Klamath Chainsaw Masacre

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

IMG_1337The Klamath National Forest has been going batty eliminating wildlife habitat and damaging sensitive post fire soils on one of the most important rivers for salmon fisheries on the north coast. While EPIC was able to get some of the best wildlife habitat protected, acres of post-fire logging continue in other areas on the North Fork Salmon River.  Wet weather has not stopped the large heavy equipment from operating on these steep slopes, and mitigation measures for protecting wildlife and watershed values have not been completed or implemented, resulting in horrific impacts to this sensitive watershed.

If you think this is scary, the Klamath National Forest is proposing an additional, 60,000 acres of post-fire logging, which is now in the planning stage. Stay tuned for EPIC alerts to help stop the carnage on the Klamath.

Click to view larger images of the photos below:

Welcome Additions to the EPIC Team

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Two new north coast forest protectors! Tom Wheeler and Lucy Allen recently joined the EPIC team to advocate for the science-based protection of northwest California’s forests. Using their expertise in environmental law, Tom and Lucy will help ensure that EPIC continues to fulfill its role as environmental watchdogs in defense of nature.

EPIC is focused on connecting working and wildland forests into whole healthy landscapes for flourishing nature and wildlife, in order to safeguard our valuable living resources in a changing climate for current and future generations.

Tom Wheeler 2Tom Wheeler is EPIC’s Program and Legal Coordinator. He serves as an anchor for our conservation advocacy efforts and is responsible for shaping implementation strategies to achieve EPIC’s mission and goals. Tom graduated from the University of Washington School of Law with a concentration in Environmental Law. While in school, Tom was President of the Environmental Law Society and served as Articles Editor of the Washington Journal of Environmental Law & Policy. A native-Washingtonian, Tom previously helped defend old-growth and endangered species at the Washington Forest Law Center.

Prior to law school, Tom attended Green Mountain College in Vermont, graduating with a Bachelor of Art in Philosophy & Environmental Studies. When he’s not nerding out over the Endangered Species Act (his all-time favorite law), Tom is probably plunking the banjo, playing ping-pong with wife, Jenna, or petting his cats, Fatty and Trim.

LLucy Allen ucy Allen is a Berkeley Law Public Interest Fellow. Lucy received her law degree from U.C. Berkeley School of Law with an Environmental Certificate. Before that, she worked at an environmental nonprofit focusing on water policy. During law school, she worked for a variety of environmental organizations including Natural Resources Defense Council. She also clerked for California Indian Legal Services. She holds a B.S. from U.C. Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies. Lucy grew up in Humboldt County and is thrilled to be back and serving the community.

We are grateful to long-time staff attorney, Sharon Duggan, for her commitment to mentoring the next generation of environmental advocates!




Happy Howl-O-Ween from the EPIC Team

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

wolf donate buttonIt’s the time of year for tricks and treats, for things that go bump-in-the-night, and for howling at the moon with the mysterious and wild. It’s the time of year not only for ghosts and goblins, but for wolves, fishers, and martens too; a time to contemplate and celebrate our vision of wild California.

EPIC’s work to protect and connect our forestlands and wild places is manifested in our successful campaign to see the Gray Wolf protected under the California Endangered Species Act. Protecting wolves means working for intact, connected landscapes, and advocating for best land management practices. EPIC has confronted the frightful threat of habitat fragmentation and loss of biodiversity in our bioregion by working to restore the integrity and connectivity of our landscapes.

The need to provide large tracts of intact habitat, wildlife linkages, biodiversity, and climate resiliency is freakishly important. EPIC’s integrated approach to defend and restore forestlands on both public and private ownerships provides the silver bullet for slaying the beast of degraded, fragmented landscapes that have resulted in loss of species diversity, population connectivity, and genetic viability. EPIC is dedicated to the protection and connection of our watersheds and wild places across ownership classes and boundaries.

Please join us in celebrating the wolf and the wild. Give a big howl for protecting and connecting our wild places and our wildlife. Have a happy howl-o-ween!


EPIC Arts Alive and Membership Mixer

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

EPIC Membership SlideCelebrate Arts Alive with EPIC! Meet Board and Staff and hear about our exciting new programs for 2015. Our neighbors at the Arcata Pet Supply will also be hosting this event, and our combined efforts will offer a heated and covered outdoor live music venue and art, wine and snacks inside. We will also have a raffle prize, so  come check out our block party and connect with the Northern Humboldt forest protection community! Local artist and film-maker, Thomas Dunklin will feature his photography that focuses on local fisheries. Click here to invite your friends on Facebook!

145 G Street Arcata, 6-9pm

Joanne Rand Band CD Release & EPIC Benefit Bash

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

Joanne RandThe Environmental Protection Information Center is proud to present the Joanne Rand Band at the Arcata Playhouse on Thursday, November 13th! Come experience one of our region’s finest independent artists of psychedelic-folk revival and support EPIC’s work to protect the forest ecosystems of the North Coast. Doors open at 7:00 and music starts at 7:30. Tickets will be $8-15 at the door, and all proceeds will benefit the amazing landscape we cherish, as well as, people working together to protect the forests that make the north coast so special. Spirits and delicious snacks will be available. Call the EPIC office at 707-822-7711 for more information or click here to visit the event page on Facebook!

Joanne Rand Band EPIC Poster

House of Floyd, Gourmet Feast and Extravagant Silent Auction

Friday, October 24th, 2014

House-of-FloydJoin us for EPIC’s 37th Anniversary Fall Celebration on Friday, November 7th at the Mateel Community Center! Share a gourmet four-course Farm-to-Table, family style meal with the forest protection community and enjoy a cosmic music and light show by House of Floyd. This event is a fundraiser for EPIC’s ongoing work to protect wild places and the forests that characterize the one of a kind redwood region that we all know and love.

buy ticketsDuring dinner, EPIC will hold an award ceremony to present the Sempervirens Award for Lifetime Achievement in Environmental Advocacy to activists Ellen and David Drell who have dedicated a lifetime of work to the environmental movement, while Chef Luke Patterson will be presenting a locally sourced farm-to-table dinner feast that will include this mouth watering menu: EpicMenu

Seating is limited and dinner tickets must be purchased by October 31, so don’t wait — get them while they last!

Click here to purchase dinner and music tickets: $50 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and younger.


