Archive for April, 2017

2017 EPIC Hikes

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
By

Come out and join the staff of EPIC for a series of spring and summer excursions in our majestic and critically-important redwood region parks and reserves, home of the tallest trees on earth. Hikes will be led by EPIC staff, and are free and open to the public. Topics to be covered will include the ecology, sociology, history, management, protection, and conservation of our public parks and reserves in the redwood region of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.

All hike dates and times are subject to change, pending inclement weather, or other factors, so be aware! As always, if you come, please be prepared for our local conditions and for the conditions generally found in our forests. Please wear appropriate clothing and foot ware, bring food, and water, and anything else you may need to be comfortable and safe in the forest. Hikes are of varying lengths and difficulty levels, so please check out the descriptions below, and know your limits! All hikes will originate from our office in Arcata, CA, at 145 G Street, Suite A, at 10 a.m., unless otherwise noted. Space may be limited, so please RSVP if you plan to attend an individual hike.

Click on the hike date to join individual events on Facebook. For more information, or to RSVP for an individual hike, please call us at (707) 822-7711, or e-mail: rob@wildcalifornia.org.


Last Chance Grade: Update

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017
By

Last Chance Grade, a narrow sliver of Highway 101 near Crescent City, is falling into the ocean. This wet winter has taken a toll, with half the roadway falling down the hillside. The question is not if the road will fail, but when and how badly.

Caltrans and EPIC don’t often see eye to eye. But we agree that something needs to be done about Last Chance Grade, and fast. To that end, EPIC is working with other stakeholders to find funds to begin planning for an environmentally responsible replacement.

EPIC is a member of the Last Chance Grade Stakeholder Group, convened by Congressman Jared Huffman, to help Caltrans in the development of a replacement project. Caltrans has developed a number of potential alternatives, which can be viewed here. These alternatives range from a long bypass, largely through Green Diamond Resource Company land, to a shorter tunnel through Redwood National Park.

Before Caltrans can do work, it needs money to start environmental analysis. EPIC and other stakeholders are requesting immediate funding from the California Transportation Commission to begin geotechnical evaluation of potential new alignments. Caltrans is also looking for “emergency” funding from the Federal Highway Administration for work on the project. Under normal circumstances, this money would not be available to create a new alignment—that is, moving a road to a different location. However, Congressman Huffman and Caltrans have been hard at work to secure an exemption to this usual rule as replacing the road in its current alignment is impossible. Both Congressman Huffman and Caltrans deserve immense credit and kudos for their quick work and resolve in seeking funding.

The worst case scenario—for both the community and our forests—is a catastrophic failure of Last Chance Grade. Under this “emergency,” Caltrans may be able to bypass environmental review laws to punch in a road as quickly as possible—with the quickest and shortest route through old-growth forest in Redwood National Park. However, Caltrans has maintained that avoiding old-growth redwoods is a chief priority. EPIC believes in Caltrans position to safeguard old-growth redwoods throughout the new alignments, and is committed to seeing this project through to the end to ensure Caltrans holds true to their word.

As a voice for the conservation community on the project, EPIC will continue to push to minimize any environmental impacts from road construction and to mitigate all impacts to the fullest degree feasible. EPIC will keep you updated when more information becomes available.

Last Chance Grade Alternatives Map


Action Alert: Advocate for Smart Post-Fire Management

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
By

What kind of forest management should the Forest Service do after a fire? That was the question facing the Shasta-Trinity National Forest after the fires of summer 2015. Does it go for a timber grab disguised as “restoration,” like the Klamath National Forest in the Westside Project, or does it try to work with the community to meet multiple needs?

For the most part, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest has done it right with the Trinity Post-Fire Hazard Reduction and Salvage Project. The Forest Service has focused its efforts on hazardous trees near roads, instead of timber grabs. It has deliberately chosen public participation and process (instead of end-arounds of the National Environmental Policy Act). And it has emphasized returning fire to the landscape in the future.

As part of the Trinity Post Fire Project, the Forest Service has developed a wide range of alternatives, from those that are heavy on logging (Alternatives 1, 2, and 3) to those that are light on logging or contain no commercial logging whatsoever (Alternatives 4 and 5, respectively). Given the potential negative effects to wildlife and the low price this burned wood is likely to receive, EPIC recommends that the Forest Service adopt Alternative 5, the “Minimum Impact Alternative.”

Alternative 5 benefits the local community by creating forest jobs—212 jobs to be exact—reducing “fuels” on 4,000 acres immediately alongside roads. It benefits forest users by keeping roads open and accessible. And it will create future shaded fuel breaks to reestablish fire on the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. What Alternative 5 doesn’t do is lose taxpayer money on timber sales.

Click here to let the Forest Service know that you appreciate the approach it has taken and that you support Alternative 5.


Westside Update: EPIC Back in Court to Fight for Project Remediation

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017
By

Photo by Amber Shelton

For more articles about the Westside Timber Sale, click here.

EPIC is back in court to ensure that promised logging remediation will occur. EPIC is seeking to amend our original lawsuit to target some of the unfulfilled promises made by the Forest Service. The amended complaint is here and our motion to amend is here.

Broadly speaking, the Westside Timber Sale consisted of two components: a timber sale and project features to “recover” the forest post-fire and post-logging. The first part, the logging, has occurred. But the second, the recovery actions, may never occur because of the Forest Service’s failures.

