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Green Diamond Proposes Multiple Clearcuts Near Local Neighborhood

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018
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Will Green Diamond Resource Company ever kick its addiction to managing forests for young, evenaged, industrial fiber-farm plantations? Sadly, the answer appears to be clearcut. Green Diamond Resource Company seems to be hooked on clearcutting redwoods, and the consequences for our forests, wildlife, watersheds, climate, economy and community will continue to be felt for decades if not centuries.

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

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

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

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


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

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
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Rodgers Peak, Redwood National Park. Proposed location for 199 foot cell tower and microwave dish. Photo Credit Rob Diperna.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How You Can Help:

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

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

 


ACT TODAY: Save the Siskiyou Crest!

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
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Forest stand proposed for clear cutting near Copper Butte and Cook and Green Pass. Photo compliments of Luke Ruediger

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPIC Membership Mixer

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
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Want to learn more about forest conservation on the North Coast?

EPIC members, volunteers, and tree lovers are encouraged to meet the local environmental community for a mixer, February 9th from 6-9pm! Meet our Board and Staff and hear about our exciting new programs for 2018.

In celebration of Arts! Arcata, EPIC’s own Forest and Wildlife advocate Rob DiPerna will feature his photography highlighting the region we work to protect.

At 7pm we will be presenting a slideshow outlining recent accomplishments, and new projects we will undertake in the coming year. Learn how to get involved!

Get the latest update on EPIC’s work all while enjoying some drinks, snacks, and beautiful photography!

Please “attend” and invite your friends on Facebook!


Year End Highlights

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
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2017 was another EPIC year: we stopped a train from being built through a potential wilderness area, we saved hundreds of acres of old growth on public lands from chainsaws, and we beat the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in court for failing to protect the Humboldt marten. In case you missed anything, check out our highlights below!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


EPIC’s Staff New Year Resolutions

Thursday, January 4th, 2018
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Happy New Year! The dawning of a new year offers a chance to start fresh and recommit ourselves. At our last staff meeting, EPIC’s staff went around and gave their resolutions for 2018. What’s your resolution?

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

– Tom Wheeler, Executive Director

 

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

– Kimberly Baker, Public Lands Advocate

 

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

– Amber Shelton, Conservation Advocate

 

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

– Rob DiPerna, California Forest and Wildlife Advocate

 

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

– Briana Villalobos, Director of Communications and Development


Why Beavers are Worth a Dam!

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
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Beavers are a keystone species, playing a critical role in biodiversity and providing direct benefits to surrounding ecosystems as well as fish, wildlife and people. Dams created by beavers create wetlands that help decrease the effects of damaging floods, recharge drinking water aquifers, protect watersheds from droughts, decrease erosion, stabilize stream banks, remove toxic pollutants from surface and ground water and many threatened and endangered species rely on the wetland habitat created by beavers. They also produce food for fish and other animals, increase habitat and cold water pools that benefit salmon, repair damaged stream channels and watersheds, preserve open space, and maintain stable stream flows.

Over the last century, beaver populations in North America have declined from over 60 million to as few as 6 million, just 10 percent of their historic size. However, there are no current population assessments of beavers in California, and their population numbers and distribution are not monitored in the state. Beavers have struggled due to the one-two punch of population decimation and habitat loss. Historically, beaver populations declined due to aggressive hunting of their soft silky fur and castor glands, which were used for trade and to be converted into medicine and perfume, and because beavers’ tree harvesting and waterway flooding affect urban and agricultural land uses, but now the primary threat to beavers is habitat destruction and degradation. Human development has resulted in serious impairments to watersheds that beavers depend on.

Consequently, incised stream channels, altered streamflow regimes, and degraded riparian vegetation limit the potential for beaver re-establishment. For these reasons, preventing further habitat degradation and restoring degraded habitats are key to protecting and restoring beaver populations.

Ecosystem Engineers

Beavers are unique because they can create or modify their habitat by building dams and lodges, therefore, reestablishing beavers may help to restore degraded systems. Relocating beavers is effective to restore extirpated populations, expand current ranges, and bolster low population numbers. The beaver itself is one of the major sources for wetland development in the United States, and since 3 out of 10 endangered animals in the United States rely on wetlands, beaver restoration should be a priority.