Click here to purchase $20 House of Floyd concert only tickets ($25 at the door)

Local crafters, vendors, and artists have donated a wealth of items for this year’s silent auction, with something for everyone. This will be great place to get your holiday gifts for your family and friends with proceeds going to an increasingly important cause. The extravagant silent auction will feature literally hundreds of items including gift baskets, books, hats, candles, massage oils, paintings, pottery, jewelry, a hand-painted guitar, clothes, carvings and more! Click here to learn more about the event.


Sierra Martin

Spotted Owl Self-Defense—EPIC Files Petition to Challenge CAL FIRE’s Use of So-Called “G-plus” Methodology

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Owl Self-Defense wings shadow

EPIC has filed a petition with the California Office of Administrative Law alleging that the California Department of Forestry is illegally employing a so-called “underground regulation” via its use of an unpromulgated review and approval standard for Timber Harvest Plans that have the potential to adversely impact Northern Spotted Owls.

For the last several years, EPIC’s Northern Spotted Owl self-defense campaign has been focused on challenging the use of antiquated and inadequate California Forest Practice Rules (FPRs) that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has decried as inadequate and likely to result in “take” of this federally-listed species. In particular, the provisions of so-called “option-(g)” (section 919.9(g) [939.9(g)] of the FPRs) have been called out by the Service as inadequate to prevent loss of occupied NSO territories on private lands resulting from timber harvest activities.

In February 2013, EPIC presented a petition to the California Board of Forestry requesting that it delete the offensive provisions of option-(g). At the initial hearing on the petition in March of 2013, the California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE) acknowledged the outdated nature of option-(g). Representatives of CAL FIRE testified that in light of the fact that option-(g) was understood to be inadequate, CAL FIRE has since developed an enhanced review and approval process above and beyond that prescribed in the FPRs it dubbed “g-plus.”

However, the so-called “g-plus” methodology employed by CAL FIRE has never been fully described, either to the Board or to the public, and it has never been subject to any type of formal rulemaking as prescribed by the state Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

The lack of transparency in the review and approval process for Timber Harvest Plans (THPs) utilizing option-(g) or “g-plus” effectively constitutes what is known as an “underground regulation.” An underground regulation exists when a state body or agency employs rules, guidance, evaluation criteria, or supplements to rules that have not been subject to the formal rulemaking procedures prescribed by the APA. EPIC and its membership are adversely affected by the use of such underground regulation because it prevents our regulated members from being able to comply with rules that are unspecified, and because it prevents EPIC staff from being able to effectively engage in the conservation of the NSO as part of the THP review process.

The FPRs restrict CAL FIRE’s review and approval criteria for THPs to only those that have been promulgated via a formal rulemaking process. CAL FIRE’s development of the so-called “g-plus” approach has served to provide cover for landowners who continue to cling to the antiquated provisions of option-(g), most notably SPI. The use of the so-called “g-plus” methodology gives SPI a competitive advantage over other landowners choosing to comply with the most current guidance provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding NSO “take” avoidance by allowing SPI to continue its practices of intensive harvesting within known NSO home ranges. The result is a landscape which is highly fragmented and homogenized, confounding the ability of the NSO and other wildlife to feed, breed, and migrate.

EPIC’s petition to challenge implementation of the so-called “g-plus” approach is designed to shed transparency on the review and approval process for THPs that may harm the NSO and its habitat, while continuing to challenge the outdated and inadequate provisions of option-(g). EPIC is dedicated to improving forest management in the range of the NSO to allow for the protection, enhancement and restoration of high-quality connected habitats across the landscape.

Vote No on Proposition 1

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

East Fork Salmon River A.SheltonBecause spending billions of dollars on building new dams and reservoirs won’t make it rain, EPIC urges you to vote no on Prop 1. Proposition 1 is a $7.5 billion water bond, that includes $7.12 billion from the current bond and the redirection of previous bond funds that have not yet been spent. Prop 1 will not solve the water problems that the State of California is facing with the pressures of ongoing drought conditions. The proposed water bond would be bad for North Coast Rivers and fish as it proposes to build more ecologically destructive water storage systems, would subsidize more water exports and fails to bring real water efficiency solutions to California.

If approved, Prop 1 would facilitate the diversion of more water from Northern California’s rivers by using taxpayer money to acquire water for Big Agriculture. These funds would also be used to clean up special interest projects that did not employ adequate mitigation measures to offset the impacts of past projects. EPIC is concerned over the precedent Prop 1 would set to further subsidize corporate interests: by allocating money to clean up agricultural and industrial pollution of groundwater, the bond shifts the burden away from industry and on to the citizens of California.

Northern California does not have enough water to supply the entire state. In the beginning of August, 83% of the Trinity River was being diverted to the Central Valley Project while fish downstream were dying of disease and poor water conditions from low flows. Building more infrastructure will not result in more water, it will just facilitate more misuse of the dwindling water supply.

While some conservation organizations have supported the bond because a small portion of the funding earmarked for restoration and conservation, the bond dedicates nearly twice as much funding to dams and storage projects that would benefit business interests and create more ecologically destructive impacts. Additionally, the water bond proposes to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy water for fish, which they cleverly label as funds for “enhanced stream flows.”

It is imperative that regions live within their means, by employing conservation measures that allow a community to thrive without taking water from other ecological systems that are already on the brink of collapse. People must learn to be frugal with scarce water resources, and corporations should be required to clean up our public trust resources that they are polluting for profit; instead of asking taxpayers to borrow money from their grandchildren to clean up after them.

Because our rivers do not have water to spare and because of the bad precedent the bond might set, EPIC recommends voting NO on Prop 1.

Take Action to Urge Protections for Fishers

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

SONY DSCTake Action: Recently, the Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the West Coast fisher as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. EPIC was one of 16 other environmental groups who in 2000 petitioned for the fisher to be listed across the West Coast. Finally, 14 years and numerous lawsuits later, it appears that the fishers may finally get the protection they deserve. But the fisher still needs your help.

The fisher, the largest member of the weasel family, is no doubt scrappy—it feeds on porcupines of all things—but is still in danger of extinction along the entire West Coast.

Historically, trapping and logging decimated the fisher population, leaving small, fragmented populations. Though it once roamed the Pacific Coast, the fisher is currently confined to two native populations—one in the southern Sierra Nevada and one in our backyard, Northern California-Southwestern Oregon—and a handful of reintroduced populations. Today, new and old stressors continue to threaten the fisher, including logging, wildfires and wildfire management, barriers to movement between populations, rodenticide, and the inadequacy of existing regulations (to name just a few).

You can help ensure the preservation and restoration of the fisher.

