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Meet Humboldt’s Flying Squirrel, a New Species in our Forests

Thursday, July 20th, 2017
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Humboldt’s flying squirrel (Glaucomys oregonensis) perched on tree. Mendocino Co, CA. Photo by Brian Arbogast,

Scientists recently announced a “new” mammal species that calls our redwood forests home: Humboldt’s flying squirrel (Glaucomys oregonensis). The squirrel, named after the famed naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, is now the 3rd species of North American flying squirrel and the 45th in the world.

It turns out that the squirrel was hiding in plain sight. Humboldt’s flying squirrel is a “cryptic” species, closely resembling in appearance another flying squirrel, the northern flying squirrel. There are slight differences—Humboldt’s flying squirrel is slightly darker and smaller than the northern species—but because the two species had overlapping ranges, scientists had assumed that these differences were unimportant.

But those small differences had puzzled researchers. Curious to see if there was something more at play, biologists collected DNA samples from 185 squires, some recently killed squirrels and others old museum samples. The results surprised scientists. Looking at the nuclear genome, scientists saw a clear and distinct split—two branches on the family tree diverging.

It is thought that the species diverged as a result of the last ice age. A northern population of squirrels became cut off from a southern population by glaciation. Isolated from each other, the two different populations diverged on separate ecological paths. Eventually, they became so different from each other that when the glaciers melted and the two populations came in contact again, they didn’t interbreed. (The fact that they don’t interbreed or “hybridize” shocked researchers, as the other two species of North American flying squirrels hybridize.) Scientists are puzzled as to what is keeping these two species from breeding. Is it behavioral or are they so physically different that they can’t interbreed?

Humboldt’s flying squirrel ranges the West Coast, from British Columbia in the north to the bottom of the Sierra Nevada forests. In its northern range, Humboldt’s flying squirrel shares its forests with its cousin, the northern flying squirrel. Although the two squirrels look alike and share the same forests, they do not interbreed.

Humboldt’s flying squirrel generally prefers older forest types, where it can launch itself from high branches to soar to another tree. Using a membrane that runs from its front legs to its back legs as a sail and its poofy tail as a rudder, the flying squirrel can glide up to 100 meters in the air. The squirrels forage at night, looking for berries, nuts, fungi, carrion, and bird eggs. They, in turn, are hunted by predators like the northern spotted owl, Pacific fisher, and the Humboldt marten.

The flying squirrel’s “discovery” is a good example of the impact that cheap, high-resolution genetic studies have had on the field of taxonomy. In some cases, genetic research has determined that there are less differences than we had previously thought—such as recent research that shows that coastal martens in Oregon and California are actually one subspecies and not two. In other cases, like here, scientists can discern separate species from physically similar individuals with overlapping ranges. Expect more discoveries like Humboldt’s flying squirrel in the future as genetic tests become cheaper, faster, and easier to perform.

New genetic studies also have regulatory implications. To the degree that a single species can be “split” into multiple species, the more likely it is that one of these new species is eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Similarly, if two species can be “lumped” into one species, the protections afforded to individuals can diminish.

The full text of the Humboldt’s flying squirrel genetic report can be found here: Genetic data reveal a cryptic species of New World flying squirrel: Glaucomys oregonensis 


Protections for Humboldt Marten Proving as Elusive as the Animal Itself

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017
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EPIC and our allies have been working for over seven years now to secure legal protections and forward long-term recovery of the Humboldt marten. Astoundingly, securing protection and conservation of this cat-sized mesocarnivore is proving as elusive as the marten itself. Once long-thought to be extinct, the improbable return of the Humboldt marten to our forests may be short-lived unless State and Federal wildlife authorities take action.

EPIC and allies filed a petition to list the Humboldt marten under the Federal Endangered Species Act with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2010. In April 2016, the Service issued an updated Species Assessment Report clearly indicating that the listing of the marten was warranted, while at the same time issuing a 12-Month Finding on our petition determining that the listing was not warranted. EPIC and our allies filed suit in Federal Court challenging the Service’s “Not Warranted” finding, and in April 2017 a Federal Judge granted our Motion for Summary Judgement, finding that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had indeed erred in determining that small, isolated populations of the marten were not a threat to the survival and recovery of the species.

EPIC and allies also filed a petition to list the Humboldt marten under the California Endangered Species Act with the State of California Fish and Game Commission in May 2015. In February 2016, the Fish and Game Commission determined that listing the marten, “may be warranted,” and directed the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct a Status Review and prepare a Status Report for the marten in California to inform the final decision to be made by the Commission. State law affords the Department of Fish and Wildlife one year to conduct and complete investigation of the status of a species and prepare a report with recommendations. By March 2017, however the Department of Fish and Wildlife had not completed its review and report within the one-year statutory timeline and sought and was granted a six-month extension by the Fish and Game Commission, with a new target date of September 2017.

Meanwhile, forestry in the known extant range and dispersal area range of the Humboldt marten in California on private industrial lands continues, and is largely unchanged, even in the wake of the Fish and Game Commission affording “candidacy,” and interim legal protection to the marten. In fact, the primary private industrial timberland owner, Green Diamond Resource Company, has accelerated its submission of THPs in and around the Klamath River and north and east, the virtual ground-zero for protection, conservation and recovery of extant but isolated marten populations in California.

Recent and more up-to-date information on the status of the marten is also currently largely inaccessible to EPIC and the public. The inter-agency and landowner “Humboldt Marten Conservation Group,” has completed its own report on the marten with management recommendations, but this report has not been published or otherwise made available to EPIC and the public. EPIC was not allowed to participate in the conservation group by the participants despite our clear interest in the protection and conservation of the marten.

And so, while we sit and wait for the wheels of the individual listing agencies and the conservation group to finish grinding, marten populations in California and Southern Oregon continue to be imperiled by logging, habitat fragmentation, small isolated populations, and the ever-increasing threats posed by a changing climate in favor of allowing “business as usual,” to go on largely unaltered.

EPIC is dedicated to ensuring the survival, protection, and recovery of the Humboldt marten and the forests on which it depends. But, as always, we cannot do it alone; we need your help! By donating to EPIC, and taking actions when necessary, everyone can help us make a difference for the forest and for the Humboldt marten and help us to hold the agencies accountable to ensure that the marten survives and thrives into the future.

