Archive for September, 2014

Strip Mining Proposal for Wild and Scenic Smith River Denied

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
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SmithR by Casey RobertsOregon Department of Water Resources has denied the Red Flat Nickel Corporation’s application for the use of 10 gallons per minute from a tributary to the Wild and Scenic Smith River – one of the last undammed free-flowing rivers in the country. The Environmental Protection Information Center, along with a coalition of groups from Oregon and California called Kalmiopsis spearheaded a campaign to oppose the destructive proposal, and over 3,000 comments were submitted during the 60 day public comment period.

The mining proposal included the use of large quantities of water, road construction, drilling and the possible release of environmentally persistent toxic chemicals and sediment from contaminated retention pools. In a statement regarding the nickel mine proposal, Natalynne Delapp, Executive Director for the Environmental Protection Information Center, said “this is a good example of inner-state collaboration and community participation; more than 1,200 EPIC members submitted comments on this proposal sending a clear message to decision-makers that we need to protect this pristine river system.”

The area that was proposed for the mining operation is home to rare botanical resources as well as sensitive threatened coho salmon and fish species that rely on the pristine cold waters of the Smith River drainage. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended denial of the application iterating the importance of the Smith River being one of two watersheds in California described as “irreplaceable” with respect to salmonid population resiliency and biodiversity.

The Smith River is designated as a National Recreation Area and is used for large institutional water users, irrigators, and domestic uses. In 1998 the State of California issued a Declaration of Fully Appropriated Stream Systems, which effectively removed the Smith from further appropriation in California.

In the Final Order to Deny, the Oregon Water Resources Department concluded that the water is not available for the proposed use, the use would be detrimental to public interest, and that “there is no basis for appropriate conditions that can be applied to mitigate likely impacts to water quality and sensitive, threatened, and endangered species.”

Strip Mining Proposal for Wild and Scenic Smith River Press Release

Smith River Threatened by Strip Mining July 2, 2014 EPIC Action Alert

 


Take Action to Protect Wildlife from Killing Contests

Thursday, September 25th, 2014
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Coyote Killing ContestTake Action: Believe it or not, the practice of hunting non-game fur-bearing mammals in contests is still alive and well in California. What’s more, cash prizes, known as inducements, are still being offered to participants who senselessly shoot and kill mammals such as coyotes, bears, bobcats and foxes. 

However, the California Fish and Game Commission, the regulatory body that governs such activities, is now considering action to reduce this senseless killing for sport by making it illegal to offer inducements. This change in regulation will serve to clarify existing law surrounding the “take” i.e. hunting of nongame mammals in hunting contests.

Tell the California Fish and Game Commission that you support its proposed rulemaking to end inducements for hunting contests for nongame fur-bearing mammals.

Click here to speak out against the senseless killing of animals for money.


A Bunch of Bull: Grazing on Our Public Lands

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
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Fragmented, degraded and top-browsed willow wetland, Big Meadows, June 2014

Fragmented, degraded and top-browsed willow wetland, Big Meadows, June 2014

Wilderness areas are those left “untrammeled by man;” but what about cows? This past summer, whenever wildfires permitted, EPIC was in the field to monitor the impacts of destructive cattle on our public lands. In its fifth year of existence, EPIC’s Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California is dedicated to reforming grazing in wilderness areas through documenting its harmful effects and advocating for better industry management.

Documenting the Destruction

At 5,600 feet, Felice Pace scans the meadows of Buns Basin on the north side of Medicine Mountain in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. He likes what he sees—thickly growing willows, which provide habitat for the endangered Willow flycatcher, bear and Roosevelt elk tracks, and clear alpine ponds and streams. He also likes what he doesn’t see: cows. You see, cattle grazing results in the fragmentation of willow habitat and degradation of watersheds.

One of the most significant negative impacts of poorly managed national forest grazing that EPIC’s Project to Reform Grazing has documented is the degradation, fragmentation and drying out of willow wetlands. Fragmentation is mainly the result of grazing cattle pushing into and through willow stands in order to access the tender grasses and sedges below. As the stands become fragmented, bovines also browse within them further exacerbating fragmentation. As the interior of willow stands become progressively more accessible, top browsing further degrades individual willows and the stands. In the most severe cases, willow wetlands are being converted into grasslands.