1. Sign EPIC’s Petition to urge the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Pacific Fisher

2. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting comments on the proposed “threatened” finding. Add your voice to the chorus of scientists, wildlife advocates, and concerned citizens to say that the West Coast fisher is threatened and worth protecting. Here is the portal for delivering your own unique comments:!documentDetail;D=FWS-R8-ES-2014-0041-0001  the reference ID that must be included in subject heading is: FWS-R8-ES-2014-0041. The comment deadline is January 5, 2015.

3. Individuals can also submit comments in writing, or in person at the public hearing on November 17, 2014 from 6 to 8pm at the Red Lion – 1830 Hilltop Drive, Redding, California 96002.

Overview of the Klamath-Trinity Flow Augmentation Release Decision

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Trinity Photo by Casey RobertsJudge Lawrence O’Neill recently issued a decision in San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority v. Jewell, a case dealing with the Flow Augmentation Releases to the Klamath River since August of 2013. Click here to view the full decision.

What comes out of the decision is that the Trinity River Record of Decision, which sets limits on flows to restore fish and wildlife, is geographically limited to the mainstem Trinity River, and therefore does not limit Klamath River flows. However, the law that the Federal Government relied on to make the releases (the “1955 Act”) is also geographically specific to the mainstem Trinity River and thus does not provide authority for these releases. The court dodged the tribal trust obligation arguments, so no precedent comes out of the case related to that, which at least means that there is no negative precedent related to tribal trust obligations. Each claim is discussed individually in more detail below.

Parties and procedural overview

The San Luis and Delta-Mendota Water Authority and Westlands Water District (“Plaintiffs”) sued the Department of Interior and the Bureau of Reclamation over Flow Augmentation Releases starting in August 2013, asserting claims under a number of different laws. The Hoopa Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations and Institute for Fisheries Resources were Defendant-Intervenors, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife filed an amicus brief.

Endangered Species Act claim

Plaintiffs asserted that the Bureau of Reclamation (Bureau) violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to engage in formal consultation procedures before carrying out the Flow Augmentation Releases. This claim was dismissed on the procedural grounds that Plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the claim.

NEPA claim

Plaintiffs claimed that the Bureau failed to conduct an environmental assessment, in violation of NEPA. Instead of doing an environmental assessment, the Bureau had invoked an “emergency” exception to NEPA. The court held that the Bureau’s action was “not a continuing practice and unlikely to repeat itself,” and the claim was dismissed as moot.

Central Valley Project Improvement Act Claims:

These claims are complicated, as they involve numerous laws passed over time. The court had to determine how these laws relate to one another and their geographical scope (see below for a list of these laws).

Question 1: Were the releases prohibited?

Plaintiffs asserted that the 1999 Trinity River Record of Decision (TRROD) prohibited the releases at issue, because the TRROD set an upper limit for releases for fishery purposes, and the releases at issue exceeded those limits. The court rejected Plaintiffs’ argument, stating that the Flow Augmentation Releases were not prohibited by the TRROD because the TRROD is geographically specific to the mainstem Trinity River, and thus did not apply to the releases at issue, which were releases to improve conditions in the Lower Klamath River.

Question 2: Were the releases authorized?

While these releases were not prohibited by law, whether the Bureau had the authority to make the releases is a separate question. The Bureau relied on the “1955 Act” as the source of its authority. This act created authority to integrate the Trinity River Diversion with the other features of the Central Valley Project; section 2 of the act authorized the Secretary of Interior to adopt appropriate measures to ensure preservation and propagation of fish and wildlife on the Trinity River. The court held that the 1955 Act is also limited to the mainstem Trinity River, and thus didn’t supply authority for the releases to the lower Klamath.

The Tribes raised tribal trust obligations as an alternative source of federal authority for the releases. The court basically dodged this argument because the Bureau and Department of Interior weren’t asserting it themselves. The Federal Defendants took the position that their trust obligation was “complementary authority” to the 1955 Act, and the court said that it would not consider the tribal trust obligation since the Bureau and Department of Interior wouldn’t assert it as an independent basis of authority for the releases.

California water rights claim

Plaintiffs also asserted that the Flow Augmentation Releases constituted a use of water outside of its permitted place of use, violating California water rights and the Central Valley Project Improvement Act. The court held that the Bureau has authority under California law to release water to improve instream conditions for fish and wildlife, and thus the releases did not violate California water law, or the Central Valley Improvement Act, which the court said, just incorporates California water law by reference, as opposed to creating independent federal water law.

Public trust doctrine argument

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife filed an amicus brief  in the case, which is a way for a non-party to a lawsuit to express their opinion to the court, if the court grants permission. In its brief, the Department argued that the Flow Augmentation Releases were consistent with, and authorized by, California’s public trust doctrine. While the court agreed that the releases were consistent with the public trust doctrine, it stated that that doctrine does not affirmatively authorize federal (in contrast to state) action. The judge stated that, “[w]hile the public trust doctrine is relevant, it is not dispositive of any claim in this case.”

Partial list of laws/events at issue:

“1955 Act”: created authority to integrate the Trinity River Diversion with the other features of the CVP; section 2 authorized the Secretary of Interior to adopt appropriate measures to ensure preservation and propagation of fish and wildlife.

1981: Trinity River Flow Evaluation Study was initiated to determine flows appropriate to restore the Trinity River’s fishery.

1984 Trinity River Basin Fish and Wildlife Management Act: directs the Secretary of Interior to implement a management program for the Trinity River Basin to “restore fish and wildlife populations…to levels approximating those which existed before” the diversion.

1992 Central Valley Project Improvement Act: includes purpose of protecting, restoring and enhancing fish and wildlife in the Central Valley and Trinity River Basin.

1996 Reauthorization of the Trinity River Basin Fish and Wildlife Management Act: reauthorizes and amends the 1984 Trinity River Basin Fish and Wildlife Management Act.

1999 Trinity River Flow Evaluation Study (TRFES) completed: this study recommends dynamic flows, specifically flows ranging from 368,800 acre feet in critically dry years to 815,200 acre feet in extremely wet years, along with seasonal flow variability. This went through NEPA review, resulting in a “Trinity River Record of Decision” (TRROD) that prescribed certain flows depending on the type of water year.

In conclusion, the Bureau’s decision to release flows into the Trinity River to improve conditions in the Lower Klamath River did not violate any laws, but was not specifically authorized. The next step is finding a permanent solution to remedy the need for regular “emergency” flows. In dry water years, the health of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers are reliant upon the choice of a few decision-makers, and a few narrow thresholds that only trigger emergency releases if a fish kill is already well underway. Until the dams come out, we need to develop a system that prioritizes the health of the rivers and the fish, ensuring that we have healthy rivers, before we divert bulk water out of the basin.

