Archive for February, 2014

12th Annual Pisces Party with the No Good Redwood Ramblers

Monday, February 24th, 2014
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Friday March 14th, 6pm, at the Beginnings “Octagon” in Briceland.

After more than a decade of annual celebrations, the Pisces Party has become a North Coast Community tradition and a harbinger of the coming spring. The party is an annual fundraiser to honor and support Mendocino resident and North Coast restoration advocate, Richard Gienger. The Pisces Party has become a cornerstone of community efforts to support Richard’s ongoing work to restore the forests and watersheds of the North Coast of California.

No Good Redwood RamblersSince 1977, Richard has been a tireless advocate for community-based forestry, and is well known for his role in protecting Sally Bell Grove, an ancient forest along the Mendocino Coast that would later become part of the Sinkyone Wilderness, as well as his ability to engage with natural resource agencies and policy makers in Sacramento. Richard is highly regarded for his policy work to advance forest conservation measures that benefits California’s rural communities.

EPIC and the Trees Foundation have come together to produce this important and fun annual event in order to secure the support necessary to keep Richard working to protect and restore the forests, wildlife and waterways of Northwest California.

The party starts at 6pm with a no-host bar and music by the Ken and Maria Jorgenson’s Falling Rocks.

Dinner: Sue’s Organic’s is serving dinner at 6:30 featuring: Black-bean Coconut Soup, a tossed Green Salad with toasted, spiced sunflower seeds and Sue’s Organics tahini dressing along with Veggie Enchiladas filled with Butternut Squash, Kale, Onions, Fried Tempeh & Cheese ($10-20 sliding scale for dinner).

After dinner the No Good Redwood Ramblers will get people on their feet to their foot-stompin’ blue-grass sounds.

Featuring a Vacation Get-Away Raffle to Mendocino Coast’s Brewery Gulch Inn!

Admission $10-20 sliding scale at the door.

If you are unable to attend the Pisces Party in person, but would like to help support Richard’s work you may make a donation here.

RSVP to the party and share with your friends on Facebook here.


Take Action Today to Protect Wolves in California

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
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brenders_-_den_mother-wolf_family_premier_edition Take Action: Gray Wolves in California may be left without state protections under the California Endangered Species Act if the California Fish and Game Commission were to follow the recommendation of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to not list the species.

On February 5, 2014, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife released it’s final status report for the Gray Wolf. It advised the California Fish and Game Commission to not list Gray Wolves as “endangered,” as requested by a petition from EPIC and a coalition of other groups led by the Center for Biological Diversity, because there are currently no wolves in California.

The Department is instead recommending alternative measures to protect wolves. These measures include:

  • The designation of the wolf as a “special species of concern;”
  • The existence of the wolf stake-holder group that is producing a Gray Wolf Management Plan;
  • Commission actions under the existing California Fish and Game Code that would prevent “take” of the Gray Wolf, even in response to depredation of livestock; and
  • The possibility of listing the Gray Wolf under California Endangered Species Act at a later date.

These measures are considered inadequate by our staff at EPIC because they fail to afford the fullest protection of California endangered species law to these imperiled species.

While the Department is charged with conducting the status review, and preparing the status report with recommendations to the Commission, the Commission itself is the final authority as to whether or not listing of the Gray Wolf as “endangered” is warranted. The Commission is tentatively scheduled to hear the Gray Wolf listing and make a final determination at it’s April 2014 meeting in Ventura, California.

Meanwhile, the Federal proposal to “de-list” the gray wolf in the lower 48 states has hit a substantial snag with the recent release of the peer review report regarding the scientific foundations of the “de-listing” proposal. Scientists clearly state in the peer review report that the “de-listing” proposal is not based on the best available science.

For California, the decision as to whether the Gray Wolf warrants state protections must be informed by public opinion as well as the best available science, both of which largely support the “endangered” listing.

Click here to tell the Commission to protect tomorrow’s legacy by listing the Gray Wolf as a California Endangered Species today.


Speaking events at HSU featuring Derrick Jensen and Rod Coronado

Friday, February 14th, 2014
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Derrick-Jensen-bioEPIC hosts two highly acclaimed and well-regarded authors and environmental activists, Derrick Jensen on Thursday, February 27 in the Kate Buchanan Room and Rod Coronado on Thursday, May 1st in the Native Forum. This is a great opportunity to hear the insights, beliefs and principals that have guided these longtime advocates, and engage in discussions about the future of sustainable life.

