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Documenting Bovine Degradation in Wilderness: A Call for Volunteers From the Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
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Project Volunteer Luke Ruediger surveys bank trampling and riparian shade reduction on the Silver Fork of Elliot Creek within the Siskiyou Ridge portion of Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.

Project Volunteer Luke Ruediger surveys bank trampling and riparian shade reduction on the Silver Fork of Elliot Creek within the Siskiyou Ridge portion of Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.

By Felice Pace, Project Coordinator

This summer and fall volunteers with the Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California will again be in the field monitoring conditions on public lands where cattle and other livestock are permitted to graze. Our task will be to document with photos, measurements and field notes how the cattle are managed and the resulting degradation of water quality, riparian and wetland habitats.

This will be the seventh year Project volunteers are in the field. So far we’ve monitories 17 grazing allotments on three national forests; many allotments we’ve monitored multiple times and in multiple years. Here’s what we’ve found: District Rangers, the Forest Service officials responsible for assuring that grazing on their districts is done responsibly, are not getting the job done. Those officials are allowing livestock owners to place cattle on public land and leave them there, without management, until the snow flies and it is necessary to bring the cattle to lower elevation. That results in degradation of water quality, riparian areas and wetlands, and that is what the Project aims to stop.

Project monitors record their observations and document the destruction photographically. We then use those observations and findings in monitoring and other reports and presentations which we provide to agency grazing managers and regulatory agencies. Project sponsor organizations like EPIC and me as the Project’s coordinator use that documentation to advocate specific management changes on the allotments volunteers monitored and for systemic grazing management reforms. We especially target the State Water Resources Control Board and Regional Water Boards which are responsible for assuring that public land management complies with the Clean Water Act. We want the State and Regional Water Boards to tighten Clean Water Act requirements for public land grazing, including requiring modern rest-rotation grazing management systems, regular herding and other best management practices.

Our ability to monitor public land grazing is limited by the number of volunteers working with the project. That’s where you could play a role. If you are familiar with the wilderness and able to walk off trail in the mountains you could monitor with the Project; or you could train with the Project and monitor grazing on your own and with friends. Often national forest grazing takes place in spectacular wilderness environments. And one can usually find a quite place, away from the destructive bovines, to camp. Many grazing allotments can be monitored via day trips from wilderness trailheads.

Monitors are especially needed for the Mendocino, Six Rivers, Lassen and Modoc National Forests and for BLM administered public lands. The more places we can document poor grazing management resulting in water quality, riparian and wetland degradation, the better the case we can make that systemic reform of public land grazing management is needed.

The destruction

When cattle are left unmanaged for months in mountains where the headwaters are replete with springs, wet meadows and willow wetlands, the result is a disaster. The photos below tell the tail to some extent, but photos can capture the full impact.

Season-long grazing without herding results in the elimination of dry meadow bunchgrasses and the trampling of springs. 

Streambanks are trampled, riparian vegetation destroyed and headwater willow wetlands are fragmented and dried out

Neglectful management of national forest grazing violates water quality standards, including EPA limits on nutrient pollution and the North Coast Regional Water Board’s limits on fecal bacteria pollution. Water quality monitoring by The Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, a federal tribe, citizen groups and the Forest Service itself show that wilderness streams which should provide the highest quality waters are instead being fouled at the source.

Wilderness headwater basins that should produce critical late summer and fall baseflow in salmon streams below are being relentlessly trampled year after year by cattle weighing up to1200 pounds. When wet headwater meadows are degraded in that way they dry out; their ability to store water for slow release during the dry season is damaged and, if the trampling continues long enough, destroyed. As hydrologist Jonathan Rhodes and Fish Ecologist Chris Frissell point out in a recent report, one of the three best ways to restore California’s dry season water supply would be to eliminate grazing from Northern California’s national forest headwater basins.

Our Strategy

Our Project does not insist that grazing be eliminated from Northern California public lands. But we do insist that those who enjoy the privilege of grazing their livestock on the people’s land manage those livestock responsibly.

We want Forest Service and other public land grazing managers to require modern grazing strategies like rest rotation grazing and best practices like regular herding and seasonal fencing to keep livestock out of wetlands, prevent them from trashing streams and protect riparian vegetation and streambanks.

Because both managers and regulators have refused for six years now to reform grazing management which is clearly inadequate and irresponsible, we are going up the line to supervisors and considering administrative and legal challenges.

We are determined to see modern grazing management brought to Northern California’s public lands. If livestock producers want the privilege of grazing in the public’s meadows and headwaters they must be willing to manage their animals responsibly, including riding the range regularly, moving cattle out of wetlands and rotating grazing to prevent degradation of land and water.

If the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management required modern grazing methods, we believe most individuals and corporations now permitted to graze livestock on public lands would voluntarily relinquish the permits. They would not be willing to incur the time and expense necessary to graze livestock responsibly in mountains that are replete with springs, streams, wet meadows and willow wetlands.

If you want to volunteer with the Project or just want more information contact me, Felice Pace, by email (unofelice@gmail.com) or by phone (707-954-6588). And please take the time to get out and enjoy the lands we all own together.

Happy trails!


Fences Finally Removed in Tolowa Dunes State Park

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
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ElkAfter years of assessment, documentation, mapping and planning, abandoned livestock fences in the Tolowa Dunes have finally been removed, and now a small heard of wild elk have been sighted in the area that was previously leased for cattle grazing.

Tolowa Dunes State Park is made up of ancient sand dunes, swales, dune forest, and an ephemeral wetland bottom called the Smith River Plain, along the coast of Del Norte County. The Park is used as a Pacific flyway stopover for migratory birds, serves as critical rearing habitat for juvenile salmon and provides grazing opportunities for wild ungulates. Tolowa Dunes State Park is also sacred to the Tolowa people, who once had a village there, a village that was the site of a horrible massacre of the Tolowa people in 1853.

From 1996-2011, about 230 acres of the bottoms along the Yontocket Slough were leased from Tolowa Dunes State Park for cattle grazing to the adjacent land owner, Alexandre Dairy, which modified the area with heavy equipment and built extensive fence lines throughout the Park. This area was heavily grazed and the dairy’s barbwire and electric fences remained after the termination of the grazing permit, preventing the movement of wild animals, including local wild Rosevelt elk populations.

With funding from the California State Parks Foundation, EPIC worked with Tolowa Dunes State Park, Tolowa Dunes Stewards and biologist Adam Canter to map livestock fencing and rare species, and to help plan and prioritize ecological restoration and livestock fence removal projects within Tolowa Dunes State Park. EPIC began working on this project in 2010, helping to end the illegal livestock grazing permit on State Park Lands, and now, six years later, the fences have finally been removed and wild elk have returned to the former grazing area of the park.

 


Forest Rules a Self-defeating Glut

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
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Holm_Fay_date2008-04-09_time16.02.45_IMG_8035 copy

By Paul Mann, Mad River Union

Timber industry officials and environmental activists warn that the state’s logging safeguards have become a bureaucratic snarl that can drag out rule-making for a decade and a half and more.

Experts say that 43 years after the enactment of the Forest Practice Act, timescales are so out of joint that the pace of environmental damage far outruns preventive action on the ground. The 1973 act’s rule book has swollen to 300 pages.

Formulating a Timber Harvest Plan for a given property is expensive – $15,000 to $60,000 per plan, says Dee Sanders of Trinity Lumber.

Critics say the regulatory framework has recoiled on itself, leaving the system effectively broken.

“There’s no doubt about that,” Sanders declared in a telephone interview.

This forbidding reality demands a legislative overhaul, according to Natalynne DeLapp, executive director of the nonprofit Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), and her colleague Rob DiPerna, California forest and wildlife advocate. They  have documented what they view as an “unnavigable tangle of politics, paper and process” studded with regulatory thickets. EPIC serves the five counties of Del Norte, Humboldt, Mendocino, Siskiyou and Trinity.

One of the worst holdups stemmed from a set of “road rules” first bruited by the state Board of Forestry in 1999 to ward off the impact of construction on the North Coast’s fast-declining salmon and steelhead populations. The rules did not take effect until January, 2015, a 16-year hiatus.

In another instance, the forestry board took almost 10 years, until 1994, to act on regulations to address the cumulative impacts of logging on private lands. When the panel finally did act, it issued guidance that is merely “voluntary and suggestive,” not a real regulation, according to DeLapp and DiPerna.

Neither a 10-year nor a 16-year wait is the outside limit. The watershed of the Elk River, one of Humboldt Bay’s largest tributaries, was designated impaired in 1998 under the Clean Water Act.

Yet it took the regional water board until this past month to adopt a recovery plan – a lag of 18 years. That’s typical, said DiPerna, of the voluminous and time-consuming paperwork associated with rule making. He called it a “Frankenstein’s Monster.”

The tangle can add dozens of pages to a single Timber Harvest Plan. EPIC statistics show that a harvest blueprint averages 250 to 300 pages in length and sometimes many more. Formulating a plan is an arcane, costly and laborious exercise that balks public understanding and bedevils all the stakeholders, whether landowners, foresters, scientists or citizens.