Fall Celebration Featuring House of Floyd

Sunday, October 5th, 2014

You’re invited! EPIC’s 37th Annual Benefit Fall Celebration, a Farm to Table Dinner, followed with music by San Francisco based House of Floyd. Celebrate 37 years of Forest & Wildlife Protection with the EPIC Community. Dine, dance and laugh for lasting protection of the Northwest California bioregion on Friday, November 7, at Mateel Community Center in Redway.


Bringing people together to share a family style dinner

buy tickets



Tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and younger.

Share a Farm to Table Dinner with friends and neighbors prepared by Chef Luke Patterson of Arcata’s The Other Place and Luke’s Joint. The FRESH and delicious 4 course family-style meal is locally sourced and includes salmon, and vegan, gluten-free options. Seating is limited.

Enjoy cocktail hour from 6:15-7:15pm with local beer, wine & cocktails, and live music. Guests are seated for dinner at 7:15pm, for dinner.

Presentation of the Sempervirens Award for lasting achievement in environmental advocacy to David and Ellen Drell of the Willits Environmental Center.

Don’t miss the silent & live auctions and much, much more!

After dinner, guests will be guided toward cosmic destinations by San Francisco Bay Area’s House of Floyd. Performing the music of Pink Floyd, the band puts on an elaborate experience that immerses audiences in the atmospheric authenticity of light and sound that the original Floyd so famously delivered in their live performances.

Tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for kids 12 and younger and include the entire evening’s program. Please purchase tickets for dinner by October 31, click here to purchase the all inclusive event tickets. The ticket price rises to $60 at the door, if we’re not already sold out.

Tickets are $20 for the House of Floyd concert, and $25 at the door. Click here to purchase concert only tickets.

Redwood Sponsorship $1,500 and up

  • Receive 8 evening tickets
  • Reserved seating named by the Sponsor
  • Two bottles of wine
  • Commemorative etched Fire and Light plate
  • Gift basket

Northern Spotted Owl Sponsorship $1,000 and up

  • Receive 8 evening tickets
  • Reserved seating named by the Sponsor
  • Two bottles of wine
  • Commemorative etched Fire and Light plate

Wild and Scenic Sponsorship $500 and up

  • Receive 8 evening tickets
  • Reserved seating named by the Sponsor
  • Two bottles of wine

HOUSE OF FLOYD LOGO SEP 2013 V2The Pink Floyd Concert Experience starring House of Floyd

The S.F. Bay Area’s HOUSE OF FLOYD performs the music of Pink Floyd, and has gained a strong following for their unique ability to enthuse both the hard-core fans of the early adventurous Floyd and those who enjoy the songs and soundscapes that later brought them widespread appeal. They capture the essence of each of the various Pink Floyd eras from the formative Syd Barrett days, through the 70’s and the final post-Waters era.

HOF Photo 2014House of Floyd is a 7-piece band that includes 2 bookend multi-instrumentalists that double on saxophone, keyboards and guitar, and 2 excellent female background vocalists. House of Floyd has been performing in concert venues for over 10 years in the U.S. and abroad including a recent month long tour of India.

In the Pink Floyd tradition, a HOUSE OF FLOYD concert incorporates sound effects, screen projection, moving lights & state of the art laser show. The set lists on any given night might be from an actual Pink Floyd concert, or a custom HOUSE OF FLOYD mix. You may even see a giant inflatable pig!

Can’t make it this year? You can still donate to support EPIC’s work protecting the forests, rivers, and wildlife of northwest California. The Annual Fall Celebration Dinner is EPIC’s biggest fundraising event of the year. We depend on your support to plan for the year ahead. Please contribute what you can. Just $5 or $10 makes a huge difference.

Tickets are available at the EPIC office at 145 G Street in Arcata, Redway Liquor and Wildberries. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer for the event, please call: 707-822-7711.


Strip Mining Proposal for Wild and Scenic Smith River Denied

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

SmithR by Casey RobertsOregon Department of Water Resources has denied the Red Flat Nickel Corporation’s application for the use of 10 gallons per minute from a tributary to the Wild and Scenic Smith River – one of the last undammed free-flowing rivers in the country. The Environmental Protection Information Center, along with a coalition of groups from Oregon and California called Kalmiopsis spearheaded a campaign to oppose the destructive proposal, and over 3,000 comments were submitted during the 60 day public comment period.

The mining proposal included the use of large quantities of water, road construction, drilling and the possible release of environmentally persistent toxic chemicals and sediment from contaminated retention pools. In a statement regarding the nickel mine proposal, Natalynne Delapp, Executive Director for the Environmental Protection Information Center, said “this is a good example of inner-state collaboration and community participation; more than 1,200 EPIC members submitted comments on this proposal sending a clear message to decision-makers that we need to protect this pristine river system.”

The area that was proposed for the mining operation is home to rare botanical resources as well as sensitive threatened coho salmon and fish species that rely on the pristine cold waters of the Smith River drainage. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recommended denial of the application iterating the importance of the Smith River being one of two watersheds in California described as “irreplaceable” with respect to salmonid population resiliency and biodiversity.

The Smith River is designated as a National Recreation Area and is used for large institutional water users, irrigators, and domestic uses. In 1998 the State of California issued a Declaration of Fully Appropriated Stream Systems, which effectively removed the Smith from further appropriation in California.

In the Final Order to Deny, the Oregon Water Resources Department concluded that the water is not available for the proposed use, the use would be detrimental to public interest, and that “there is no basis for appropriate conditions that can be applied to mitigate likely impacts to water quality and sensitive, threatened, and endangered species.”

Strip Mining Proposal for Wild and Scenic Smith River Press Release

Smith River Threatened by Strip Mining July 2, 2014 EPIC Action Alert


Take Action to Protect Wildlife from Killing Contests

Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Coyote Killing ContestTake Action: Believe it or not, the practice of hunting non-game fur-bearing mammals in contests is still alive and well in California. What’s more, cash prizes, known as inducements, are still being offered to participants who senselessly shoot and kill mammals such as coyotes, bears, bobcats and foxes. 

However, the California Fish and Game Commission, the regulatory body that governs such activities, is now considering action to reduce this senseless killing for sport by making it illegal to offer inducements. This change in regulation will serve to clarify existing law surrounding the “take” i.e. hunting of nongame mammals in hunting contests.

Tell the California Fish and Game Commission that you support its proposed rulemaking to end inducements for hunting contests for nongame fur-bearing mammals.

