Archive for July, 2014

Third Lawsuit Filed to Prevent Caltrans From Vandalizing Ancient Redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park

Monday, July 28th, 2014
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Photo by Juan Pazos

Photo by Juan Pazos

SAN FRANCISCO— Following two previously successful federal and state court legal actions, conservation groups and local residents filed a lawsuit in federal court today challenging Caltrans’ renewed approval of a controversial highway-widening project that would endanger ancient and irreplaceable redwood trees in Richardson Grove State Park in Humboldt County. Due to Caltrans’ flawed environmental-review process, the project to cut into and pave over the roots of old-growth redwoods along Highway 101 was halted by a federal court ruling in 2012 and a state court decision earlier this year.

“The shortsightedness of this project is dumbfounding,” said Peter Galvin with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Does Caltrans really expect the public to accept a multimillion dollar project that would needlessly damage this iconic grove of giant redwoods?”

“We will not allow Caltrans to put Richardson Grove’s ancient trees at risk,” said Natalynne DeLapp with EPIC. “Caltrans owes the public a full and honest account of how its highway-widening plans could damage this irreplaceable state park.”

The lawsuit filed in federal court for the Northern District of California alleges serious violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and the Administrative Procedure Act. The plaintiffs are the Environmental Protection Information Center, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, as well as local residents Bess Bair, Trisha Lee Lotus, Bruce Edwards, Jeffrey Hedin and David Spreen.

The so-called “Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project” would require cutting into and paving over the roots of many of Richardson Grove’s ancient redwoods, some of which have stood for as many as 3,000 years, measure as much as 18 feet in diameter and reach heights of 300 feet. The project is being undertaken solely to benefit passage for large commercial trucks. While originally promoted by Caltrans as a safety project, the agency was not able to offer any evidence of safety concerns along the narrow, one-mile stretch of roadway through the state park.

The plaintiffs first sued in federal and state courts in 2010 when Caltrans certified inadequate environmental review documents and adopted a “Finding of No Significant Impact.” In 2012 the federal court stopped the project, citing numerous errors in Caltrans’ mapping and measurement of affected old-growth redwoods and stating that the agency had been “arbitrary and capricious” in its use of what the court called “faulty data.” The California Court of Appeal in January 2014 ordered Caltrans to reevaluate the environmental impacts of the project under state law, finding that it had failed to fully assess impacts on ancient redwoods or provide measures to reduce potentially severe harm to the trees.

Today’s lawsuit was triggered when earlier this year Caltrans approved a “supplement” to its federal environmental review and renewed the project approval, while refusing to consider public concerns about the issues raised in the previous lawsuit. The complaint alleges that Caltrans failed to fix the numerous errors in mapping and measurement of affected old-growth redwoods that were cited by the federal judge in his order.

Background

Richardson Grove State Park, where tourists often first encounter large redwoods when heading north on Highway 101, is home to one of the last protected stands of accessible old-growth redwoods in the world. The park also contains essential habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl, and its creeks support runs of imperiled salmon and steelhead trout.

Caltrans first proposed the highway-widening project in 2007. Opposition to the project has grown substantially, led by the Save Richardson Grove Coalition, a diverse group of community members including economists, business owners, scientists and Northern California tribes with longstanding ties to the grove.

Caltrans claims the highway widening project is needed to accommodate large-truck travel, yet the agency has acknowledged that this portion of road is already designated for larger trucks and does not have significant safety problems. Even with its “supplement” to the environmental review, Caltrans has not established that this project is necessary for safety or will benefit the local economy. Smaller-sized commercial trucks have travelled through the grove for years to deliver goods to Humboldt County, and legislative exemptions have functioned to allow the passage of oversize trucks.

Plaintiff Trisha Lotus is the great-granddaughter of Henry Devoy, who in 1922 transferred to California the redwood forest that became Richardson Grove State Park. Jeffrey Hedin is a disabled Vietnam veteran and a volunteer responder with the Piercy Fire Protection District. Bruce Edwards is a licensed contractor who frequently travels through Richardson Grove. Bess Bair is the granddaughter of Bess and Fred Hartsook, who for many years owned the Hartsook Inn resort next to Richardson Grove State Park. David Spreen is a long-time resident of Humboldt County and has extensive business experience negotiating rates and scheduling shipping of flooring materials in the North Coast region, nationally and internationally.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs are Philip Gregory and Pete McCloskey of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP; Stuart Gross of Gross Law; and Sharon Duggan, a long-time expert on environmental law.