Derrick Jensen: Thursday, February 27th Kate Buchanan Room, from 5-8pm.

Acclaimed author, Derrick Jensen, is hailed as the philosopher poet of the ecological movement, Derrick Jensen is the best-selling author of A Language Older than Words and Endgame, among many others. Author, teacher, activist, small farmer, and leading voice of uncompromising dissent, he regularly stirs auditoriums across the country. He was named one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World” and won the Eric Hoffer Award in 2008.

The event will provide the audience with an opportunity to hear about Derrick’s beliefs and philosophy, and ask him questions and engage in conversation about how we can become a more sustainable society.

For more information about Derrick, check out: http://www.derrickjensen.org/

Rod Coronado: Thursday, May 1st from 5-7pm.

Rod Coronado croppedRod Coronado is a longtime activist and former prisoner. He is an advocate for the Animal Liberation Front and a spokesperson for the Earth Liberation Front. He was a crew member of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and a member of the editorial collective of the Earth First! Journal.

A former proponent of the use of direct action to end what he sees as cruelty to animals and destruction of the environment, Coronado was jailed in 1995 in connection with an arson attack on research facilities at Michigan State University. He has served several prison sentences and has been repeatedly labeled a “terrorist” by the F.B.I.

In 2006, while imprisoned for felony conspiracy and awaiting trial on further charges, Coronado expressed a change in his personal philosophy inspired by fatherhood. In an open letter, he wrote, “Don’t ask me how to burn down a building. Ask me how to grow watermelons or how to explain nature to a child,” explaining that he wants to be remembered, not as a “man of destruction but [as] a human believer in peace and love for all.”

We’re asking for donations at the door to help with the cost of this tour: $5 for students & $10 for community members. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.


Take Action For the Love of Wild Nature ♥

Friday, February 14th, 2014
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MtnLionTreeFWSTake Action Now ♥  Save the Siskiyou 1 Roadless Area

300 acres of native forest in the Siskiyou 1 Roadless Area is threatened with road building and logging.  The Crawford Timber Sale on the Klamath National Forest (KNF) is located in one of the largest unroaded low elevation areas remaining on the Forest.  This vital wildlife connectivity corridor links the Marble Mountain and Siskiyou Wilderness Areas.

With a likely to adversely affect determination for the Northern Spotted Owls the KNF is now preparing an Environmental Impact Statement. Not only would tractor logging destroy the untouched nature of these stands it would also degrade and remove essential habitat for owls, fishers and multiple other plants and animals that depend on older forests with dense canopy cover.

In the rapidly changing climate these low elevation north facing forest slopes are increasingly important by providing cool and moist microclimates they are areas of refuge for both plant and animal species.

The Forest Service reasoning for the Crawford Timber Sale is to improve forest health and biological diversity and also to extract forest products. As in most timber sales on our national forest, the project would be damaging to forest health and biodiversity, with taxpayers footing the bill for corporate timber profits at the expense of wildlands and wildlife.

Please click here to tell the KNF to protect the Siskiyou 1 Roadless Area wildlife corridor.

 


California – State of Wildlife

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
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wolfsnowWritten by Kimberly Baker and Rob DiPerna for publication in the EcoNews.

California is home to more species, including endemic species (those found nowhere else on Earth), than any other state in the nation. North to south, spanning over 500 miles, the state bridges the temperate redwood rainforests of the Pacific Northwest to the subtropical deserts of Mexico. This remarkable diversity of habitat provides for an outstanding array of animals and plants. Over 60 percent of California’s 3,488 native plants are endemic.

The California Department Fish and Wildlife (DFW) Special Animals List includes animals that are threatened and endangered under the Endangered Species Act, but also unlisted species that have been declared sensitive, at-risk or declining.

According to the 2011 Special Animals List, the majority of California’s wildlife are in need of conservation measures: 88% of amphibians, 87% of native fish, two out of three mammals, and nearly half of all birds and reptiles are “at risk.”

There are multiple stressors affecting our wildlife including: water management, logging, excessive grazing, mining, urban sprawl, invasive species, toxic chemicals, and the looming specter of climate chaos. Most of these animals have been listed for decades and populations continue to decline. The decline of California’s wildlife is indicative of the failing health of our ecosystems.

