Archive for April, 2013

Chasing Ice Film Screening: Two Nights in Arcata

Monday, April 29th, 2013
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EPIC presents the award winning film Chasing Ice–a documentary, which shows the dramatic transformation of the world’s glaciers as a means of telling the story of the Earth’s changing climate. This film drives home the true planetary ramifications of deforestation Redwood Country.

MAY 1 in the Kate Buchanan Room at Humboldt State University:
EPIC and the Society for Conservation Biology (SCB-HSU) host renowned forest ecologist and conservation scientist Dominick DellaSala to lead a discussion with the audience about climate change. Reception from 4:30-5:00, followed by a 30-minute presentation from Dr. DellaSala with a question and answer period and then the film at 5:30pm. Suggested donation: $3-5.

MAY 2 at the Arcata Theatre Lounge:
EPIC, Surfrider Foundation, Ocean Conservancy and Humboldt Baykeeper present Chasing Ice in conjunction with Ocean Night at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, 7pm. Suggested donation: $3-5.

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Chasing Ice SYNOPSIS:

chasing-iceIn the spring of 2005, acclaimed environmental photographer James Balog headed to the Arctic on a tricky assignment for National Geographic: to capture images to help tell the story of the Earth’s changing climate. Even with a scientific upbringing, Balog had been a skeptic about climate change. But that first trip north opened his eyes to the biggest story in human history and sparked a challenge within him that would put his career and his very well-being at risk.

Chasing Ice is the story of one man’s mission to change the tide of history by gathering undeniable evidence of our changing planet. Within months of that first trip to Iceland, the photographer conceived the boldest expedition of his life: The Extreme Ice Survey. With a band of young adventurers in tow, Balog began deploying revolutionary time-lapse cameras across the brutal Arctic to capture a multi-year record of the world’s changing glaciers.

As the debate polarizes America and the intensity of natural disasters ramps up globally, Balog finds himself at the end of his tether. Battling untested technology in subzero conditions, he comes face to face with his own mortality. It takes years for Balog to see the fruits of his labor. His hauntingly beautiful videos compress years into seconds and capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate. Chasing Ice depicts a photographer trying to deliver evidence and hope to our carbon-powered planet.
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DominickDellaSala_0Dr. Dominick DellaSala: a brief profile

President and Chief Scientist of the Geos Institute in Ashland, Oregon and President of the Society for Conservation Biology, North America Section.

Dominick is an internationally renowned author of over 150 technical papers, including the award winning “Temperate and Boreal Rainforests of the World” (www.islandpress.org/dellasala). Dominick has given plenary and keynote talks ranging from academic conferences to the United Nations (Earth Summit II) and at HSU’s Biodiversity Conference 2012.

He has appeared in National Geographic, Science Digest, Science Magazine, Time Magazine, Audubon Magazine, National Wildlife Magazine, High Country News, Terrain Magazine, NY Times, LA Times, USA Today, Jim Lehrer News Hour, CNN, MSNBC, “Living on Earth (NPR),” and several PBS wildlife documentaries.

He has testified in congressional hearings in defense of the Endangered Species Act, roadless area conservation, national monument designations, forest protections, and climate change among others.

For his efforts to help foster national roadless area conservation and support designation of new national monuments, he received conservation leadership awards from the World Wildlife Fund in 2000 and 2004, the Wilburforce Foundation in 2006, and was twice nominated for conservation awards for his work as a whistleblower while on the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service spotted owl recovery team.

His rainforest book received an academic excellence award in 2012 from Choice magazine, one of the nation’s premier book review journals.

Dominick co-founded the Geos Institute in July 2006. He is motivated by leaving a living planet for his daughter and all those to follow.

 


Action Alert: Endangered Species Deserve More Time and More Protections on the Mendocino Coast

Monday, April 22nd, 2013
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Murrelet USFWSTake Action:  Federal and state agencies are accepting public comment on a proposal from the Mendocino Redwood Company for an Incidental Take Permit and associated Habitat Conservation Plan. Please take a moment to request that more time be allowed for public participation and review, as well as an increase in protections for endangered species.

In response to receipt of an application from the Mendocino Redwood Company, the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are considering the proposed action of issuing an 80-year incidental take permit for nine federally listed species and two currently unlisted species. The proposed permit would authorize “take” (harm and harassment) of individual members of species listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. The permit is needed because “take” of species could occur during timber harvest, forest management, and related activities within 213,244 acres in western Mendocino County, CA.

Click here to take action now.