By rights, drafting a plan should take 45 to 60 days, DiPerna estimated, but some of them get stuck in the system for years. Sanders said Oregon’s system, less rigorous than California’s, takes about two weeks.

Time is not the only debit. According to DiPerna, the average base cost of a Timber Harvest Plan for a given landowner has climbed to $30,000, midway between Sanders’ $15,000 to $60,000.

The $30,000 average does not include the many more thousands of dollars spent by state agencies such as CalFire for a harvest plan’s review, approval, administration and enforcement.

There is also concern that the public is shut out. DiPerna wrote in a recent EPIC monograph, “It is nearly impossible for the average citizen to read, navigate, understand or provide meaningful comment or engagement in the Timber Harvest Plan process.” It has taken him some 20 years to become fully informed about the issue.

Ironically, the purpose of the relevant statutes, like the California Environmental Quality Act and the Forest Practice Act, was to ensure that private citizens had meaningful information about, and open access to, the management decisions that affect air, forests, water and wildlife.

Exactly the opposite, said DiPerna and DeLapp. Forest protection plays third fiddle to an Orwellian regulatory chorus which fails in any meaningful way to effect “operational change or on-the-ground protection, enhancement, restoration or conservation of public trust resources.” The bureaucracy exalts legalism, they contend.

DiPerna freely acknowledged that EPIC’s lawsuits can at times, “unwittingly, actually make the [regulatory] situation worse,” generating more time-consuming analysis and explanation. But the avenues in the environmental laws “are really all we have,” he pleaded in extenuation.

DeLapp refuted accusations that EPIC is financed by lawsuits, saying it is funded by membership donations and private foundations. The only reimbursements received are for the costs of attorneys, many of whom work pro bono. “We do not recoup costs for staff time,” she added.

The intent and effectiveness of California’s landmark environmental laws have been co-opted by state agencies that are protecting themselves, DeLapp charged. “They insulate themselves from litigation not only by public interest groups, but by private industry and contractors as well.”

Moreover, “I find it offensive when public agencies blame public interest organizations for ‘costing taxpayers money’ when they lose court cases,” said DeLapp. “When courts find in our favor, it means the agencies failed to uphold their end of the bargain. Blaming us for catching them is 100 percent inappropriate.”

What results from bureaucratic overkill is classic “analysis paralysis,” DiPerna noted, as occurred in the Elk River fiasco. None of the staff’s fundamental findings – that the river was impaired by logging – ever changed, he said, across “reports and studies and studies of reports and peer reviews and hearing after hearing on the same issues, over and over again!”    

DeLapp stated that the solution lies in the consensus among timber harvest stakeholders, both industry exponents and conservationists, that the system needs a rebuild.

“Since we all agree what the problem is, we can figure out a way to turn this over. The system is designed for us to be diametrically opposed, conservation versus industry, economics versus ecology. Instead, we should be able to collaborate and mutually develop our own solutions.”

Fresh legislation could make them a reality.


Taking Stock, Taking Cover—Redwood Restoration, Reconnection, and the Humboldt Marten

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016
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Google Earth Image of Redwood National Park VS. Green Diamond clear cuts

Google Earth Image showing stark difference between protected lands in Redwood National Park adjacent to Green Diamond Resource Company land. An area containing one of the two remnant Humboldt marten population segments in California.

The coast redwood forests of Northern California are often perceived as a remnant of paleo-history, a land, and a place seemingly lost in time, and sheltered from the modern age by the pale shadow of the redwood curtain. For many across the country and the world, the coast redwood forests are a dark, impenetrable, and primeval place, where one may at once be lost, and found.

Sadly, the wild and iconic vision of a vast, mighty, and vibrant forest ecosystem set-aside from time and the march of human progress is far more hyperbole and fantasy than present-day reality here in the redwoods. A forest type that once spanned the majority of the northern hemisphere, growing and evolving for 18 million years or more, and that spanned some 2 million acres across Northern California’s rugged and scenic coastline has been reduced to small, isolated and disjunct remnant fragments in less than 200 years since European-American settlement. Today, Save-the-Redwoods League estimates that approximately 120,000 acres, or five percent, of the original old-growth coast redwood forest remains, with 95 percent of the land now in a previously-logged condition, and bearing scant resemblance to the forest that once was.

The vast majority of remaining old-growth coast redwood forest is now contained in our redwood parks and reserve systems, which according to estimates from Save-the-Redwoods League, constitutes only 23 percent of the original forest land-base. Slauson (2012) estimates that greater than 50 percent of the land-base in our redwood parks and reserve systems is actually comprised of previously-logged stands of second and third-growth forest and not old-growth.

Restoration of the forest itself in the range of the coast redwoods is a monumental and daunting task that is only now beginning to take place, and the art, science, and economic viability of forest restoration in the redwoods is experimental, at best. Slauson (2012) aptly describes the importance of this work, stating, “The management of second growth forests to accelerate the restoration of late-successional and old growth characteristics will be one of the greatest challenges for conservation in the redwood region over the next century.”

Marten map

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection GIS Map of Marten Population. Published April 7, 2016.

Enter the most unlikely of creatures, the seemingly long-forgotten resident of our coast redwood forest ecosystems, the Humboldt marten. The story of the Humboldt marten serves as a synergistic metaphor that runs parallel and is very complimentary to that of our coastal redwood forest ecosystem. The marten was trapped extensively for its pelts in the early years of European-American exploration and settlement in the redwoods, and with the advent of aggressive logging of the vast majority of the redwood forest old-growth, upon which the Humboldt marten depends, it was once thought that this small, cat-size member of the weasel family had been lost. That is, until 1996, when this stealth, highly allusive, and unassuming creature was accidentally captured on a wildlife survey camera in Prairie Creek Redwood State Park, one of the four parks that in the present-day make up the jointly-administered Redwood National and State Parks system. Contemporary monitoring and research suggests that the Humboldt marten, like the old-growth coast redwood forest, has been extirpated from 95 percent of its original range; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2015) now estimates that less than 100 total individuals persist in the wild today, and that these individuals represent only two very small, extremely isolated population segments in California, and a small population along the coast in Southern Oregon.

Isolation and fragmentation of the coast redwood forest landscape, associated increases in road-densities, and the resultant degradation of the ecological integrity of the forest are as dangerous and damaging for the survival and recovery of the Humboldt marten as they are for our remnant coastal old-growth redwood forests. Logging and conversion of the vast majority of our complex old-growth redwood forest assemblages to young, even-aged, sterile, and homogenous early seral plantations threaten to cause the extinction of both the original redwood forest as a functional ecosystem, and of the Humboldt marten, whose small, fragmented and isolated populations are highly vulnerable to single catastrophic events, such as wildfire, due to the loss of ability for movement, dispersal, inter-breeding, and exchange of vital genetic diversity for the species.

The Humboldt marten relies on complex old-growth forest assemblages here in the range of the coast redwoods, which are often characterized by far more than the iconic giant old-growth trees. In addition to the large, old trees, the marten also relies on large dead trees, both standing snags, and downed logs, branches, and other forest woody material in order to feed, breed, rest, and find cover. Additionally, the marten is known to prefer old-growth forest areas with thick, dense, and complex under growth layers comprised of ferns, forbs, berries, and flowers. Such features, while common in an old-growth setting, are not prevalent in previously-managed forest stands in the coast redwoods. This is not only bad for the marten, but also for the forest itself, as well as our bioregional and global climate. Old-growth coast redwood forests are now world-renowned for their tremendous densities of biomass, and incomparable ability to store and sequester carbon dioxide. These critical forest ecosystem processes are just as depended upon biomass comprising of the herbaceous undergrowth as they are upon the giant trees we all know and love.

Humboldt Marten at Bait StationThe conversion of the vast majority of our forested landscape to early seral conditions has resulted in a one-two-punch effect for the Humboldt marten. On the one hand, historic and contemporary logging and conversion of the forest from old-growth to early seral conditions have significantly reduced the range and available habitat for the species, and at the same time facilitating expansion in the historic range of two of the marten’s primary predators, the Pacific fisher, and the bobcat. Slauson (2012) theorizes that restoration in the coast redwood forest can and must go hand-in-hand with habitat connectivity and restoration for the Humboldt marten, stating, “[s]uccessful restoration of the old-growth forest mesocarnivore assemblage in the redwood region will require an increase in the amount and connectivity of old forest conditions and reduction of road densities which should result in the expansion of the remnant Humboldt marten population and decreases in the range and abundance of the fisher and bobcat.”

Restoration, regeneration, and reconnection of our coastal old-growth redwood forests simply cannot be accomplished by focusing on our pre-existent parks and reserves alone; similarly, conservation and recovery of the Humboldt marten cannot be accomplished by focusing on our public lands alone. Landscape-level restoration and connectivity across land use designations and ownership classifications and boundaries, public and private alike, will be necessary to protect and reinvigorate critical and highly-imperiled ecological functions and processes in our remnant fragments of old-growth redwood forest, and to maintain the biological and genetic viability of the Humboldt marten.