One of the primary keys to wildlife recovery and conservation is the preservation of a connected landscape. At EPIC we believe that our society must work to protect habitat connectivity for wildlife health and survival. Here in the Pacific Northwest portion of the state, an outstanding opportunity exists for landscape connectedness. While some areas are protected as wilderness, most of the habitat linkages are currently under-protected, and require formal recognition in order to secure their integrity well into the future. In particular, millions of acres of privately held industrially managed forestlands make landscape connectivity a major challenge.

EPIC’s Biodiversity and Endangered Species Defense Program works to increase protections for imperiled species of northern California by upholding and improving environmental laws and leveraging public participation to secure changes in management regimes. We use ongoing project-by-project review to monitor and influence projects that affect threatened and endangered species on both private and public lands in California. This disciplined advocacy continues to be a distinguishing feature of EPIC’s work regionally and statewide. The following provides a taste of EPIC’s program initiatives to protect biodiversity and advocate for endangered species.

Gray Wolf: EPIC and its allies filed a listing petition for the gray wolf to gain protection for the species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) in 2012. In October 2012, the California Fish and Game Commission (the Commission) determined that listing “may be warranted” and added gray wolves as a candidate species. The gray wolf will remain a candidate under CESA, and are protected from harm in California, until the Commission makes a final listing determination.

EPIC also participates actively in the national effort to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) from de-listing gray wolves in the lower 48 states. Over one-million comments were sent to the FWS urging them to keep gray wolves on the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) list. A peer-review report of the FWS proposed de-listing is expected this February 2014.

Northern Spotted Owl: In 2012, EPIC filed a petition requesting that the Fish and Game Commission list northern spotted owl as either “threatened” or “endangered” pursuant to the CESA.  After a great deal of delay, the petition was accepted in August 2013, and found that listing “may be warranted” and designated the owls as a candidate species.  DFW now has one year to conduct a full status review and must then render a full status report for consideration by the Commission prior to the final hearing on the proposed listing. EPIC will be involved with every step of this critically important CESA process.

EPIC also filed a petition with FWS, in 2012, requesting that the Service “up-list” the owl from “threatened” to “endangered” under the federal ESA.  Federal law requires a 90-day finding to determine whether or not up-listing “may be warranted.” The Service however has failed to make the required determination, citing budget sequestration, lack of funding, and its workload as a result of settlement litigation with the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD). In December 2012, EPIC filed a formal 60-day notice of intent to sue the Service for failure to complete the 90-day finding.  At this time, EPIC is still awaiting a finding from the Service to determine if the petitioned action “may be warranted.”

Humboldt Marten: EPIC and CBD filed a listing petition for Humboldt marten pursuant to the federal ESA in 2010. In January 2012, the FWS Service issued a positive 90-day finding.  The Service however failed to render a 12-month finding to determine if the petition is warranted.  In April 2012, EPIC and CBD filed a formal 60-day notice of intent to sue.  The Service has since agreed to a settlement with CBD that includes a requirement for the Service to make its 12-month finding on the Humboldt Marten petition in 2015. EPIC continues to work closely with CBD to advance listing for the Humboldt Marten.

Spring Chinook: EPIC and allies filed a petition with the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) to list the Upper Klamath/Trinity Spring Chinook salmon as either “threatened” or “endangered” under the federal ESA in January 2011. NMFS issued a positive 90-day finding in April 2011. The 12-month finding denied the petition on the basis that the spring Chinook were not genetically distinguishable from the fall Chinook run. NMFS argued that while spring Chinook populations have precipitously declined, fall Chinook population numbers remain viable, and that listing was therefore not warranted. EPIC with partners continues to explore all of its options to secure protections for the spring Chinook.

In 2014, EPIC will continue its cutting-edge education, advocacy, and strategic litigation to protect, enhance and restore California’s amazing native wildlife as an integral element of our organization’s dedication to defending the fabric of life upon which our wellbeing and future depends.


Northern Spotted Owl Abandoned to Whims of CAL FIRE

Friday, February 7th, 2014
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NSO ratThe California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has chosen to defer to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) timber harvest plan review and approval process in hopes of preventing “take” of Northern Spotted Owls as defined under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) during the candidacy period for the species. EPIC considers this to be an incorrect decision, a violation of public trust, and an inappropriate abandonment of duties considering the new lumber tax that has been imposed upon California consumers to specifically fund CDFW review of timber harvest plans for private lands logging in the state.