Northern Spotted Owl Told to Wait

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013
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NSO

On Wednesday, April 17, 2013, EPIC argued on behalf of the Northern Spotted Owl before the California Fish and Game Commission.  Despite the fact that the species has been threatened with extinction since the 1980’s, and listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1990, the Commission has not protected the species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  This significant oversight, and the failure of existing federal and state regulations to promote recovery of the owl, spurred EPIC to file a petition to list the Northern Spotted Owl under CESA in September 2012. 

Unfortunately, the Commission delayed action for 90 days on whether to conduct a status review under CESA.  The statute clearly obligates the Commission to make decisions in a specific timeframe, and while this delay may be allowed under the law, it makes very little sense.  The primary reason given by the Commission for this delay was to further deliberate on the information provided at the last minute by the timber industry.  Curiously enough, the purpose of the status review under CESA is for the Department of Fish and Wildlife (and the Commission) to analyze the available information received through an open public process.  Clearly, the Commission should have voted to conduct a status review based on the overwhelming evidence before it, and for the very reason given for the delay. 

It is well past time for the State of California to recognize its duties under CESA, and to act swiftly to protect the Northern Spotted Owl.  Without CESA protections, and a more holistic view of species recovery and landscape-scale conservation that includes private and state owned lands, the spotted owl is likely to go extinct in the foreseeable future.  While the current delay is unfounded and frustrating, EPIC will continue to push for accountability and justice for the Northern Spotted Owl. Stay tuned for more updates about this important EPIC Endangered Species and Biodiversity Defense Program initiative.

The Listing Process under the California Endangered Species Act—A Primer for Endangered Species Advocacy

The State of California enacted the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in order to address and prevent the extinction of native biological diversity.  The purpose of CESA is to “conserve, protect, restore, and enhance any endangered species or any threatened species and its habitat….”  Fish & Game Code § 2052.  The first step under CESA is to identify and list species as “threatened” and “endangered.”  A “threatened species” refers to a native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant that, although not presently threatened with extinction, is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future in the absence of special protection and management efforts. Fish & Game Code § 2067.  An “endangered species” refers to a native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant which is in serious danger of becoming extinct throughout all, or a significant portion, of its range due to one or more causes, including loss of habitat, change in habitat, overexploitation, predation, competition, or disease. Fish & Game Code § 2062.

The California Fish and Game Commission (Commission) is the administrative body that makes all final decisions regarding the listing of species under CESA.  The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (Department) is the expert agency that makes recommendations to the Commission regarding species listings.  The listing process may be set in motion in two ways: “any person” may petition the Commission to list a species, or the Department may on its own initiative put forward a species for consideration.  “Petitions shall include information regarding the population trend, range, distribution, abundance, and life history of a species, the factors affecting the ability of the population to survive and reproduce, the degree and immediacy of the threat, the impact of existing management efforts, suggestions for future management, and the availability and sources of information.  The petition shall also include information regarding the kind of habitat necessary for species survival, a detailed distribution map, and any other factors that the petitioner deems relevant.” Fish & Game Code § 2072.3.  In the case of a citizen proposal, CESA sets forth a process for listing that contains several discrete steps.

Upon receipt of a petition to list a species, a 90-day review period ensues during which the Commission refers the petition to the Department, as the relevant expert agency, to prepare a detailed report. The Department’s report must determine whether the petition, along with other relevant information possessed or received by the Department, contains sufficient information indicating that listing may be warranted.  Fish & Game Code § 2073.5.

During this period interested persons are notified of the petition and public comments are accepted by the Commission. Fish & Game Code § 2073.3.  After receipt of the Department’s report, the Commission considers the petition at a public hearing. Fish & Game Code § 2074.  At this time the Commission is charged with its first substantive decision: determining whether the Petition, together with the Department’s written report, and comments and testimony received, present sufficient information to indicate that listing of the species “may be warranted.” Fish & Game Code § 2074.2.  This standard has been interpreted as the amount of information sufficient to “lead a reasonable person to conclude there is a substantial possibility the requested listing could occur.” Natural Resources Defense Council v. California Fish and Game Comm. 28 Cal.App.4th at 1125, 1129.

If the petition, together with the Department’s report and comments received, indicates that listing “may be warranted,” then the Commission must accept the petition and designate the species as a “candidate species.” Fish & Game Code § 2074.2.  “Candidate species” means a “native species or subspecies of a bird, mammal, fish, amphibian, reptile, or plant that the commission has formally noticed as being under review by the department for addition to either the list of endangered species or the list of threatened species, or a species for which the commission has published a notice of proposed regulation to add the species to either list.”  Fish & Game Code § 2068.