Photos courtesy of the Bluff Creek Project, which has captured better images of the Humboldt Marten than the USFWS has over 20 years. The extremely rare Humboldt marten photos were captured from camera traps on Bluff Creek in Humboldt County.


1% for the Planet

Tuesday, July 18th, 2017
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You are already an eco-conscious business, why not claim credit for it? EPIC is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, which is a program that connects businesses, consumers, and non-profits, empowering all of us to drive big positive change. More than 1,200 member companies give 1% of their profits to more than 3,300 nonprofits. Click here if you have a business, and you would like to learn how to donate 1% to the Planet.

Beyond doing good, your generosity can be good business. Your customers will feel good that their local business supports their local environmental group.

Many of you already give your 1% (and more!) for the planet. Get recognized for doing so! Perks include recognition by EPIC on our website, twice annually in our email newsletter that is distributed to our 15,000 members and supports, and once in our Annual Report. EPIC is also open to working with you on cross-promotional advertising. Because EPIC gains a stake in your business, we have an incentive that you do well.

 


Welcome California’s Newest Wolf Family: The Lassen Pack!

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017
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Northern California just got a little more wild! Biologists surveying the Lassen National Forests have confirmed California’s second wolf pack. An adult couple made a showing in Lassen county last fall. They now have a family of at least three pups born this spring residing in Lassen National Forest and adjacent private lands.

Biologists began surveying the forest in May this year after finding evidence of wolf presence. On June 30, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife captured and collared the 75-pound alpha female. A nearby trail camera operated by the U.S. Forest Service revealed photos of the mother and her playful pups.

OR-7, or “Journey,” is now a grandpa. The alpha male of the Lassen Pack is the three-year-old son of OR-7, who was the first known gray wolf to return to the Golden State in nearly 100 years. OR-7s sister is the alpha female of the all-black Shasta Pack, which had five pups in 2015 but has not been seen since last fall.

Gray wolves in California are listed as endangered under the state and federal Endangered Species Act, however, the California Cattlemen’s Association and the California Farm Bureau filed suit in court to remove state protections. EPIC and others, represented by Earthjustice, have intervened in this baseless lawsuit to ensure wolves get the best legal defense possible.

Recovery is just beginning in Northern California and we look forward to watching these canine families grow. There are more wolves on the way that will call our region home. EPIC is working to protect landscape connectivity so that they have the habitat and room they need to roam.

Help our wolf legal defense fund by making a donation today!


EPIC Midyear Review

Monday, July 10th, 2017
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How is it already July? 2017 is flying by fast. Below is a brief recap of some of EPIC’s major accomplishments of 2017.

Like our work? Please consider making a donation today. Your donations fuel EPIC’s work.

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.

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.

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. This is EPIC’s third time in court; each time 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.

Monitoring Private Grazing on Our Public Land: EPIC’s Program to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California has been out monitoring grazing on our National Forests. Our advocacy has resulted in better management by the Forest Service, including holding rogue grazers who are out of compliance accountable. Passionate about public lands? Find out how you can help. Check out more at www.grazingreform.org.

EPIC on the Street: You may have seen us around. We’ve been at Godwit Days, the Climate March, the Women’s March, the Mount Shasta Earth Day Expo, Creek Days, Benbow Summer Arts, Kate Wolf Music Festival, and countless farmers markets. Keep an eye out for EPIC and come by and say hi. (We love to meet our members.)

EPIC Hikes: EPIC has taken community members all across the redwoods, from Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith State Park to the Lady Bird Johnson Trail in Redwoods National Park. There are still two more hikes scheduled for 2017. Come join us August 6th for the Trillium Falls Trail in Redwoods National Park and September 17th for a special trip on the Salmon Pass Trail in the Headwaters Forest Reserve.


Wanted: Professional, assertive, creative, problem-solvers interested in joining the EPIC BOD

Monday, July 10th, 2017
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We are looking for people with experience in the following areas:

  • non-profit governance;
  • conservation science;
  • financial management;
  • environmental law;
  • policy development;
  • fundraising; and
  • event planning.

Current EPIC Members* may apply to become a Board Member between July 1 and July 31 for the next Board of Director’s year, which begins on January 1.

Prospective candidates are asked to fill out an application (available online or in hard-copy format at the office), describing qualifications, skills, and what they would bring to the Board. Applications must be submitted to the Executive Director (tom@wildcalifornia.org) by August 1.

Current Board of Directors can be viewed here.

*Current member: an individual who has donated $40 or more in the 14 months prior to July 31.


Action Alert: Defend Public Lands; Defeat Trump’s Environmental Agenda

Thursday, June 29th, 2017
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TAKE ACTION! On the 4th of July, you can help save our forests by halting bad legislation. A new bad forest bill, the ironically named “Resilient Federal Forests Act” (HR 2936), is quickly heading to a vote. The bill recently escaped the House Natural Resources Committee through a party line vote. Now, Trump’s lawless logging bill will soon come up for a vote before the House.

This is the worst federal forest legislation in EPIC’s lifetime. And scarily, it might pass. Here’s four reasons why we are freaked out:

(1) Up to 30,000 Acres of Lawless Logging

The bill gives a free pass to lawless logging by exempting logging plans up to 30,000 acres—nearly 47 square miles—that are developed through a “collaborative process” from having to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). By comparison, under the existing law only logging projects 70 acres or less are exempted from NEPA. In one fell swoop, Congress could rollback decades of work by EPIC and allies to protect federal forests.

(2) Weakens Endangered Species Act Protections

Under current law, whenever the Forest Service proposes a project that could harm threatened or endangered species, the agency needs to consult the National Marine Fisheries Service and/or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The proposed legislation would change the law to remove this consultation requirement by allowing the Forest Service to choose whether or not to consult on a project. Further, the bill would exempt other forest management activities entirely from the Endangered Species Act.

(3) Closes the Courthouse Doors

The bill also limits the ability of citizens to challenge bad agency action in court. The bill would prohibit temporary injunctions and preliminary injunctions against “salvage” logging projects, virtually guaranteeing that logging will occur before a court can hear a challenge. The bill prevents plaintiffs from recovering attorneys’ fees if they win. While money is never the object of a lawsuit, the ability to recover fees is critical to enable public interest environmental lawyers to take cases for poor nonprofits like EPIC. Finally, it moves many forest management activities out from our federal courts to a “binding arbitration” program, whereby an agency-appointed arbitrator’s decision would decide the fate of projects.

