Archive for September, 2018

EPIC Summer Events

Saturday, September 15th, 2018
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Each Summer, EPIC’s staff, board, and volunteers share their love for the wild all across the North Coast! Catch us tabling at your favorite music festival, leading a bilingual hike along your favorite swimming spot, and hosting our second annual EPIC Base Camp. We are pleased to present new merchandise for the summer season—including car bumper stickers, and a re-release of our beloved “Save Richardson Grove” t-shirts. We will update our online store as soon as possible, so keep your eye out if you’re interested in ordering through our website. Our hikes and workshops fill up fast, so be sure to register!

Here’s a list of the EPIC happenings this summer:

May 19th: Packers Bay Invasive Weed Pull. Our breadth of work takes us far and wide.  In a modest victory, the Shasta-Trinity National Forest has agreed to partner with EPIC and the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center to pull and cut Scotch broom in areas growing near creeks and Shasta snow-wreath populations. Join EPIC this Saturday, May 19 from 10am-3pm in an effort to remove invasive Scotch broom to protect native Shasta snow wreath populations . Meet at the Garden Gulch Trailhead, which can be reached from the Packers Bay exit on Interstate 5 (from northbound I-5, take the O’Brien exit, get back on I-5 heading south, then exit at Packers Bay).

June 2nd-3rd: Benbow Summer Arts & Music Festival. What better way to kick off the summer than dancing among the redwoods and swimming in the majestic Eel River. The Benbow Summer Arts Festival features more than 150 handmade craft, food, and non-profit vendor booths, a Kid Zone with arts & crafts, dancing, and fun for the whole family. Join us, and pick up the latest EPIC swag!

June 28 – July 1st:  Kate Wolf Music Festival.  For the 9th year in a row, EPIC joins our friends among the beautiful black oaks of the Hog Farm in Laytonville. This festival is a must for those who enjoy classic rock, country, and bluegrass music. Sign our latest petition postcards and learn more about what EPIC has in store for 2018 and beyond.

July 16th: Bilingual Redwood Hike-Hiouchi Trail, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Join EPIC for a Redwood hike through Hiouchi Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This hike will meander through an enchanting forest landscape watched over by towering giants. The stunning old growth and pristine Smith River along the Hiouchi Trail makes it one of the most beautiful places on the North Coast. This 3 mile loop is well-maintained trail and designed to be accessible to almost anyone. Please come prepared with water and hiking shoes, as well as swimming gear so that you can fully enjoy the Wild and Scenic Smith River. Click here to register! 

September 7th-9th: EPIC Base Camp. Mark you calendars for EPIC’s second annual Base Camp. Join us for a weekend of ground-truthing trainings, workshops, and more! More updates soon.

September 15th-16th: North Country Fair. Join us along the coast for our last festival of the year. It always feels good to end a busy summer season at home on the coast. Don’t miss your chance to buy our latest summer merchandise!

September 23rd: Bilingual Redwood Hike-Trillium Falls Trail, Redwood National Park.  Don’t miss our last hike of the series! One of our staff favorites, this hike will explore the misty hallways of an ancient redwood home. The stunning old growth, vast creeks, and 10 ft. waterfall make it the most popular and awe inspiring trail in Redwood National Park. This 3 mile loop is a well-maintained trail and designed to be accessible to almost anyone. Click here to register!


EPIC Base Camp: Groundtruthing Last Chance Grade Alternatives

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018
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This last weekend EPIC staff and volunteers ventured out into ancient redwood forests and coastal scrublands to explore two of the six alternatives (Alternative A2 and Alternative L), which are being considered for rerouting Highway 101 around the unstable cliff side along Last Chance Grade, a section of Highway 101 that is sliding into the Pacific Ocean.

Alternative A2

On Saturday, Base Campers traversed through the pristine, ancient redwood forest section of Alternative A2, which was located within Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. This was one of the most spectacular places any of us had ever experienced in our lifetimes. The vast size of the magnificent old growth trees was humbling, and as we traversed the pristine redwood forest floor, we became emotional with the thought that these ancient trees were numbered and could potentially be sacrificed to build a road. Ancient forests can’t be grown in our lifetimes. Redwoods live to be 2,000 years old. The forest communities they create are irreplaceable and with less than 5% of the original old growth redwoods remaining on the planet, primarily in protected state parks, we need to do everything in our power to prevent them from harm. Bisecting an ancient redwood forest would not only fragment the habitat they create, it would also degrade the remaining forest community that has taken thousands of years to develop.

Based on preliminary geotechnical investigations, Alternative A2 is one of 6 routes that is being considered, which would reroute 3.2 miles of Highway 101, creating an 85 acre construction footprint, including 3 acres of old growth redwood in Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park. Additionally, this alternative would also include 2 creek crossings, 10 culverts and two bridges. It is EPIC’s position that this alternative, if selected, would result in the largest environmental impact to irreplaceable old growth redwood forest.

Alternative L

On Sunday, we set out to groundtruth Alternative L, which was adjacent to the coastal trail that had sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. The landscape through this proposed route is made up of mixed coastal shrub, grassland and speckled with some good sized coastal spruce trees, and the northern end of the proposed route contains approximately 1 acre of old growth redwoods, with 2.2 miles of the proposed realignment going through Redwood National Park land. Caltrans hopes that further development of this alternative can eliminate any logging of old growth forests.

History

EPIC is a member of the Last Chance Grade Stakeholder Group, which is made up of regional tribes, agencies, companies and organizations. Last Chance Grade is a 3 mile segment of Highway 101 between Orick and Crescent City beginning just north of Wilson Creek. Road failures and landslides have plagued the roadway for over a decade, and with ongoing sea level rise and coastal erosion, it is just a matter of time before the road will fall into the Pacific Ocean. EPIC recognizes that a safe and reliable alternative route is needed, and has pledged to work with the stakeholder working group to advocate for the least environmentally harmful alternative.

Last Chance Grade Alternative Comparison Chart

Alternative Acres Old Growth Affected New Construction Footprint in Acres Cost in millions Travel Time Added Length within Park Timeline
Existing Allignment 0 0 $2M/year 0 0 Ongoing
A1 1.5 80 $672M 1 minute .8 miles 4 years
A2 3 85 $240M .8 minute .6 miles 3.5 years
F 1.5 4.5 Up to $200M 1 minute N/A 7 years
L 1 47 acres $220M 2.2 minutes 2.2 miles 3.5 years
X 0 20 $150M 1.1 3.5

Groundtruthing

EPIC staff and volunteers went into the field to document the path of proposed road realignment. The photos below were taken and plotted on a georeferenced project map marking the location of the photos with a GPS stamp using the Avenza Maps application. Every affected tree was marked with a small round metal tag that had a number on it to identify the tree. The proposed roadway was identified with wooden stakes and/or white flagging.

EPIC would like to thank Caltrans for their assistance in making Base Camp a reality. Caltrans has been forthright with information, including staking of the potential alternatives prior to our Base Camp, and has provided EPIC will all documents needed to study the alternatives. EPIC is heartened by the open and transparent process under which these alternatives are being developed.

 

 

 


Logging, Not Wildfires is a Greater Threat to Northern Spotted Owls

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018
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Science in action: Defying current assumptions, a new scientific review of northern spotted owl studies discovered that current forest management practices meant to protect them may instead be hurting them. In a recent meta-analysis, Pennsylvania State University researcher and quantitative ecologist Dr. Derek E. Lee examined 21 published scientific studies on the spotted owl and found that wildfire impacts were less than previously believed, challenging the narrative that fuel-reduction logging is necessary or helpful for their survival. The study found that mixed-severity fires may in fact be beneficial to their habitats

This summer, as the West Coast continues to be scorched by multiple infernos, the wildfire risks to human life and property are not to be underestimated. Wildfires (or the mere potential for them) near cities and towns can be extremely deadly, and must be proactively managed for human safety. However, in the wilderness and away from human habitation, mixed-severity fires may actually have complex ecological effects that warrant a second look.

On wildfire impacts to the spotted owl, Dr. Lee writes, “[These results were] not a surprise to me as this species has been living with forest fire for thousands of years. But, it was fascinating to see the positive effects of wildfire on the owls. The positive effects of forest fires on spotted owls indicate mixed-severity fires, including so-called mega-fires, such as have been receiving lots of media attention lately, are within the natural range of variability for these forests. The fact that spotted owls have adapted to these types of fires over evolutionary time tells us that they have seen this before and learned to take advantage of it.”

Click for full infographic by Derek E. Lee. Used with permission.

In the examined studies, fewer than 1% of spotted owl breeding sites were found to be affected by fires. In contrast, the wildfires produced mixed habitats that drew in new owls (increased “recruitment”) and provided more foraging opportunities in the recently-burned areas.

According to Dr. Lee’s press release, “The idea behind these logging projects is that the risks from wildfire outweigh the harm caused by additional logging, but here we show that forest fires are not a serious threat to owl populations and in most instances are even beneficial. This reveals an urgent need to re-evaluate our forest management strategies.”


David “Gypsy” Chain 20th Anniversary Memorial Fundraiser

Wednesday, September 12th, 2018
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Monday, September 17th marks the 20th anniversary of the death of David Nathan “Gyspy” Chain. Chain tragically lost his life while trying to prevent illegal logging in an Earth First! Action near Grizzly Creek in the Van Duzen River watershed.

To honor his death, friends and family have established the David Nathan “Gyspy” Chain Memorial Scholarship Fund in support of the next generation of environmental stewards. Administered by the Humboldt Area Foundation, this fund will provide an annual scholarship of $1,000 for a local high school student or first year student at Humboldt State University or College of the Redwoods who has demonstrated commitment to issues of forest ecology through volunteer or academic projects.

We invite you to join us Sunday, September 16th for the David “Gypsy” Chain 20th Anniversary Memorial Fundraiser at the Historic Eagle House in Eureka.  Enjoy an evening of music, refreshments, and a silent auction full of artesian goodies!  All proceeds will benefit the David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Tickets are $25 at the door.

Doors open at 7pm. Featuring the fine art and craft silent auction, refreshments, and a no host bar.

Music at 8pm. Hosted by Julia “Butterfly” Hill. Featuring appearances by Darryl Cherney, Joanne Rand and Rob Diggins, Francine Allen, David Simpsonand Jane Lapinr, Berel Alexander and Kira Weiss, Jerry Martien, Joan Dunning, Naomi Steinberg, Paul Woodland, and many more!

We are in need of a few volunteers! If you’re interested, please contact Judith Mayer at jmayer@sonic.net

To donate directly to the scholarship fund please visit hafoundation.org/gypsychain or call (707) 442-2993