California has lost more wetlands than any other state. Agricultural and urban uses have altered our rivers by diking, levying, channeling, and canalizing waterways that were once extensively braided river systems. For example, in the Sacramento / San Joaquin Rivers only 7% of historic floodplain area and 9% of stream length remains. It’s time to rebuild those wetlands with a little help from our furry friends.

Beavers are a cost effective and sustainable wetland habitat restoration tool overflowing with water conservation benefits of surface water storage and groundwater recharge. The ecosystem services that beavers provide cannot be replicated by humans and the benefits they provide are irreplaceable.

Beavers Need Help

While the North Coast Region has a beaver deficit, every year hundreds of beavers are killed in California’s Central Valley by Wildlife Services, a federal agency tasked with (lethal) “removal” of “problem” or “nuisance” animals because landowners view them as a pest. The Department of Fish and Wildlife also issues depredation permits for landowners to trap and kill nuisance beavers on their property.

Instead of trapping and killing beavers that are unwanted in other regions, it is imperative that a relocation program is created, so that beavers can be relocated to North Coast rivers and other places to help restore streams and wetlands. Beaver reintroduction is a sustainable cost-effective strategy, but we need to work with stakeholders to navigate the political, regulatory and biological frameworks to safely restore their populations.


Klamath National Forest’s Latest Projects

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
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EPIC is sharpening our pencils because we have a lot of work to do: three new destructive projects from the Klamath National Forest have arrived in our mailbox in three days. We have a new massive salvage sale, plans for roadside logging (where there shouldn’t even be roads!), and road construction on public land to facilitate logging on private land. Ugh.

Here’s a brief glimpse of what we have in store:

Another Huge Post-Fire Logging Project

Another year, another terrible, horrible, no good, very bad post-fire logging project: the Seiad-Horse Project. The project consists of five different components: Roadside hazard tree removal; fuel reduction along private property; post-fire logging; and replanting; and underburning. Some things—such as fuels work near private property and underburning—are things that EPIC (generally) can support. Others, like the massive post-fire logging, make us spitting mad! Like the controversial Westside Project, the Siead-Horse Project proposes massive clearcuts—around 1,726 acres—in areas that logging should be prohibited. An initial look at our owl maps shows that much of the project is within occupied northern spotted owl habitat.

To make matters worse, the Forest Service is attempting to evade federal environmental law by shortcutting environmental review. As a warning: we are about to get wonky. The project is being pushed through an Environmental Analysis (EA), which takes a light look at the potential environmental impacts of a project instead of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that should be required. By skirting a more thorough look at the impacts, the Forest Service evades the crucial public review of the impacts of the project—all to speed up the timeline ever so slightly. Because we know the Forest Service reads our blogs, let me be clear: this approach will backfire. Do a full EIS.

There are some positive signs that the Forest Service is listening to our comments (and our lawsuits). The project proposes replanting, but only in areas where natural reforestation could be impacted, such as in large patches of high-severity fire where there is a general lack of nearby trees to reseed the forest. And we are encouraged that underburning is a component of the project, something that EPIC has been advocating for many years.

Salvage Logging Under Another Name

The Klamath National Forest has proposed a second salvage logging project, the “Oak Fire Roadside Hazard Tree Removal Project,” although here the logging will be limited to the roadside along 39 miles of roads near Happy Camp. To the extent that our society (and our tax dollars) supports salvage logging projects, this is the type of project that the Forest Service should pursue.

Again, while this is the type of project that the Forest Service should pursue—it is important for forest users to be safe on public roads—and many of these roads should be closed and decommissioned. The roadside logging will occur through areas where roads—and logging projects—are inappropriate, such as Late Successional Reserves (lands that are to be managed for the protection and development of old growth characteristics) and Inventoried roadless areas (duh, right?).

Like the Seiad-Horse Logging Project, the Forest Service is attempting to avoid compliance with federal environmental laws, pushing this project through a “categorical exclusion,” meaning that the Forest Service will conduct no formal environmental review on the project. The timber industry has been pushing for more of this lawless logging through bills that are currently making their way through Congress.

Public Road Construction for Private Profit

The Hancock Road Access Project would allow the construction of a new forest road just so that a private timber company could log its land easier. A road already exists to the property; this new road—across our public lands—is just to increase private timber profit. Welcome to the world of Trump’s Forest Service.

