Archive for December, 2014

Crab N’ Drag at the Bayside Grange January 31

Friday, December 26th, 2014
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buy ticketsRoll out the redwood carpet, get out under the stars, and party for redwoods and rainbows! Aqueerius Productions is proud to present the classy, fun and colorful, Crab N’ Drag, a celebrity drag themed crab dinner and dance party, to benefit EPIC and Humboldt Pride.

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EPIC is dedicated to the protection and restoration of the forests of Northwestern California, and Humboldt Pride seeks to educate and energize the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer community and our allies.

Come out and dance the night away in your glitz and glamour to shine like the star that you are, and enjoy a delicious dinner with fabulous entertainment and a full bar.

The theme “Under the Stars” encourages the public to dress as a STAR including but not limited to a celebrity, rock star, pop star, famous person, fictional character, comedian, super star, bright n’ shiny sun star, sea star, the star that YOU are!!! get creative and shine bright!

Awards for Kingest King, Queenest Queen, and Queerest Queer!

Exciting entertainment will include, the performing troupe Circus of The Elements, the all-drag boy band Girrrls 2 Men, Fushia Rae, the newly crowned local celebrity, Mizz Mr. Humboldt, and the Ho-stess with the mostess Mantrikka Ho will dazzle us throughout the evening.

DJ Anya will bring on the booty shakin’, with her sassy electro beats mashed with nostalgic hip-hop sounds to create an instant dance party!

Seduce your taste buds with a local and sustainably caught dungeness crab & oyster dinner with local grown organic greens and quinoa with vegan option and desert! Available for purchase at the event, dinner will be served till we run out.

Doors open at 6pm, dinner will be served from 6:00-8:00 and music goes until midnight. Tickets are $10and includes entertainment and DJ dance party! Dinner will be available for separate purchase at the event and will feature a crab and oyster dinner and a vegan option for ~$15 (prices may vary due to market value). 18+ Adults Only.

Contact Kelly@wildcalifornia.org or call EPIC 822-7711 for questions or to volunteer. Contact illuminateyourevent@gmail.com for stage and performing information. We are coming together to celebrate our differences and to share in an important cause in this open and affirming venue. People of all genders and persuasions are welcome and we’d love to have any and all join us to support EPIC and Humboldt Pride. Dance for biodiversity and diversity! Party for redwoods and rainbows!

Buy Tickets Now!

 

 

 


2014 EPIC Year in Review

Friday, December 19th, 2014
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grandfather treehuggerWhen it comes to getting things done, EPIC churns out one campaign after another in the pursuit of making our world a better place. Over the past year, we have taken on almost every project you can imagine, from getting protections for the Grey Wolf, to banning rodenticides, to protecting wild places, to thwarting Caltran’s attempts to harm ancient redwoods, our team is proficient in bringing about changes to better the environment and quality of life.  The list below takes a look at some of our most notable accomplishments from 2014. We could not do all of this work without the support from our members, interns, volunteers and activists, so we would like to thank you for all that you do to fuel our efforts into the future.

PUBLIC LANDS

Filed a third lawsuit to prevent Caltrans from vandalizing the ancient redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park, convincing Caltrans to rescind its approvals for the project. Caltrans must now restart the full environmental review of the project if they choose to move forward with the proposal. Earlier in the year, the California Appeals Court ruled that Caltrans Failed to Consider Highway Project Impacts on old-growth redwoods.

Secured a preliminary injunction halting Caltrans’ 199/197 Highway-widening proposal in Del Norte County along the Wild and Scenic Smith River, 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.

Developed and launched the Connecting Wild Places Campaign, which sets out to designate, protect and connect habitat areas, wildlife corridors, carbon-dense forest stands and all remaining old-growth in northwest California to build a well-connected network of wild lands to allow for the movement, mating, foraging and adaptation of species in an era of climate change.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, we submitted a message on behalf of 50,000 EPIC and conservation partner members asking U.S. Department of the Interior Sally Jewell and California National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Supervisors to protect and connect wild places.

Prepared a legal complaint challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to log over a thousand acres in the Klamath National Forest along the Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River. Because of the threat of litigation, the Forest Service withdrew important old growth reserves from the Salmon Salvage timber sale, resulting in the protection of some of the best northern spotted owl habitat in the proposal.