In a letter dated January 16th, 2014, to CAL FIRE, the CDFW, signed by Department Director Charleton H. Bonham, indicates that it intends to rely on the existing regulatory framework (i.e. the California Forest Practice Rules (CFPRs)) for review and approval of timber harvest plans to ensure that “take” of NSO is avoided on a plan-by-plan basis. The CDFW letter states that the agency believes that the current regulatory framework as administered by CAL FIRE is adequate to prevent “take” of NSO, and that no additional protective measures for the species will be required during the one-year candidacy period under CESA.

However, the best available science and regulatory guidance provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service clearly points to a failure of the existing CFPRs to prevent “take” of NSO. Indeed, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms on private forestlands in Northern California is one of a myriad of reasons why EPIC filed the petition to list the NSO as either “threatened” or “endangered” under CESA. The 2011 federal NSO Revised Recovery Plan for the NSO continues to identify inadequate regulatory mechanisms as a major factor driving the recent and precipitous declines of the NSO; this is true in California as well as other pacific states that are host to NSO.

This decision by CDFW ignores that even CAL FIRE itself has acknowledged that existing CFPRs are largely out-of-date, do not reflect the best available science or guidance, and that the agency does not in fact even rely on the existing CFPRs due to their lack of effectiveness. The CDFW’s initial evaluation of our petition to list NSO under CESA indicated that the agency believes that the influences of management-related activities are “varied and complex,” and that further study and consideration of these effects is necessary.

EPIC has responded to the CDFW’s letter by writing to the Department in order to remind the agency of its responsibilities under the California Endangered Species Act, the California Fish and Game Code, and the California Environmental Quality Act. These responsibilities should not and cannot simply be deferred to another agency, particularly an agency such as CAL FIRE that possesses no independent biological expertise, and that has no authority to make determinations as to the potential for “take” of species listed by responsible wildlife agencies.

The CDFW is failing to discharge its public trust, legal, and regulatory responsibilities by summarily relying on CAL FIRE and antiquated CFPRs to ensure that the NSO is protected, enhanced, and restored in Northern California. It is also important to recognize that with the passage of AB 1492 by the California legislature in 2012, a lumber tax was imposed in the State of California in order to insure that CDFW has the necessary resources to fulfill it’s obligations to carry out tasks related to timber harvest plan review. This decision by CDFW to pass the buck on review of logging plans and to not provide analysis of how the NSO as a CESA candidate species may be affected by timber harvest is particularly egregious in light of the agencies new revenue stream based in taxing wood product consumers. EPIC will continue to challenge the CDFW on this basis, and will continue our efforts to seek CESA protections for the NSO.


California Department of Fish and Wildlife Gives Green Diamond a Free Pass

Monday, February 3rd, 2014
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green diamond logging in little river 2008

Green Diamond logging in Little River 2008

Green Diamond Northern Spotted Owl HCP Deemed “Consistent” with CESA

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently declared the Green Diamond Resource Company (GDRCo) federal Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) “consistent” with the provisions of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA).  The issuance of a so-called “Consistency Determination” by the CDFW to GDRCo leaves the company in the cat-bird seat in terms of CESA compliance when compared to other timber companies.

California Fish and Game Code section 2080.1 allows for private landowners who have already obtained federal HCPs and associated Incidental “Take” Permits (ITPs) to apply for Consistency Determinations with the CDFW for their otherwise lawful activities. Despite the fact that the statue characterizes the process of obtaining a Consistency Determination as an “application,” California state courts have ruled that issuance of these determinations does not constitute a “discretionary” project, and therefore are not subject to fully review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  This means that there is no opportunity for the public to review or comment on the Consistency Determination application, and that there is no recourse for the public to challenge the issuance of these determinations, either administratively or legally.

The CDFW has found the GDRCo HCP for NSO consistent with CESA despite the fact that standards for achievement of incidental “take” under the federal Act and state Act are quite different.  The federal ESA in section 10(a)(2)(B) of the Act provides that any “take” of listed species pursuant to a federal ITP “will, to the maximum extent practicable, minimize and mitigate the impacts of any such taking.” CESA, meanwhile, in section 2081(b)(2) of the California Fish and Game Code provides that the impacts of any “take” be minimized and “fully mitigated.”  A correct application of the “fully mitigated” standard under CESA would provide for a higher bar for the achievement of an ITP under the state Act.