In many grazing allotments that the Project has monitored, EPIC has seen the deleterious impacts of cattle on watersheds. Without active management, there’s nothing stopping cattle from trampling banks, springs, and wetlands, and defecating in the water. As a result, once crystal clear alpine streams quickly turn into a quagmire, complete with blue green algae, fecal coliform bacteria, and high sediment loads.

And we citizens are paying for this destruction too. Through below-cost fees, grazing programs on federal lands receive almost $445 million in annual subsidies. While private rangeland typically rents for around $11.90 per cow and calf per month, public lands can only charge $1.35 per cow and calf per month (a price which has only gone up by 12 cents since 1966). According to a study by the Government Accountability Office, just to break even the Forest Service and BLM would need to charge between $7.64 and $12.26 monthly.

Working Towards a Solution

Ending grazing is no easy task since grazing is “grandfathered in” to our wilderness and other public land laws. As a result, efforts to end grazing in the West have been met with limited success. That’s why we’ve decided to try a different strategy: to encourage decision-makers to require active management.

EPIC, together with coalition partners Klamath Forest Alliance and Wilderness Watch, advocates that National Forest managers require grazing permit holders to ride the range on a regular basis in order to move their cattle from preferred to un-grazed locations and to keep them from trashing springs, stream banks and willow wetlands. While theoretically required, regular herding rarely takes place.

You Can Help

We encourage EPIC members and others to get involved. Grazing allotments are spread across Northern California public lands; citizens who use those lands are urged to visit local grazing allotment and take photos documenting cattle trashed springs, streams and wetlands. Then send us the photos at tom@wildcalifornia.org  along with location information and we’ll use them to pressure federal and state officials to require real changes in how public land grazing is managed.


Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
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WildScenicFilmFest1Tuesday, October 7th at the Arcata Theatre Lounge.

Click here to buy tickets

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a call to action. At Wild & Scenic, film goers are transformed into a congregation of committed activists, dedicated to saving our increasingly threatened planet. We show environmental and adventure films that illustrate the Earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. Through these films, Wild & Scenic both informs people about the state of the world and inspires them to take action. Wild & Scenic raises resources and awareness for EPIC’s initiatives to recover Northwest California’s native species and to protect and restore the redwood forest ecosystem.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the EPIC Office at 145 South G Street, Suite A in Arcata. Call 822-7711 for more information.

Doors open at 6pm. Prices are TBA.

2014 Film Selections

From The Spawning Grounds Thomas B. Dunklin

Plunge into the clear cold water of the Salmon River and get a fish-eye view of the river and its inhabitants. The underwater footage of salmon and steelhead is accompanied by a song and poem from Karuk artist Brian D. Tripp. (USA, 2011, 3 min)

Fixing the Earth – One Watershed at a Time Thomas B. Dunklin

The Yurok Tribe’s Fisheries Program use ancient cultural ethics to manage and restore the Chinook and Coho salmon of the Klamath River. This film presents the historic context of the tribe’s struggle to affirm their fishing rights and to fully participate in the management Klamath fisheries today and into the future. (USA, 2013, 19 min)

Sacred Headwaters Paul Colangelo

The shared birthplace of three salmon rivers in Northern Canada, the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation, and home to an incredible ecosystem of large mammals, the Sacred Headwaters is at risk of losing all that makes it sacred to resource extraction. (Canada, 2012, 4 min)

Kara Women Speak Jane Baldwin

A Kara woman muses about her concerns for the survival of her people. The Kara are a community of indigenous people living along the Omo River in Southwestern Ethiopia. Ethiopian government projects now threaten these areas and their populations. The construction of the foreign financed Gibe III hydroelectric dam, being built on the upper Omo River, and vast tracts of rich farmland have been leased to foreign corporations, displacing indigenous people from their ancestral land without compensation. Her words reflect the uncertain fate of all agro-pastoralists living in the Omo River-Lake Turkana watershed. www.karatribe.com (Ethiopia, 6min)

Environmental Lawyers and the Protection of Sharks Jeff Litton

Sharks are amazing animals that provide healthy ocean ecosystems, and a billion dollar dive industry. Yet 3 sharks are removed from our ocean every second, and Planet Earth can’t keep up. While supply and demand mean life or death for shark species, this innovative film targets environmental lawyers as the key players to stop illegal fishing, and bring about environmental justice for sharks. (Ecuador, 2013, 13 min)