The new road would be punched in along a ridgetop and will be visible from Mount Ashland, among other places. This new road violates directives in the Klamath National Forest’s Management Plan to limit these types of projects and to minimize impacts to viewsheds. Although this project is relatively minor in comparison to the large scale salvage projects proposed above—only 34 trees will be cut in total—it is still distressing to see (another) sweetheart deal for timber companies.


Timberland Productivity—A Promise Unfulfilled

Wednesday, December 13th, 2017
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There are some 33 million acres of forestland in the State of California. Prior to European-American intervention, California boasted some of the most magnificent and ecologically unique, diverse, and critical forest types on the planet; from the giant sequoias of the south-western slopes of the Sierra, to the forests of the Cascade and Klamath Mountains in the north, to the coast redwoods standing sentinel watching over the rugged and expansive Pacific Coastline, California’s forest richness and diversity was unrivaled.

Nearly 200 years of intensive and mostly unregulated timber harvesting and forest land conversion and fragmentation, combined with the damaging effects of fire exclusion and forest ecosystem simplification for industrial plantations has sculpted a landscape that is very different and would likely be unrecognizable to pre-European-American indigenous populations.

California has made several attempts to reign in and constrain logging and timber harvesting on private forest lands since the earliest days of State government establishment. The very first State Board of Forestry and State Forester positions were created by the Legislature as early as 1887, with the first attempt at a State Forest Practice Act occurring in 1945. These early attempts to control logging of California’s forests were enacted to address well-recognized depletion of forest productivity and timber supply, as the original “old-growth” forests of the State were being stripped off the landscape at a frightening pace.

The modern-day Z’Berg-Negedly California Forest Practice Act of 1973 was enacted by the State Legislature in response to continual and rapid forest and timber supply depletion from over-aggressive extraction and profit-only-minded logging on private forestlands. The 1973 Act attempted to strike a precarious balance between the influence and power of the private timber industry and the needs of the State with the goal of forest management on private lands to achieve, “Maximum Sustained Production of High-Quality Timber Products,” while giving consideration to a suite of environmental, economic and social objectives, including protection of fish, wildlife, soil, water quality, employment, economic viability, and aesthetics, among other things.

Forty years later, it is clear that the careful balance contemplated has not been achieved, and that neither the productivity of our precious and irreplaceable forestlands, nor the viability of our fish, watersheds, wildlife, soil, employment and regional economies have been protected from an over-rapacious timber industry.

What happened? Agency administrative and regulatory frameworks have failed, plain and simple. To start with, the Board of Forestry never acted to adopt rules or standards to define Maximum Sustained Production of High-Quality Timber Products or to establish limits on harvest in relation to growth, or to even define acceptable standards and methods for silvicultural applications. That is, until it was forced to do so in 1994, some 20 years after creation of the Act, as a consequence of the landmark lawsuit brought by the Redwood Coast Watershed Alliance (RCWA).

The RCWA lawsuit forced the Board of Forestry to adopt rules to address Maximum Sustained Production; not by defining limits, but by allowing individual timberland owners to define their own productivity levels, constraints on productivity and their own means of achieving the self-prescribed productivity levels. What’s more, the Board of Forestry did not define “High-Quality Wood Product” claiming that forest products markets would self-define and constrain wood product quality.

The Board of Forestry created three voluntary options for private timberland owners to address how Maximum Sustained Production would be realized. For large, “industrial” timberland owners of 50,000-acres and greater, options (a) and (b) were created. “Option-(a)” directs the industry to produce the yield of timber products specified by the landowner. Which has been the primary vehicle used in the last 20 years by industrial timberland owners as opposed to “Option-(b)” a Sustained Yield Plan, and this is no small wonder. Sustained Yield Plans require preparation of an Environmental Impact Report, require assessment of cumulative impacts, and requires protection of soils, fish, wildlife, and watershed resources; “Option-(a)” requires none of this. Further, Sustained Yield Plans require public disclosure of all information and analysis considered as part of the EIR process; “Option-(a)” does not.

“Option-(a)” requires no monitoring of the proposed plan’s implementation, requires no reporting, and withholds from public disclosure almost all the information that might inform the how’s and why’s of the plan on the basis that the information is considered, “confidential trade secrets.”