Sent three separate action alerts opposing U.S. Forest Service proposals for post-fire “salvage” logging in the Klamath National Forest:

  • Westside Project (604 comments)
  • Jess Project (1,182 comments)
  • Salmon River Salvage (1,347 comments)

Sent 1,073 comments on the Crawford Timber Sale within the Siskiyou 1 Roadless Area, a proposal that would be damaging to forest health and biodiversity with taxpayers footing the bill for corporate timber profits at the expense of wildlands and wildlife.

Monitored and documented cattle grazing allotments in wilderness areas that have resulted in fragmentation of willows and wetlands and degradation of watersheds. The documentation was then sent to federal and state officials to encourage more effective grazing management to protect our public lands and public trust resources.

Worked with conservation groups, Tolowa Dunes State Park, and Biologists to survey, document and map current fencing and restoration efforts to develop a plan for removing old livestock fencing from the park to improve habitat for migratory wildlife such as elk. The majority of the fencing is scheduled to be removed in early 2015.

Filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service to request documents detailing the effects of trespass marijuana growing on public lands and their impacts on forests, fish, and wildlife.

Participated in Humboldt County’s Cannabis ordinance workshops and Growing Green citizen workshops to advocate for ecologically sustainable solutions for the cultivation of our region’s number one cash crop.

WILDLIFE

Successfully petitioned to protect the Gray Wolf under the California Endangered Species Act. For more than two years we advocated for the wolf, gathered over 4,000 comments, attended countless hearings, hosted teach-ins and testified at the California Fish and Game Commission hearing in Fortuna when it was announced that OR7, California’s wandering wolf had sired puppies and that the species would be granted protections!

Action alert to urge U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to grant protections for fishers as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Encouraged 2,409 epic members to take action ultimately convincing the California Fish and Game Commission to end inducements (cash prizes) for wildlife killing contests.

Launched campaign that resulted in a statewide ban on over the counter sales of dangerous anticoagulant rat poisons that kill countless children, pets and wildlife each year.

Commissioned a wildlife researcher to conduct an independent review of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Northern Spotted Owl initial evaluation of our petition to list the Owl as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. This report will be presented to the Commission to provide scientific evidence that the species is in decline and needs protections.

Filed and settled two separate lawsuits to reform the timing and number of fish released from Trinity and Mad River fish hatchery practices to protect native wild salmon populations from being bred with and preyed upon by hatchery fish.

Joined forces with other groups to file a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for a silvery phacelia, a rare plant that grows in coastal areas along northern California & southern Oregon.

WATER

Submitted comments and gathered 1,207 signatures to urge the Oregon Department of Water Resources (ODWR) to deny the Red Flat Nickel Corporation’s Strip Mining application that was proposed for the headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Smith River. Earlier this month, we learned that the mining corporation has appealed the ODWR’s denial, and now we are urging congressional representatives in Oregon and California to block the proposals by issuing a mineral withdrawn for mining in the sensitive areas of the Illinoi and Smith River, click here to take action.

Participated in workshops that developed into California’s newly adopted Groundwater Legislation.

Attended rally in Sacramento and encouraged 1,880 people to send comments to the Bureau of Reclamation to prevent a fish kill in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. In the end, the Bureau made the decision to release the flows and this year’s salmon runs were one of the largest on record.

Developed comments and an action alert yielding 1,598 comments requesting withdrawal of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a proposal that was based on over allocated water rights that would take more water from Northern California’s rivers threatening the viability of endangered species and native salmon runs only to benefit large industrial agricultural interests.

Attended meeting where we delivered over 10,000 petition signatures opposing the Navy’s Northwest Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement, which proposed the harm, kill or harass more than 500,000 marine mammals with sonar, weapons, and toxic chemicals. The extensive comments submitted during the last public comment period have forced the Navy to write an additional Supplement to the initial Environmental Impact Statement, which is currently being circulated for public comment and includes a series of meetings with one in Eureka on January 16, 2015.

Participated in Sacramento Rally and submitted over 6,000 comments to California lawmakers, asking them to ban fracking in California.

PRIVATE INDUSTRIAL FORESTLANDS

Filed a petition to challenge CAL FIRE’s use of ‘G-Plus Methodology,’ an underground regulation that illegally applies an alternative review and approval standard for private industrial Timber Harvest Plans

Worked with residents, forest defenders and timber managers in the Mattole watershed to assess primary forests and the effects timber harvest proposals would have on the landscape, eventually Humboldt Redwood Company agreed to temporarily halt logging in these controversial places. EPIC plans to continue working with stakeholders in this area to develop a plan that will protect old growth stands and restore the watershed.

In 2014 EPIC has successfully engaged on conservation advocacy issues at the national, state, and local level, and our advances are directly attributable to the consistent support that our small, grassroots and community-based organization receives from our membership. Thank you for a positive 2014, we are well positioned to have a successful 2015. Click here to read our vision for 2015.


Dear Santa: Save our Beautiful Wild Rivers from Strip Mining

Friday, December 12th, 2014
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Santa and river image for alertTake Action: All we want for Christmas is a mineral withdrawal

This Christmas, please join us in asking Santa for something extra special: a mineral withdrawal in southwest Oregon that benefits California too!

Here’s what’s at stake:

  • the purest of waters and wildest of rivers;
  • a stronghold of native salmon, steelhead, and cutthroat trout; and
  • a treasure trove of botanical diversity with one of the highest concentrations of rare plants in North America.

Mining companies want to develop nickel strip mines in pristine, wild lands in southwest Oregon, including the headwaters of California’s famed Smith River. Senators Wyden and Merkley and Congressman DeFazio have long supported withdrawing the fragile watersheds of Rough and Ready and Baldface creeks (headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Illinois and North Fork Smith rivers) from mining, and we’ve urged them to add Hunter Creek’s headwaters—equally fragile—to their roster. Congressman Huffman has joined them to protect the Wild and Scenic Smith River.

There’s not much time. Immediate introduction of legislation to withdraw the area from mining is needed. This will protect these priceless federal public lands by closing them to mining unless there’s a valid existing right.

It’s our best way to protect the crystal clear, salmon-studded waters of the wild rivers coast from damaging pollution.

Take Action: Urge the Oregon and California delegation to introduce legislation to protect this wild and wonderful area from mining!

 

 

EPIC is a member of the Kalmiopsis Rivers group, we would like to thank them for providing the content of this action alert.

EPIC Unveils New Strategic Plan

Thursday, December 11th, 2014
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HeadwatersIt is a great honor to share with you the Environmental Protection Information Center’s Strategic Plan. EPIC is an organization in the process of reestablishing itself as the most effective forest advocacy organization in the north coast California region. Our goal is to build a stronger, more solid, focused organization, and achieve the greatest impact in forest protection.

For nearly four-decades EPIC has held public agencies accountable by upholding environmental laws to protect Northwest California’s native biodiversity. EPIC filed more than 70 lawsuits on behalf of imperiled wildlife species and their habitat, many of which led to the permanent protection of some of the region’s most biologically significant, carbon dense, intact ancient forests.

Building off our past accomplishments and holding true to our principals, we concluded that the most effective thing we can do is focus our energy and resources on achieving three specific goals: (1) Connecting working and wild forests; (2) Ensuring best management of public forestland; and (3) Ensuring best management of private industrial forests. This is not a strategy to do less; it is a strategy to be more focused, rigorous and stable.

EPIC advocates for the science-based protection and restoration of Northwest California’s forests.

NW Ca Biodiversity 2reducedBiodiversity loss, also known as extinction, may be the biggest threat to life on Earth, as we know it. People are altering landscapes and ecosystems more rapidly and extensively than any other time in human history. Today, a small percent of intact ancient forests remain, mostly in California’s state and national parks, wilderness areas and wildlife refuges. But between these protected biodiversity hotspots, the majority of California’s forests remain unprotected and are constantly threatened by clearcut logging, road building, grazing, trespass marijuana grows, and conversion from working forests to industrial agriculture. The cumulative impact of these activities is devastating to biodiversity. Over the last few years an increasing number of scientists have suggested that the planet’s collapsing biological diversity may well be the largest and most intractable environmental problem we face—even greater than climate change or pollution.

Biodiversity and the resilience of the environment are deeply intertwined.

There is an urgent need to identify new conservation areas—areas that can provide refuge from climate change, corridors of habitat that allow species to migrate and areas where habitat restoration can promote species and ecosystem resiliency to, and adaptation of climate change.

The following are EPIC’s Conservation-advocacy Goals and a forecast of our strategies and campaigns for the coming year of 2015:

Connecting Working and Wild Forests

Corridor Map North Coast1. Achieve permanent connectivity of forestland by 2020. Our campaign, called Connecting Wild Places, sets out to designate, protect and connect habitat areas, as well as wildlife corridors, carbon-dense forest stands and all remaining old-growth in Northwest California. “Climate Refugia” identified by EPIC will facilitate wildlife migration and anchor ecosystem resiliency for northern California’s diverse natural communities in the face of human development and climate change. The Connecting Wild Places effort has specific goals:

Identify, name and develop site “campaigns” for each of 13+ high priority areas on National forestland;

Collaborate with conservation allies, including tribal representatives;

Locate pressure points that will leverage cooperation of private industrial timber companies Green Diamond and Humboldt Redwood Company in wildlife corridor identification; and

Work with the U.S. Forest Service and private industry to achieve goal.

Ensuring Best Management of Public Forests

2. Protect public forest lands and ensure best conservation practices to protect forest health, watersheds and wildlife species on the Six Rivers, Mendocino, Klamath, and Shasta-Trinity National Forests, and other public lands in Northwest California.

Watchdog U.S. Forest Service to enforce existing law and regulations. Continue to monitor and comment on Forest Service Projects with an emphasis on projects that would negatively impact endangered species habitat, roadless areas, old-growth forests, and potential wildlife corridors;

Challenge ecologically destructive timber sales and post-fire logging projects;

Protect endangered species habitat for the northern spotted owl, Humboldt marten, gray wolf, and pacific fisher;

Target leaders in office and in forest, fish and wildlife management to reform antiquated resource extraction policies;

Participate in project planning and implementation to develop resilient fire-adapted communities;

Address threats to wilderness resources from unmanaged cattle; and

Protect Richardson Grove State Park and the Wild and Scenic Smith River from Caltrans’ road-widening projects.

Ensuring Best Management of Private Industrial Forests

3. Ensure best management practices on private timberlands for species protection, clean water, human communities, and to encourage growth of older forests in order to achieve healthy forests, connected landscapes, and watershed integrity.

Encourage protection of, and sustainable management of “primary forests” in Mattole Watershed; encourage restorative management in plantations; and remediation of adverse watershed conditions in the Elk Watershed;

Track, review, and comment on timber harvest plans and other private lands projects that would negatively impact endangered species habitat, old-growth forests, potential wildlife corridors, and the Elk and Mattole Watersheds;

Follow through with our effort to list the Northern Spotted Owl under the California Endangered Species Act;

Influence decision makers concerning timber industry regulation and planning implementation relative to private forestland in Northwest California. Specifically meeting with Governor’s office, the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, State Water Board and Department of Fish and Wildlife Services; and continuing to monitor the California Board of Forestry as policy is developed; and

Defend against increasing threat of forest fragmentation—the breaking of large intact tracts of forests into smaller clumps. Fragmentation poses a serious threat to the values our forests provide and is largely driven by the desire to make way for commercial cannabis agriculture. EPIC will work with the public, environmental organizations, business leaders, and public agencies to develop laws and regulations specifically for cannabis agriculture that will protect forest resources, wildlife and water quality.

Institutional Development

EPIC is developing an integrated vision of what the organization needs to accomplish in terms of advocacy, constituency building, and institutional development. It is imperative in our line of work that our staff has a strong foundation of environmental law and scientific expertise. As of fall 2014, the EPIC team has significantly increased its legal expertise with the addition of two full-time attorneys joining the staff.

2014 Staff & BoardWe hired attorney Thomas Wheeler to fill the position of Program and Legal Coordinator. His role is to assist in the development, implementation and management of EPIC’s campaign strategies. Our staff has been further strengthened with an unexpected and amazingly fortunate addition of attorney Lucy Allen, a Humboldt County native. Lucy was awarded top honors from UC Berkeley Law School and was granted a Public Interest Fellowship to work for any organization of her choosing with her salary paid by the university for one year; she chose EPIC. Sharon Duggan, one of the most effective environmental lawyers in the western states, continues to work with EPIC, providing invaluable experience, mentorship, guidance, and oversight to our legal and political strategies.

Kimberly Baker (Public Lands Advocate since 2006), Amber Shelton (Conservation Advocate since 2009), Rob DiPerna (California Forest and Wildlife Advocate, with more than 8 years working with EPIC) and Richard Gienger (Forest Restoration Advocate since 1977) continue their positions as EPIC Staff.

Executive Director, Natalynne DeLapp, has been with the organization since 2008 and during which time she built relationships with a wide cross-section of people from the region. She is skilled in fundraising, strategic management, public relations, community organizing and team building; her educational background is in environmental science and public policy.

To advise EPIC’s policy-related decisions we have developed a Scientific Advisory Panel consisting of experts from fields e.g. fire ecology, fisheries biology, forest ecology, climate science, etc. Our goal is to have at least eight panel members by March 2015.

Our team is nurturing the organization in a way that cultivates institutional resiliency in what are clearly very challenging times for grassroots organizations. Support from the EPIC Community is critically important for EPIC to reach short-term objectives and long-term organizational goals. More than 60% of EPIC’s funding comes from individual donations from our members and supporters.

CIRCLEWe need your support to accomplish what might be our most ambitious goals yet. 

Together we can ensure Northwest California’s forests will be healthy, connected, and wild; and that sustainable, restorative management practices will be the standard. The forests of our bioregion will help buffer the impacts of climate change resulting in clean air and water, abundant and diverse native flora and fauna, and the natural beauty will be protected for generations to come. Your generous gift can make ALL the difference!

Please contact us for more information about our vision and plans for 2015 and beyond, (707) 822-7711.

EPIC Banner_Because Life Depends on Healthy Forests_ 700x116


Plans Halted for Widening Highway Through Ancient Redwoods in California’s Richardson Grove State Park

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014
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RichardsonGroveAfter years of opposition, Caltrans has rescinded its approvals for a controversial highway-widening project that would endanger ancient redwood trees in Richardson Grove State Park, along Highway 101 in Humboldt County. Conservation groups and local residents this week dismissed a lawsuit they filed in federal court in July in exchange for Caltrans abandoning the project approvals and agreeing to restart the environmental review if the agency pursues the project. Caltrans has been prohibited from any project construction activities by both a 2012 federal court injunction and a recent state court order.

“This is an important victory stopping a nonsensical project that would have done terrible damage to an ancient grove of giant redwoods in our state park,” said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’ll be ready to go back to court if Caltrans decides to pursue the project, and it’ll have to completely start over on environmental review and the approval process.”

Conservation groups and local residents have now won three consecutive lawsuits challenging the “Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project,” a proposal that would cut into and pave over the roots of many of Richardson Grove’s ancient redwoods, including some that are 2,000 years old, are 18 feet in diameter and reach heights of 300 feet. Caltrans has pursued this project solely to benefit passage for oversized commercial trucks.

“It’s time to investigate the huge amount of taxpayer money Caltrans has wasted pursuing this ill-conceived project,” said Natalynne DeLapp with the Environmental Protection Information Center. “Caltrans should have to answer why the agency continues to pour money down the drain pursuing a project that cannot be legally approved. Regulatory agencies and the public will not allow Richardson Grove’s ancient trees to be damaged.”

The latest lawsuit was filed by the Environmental Protection Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, Bess Bair, Trisha Lee Lotus, Bruce Edwards, Jeffrey Hedin and David Spreen. The lawsuit challenged Caltrans’ violations of the National Environmental Policy Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.

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 redwood trees in the world. The park also contains essential habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the 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 claimed the highway-widening project was needed to accommodate large-truck travel, but acknowledged that the portion of road in question was already designated for larger trucks and did not have significant safety problems. The agency did not establish that the project was necessary for safety or would 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.

The plaintiffs first sued in 2010 when Caltrans certified inadequate environmental review documents and adopted a “finding of no significant impact.” In 2012 a 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.

The latest lawsuit was filed earlier this year when 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. 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.

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.

EPIC Richardson Grove Press Release 12.5.14


EPIC Arts Arcata and Membership Mixer December 12

Sunday, December 7th, 2014
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EPIC Membership SlideCelebrate Arts Alive at the EPIC office on Friday, December 12th from 6-9pm! Meet our Board and Staff and hear about our exciting new programs for 2015. Local artist and film-maker, Thomas Dunklin will feature his photography that focuses on local fisheries. At 7pm we will be presenting a slideshow outlining recent accomplishments, and new projects we will undertake in the coming year. 

We will offer art, wine, snacks and a raffle prize, so come visit our workspace, listen to some music, check out local photography and connect with the Northern Humboldt forest protection community at 145 G Street, Suite A in Arcata!

Click here to invite your friends on Facebook!