A Brief History of the 5cent Bag Tax Craig Schattner, Adam Walker, Emil Superfin

When your city is overflowing with plastic bags, how will you react? Jack Green, head of the Department of the Environment, is on a mission to rid the city of its plastic bag scourge. (USA, 2013, 2 min)

COMPOST-a-lujah! Christopher Paetkau, Trevor Gill

Let’s face it: composting isn’t the most glamorous of topics or activities. It can be dirty, rotten, and smelly. But it doesn’t have to be. Meet Linda Olsen – master composter. (Canada, 2012, 3 min)

The Ground to the Clouds Denise Zmekhol

Fifty years ago Jane Goodall set out to study the wild chimpanzees of Tanzania with little more than a pair of second-hand binoculars, some pencils and a notebook. Now her team uses mobile devices, satellite imagery and cloud-based mapping technologies to create a comprehensive picture of the conservation challenges in the Congo Basin. This transformational approach to habitat conservation is part of a global effort to monitor natural resources … and is giving hope to the survival of endangered chimpanzee populations. (Tanzania, 2013, 8 min)

Raptor Blues Ian Timothy

A musical stop motion animation explaining the dangerous effects of rodenticides on birds of prey in a way that everyone can understand. (USA, 2013, 2 min)

The New Environmentalists: Fractured Wilderness John Antonelli, Andrew Black, Todd Miro’

Jonathan Deal is leading a concerted campaign against a fracking project that threatens the Karoo, where sparse desert and majestic mountains converge to create an agriculture heartland and flourishing wildlife reserves in South Africa. (USA/S.Africa, 2013, 4.5min)

The New Environmentalists: Weaving A Movement John Antonelli, Barry Schienberg, Todd Miro’

When Indonesian marble mining companies began to exploit the pristine mountains surrounding her West Timor homeland, Mama Aleta Baun organized the villagers in a weaving protest that lasted months and received international recognition. (USA/Indonesia, 2013, 4.5min)

The New Environmentalists: Marshland Dreams John Antonelli, Andrew Black, Todd Miro’

Iraq’s Mesopatamia Marshes had been a vital life force for centuries until Saddam Hussein destroyed them with a devastating military maneuver. Azzam Alwash has taken on the challenge

Damocracy Todd Southgate, Tolga Temuge, Doga Dernegi

Damocracy is a short documentary that exposes the myth of dams as ‘green’ energy through two examples from Amazonia and Mesopotamia: the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil and the Ilisu Dam in Turkey. The documentary shows the potential disasters these dams would cause on cultural heritage, wildlife and local communities who rely on the rich natural resources provided by the Tigris and Xingu rivers. The film also questions the sanity of climate change solutions that depend on the destruction of ‘the lungs of the Earth’ and ‘the cradle of civilization’. It is a call to action to save this priceless natural and cultural heritage being gambled for the interests of a few. No Awards (Brazil & Turkey, 2012, 34 min)

Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia Jeremy Monroe, David Herasimtschuk

Biodiversity. It’s in the rivers of the Amazon, the jungles of Borneo, the coral reefs of Belize… oh, and the creeks of Tennessee. That’s right, southern Appalachia is a littleknown hotspot for aquatic life and is home to some wildly diverse fish, mussels, salamanders, crayfish and other critters. Hidden Rivers takes an immersive look at the little-known creatures of these waters, their striking beauty and extreme vulnerability. The films also reveal how some Southerners are finding new ways to explore and celebrate this precious life, and reminding us all that biodiversity is everywhere and rivers are always deeper than you think! (USA, 2013, 4 min)

A world on Notice: Women at the Front Lines of Climate Change Terra Nyssa, Osprey Orielle Lake

We are headed toward a potential 4 degrees Celsius rise in global temperature over the next decades that will create unprecedented havoc for our children and future generations. Women are no longer willing to stand by when so much is at stake. Women are on the front lines of Climate Change Solutions. Fierce and compassionate women worldwide are committed to making a difference in the urgency of climate change. Join the journey as the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is heating up! (USA, 2013, 9 min)

Wildandscenicfilmposter1


Trespass Grows and Wildlife on Public Lands

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
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6,500 gallon cistern in wilderness backcountry. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

6,500 gallon cistern in wilderness backcountry. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

We have seen it all before—boom and bust resource production and extraction in Northern California has been the norm since the beginning of European settlement. From the timber boom to the gold rush, we have now entered the era of the so-called ‘green-rush,’ the high-time of marijuana production.  Marijuana growing in Northern California has traditionally been a cottage industry-scale economy. However, with the recent surge in industrial-scale production has also come an increased awareness of the potentially significant environmental harms to forests, fish, and wildlife from large-scale egregious grows, both on private and public lands.