Click here to speak out against the senseless killing of animals for money.

A Bunch of Bull: Grazing on Our Public Lands

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Fragmented, degraded and top-browsed willow wetland, Big Meadows, June 2014

Fragmented, degraded and top-browsed willow wetland, Big Meadows, June 2014

Wilderness areas are those left “untrammeled by man;” but what about cows? This past summer, whenever wildfires permitted, EPIC was in the field to monitor the impacts of destructive cattle on our public lands. In its fifth year of existence, EPIC’s Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California is dedicated to reforming grazing in wilderness areas through documenting its harmful effects and advocating for better industry management.

Documenting the Destruction

At 5,600 feet, Felice Pace scans the meadows of Buns Basin on the north side of Medicine Mountain in the Marble Mountain Wilderness. He likes what he sees—thickly growing willows, which provide habitat for the endangered Willow flycatcher, bear and Roosevelt elk tracks, and clear alpine ponds and streams. He also likes what he doesn’t see: cows. You see, cattle grazing results in the fragmentation of willow habitat and degradation of watersheds.

One of the most significant negative impacts of poorly managed national forest grazing that EPIC’s Project to Reform Grazing has documented is the degradation, fragmentation and drying out of willow wetlands. Fragmentation is mainly the result of grazing cattle pushing into and through willow stands in order to access the tender grasses and sedges below. As the stands become fragmented, bovines also browse within them further exacerbating fragmentation. As the interior of willow stands become progressively more accessible, top browsing further degrades individual willows and the stands. In the most severe cases, willow wetlands are being converted into grasslands.

In many grazing allotments that the Project has monitored, EPIC has seen the deleterious impacts of cattle on watersheds. Without active management, there’s nothing stopping cattle from trampling banks, springs, and wetlands, and defecating in the water. As a result, once crystal clear alpine streams quickly turn into a quagmire, complete with blue green algae, fecal coliform bacteria, and high sediment loads.

And we citizens are paying for this destruction too. Through below-cost fees, grazing programs on federal lands receive almost $445 million in annual subsidies. While private rangeland typically rents for around $11.90 per cow and calf per month, public lands can only charge $1.35 per cow and calf per month (a price which has only gone up by 12 cents since 1966). According to a study by the Government Accountability Office, just to break even the Forest Service and BLM would need to charge between $7.64 and $12.26 monthly.

Working Towards a Solution

Ending grazing is no easy task since grazing is “grandfathered in” to our wilderness and other public land laws. As a result, efforts to end grazing in the West have been met with limited success. That’s why we’ve decided to try a different strategy: to encourage decision-makers to require active management.

EPIC, together with coalition partners Klamath Forest Alliance and Wilderness Watch, advocates that National Forest managers require grazing permit holders to ride the range on a regular basis in order to move their cattle from preferred to un-grazed locations and to keep them from trashing springs, stream banks and willow wetlands. While theoretically required, regular herding rarely takes place.

You Can Help

We encourage EPIC members and others to get involved. Grazing allotments are spread across Northern California public lands; citizens who use those lands are urged to visit local grazing allotment and take photos documenting cattle trashed springs, streams and wetlands. Then send us the photos at  along with location information and we’ll use them to pressure federal and state officials to require real changes in how public land grazing is managed.

Wild and Scenic Film Festival

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

WildScenicFilmFest1Tuesday, October 7th at the Arcata Theatre Lounge.

Click here to buy tickets

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a call to action. At Wild & Scenic, film goers are transformed into a congregation of committed activists, dedicated to saving our increasingly threatened planet. We show environmental and adventure films that illustrate the Earth’s beauty, the challenges facing our planet, and the work communities are doing to protect the environment. Through these films, Wild & Scenic both informs people about the state of the world and inspires them to take action. Wild & Scenic raises resources and awareness for EPIC’s initiatives to recover Northwest California’s native species and to protect and restore the redwood forest ecosystem.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the EPIC Office at 145 South G Street, Suite A in Arcata. Call 822-7711 for more information.

Doors open at 6pm. Prices are TBA.

2014 Film Selections

From The Spawning Grounds Thomas B. Dunklin

Plunge into the clear cold water of the Salmon River and get a fish-eye view of the river and its inhabitants. The underwater footage of salmon and steelhead is accompanied by a song and poem from Karuk artist Brian D. Tripp. (USA, 2011, 3 min)

Fixing the Earth – One Watershed at a Time Thomas B. Dunklin

The Yurok Tribe’s Fisheries Program use ancient cultural ethics to manage and restore the Chinook and Coho salmon of the Klamath River. This film presents the historic context of the tribe’s struggle to affirm their fishing rights and to fully participate in the management Klamath fisheries today and into the future. (USA, 2013, 19 min)

Sacred Headwaters Paul Colangelo

The shared birthplace of three salmon rivers in Northern Canada, the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation, and home to an incredible ecosystem of large mammals, the Sacred Headwaters is at risk of losing all that makes it sacred to resource extraction. (Canada, 2012, 4 min)

Kara Women Speak Jane Baldwin

A Kara woman muses about her concerns for the survival of her people. The Kara are a community of indigenous people living along the Omo River in Southwestern Ethiopia. Ethiopian government projects now threaten these areas and their populations. The construction of the foreign financed Gibe III hydroelectric dam, being built on the upper Omo River, and vast tracts of rich farmland have been leased to foreign corporations, displacing indigenous people from their ancestral land without compensation. Her words reflect the uncertain fate of all agro-pastoralists living in the Omo River-Lake Turkana watershed. (Ethiopia, 6min)

Environmental Lawyers and the Protection of Sharks Jeff Litton

Sharks are amazing animals that provide healthy ocean ecosystems, and a billion dollar dive industry. Yet 3 sharks are removed from our ocean every second, and Planet Earth can’t keep up. While supply and demand mean life or death for shark species, this innovative film targets environmental lawyers as the key players to stop illegal fishing, and bring about environmental justice for sharks. (Ecuador, 2013, 13 min)

A Brief History of the 5cent Bag Tax Craig Schattner, Adam Walker, Emil Superfin

When your city is overflowing with plastic bags, how will you react? Jack Green, head of the Department of the Environment, is on a mission to rid the city of its plastic bag scourge. (USA, 2013, 2 min)

COMPOST-a-lujah! Christopher Paetkau, Trevor Gill

Let’s face it: composting isn’t the most glamorous of topics or activities. It can be dirty, rotten, and smelly. But it doesn’t have to be. Meet Linda Olsen – master composter. (Canada, 2012, 3 min)