 Click here to download the complaint.


Old Growth in the New Economy

Thursday, July 17th, 2014
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Two year old Madrone Shelton hugs Grandfather TreeReaching capacity, people nestled tightly into Nelson Hall at Humboldt State University eagerly awaiting a lecture sponsored by Pacific Forest Trust entitled “Old Growth in the New Economy.” The lecture featured preeminent Northwest forest ecologist Dr. Jerry Franklin of the University of Washington, and Humboldt State University’s distinguished redwood ecologist Dr. Steve Sillett. The dialog focused on the roles and characteristics of Northwestern old growth forests, the ecosystem functions they provide, and how forest stewardship can benefit climate, wildlife, water, and a sustained resource economy.

Moderator Andrea Tuttle of Pacific Forest Trust began the discussion with the question: “What are old growth forests.” Dr. Steve Sillett jumped in and responded, “Old growth forests are extraordinary forests that contain 300 feet or taller trees, a mixture of tree ages, and a complex forest structure.” He emphasized, “The complex forest structure characteristic of old growth forests provide diverse habitat and high biomass production.” As his response further developed, he explained that old growth forests display high tree productivity, which results from their complex forest structure. Adding, “Total leaf area and tree vigor are the foremost determinants of tree productivity in old growth forests.” Naturally, old growth redwoods are highly productive. Dr. Sillett jubilantly added that a redwood he recently studied had an astounding two acres of total leaf area!

As the discussion progressed, both speakers described the many ecosystem services old growth forests provide, such as essential habitat, soil retention, and sources of human pleasure and education. Additionally, old growth forests play a major role in a region’s climatic phenomenon, most familiarly the redwoods and fog in our backyard. Furthermore, and perhaps the most effective tool to combat rising carbon dioxide levels and mitigate climate change, they are vital carbon sinks, providing enormous carbon sequestration potential. In fact, according to Dr. Sillett, “redwoods are the leaders in carbon sequestration, sequestering up to three times the amount of any other tree.” Dr. Sillett explained that redwoods have huge capacities to store carbon because they produce decay resistant heartwood which retains carbon for long periods of time. “Enough,” adds Dr. Franklin, “to make a significant difference in the global carbon budget.” Clearly old growth forests are vital components of Earth’s biosphere.

However, in order to protect and harness the full potential of old growth forests they must be sustainably managed for the long-term and protected for posterity. Dr. Franklin stated a fundamental rethinking of what forestry management means is needed. He stated we need to redefine the concept of forest rotation, from one of single-tree, even-aged tree management systems to a system where continuity of tree generations is preserved. He insisted forest management that focuses on enhancing productivity and biodiversity while also sustaining and retaining continuity leads to an increasingly resilient forest ecosystem, beneficial for both forest critters and humanity alike. Additionally, Dr. Sillett stated that a return to natural fire cycles is essential for effective management. Before the lecture was opened to audience questions, the future of old growth forests was discussed. Both Dr. Sillett and Dr. Franklin expressed the urgent need for a federal, but preferably international, forest stewardship policy that preserves and protects these extraordinary old growth forests into the future.

EPIC is a member of the Federal Forest Carbon Coalition—a new first-of-a-kind consortium of over 60 national, regional and local organizations. The coalition recently issued a suite of science-based recommendations to the Obama Administration entitled Modernizing Federal Forest Management to Mitigate and Prepare for Climate Disruption. The recommendations for our public lands include permanently protecting all high-biomass forested areas (older forests; live, dead and fallen) from logging, recognizing carbon as a significant public resource, increasing carbon storage, restoring mature forests, promoting more natural fire regimes and a moratorium on fracking.

We are working to promote better management practices of public and private working forest landscapes because we know that large, old, fire-resilient trees are the guardians of our air, water, wildlife and need diligent protection and conservation. EPIC ensures that environmental laws, which provide the framework and safeguards necessary to protect the thousands of species that make up the web of life, are upheld and improved and that native forests are managed using the best available science.

Please make a donation today so that we can continue to do this important work.

Thanks to EPIC Intern, Jason Landers for writing this article.


Take Action: End Taxpayer Spending on Wildlife Killing (Caution: Graphic Content)

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014
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babyRaccoonRyanAnkenyTake Action: On Tuesday, July 22nd, at 1PM, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will discuss the future of Wildlife Services funding.

