whales and bottlenose dolphins became stranded after a mass beaching at Hamelin Bay in Western Australia.  Also on March 23, 2009 a 30 foot juvenile grey whale washed up at Camel Rock Beach (below, note the gash wound on her nose).  Another whale was found that same day a few miles up the coast at College Cove Beach. 

TIME IS RUNNING OUT! The Final EIR was released September 10, 2010, and according to the Navy’s project contact person Kimberly Kler, all comments will continue to be forwarded to the decision-making body until the Record of Decision is filed, which is expected in late October. 

Dead Whale found on Camel Rock Beach 3/23/09

GET INVOLVED: Contact the Navy’s representative Kimberley Kler at (360) 396–0927, and demand that the Navy reopen the public comment period on the several thousand page document.  Contact Jane Lubchenco at jane.lubchenco@noaa.gov and request that NOAA deny the take permit based on insufficient environmental mitigations to protect marine life from the Navy’s Activities.  Warfare testing activities will result in the release of toxic chemicals into the food chain affecting everything from plankton to humans.  You can write to your local newspapers to get more media attention, contact your congressional representatives at 1(866)220-0044, board of supervisors, and other elected officials and make the case that these operations are unnecessary and would cause an undetermined amount of harm to marine life on our coast.  Ask them to hold a congressional hearing and to extend the public comment period for an additional 60 days for the take permit that NOAA is considering. 

How You Can Get Involved:

*Request a congressional hearing for the Northwest Training Range Complex and ask for the  NOAA and Navy’s Public comment periods to be reopened.  Express your opposition to the Navy’s warfare testing and its effects on the environment, marine life and human health.


Stop Toxic Chemical Spray Permit!

Friday, October 15th, 2010
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Take Action now to stop Chemical Spray Permit!

Tell the California State Water Board not to permit large-scale toxic chemical sprays in our watersheds. They are seeking comments on the Spray Applications Permit. This action would weaken the Clean Water Act and make it much easier for the US Forest Service and the Department of Food and Agriculture to use poisonous pesticides and herbicides across California. 

These toxic chemicals, including common names know as Round-up and Garland 4, are not only toxic to the environment they are also suspected carcinogens can cause chromosomal aberrations, DNA breaks, and other genetic mutations and are known to cause reproductive and developmental impairments. Many of these toxic chemicals are likely to be persistent and highly mobile in the environment and in aquatic environments and are likely to “run-off and drift.”  Serious harm to wildlife such as fish, bees and butterflies is also a known to exist.  The Spray Application Permit would include: 1.) larvicides containing BTK, nuclear polyhedrosis virus (NPV) and Spinosad A and D

 2.) adulticides containing acetamiprid, bifenthrin, carbaryl, esfenalerate, lamba cyhalothrin, malethion, naled, pheremone, piperonyl butoxide (PBO) and pyrethrins

3.) larvicide/adulticide products containing cyfluthrin and imidacloprid and

 4.) herbicides containing aminopyralid, chlorsulfuron, clopyralid, glyphosate, imazapyr, triclopyr butoxyethyl ester and triclopyr triethylamine.

 There will also be a public hearing November 2, 1010 @ 9:00 am at the Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters Building Coastal Hearing Room, 1001 I. St., 2nd Floor, Sacramento, CA 95814


Walkin’ Jim Stoltz Remembered

Sunday, October 10th, 2010
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The environmental movement lost a hero when adventurer, wilderness advocate and bona fide folksinger James “Walkin’ Jim” Stoltz died in September. After decades of trekking across the North America’s wild country, he has left a legacy of photographs and poems that document his backcountry journeys, along with original songs inspired from his experiences.

Stoltz offered dynamic performances and recordings over the course of 35 years including eight albums and one music video for children, called “Come Walk With Me.” He integrated his photography and poems into multi-media presentations to encourage audience members to move from their seats to the wild places across the continental divide – from Yosemite to the Yukon.

