Archive for March, 2012

Help Stop Clearcutting in Our National Forests

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
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Photo: photographyblog.com  Young Lodgepole Pine Stand 

Take Action! 

The Shasta-Trinity National Forest is proposing to clearcut 255 acres of “decadent and overmature” a.k.a old growth lodgepole pine forest stands.  The recently published Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Harris Vegetation Project, 23 miles outside the town of McCloud, intends to heavily log over 2000 acres of public land.  The agency contends that the project would likely adversely affect the Northern Spotted Owl.  It is also within Pacific fisher, American marten and Northern goshawk habitat.

The purpose and need for the project is to improve forest health and restore fire-adapted ecosystems, however science shows that clearcutting and logging old growth trees is contrary to forest health and increases the risk of fire.   380 acres of logging would be within Late Successional Reserves (LSR), which were set aside to provide for Old Growth dependent species.  Activity in LSRs is only allowed if treatments maintain or enhance Old Growth forest structure.  The project also proposes to extract snags (dead standing trees) and any conifers within 150 feet of an Aspen tree within the reserves.  Snags are an essential element in forest structure; they provide excellent habitat and multiple uses for a whole slew of animal species, as well as providing the soil with future nutrients.

The areas targeted for treatment are islands of forest that remain in a sea of clearcuts.  The Forest Service has analyzed five alternatives including the No Action Alternative.  Alternative 3 would generally keep at least 60% canopy cover.  However as proposed, all four action alternatives would likely adversely affect Northern Spotted Owl.  There are at least two active Northern goshawk nests in the project area. Despite requirements no surveys have been done for the fisher or marten although they have both been sighted in the vicinity.  The connectivity of the landscape would further be fragmented but the rational used is that the roughly one and a half square mile of the Harris LSR provides ample habitat.

TAKE ACTION NOW!
Please send a letter to the Shasta-Trinity Forest Supervisor, Sharon Heywood, and ask her to stop clearcutting our forests.

 


Board of Forestry Changing Rules of the Road

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012
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Land slide caused by logging road  – notice person in middle.  Photo: Francis Eatherington

 

Forest logging roads have long been identified as a significant source of sediment delivery to streams and rivers.  Forest roads in Northwest California are also known to increase the likelihood of slope instability and landslides.  On the north and central coasts of California, fine sediment generated from forest roads, skid trails, landings and watercourse crossings has been identified as a significant factor impairing the growth and survival rates of salmon and steelhead species.  Improvements to the design, construction, maintenance and monitoring of roads and related infrastructure are necessary and long-overdue.

The California Board of Forestry is considering adopting new rules to address the impacts of private forestland roads water quality and salmon and steelhead species.  The so-called “Road Rules 2011” package currently under consideration in Sacramento is largely prescriptive in nature, creating a new set of private forestland road regulations while reorganizing the Forest Practice Rules to catalogue road-related rules into one section.

The “Road Rules 2011” package aims to restrict log hauling and heavy equipment use on roads that are not hydrologically disconnected from receiving watercourses of the State.  The rules also seek to restrict log hauling and other heavy equipment use on roads that do not exhibit a stable operating surface.  The “Road Rules 2011” package also would create a new standard for evaluating the significance of sediment delivery from roads and road-related infrastructure.  Finally, the “Road Rules 2011” package would create standards for design, construction, maintenance and monitoring of roads and related infrastructure.

The “Road Rules 2011” package represents a significant and long-overdue step forward in addressing the impacts of roads, skid trails, landings, crossings and crossing approaches on water quality through necessary mitigation and minimization of sediment impacts. However, the “Road Rules 2011” package is substantially weakened by inclusion of modifier language, exceptions and alternative practices.  Furthermore, the “Road Rules 2011” often fail to require simple precautionary measures.  An example of this is that the rules would not require roads used for log hauling during the winter period to be rocked in all cases.  Another example of this is that the rules do not require rocking of watercourse crossing approaches while such roads are in use in all instances.