On Monday, July 21st, from 6-9PM, join EPIC and Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/Bird Ally X at the D-Street Community Center (1301 D Street, Arcata) for a “Teach-in” and film screenings. Click here to be redirected to the Facebook Event Page.

The County has approved Wildlife Services funding since the early 20th century. Under the contract, the County and federal government have a cost-share agreement for the provided services. The proposed agreement now before the Board would have the County allocate about $67,000 for every year of service.

According to the Washington Post, Wildlife Services, a federal agency, killed more than 4 million animals last year alone, including 75,326 coyotes, 866 bobcats, 528 river otters, 3,700 foxes, 973 red-tailed hawks, and 419 black bears. The agency uses snares, traps, poisons, aerial gunning and dogs to kill wild animals, often killing pets and other non-target animals by mistake. An investigative series by the Sacramento Bee found that between 2000 and 2012, Wildlife Services “accidentally” killed more than 50,000 non-problem animals, more than 1,100 dogs, and several imperiled species – including bald and golden eagles. In addition to endangering recreationists and their companions, these services serve to only disrupt the natural balance of wildlife, degrade habitat, leave orphaned animals, increase the risk of disease, and lead to the loss of many ecosystem services that benefit human society directly and indirectly.

Wildlife Services Employee Poses for Photo After Killing Coyote

USDA Wildlife Services Employee Jamie P. Olson Poses for Photo After Killing Coyote

Despite these large numbers of animal killings, there are non-lethal alternatives such as those practiced in Marin County, Sonoma County, and the City of Davis which are time-tested and cost less while being more effective in protecting private property. Marin County ended its contract with Wildlife Services in 2000, choosing instead to develop and implement its Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program, which assists ranchers with livestock protection in a non-lethal manner. The Marin County Agricultural Commissioner calls it a “good move” that substantially reduced livestock losses to predators, saying it cost more to operate in the beginning than today, but it now operates at about half the cost as it did under the Wildlife Services contract. The City of Davis voted unanimously to end its contract with Wildlife Services in January 2013 after the agency killed five coyotes, including four pups, without consulting City staff, which “did not concur that these animals exhibited behavior that warranted removal.

Counties have a duty to review the impacts of activities that affect California’s environment, including wildlife. Currently in Humboldt County, the Department of Agriculture’s APHIS-Wildlife Services (Wildlife Services) is not in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. Likewise, it relies on antiquated and cruel methods to kill wildlife and it operates under a heavy veil of secrecy despite being funded by taxpayer dollars. In addition, Wildlife Services operates with a complete lack of transparency or oversight of its actions, and has steadfastly refused requests from the public, lawmakers, and others to disclose details on the lethal methods it employs, the poisons it uses, and how its money is spent. Bipartisan members of Congress, including Elton Gallegly, R-Calif., and Jackie Speier, D-Calif. are calling for national reforms and requested a congressional investigation of the program. Due to related questions and controversies, the Office of Inspector General is now conducting an audit of Wildlife Services.

Humboldt County citizens are known for their environmental ethics and forward-thinking ideas. Join EPIC and other wildlife advocates on Tuesday, July 22 at 1PM at the Eureka Courthouse in the Supervisors Chamber to voice your opinion on whether or not Humboldt County should end its contract with Wildlife Services.

EPIC is pleased to be partnering with Humboldt Wildlife Care Center/Bird Ally X, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Project Coyote, Natural Resources Defense Council, Animal Welfare Institute, and Mountain Lion Foundation to address the issues associated with Wildlife Services and their excessive killing of wild animals across the country.

This article was written by EPIC interns: Taylor Morrison, Nathan Fisch and Jason Landers.


Caltrans Agrees to Reevaluate Impacts of Del Norte Highway Project on Endangered Salmon

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014
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SmithIn response to a lawsuit by EPIC and other conservation groups, Caltrans has agreed to reassess impacts of a controversial highway-widening project in Del Norte County on protected salmon and their habitat along the Wild and Scenic Smith River. A settlement agreement will keep in place a court-ordered halt of construction work until Caltrans completes consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service under the Endangered Species Act and Magnuson-Stevens Fisheries Conservation Act.

“The North Coast community deserves a project that does not put salmon and the Smith River at risk, as well as an honest assessment of the impacts of highway development on the region,” said Natalynne DeLapp with EPIC. “This is an opportunity for Caltrans to reassess whether this project is in the best interests of taxpayers and the environment.”