(4) Shifts Money from Restoration to Logging

In a sneaky move, the proposed legislation would move money earmarked for forest restoration projects to logging. By adding one small phrase—“include the sale of timber or other forest products”—the bill would mandate timber sales as part of at least half of certain stewardship projects.

CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION NOW TO STOP BAD FOREST LEGISLATION


Breaking: EPIC Sues to Stop Richardson Grove Project Again

Friday, June 23rd, 2017
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Environmental groups and local residents today sued the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for approving a highway-widening project that would damage or destroy 1,000- to 2,000-year-old redwood trees in California’s iconic Richardson Grove State Park, along Highway 101 in Humboldt County.

Today’s lawsuit, filed in Humboldt County Superior Court, challenges the transportation agency’s latest approval of the controversial project. Three previous legal challenges blocked construction and forced Caltrans to rescind all project approvals in 2014. Caltrans quietly reapproved the project last month, purportedly to improve highway access for oversized commercial trucks.

“Caltrans keeps pushing this nonsensical project that would do terrible damage to ancient redwoods in our state park, with no benefits to the community,” said Aruna Prabhala, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “There’s just no compelling traffic or safety reason to destroy these beautiful trees. The changes Caltrans claims it’s made to the project won’t protect more than 100 giant redwoods from being damaged or killed.”

The “Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project” would cut into and pave over the roots of more than 100 of Richardson Grove’s ancient redwoods, including trees up to 2,000 years old, 18 feet in diameter and 300 feet tall. Caltrans has pursued this project solely to benefit passage for oversized commercial trucks and continues to rely on inadequate environmental review.

“EPIC is disappointed that Caltrans has continued to push forward, ignoring previous court warnings about the need to honestly evaluate the effects of its road widening on old-growth redwoods,” said Tom Wheeler, executive director and staff attorney at the Environmental Protection Information Center. “Caltrans’ road widening shows no respect for sacred parkland and irreplaceable ancient trees.”

“Caltrans does not seem to get that we the people, by law, have a place at the table when important decisions are made affecting our environment, and in the case of this iconic and beloved grove of ancient redwoods, just how important it is to protect irreplaceable magnificent old trees when decisions made are of such consequences,” said Patty Clary, executive director of Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.

Today’s suit was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity; the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC); Californians for Alternatives to Toxics; Friends of Del Norte; and longtime local residents Bess Bair, Trisha Lee Lotus, Jeffrey Hedin and David Spreen. The suit challenges Caltrans’ violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, and inadequate evaluation of environmental impacts, a misleading conclusion that the project would have no significant impact on the environment, and a flawed determination that none of the proposed highway alterations would threaten the stability of any old-growth redwoods.

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 and is a jewel of the state park system. 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 project in 2007, claiming the highway-widening is needed to accommodate large-truck travel. However, Caltrans acknowledges that Highway 101 through Richardson Grove is already designated for larger trucks and does not have significant safety problems. The agency cannot demonstrate that the project is necessary for safety or would benefit the local economy.

There has been substantial local opposition to the project, 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. 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.” In 2014 a California Court of Appeal 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.

Caltrans re-approved the project again and now claims it made changes to better protect old-growth redwood trees, such as impacting fewer trees, less excavation, and less depth of surface pavement.

However, the “changes” to the project do not markedly differ from what the courts previously rejected as inadequate, and Caltrans has not answered the questions and concerns raised about structural damage to redwoods from cutting into their roots.

The attorneys for the plaintiffs in this suit are Philip Gregory of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP; Stuart Gross of Gross & Klein LLP; and Sharon Duggan, a staff attorney with EPIC and a long-time expert on environmental law.

Click here to read the petition.

Click here to view additional articles about Richardson Grove.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE SAVE RICHARDSON GROVE FUND.


California Finalizes Listing of Northern Spotted Owl

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
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EPIC’s Forest and Wildlife Advocate Rob Diperna at the Fish and Game Commission Hearing 6/21/17 advocating for listing northern spotted owls under the California Endangered Species Act.

The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to adopt findings to support its August 2016 decision that listing the northern spotted owl (Strix occidentalis caurina), as a “threatened” species under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA) is warranted. At its regularly-scheduled meeting on June 21, 2017 in Smith River, CA, the Commission ratified and formalized its decision that the spotted owl warrants protection and conservation under California State Law, ending a nearly five-year listing process that began in August 2012 with a listing petition brought by EPIC.

Why Do Findings Matter?

Findings might seem like a dry matter, but they are critically important. The findings adopted by the Commission reflect the reasons why the Commission acted. Knowing this, the timber industry attempted to manipulate the findings to state that their bad behavior plays no role in the owls’ decline. At the meeting, timber industry lobbyists were in full force, pleading with the Commission to find that their logging does not harm the spotted owl and instead point all the blame at the threat posed by competitive barred owls (Strix varina). Despite their pleas, the Commission nevertheless unanimously ratified its listing decision which maintained that logging is a prime cause of spotted owl decline.

In the interceding months from the August 2016 listing decision and now, California Department of Fish and Wildlife staff have been traveling around the state meeting with interested stakeholders, including EPIC staff, to discuss possible needs to address both barred owl and ongoing habitat loss and modification on private forestlands in the State.

In the wake of the Commission’s decision, EPIC is poised to re-engage the California Board of Forestry, which in 2013 declined an EPIC-sponsored petition to change forest practice rules pertaining to protection of spotted owls during the course of private lands timber operations on the basis that the Board did not want to “muddy the waters,” or confuse the decision pending before the Commission regarding the listing.

Vigilance, tenacity, and hard-hitting no-nonsense advocacy: as always, EPIC gets results.

CLICK HERE TO DONATE TO THE NORTHERN SPOTTED OWL SELF DEFENSE FUND!


Free EPIC Hike through the Ewok Forest of Endor!

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
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Join EPIC for a Redwood hike through Stout Grove in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park on July 9th, 2017.  This hike will meander through an enchanted forest landscape where Star Wars Return of the Jedi was filmed.  The stunning old growth and pristine Smith River along the Stout Grove hiking trail makes it one of the most beautiful places on the North Coast.