Once the petition is accepted by the Commission, then a more exacting level of review commences. The Department has twelve months from the date of the petition’s acceptance to complete a full status review of the species and recommend whether such listing “is warranted.” Following receipt of the Departments status review, the Commission holds an additional public hearing and determines whether listing of the species “is warranted.” If the Commission finds that the species is faced with extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, it must list the species as endangered. Fish & Game Code § 2062. If the Commission finds that the species is likely to become an endangered species in the foreseeable future, it must list the species as threatened. Fish & Game Code § 2067.


Private Cattle Grazing Degrades Public Wildlands

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013
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One of many bovine trashed springs on the Big Meadows Grazing Allotment in the Marble Mountains Wilderness

One of many bovine trashed springs on the Big Meadows Grazing Allotment in the Marble Mountains Wilderness

The EPIC Public Lands Program is a core program focus of our public interest conservation advocacy. Monitoring industrial activities and tracking conservation planning on the National Forests in our bioregion is a cornerstone of our landscape scale methodology to promote biodiversity protection and appropriate natural resource management in Northwest California. The following is an overview and an update on the Livestock Grazing Reform Project of EPIC’s Public Lands Program. Thanks to Felice Pace for his labors on this project, and for making this report possible.

For the past 3 years EPIC and our allies have been working to reform livestock grazing on Northwest California’s public lands. Our goal is to reduce, control and eliminate significant negative impacts resulting from private livestock grazing on public land, including grazing allotments located within our region’s wilderness and roadless lands.

We do this by documenting on-the-ground impacts livestock grazing is having on biodiversity, including water quality, riparian areas, wetlands, native vegetation and native species. Staff, interns and volunteers use that documentation to inform EPIC’s participation in environmental analysis and decision making for specific livestock grazing allotments. Where negative impacts cannot be eliminated or reduced to insignificance through active management, we work to eliminate the livestock grazing altogether.

EPIC members and activists have long been disgusted and outraged when they encounter the degradation that is common on Northern California national forests and wilderness areas as a consequence of poorly managed and inappropriate livestock grazing.   When EPIC member and longtime forest activist Felice Pace came to us with a plan for reform, we eagerly embraced that plan. Inspired by documented violations of water quality standards in streams below grazing allotments in the Scott River Basin by the Quartz Valley Tribe, Felice – along with EPIC staff, volunteers and interns – began monitoring and documenting the degradation occurring on areas grazed by livestock within the Marble Mountain, Trinity Alps and Russian Wilderness Areas.

Bovine trashed stream: Upper Bear Lake Valley, Elk Creek Key Watershed, Marble Mountain Wilderness

Bovine trashed stream: Upper Bear Lake Valley, Elk Creek Key Watershed, Marble Mountain Wilderness

Staff, interns and volunteers take our documentation to the responsible Forest Service managers as well as to state water quality managers. We ask them to require that livestock grazing permit holders ride the range at least weekly to move cattle away from sensitive areas and wetlands. When herding and other active management is ineffective – and where grazing permit holders are not willing to put in the necessary time and effort – we ask that grazing permits be canceled or moved to less sensitive lands.

Currently, EPIC is focusing special effort on two grazing allotments within the Marble Mountain Wilderness. Last year the Forest Service attempted to reauthorize these two allotments and others throughout the West without adequate environmental review. EPIC and its partners challenged that decision and won in federal court. This year we will participate in formal assessment by the Forest Service of the environmental impacts of livestock grazing in these two allotments. That assessment will lead to Forest Service decisions on whether or not to reauthorize grazing for another 10 years.

Intern Victor Reuther examines a bovine trashed trail in the Trinity Alps Wilderness

Intern Victor Reuther examines a bovine trashed trail in the Trinity Alps Wilderness

As in much of the Klamath Mountains Bioregion, most available livestock forage in the Marble Mountain Wilderness is found within wet meadows, riparian areas and other wetlands. On-the-ground monitoring has convinced us that many of these areas cannot be grazed without causing unacceptable impacts to water quality and biodiversity in violation of the Clean Water Act, National Forest Management Act and other laws. Where that is the case, we will continue to use on-the-ground monitoring, advocacy, administrative and legal challenges to eliminate livestock grazing.

EPIC and its partners are making progress. This year Forest Service managers on the Klamath National Forest are bringing in the BLM’s national riparian team to work with grazing permit holders and all interests to reform grazing management. We have a long way to go, however, in our quest to eliminate the sacred cows from places in Northern California where they just do not belong.