As an activist, poet, photographer, musician and friend, Stoltz reached out to people to share his love for the wilds and spread environmental awareness. The Environmental Protection Agency granted him its “Outstanding Achievement Award” for his advocacy for nature and wilderness across North America.

Stoltz empowered people to get involved in protecting the wild places they loved from corporate industry. He co-founded the Last, Best Place Wildlands Campaign, as well as Musicians United to Sustain the Environment (MUSE). He is well known for his advocacy for designated Wilderness Areas and bills designed to increase protections for wild places. On his web site, Stoltz wrote some heartfelt encouragement to viewers to take a stand for the wilderness:

“The folks in Congress do not know wilderness. They do not know the value of an unblemished skyline, or the sight of a grizzly bear galloping across a mountainside. They can’t grasp the importance of a spotted owl or for that matter a lowly prairie dog. They’ve never felt the power of the old growth forests or the silence of the Utah canyons. You need to tell them about these things. You must share your feelings about life and nature and how precious they are. Those who are making the decisions need to know.”

“He was the sweetest guy in the world,” said Dana Lyons, songwriter and activist and Stoltz’s good friend. “Walkin’ Jim just has a very gentle, beautiful soul. He worked tirelessly to protect the wilderness, and help inspire people to go out into the wilderness and work to protect it.”

One of Jim’s most famous songs, “Forever Wild,” has become common at campfires across the Pacific Northwest. The song became political history when legendary activist and FBI target Peg Millet sang it, rather than speak to a judge during a sentencing hearing for her involvement in a controversial environmental action in Arizona.

“While people know the song and have popularized it by learning and singing it, most people don’t know who wrote it,“ said Lyons, adding that this is what makes Stoltz’s music bona fide folk. “That’s the definition of a folksong,” he said.

Over the course of his life, Jim walked about 28,000 miles on long distance trips. While wading across rivers and walking across ridge tops, Jim composed the tunes that would be taken up by a generation of activsts. A growing collection of these can be found on www.walkingjim.com.

In an effort to share his work and its message about defending endangered ecosystems, Stoltz organized a 45-state outreach tour. During that time he performed in Humboldt County, a stop organized by internationally acclaimed Earth First! Activist Darryl Cherney.

“Jim was a great inspiration to me and I based my traveling slide show on his – even having a foot pedal like his designed me for so I could sing and show slides like Jim,” said Cherney. “What a magnificent contribution to our planet he has been.”


Eye on Green Diamond: Forest Stand Descriptions

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010
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Green Diamond’s methods for disclosing pre-and-post logging stand descriptions are by far the most informative descriptions provided by any large industrial timberland owner.  However, the generalized discussions of vegetation and stand conditions provided in Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) are very vague and potentially materially misleading.

Green Diamond usually discloses the average age of stands to be logged as well as pre-and-post harvest stocking information.  However Green Diamond’s method, which is dictated by the Forest Practice Rules, fails to bring out large, old trees, or residual stand components.

The Forest Practice Rules only require disclosure of what are considered to be “late successional forests”, which are defined as areas of 20 acres or greater.  Thus large, old trees or residual stands or stand components are not expressed in the THP stand descriptions, and because Green Diamond averages out the basal area over entire units, these components are hidden behind the guise of the young, monoculture stands that now dominate Green Diamond lands.

Recently Cal Fire has begun asking landowners to address what are considered “late seral” stands and late seral stand characteristics, if Cal Fire inspectors designate them as such.  However, Cal Fire has thus far not made such recommendations to Green Diamond, although it is clear that some large, old trees and “late seral” stand conditions still exist in some watersheds.  In Jacoby Creek for example, Green Diamond is currently operating on a plan which it states contains stands of very young growth, even though it is clear from the logs coming out of Jacoby Creek that some large, old trees and “late seral” components exit and are being removed.

Green Diamond is able to mask its destruction of “late seral” forest characteristics under the guise of stand descriptions that do not bring out such stand components.  In the end, this allows Green Diamond and other large industrial landowners to employ aggressive evenaged management practices without regard for essential forest elements and “residual” forest characteristics.