EPIC will continue to engage with the Board of Forestry and encourage the Board to improve the proposed “Road Rules 2011” package.  The public comment period on the “Road Rules 2011” package is Monday March 26th.  To review and comment on these rules, please see: http://www.bof.fire.ca.gov/regulations/proposed_rule_packages/interagency_road_rules_2010/combinednoticeroadrules122311.pdf


Spectacular Spring Gala featuring Vagabond Opera and Fishtank Ensemble

Friday, March 16th, 2012
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Join EPIC for the Spring Gala, Saturday April 14, 2012, a spectacular evening filled with entertainment featuring sizzling-hot bands Vagabond Opera and Fishtank Ensemble at the Arcata Community Center.

This is a not-to-be missed gala affair! The Arcata Community Center is being transformed into a vaudevillian atmosphere with belly dancers from the Ya Habibi Dance Company, performers from Dell’Arte, the Humboldt Fire Girls and two amazing bands! Talented six-piece, Portland, Oregon-based Vagabond Opera will be sure to impress with their European cabaret, vintage Americana, Balkan belly dance, neo-classical opera, and theatrical performance style! Fishtank Ensemble‘s ‘cross-pollinated’ Gypsy music will get you dancing, and Ursula Knudsen on the musical saw will complement and complete the evening’s entertainment.

The evening begins at 6pm with specialty cocktails, delicious hors d’oeuvres, followed by a gourmet dinner served to your table by the Humboldt Fire Girls!

Dinner includes an organic spring green salad with glazed walnuts, grapes and apples, with Cypress Grove Chevre, blue cheese and a rose petal vinaigrette along with your choice of entrees: Organic lemon chicken with Humboldt honey, figs and olives, served with pearl couscous, grilled asparagus and roasted peppers; or grilled portobello and shitake mushrooms served with braised kale, and mixed greens over orzo with pinenuts and roasted spring vegetables, and a chocolate mocha cheesecake with hazelnuts and raspberries.

In order to provide a quality experience for the guests, there is limited and reserved seating for dinner only. Individual tickets for dinner and the show are $50, or you may reserve an entire table for you and seven of your friends!

Purchase your advanced reservations for dinner and the show here.

At 8pm the doors open to the public for the music show, with many special guest musicians and dance performers! Specialty cocktails such as, Eternal Sunshines, Moroccan Cosmos, Classic Margaritas, along with local beer and wine will be available throughout the evening.

Tickets are $25 for general admission and $20 for students. Purchase your advance sale tickets to the show here, or purchase tickets in person at Wildberries Marketplace, Redway Liqour, or at the EPIC Office (145 G Street Arcata).

All proceeds from the evening benefit the Environmental Protection Information Center-EPIC.  EPIC works to ensure the national forests, state parks, private-industrial forests and rivers in Northwest California are managed to maximize their benefits for conservation.

For more information please contact EPIC at 707-822-7711.


Richardson Grove Legal Proceedings Continue Apace

Thursday, March 15th, 2012
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The legal challenge to the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) approval of their highway development project in Richardson Grove State Park will continue to evolve over the next several weeks.

The state case hearings originally scheduled for March 14 in Humboldt County Superior Court in Eureka were canceled and then reset. The hearing in the state case will now be heard on Thursday, March 22, at 8:30 AM in Courtroom 8 of the Humboldt Country Superior Court.

After the oral arguments in the Federal Case were heard on February 23 in San Francisco, the presiding judge ordered a site visit to the Richardson Grove in order to fact check details important to the case. This site visit took place on March 5, and the resulting report was filed on March 13. Both plaintiffs and defendants will have until March 26 to prepare and file a briefing in concern of the report arising from the site visit. This means that it is unlikely that the Federal Court will issue a decision on this case before the end of March 2012.

Our team at EPIC will continue to work to keep people interested in this crucial state parks defense initiative in as timely a manner as possible. Please visit the saverichardsongrove.org for updates, subscribe to our electronic newsletter at EPIC’s main wildcalifornia.org website, and “like” our Facebook page to receive nearly daily updates about our work for state parks, endangered species, and the wild forests of Northwest California.


EPIC Open House: Spotted Owl Self-defense Night

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
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Please join us on Monday, March 12, 2012 for an EPIC open house mixer to promote our Spotted Owl self-defense initiative.  The evening features a short presentation about EPIC’s ongoing work to protect Northern Spotted Owls on privately held forestlands in Northern California. Staff Attorney, Sharon Duggan will be available to answer questions. Doors open at 6pm.  Snacks and beverages provided.  The EPIC office is located at 145 “G” Street in Arcata.  For more information, please call 707-822-7711.