If you are interested in helping as a volunteer or intern with EPIC to reform grazing practices and eliminate grazing in Klamath Mountains wilderness areas, we want to talk to you. Please contact Public Land Advocate, Kimberly Baker kimberly@wildcalifornia.org or call the EPiC office at 707-822-7711.  Working together in a sustained manner with our partners throughout the West, we can and will reform public land grazing.


Thank you for EPIC Spring Gala

Monday, April 15th, 2013
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DSC_1318-1THANK YOU to EVERYONE who came out to support EPIC at the Spring Gala!!

The entire Board and Staff of EPIC would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to all of the people who were a part of our Spring Gala for the dedication of their time, energy, and resources to this incredibly successful event. This ingenious celebration of our environmental advocacy was possible due to the contributions of the artists, musicians, performers, and spectacular cooks who were responsible for the dinner and show. The event came off with breathtaking ease due to the generosity, stamina, and commitment of all the volunteers who were involved. Thank you all for expressing the craftsmanship intrinsic to serving as the guardians of your wild California!

Special thanks to ALL of the MORE than 70 VOLUNTEERS!

Tryphena Lewis for taking on the unbelievable role of coordinating and planning the entire event, including creating the delicious dinner and bar menus!

Natalia Boyce and the entire kitchen crew for making the amazing food & desserts;

Brandi Winch and the Humboldt Fire Girls who served up the hors d’oeuvres and dinner with such style;

Chakeeta Garabenian, the Circus of the Elements and the Ink People for their spectacular fire dancing;

Andrew Goff for being such a fun and engaging emcee;

To  BOTH BANDS Petunia and the Vipers & Sour Mash Hug Band for their years of dedication to their craft and gracing us with their musical talents;

To ALL THE ARTISTS who supported the event and donated so generously to the silent auction–Joan Dunning, Megan Sandstrom, Thomas Dunklin, Patricia Sennott, Laurel Skye, Augustus Clarke, Sierra Martin, Peter Carlson, Joyce Jonte, Jacob Brauning, and Marcy Stein;

To Shawnee Alexandri, and his crew, for their talent, patience and hard work creating and installing the tent-like structure, and to Mike and Ed of the Arcata Community Center for all their help;

To all our friends and community who traveled from afar to bring their support (from Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, Oregon) it meant a lot to have you there, thank you!

And to the EPIC Board (Dian, Noah, Josh, Heather, Joan, Hezakiah, Shawnee, Bruce…) THANK YOU!

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This event was a wonderful mix of art and entertainment, and for those of us in the intimate circle of EPIC it was particularly exciting to express the artistic side of our technical advocacy that combines law, science, and politics to defend native ecosystems and endangered species. This art is the creative spirit that will accompany us as we design a sustainable and ecologically wise relationship with our bioregion. Thank you for being a part of this celebration with us.

EPIC 2013 Spring Gala Business Supporters and Silent Auction Donors:
David Gray of Total Beverage Solution (Humboldt Hemp Ale, Red Nectar Ale & Nectar IPA)
Mad River Brewery
Lost Coast Communications (KHUM, KSLG, & Lost Coast Outpost)
KMUD
Signature Coffee
Whitethorn Winery
Garden Gate
Vintage Avenger
Baroni
B&B the Color Salon
Water Planet
Pleasure Center
Old Town Coffee
Pacific Paradise
Tall Tree Designs
Arcata School of Massage
Tomo Sushi
Dell’Arte
Belle Star
Shoshana Redwood Raks
Morning Star
Soul to Soul Foot Bar
Clothing Dock
Little Shop of Hers
Jamie Bellermann
Dana Hope
Redwood Curtain
David Sandercott
Couple Cups
Greenwired Renewable Energy Solutions
Libation
Circus of the Elements
Marjo Ribeiro
Tracy Rain
Redway Feed
Beneficial Tea Company
Cornerstone Computers
Global Village Gallery
3 Fold Design
Arcata Pet Supply
Humboldt Connection
Danielle Donaldson
Yi Fang
Bead Supply
Abraxas
Henderson Center Bicycles
Many Hands Gallery


EPIC to Participate in HSU Earthday Symposium to Examine Marijuana’s Environmental Impact

Monday, April 15th, 2013
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USFS Marijuana GrowEPIC Collaborates with Humboldt State University Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research in Organizing 2013 Earthday Symposium on Industrial Cannabis Agriculture and the Environment

An undeniable point of fact is that industrial cannabis agriculture is having an increasingly quantifiable affect on local and global environments. In the United States there is a significant and worrisome increase in energy intensive and climate damaging indoor grow operations associated with the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in a variety of states across the country. In Northwest California, both indoor and large scale outdoor grows are having more of an impact on public trust resources with every passing year. EPIC is engaging on this issue under the fundamental premise that the development of policy regarding marijuana on both a national and local level must take environmental ramifications into consideration in order that a sane, healthy, and ecologically sustainable marijuana agriculture paradigm be established. It is clear that marijuana agriculture, as with the flower bulb industry, wine and grape industry, the timber industry, the dairy industry, the tourism industry, and many other iconic North Coast economic motors, is here to stay; to plan otherwise is to ignore four decades of adaptation by an industry whose benefits, and costs, have had an undeniable impact on rural Northwest California.