Pack a picnic lunch for the gravel riverbar to enjoy at the end of the hike.

This .6 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 after the hike.

Meet-up is at the EPIC office in Arcata, located at 145 G Street, Suite A, at 10 a.m. 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. There is a strict NO DOGS rule in place for all our 2017 Redwood Hikes series, so please leave your furry friends at home.

For further information, or to RSVP, please call the EPIC office at: 707-822-7711 or email rob@wildcalifornia.org

This hike is free and all ages are welcome 🙂  Click here to join and share on social media!


A Change of Heart—Revolutionary Ecology in a World of Climate Change

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017
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“The earth is not dying, it is being killed, and the people responsible have names and addresses.”

— U. Utah Phillips

Combating global climate change and destabilization, and arresting the human-related causes of these are the greatest challenge of our time, perhaps the greatest challenge in human history. Global climate change and destabilization also bring home the fundamental conflicts between our industrial capitalist way of life and world view and the realities of ecological processes and the limits of the natural world.

As 2017 marks the 40-year anniversary of the inception of the Environmental Protection Information Center, we continue to see examples of how the basic underpinning of the world created by humans is in direct conflict with the world that created us, and how this conflict is leading us toward our own demise as a species as we continue to compromise the life support systems of our planet. Of course, none of this is new and the advent of global and bioregional climate change and destabilization once again has us searching for the root causes of what ails us as people and a societies.

Judi Bari shows police photo of her bombed car; circa 1991. Photo © by Evan Johnson

May 24, 2017 marked the 27-year anniversary of the car-bombing of Earth First activists Judi Bari and Daryl Cherney on their road tour to promote Redwood Summer. This upcoming November 3, 2017, EPIC will posthumously award Judi Bari with the Semperviren’s Lifetime Achievement Award for her career of work for environmental and social justice.

Judi understood that changes in heart and in culture and not simply changes in law, politics and policies were necessary to change the course of human history and its relations to the feminine, the native, and the natural. In her treatise titled, Revolutionary Ecology, Judi wrote about some of the root causes of our human sickness. The belief that humans are separate from nature and that nature exists to serve humans is the core underpinning to the justification of our modern-day industrial capitalist societies and of course the concept of private property. The idea that humans can own, control, manipulate, and dominate the earth and its natural processes for individual gain and profit fundamentally contradicts how things work in nature, where inputs and outputs are equal, and all things work in an interconnect web of balance.

Judi knew that a human centered, and human-dominated world-view was in direct conflict with the true nature of the world, which revolves around nature and its processes. Judi wrote of the contrary nature of anthropocentrism and biocentrism, stating: “Biocentrism is a law of nature that exists independently of whether humans recognize it or not. It doesn’t matter whether we view the world in a human-centered way. Nature still operates in a biocentric way. And the failure of modern society to acknowledge this – as we attempt to subordinate all of nature to human use –has led us to the brink of collapse of the Earth’s life support systems.”

Judi also called out the patriarchal framework upon which so much of our modern-day industrial capitalist society is built, hallmarked with top-down, power-over structures that devalue nature, women, and feminine traits in humans and the earth. Judi argued that in place of a patriarchal framework predicated upon domination, that human societies must return to a more feminine and biocentric view, writing, “Instead of this masculine system of separation and domination, ecofeminists seek to promote a science of nature. Nature is seen as holistic and interdependent, and humans as part of nature, our fates inseparable.”

Judi Bari shows a photo blowup of Headwaters Forest as she speaks at a March 28, 1995 rally for Headwaters at Fisher Gate, near Carlotta CA. Photo by Nicholas Wilson.

Twenty years later, Judi’s words ring more true than ever, as we see the global atmospheric greenhouse gas component continue to skyrocket. Last October, global scientists announced that GHG concentrations in our atmosphere had reached 400-parts-per-billion, and that the earth had crossed over into a new geologic phase from the Holocene, to the Anthropocene, or the “age of man,” a world irreversibly modified by humans. Most credible climate scientists recognize 350-parts-per-billion GHG component in our atmosphere as the upper limit beyond which planetary life support systems would begin to unravel. But the prevailing industrial capitalist model cannot recognize the fact that its activities are creating the very device of its own demise. Judi knew that little would change in the system without mass non-cooperation, stating, “[t]he system cannot be reformed. It is based on the destruction of the earth and the exploitation of the people.”

At EPIC, we work within the existing framework of the law, regulations and policies established to bolster a system that we already know cannot be reformed in any fundamental way. We serve the role of enforcing existing laws and regulations and trying to improve these utilizing the mechanisms and venues offered by the system itself. Our work in Sacramento and elsewhere is critically important in holding a line of defense and attempting to slow the progress of the destruction, but ultimately, as Judi knew, the system itself must be changed.

While we in California are undoubtedly national and global leaders in the fight to recognize, arrest the causes of, and mitigate and adapt to the damage already done to causes climate change, our efforts are half-measures predicated upon false hopes and voodoo accounting, at best, while our national leadership is in a shambles on the issue with the recent announcement by the Trump Administration that the U.S. would be pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord. Behind these failings are the global corporate industrial capitalists who wish to continue polluting and making a profit at the expense of the natural world, the people of the planet, and ultimately, the very life-support systems that allow it all to exist and persist.

Judi argued that one of the greatest failings of capitalism is that it cannot account for the true value of the natural resources it destroys and extracts and exploits due to the very nature of a profit-dominant paradigm. Judi referred to capitalism’s, “total disregard for nature as a life-force rather than simply a source of raw materials.” Our forests, our water, our air, our fish and wildlife and our soil are reduced to bank ledger-lines and to categories such as “assets,” “profits,” “capital,” “commodities,” and of course, “liabilities.” The compartmentalization of our thought and reasoning about the natural world perfectly sets the stage for tunnel vision. The western “scientific” or what Judi called, “reductionist,” view of the natural world and the tings in it completely fails when faced with the reality that all things have a value of their own, and that all things in nature are interconnected.

And so, how can all this change? Judi argued that the machinery of capitalism must stop, and that this must be accomplished by those operating the machinery, the workers themselves. Some argue that simply changing lightbulbs, driving hybrid cars, and transitioning to “clean” energy are all that are necessary to avert the impending climate disaster and save human civilization. Judi knew better: “A revolutionary ideology in the hands of privileged people can indeed bring about some disruption and change in the system. But a revolutionary ideology in the hands of working people can bring the system to a halt. For it is the working people who have their hands on the machinery. And only by stopping the machinery of destruction can we ever hope to stop this madness.”