The Ground to the Clouds Denise Zmekhol

Fifty years ago Jane Goodall set out to study the wild chimpanzees of Tanzania with little more than a pair of second-hand binoculars, some pencils and a notebook. Now her team uses mobile devices, satellite imagery and cloud-based mapping technologies to create a comprehensive picture of the conservation challenges in the Congo Basin. This transformational approach to habitat conservation is part of a global effort to monitor natural resources … and is giving hope to the survival of endangered chimpanzee populations. (Tanzania, 2013, 8 min)

Raptor Blues Ian Timothy

A musical stop motion animation explaining the dangerous effects of rodenticides on birds of prey in a way that everyone can understand. (USA, 2013, 2 min)

The New Environmentalists: Fractured Wilderness John Antonelli, Andrew Black, Todd Miro’

Jonathan Deal is leading a concerted campaign against a fracking project that threatens the Karoo, where sparse desert and majestic mountains converge to create an agriculture heartland and flourishing wildlife reserves in South Africa. (USA/S.Africa, 2013, 4.5min)

The New Environmentalists: Weaving A Movement John Antonelli, Barry Schienberg, Todd Miro’

When Indonesian marble mining companies began to exploit the pristine mountains surrounding her West Timor homeland, Mama Aleta Baun organized the villagers in a weaving protest that lasted months and received international recognition. (USA/Indonesia, 2013, 4.5min)

The New Environmentalists: Marshland Dreams John Antonelli, Andrew Black, Todd Miro’

Iraq’s Mesopatamia Marshes had been a vital life force for centuries until Saddam Hussein destroyed them with a devastating military maneuver. Azzam Alwash has taken on the challenge

Damocracy Todd Southgate, Tolga Temuge, Doga Dernegi

Damocracy is a short documentary that exposes the myth of dams as ‘green’ energy through two examples from Amazonia and Mesopotamia: the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil and the Ilisu Dam in Turkey. The documentary shows the potential disasters these dams would cause on cultural heritage, wildlife and local communities who rely on the rich natural resources provided by the Tigris and Xingu rivers. The film also questions the sanity of climate change solutions that depend on the destruction of ‘the lungs of the Earth’ and ‘the cradle of civilization’. It is a call to action to save this priceless natural and cultural heritage being gambled for the interests of a few. No Awards (Brazil & Turkey, 2012, 34 min)

Hidden Rivers of Southern Appalachia Jeremy Monroe, David Herasimtschuk

Biodiversity. It’s in the rivers of the Amazon, the jungles of Borneo, the coral reefs of Belize… oh, and the creeks of Tennessee. That’s right, southern Appalachia is a littleknown hotspot for aquatic life and is home to some wildly diverse fish, mussels, salamanders, crayfish and other critters. Hidden Rivers takes an immersive look at the little-known creatures of these waters, their striking beauty and extreme vulnerability. The films also reveal how some Southerners are finding new ways to explore and celebrate this precious life, and reminding us all that biodiversity is everywhere and rivers are always deeper than you think! (USA, 2013, 4 min)

A world on Notice: Women at the Front Lines of Climate Change Terra Nyssa, Osprey Orielle Lake

We are headed toward a potential 4 degrees Celsius rise in global temperature over the next decades that will create unprecedented havoc for our children and future generations. Women are no longer willing to stand by when so much is at stake. Women are on the front lines of Climate Change Solutions. Fierce and compassionate women worldwide are committed to making a difference in the urgency of climate change. Join the journey as the Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN International) is heating up! (USA, 2013, 9 min)


Trespass Grows and Wildlife on Public Lands

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
6,500 gallon cistern in wilderness backcountry. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

6,500 gallon cistern in wilderness backcountry. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

We have seen it all before—boom and bust resource production and extraction in Northern California has been the norm since the beginning of European settlement. From the timber boom to the gold rush, we have now entered the era of the so-called ‘green-rush,’ the high-time of marijuana production.  Marijuana growing in Northern California has traditionally been a cottage industry-scale economy. However, with the recent surge in industrial-scale production has also come an increased awareness of the potentially significant environmental harms to forests, fish, and wildlife from large-scale egregious grows, both on private and public lands.

EPIC has been at the forefront of advocacy and education efforts aimed at exposing the potentially significant environmental damage that can result from industrial-scale, and particularly trespass marijuana production in Northern California. Of particular concern are egregious trespass grows on our National Forests, where paramount concern must be given to the protection of forests, fish and wildlife resources.

Earlier this month, EPIC filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service aimed at acquiring documents detailing the effects of trespass marijuana growing on public lands, and their impacts on forests, fish, and wildlife. EPIC has requested information regarding the number and size of trespass grows, the status of the Forest Service’s monitoring and enforcement efforts, and the amount and type of toxic chemicals found at individual grow sites. EPIC has also requested information pertaining to how the existence of these trespass grows has hampered the ability of the Forest Service to conduct essential survey and monitoring activities from threatened and endangered wildlife species, most notably the Northern Spotted Owl.

Bear paw print in chemicals. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

Bear paw print in chemicals. Photo by Mourad Gabriel

Of particular concern regarding trespass marijuana production on public lands, is the use of anticoagulant rodenticides that can have a deadly effect not only on the rodents targeted for eradication, but also on other wildlife species that prey on these rodents. Anticoagulant rodenticides can persist in forest ecosystems, and can infect the food chain that supports a myriad of threatened and endangered wildlife species, such as owls, fishers and martens.

EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act request will help to evaluate the monitoring and enforcement efforts of the Forest Service,  provide a window into the amount of illegal and egregious trespass marijuana agriculture on public lands and serve to inform the public about the nature and extent of this problem and its associated effects on threatened and endangered wildlife species, and public lands resources in general.

EPIC is dedicated to combatting these egregious and illegal marijuana cultivation activities on public lands as a significant threat to watersheds, forests, fisheries and wildlife. EPIC is also dedicated to shedding the light-of-day on these activities in order to inform, and engage the public and decision-makers. Trespass marijuana agriculture on our public lands pose an ominous threat to our wild California, and to the essential and irreplaceable resources that our public lands support. EPIC will continue to advocate for small-scale and sustainable marijuana agriculture that honors the importance of our public lands, as well as our water, forests, fish, and wildlife.

Groundwater Legislation is Not Strong Enough

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Sprinklers water grass fields at 1pm, during in the hottest part of the day.