EPIC is committed to contributing to a level headed engagement on this complex and important human economic activity on the North Coast, with the goal of contributing to the design and implementation of solutions that respect civil liberties as well as protect human and natural communities from the environmental degradation that can be associated with industrial grows. Cannabis agriculture on the North Coast of California has recently been gaining national attention due to the publicizing of graphic evidence describing large-scale egregious and destructive industrial cannabis agriculture operations that are putting decades of community based watershed restoration activities at risk. At the same time, state of the art rural residences featuring homesite grow operations demonstrate a high level of ecological literacy that integrates agricultural production with forward looking water conservation, forest management, and agricultural practices that exemplify core community values of land stewardship. With an increasingly acute tension between “Green Rush” growers looking to make a fast buck regardless of the environmental consequences of their activities and the many local residents committed to a healthy environment and sustainable cottage industry, our communities and our landscapes truly are in the balance.

To further this discussion, and with the intent of seeing regulatory frameworks for the cannabis industry be constructed upon the best available science in order to reduce and/or eliminate the negative environmental consequences of this economic activity, EPIC is honored to participate in the April 19-20 Earthday 2013 HSU Earthday Symposium on Marijuana and the Environment titled “Communities and Landscapes in the Balance: The Crossroads of Environmental Protection and Marijuana Agriculture.”

Stay tuned for more updates from EPIC on this critical issue, and check out the videos posted below from last October’s symposium at HSU.

HSU Press Release from Feb 14 2013:  HSU Forum Probes Marijuana’s Environmental Impact

This spring Humboldt State University will host its inaugural Earth Day Symposium on Marijuana and the Environment, centering on a key issue often ignored in mainstream analysis: marijuana’s environmental effects.

The first annual symposium, sponsored by HSU’s Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research (HIIMR) and the Department of Sociology, is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, April 19 and 20, in the Behavioral and Social Sciences Building and other campus locations to be announced later.

The two-day symposium is titled “Communities and Landscapes in the Balance: The Crossroads of Environmental Protection and Marijuana Agriculture.” It is outlined in full on the new HIIMR website (http://humboldt.edu/dee/hiimr/) and will comprise numerous panels, workshops and multimedia presentations. The symposium will bring together leading policymakers, grassroots environmental organizations, activists, scientists, students and community members.

Panelists will share their expertise about a broad spectrum of marijuana issues, including land use policy, water quality, forest degradation, northern California fish and wildlife protection and the climate damage inflicted nationwide by indoor grows.

Among the tentative topics to be addressed (subject to change) are:

  • Public Lands and Trespass Marijuana Grows — Prevention and Cures
  • Ecological Data – What We Know and What We Need to Know
  • Private Timberland Impacts: Trespass, Conversion and Solutions
  • Legislative Updates on Marijuana Policy and the Environmental Implications
  • Public Health Impacts of Smoking Toxic Weed
  • The Ecological Footprint of Indoor Marijuana Agriculture
  • Indigenous Land and the Marijuana Industrial Complex
  • Environmental Impacts and the Marijuana Industry: Worst-Case Scenarios
  • Threats to Fish from Marijuana Agriculture

“We expect the symposium to enhance the understanding of the many ways marijuana cultivation impacts the environment,” say HIIMR Co-Directors and Professors Erick Eschker and Joshua Meisel. “It also will contribute to California’s efforts to develop ecologically sound and economically sustainable policy.”

Registration is available online at http://humboldt.edu/dee/hiimr/.

Video from Autumn 2012 Symposium at HSU now available on line:

Last October 2012 EPIC participated in a previous symposium on these topics. Last falls symposium “Environmental Challenges of Marijuana Agriculture in the Age of Prohibition”  brought together community members, grassroots environmental activists, elected officials, and agency representatives to address the impacts of cannabis agriculture, and offer insights into the opportunities and challenges involved in addressing these problems. Video of that symposium is now available on line: http://vimeopro.com/todu/environ-challenges-of-marijuana-ag-in-the-age-of-prohibition

Fall Symposium Video 1 of 4