Judi also understood that direct violent conflict with the system and its throngs of military and police could never succeed, writing: “This system cannot be stopped by force. It is violent and ruthless beyond the capacity of any people’s resistance movement. The only way I can even imagine stopping it is through massive noncooperation.” Mass non-cooperation requires a massive change in the hearts, minds, and dispositions of the majority of the global population, or at least, the majority of the population in the industrialized countries. And so, the question remains, can and will the everyday people of this planet wrest the steering wheel of this titanic away from the capitalist industrials captioning this spaceship Earth, or will we sit by sipping our tea and eating our crumpets as we slam headlong into the climate disaster iceberg?


Keep California Great

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017
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EPIC is hitting the summer festival circuit to Keep California Great! This summer EPIC is collecting postcards to send to Senator Kevin de León in support of SB 49 and SB 50, which are designed to preserve California’s natural environment against Trump’s cynical rollbacks of federal environmental protections.

Together, the two bills Trumpproof California environmental law and help protect and preserve our public lands and wild places.

SB 49 acts as insurance against the rollback of federal environmental laws by making current federal clear air, climate, water, labor safety, and endangered species standards enforceable under California state law. Therefore, in the event that Congress or the President weakens or repeals corresponding federal standards, California would then adopt said standards as our own. Because the bill stands up to polluters and poachers, the bill has encountered severe opposition by big industry groups.

SB 50 would make it the official policy of California to oppose all giveaways of federal public land, and should land be given away, provide a right of first refusal for the State Lands Commission. This bill would discourage third party or commercial industry from purchasing our public lands, and further preserves our public lands as a space for recreation, scientific research, and native cultural and historical significance.

SB 49 and SB 50 are successfully making their way through the legislative process. Both bills have passed their first hurdle, the California Senate, and now sit in the California Assembly where they have been directed to committees for their review. Assuming the bills safely make it out of committee, they will need to go to the floor of the assembly and to the governor’s desk before they can become law. EPIC continues to monitor the progress of these bills and will keep you updated.

You Can Help!

Already, EPIC has collected over 150 postcards, and it’s only halfway through summer! EPIC would like to sincerely thank all those who’ve signed and supported our efforts to Keep California Great! EPIC will send our letters of support to main bill author Senator de León to further illustrate public favor of the bills throughout future assembly hearings. Be on the lookout for the EPIC tent at the upcoming Kate Wolf festival.

If you’re interested in sharing EPIC’s support of SB 49 and SB 50 please visit the EPIC office for a stack of postcards, or download the print out attachment here.


Base Camp Reflections

Thursday, June 15th, 2017
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Over the weekend, EPIC staff and volunteers and ventured out into the remote wildlands of the Klamath Mountains for EPIC Base Camp; a three day “groundtruthing” training that focused on data gathering to help reform grazing and timber sale practices on public lands. Outdated laws allow for private timber companies and ranchers to use public lands for private profit, and the fees collected for these destructive activities do not cover the costs of the impacts, regulation, or oversite associated with the practices.

Because regulatory agencies tasked with protecting our natural resources are under staffed, they do not have the capacity to visit all of the sites in a timber sale or grazing allotment, so they depend on public citizen monitoring to report inconsistencies between what is proposed and what is happening on the ground. In essence, agencies are complaint driven, meaning that they don’t act unless someone files a formal complaint.

Day 1: Grazing Monitoring and Timber Sale Sleuthing

On Saturday, June 10, Felice Pace, Project Coordinator of the Grazing Reform Project took the group on a field tour of the Horse Creek Grazing Allotment, and the Horse Creek post-fire timber sale in the Klamath National Forest. A site visit of the Horse Creek Grazing Allotment revealed illegal felling of a large old-growth tree that had been cut  and likely used for fire wood. Environmental impacts, including damage to water quality, impairment of meadow hydrology and degradation of fish, amphibian and wildlife habitat are a common occurrence in these allotments, which are located on public lands.

Next, the group ventured up into the mountains to monitor the Horse Creek timber sale, which was burned in the 2016 Gap Fire. These burned areas were already regenerating with tree seedlings and new plants sprouting up all over the forest floor. In the units that were visited, the landscape was extremely steep with a slope of 30%-70%. It was clear that logging, tractors, skid trails, and new roads would tear up and compact these steep fragile soils, resulting in erosion and delayed regeneration of the fragile post-fire ecosystem years to come. The low gradient of Horse Creek makes it one of the best coho salmon habitats in the Klamath Basin. Logging and road building above critical coho habitat will result in sediment entering the stream, which degrades salmon habitat and smothers baby salmon. The total amount of logging in the Horse Creek watershed is massive.

Several of the timber sale units were located within Late Successional Reserves. The objective of Late-Successional Reserves is to protect and enhance conditions of late successional forests (think: old-growth), which serve as habitat for old-growth dependent species, including the northern spotted owl. However, most of the largest trees visible from the roadway within these areas were marked for logging, a violation of the law.

The federal timber sale is immediately adjacent to massive private timber operation, compounding the impacts to fish and wildlife. As of June 1st EPIC identified 21 emergency notices in the Gap Fire area totaling 4,863 acres from private land owners (primarily Fruit Growers Supply Company) in addition to the Horse Creek timber sale. Emergency notices are private post-fire logging projects that are exempt from environmental review. On the way to investigate Unit 115.34 of the Horse Creek project, the neighboring parcel, owned by Fruit Growers Supply Company, was being actively logged under an exempt emergency notice. Volunteers noted that the riparian areas within Fruit Growers’ land were being logged. Emergency timber operations can be conducted in riparian areas, including adjacent to streams known to provide critical habitat for threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead species without environmental review by the CAL FIRE or agencies responsible for administering the California or Federal Endangered Species Acts.

Day 2: Timber Monitoring Continues

On Sunday, June 11, EPIC volunteers braved the weather and poor roads to investigate the largest timber sale unit. Volunteers walked a road proposed to be punched in to facilitate logging. Again, life was everywhere in this “dead” forest. Hardwoods were sprouting from stumps, conifer seedlings provided a green carpet, and many trees the Forest Service considers to be dead were alive, with green boughs and branches. After hours of documenting the forest, EPIC volunteers ended the weekend with a cheer and a promise to return.