The recent drought that has been experienced throughout the west has brought much needed attention to the mismanagement of water resources, particularly in the State of California, which currently lacks groundwater regulations. With rivers drying up and drought conditions worsening, there is a clear need for regulation to address the ongoing extraction of groundwater resources. However, the currently proposed legislation falls short because it relies too heavily on local agencies, fails to prescribe adequate timeframes for compliance, fails to take into account beneficial uses of water, fails to establish a clear path for the public and local agencies to evaluate the potentially significant environmental effects of groundwater extraction, and fails to challenge the efficiency of a groundwater management plan.

The State of California is poised to enact landmark sustainable groundwater management legislation. Faced with an unprecedented drought, and the acknowledgment that existing laws do not adequately meet the public’s interest in sustainable groundwater management, the state legislature has proposed three bills aimed at creating a new framework for the management of groundwater resources.

Senate Bill 1168 (Sustainable Groundwater Management Act), Assembly Bill 1739 and Senate Bill 1319 together propose to establish a new framework for the creation of sustainable groundwater management plans to establish minimum standards for sustainable groundwater management, provide local groundwater agencies with the authority and technical assistance necessary to sustainably manage groundwater, to avoid subsidence, to increase groundwater storage and remove impediments to recharge, and to maximize local management of groundwater basins while minimizing state intervention.

The purpose of the law is to require development of “groundwater sustainability agencies” and “groundwater sustainability plans,” and to provide procedures for their creation, implementation and enforcement measures by state agencies if the plans are not being effective. All other state resource agencies, and effectively cities and counties in the general planning process, are required to consider the policies of the law and any groundwater sustainability plans when revising or adopting their own policies, regulations, criteria, or even when issuing orders or determinations.

The legislation further requires the designation of high-and-medium priority groundwater basins as of January 1, 2017. These basins shall be managed under a groundwater sustainability plan or coordinated sustainability plans by January 31, 2020. All other high or medium-priority groundwater basins not covered by that provision shall be managed by the required plans by January 31, 2022. Development of sustainability plans for low and very-low priority basins are encouraged, but not required. The Department of Water Resources (DWR) is required to categorize each basin as high, medium, low or very low priority by not later than January 31, 2015. If, after initial categorization, a basin is elevated to a medium- or high-priority basin, a local agency shall have two years after that reprioritization to either (1) establish a groundwater sustainability agency and five years to adopt a groundwater sustainability plan, or (2) two years to satisfy the requirements of the legislation.

The so-called “groundwater sustainability agencies” can be one or a combination of local agencies, which are to be identified by statue. Existing agencies designated in the proposed law can opt out of their role as a groundwater sustainability agency, thus paving the way for the creation of an alternate groundwater sustainability agency.

The legislation relies heavily on local entities and agencies such as county and other local government entities to develop groundwater sustainability plans. The legislation provides that local groundwater sustainability agencies must ‘consider’ beneficial uses of water in the identified basins. The term ‘consider’ in this context is somewhat ambiguous and non-directive. As we have seen over the years with the California Forest Practice Act’s requirement to give ‘consideration’ to public trust resources, the use of the term ‘consider’ can generate a great deal of debate as to its meaning and what is actually to be required. The legislation gives wide-ranging rulemaking power to local sustainability agencies in order to implement the provisions of these Acts. These powers include the ability to require registration for groundwater extractors, and the ability to establish fees for permits allowing for groundwater extraction.

Of particular concern with the impending legislation is the fact that the entire process has been deemed to be exempt from the provisions of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). What’s more, the legislation is unclear as to what, if any recourse a member of the general public or a public interest group may have to challenge the adequacy of the locally-promulgated groundwater sustainability plans.

There are also questions regarding the funding for these programs. While the proposed law gives the local agencies the right to charge fees for the cost of its groundwater sustainability program, there are no criteria or guidance provided to define the reasonableness or level of fees set.

Additionally, the timelines for designation of high-and-medium priority groundwater management basins, and the promulgation of groundwater sustainability plans are pushed well out into the future. Given the unprecedented drought conditions, and the ongoing extraction of groundwater for domestic and agricultural uses throughout the state, the timelines to achieve compliance with these statues appears to be ‘too little, too late.’

Finally, the state’s role in this process provides little actual oversight; while DWR may review plans, it need do so only within two years after submission, and then only provide an “assessment.” There is no clear criteria to permit the public to initiate a challenge to an adopted plan.

EPIC supports the concept of sustainable groundwater management, but the currently proposed legislation simply falls short due to its lack of public oversight, and absence of enforceable mechanisms that would regulate water in a way to ensure the conservation of resources. EPIC will continue to advocate for stronger sustainable groundwater management provisions that comply with existing environmental laws, and which provide for adequate oversight from the state and the general public.

State of Water

Thursday, September 11th, 2014
Eel River by Ferndale, Photo by Amber Shelton

Eel River

Here on the North Coast, our six rivers are running dry. The Bureau of Reclamation’s recent releases from Lewiston Dam, aimed at preventing another massive Klamath fish kill  shows how scientifically-based citizen advocacy can be successful. However, much more action is needed to implement a lasting solution to the mismanagement of water supplies, especially during drought conditions.

Life-sustaining fresh water is categorized as either surface water or groundwater. While the molecules themselves don’t hold neatly to this distinction, it does call our attention to a few facts. First, groundwater accounts for much of the world’s supply of fresh water (over 90%, not including glaciers and ice sheets). Ecosystem services provided by groundwater include water purification, climate resilience, erosion regulation, flood control and water supply reliability. In most states, groundwater is regulated, but California’s groundwater has gone completely unregulated. Unsustainable groundwater pumping practices have led to serious consequences for everyone. More energy is required to find and extract water by its primary consumers. Downstream there is less, and in some cases, no surface water and higher concentrations of pollutants. Meanwhile, the ground itself is subsiding as the aquifers compress, degrading infrastructure on a massive scale.

For those of us who are involved in agriculture, there are opportunities directly correlated to the scale of our operations. The Northern California Farmer’s Guide – Best Management Practices is a great resource for local growers small or large, regardless of their crops. The Best Management Practices include water catchment in the rainy season, integrated pest management, proper use of amendments and disposal of potting soils, and responsible surface water diversions and ground water pumping. For those whose agricultural dependence is secondary, we can develop relationships with our farmers through Community Supported Agriculture and Farmers Markets. We are incredibly lucky to have a surplus of these opportunities in our region. Yet the limits on our ability to affect a more substantial change can be frustrating.