The GDRCo NSO HCP, issued in 1992, is based on the premise that “take” will occur as a result of both direct and indirect displacement of NSO, at a rate of approximately 3 pairs per-year for direct displacement, and 2 pairs per-year due to indirect displacement.  Such “take” was intended to be minimized by the implementation of certain precautionary measures, and by the creation of “set-asides,” where no harvest would be allowed.

There are two basic fundamental premises underpinning the GDRCo NSO HCP.  These are 1) NSO habitat will increase over the life of the permit, and that harvest rates will not proportionally exceed such increased habitat growth, and 2) NSOs displaced by timber harvest activities would be replaced on the landscape as new habitat comes on line and new sites are established.

However, GDRCo’s own 20th annual report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) notes that approximately 55 owls have gone “missing” in recent years. Further, as indicated by Forsman et al. 2011, apparent survival rates for NSO on GDRCo lands is showing a continuous decline.  Finally, GDRCo’s own report to the USFWS admits that the fundamental premise that owl sites lost to timber harvest would be replaced has borne out to be false: “The fundamental premise of the spotted owl HCP is that sites lost through timber harvest will be replaced in other areas as stands become mature and suitable for occupancy by owls. However, newly colonized sites have not offset the number of net displacements and other abandoned sites” (GDRCo 2012).

Clearly, despite the basic premises of the GDRCo HCP, the company’s activities pursuant to this permit have not “fully mitigated” the effects of “take” on NSO populations on its lands.  This runs contrary to the intent of CESA, and leaves substantial questions as to the approach of the CDFW in reviewing Consistency Determinations and ITPs.

Meanwhile, Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) also holds a federal HCP and associated ITP for NSO.  Unlike the case of GDRCo, HRC will be required to augment its HCP in order for it to be deemed “consistent” with CESA.  HRC lands, like GDRCo lands, has shown a consistently low reproductive rate for NSO over the last several years, thus triggering re-consultation with the federal and state wildlife agencies over its 1999 federal HCP.

GDRCo continues to maintain that NSO populations are either stable or increasing on its lands, despite low apparent survival rates, low reproductive rates, lack of recruitment of new sites to offset lost sites, and the slow growth of new suitable habitat for the species. Issuance of a Consistency Determination for the GDRCo federal NSO HCP by the CDFW virtually ensures that these alarming trends will continue, and raises serious questions about public notification, process, and involvement in the issuance of these determinations.  It also raises further questions about the integrity of the GDRCo’s certification as a “sustainable” forestry operation by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), as a significant portion of the FSC certification award was based upon the Green Diamond HCP.

EPIC is dedicated to the conservation of the Northern Spotted Owl across the landscape in Northwestern California.  The precipitous decline of this iconic species due to a broad range of threats is indicative of a much larger ecosystem failure, and sounds the alarm for us all to consider.

For more information see

Department of Fish and Wildlife Solicits Comments and Information on Status of Northern Spotted Owls in California

EPIC Staff Squash Timber Industry Shenanigans at Fish and Game Commission

Northern Spotted Owl Achieves Candidacy Status Under California Endangered Species Act


EPIC teams with Future Productions

Saturday, February 1st, 2014
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Club Mateel Small for WebEPIC is excited to team up with Future Productions to put on a killer electronic dance party featuring Marty Party and Joker, plus Jocelyn!

Saturday March 1st at the Mateel Community Center (59 Rusk Lane, Redway, California), with doors opening at 8pm. Click this link to buy tickets online via Brown Paper Tickets.

A total Electronic Dance Music experience in the heart of southern Humboldt county – the Mateel Community Center will be transformed for one night only into “Club Mateel” with towers of thundering speakers and jaw dropping FX lighting. This will be something truly special, so expect all of the DJ’s to bring their “A” game — and best of all this is a benefit event for us at EPIC so come one and come all because this is nothing short of a win win situation!

EPIC is excited to be a part of this event because of the significance of teaming up with an expert local producer such as Future Productions, demonstrating that EPIC is connecting with a broad cross-section of people in our community. It is important to our organization to merge contemporary culture with concrete efforts to secure the necessary resources to advocate effectively for the protection of human and natural communities on the North Coast of California.

Full bar for 21 and up. Ages 13 and up welcome.

Walk in tickets available at People’s Records Arcata, the Works Eureka, Redway Liquors, and SHC Garberville.

This is going to be a great show, so don’t miss it! Click this link to buy tickets online via Brown Paper Tickets.