At first glance, it may seem that the solutions to how restoration and connectivity in the coast redwood forest can be accomplished are as stealth and allusive as the Humboldt marten, given that so little old-growth remains, and that vast tracts of our redwood forestlands are now privately-owned and primarily managed for industrial timber production. Here, the Humboldt marten may unwittingly be the devisor of its own rescue plan, and thereby the rescuer of our old-growth coast redwood ecosystems as well.

One of the key remaining small, but highly isolated populations of the Humboldt marten is quietly hanging on along the interface between the coast redwood forest and the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. Here, lands are owned and managed by the Redwood National and State Parks system, the Yurok Tribe, Six Rivers National Forest, and Green Diamond Resource Company. The overwhelming majority of the redwoods surrounding and adjacent to the Redwood National and State Parks system are owned by either Green Diamond or the Yurok Tribe. These lands are critical for the viability and recovery of both the Humboldt marten and our coastal redwood forests.

Since 2010, EPIC has advocated to protect and recover the Humboldt marten, and by extension, creating an impetus for landscape-level restoration and connectivity in the coast redwoods. We have used existing environmental laws designed to protect imperiled species like the marten as a proxy for trying to affect landscape management regime changes. EPIC’s 2010 petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Humboldt marten as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act spurred the creation of the Humboldt Marten Conservation Group, a working group comprised of agency, land owners, and scientists, all of whom are now working to draft a long-term conservation and recovery plan for the marten, a vital underpinning that involves landscape level forest habitat restoration and reconnection to help marten populations stabilize, facilitate greater movement and dispersal, and eventually help facilitate recovery.

In 2015, EPIC also petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to list the Humboldt marten as an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act, hoping to marshal the resources and direct involvement of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and create greater opportunities for cooperation, collaboration, and create more avenues for available funding through state-generated processes.

The old quip that humans “can’t see the forest for the trees,” at times, serves as a sobering allegory as we revisit the history and implications of past intensive logging of our old-growth trees in the coast redwoods. Fortunately, if we look closely enough, there yet remains, hiding quietly and patiently in the deep, dark shadows, the most unlikely of creatures that can serve as the impetus for us to restore, rebuild, and reconnect.


Lawsuit Initiated Over Politically Motivated Decision Denying Protection to Pacific Fishers

Monday, June 13th, 2016
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Pacific Fisher FWS.govRare Carnivore Has Been Reduced to Two Populations in California, Oregon

EPIC and our allies filed a notice of intent today to challenge the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision in April to deny Endangered Species Act protection to Pacific fishers, the latest species to fall victim to the Service’s efforts to cater to industry. Closely related to martens and wolverines, Pacific fishers are severely threatened by a number of factors, including habitat loss caused by logging and the use of toxic rodenticides on illegal marijuana growing sites. Although the Service had recently proposed federal protections for Pacific fishers, the agency reversed course at the last minute in a bow to the timber industry.

“Fishers are staring extinction in the face, so it’s deeply disheartening to see Fish and Wildlife deny them the protection they need to survive,” said Justin Augustine, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Science, not politics, is supposed to drive these kinds of decisions, and that didn’t happen here.”

Fishers once roamed from British Columbia to Southern California, but due to intense logging and trapping, only two naturally occurring populations survive today: a population of 100 to 300 fishers in the southern Sierra Nevada and a population of 250 to a few thousand fishers in southern Oregon and Northern California. They have been reintroduced in three populations in the northern Sierra, southern Cascades and Washington State.

The decision to deny protections to the Pacific fisher is the latest in a string of politically motivated decisions from the Fish and Wildlife Service, in which regional staff overruled decisions by Service biologists to protect species. Two months ago a federal judge in Montana criticized the Service for bowing to political pressures in illegally reversing a proposal to protect the estimated 300 wolverines remaining in the lower 48 states. And in December 2015 conservation groups filed a lawsuit against the Service for inexplicably denying protection to Humboldt martens, another rare West Coast carnivore on the brink of extinction.

A survey conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists last year indicated many Service scientists believe that increasingly there is inappropriate interference with science within the agency.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s denial of their own stated concerns and threats to this rare forest carnivore strongly suggests the agency has lost its professional courage to uphold its mission to protect biodiversity due to political pressure. Politics has no place in listing decisions,” said Susan Britting, executive director of Sierra Forest Legacy.

”Service scientists recently found that Pacific fishers are on the brink of extinction and face increasing threats from logging, climate change and especially from the indiscriminate use of toxic rodenticide poisons on marijuana grow sites,” said George Sexton, conservation director for the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center. “The Service acknowledged these challenges supported the need for federal protection before deciding that politics was more important than the survival of the species.”

“Today the Pacific fisher has been isolated to just two locations in the United States,” said Greg Loarie, an Earthjustice attorney who drafted the notice. “If this doesn’t justify the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service using our bedrock environmental law — the Endangered Species Act — to protect an animal that needs our help to survive, then I don’t know what does.”

Efforts to protect the West Coast fisher have been going on for decades. The Center for Biological Diversity first petitioned to protect the fisher in 1994, and the four conservation organizations seeking protection for the species today filed a second petition with allies in 2000. In 2004 the fisher was finally added to the candidate waiting list, when the Service determined that the fisher warranted protection but was precluded by higher priority species. In 2010 the Center sued over the delay in protecting the fisher and the Service agreed under a subsequent settlement decision to issue a decision this year. In 2014 the Service announced a proposed rule that would have protected Pacific fishers as a “threatened” species. But the Service abruptly withdrew its proposed rule in April of this year.

“The fisher has waited long enough for protection,” said Tom Wheeler, program director for the Environmental Protection Information Center. “No amount of agency delay, political pressure or obfuscation of science can change the truth: The fisher is threatened with extinction.”

The groups issuing today’s notice are the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Sierra Forest Legacy. They are represented by Earthjustice.

Fisher Notice of Intent Press Release


Westside Truth on the Ground

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016
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Westside Cutting Boundary

Westside Cutting Boundary

Editor’s note: EPIC proudly presents this article from EPIC member Bryan Randolph. Bryan wanted to see what the Westside Project looked like on the ground, so he went! Many thanks to Bryan for sharing his findings and photographs. If you are interested in groundtruthing, click here  for more information. Just be careful out there and be aware of closed roads, which can be found here.

Until a few weeks ago I was unfamiliar with the term ‘groundtruthing.’ I knew I wanted to help in some way with the opposition of the Westside logging project and decided to use the skills I already have. Backpacking has been one of my favorite outdoor activities for years, so groundtruthing, which combines exploring the backcountry, naturalism, photography and activism quickly became my new favorite activity.

“Thank you loggers for cleaning up the mess”

I saw this sign in a front yard while driving through the small town of Seiad Valley. Located on the Klamath River on Highway 96 about 120 miles north of Willow Creek, Seiad Valley is very close to some of the largest project areas of the Westside project, these areas are also the first to see operations begin. Less than a mile outside of town I pass signs for the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), cross the Klamath and head towards Grider Creek. I park my truck, pack my backpack with enough food for the next two days and head into the Salt Creek (a tributary to Grider Creek) watershed. I soon cross into the project boundary marked by a white and blue flag, this area has clearly been hit heavily by the wildfires of 2014; however, I would not describe this landscape as a mess. It was actually very easy to move around in, and very much alive with wildflowers, berry bushes, and oak shrubs sprouting from the base of burned specimen. I imagine deer, elk, and bears being able to move and forage in this area with ease.

A few hundred feet after entering the project boundary, I find two ponderosa pines much larger than the surrounding growth, because these trees did not have any green foliage they are not marked for leave and will be cut. As I pull out my camera and GPS to snap a photo and create a waypoint to go with it, the sound of woodpeckers carving out new homes in these ideal snags, and the babbling Salt Creek fills my ears. Over the next 24 hours I have a run in with the Caroline Creek eagles, document lots of large trees (many on steep slopes) predator and bear scat, roaming deer, and Elk tracks along Walker Creek about 200 feet away from active roadside logging. Although the project areas are all on public land, the forest service has closed the area to the public. Being aware of this I travel off road and along creeks as much as possible. In the Walker Creek area I come up to the road to photograph piles freshly cut logs. Seconds after snapping some photos, Forest Service law enforcement came around the corner and removed me from the area, making it known that the presence of law enforcement has been amped up due to “protestors” and that being here is a citable offense. A few weeks earlier work was stopped in Walker creek by a blockade of forest defenders and Karuk tribe members. As we ride through an active work zone I notice trees of larger size, or merchantable trees, line the road way while the smaller trees were left on the landscape.

“The Language of Industry”

My groundtruthing didn’t end there however, determined to explore other areas I head to the Marble Mountains where the PCT comes close to a few project areas. I hiked to the Tyler Meadows timber sale, bordering the northeast corner of Marble Mountain Wilderness and into the Grider Creek headwaters. Here I find more questionably large and some living trees to be cut on very steep slopes. I can now say I know these areas first hand. I can also say that the language the Forest Service has used goes against everything we know about the forest ecology of the Klamath-Siskyou bio region. The word salvage implies these forests were rendered useless by fire, what I found was a landscape cleared of impassable brush making it friendly to traveling and grazing ungulates (and bi pedal apes!). I found a large variety of plant life (no poison oak!) bursting to life in this post fire ecosystem, I wonder how these plants will fair with the trampling of industry, or the hot summer sun without snags to provide crucial shade. Instead of a thinning, the largest trees will be taken while the small, unprofitable trees will be left on the land. You would expect the opposite from a plan boasting ‘fuels reduction’ and ‘recovery.’