This might lead us towards denial or other forms of avoidance but these do little to address the problem. Nothing short of a systemic change seems to be required. Often, the finger is pointed at an individual to divert the attention from the machine. Opting-out of taking excessive showers, using appropriate landscaping (native and drought resistant species) or supporting responsible farming will help, but it is a drop in the sea of our current water systems crisis. Just what can be done about at this level?

There is much that we all can do to be a force for positive change in the future of our world. It is important to remember that systems are perpetuated by people and we do have the ability to change them. It is our task to remember that our opponents are human beings with legitimate interests. By striving for civil discourse, it is easier to see our shared interests in sustainable water and resource use. Whether we are motivated more by economic or environmental factors, we all have an interest in figuring out how to live on this planet in such a way that doesn’t jeopardize its future. As stated in the Best Management Practices: “most people want to do the right thing.” Whether or not that will be done, in the end, seems to come down to individual empowerment and identification with the whole leading to action that reinforces these sentiments.

This article was written by Devin Paine

50 Years Wild: Connecting Wild Places

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Sawtooth Peak, Trinity Alps Wilderness

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, EPIC and conservation partners submitted 50,000 messages from our membership to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and to all California National Forest and BLM Supervisors, and elected delegates, asking them to protect and connect wild places.

Signed in 1964 by President Lyndon B. Johnson, the Wilderness Act enables wild lands to be set-aside for permanent preservation and protection. Starting with 9.1 million acres, and now totaling more than 100 million acres, Wild Places are part of our nation’s heritage.

As we take time to celebrate what has been accomplished over the years, it is also important to consider what still needs to be done. Through years of environmental advocacy work in the Pacific Northwest and reviewing current science, we have learned that in this rapidly changing climate, the best thing we can do is protect all remaining old growth and mature trees, and establish a well-connected network of wildlife corridors. These wildlife corridors serve as a link between Wilderness Areas and provide refuge for many rare native plants and animals, and are a source of clean water and air.

Protecting and connecting wild places will create the “Climate Refugia” essential for species survival.

A majority of wildlife corridors, managed by the US Forest Service (USFS) within California’s’ 18 national forests remain unprotected and open to multiple threats, including logging, fire suppression and road building. Northern California forests are some of the most carbon dense forests on the planet, with the largest oldest trees storing the greatest amounts of carbon and playing a major role in regulating the Earth’s climate. The main reason for the current global mass extinction rate is habitat loss. Well over half of California’s fish, amphibians and mammals and nearly half of all birds and reptiles are “at-risk.”

California offers an amazing opportunity to establish an interconnected intact landscape, especially in the Pacific Northwest. The state’s 53 Wilderness Areas, mostly high elevation, 25 national and 270 state parks and beaches offer islands of refuge for wildlife. Roadless Areas, rivers and ridges that contain vital lower elevation cool carbon dense forests are passageways that allow wildlife to move freely to search for food, find a mate, migrate, to keep genetic diversity strong and to seek refuge in response to climate adaption.

Global warming and human impacts on the landscape threaten our and come with devastating ecological costs to current and future generations, but we know what needs to be done to in order to prevent further degradation. It is time to enact policy and implement climate adaption strategies. Our leaders in office and in forest, fish and wildlife management need to make a major shift in policy and practice to conserve our quality of life, wildlife and wild places.

EPIC and Klamath Forest Alliance are building a campaign called Connecting Wild Places to tackle this challenge head on seeking to:

  • Safeguard all remaining older forests;
  • Create a well-connected landscape; and
  • Reform antiquated resource extraction practices.

In order to raise awareness of the campaign, build alliances with other advocacy groups, and generate support from elected officials it takes tremendous amounts of energy and resources.There are many ways you can help:

We must never lose sight of the importance of wilderness and wild places, and with that in mind we are appealing to you to join us in pursuing a more interconnected, protected, and climate resilient future. Let us say thank you to the generations before us for having the foresight to leave America a legacy we can all be proud of. Happy 50th Anniversary to the Wilderness Act!

Victory: Wildlife Habitat Protected

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

GardenGulchCritical habitat and old-growth reserves saved from post-fire “salvage” on the Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River!  EPIC and allies with Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center, successfully stopped logging in some of the best habitat proposed in the Salmon Salvage timber sale.  Our efforts ultimately resulted in the elimination of larger stands of “salvage” and a renewed focus on roadside hazard treatments. This is great news for naturally recovering forests.

After decades of defending the old-growth surrounding Garden Gulch Trail from road building and logging, this perfect post-fire forest stand will again be spared.  The area serves as Critical Habitat for the Northern spotted owl and provides a linkage for wildlife under a swath of green canopy cover leading into the Marble Mountain Wilderness.

WARNING: If last year’s fires are any indication of what’s to come, we are sure to see more post-fire logging projects after the smoke clears from this year’s fires.  Burning in the North Fork Salmon River the 2014 Whites Fire is now twice as large, over 32,000 acres, as the 2013 Salmon Complex Fire.  EPIC will be providing updates from the multiple fires burning this summer and any proposals that may ensue.  Thanks to all of you who responded to our action alerts and submitted comments in defense of natural fire recovery.

More on the Salmon River Watershed

The Salmon River Watershed, located entirely within the Klamath National Forest, is within the heart of the Klamath Siskiyou Bioregion. This Bioregion is a global center of biodiversity and is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, and an Area of Global Botanical Significance by the World Conservation Union.  Deeply incised canyons, rugged terrain and highly erodible soils characterize the Salmon River watershed, comprised of two forks, the North Fork and the South Fork to form the mainstem.  The free flowing river is one of the largest most pristine watersheds in the Klamath River system, although it is listed under the Clean Water Act as a 303(d) impaired water body.  The Salmon River retains the only viable population of Spring Chinook salmon and retains the last completely wild salmon and steelhead runs in the in the Klamath watershed.  The Salmon River offers some of the best habitat on the west coast for salmon, steelhead, green sturgeon, rainbow trout, Pacific lamprey, and other fish. The Wild and Scenic Salmon River is one of the most sought after world-class whitewater rafting trips in the countryIt combines lush coastal scenery with emerald green waters, steep granite gorges and numerous waterfalls.

The North Fork Salmon River, containing highly erodible granitic soils is steep to very steep. The globally significant carbon dense forests provide important wildlife habitat connectivity, particularly the Garden Gulch area.  With the combination of unique geology, climate and biology the North Fork Salmon River watershed supports populations of deer, elk, black bear, mountain lion and provides habitat to many rare species, including Pacific fishers and pine martens.  Some of the most important features within the watershed, older forest stands and anadromous fish habitat, are considered at risk and need protection or enhancement.

You can review more pictures and past posts at: