Archive for January, 2018

Action Alert: Restore Sacred Site and Protect Redwood National Park

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018
By

Take Action Now: The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) is proposing to construct three 199 foot tall radio and microwave towers on several of the highest peaks in and around Redwood National Park. The newly proposed tower locations would replace the Red Mountain communications site, which must be removed because it is located within the Helkau Ceremonial District, a site that is sacred to the Yurok Tribe and other Native Americans.

The three towers identified for the Proposed Project/ Alternative 1 include:

  1. Rodger’s Peak (a prominent mountain within Redwood National Park);
  2. Rattlesnake Peak (owned by Green Diamond); and
  3. Alder Camp, which is a state-owned prison work camp.

None of the proposed tower locations would offer improved cell phone coverage to the general public as the towers are only for use by “officials” and emergency services.

EPIC supports the removal of the existing tower away from the sacred site on Red Mountain, but we believe that Redwood National Park is not an appropriate location for the 199 foot tower either.

Due to over 600 scoping comments in the spring of 2017, the initial scope of the project, (which only proposed one option that included a tower in Redwood National Park), has been expanded to analyze several other alternatives that would not include Rodgers Peak, which is within Redwood National Park. New alternatives considered in the Draft EIR/EA are as follows:

  • Alternative 2: Same as Alternative 1, except Rodgers Peak site would expand clearcutting from 1.5 acres to ~3.9 acres to install a solar array as a primary power source.
  • Alternative 3: Rodgers Peak would not be developed under this alternative. Rattlesnake Peak and Alder Camp would be the same as Alternative 1 and Green Diamond 1 and Orick sites would also be developed for a total of 4 towers. Orick site is forested and located within the Coastal Zone.
  • *Alternative 3a: Rattlesnake Peak, Alder Camp and Green Diamond 1 sites would be developed. Green Diamond 1 site is clearcut.
  • Alternative 3bIdentical to Alternative 3a except Green Diamond 2 site would replace the proposed Green Diamond 1 site. The Green Diamond 2 site is clearcut but located within the Coastal Zone.
  • Alternative 4: No Project Alternative. Decommissioning activities would be implemented at Red Mountain, and the sacred site would be restored consistent with existing permits issued to the State by the USFS. None of the proposed sites would be developed.Public comment deadline for the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment for the Relocation of the Red Mountain Communication Site is January 29th, 2018

* Alternative 3a would provide emergency communication services with the least impacts since the Green Diamond 1 site is already clearcut and is outside of the Coastal Zone.

Public comment deadline for the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Assessment for the Relocation of the Red Mountain Communication Site is January 29th, 2018.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION and urge Office of Emergency Services to choose an alternative that does not include Redwood National Park.

 


Green Diamond Proposes Multiple Clearcuts Near Local Neighborhood

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
By

Will Green Diamond Resource Company ever kick its addiction to managing forests for young, evenaged, industrial fiber-farm plantations? Sadly, the answer appears to be clearcut. Green Diamond Resource Company seems to be hooked on clearcutting redwoods, and the consequences for our forests, wildlife, watersheds, climate, economy and community will continue to be felt for decades if not centuries.

Green Diamond Resource Company THP 1-18-004HUM, “Van Cleave,” demonstrates just how addicted to clearcutting the company is, and just how callus its disregard for local communities and local safety and aesthetics can be. The “Van Cleave” THP totals 195 acres of proposed harvesting, with 113 acres of this total slated to be accomplished via multiple large clearcut units that will startle both sides of the Fickle Hill Road in the Lower Jacoby Creek watershed area, and just over the ridge and hydrologic divide onto the Powers Creek watershed, which drains into the Mad River. The “Van Cleave” THP also proposes to clearcut and destroy habitat for known northern spotted owls in the Fickle Hill Road vicinity; these owls are likely to use or be seen in and on adjacent properties, including the Arcata Community Forest.

The result of the “Van Cleave” THP, if approved would be as many as seven clearcut units on both sides of Fickle Hill Road, and an untold period where local neighbors will be forced to endure the industrial din of chainsaws, bulldozers, log trucks and other heavy machinery whizzing up and down tight and narrow local community roads and streets, and right through many otherwise quiet local neighborhoods. Why? Because Green Diamond just can’t seem to stop clearcutting the redwoods, in favor of making the bottom-line profit-margin demanded by its parent company, Kamilche Co. based in Seattle, Washington. And, the cold, hard, truth is that State forestry laws and regulations not only allow this, but greatly incentivize it, while, as we know, State regulators at the Department of Forestry have a long and shameful history of enabling and acting as accomplice to the destruction of our forests and future by a voracious and rampantly destructive private industrial timber industry.

The time has long-since come to stop the brutish and arcane practice of clearcutting redwoods on short, evenaged rotations to maximize private profits while setting back and damaging vital public resources for decades or even centuries. Other timberland owners, like Humboldt and Mendocino Redwood Companies, while clearly not perfect in some respects, have unequivocally shown that redwoods can be managed selectively and sustainably and still produce viable crops of commercial timber now and into the future. The balance contemplated in California’s Forest Practice Act between private profit and public benefit has been wildly skewed towards private profit for far too long, and with the climate crisis now constituting a clear and present danger to the survival of the human species, we must insist that Green Diamond Resource Company bring its forestry practices into line with the realities of the 21st century.

EPIC is dedicated to fighting against Green Diamond’s clear-cut addiction and industrial-profit-driven forest management. Please join us if you can!


Tower Proposed in Redwood National Park- Public Meetings Jan 10 & 11

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
By

Rodgers Peak, Redwood National Park. Proposed location for 199 foot cell tower and microwave dish. Photo Credit Rob Diperna.

The California Office of Emergency Services (OES) has prepared a Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Assessment that proposes to construct new communication towers on three of the highest peaks in and around Redwood National Park and Yurok ancestral territory to replace the Red Mountain communications site, which must be removed because it is located within the Helkau Ceremonial District, a site that is sacred to the Yurok Tribe and other Native Americans and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The proposed project (Alternative 1) includes three new sites: Rodgers Peak (in Redwood National Park), Rattlesnake Peak (undeveloped land privately owned by Green Diamond), and Alder Camp (a state-owned prison facility in a developed area). The proposed towers would not offer improved cell phone coverage to the general public, as they are only for use by “officials” and emergency services.

For all of the sites, the proposed project (Alternative 1) requests approval for:

  • 12-14 months of construction and ongoing operation, maintenance and monitoring activities;
  • Site preparation activities including clearing trees and grading land (6.8 acres of clearing at Rattlesnake Peak, .62 acres of clearing at Rodgers Peak, and .28 acres of clearing at Alder Camp. Although, the aerial photo of the site layout maps seem to show vegetation in areas that are identified as “existing clearings”);
  • A 199 foot free standing galvanized steel lattice tower with antennas, microwave dishes and lightning rods on a 50 square foot concrete foundation with a depth of 8-12 feet;
  • Ten foot tall 30 by 50 foot Building(s) and/or vault facilities to house electronics, batteries and generator(s);
  • Graded aggregate surface parking for several vehicles;
  • A 6-8 foot tall security fence surrounding the communication facilities with a single drive through locked gate for maintenance purposes; and
  • Power sources for each location including commercial power at Alder Camp, solar arrays at Rattlesnake Peak and generators at Rodgers Peak (propane or diesel backup generators and associated fuel tanks would also be installed as backup power sources); and
  • Access roads (Rattlesnake peak would require 1.7 miles of new road construction on Green Diamond Land. Other sites would use existing roads through county, state and private land).

Due to numerous comments from EPIC and our allies in 2017, the initial scope of the project has been expanded to include several other alternatives that would not include Rodgers Peak, which is within Redwood National Park. New alternatives are as follows (and pictured in the map below):

  • Alternative 2: Same as Alternative 1, except Rodgers Peak site would expand clearcutting from 1.5 acres to ~3.9 acres to install a solar array as a primary power source.
  • Alternative 3: Rodgers Peak would not be developed under this alternative. Rattlesnake Peak and Alder Camp would be the same as Alternative 1 and Green Diamond 1 and Orick sites would also be developed for a total of 4 towers. Orick site is forested and located within the Coastal Zone.
  • *Alternative 3a: Rattlesnake Peak, Alder Camp and Green Diamond 1 sites would be developed. Green Diamond 1 site is clearcut.
  • Alternative 3bIdentical to Alternative 3a except Green Diamond 2 site would replace the proposed Green Diamond 1 site. The Green Diamond 2 site is clearcut but located within the Coastal Zone.
  • Alternative 4: No Project Alternative. Decommissioning activities would be implemented at Red Mountain, and the sacred site would be restored consistent with existing permits issued to the State by the USFS. None of the proposed sites would be developed.

*We believe that Alternative 3a would provide emergency communication services with the least impacts since the Green Diamond 1 site is already clearcut and outside of the Coastal Zone.

EPIC agrees that the Red Mountain site should be decommissioned to restore the Yurok Tribe’s use of and access to the Helkau Ceremonial District and that that emergency communication services are essential to nearby communities. But we recognize that these services will come at a cost to the viewshed of places sacred to the Yurok Tribe, as well as Redwood National Park resources.

We need to show project proponents that our community does not support building new telecommunication towers in and around Native American sacred sites or Redwood National Park.

How You Can Help:

  1. Attend Public Meetings! Two public information meetings on the proposed project will be held on:  January 10, 2018, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Arcata Community Center, Arts and Crafts Room, 321 Community Park Way, Arcata, California and on January 11, 2018, from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Klamath Community Center, 219 Salmon Road, Klamath, California. Click here to share our Facebook Event Page for the Arcata meeting!
  2. Submit Comments on the Project! Keep an eye out for EPIC’s upcoming action alert, which will include comment on the project. The comment deadline for this project is 5:00 p.m. on January 29, 2018. Comments can also be emailed to environmental@dgs.ca.gov, subject line: “Red Mountain Project.”
  3. Tell your friends. Before EPIC got involved, there were only 4 comments on the project. Because we sent out an action alert, over 619 of our members and supporters also commented on the project. (Thanks to all who took action, we made a difference!!!)
  4. Make a Contribution. It takes weeks to read and develop comments on environmental documents that contain thousands of pages. EPIC relies on people like you to make donations so that we can compensate our staff, keep our lights on and advocate for the voiceless.

This is not over yet, with your help, we can pack the upcoming public meetings and load the record with thoughtful and effective comments to protect Redwood National Park. Stay tuned and sign up for our updates and the upcoming action alert for this project in the coming days.

 


ACT TODAY: Save the Siskiyou Crest!

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
By

Forest stand proposed for clear cutting near Copper Butte and Cook and Green Pass. Photo compliments of Luke Ruediger

Action Alert! The Klamath National Forest (KNF) is proposing to eviscerate one of the most important wildlife corridors and backcountry areas in California. The Siskiyou Crest is targeted for massive clearcut post-fire logging. The highly controversial and inappropriately named Seiad-Horse Risk Reduction Project is currently in scoping and is aimed at 2,000 contiguous acres of some of the most biologically diverse forests in the world.

As the Abney Fire moved over the border to California, fire crews lit backburns during high winds that blew up and sent the flames over fire lines on the Pacific Crest Trail and into Seiad and Horse Creeks, tributaries to the Klamath River. The fire then grew and burned intensely through plantations that were created after the 1987 fires, which in turn lit off adjacent old growth forest stands. Now the KNF is working to make the same mistakes again, thirty years later.

Project units are just an eighth of a mile from the Pacific Crest Trail, in an area that provides vital wildlife habitat connectivity between the Condrey Mountain and Kangaroo Roadless Areas. The entire project is also within Late Successional Reserves, which are designated to protect and restore old growth forest ecosystems. By creating vast swaths of clearcuts the forest service would be destroying complex late and early seral habitat while increasing future fire severity, endangering threatened species and landscape connectivity and harming water quality and streams that are critical to the survival of wild salmon.

Forty-one miles of roadside hazard logging is also proposed, which consists of live and green trees. This includes the poorly maintained Bee Camp Road, which is technically within the Kangaroo Roadless Area. This road should not be subjected to logging and should be closed to all motorized use.

This region has suffered from fire suppression impacts and extreme industrial logging in recent years. Together with the Westside and Horse Creek “salvage” projects the KNF continues to plan post-fire projects that are massive and controversial and that will set back ecosystem processes for decades if not longer. As it stands, it is likely that the combined effects of post-fire logging on the KNF and nearby private lands will result in a mortality sink for northern spotted owls and move the entire Siskiyou Crest area toward a landscape trap where fire regimes, water quality, ecological integrity and resilience and biodiversity are greatly diminished.

The public scoping comment period ends today so please click here to Save the Siskiyou Crest!


Year End Highlights

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
By

2017 was another EPIC year: we stopped a train from being built through a potential wilderness area, we saved hundreds of acres of old growth on public lands from chainsaws, and we beat the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in court for failing to protect the Humboldt marten. In case you missed anything, check out our highlights below!

New Faces at EPIC: EPIC began 2017 with some new staff and a change in jobs. Tom Wheeler, EPIC’s Staff Attorney, took over as Executive Director from Natalynne Delapp. Briana Villalobos, EPIC’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year, joined the EPIC team as our new Communications and Outreach Director. Longtime board member, Dian Griffith, is retiring after 17 years tour of duty as both a staff member and a board member. We’d like to welcome Judith Mayer to the board!

Another Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Post-Fire Logging Project: The Klamath National Forest is back with another terrible “salvage” logging project. For those keeping track at home: this is the third terrible salvage project in three years! Take action today to help fight back!

EPIC Saves Old Growth! Because of EPIC’s objection to the Horse Creek Project, the Klamath National Forest dropped hundreds of acres of old growth from logging along the Siskiyou Crest and imposed a limit on logging large, old trees in other areas of the project. An EPIC win!

Bring Back Our Beavers! Did you know that beavers are one of the best ways to restore salmon habitat? And did you know that Wildlife Services kills hundreds of beavers every year in California? EPIC has started our fight to bring our beavers back, changing the rules to make beaver restoration easier and beaver trapping harder.

Victory for Humboldt Marten: EPIC scored a victory for the Humboldt marten by forcing US Fish and Wildlife Service to go back and issue a new decision by October 2018. Hopefully this time the agency will listen to science and not timber lobbyists. If not, EPIC will be there again to fight for our favorite mustelid.

Stinky Zinke! Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is on a quest to gut National Monuments, rollback environmental laws, and open up public lands for development. In honor of his legacy, EPIC held a press conference to announce that, in recognition of his legacy on public lands, we would rename vault-style toilets after him: Stinky Zinkes! Our press stunt was picked up by the national news, including Trump’s favorite Breitbart.

EPIC Tells Court, “Greenhouse Gas Accounting Matters”: In our first court case of the year, EPIC filed an amicus brief to let the court know that accurate accounting of greenhouse gases matter in our statewide effort against global climate change.

Stopped a Destructive Railroad Proposal in its Tracks: EPIC fought against a grant to study a railroad from Eureka to Gerber that would cross Wilderness Areas and Wild and Scenic Rivers. EPIC helped rally the good people of Trinity County to demand that the County not move forward with its proposal. Because of the massive groundswelling of support, the Trinity Board of Supervisors listened and voted down the railroad!

EPIC Back in Court to Protect Richardson Grove: EPIC is back in court to defend the old-growth redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park against a highway widening proposal that would cut and pave over their root structure. We’ve filed two cases, one in federal court and one in state court, to defend the grove. If history is any predictor, the groves will be okay; each time we’ve filed a lawsuit challenging the project, we’ve been victorious. 1000+ year old trees are too precious to risk by cutting their roots.

EPIC Defends Wolf Protections: In 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission listed the gray wolf in California (based on a petition brought by EPIC!). In 2017, Big Beef took aim at those protections. The California Cattlemen’s Association filed suit to strip the wolf of protections. EPIC and allies intervened to give the wolf a voice and defend their protection. The case is still pending, but in the meantime, another wolf pack has been established. If we can hold wolf killers at bay, wolves will return home!

Getting Fire and Traditional Ecological Knowledge Back on the Ground: Kimberly Baker, EPIC’s Public Land Advocate, is a regular presence on the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership collaborative, a group that helps the Forest Service develop smart forest management projects. EPIC’s work is starting to pay off, as the Six Rivers National Forest is moving forward with a project developed in collaboration with WKRP! The Somes Bar Integrated Fire Management Project works to return fire’s role on the natural landscape, a job that will help to protect the wildlife and clean water of the Klamath Mountains.