EPIC has been at the forefront of advocacy and education efforts aimed at exposing the potentially significant environmental damage that can result from industrial-scale, and particularly trespass marijuana production in Northern California. Of particular concern are egregious trespass grows on our National Forests, where paramount concern must be given to the protection of forests, fish and wildlife resources.

Earlier this month, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service aimed at acquiring documents detailing the effects of trespass marijuana growing on public lands, and their impacts on forests, fish, and wildlife. EPIC has requested information regarding the number and size of trespass grows, the status of the Forest Service’s monitoring and enforcement efforts, and the amount and type of toxic chemicals found at individual grow sites. EPIC has also requested information pertaining to how the existence of these trespass grows has hampered the ability of the Forest Service to conduct essential survey and monitoring activities from threatened and endangered wildlife species, most notably the Northern Spotted Owl.

Bear paw print in chemicals. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

Bear paw print in chemicals. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

Of particular concern regarding trespass marijuana production on public lands, is the use of anticoagulant rodenticides that can have a deadly effect not only on the rodents targeted for eradication, but also on other wildlife species that prey on these rodents. Anticoagulant rodenticides can persist in forest ecosystems, and can infect the food chain that supports a myriad of threatened and endangered wildlife species, such as owls, fishers and martens.

EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act request will help to evaluate the monitoring and enforcement efforts of the Forest Service,  provide a window into the amount of illegal and egregious trespass marijuana agriculture on public lands and serve to inform the public about the nature and extent of this problem and its associated effects on threatened and endangered wildlife species, and public lands resources in general.

EPIC is dedicated to combatting these egregious and illegal marijuana cultivation activities on public lands as a significant threat to watersheds, forests, fisheries and wildlife. EPIC is also dedicated to shedding the light-of-day on these activities in order to inform, and engage the public and decision-makers. Trespass marijuana agriculture on our public lands pose an ominous threat to our wild California, and to the essential and irreplaceable resources that our public lands support. EPIC will continue to advocate for small-scale and sustainable marijuana agriculture that honors the importance of our public lands, as well as our water, forests, fish, and wildlife.


Groundwater Legislation is Not Strong Enough

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
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IMG_0440

Sprinklers water grass fields at 1pm, during in the hottest part of the day.

The recent drought that has been experienced throughout the west has brought much needed attention to the mismanagement of water resources, particularly in the State of California, which currently lacks groundwater regulations. With rivers drying up and drought conditions worsening, there is a clear need for regulation to address the ongoing extraction of groundwater resources. However, the currently proposed legislation falls short because it relies too heavily on local agencies, fails to prescribe adequate timeframes for compliance, fails to take into account beneficial uses of water, fails to establish a clear path for the public and local agencies to evaluate the potentially significant environmental effects of groundwater extraction, and fails to challenge the efficiency of a groundwater management plan.

The State of California is poised to enact landmark sustainable groundwater management legislation. Faced with an unprecedented drought, and the acknowledgment that existing laws do not adequately meet the public’s interest in sustainable groundwater management, the state legislature has proposed three bills aimed at creating a new framework for the management of groundwater resources.

Senate Bill 1168 (Sustainable Groundwater Management Act), Assembly Bill 1739 and Senate Bill 1319 together propose to establish a new framework for the creation of sustainable groundwater management plans to establish minimum standards for sustainable groundwater management, provide local groundwater agencies with the authority and technical assistance necessary to sustainably manage groundwater, to avoid subsidence, to increase groundwater storage and remove impediments to recharge, and to maximize local management of groundwater basins while minimizing state intervention.

The purpose of the law is to require development of “groundwater sustainability agencies” and “groundwater sustainability plans,” and to provide procedures for their creation, implementation and enforcement measures by state agencies if the plans are not being effective. All other state resource agencies, and effectively cities and counties in the general planning process, are required to consider the policies of the law and any groundwater sustainability plans when revising or adopting their own policies, regulations, criteria, or even when issuing orders or determinations.

The legislation further requires the designation of high-and-medium priority groundwater basins as of January 1, 2017. These basins shall be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated sustainability plans by January 31, 2020. All other high or medium-priority groundwater basins not covered by that provision shall be managed by the required plans by January 31, 2022. Development of sustainability plans for low and very-low priority basins are encouraged, but not required. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is required to categorize each basin as high, medium, low or very low priority by not later than January 31, 2015. If, after initial categorization, a basin is elevated to a medium- or high-priority basin, a local agency shall have two years after that reprioritization to either (1) establish a groundwater sustainability agency and five years to adopt a groundwater sustainability plan, or (2) two years to satisfy the requirements of the legislation.

The so-called “groundwater sustainability agencies” can be one or a combination of local agencies, which are to be identified by statue. Existing agencies designated in the proposed law can opt out of their role as a groundwater sustainability agency, thus paving the way for the creation of an alternate groundwater sustainability agency.

The legislation relies heavily on local entities and agencies such as county and other local government entities to develop groundwater sustainability plans. The legislation provides that local groundwater sustainability agencies must ‘consider’ beneficial uses of water in the identified basins. The term ‘consider’ in this context is somewhat ambiguous and non-directive. As we have seen over the years with the California Forest Practice Act’s requirement to give ‘consideration’ to public trust resources, the use of the term ‘consider’ can generate a great deal of debate as to its meaning and what is actually to be required. The legislation gives wide-ranging rulemaking power to local sustainability agencies in order to implement the provisions of these Acts. These powers include the ability to require registration for groundwater extractors, and the ability to establish fees for permits allowing for groundwater extraction.

Of particular concern with the impending legislation is the fact that the entire process has been deemed to be exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). What’s more, the legislation is unclear as to what, if any recourse a member of the general public or a public interest group may have to challenge the adequacy of the locally-promulgated groundwater sustainability plans.

There are also questions regarding the funding for these programs. While the proposed law gives the local agencies the right to charge fees for the cost of its groundwater sustainability program, there are no criteria or guidance provided to define the reasonableness or level of fees set.

Additionally, the timelines for designation of high-and-medium priority groundwater management basins, and the promulgation of groundwater sustainability plans are pushed well out into the future. Given the unprecedented drought conditions, and the ongoing extraction of groundwater for domestic and agricultural uses throughout the state, the timelines to achieve compliance with these statues appears to be ‘too little, too late.’

Finally, the state’s role in this process provides little actual oversight; while DWR may review plans, it need do so only within two years after submission, and then only provide an “assessment.” There is no clear criteria to permit the public to initiate a challenge to an adopted plan.

EPIC supports the concept of sustainable groundwater management, but the currently proposed legislation simply falls short due to its lack of public oversight, and absence of enforceable mechanisms that would regulate water in a way to ensure the conservation of resources. EPIC will continue to advocate for stronger sustainable groundwater management provisions that comply with existing environmental laws, and which provide for adequate oversight from the state and the general public.


State of Water

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
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Eel River by Ferndale, Photo by Amber Shelton

Eel River

Here on the North Coast, our six rivers are running dry. The Bureau of Reclamation’s recent releases from Lewiston Dam, aimed at preventing another massive Klamath fish kill  shows how scientifically-based citizen advocacy can be successful. However, much more action is needed to implement a lasting solution to the mismanagement of water supplies, especially during drought conditions.

Life-sustaining fresh water is categorized as either surface water or groundwater. While the molecules themselves don’t hold neatly to this distinction, it does call our attention to a few facts. First, groundwater accounts for much of the world’s supply of fresh water (over 90%, not including glaciers and ice sheets). Ecosystem services provided by groundwater include water purification, climate resilience, erosion regulation, flood control and water supply reliability. In most states, groundwater is regulated, but California’s groundwater has gone completely unregulated. Unsustainable groundwater pumping practices have led to serious consequences for everyone. More energy is required to find and extract water by its primary consumers. Downstream there is less, and in some cases, no surface water and higher concentrations of pollutants. Meanwhile, the ground itself is subsiding as the aquifers compress, degrading infrastructure on a massive scale.

For those of us who are involved in agriculture, there are opportunities directly correlated to the scale of our operations. The Northern California Farmer’s Guide – Best Management Practices is a great resource for local growers small or large, regardless of their crops. The Best Management Practices include water catchment in the rainy season, integrated pest management, proper use of amendments and disposal of potting soils, and responsible surface water diversions and ground water pumping. For those whose agricultural dependence is secondary, we can develop relationships with our farmers through Community Supported Agriculture and Farmers Markets. We are incredibly lucky to have a surplus of these opportunities in our region. Yet the limits on our ability to affect a more substantial change can be frustrating.

This might lead us towards denial or other forms of avoidance but these do little to address the problem. Nothing short of a systemic change seems to be required. Often, the finger is pointed at an individual to divert the attention from the machine. Opting-out of taking excessive showers, using appropriate landscaping (native and drought resistant species) or supporting responsible farming will help, but it is a drop in the sea of our current water systems crisis. Just what can be done about at this level?

There is much that we all can do to be a force for positive change in the future of our world. It is important to remember that systems are perpetuated by people and we do have the ability to change them. It is our task to remember that our opponents are human beings with legitimate interests. By striving for civil discourse, it is easier to see our shared interests in sustainable water and resource use. Whether we are motivated more by economic or environmental factors, we all have an interest in figuring out how to live on this planet in such a way that doesn’t jeopardize its future. As stated in the Best Management Practices: “most people want to do the right thing.” Whether or not that will be done, in the end, seems to come down to individual empowerment and identification with the whole leading to action that reinforces these sentiments.

This article was written by Devin Paine


50 Years Wild: Connecting Wild Places

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014
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sawtoothpeak

Sawtooth Peak, Trinity Alps Wilderness

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, EPIC and conservation partners submitted 50,000 messages from our membership to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and to all California National Forest and BLM Supervisors, and elected delegates, asking them to protect and connect wild places.

Signed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Wilderness Act enables wild lands to be set-aside for permanent preservation and protection. Starting with 9.1 million acres, and now totaling more than 100 million acres, Wild Places are part of our nation’s heritage.

As we take time to celebrate what has been accomplished over the years, it is also important to consider what still needs to be done. Through years of environmental advocacy work in the Pacific Northwest and reviewing current science, we have learned that in this rapidly changing climate, the best thing we can do is protect all remaining old growth and mature trees, and establish a well-connected network of wildlife corridors. These wildlife corridors serve as a link between Wilderness Areas and provide refuge for many rare native plants and animals, and are a source of clean water and air.

Protecting and connecting wild places will create the “Climate Refugia” essential for species survival.

A majority of wildlife corridors, managed by the US Forest Service (USFS) within California’s’ 18 national forests remain unprotected and open to multiple threats, including logging, fire suppression and road building. Northern California forests are some of the most carbon dense forests on the planet, with the largest oldest trees storing the greatest amounts of carbon and playing a major role in regulating the Earth’s climate. The main reason for the current global mass extinction rate is habitat loss. Well over half of California’s fish, amphibians and mammals and nearly half of all birds and reptiles are “at-risk.”

California offers an amazing opportunity to establish an interconnected intact landscape, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The state’s 53 Wilderness Areas, mostly high elevation, 25 national and 270 state parks and beaches offer islands of refuge for wildlife. Roadless Areas, rivers and ridges that contain vital lower elevation cool carbon dense forests are passageways that allow wildlife to move freely to search for food, find a mate, migrate, to keep genetic diversity strong and to seek refuge in response to climate adaption.

Global warming and human impacts on the landscape threaten our and come with devastating ecological costs to current and future generations, but we know what needs to be done to in order to prevent further degradation. It is time to enact policy and implement climate adaption strategies. Our leaders in office and in forest, fish and wildlife management need to make a major shift in policy and practice to conserve our quality of life, wildlife and wild places.

EPIC and Klamath Forest Alliance are building a campaign called Connecting Wild Places to tackle this challenge head on seeking to:

  • Safeguard all remaining older forests;
  • Create a well-connected landscape; and
  • Reform antiquated resource extraction practices.

In order to raise awareness of the campaign, build alliances with other advocacy groups, and generate support from elected officials it takes tremendous amounts of energy and resources.There are many ways you can help:

We must never lose sight of the importance of wilderness and wild places, and with that in mind we are appealing to you to join us in pursuing a more interconnected, protected, and climate resilient future. Let us say thank you to the generations before us for having the foresight to leave America a legacy we can all be proud of. Happy 50th Anniversary to the Wilderness Act!