It is important to note that most projects like these don’t get monitored, and therefore private companies get away with violating environmental laws and standards that are in place to protect common pool public resources, like clean water we rely on for drinking, critical habitat for species such as salmon that feed our local communities, forests that provide us with clean air, and other ecosystems that support the web of life that we all depend on.

THANK YOU! 

Although EPIC has been groundtruthing for years, this is the first EPIC Base Camp. Our inspiration came from Bark, an Oregon based non-profit that has held an annual Base Camp event for years. Bark was kind enough to send expert ground-truther, Michael Krochta, to share techniques, and lead some of the trainings. EPIC would like to thank the 17 volunteers who came out to the boonies in a rain storm to document these projects, and the information they gathered, will be used in our comments to improve the Horse Creek project to minimize impacts to these wild places. EPIC has the best members. THANK YOU!

If you would like to check out our timber sale unit notes click here.

To view the photos we took in the project areas, click here.

Photos by Amber Shelton.

 

 


You’re Invited: EPIC Base Camp 2017

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017
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We are excited to announce that EPIC will host a weekend of skills training to help protect our public lands! EPIC Base Camp will take place in the Klamath National Forest near Happy Camp on June 9-11, 2017. Base Camp attendees will have the opportunity to participate in groundtruthing, map and compass orienteering, environmental policy, know your rights trainings, and more!

The event will include workshops to learn basic skills to monitor timber sales and grazing allotments, then team leaders will take groups into nearby national forest lands to apply these skills and collect data on nearby projects.

EPIC’s 2017 Basecamp will be located at a public camp ground off Hwy 96 near Happy Camp in Klamath National Forest, about a 3 hour drive from the EPIC office in Arcata, CA. Exact location TBA. Our site is located in a shaded area adjacent to the Wild and Scenic Klamath River and can accommodate a maximum of 30 people. The campsite features an area for dispersed tent camping and several picnic tables and campfire rings with grills, toilets and potable water.

The link below includes a description of the event, trainings, what to bring, carpooling options, a weekend schedule, meal options, ground rules, and a wish list of items we need donated.

Sign up now: space is limited and we are expected to fill up quickly!

Click here to learn more and to sign up for this event.

 

 


EPIC Gets Results—Spotted Owl Self Defense Update

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017
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Sierra Pacific Industry Logs. Photo courtesy of Humboldt Earth First!

The 2017 spring spotted owl nesting season is now well underway. Our very wet and very cold winter and early spring here on the North Coast of California makes this year’s spotted owl nesting season a difficult one. EPIC has been advocating for protection and recovery of the spotted owl for the entirety of our 40-year history, and 2017 is no different. Here are some highlights of the work we’ve done, are doing, and will do in 2017 to protect and restore the spotted owl to their rightful place in the forests of Northwest California.

California State Listing Accomplished!

In August of 2017, after a four-year melodrama marred by delays and failures to meet statutory deadlines, the California Fish and Game Commission finally voted to list the spotted owl as a “threatened” species under the California Endangered Species Act. The Commission has failed to adopt finding to ratify this decision, however; EPIC will be in front of the Fish and Game Commission on June 20-21, at its meeting on the Smith River in Del Norte County to once again advocate on behalf of the spotted owl.

Spotted Owl Stakeholder Group Looks at Rule Changes

The state listing has yielded immediate results. EPIC has met twice with the California Department of Fish and Game, CAL FIRE, and the Board of Forestry to discuss changes to the Forest Practice Rules to protect the northern spotted owl. EPIC will continue to work with our state resource agencies to ensure our Forest Practice Rules are up to date. (Currently, the Forest Practice Rules allow for logging in excess of amounts that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has warned would result in the “taking” of owls. Whoops.)

Additional Federal Protections Soon?

In 2012, EPIC also petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to “reclassify,” or “uplist” the spotted owl to “endangered,” under the federal Endangered Species Act. In April, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service promised it would complete a new status review for the spotted owl and render a 12-Month Finding on our petition in the summer of 2017. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials now indicate that the status review and finding will be prepared and issued by early fall 2017.

Reforming Post-Fire Salvage Logging on Private Lands

In the wake of several large fires that burned a mix of public and private forests over the last several summers, private industrial logging companies have used an emergency logging provision that exempts their logging from the normal THP and CEQA review process. Some of these ministerial exempt salvage logging conducted by private timber companies including Fruit Growers Supply Company and Sierra Pacific Industries resulted in clearcuts without size restrictions that downgraded and destroyed suitable spotted owl habitat and resulted in logging in and around known owl activity centers. EPIC raised concerns with CAL FIRE, and eventually, having been stonewalled by CAL FIRE, brought a petition to the Board of Forestry in March 2017 aimed at tightening up the rules governing these post-fire emergency timber operations and their damage to spotted owls and owl habitat. Although EPIC’s petition was rejected by the Board of Forestry, CAL FIRE has now hired new staff and initiated an intensive review and monitoring program for all ministerial logging operations exempted from the normal environmental review process. This is a direct result of EPIC’s efforts to be the voice of the owl in the halls of Sacramento.


3 Reasons to Buck the Horse Creek Project

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017
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(1) Logging Makes Conditions Worse

The Forest Service claims that the project is necessary to reduce fuel loads and ensure a new forest will return. Logging will actually hinder both of these goals. In the short-term, logging will increase fuels on the forest floor and harm the natural regeneration of the forest.

Loggers generally only take out the merchantable timber from a logging area. The rest—the limbs, tops, and other wood not good enough for a sawmill—will be left on the ground creating a sudden accumulation of wood. (Without logging, these dead trees will fall at a sporadic rate, with the smaller diameter trees falling first and larger diameter trees holding on much longer.)

The area is naturally regenerating. In May, EPIC staff visited numerous logging sites and discovered that the forest is already being reborn. Even in areas that burned at high-severity, life is abundant. Hardwood trees are sprouting from stumps and the forest floor is full of little conifer seedlings. Given time, another forest will regrow here. Logging, however, puts this regeneration at risk. Heavy machinery and crews of loggers will compact and chew up the forest floor, killing the regrowth.