Caltrans is attempting to widen narrow sections of highways 197 and 199 along the Smith River in California’s remote Del Norte County to provide access for oversized trucks. Construction would increase erosion and delivery of sediment into the Middle Fork Smith River, harming habitat for threatened coho salmon runs that already face a high risk of extinction. The project would undermine public safety by increasing heavy and oversized truck use on narrow roadways along the Smith River Canyon; it would hurt tourism and local residents.

“Caltrans should reevaluate the whole premise of this expensive, unnecessary project that would cause erosion and sediment impacts to critical salmon habitat,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Caltrans has already wasted more than $9 million of taxpayer money by starting major construction work along a pristine river without first doing a valid environmental review.”

Friends of Del Norte, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center filed lawsuits in state and federal court in 2013 challenging Caltrans’ approval of the $26 million “197/199 Safe STAA Access Project” due to inadequate review of the environmental impacts. The state agency began cutting trees and removing vegetation close to the Smith River in January and was scheduled to begin major earthmoving and construction work in May.

“Caltrans and the National Marine Fisheries Service should have pursued a scientific study to start this process rather than pay lip-service to written environmental law, said Don Gillespie with Friends of Del Norte. “The important issues of highway motorist safety on Highways 199/197 can be addressed on a smaller scale, without the massive erosive bank cuts required to allow STAA truck passage, that endanger the Smith River water quality and threaten our vital fisheries.”

A Northern District Court judge issued a preliminary injunction in early May stopping Caltrans from doing any further work, citing substantial violations of the Endangered Species Act, a “haphazard” consultation process with the federal fisheries agency, and the potential for irreparable harm to the Smith River and salmon habitat. The court characterized both agencies’ biological assessment documents for the project as “contradictory and unclear.”

As part of the new settlement, Caltrans has now reinitiated consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service to properly analyze whether the project would jeopardize threatened coho salmon and their critical habitat in the Smith River or adversely affect the essential fish habitat of all salmon species in the river. The conservation groups retain the right to challenge any further agency decisions or environmental documents for the project.

Caltrans has not considered alternatives besides widening the highway and tried to downplay project impacts on salmon habitat and water quality along the Smith River. The agency refused to evaluate safety hazards from increased truck traffic and ignored the cumulative impacts of numerous other associated Caltrans highway-widening projects in Northern California for oversized truck access. Despite the Fisheries Service’s own data on the imperiled status of coho salmon in the Smith, the fisheries agency rubber-stamped the original project without sufficient review. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Stuart G. Gross and Sharon Duggan and the nationally recognized firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy.

Background

Highway 199 is a scenic byway along the Smith River Canyon that passes through the Six Rivers National Forest and the Smith River National Recreation Area and provides access to Redwood National and State Parks. The Smith River is the only undammed river in California, with the longest stretch of designated “wild and scenic” river in the lower 48. A 1989 Caltrans report acknowledged the physical constraints of the narrow, steep and rocky Smith River Canyon and concluded that environmental concerns make Highway 199 “a poor candidate for extensive upgrading.”

Highway 197 is a seven-mile, two-lane country road that runs north to south along the lower Smith River just northeast of Crescent City. It is a rural-residential route with 72 driveways directly entering onto the road. In order to avoid Jedediah Smith State Park at the western edge of the project, oversized trucks would divert off Highway 199 and travel along Highway 197 to the north of Crescent City to reach Highway 101.

Court challenges to the related Caltrans road-widening project through Richardson Grove on Highway 101 in Humboldt County have resulted in rulings determining that Caltrans failed to adequately analyze the potential impacts of highway development on the ancient redwoods protected in Richardson Grove State Park.

A recently released independent review of Caltrans called for sweeping reforms of the agency and cited a “culture of fear” within Caltrans when it comes to deviating from standard policies. The statewide Caltrans Watch coalition has highlighted the agency’s pervasive refusal to consider reasonable alternatives to massive highway projects, shoddy environmental review, lack of transparency, reliance on flawed data and disregard for public input.

Click here to view the Order of Stipulation

Click here to view the Official Press Release


Smith River Threatened by Strip Mining

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
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Smith-River

Update9/29/14: Based upon its findings and comments received, the Oregon Department of Water Resources “finds that with the data available there is no basis for appropriate conditions that can be applied to mitigate likely impacts to water quality and sensitive, threatened, and endangered species.” Read the full Final Order to Deny Red Flat Nickel Mine here: Final Order to Deny Red Flat Nickel Mine

Take Action! The Wild & Scenic North Fork Smith River is being targeted for a large nickel mine that would devastate the area for recreation, pollute public drinking water in California, damage critical habitat for the federally threatened coho salmon and other fisheries, and destroy the purest waters in the West.