Bringing you the truth on the ground,

Bryan Randolph

 

All photos and text by Bryan Randolph.

 


Kin to the Earth

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016
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Kim of the Earth_This month, EPIC’s Public Land Advocate, and Executive Director of Klamath Forest Alliance — Kimberly Baker– was interviewed by Natalynne DeLapp. This article was originally published in the Northcoast Environmental Center’s newspaper, EcoNews.

An insatiable curiosity and passion for the forest, and its wildlife, is what inspired Kimberly Baker to begin her conservation advocacy work. Originally from Georgia, by way of Alaska, she moved to Sandy Bar Ranch, on the Klamath River, in 1998. “California’s Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion is widely recognized as a global center for biodiversity,” said Kimberly. “Our forests shelter an incredible complex of rare and unique species found only in this region.” It was while living on the river that she began to see what was happening to the national forests—old growth logging and the destruction of native wildlife habitat. “I started as a volunteer doing forest watch monitoring national forest timber sales and realized that even one person could make a big difference,” said Kimberly.

“Public involvement absolutely results in better management of our forests,” said Kimberly. “By paying attention to what projects are being developed by the U.S. Forest Service, watching out for plans that target big trees, understanding science, basic ecology and environmental laws, and by providing substantive place based comments—forests can be protected.”

Getting into the back county, out on the ground and seeing exactly what is being proposed and where is one of the most important components of timber sale monitoring. “One of the first projects I worked on was the Elk Creek Timber Sale. One of the units was proposed for tractor logging, and upon walking into the unit I saw springs and pools of water everywhere, —and because of my comments the unit was dropped,” said Kimberly. “It also it made me realize why it is so important to ground truth forest service projects.”

When asked what inspires her, Kimberly said, “I draw my inspiration from all of the wildlife inhabiting these mountains and watersheds, —the beautiful and amazing communities out in the forest—that is what I work to protect.”

One of Kimberly’s favorite places is the Garden Gulch Trail on the North Fork Salmon River. “Although it is not the most spectacular old growth, it’s a particular stand that has been targeted three or four times by different timber sales and every time we’ve been able to save it, said Kimberly. I like going there, being in that forest, and knowing that it is still standing. The trees are all marked up with multiple different colors of paint from the various timber sales the agency has attempted—it reminds me that caring people make a difference.”

In the past twenty years, Kimberly has seen changes in how National Forests are managed because of different forest leadership and changing cultural values. I asked her what does she see happening as she looks ahead. “It could go either way, the Six Rivers National Forest is making great strides by incorporating Traditional Ecological Knowledge and working toward long-term solutions to return fire back to our landscapes, and by working with the people in the communities,” said Kimberly. “We know so much from the decades of intensive study, how biodiverse northern California is, how many endemic species are here, and how globally important our forest are. So I see the future going either way, either we protect it and follow the best available science, or we don’t. Which for example is what the Klamath National Forest is doing, where it is cutting trees at any cost to the environment, and not considering science or the people in the community. It is working to reach timber targets without regard for wildlife or water quality. We either make the change or we don’t. With the recent congress forest and wildlife management has been ruled by politics and misguided opinions rather than science based.”

When asked what needs to happen, Kimberly said, “I think the key to species survival is landscape connectivity. We need connect wild places by protecting the remaining roadless areas, mature forests and high quality habitat and restoring cut over forests. It is time enact policy that will implement climate adaption strategies—which is why I am working with leaders in office and in forest, water and wildlife management to make the necessary shifts in order to conserve our quality of life, wildlife and wild places.”

It is because this courage and determination that thousands of acres of ancient forest are still standing, and it is with this same level of determination that Kimberly will continue to advocate for the future of the forests and wildlife of northwest California.

 


Elk River Update—Deciding to Decide

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016
By
Elk River flowing over road. Photo courtesy of Elk River Residents Association

Elk River flowing over road. Photo courtesy of Elk River Residents Association

Decisions, decisions, decisions…It has happened to all of us, surely, at one time or another. It can seem so complicated to make even the most basic of decisions, at times. We can talk ourselves into a state of paralysis, turning over the relative merits of one choice over another. In the end though, regardless of how much we debate, we eventually have to make decisions and live with the consequences.

On May 12, 2016, the Regional Board finally moved to adopt a sediment impairment remediation and watershed recovery plan for the Elk River, some 14 years after its self-imposed deadline. The tale of the “how’s,” and “why’s,” that this has taken so long, can be untangled when looked at through the lens of history, politics, and fear of backlash.

Background

The Elk River watershed was severely damaged in 80’s and 90’s by the reckless and irresponsible liquidation logging of MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company. Then, the combination of this reckless logging and the advent of the 1996/1997 New Year’s storms that brought heavy rains to the North Coast, saw the river system and the upland watershed begin to unravel as massive landslides, streambank failures, road and road infrastructure failures introduced overwhelming amounts of sediment pollution to the river system.

In the wake of the obvious devastation, in 1997, an inter-agency team conducted field investigations of the Elk River watershed and four other Humboldt County watersheds, finding in every case that these systems were “significantly adversely cumulatively impacted from sediment with logging as a contributing factor.” The Elk River watershed was designated as sediment impaired and placed on the 303(d) list of impaired waterbodies under the federal Clean Water Act. The federal and state water management agencies both agreed that the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board would take the lead on preparing the remediation and recovery plan for Elk River, known as a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL), and would complete it and adopt it by 2002.

The Wait is the Hardest Part

In the 18 years since the 303(d) designation of Elk River, not only has the Regional Water Board failed to produce the TMDL, but the impaired and polluted condition of the so-called “impacted reach,” i.e. the reach of the river where massive amounts of logging-related sediment pollution have been stuck and languishing for nearly two decades, is actually continuing to worsen, not improve. And despite changes in ownership and management practices, the timber industry’s own Report of Waste Discharge to the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board on its sediment pollution discharges in the Elk River watershed actually shows that contemporary timber harvest activities in the watershed are still contributing new pollution to the river system, incrementally compounding the problem.

The sediment pollution has caused unnatural and frightening increases in the frequency and intensity of flooding in residential areas, resulting in impairment of domestic and agricultural water supplies, loss of traditional land-based economic activities, the flooding of roads, homes, and properties, and threaten the very health, safety, and lives of local residents, as the flood waters prevent ingress and egress from the neighborhood.

Local residents and fisheries and environmental advocates have struggled for nearly two decades to compel state and federal regulatory agencies to act to restrict further logging and logging pollution, clean up the mess left behind by MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber, and begin to restore the Elk River watershed. However, bureaucratic lethargy has virtually stymied citizen’s and citizen group’s efforts at every turn. The weapon being used to forestall the process has not been lawsuits, but largely the planting of seeds of doubt and insisting on “certainty” in the science and analytical documentation detailing watershed conditions and root causes.

Paralysis by Analysis

After the initial inter-agency investigation in 1997, a litany of studies and reports have been produced, almost all of which have come to essentially the same conclusion: logging practices have resulted in massive an incomprehensible amounts of sediment pollution being introduced to the river system, and that massive quantities of this sediment pollution are now stored in the lower reaches of the watershed, the so-called, “impacted reach,” the virtual ground-zero for local residents in the watershed.

However, after 18 years of science and bureaucratic process, the most basic, and fundamental finding of all the study and analysis—that the watershed is crippled with impairment from logging-related sediment pollution—has never actually changed. What has transpired can be characterized as a battle of the experts, with the agencies, the timber industry, and the general public alike marshalling scientists to study, re-study, critique, tweak, and study again, the studies and reports generated to serve as the basis for the actual decisions to be made about how to resolve the sediment pollution problem.

In 2013, Janet Parrish, representing the EPA, wrote a letter to the Regional Board to chide its lethargy and inaction to stem the tide of sediment pollution from logging and begin the process of recovering the river and its water quality. Parrish described the heel-dragging and delays as “paralysis by analysis.” The quest for “certainty” obfuscated the essential facts of the situation and the clear legal mandates of the Regional Board to act to correct the problems.

De Ja Vu All Over Again

Regional Board staff have brought at least two or three other action proposals before the Board Members to address problems in Elk River over the last 18 years, all of which have been rejected, mostly on the basis that further study and refinement of the studies has been necessary before final action can be taken.

On April 7, 2016, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board met in Eureka, poised to decide whether or not to finally adopt the TMDL for Elk River, now some 14 years tardy, and whether or not to adopt a new pollution regulation and control permit for the primary timberland owner in the Elk River watershed, Humboldt Redwood Company, successor to the now-bankrupt MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber Company.

After hours of testimony, hearing, and deliberations on the proposed adoption of the TMDL, members of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, weary and blurry-eyed from over 12 hours of meeting, decided to defer making a decision, long after a substantial number of hearing participants and interested parties had succumbed to the attrition of the day. The rest of the agenda, including the new pollution and control permit for Humboldt Redwood Company, was kicked down the road.

Then, on May 12, 2016, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board once again made the journey to Humboldt County, again poised to decide whether or not to decide. After considerable deliberation and vociferous decent from certain Board Members, the Regional Board finally, at long-last, adopted the Elk River TMDL. As for the new pollution regulation and control permit for HRC? The Regional Board, after much public testimony and deliberations, decided once again to defer, or to not decide, until a later date. The reason? The Regional Board members want to study and consider the permit further, before finally deciding to decide.

The Regional Board is poised to meet again on June 16, 2016 and perhaps this time it will finally decide to decide. After some 25 years or more of engagement and advocacy for the forests, watersheds, wildlife, and downstream residents of the Elk River watershed, EPIC knows all too well that sometimes it is vigilance, and not discretion, that constitutes the better part of valor.

Click here to read the Times-Standard article about Elk River.


EPIC Redwoods Spring/Summer Hikes 2016

Monday, May 23rd, 2016
By

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

All hike dates and times are subject to change, pending inclement weather, or other factors, so be aware! As always, if you come, please be prepared for our local conditions and for the conditions generally found in our forests. Please wear appropriate clothing and foot ware, bring food, and water, and anything else you may need to be comfortable and safe in the forest. Hikes are of varying lengths and difficulty levels, so please check out the descriptions below, and know your limits! All hikes will originate from our office in Arcata, CA, at 145 G Street, Suite A, at 9 a.m., unless otherwise noted. Space may be limited, so please RSVP if you plan to attend an individual hike.

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

Headwaters Forest Reserve Salmon Pass Trail

April 8, 2016: Salmon Pass Trail, Headwaters Forest Reserve.

Please join EPIC staff for this fascinating hike along the Salmon Pass Trail, in the Headwaters Forest Reserve, and relive the history of the struggle to protect Headwaters, while learning about the contemporary challenges for management, conservation, and restoration, in the reserve, and elsewhere in the redwood region.

Distance: The Salmon Pass Trail, on the south end of the Headwaters Forest Reserve, is a 3-mile loop hike.

Difficulty: The difficulty of the hike on the Salmon Pass Trail is rated as “easy,” and should be accessible to most hikers of most skill and ability levels.

Anticipated Time Commitment: Plan on budgeting about 4-5 hours for this hike, inclusive of meeting, carpooling, driving, and hiking time.

IMG_3031May 6, 2016: Lady Bird Johnson Grove, Redwood National Park.

Join EPIC staff for a relatively short and leisurely hike in the picturesque Lady Bird Johnson Grove, one of the crowned jewels of Redwood National Park. The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Loop Trail is designed to be accessible to almost anyone, and is a perfect way to get a taste of what it’s like to be in an old-growth coastal redwood forest.

Distance: This hike is on the Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Loop Trail, which totals 3 miles.

Difficulty: The Lady Bird Johnson Grove Nature Loop Trail is rated as “easy,” and should be accessible to most hikers of most skill and ability levels.

Anticipated Time Commitment: Plan on budgeting about 4-5 hours for this hike, inclusive of meeting, carpooling, driving, and hiking time.

June 11, 2016: Stout Grove, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.

Join EPIC staff for a walk back in time, as we traverse through the spectacular scenery of Stout Grove, in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, nestled along the alluvial flats of the Wild and Scenic Smith River, in Del Norte County, CA.

Distance:

The Stout Grove loop is a very short, and easy 0.6-mile hike through giant old-growth redwoods along the spectacular alluvial flats of the Wild and Scenic Smith River. Depending on group size and inclination, this trip may also visit other trail sections in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, so this is subject to change!

Difficulty: The Stout Grove Loop hike is rated as “easy,” and should be accessible to most hikers of most skill and ability levels.

Anticipated Time Commitment:

Plan on budgeting at least 4-6 hours for this trip, as the drive to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and back, will take a minimum of 1 hour and 45 minutes, each way.

July 8, 2016: Tall Trees Grove, Redwood National Park.

Come join EPIC staff on a hike to one of the hidden jewels of the Redwood National and State Park system, the spectacularly diverse Tall Trees Grove! The “discovery” of what is now Tall Trees Grove by unsuspecting explorers from National Geographic Magazine in the late 1960’s formed the impetus from the preservation and establishment of what is now Redwood National Park. Tall Trees is nestled away deep in the recesses of the park, and is set along the nutrient-rich alluvial flats of Redwood Creek, and contains some of the tallest trees left on earth, while offering unrivaled diversity and scenic beauty.

Distance:

The access to Tall Trees Grove is restricted to vehicular traffic. For this hike, we will access the Tall Trees Grove loop by driving the Tall Trees access road, located off the Bald Hills Road, which runs through Redwood National Park. Permission from Redwood National Park, and access to the gate combination for the Tall Trees access road will be required, and secured in advance. One we arrive at the Tall Trees Grove access road parking area, the hike is a total of approximately 4-miles, which includes 1 ½ miles each way into and out of the grove, and the 1-mile Tall Trees Grove Loop Trail.

Difficulty:

This hike to Tall Trees Grove is rated as “moderate,” although it may be “difficult,” for those without much regular hiking experience. The access trail into the Tall Trees Grove loop is located on a fairly steep grade, and is downhill on the way in, and uphill on the way out.

Anticipated Time Commitment:

Plan on budgeting 4-5 hours for this hike, inclusive of meeting, driving, and hiking time.

Contact: The number of participants in this hike may be limited due to the logistical challenges. RSVP is highly encouraged. For more information, or to RSVP, please call (707) 822-7711, or e-mail: rob@wildcalifornia.org.

August 12, 2016: Bull Creek Flats, Rockefeller Forest, Humboldt Redwoods State Park.

For our final hike of the season, please join EPIC staff for a day-long adventure on the Bull Creek Flat Trail, located in the Rockefeller Forest, in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. The Bull Creek Flat Trail offers a traverse along Bull Creek, and the scenic South Fork Eel River, through some of the biggest, and most majestic coastal old-growth redwood forest stands left on earth.

Distance:

The Bull Creek Flat Loop Trail comprises a total of 9-11 miles of possible hiking. Be prepared to spend the day on the trail for this hike! Ultimate distance will depend on size and inclination of the group.

Difficulty:

The Bull Creek Flat Loop Trail is rated as, “easy,” as it is entirely located along the alluvial flats of Bull Creek. Be advised, however that this trail does involve crossing Bull Creek. Humboldt Redwoods State Park does install seasonal footbridges for the summer months in the park, but don’t presume the bridges will be there, and plan accordingly!

Anticipated Time Commitment:

Plan on allotting a minimum of 5-6 hours for this hike, inclusive of meet-up, driving time, and hiking time.

Redwood Hike Schedule

 


Thank You Compliance Workshops

Monday, May 23rd, 2016
By
Photo by Jesse Dodd

Photo by Jesse Dodd

This spring Mad River Alliance (MRA) and the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) planned, organized, and produced a series of six Cannabis Farmer’s Compliance Workshops in the Eel, Mattole, Trinity, Mad and Humboldt Bay watersheds. The workshops informed the public of the steps necessary to achieve legal status under newly mandated state, regional and local medical marijuana laws, and provided educational resources to implement management practices that will help mitigate existing damages and protect environmental resources. Each of the 475 + participants took part in a day long course and walked away with a handbook full of detailed information and resources designed to guide them down the path of successful regulatory compliance.

EPIC and MRA tackled this project because we believe that if we work together to help local people make the transition from an unregulated, quasi-legal cannabis industry to a regulated and legal one—we will protect our fish and forests, families and small farms.

The success of this campaign is not due to any one person or group, but rather the strength in collaboration. This powerful group includes: MRA, EPIC, Humboldt Green, California Growers Association, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Humboldt County Planning & Building Department & Supervisors, High Tide Permaculture and Pacific Watershed Associates. These community partners made the workshop series successful.

Additionally, we’d like to give a special thank you to our supporters: Biovortex, California Growers Association, Dazey’s Supply, David Simpson and Jane Lapiner, Dirty Business Analytics, Ed Denson Attorney, Emerald Family Farms, Emerald Magazine, Ford 20 Insurance, Gallegos Law Firm, Gangier, Graphic Heart Design, High Tide Permaculture, HMBDLT, Honeydew Farms, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, Humboldt Green, Humboldt Sun Growers Guild, Janssen Malloy Law Firm, Kathleen Bryson Law, KMUD, Lost Coast Communications, Mattole Restoration Council, Mattole Sustainable Farmers Guild, North Coast Horticulture Supply, Omsberg Preston Engineers, Pacific Watershed Association, Paul Hagen Attorney, Royal Gold, Samara Restoration, Trim Scene Solutions, Verdant Bridge Enterprise, and Wonderland Nursery.

The 2016 Cannabis Farmers’ Workshop Series was inspired by the “Growing Green in 2014 Workshop” led by Mad River Alliance, and by the “Northern California Farmers Guide to Best Management Practices” produced by the Trees Foundation. This year’s Cannabis Farmers’ Compliance Workshop began with a partnership between the Mad River Alliance and Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District. The Water District took the opportunity, for the first time ever, to partner with a nonprofit to co-produce a Compliance Workbook and a Workshop in the Mad River watershed. To expand the impact of the project, Mad River Alliance contacted Steve Gieder of Humboldt Green, who was instrumental to the 2014 Growing Green workshop, and partnered with EPIC to produce a total of six Cannabis Farmers’ Workshops in five watersheds! EPIC’s Executive Director, Natalynne DeLapp, took on the task of leading the sections on the Humboldt County ordinance, laying out the workbook, and coordinating with state agencies and community members to realize our vision.

EPIC and MRA are grateful that we were able to produce the Cannabis Farmers’ Handbook & Workshop—thank you to everyone who attended, supported, volunteered, and participated!

Additional resources including the digital copy of the Cannabis Farmer’s Compliance Handbook can be downloaded here.

Like the Cannabis Farmer’s Workshop Facebook page for additional information and updates.

 

 


Action Alert: Stop The Great Forest Giveaway

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
By

 

Whites Gulch after 2014 Whites fire burned and cleared understory. Photo by Kimberly Baker.

Whites Gulch after 2014 Whites fire burned and cleared understory. Photo by Kimberly Baker.

Call it “Christmas in May”; the Klamath National Forest is set to give a big gift to the logging industry at the expense of taxpayers, wildlife and watersheds.
Take Action Now. The Klamath National Forest is offering to “sell” old-growth forests for logging in the Middle Creek and Whites timber sales for as little as 50 cents per thousand board feet. To put this amount in perspective, timber trucks will roll out of the forest for less than the price of a cup of coffee. While 50 cents cannot buy a newspaper anymore, it can buy a lot of timber.The cost of this giveaway is extraordinary.

First, these timber giveaways come at an extreme ecological cost. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that the Westside Project may result in the “take,” which includes potential death, of up to 103 northern spotted owls. To put this number in perspective, 103 owls would be approximately 1-2 percent of all northern spotted owls in existence (at a time when owl occupancy is declining at nearly 4% a year). Furthermore, the clear cut timber sale is likely going to result in sediment pollution and landslides into Klamath River tributaries that provide critical coho salmon habitat. The coho population in the project area is on the brink of extinction and this project could be the final straw.

Second, these timber “sales” come at great cost to taxpayers. As a “deficit” sale, meaning that the revenue from the sale will not cover the costs incurred by the Forest Service in offering it, taxpayers are going to subsidize logging of northern spotted owl habitat and the degradation of critical salmon habitat. What’s more, taxpayers will also pay to clean up the mess after logging is completed. The Klamath National Forest estimates that it will cost $27 million to treat slash from logging and “reforest” after operations damage the chance for natural regeneration. In contrast, the Klamath National Forest estimated that the project will only bring in $800,000. In other words, taxpayers will be on the hook for over $26 million dollars.

National forests are our public lands. We shouldn’t give them away to appease the timber industry.

Click here to send a letter to the Forest Service and elected officials to stop the giveaway of our public forests.
https://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http%3A//www.wildcalifornia.org/blog/the-great-forest-giveaway/


Klamath River Timber Sales Offered at Lowest Price in Recent History

Wednesday, May 4th, 2016
By
Rejuvinated forest stand after the 2014 Whites Fire burned at low intensity. Photo by Kimberly Baker.

Rejuvinated forest stand after the 2014 Whites Fire burned at low intensity. Photo by Kimberly Baker.

Klamath National Forest to subsidize clear cut logging by charging approximately $2.00 per log truck load

On Thursday, May 5, the Klamath National Forest is set to auction away critically important forests for pennies on the dollar. The agency will accept sealed bids on two Westside Project timber sales, Whites and Middle Creek, for the lowest price in recent memory. At $.50 per thousand board feet, a full log truck would be valued less than a cup of coffee. The auction comes amid protests delaying operations and an active lawsuit challenging the post-fire logging project.

“There is no other way of looking at this, Klamath National Forest is giving away our public forests,” said Kimberly Baker of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). “The public and future generations will pay the real cost, including lost wildlife and even more dangerous fire conditions.”

Because of the rock-bottom prices, Klamath National Forest will lose money on the sale—it will cost more for the agency to issue the sale than will return in revenue. In effect, taxpayers will subsidize private timber companies to log on public land above critically important salmon streams in the Klamath Watershed and remove northern spotted owl habitat. At 50 cents per thousand board feet, the agency cannot cover the costs incurred in cleaning up residual debris or “slash” after logging operations, necessitating that taxpayers bear the burden.

“The Klamath National Forest is selling old-growth trees to their buddies in the timber industry for $2 a log truck load,” said George Sexton, Conservation Director at the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. “That doesn’t even cover the cost of cup of coffee the Forest Supervisor sips while she signs the decision to clear cut our public lands.”

To date, four of 14 timber sales that comprise the controversial Westside Project have been awarded for prices ranging between as low as $6.00 per thousand board feet, once thought to be record low prices for public land timber sales. Siskiyou Cascade Natural Resources, who purchased two of the sales, started logging and hauling last week, before legal claims can be adequately heard in court.

“Klamath salmon and clean rivers are worth much more than this,” said Kerul Dyer of Klamath Riverkeeper. “The Forest Service has no business liquidating forests for the timber industry – especially when the deals will degrade water quality in the Klamath River and its important tributaries.”

The record low prices come at an extreme ecological cost. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service projected that the Westside Project may result in the “take” of up to 103 Northern Spotted Owls—as many as two percent of the species of owls listed under the Endangered Species Act for protection. Logging on steep slopes above tributaries in the Klamath River will also increase sediment pollution, and could result in a local extinction of Klamath coho salmon according to the Karuk Tribe’s Fisheries Department.

“We could have had an economically viable project had the Klamath National Forest worked with, instead of against, the Karuk Tribe,” said Leaf Hillman of the Karuk Tribe. “The Karuk Tribe submitted a plan, with support from the conservation community, to the Forest Service that would have produced revenue for the local economy and protected the environment. These giveaways have shown the Forest Service’s true intentions: subsidizing big timber interests.”

The Plaintiffs are taking their case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to seek an emergency stay and preserve the status quo while legal questions can be resolved.


Westside Update

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
By

Stump of "hazard" tree in Grider Creek Campground. Photo by Rob DiPerna.

Logging is underway for the Westside Project on two separate units, Slinkard and Walker Creek. Two more units, Salt Creek and Blue Mountain, have received a high bidder, although the units have not yet been awarded. There is good news too. Most timber sale units have not received high bids. Absent new bidders, these areas may be saved from the chainsaw and will continue to provide habitat for Pacific fishers and northern spotted owls.

To pump the brakes on logging and maintain the status quo until a more in-depth hearing on the merits could be had, plaintiffs submitted a request for a temporary restraining order to stop salvage logging. On Monday, Judge Maxine Chesney denied plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order. EPIC has not given up the fight. The Klamath National Forest is too precious a resource to waste through ill-conceived timber sales. EPIC will continue to push all legal avenues to protect our wild “Klamath Knot.”

Below are some images of the post-fire landscapes that EPIC is working to protect. We will keep you up to date on further developments.


Save the Endangered Species Act

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016
By

The Endangered Species Act—the “bulldog” of environmental laws—is about to go extinct. Like most extinctions, there are many causes. And like most extinctions, it is entirely avoidable.

The Act, dating to 1973, was a bi-partisan effort. Richard Nixon, a Republican, called on Congress to pass comprehensive legislation to protect and restore threatened and endangered species. A team of scientists and lawyers, headed by the then-Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, crafted the draft legislation. The Senate passed the Endangered Species Act unanimously and the House voted overwhelmingly in favor: 390–12. The law was then signed by President Nixon on December 28, 1973.

Today, the Endangered Species Act is a favorite punching bag for politicians, most often Republican but also many Democrats, looking to shift blame. In the 114th Congress, which began January 3, 2015 and ends January 3, 2017, anti-conservationists have launched 100 attacks on the Endangered Species Act. These attacks are often hidden, attached as “riders” to must-pass legislation like the authorization bill for the U.S. Department of Defense, or appropriations bills for the U.S. Department of the Interior and other federal agencies. Nearly half of the bills prohibit the protection of individual species, such as the grey wolf or the Northern long-eared bat.

The Endangered Species Act is also being dismantled from within. At critical leadership positions, the Obama Administration has chosen individuals uncommitted to preserving biodiversity. It starts at the top. The Director of the Fish and Wildlife Service has, for example, stated that we must live with less biodiversity.

This belief is reflected in new policies designed to minimize the importance of the Act. From redefining terms, like “significant portion of its range,” to produce anti-conservation results, to throwing new roadblocks to listing a species, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service have been hard at work to gut the law from within.

The actions of D.C. big-wigs let down the rest of the agency. Local agency employees are, by and large, dedicated and thoughtful stewards. (You don’t go in to wildlife biology for the money or prestige.) These employees, who are the on-the-ground experts for many species, are not happy with the direction of the agency. According to a survey conducted by the Union of Concerned Scientists, employees within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service believe that politics plays too big a role in decision-making at the agencies.

agency politics2

This failure to make scientifically-grounded decisions has been reflected in recent controversial decisions by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. On April 7, 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service refused to list the Humboldt marten, a rare carnivore in the weasel family. The Humboldt marten is so rare that it was thought to be extinct in California until it was rediscovered in 1996. Today, the Humboldt marten totals around 100 individuals in California and two small populations in Oregon. Despite the overwhelming evidence that the marten warranted listing, the Service denied listing claiming that the marten was fine. As a colleague from a sister conversation group wrote, “The unthinkable has happened.” Rumors and rumblings have it that recommendations made by local staff to list the marten were overruled by regional administrators concerned about the impact of listing on the timber industry. EPIC and allies have filed suit over the marten, which is pending in federal court.

We need to save the Endangered Species Act, not only from politicians who threaten the Act in Congress but also from the agencies that administer the Act. This shouldn’t be hard. An overwhelming majority of Americans, some 90%, support the law; if we speak out, politicians and bureaucrats will be forced to listen.


Fish and Game Commission Delays Spotted Owl Listing Decision

Monday, April 25th, 2016
By

northern-spotted-owls-USFWSThe California Fish and Game Commission, the regulatory body responsible for administration of the California Endangered Species Act (CESA), has decided to delay its decision on whether or not listing the northern spotted owl is warranted until its next regularly scheduled meeting, to be convened in June, in Bakersfield.

The three-person Commission panel voted unanimously to delay rendering a final determination on whether or not the listing of the critically-imperiled spotted owl is warranted, in favor of directing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to begin the process of developing a stakeholder working group to address the management needs for the fast-disappearing species.

The Commission’s decision to delay comes on the heels of almost universal agreement at its April 14, 2016 meeting, among a broad array of stakeholders that provided testimony, all of which clearly indicates that the northern spotted owl is in peril in California, and that additional management actions are likely necessary to prevent the extinction of the species in the short-term. However, instead of determining that the listing is warranted on the basis of the insurmountable mountain of rigorous scientific evidence showing that the owl is in trouble, the Commission chose to defer to the concerns of the timber industry over the possible additional regulatory constraints that would result from listing of the owl under CESA, despite the fact that the act of listing itself does not actually result in any change in regulation on the timber industry.

Astoundingly, during Commission deliberations, the President of the Fish and Game Commission, Eric Sklar, all but acknowledged that the plain language of the law likely compelled the Commission to make a “warranted” determination on the listing petition, but, instead of doing so, Sklar and the Commission decided to defer to the interests of “the people” that would supposedly be adversely affected by the listing determination economically.

CESA listing of a species as “threatened” or “endangered” does not automatically result in regulatory changes to any industry sector or entity that may adversely affect the habitat of a listed species; any actual regulations changes that could potentially affect private lands forestry operations must be fully noticed, vetted, and adopted by the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, an entity that is in no way beholden to change anything simply as a result of a warranted listing determination under CESA for any species, the spotted owl included.

The Commission’s decision to delay making a final listing determination on EPIC’s petition for the northern spotted owl comes in the wake of a series of delays, legal and otherwise, perpetrated by both the Commission itself, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife, that have stymied the listing process for nearly four years now, despite overwhelming and compelling evidence that the spotted owl is in rapid and precipitous declines in California and elsewhere, and that the rate of decline is increasing, with a veritable laundry list of stressors and threats confounding management, conservation, and recovery of the species in the wild.

The Commission will again take up the question of whether or not listing of the northern spotted owl is warranted at its June 23, 2016 meeting in Bakersfield, California. EPIC staff are diligently preparing, and will be present, in hopes of persuading the Commission to act to list the spotted owl in accordance with the standards of applicable California law.

Click here to watch EPIC’s Forest and Wildlife Advocate, Rob DiPerna speak for the Northern Spotted Owl at the Fish and Game Commission’s hearing.


Stepping Up for Earth Day – It Takes a Village to Save a Planet

Friday, April 22nd, 2016
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grandfather-treehugger Madrone LoraxFinal1Within the North Coast region, there are many individuals who have stepped up to protect our wild places. There are groups like EPIC who work within legal parameters to write comments on projects that threaten our environment and communities, provide testimony at public meetings, develop public awareness campaigns, organize rallies and file lawsuits. When legal tactics don’t work, and a place is threatened with imminent destruction, there are individuals who get out on the ground and take direct action like staging blockades, tree-sits, lock-downs, civil disobedience, guerilla restoration and other creative demonstrations. Many of these people get arrested or accrue large fines, and although a non-profit can’t legally participate in this type of strategy, we realize that many of our protected places would not exist without the efforts of individuals who took action to save our planet.

This past Monday, environmental activists from six continents were honored with the 2016 Goldman Environmental Prize, the world’s largest environmental award honoring grassroots leaders for their efforts to protect the environment and make positive changes in their communities. The story of Leng Ouch the Goldman Prize winner from Cambodia was truly inspiring. He went undercover to document illegal logging and exposed the corruption of vast deforestation and displacement of indigenous people from their land. His documentation eventually led to the government cancelling logging contracts and exposing criminal collusion between timber companies and government officials. The stories told by Leng and the other prize winners show that it doesn’t take a political figure, tons of money, or fancy technology to make a difference, all it takes is showing up and doing what needs to be done.

Being on the front lines of an environmental movement and standing up to large corporate interests, corrupt governments and unjust laws takes courage. Many activists are threatened, harassed, slandered and even killed, as was last year’s Goldman Prize recipient Berta Cáceres, a woman who rallied the indigenous Lenca people in a successful grassroots campaign that pressured the world’s largest dam builder Sinohydro to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam. We don’t have to go far to find examples of fallen heroes in our own community. The untimely deaths of Judy Bari and David “Gypsy” Chain devastated the activist community, but like Berta, their efforts didn’t die, they multiplied.

The people who make sacrifices for our environment and for future generations, are the true heroes of our time and more of these people should be honored, supported and celebrated. Most activists burn the candle at both ends, they work hard and make little, but the work needs to be done so they continue carrying the torch because they know that our future depends on it.

Because we all share this irreplaceable planet with each other and future generations, it is crucial that we work together to find and apply solutions to protect the intact wild places that still exist. Scientists have revealed that fragmentation and loss of natural habitats are the main factors threatening plant and animal species with extinction. Our forests provide essential ecosystem services like food, air purification, clean water, carbon sequestration, nutrient cycling, erosion and flood control, but because there is no dollar value placed on these services, they are often disregarded by corporate interests who seek to make money from extractive practices that fragment our forests and destroy our ecosystems. The science is clear, but a social revolution is needed to change the system.

The existing system protects corporate interests and incentivizes  governments to sacrifice the environment and the communities that depend on them to sell off their land and resources for short-term profits, it criminalizes activism and creates a culture of fear for those speaking up for the land, water, air, animals and future generations. Not too long ago genocide was promoted, it was legal to have slaves and steal indigenous land and it was illegal for people of color and women to vote. Today, it is still legal to decimate old growth forest ecosystems, build dams that destroy rivers and fisheries and permits are still given to “take” endangered species. Although the science is clear that human activities are directly responsible for climate change and the ongoing mass extinction of species, our actions have not significantly changed.

It took a strong community of brave people to protect many of the places we know and love.  If not for the actions of dedicated grassroots activists in our local community, we would not have the Headwaters Forest Reserve, Sinkyone Wilderness, Owl Creek or Luna, and the Klamath dams would not be coming out.

Even the smallest of actions can make a huge impact. This Earth Day, think about what part of your natural environment means the most to you and what you can do to help protect it for our children’s children. We need all the help we can get, so while you are participating in an Earth Day event in your community, start a dialogue with your neighbors and friends and decide how you can act locally to make a global impact.


Klamath Dam Removal to be Complete in 2020

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
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IMG_8159On April 6, 2016, history was made on the Klamath River: diverse stakeholders from the U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Department of Commerce, PacificCorp, the states of Oregon and California, the Yurok, Karuk, Hoopa and Klamath Tribes, irrigators, environmental groups and river communities gathered to celebrate the signing ceremony for the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, an agreement that, pending approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, will remove four dams from the Klamath. In removing these dams, salmon will be able to access over 400 miles of habitat that has been off limits since the dams were constructed. According to the agreement, dam removal will begin January 1, 2020 with a “target date of December 31, 2020 for completion of Facilities Removal at least to a degree sufficient to enable a free-flowing Klamath River allowing volitional fish passage.”

IMG_2275This agreement was not met without obstacles. There were false starts. Signatories had joined three previous agreements to make up the Klamath Basin Water Recovery and Economic Restoration Act of 2015—the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement and the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement. But, unlike the most recent agreement, these previous efforts explicitly required Congressional approval before January 1, 2016. However, House Republicans blocked the bill and killed the deals. After the deadline passed, many began to lose faith in the settlement process. As a testimony to the strength of the relationship forged in developing the previous agreements, the signatories continued to talk and work together after the deadline. Because of their dedication and hard work, four dams will fall!

While dam removal is the single biggest action that can be taken to help save the remaining Klamath River salmon, salmon are not safe yet. Adequate summer flows, among other problems, are still a major issue that will need to be addressed in the future. This dam deal is only the start of ensuring the mighty Klamath’s salmon recover and thrive. Moving forward from this momentous occasion, EPIC will be there. As much of the Klamath watershed consists of national forest land, EPIC will be there doing what we do best—reducing the bloated forest road network, reforming or stopping bad projects that would degrade the steep forested slopes of the Klamath and its tributaries, and keeping the Forest Service accountable for the impacts projects such as the massive Westside timber sale would have on salmon and rivers.

EPIC Klamath Dam SigningEPIC was honored to attend the ceremony, although our contribution to dam removal pales in comparison to the hard work of many others. In particular, we are deeply indebted to the hard work of the tribes, the willingness of PacificCorp, the support of the Obama administration, the states of Oregon and California, District representatives like Huffman and the tireless efforts of activists all along the river who have diligently fought for dam removal. Honored and missed from the ceremony were some of the champions of this effort were Troy Fletcher, Tim McKay, Ronnie Pierce and Florence Conrad, all of whom laid the cornerstones for this momentous agreement but did not live long enough to see its signing.

 


Action Alert: Protect the Smith River with “Outstanding Waters” Designation

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
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Smith River by Amber Shelton

Take action to defend the North Fork Smith River from strip mining and other harmful activities by giving the river the best protection possible. A petition before the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission seeks to designate the North Fork Smith River and its tributaries as “Outstanding Natural Resource Waters” to protect public health and welfare, wildlife, fish and aquatic life, and many beneficial uses of the state’s waters. This designation would also protect the river and its tributaries from a strip mine that is proposed in Baldface Creek watershed, a tributary to the North Fork Smith River. Comments are due by April 19th.

The Wild and Scenic Smith River is one of the last undammed major rivers in the U.S. and deserves the best protection that can be given to ensure its pristine condition is maintained for future generations. The protected waterways of the Smith River provide as habitat for Coho salmon and the last uninfected stands of Port Orford cedar in the world. The Smith River is considered one of the crown jewels of the region as the river winds through the old growth forests of Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. The North Fork Smith River and its tributaries serve as valuable wildlife habitat corridors providing connectivity between protected wilderness and park areas.

There are currently no waters in Oregon that are designated as Outstanding Natural Resource Waters, but there is no better candidate than the Smith River. Designation as “Outstanding” would help protect it from a proposed strip mine. In recent years, the Canadian based Red Flat Nickel Corporation has proposed a nickel strip mine near the river. While the proposal was denied, the foreign corporation has appealed the process. The best way to protect the river into the future from this threat and others is to designate it as an Outstanding Natural Resource Water.

Click here to submit your letter of support to designate the North Fork Smith River and its tributaries as Outstanding Natural Resource Waters. This is a comment portal, so you may want to copy the content below to support your request.

Sample letter:

Dear Commissioners,

I respectfully request that the Oregon Environmental Quality Commission initiate rulemaking to designate the North Fork Smith River and its tributaries and wetlands as “Outstanding Resource Waters of Oregon.”

The pristine Wild and Scenic Smith River is one of the last un-dammed rivers in the country. With stretches within several protected state parks, the important, unique and ecologically sensitive North Fork Smith River has been recommended by numerous environmental organizations, and senior staff of the California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, as deserving the highest water quality designation of Outstanding National Resource Waters. Designating the North Fork Smith River as an Outstanding National Resource Water will protect the ecology of the river as well as the other use values we currently enjoy. Designation as Outstanding National Resource Water will close antidegradation policy loop holes to prevent degradation of the River from pollution.

The Outstanding National Resource Waters designation would better safeguard national values that include: protection of critical habitat for the West Coast’s last Coho salmon and a botanical riparian legacy of the last uninfected stands of Port Orford Cedar in the world; enjoyment of a recreational treasure, including small water craft boating and fishing; the longest stretch of National and State Wild and Scenic River (over 300 miles); and an aesthetic focal point for both Redwood National and State Park, which is an UNESCO world heritage site, as well as Smith River National Recreation Area, which traverses wilderness and roadless areas. Also included in this long list of beneficial uses is supplying most of Del Norte County with the highest quality drinking water, and an important cultural heritage resource of the Tolowa Native American Tribes. All of these features place the Smith River as a top quality Outstanding National Resource Water.. It is our duty to take action to ensure this pristine river is protected for future generations.

 

Thank you,


Cannabis Workshops Getting Results

Thursday, April 14th, 2016
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Blue Lake workshopFor nearly 40 years, EPIC has been at the forefront of forest protection, ensuring that state and federal agencies follow their mandate to uphold environmental laws to protect forestlands, water quality and endangered species from industrial land management activities. During the past decade, we witnessed an increase in cannabis agriculture as it spread across forestlands previously devastated by industrial timber management. Unfortunately, until very recently, the political will did not exist within state government to have the conversations to address the expanding, unregulated cannabis industry, and its environmental and social impacts. After years of effort, as of January 1, 2016, California and Humboldt County now have laws to regulate commercial cannabis agriculture.

These days, one of EPIC’s projects is working with environmental groups, local businesses, and county and state agencies to educate people about new cannabis laws and regulations. In particular, we are working with Mad River Alliance and Humboldt Green to host a series of six informational workshops, all across Humboldt County, that are designed to provide educational resources for cannabis farmers to achieve responsible land stewardship and come into compliance with state, regional and local enviromental laws. We are doing this because it will be good for our community and our environment.

At these workshops, there are presentations by the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and experts on state and county laws to answer citizen’s questions.

Front Page Compliance Handbook 2016People attending the workshops received the 2016 Compliance Handbook outlining these new laws including California’s Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, the Humboldt County Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Waiver of Waste Discharge for Cannabis.

The 2016 Compliance Handbook was created by EPIC in conjunction with Mad River Alliance, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, Department of Fish & Wildlife and County of Humboldt. Creating this handbook was a labor of love. We simplified hundreds of pages of regulations into 22 pages—into the essence of what is needed for people to understand and comply with the law. The Compliance Manual can be downloaded here.

So far, we have presented to more than 365 people at four workshops and given out more than 1,000 Compliance Handbooks—and we have two more to go! So far, it appears that the workshops are making a difference, in the North Coast Region, 372 people have enrolled under the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s Waiver of Waste Discharge—with nearly two thirds of those coming from Humboldt County! While it is heartening to see that some farmers are coming into compliance with the new laws, we are only just beginning to scratch the surface—there are an estimated 15,000 cannabis farms between Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity Counties!

Why is EPIC doing these workshops? We are doing this because we are a part of this community and we are working on this project because we want to see people in this region become part of the solution. We want to help people navigate this task and series of laws and ordinances because it will be good for the environment. We believe it honors the original spirit of the back-to-land people and founding farmers of this unique region and we hope it will help to keep our families and communities safer as we move into the future.

For the past few years, EPIC has been fully engaged in the dialogue, deliberation and education as to the problems associated with unregulated cannabis. We have worked with cannabis farmers, conservationists, government officials, members of the public and many others seeking to find solutions that will help shape the industry’s future with legal, responsible social and environmental values. We see these new laws as an important step to begin rectifying the environmental destruction that has become associated with unregulated cannabis cultivation, and to provide a legitimate framework for legal economic activity that can benefit farmers and the general public. Throughout the public processes that have unfolded, EPIC has been participating on behalf of our membership and the environment. We expressed our views and needs, and provided input and expertise; we understand why various decisions were made, and once the processes were completed we found that we could accept the directions that were set as the best way for our community to move forward.

We fully acknowledge that these regulations and laws are not perfect and are incomplete. The community must continue to work together to provide feedback to agencies and elected officials as the implementation of the new rules are seen to either be effective or ineffective, and amendments are required to bolster the efficacy of the laws and regulations. As this new paradigm of legal commercial medical cannabis unfolds, EPIC will be ever watchful ensuring that environmental laws are upheld, while at the same time available to work with anyone or any group who is sincere in promoting environmentally responsible cannabis cultivation.


4/20 Pints for Non-Profits ~ Celebrate Earth Day and All Things Green!

Monday, March 28th, 2016
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EcoNews Ad for Pints for NonProfitSMALL(Click here for upcoming Redwood Hikes)

Celebrate Earth Day and All Things Green with your Green Buddies! Join the Environmental Protection Information Center, Mad River Alliance the Northcoast Environmental Center at the Mad River Brewery for Pints for Non-Profits.

Wednesday, April 20th from 6-9pm.

Dance the night away with music by the Kingfoot String Band and don’t forget to bring some extra green for the raffle and silent auction!

All proceeds go to support local non profits working together to protect and restore the beautiful North Coast region.

Special thanks to Mad River Brewery for offering this opportunity, and to Cannifest & Green Week for partnering with us to promote this event!

Click here to visit the Facebook event page to join and invite your friends!

Pints for nonprofits Poster SMALL