On the Ground Monitoring Saves Big, Old Trees: When EPIC’s Conservation Advocate, Amber Shelton, bushwhacked into logging units to examine the Jess Project, she immediately knew something was wrong: trees were marked for logging immediately adjacent to streams. Amber quickly alerted the Forest Service to their mistake and marking crews returned to “black out” dozens of big, old trees. These trees will continue to provide habitat for owls and will help to preserve the cold, clean water of the Salmon River. 

Spotted Owl Advocacy Gets Results: In 2016, EPIC successfully listed the northern spotted owl under the California Endangered Species Act. The listing has already generated results. The Board of Forest and the Department of Fish and Wildlife are looking at ways forestry rules can be improved to protect the owl. Hope is on the way for our favorite forest raptor.

EPIC Brings Legal Fight Against Massive Timber Sale: EPIC is back in federal court to challenge a massive timber sale on the Klamath National Forest, the Westside Project. This is the largest timber sale EPIC has fought in over a decade, with over 6,000 acres of logging proposed and the “taking” of more than 100 northern spotted owls.

First Annual EPIC Base Camp: EPIC staff and members braved harsh weather to investigate the propose Horse Creek Project, a post-fire logging project on the Klamath National Forest. Information gained in the trip helped EPIC write detailed comments concerning individual logging units. On the ground monitoring is a hallmark of EPIC’s work. We hope that all those that attended will continue to put their activist skills to good use.

EPIC Petitions to End Sale of Invasive Ivy: EPIC, together with our friends at the Humboldt No Ivy League, submitted a rulemaking petition to the California Department of Food and Agriculture to ban the sale of the invasive English ivy. Ivy is more than just a nuisance, it limits the biodiversity of our coastal forests by outcompeting native vegetation.

Fall Celebration! Boy, it’s great to have such wonderful members. EPIC celebrated our 40th Anniversary in style with our annual Fall Celebration at the Mateel Community Center. EPIC present the Sempervirens award to the late Judi Bari and our Volunteer of the Year award to Molly Gilmore. We ate delicious food from Sue’s Organics and danced the night away with Joanne Rand, Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, and Alice DiMicele. Thanks to all for attending!


EPIC’s Staff New Year Resolutions

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
By

Happy New Year! The dawning of a new year offers a chance to start fresh and recommit ourselves. At our last staff meeting, EPIC’s staff went around and gave their resolutions for 2018. What’s your resolution?

In 2018, I resolve to get out of the office more and engage with our members and allies! My highlight of 2017 was Base Camp, our weekend-long field examination of a proposed timber sale. Base Camp yielded tons of good on-the-ground information that helped us reform the project.

– Tom Wheeler, Executive Director

 

My New Year’s Resolution is to defend the wildlife and wild places in the Pacific Northwest forests of California! I will do this by working with the Western Klamath Restoration Partnership, FireScape Mendocino, the Smith River Collaborative, the Pacific Wolf Coalition and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife on Strategic Habitat Conservation planning. Connecting Wild Places is key to species survival and climate adaption. It also includes challenging and changing ecologically damaging projects on our national forests. I also strive to work closer with small communities to attain fire-readiness in order to restore fire to our watersheds and change the practices of the fire industrial complex. 

– Kimberly Baker, Public Lands Advocate

 

For the New Year, I resolve to help save more wild places by venturing out into the field and training people to monitor logging projects and other industrial activities. In my experience, I have found that site visit documentation of a project has proven to be the most effective way to protect clean water, old growth forests and wildlife habitat. If we don’t pay attention to our wild back yards, who will?

– Amber Shelton, Conservation Advocate

 

In 2018, I resolve to do more teaching, workshops, slide-shows, and skill sharing. Private forestlands make up a huge part of California’s iconic natural landscapes, and it is my goal to empower more people and more communities to understand and effectively navigate the critical decision-making processes.

– Rob DiPerna, California Forest and Wildlife Advocate

 

My New Year resolution is to continue advancing EPIC’s dialogue on environmental justice and to create more opportunities for underrepresented communities to connect with nature. By partnering with local groups, I hope to create more volunteer and leadership roles for our community to be involved in forest advocacy. A movement is powered by the people, and together we can make a difference!

– Briana Villalobos, Director of Communications and Development