Red Flat Nickel Corporation, a foreign-owned mining company, has submitted plans to the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest to conduct exploratory drilling in the Baldface Creek/North Fork Smith River watershed. The company has also applied to Oregon Water Resources Department for a five-year limited license (LL-1533) to extract thousands of gallons of public waters from tributary streams of the North Fork Smith River.

In the plans, Red Flat Nickel Corporation has proposed flying equipment and personnel into the mining site by helicopter to drill 59 three-inch-diameter core samples 50 feet into the ground. The proposed mining site is 3,980 acres of federal mining claims, which are also in the watershed of the Wild & Scenic North Fork Smith River and the Inventoried South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in Curry County, Oregon.

The information gathered from this exploration will be used to advance mine development of the area. The EPA says the threat of metal mining is the largest toxic polluter in the United States. If one mine starts operating, thousands of acres of other nickel claims could be developed on nearby federal public lands—impacting designated and eligible Wild & Scenic Rivers, and turning one of North America’s most important rare plant centers, imperative habitat for fisheries, and clean water supplies into an industrial wasteland.

A foreign corporation should not be allowed to pollute and despoil the public waters and land resources relied on by local citizens, fisheries, and our ecosytems. Help protect the Wild & Scenic Smith River from devastating foreign strip mining exploration.

This article was composed by Taylor Morrison, an intern with EPIC for the 2014 summer. Thank you to the Kalmiopsis Coalition and the Smith River Alliance for contributing content for this action alert.


Old Growth, Climate Change and Connectivity

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014
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Old Growth.K.BakerGlobal warming is changing the planet’s ecosystems. The largest oldest trees store the greatest amounts of carbon and play a major role in regulating the Earth’s climate. The movement to protect our vital forests is building rapid momentum.

More than 75 scientists recently requested that the President direct his Secretary of Agriculture and Chief of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to craft a National Old Growth Conservation Policy that fully protects the remaining old-growth forests on all national forests. The signatories include PhD professors from throughout the country and Canada, retired state and federal resource agency biologists and two former USFS Chiefs.

The Federal Forest Carbon Coalition—a new first-of-a-kind consortium of over 60 national, regional and local organizations, including EPIC, focused on forests, biodiversity, fisheries, rivers, faith and spirituality, Native American treaty rights, youth, rural communities and climate disruption—recently issued a suite of science-based recommendations to the Obama Administration. Entitled Modernizing Federal Forest Management To Mitigate and Prepare For Climate Disruption, the recommendations for our public lands include permanently protecting all high-biomass forested areas (older forests; live, dead and fallen) from logging, recognizing carbon as a significant public resource, increasing carbon storage, restoring mature forests, promoting more natural fire regimes and a moratorium on fracking.

The U.S. Forest Service manages some of the highest density carbon stores on earth—our  remaining old growth and mature forests. Large old fire resilient trees are the guardians of our air, water, wildlife and forests.  Connecting and protecting older forests will provide refuge and crucial habitat linkages for a wide range of species, allowing for the movement of plants and animals in response to a warming climate.

Federal forest agencies need to make a major shift in policy and practice. While extensive research and collaborative climate adaption strategies have been completed, there has been no significant change in law. Environmental laws are essential to provide the framework and safeguards necessary to protect the thousands of species that make up the web of life.

Climate Change demands political change. Be part of the movement. Please sign and share the Connecting Wild Places petition.

The goal is to reach 50,000 signatures by Sept. 3, the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act.


Off Road Vehicles Proposed by Forest Service in the Smith River National Recreation Area

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
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Smith River NRAEPIC, Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center and other conservation allies submitted comments regarding the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA) Restoration and Motorized Travel Management on June 9th, supporting a travel management decision that protects the outstanding natural values found in the Smith River NRA by reducing road maintenance costs, protecting and restoring aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and reducing the spread of Port Orford cedar root disease through road and route decommissioning.

The Forest Service needs to refrain from adding routes and motorized trails to the road system that occur within occupied sensitive plant habitat as well as fully analyze and disclose the impacts of foreseeable illegal off-road use. In addition, the Forest Service must disclose the actual efficacy of agency road gating, blocking, and closure mechanisms. Furthermore, the final travel management decision must contain meaningful and substantive protections for Port Orford cedar populations across the planning area.

The DEIS for the Smith River NRA Restoration and Motorized Travel Management was released to the public on April 11, 2014. The aim of the project is to make changes to the National Forest Transportation System (NFTS) and Motorized Vehicle Use Maps , including adding, upgrading, downgrading, and decommissioning roads to provide for recreation opportunities, administrative needs, and to reduce risk.

In the Smith River NRA DEIS, six alternatives were identified. The Forest Service prefers Alternative 6. Unfortunately, Alternative 6 is primarily based upon the preferences of a collaborative group whose stated purpose was to determine how to add “high risk” controversial user-created routes to the Smith River NRA NFTS. These “high risk” routes provide no administrative or recreational purpose other than to fulfill the desire to engage in extreme off-road travel. In addition, the preferred alternative would add routes and motorized trails to the NFTS that occur within occupied sensitive plant habitat. It is undeniable that the existing network of roads and routes within the NRA are major causes of chronic sedimentation problems in streams, cause damage to rare and endemic plant populations, contribute to the loss of roadless wildland recreational opportunities, and increase the spread of Phytophthora lateralis (plant pathogen that causes Port Orford cedar root disease). Although the Forest Service acknowledges these problems, it plans to monitor less than 1 in 5 of these “high risk” routes over the next 10 years if funding is even available.

Under the Smith River National Recreation Act, the Forest Service has a responsibility to preserve, protect, and enhance the unique biological diversity of the NRA. EPIC and its supporters feel that the Forest Service’s preferred alternative, which favors the interests of 1.1% of the Six Rivers Forest visitors, does not adequately protect the significant ecological, recreational, and hydrological values the Smith River NRA is charged with protecting. EPIC and its allies  hope that the preferred action is not pre-ordained and that its substantive, technical, and site-specific comments are adequately acknowledged and addressed.

This article was written by Jason Landers, an intern with EPIC for the 2014 summer.

Click here to read the full comments.


EPIC in Review

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014
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EPIC Kate Wolf 2014-2The Environmental Protection Information Center has no problem keeping busy. This last weekend EPIC staff reached out to thousands of people at the Kate Wolf Festival, gathered hundreds of signatures to Connect Wild Places, and to oppose the Bay Delta Conservation Plan. At this event, we quickly realized that people are deeply concerned with the fate of our environment, and want to know what is going on, and how they can contribute towards safeguarding the ecosystems that we all depend upon. We greatly appreciate these opportunities where we get to know the roots of our community and build the lifelong bonds that fuel our work. For those of you who do not have the opportunity to meet with us in person and get updates on our work, we hope the digest below will keep you informed on some of the most contemporary issues that we are currently addressing.

Federal Forest Carbon Coalition letter to the Obama Administration to mitigate and prepare for climate disruption – Science-based recommendations in response to the President’s November 1, 2013 Executive Order: Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change.

Comment letter to Redwood National and State Parks for Bald Hills Road Pavement Project – This letter urges the consideration of an alternatives that would not include paving Bald Hills Road.

Comment letter regarding second growth thinning for Middle Fork Lost Man Creek – A letter of support for thinning over-dense second-growth forest stands in Redwood National Park.

Letter of opposition for the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act of 2014 – S. 2094 is a bill that would perpetuate a regulatory scheme that continues to place the economic burden associated with invasive species on the nation’s taxpayers rather than shifting it to the industry responsible for bringing those species into the nation’s waters. Click here to view the Fact Sheet relating to S. 2094.

Letter of support for the Mokelumne River Bill – SB 1199 would designate the Mokelumne River as a Wild and Scenic River, which would permanently protect 37 miles of river.

Letter opposing the Lowering Gasoline Prices to Fuel an America That Works Act of 2014H.R. 4899 would undermine how the Department of Interior manages federal lands to prioritize oil and gas development over alternative uses of federal lands and waters.

Letter of appreciation to the California Fish and Game Commission thanking the Commission for taking action to protect the gray wolf under the California Endangered Species Act.

Letter to Oregon Water Resources Department opposing the Red Flat Nickel Corporation’s mining proposal – The mining company has requested to use water for mining activities in the National Wild and Scenic North Fork Smith River and Baldface Creek watersheds.

Comment letter regarding AB 2082 – The bill proposes minimum resource conservation standards or minimum stocking standards pertaining to forest practices on private forestlands in California.

Letter regarding Notice of Intent to prepare an environmental impact statement that evaluates an amendment to the 2008 Tongass National Forest Plan – This coalition letter encourages a land management plan for Tongass National Forest that ends large-scale old-growth logging.