Through the Westside Timber Sale, the Forest Service has denuded around 6,000 acres of mostly steep and unstable slopes in the Klamath National Forest. In its wake, the Forest Service has left a mess. Slash and logging debris litter the landscape. Roads are collapsing and washing into the Klamath River. Forest fuel conditions are worse than when the project started. (In short, this is what EPIC predicted would happen. But no one likes an “I told you so.”)

As promised to the public in their environmental impact statement, the Forest Service indicated that it was going to come back in and clean up this mess through fuels reductions projects and treatment of “legacy” sources of sediment pollution. The Forest Service predicated this remediation work on selling timber for exaggerated prices—$240 per thousand board feet of timber. In reality, the Forest Service sold owl critical habitat for as low as $.50 per thousand board feet, as the market for these fire-killed trees dried up. (At that price, a log truck full of trees would cost less than a cup of coffee.)

When the Forest Service realized that the project was no longer economically viable, it should have stopped logging and reevaluated the Project. It didn’t. Now EPIC is asking the court to force the Forest Service to think critically about what it can feasibly do by revisiting its environmental impact statement.


EPIC Spring Social Potluck

Monday, April 10th, 2017
By

Join EPIC staff and board on April 28th for a membership mixer and potluck dinner with Darren Speece, author of Defending Giants. Festivities begin at 6pm, as we enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails and talk about EPIC’s current projects and vision for the future. At 7pm Darren Speece will read his account of the Redwood Wars, and EPIC history. We hope to see you there!

 

Darren Speece Defending Giants : The Redwood Wars and the Transformation of American Environmental Politics

Darren Speece is Assistant Dean of Students and History Teacher at Sidwell Friends School. A Humboldt State University alum (1997, BS Geology), he received his PhD in history at theUniversity of Maryland (2010). After leaving Humboldt State, Darren worked for The Fund for the Public Interest, running citizen outreach campaigns for seven years on behalf of the PIRGS, Sierra Club, Human Rights Campaign, Forests Forever, Greenpeace, and more. His writing has appeared in Environmental History, Salon.com, The Chicago Tribune,and The Salt Lake Tribune. California History is publishing an article about the Redwood Wars later this spring. Defending Giants (2016) is his first book. He is currently working on an environmental history of Washington, DC as well as a history of the Maine North Woods.

“Defending Giants explores the long history of the Redwood Wars, focusing on the ways rural Americans fought for control over both North Coast society and its forests. Activists defended these trees not only because the redwood forest had dwindled in size, but also because, by the late twentieth century, the local economy was increasingly dominated by multinational corporations. The resulting conflict-the Redwood Wars-pitted workers and environmental activists against the rising tide of globalization and industrial logging in a complex war over endangered species, sustainable forestry, and, of course, the fate of the last ancient redwoods. Activists perched in trees and filed lawsuits, while the timber industry, led by Pacific Lumber, fought the lawsuits and used their power to halt reform efforts. Ultimately, the Clinton Administration sidestepped Congress and the courts to negotiate an innovative compromise. In the process, the Redwood Wars transformed American environmental politics by shifting the balance of power away from Congress and into the hands of the Executive Branch” (University of Washington Press).


2016 EPIC Annual Report

Thursday, April 6th, 2017
By

The Environmental Protection Information Center is proud to present to you our 2016 Annual Report. The report includes an overview of some of our major accomplishments from last year, and a vision for what we plan to do in the coming year. In 2016 we had many victories: we started the year off with a rally to defend public lands, continued to advocate for Elk River and its residents, challenged the Westside timber sale, expanded our grazing monitoring project, engaged in the emerging Northwest Forest Plan Revision process, and developed and distributed 6,000 Humboldt County Farmer’s Compliance Handbooks to the masses. We continued to defend the rare and threatened wildlife that call our forests home, and successfully listed the northern spotted owl under the California Endangered Species Act, and moved the Humboldt marten to a “candidate” species listing.

In the year ahead, we plan to be ever transparent and engaged with our community in order to provide the best defense for our forests, wildlife, and watersheds. In summer 2017, we are introducing EPIC BaseCamp, which will be an opportunity for our membership to get their boots on the ground, and out into the forests. Groundtruthers will develop on-the-ground monitoring skills that will help challenge bad logging projects, destructive grazing, and other Forest Service actions that degrade the environment. Click here for more information about EPIC Basecamp.

EPIC’s approach to forest advocacy is to seek out and champion the best available science to shape policy through education, outreach and strategic litigation. Our administration has made it’s environmental agenda clear, and EPIC will work diligently to ensure that state and federal agencies follow their mandate to uphold environmental law. This work would not be possible without people like you. As a membership organization we represent your values as we push forward with strategic advocacy and legal action to champion the best conservation and protection for our forests.

This year, we said goodbye to our beloved Natalynne Delapp-Hinton and welcomed former Program Director Tom Wheeler as our new Executive Director. Briana Villalobos officially joined the EPIC staff in January as the Director of Communications and Development. The faces of EPIC are changing, but our heart remains the same. We have an exceptional staff of experts and support from a community of people who dare to think the world can be a better place.

Together, we are powerful and together we will keep California wild!