The story of how this science was ultimately published is a doozy and shows the close relationship between the timber industry, college forestry departments, and Congress.

(2) Taxpayers Subsidize Private Logging Companies

It is likely that the Horse Creek Project will require taxpayer dollars to subsidize private logging. Even if you don’t give a hoot about the logging project’s impacts to owls, this corporate cronyism should upset you!

Frequently, post-fire timber sales like Horse Creek cost more to plan than they make back in timber revenue. The economic value of the standing dead trees as timber is low. After a fire, timber value diminishes dramatically. In a recent salvage sale, the Klamath National Forest spent over $3 million on planning but recovered only $336,000 dollars in timber revenue.

Not only does it cost more to produce a project than the government will make back, but taxpayers are asked to clean up after the logging.

As discussed above, logging will create large amounts of fuels in the near term. Instead of requiring the timber industry to clean up after themselves, taxpayers will ultimately be responsible for cleaning up this mess under the guise of “site preparation.” Further, because logging requires new roads and road upgrades, taxpayers will pay to have back-country roads retrofitted to accommodate and clean up the impacts of heavy logging equipment on public roadways.

In effect, taxpayers are not only paying to produce a project that will benefit the timber industry, but we are also footed with the bill to clean up their mess!

(3) Logging Will Remove Habitat for Forest Critters

In both the short- and long-term, post-fire logging destroys habitat for our wild friends like the northern spotted owl and the Pacific fisher.

Owls and fishers are adapted to a fire-heavy regime and will use post-fire forests for hunting. The large pulse of dead wood, together with the growth of herbs and shrubs, provides great habitat for some prey, like woodrats. The standing dead trees provide the necessary structure and some element of protection. Owls will perch on the limbs of dead trees and fishers will rest in the dead trees and downed logs.

Post-fire logging removes the largest trees—those that provide the structure necessary for critters like the owl and the fisher. When the trees are cut, the area can no longer function as habitat in the short term. The largest dead trees are also those that are likely to continue standing until a new forest grows up. In the long term, logging and subsequent tree planting will simplify regrowing forests into even-aged, monocrop tree farms, making them less valuable as future habitat.

Click here to take action and learn more about the Horse Creek Project.


Wolves of the Golden State

Thursday, May 18th, 2017
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For the first time since 1924, wild wolves are roaming California. Below are the wolves who call (or have called) our state home.

OR-7

OR-7, also known as Journey was born into the Imnaha Pack in 2009. He was the first confirmed wolf in the Golden State in nearly 100 years. In 2011 and 2012 he roamed over 4000 miles before eventually finding a mate and establishing a territory in southern Oregon in 2013. He had his first pups in 2014 just across the border in the Rouge-Siskiyou National Forest. His pack remains there and continues to grow, having a successful litter four years in a row.

OR-25

At three years old OR-25, full brother of OR-7, roamed into California after he traveled through Washington’s Columbia Basin, the Mt. Hood National Forest and down the length of the Oregon Cascades before arriving in Klamath County. In January of 2016 he ventured to Modoc County. He has since recently been located back in Oregon in Klamath and Lake Counties.

In November 2016, two wolves were confirmed in Lassen County. The two-year old male is the son of OR-7 and the female is suspected of coming from Idaho. Both wolves are likely young animals with no evidence of reproduction yet. The repeated sightings indicate that these are resident animals, and not simply dispersers passing through the region.

Lassen Wolf

In August 2015, California’s first wolf family, the Shasta Pack, was confirmed east of Mount Shasta consisting of a breeding pair and five pups. The alpha female is the younger sister of the famous OR-7, also from the Imnaha Pack. Interestingly, all the wolves in this pack are black. Because they are not collared, their whereabouts as of spring 2017 have yet to be confirmed.

In March 2016, a lone male known to be offspring of the Shasta Pack, ventured into Nevada just west of the Black Rock Desert 20 miles from the California border, making it the first confirmed sighting of a wolf in the Silver State in nearly 100 years. At least three male wolves fitted with GPS collars have been tracked in southwestern Oregon in 2016, as well as three un-collared wolves documented in the Keno area. Wolves from this area are known to venture into California and will likely be responsible for wolf recovery in this part of their home range.

EPIC Goes to Court to Defend Gray Wolves

Wolves need room to roam and Northern California has the habitat. EPIC has helped the return of the wolves by ensuring protections are in place for their protection. In 2012, EPIC filed a listing petition for the gray wolf with the California Fish and Game Commission. The Commission voted to list the gray wolf in 2014, with final regulations issued in 2017.

EPIC’s work did not sit well with Big Beef. In January, Big Beef filed a lawsuit against the California Fish and Game Commission to get rid of wolf protections. EPIC and friends intervened in the lawsuit to ensure our wolves will get the best legal defense possible.

EPIC was also a stakeholder in the development of the Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California, released in December 2016. EPIC continues to work with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and wolf advocacy groups across the West to make sure our wolves are safe. We look forward to watching our wolf families grow.

Wolf supporters at Fish and Game Commission hearing on June 4, 2014 – the day wolves were listed under the California Endangered Species Act.

 

Please donate today to continue EPIC’s effort to ensure that wolves receive the protections they deserve, with your support, we will be successful!


Action Alert: Protect Our National Monuments!

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
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TAKE ACTION NOW:

Over the weekend, the Trump Administration initiated the process to review 27 national monuments—threatening areas of cultural and native significance, immense biodiversity, and expansive recreational use. We oppose any rollbacks on our public lands, and need your help to stop them. Our own neighborly Cascade-Siskiyou and Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monuments are on the chopping block. Trump intends to shrink or eliminate these monuments to open up fossil fuel development, industrial logging, drilling, and mining. These attacks on our public lands are an injustice to every life that enjoys these public places.

Intersecting the Cascade, Siskiyou, and Klamath Mountains, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument is a vast, tangled knot of peaks and rivers that shelters an incredible complex of wild country and rare and unique species. Originally designated in 2000, it was the first monument to be set aside solely for the preservation of biodiversity. As one of his last acts in office, Obama expanded the original designation this last year to a total of 100,000 acres. If properly protected and restored, the  bioregion may serve as a “climate refuge”—providing essential habitat that supports diverse natural communities in the face of human development and climate change. This diverse ecosystem supports wildlife, scientists, and students alike, and offers a wide range of educational and research programs. Home to various recreation activities and a segment of the Pacific Crest trail, this strikingly beautiful monument is the perfect illustration of how we should properly use our public lands.

The Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument was designated by President Obama in 2015, and is home to a wealth of natural, historical and cultural resources, as well as recreational opportunities. The 330,780-acre monument extends from nearly sea level on Bureau of Land Management lands around Lake Berryessa in the south, up to 7,000 feet through the northern Snow Mountain Wilderness and the eastern boundary of the Yuki Wilderness in the Mendocino National Forest. Snow Mountain provides precious water toward both the Sacramento and Eel Rivers. Lush old-growth forest areas, a state game refuge, and two natural research areas provide high quality habitat to endemic and endangered species like the northern spotted owl, marten, fisher, and Chinook salmon. Home to seven different tribes, this monument is one of the most linguistically and culturally diverse regions in California. The scenic vistas and valleys of the Berryessa Snow Mountain provides breathtaking views, and great recreational opportunities.

Public involvement is critical in the protection of these monuments. There is a 60 day comment period to hear from supporters like you, help protect forestlands and wildlife from corporate exploitation. Now more than ever, private interest groups are expanding at the expense of all of our futures. For 40 years, EPIC has fought for a healthy environment for generations to come, but we can’t do it alone. We need your participation and support now more than ever.

Click here now to tell Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the U.S Department of the Interior that we demand to keep our lands public.


EPIC in the Community

Thursday, May 11th, 2017
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Its times like these when our work is most important. Now more than ever, our forests, rivers and wildlife need us. They cannot defend themselves, so its up to people like you to do something. Stay engaged, do what you can, and find ways to participate in meaningful events where you can make a difference. EPIC staff has been all over the region in the last few weeks to advocate for our forests and wildlife. We are planning to continue our full press public outreach efforts throughout the next few months, and we hope the events below will inspire you to join us for future events such as EPIC Basecamp, a boots on the ground weekend of field training for forest protectors.  As a non-profit membership organization, we depend on people like you to keep our efforts funded, so please consider becoming a sustaining member of EPIC. Together we can make a difference!


EPIC Spring Social

EPIC and friends enjoyed a night full of food, drinks, EPIC updates, and storytelling about the redwood wars from Defending Giants author Darren Speece. Thanks to all who helped pack the house, its was great to see EPIC staff and members – old and new all under one roof. We appreciate your support!


Mount Shasta Earth Day Expo

EPIC staff made the trek to scenic Mount Shasta City for the Mount Shasta Earth Day Expo on Sunday, April 22th,   that was hosted by the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center. EPIC staff was invited to table and present talks and workshops at the annual Earth Day celebration in the shadow of snow-covered Mount Shasta. EPIC staff also presented and intensive workshop on creating a forest watch and monitoring program on behalf of the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center that was attended by fifteen concerned local citizens. EPIC is branching out and leading the way, and teaching others how to make Earth Day every day.


Eureka People’s Climate March

EPIC staff participated in the April 29th People’s Climate March held in Eureka in conjunction with the traditional local Rhododendron Parade. Nearly 200 participants turned out on a sunny Eureka Saturday afternoon to march for Climate Action. The Eureka People’s Climate March was organized by our Humboldt County chapter of 350.org, the national climate change advocacy group. Climate action means action to restore the health and productivity of our forests as the only means we have of drawing and storing excess carbon dioxide, the major greenhouse gas driving climate change, out of our atmosphere. EPIC advocates for forest protection and restoration as a viable long-term and critical element to any efforts to curb and combat the causes and impacts of climate change.


Creek Days

EPIC staff presented to hundreds of students and teachers at Creek Days, an environmental education fair that was hosted by Watershed Stewards Project in Freshwater Park.  We discussed why salmon need trees and how our forests, rivers and wildlife are interconnected, and the children made some awesome posters to advocate for native wildlife!

 


Action Alert: Support Tribal Forest Plan Over Timber Giveaways

Monday, May 8th, 2017
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A dozer makes a fireline through the forest during the Gap Fire. The area where Klamath National Forest is proposing the Horse Creek Logging Project. Photo courtesy of inciweb.

Take Action Now: The Klamath National Forest is back with another large post-fire logging project: the Horse Creek Project. According to a draft Environmental Impact Statement released by the Forest Service, the Horse Creek Project would log 2,257 acres of fragile post-fire forests. This logging would affect northern spotted owl critical habitat, salmon spawning areas, and wildlife connectivity by degrading the natural landscape. EPIC and our allies stand ready to fight the timber giveaway.

But there is another way. The Karuk Tribe has submitted their own alternative for the Klamath National Forest to consider, the “Karuk Alternative”. EPIC fully endorses the Karuk Alternative. Developed by the Karuk Tribe’s Department of Natural Resources, the Karuk Alternative is based on forest .science not timber markets. It recognizes that logging post-fire forests harms natural forest recovery as well as nearby salmon-bearing streams. The Karuk Alternative places an emphasis on returning fire to the landscape, using fire as a natural fuels reduction solution to ensure the safety of rural landowners. The Karuk Alternative still provides for jobs for rural landowners through the development of fire breaks and through fuel reduction work near private property. In short, it provides local jobs while protecting wildlife: a win/win.

The Karuk Alternative limits salvage logging because the Karuk Tribe recognizes that salvage logging can harm fish bearing streams and can increase the potential for high-severity fire. Salvage logging results in tremendous amounts of “slash”—unmerchantable trees, limbs, branches, and tops. This slash becomes “jackstrawed,” piled on top of each other like a game of pick up sticks. This slash dries out and, without contact with the ground, takes a long time to decompose, increasing the occurrence of a high-severity fire for around 20 years.

The Karuk Tribe has a special relationship to Horse Creek. Horse Creek is an important cold water refugia for salmon and is near traditional Karuk fishing grounds. As part of mandated government-to-government consultation, the Karuk Tribe asked the Forest Service to consider the Karuk Alternative. The Klamath National Forest has thus far refused to consider the Karuk Alternative. Instead, the Klamath National Forest uses the Karuk Alternative as a tool to argue in favor of their big-timber project.

Click here now to tell Forest Supervisor Patty Grantham to consider and adopt the Karuk Alternative.