Archive for February, 2015

Update on Caltrans’ Last Chance Grade Project

Thursday, February 19th, 2015
By

Drilling Last Chance Grade

Caltrans recently held a series of public workshops seeking input from the public as the agency considers possible alternatives and reroutes in an attempt to find a long-term solution for the Last Chance Grade — a stretch of U.S. Highway 101 about ten miles south of Crescent City, which sits precariously high above the Pacific Ocean and experiences frequent landslides due to the geological instability of the area.

lcg_preliminary-alternativesThe road-building agency is currently examining a number of preliminary alternatives that would reroute Highway 101 to the east through Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park and private timberland. The reroutes would impact old-growth, mature and young redwood forests, coastal spruce forests and Mill Creek, which provides the best spawning habitat for the federally endangered Coho salmon  in the Smith River basin. The price tag for these projects run between $200 million to over $1 billion.

There is little question among the staff at EPIC that the project has a legitimate need: to maintain motorist safety and to connectivity of the major highway between Oregon and California; but we believe that all viable options for avoiding impacts to our natural resources must be thoroughly studied, and these studies must be made available to the public, before the project proceeds.

Specifically, studies regarding the feasibility of using the existing right of way for the project – through more permanent stabilization efforts than are currently taking place, use of a viaduct, or other measures – must be conducted and made available to the public. Despite what Caltrans officials said at the public meetings, EPIC does not consider this to be a “no action” alternative. Instead, we would like to see the feasibility of taking action within or near the existing roadway first. If a study concludes that this is infeasible, Caltrans should select an alternative that avoids impacts to old-growth redwoods to the greatest extent possible. For impacts that are truly unavoidable, Caltrans should implement mitigation that enhances old growth redwood and salmon habitat values. EPIC supports keeping the project as a 2-lane, 55mph road.

As this project unfolds, EPIC will continue to advocate for full public transparency and protection of old-growth redwood forest and salmon habitat values.

Click here to be redirected to Caltrans’ website for technical documents.


EPIC in Review

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015
By

salmon-river-spring-M-Aaron CowanEPIC in Review, a summary of original comments submitted and letters signed to support conservation across the state and nation.

EPIC submitted substantive comments on the Draft Working Group Charters for the California Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration Program. The California Natural Resources Agency (CRNA) and the California Environmental Protection Agency (CAL EPA) are implementing the provisions and intent of Assembly Bill 1492. EPIC has reviewed the draft working group charters for Ecological Performance, Data and Monitoring and Administrative Performance Measures. The draft charters lack fundamental foundation definitions, goals, and objectives; and EPIC does not believe it to be a true public process designed to deliver necessary change. If ecological standards and performance measures are intended to secure vibrant forests, healthy rivers, and abundant, self-sustaining wildlife populations, then measurable objectives must be defined and monitored. They must be science-based, and done out-in-the-open in a collaborative process using the input of stakeholders from outside of the usual agency and industry suspects. EPIC supports the concept of a comprehensive review and analysis of the existing forest practice regulatory system.

Six Rivers & Klamath National Forest road maintenance plans: EPIC submitted scoping comments on the Six Rivers Road Maintenance Project. The project proposes to maintain and treat portions of up to 2,682 miles of National Forest Transportation System roads on Six Rivers National Forest and Klamath National Forest. We urge the agency to scale down the project either in size, timing or by other means to allow a sufficient analysis to the impacts.

Grazing leases in the King’s Range: EPIC joined with Western Watersheds and submitted comments on the proposed renewal of Grazing Leases in the King’s Range National Conservation Area.  The HJ Ridge grazing lease includes 1,160 acres of public land with approximately 1,000 acres in wilderness. The Spanish Flat grazing lease includes 9,100 acres of public land, all entirely within wilderness. EPIC believes that livestock grazing is degrading wilderness character, impacting cultural and ecological resources, and recreational experience. With ongoing drought and climate change issues, and lack of water for livestock, the Bureau of Land Management should be working with the public to close these allotments to further commercial livestock use. We urge the BLM to complete a full Environmental Impact Statement before renewing these leases.

EPIC Submitted comments in support of the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s proposed rule to list the West Coast Distinct Population Segment of the Pacific Fisher as a “threatened” species under the federal Endangered Species Act. The letter encourages the Service to designate Critical Habitat for the Fisher at the time of listing.

Vote NO on H.R. 161, the Natural Gas Pipelines Permitting Reform Act: EPIC co-signed a letter urging representatives to oppose HR 161, a bill that would spread pipelines into parks, forests, and private property, across the country thereby fragmenting forests and causing loss of critical habitat. HR 161 seeks to rubber-stamp Federal Energy Regulatory Committee permits, superseding states’ authority to provide their own protection under the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Protection Act.

EPIC signed a coalition letter opposing H.R. 399, the “Secure our Borders First Act of 2015.” Under the guise of enhancing border security, H.R. 399 would further militarize areas already glutted with walls and roads; undermine environmental laws, and allow more damage to the fragile border environment. Sections 3 and 13 would only harm wildlife, and communities on the border while doing nothing to increase border security.

EPIC signed on in support of Booker’s Amendment #155 to the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, S.1. This amendment ensures agencies disclose any significant new circumstances or information on the environmental, public health, social, and other impacts resulting from the project and that the Keystone XL Pipeline is subject to the same requirements as all other major pipelines.

EPIC signed on to letter challenging unmitigated Navy Testing and Training in the Pacific Northwest: The Navy shows a continued failure to protect whales, dolphins and other marine life from behavioral disruptions such as the separation of mothers and calves, and injury such as permanent hearing loss. They must develop alternatives and mitigation measures in a wholesale revision of the DEIS.

EPIC signed on to a Letter to Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior re: the Aquatic Conservation Strategy (ACS) of the Northwest Forest Plan: The ACS is largely responsible for higher quality aquatic habitats, enhanced water quality, sustenance of imperiled salmon and associated recreational and commercial fisheries, restoration of sediment and hydrologic regimes, increased floodwater retention, and countless other ecological and economic benefits that flow from healthy watersheds. Emerging science on climate change, stream conditions, nutrient retention and other issues justify more, not less, protection, yet despite its success, the ACS is under attack. The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management, the land management agencies charged with its administration, are being pressured by Congress to dismantle or significantly weaken the ACS.


Moonalice at the Mateel Community Center, March 27

Sunday, February 1st, 2015
By

Moonalice_Psychedelic_Bob-Minkin

The event, formerly known as the Pisces Party, benefits EPIC’s efforts to restore the forests and watersheds of the North Coast of California. The Pisces Party is a celebration to welcome the coming spring and honor local activists who are working to create a healthy, sustainable forested landscape for flourishing nature and wildlife, and to safeguard earth’s valuable living resources in a changing climate for current and future generations.

In addition to celebrating long-time Pisces activists such as North Coast restoration advocate Richard Geinger as well as Sharon Duggan, Sue Malony, Greta Montagne, Bear Behr, Sam Johnson, Shawnee Alexandri, et al., EPIC will honor the Eel River Clean-up Project for their efforts to clean up trash and abandoned home encampments along the Eel river in Southern Humboldt County. The Eel River Clean-up Project is a collective of committed individuals who have shown remarkable dedication and garnered enormous success over the past several months.

Come early for drinks and a delicious dinner of mouth watering creations from Sue’s Organics!

Click here to buy tickets.

Moonalice is a band of hippie musicians from California with no label, no manager, no problems, and lots of fans. They’re made up of seasoned players exploring new musical territory with a passion. Bringing their heady brew of roots, rock, rhythm-and-blues, peppered with spirited doses of improvisation and surprise to the North Coast to benefit forest protection and restoration in Northwest California.

  • Doors open at 6pm for dinner and music by Diane Patterson
  • Moonalice performs at 8pm
  • Tickets: $20 for concert, dinner an additional charge TBD

Moonalice is known for integrating multi-sensory experience of lights, visuals, music, art, dance and sound highlighted by extended improvisations in the tradition of the Grateful Dead into every show. A new psychedelic poster is created for each concert and gifted to guests to memorialize the show.

Band members: Barry Sless (Phil Lesh & Friends, David Nelson Band), Pete Sears (Jefferson Starship, Rod Stewart), Roger McNamee (Flying Other Brothers), and John Molo (Bruce Hornsby, Phil Lesh & Friends). Plus manager/road scholar/medicine man Big Steve Parish, the man who was Jerry Garcia’s guitar tech for 25 years introduces every show. For posters, music and videos of all shows visit Moonalice.com

diane.maui_Doors open at 6pm for drinks and a delicious dinner prepared by Sue’s Organics. Opening set by folkadelic, singer-songwriter, Diane Patterson. Diane sounds like a cross between “Joni Mitchell, Ani DiFranco, and a young Pete Seeger.” She is a modern day folk goddess singing the world awake with strong voice, rocking guitar, sweet ukulele, and revolutionary lyrics. Her sincere spirit and wild heart joyfully plant seeds of love and light in every listener.

Tickets for sale at Redway Liquor, Blue Moon Gift Shop, Wildberries, the EPIC office (145 G Street Suite A, Arcata, Ca), or online at Brownpapertickets.com. For more information wildcalifornia.org or call 707-822-7711.