Even the Department of Forestry itself, an agency always under the pressure of industry-capture, has urged the Board of Forestry several times in recent years to harmonize the options for Maximum Sustained Production and to do away with “Option-(a).” Since the Option-(a) rules don’t require provisions for monitoring, enforcement, administration or re-assessment as-necessary, CAL FIRE has a program wrought with inconsistencies and that lacks parody in application and administration.

The consequences of allowing the timber industry to self-define, self-attain, self-monitor and self-report its own forestland productivity plans is the continued depletion of forestlands and the continued depletion of timber supply, environment, infrastructure and economy. Native, diverse forests continue to be converted into sanitized mono-culture industrial fiber farm plantations that are far more susceptible to insect infestation, disease, fire, and inhibited growth from decades of soil biotic depletion. Instead of native and diverse forests, California continues to see what Sierra Pacific Industries owner Archie Aldis, “Red” Emmerson referred to as “toothpicks and match sticks,” cultivated on our hillsides.

EPIC is working to challenge the failed forest policy of allowing the industry to self-define and self-regulate its productivity standards. EPIC is actively working to question and challenge individual “Option-(a)” plans through the THP process, and is working at the policy level to persuade the Board of Forestry to take a fresh look at modernizing and harmonizing its rules governing Maximum Sustained Production. The hill is tall and the pathway is tangled in the weeds of the words, but EPIC is there, untangling the web and demonstrating to the Board and the agency that the time has come for change.

California’s forests are the best weapon the State has to combat climate change, as forests can capture or store or “sequester” carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere and keep it in living green biomass such as trees and plants; however, two centuries of state-enabled forest mismanagement means that we are capturing and storing far less carbon than we should be. Taking back the reins of forestland productivity from the timber industry may be the only way to reduce the amount of atmospheric carbon and to stabilize and mitigate mass deforestation, which is increasing the greenhouse gas effect and driving climate change.

EPIC is dedicated to changing the game for our private forests, and hopefully, changing the ending when it comes to forest productivity and climate change.


Give the Gift of Public Lands

Wednesday, December 6th, 2017
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I am sure you’ve seen the news: President Trump, acting upon Interior Secretary Zinke’s recommendation, has announced the shrinking of two national monuments: Bears Ears—created last December by President Barack Obama—by about 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante—designated in 1996 by President Bill Clinton—by nearly half. Now Zinke is recommending drastic changes to our local Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, reducing the size to exclude lands coveted by Big Timber.

You have a right to be pissed off—these are public lands and should be protected for the benefit of all, not just special interest. Thankfully, Native American tribes and conservation groups are taking Trump to court over this illegal use of power.

When Zinke first recommended reducing the size of our national monuments, EPIC held a press conference to “officially” rename toilets “Zinkes” in honor of our Interior Secretary, because he’s leaving a crappy legacy on our public lands.

If you donate $100 today, you can get your own commemorative Zinke sign! Each Zinke sign is handmade by our Executive Director, Tom Wheeler, out of reclaimed wood. All proceeds will go to EPIC’s Public Lands Defense program, which has commented on every major timber sale in our region for the past 15 years. Our public lands defense program, led by Kimberly Baker, has the highest rate of success against the U.S. Forest Service in the country—winning over 60% of all cases.

We encourage all of our members to take up the name. For example, you can say, “Wow, that’s a stinky Zinke,” upon encountering a particularly smelly toilet. Or before hitting the trail, you can tell your hiking partner, “Hold on, I need to hit the Zinke.” Or, if the Zinke is nearing capacity, you can let someone know, “That Zinke is full of crap.”

Give the gift of public lands this Christmas. If you ask nicely, we’ll even gift wrap it for you! Donate by December 15th in order to ensure your sign arrives in time for Christmas!


Three Takeaways from the Draft California Elk Management Plan

Thursday, November 30th, 2017
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Rosevelt Elk photo by Rob Diperna

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife have released their Draft Elk Conservation and Management Plan. For us elk fanatics—we have a couple of them in the office, including the author—we have been anxiously awaiting this report. (Read it yourself here!) Here are four quick takeaways from the report and how they can affect our wildlife and land management decisions.

Elk Need Fire!

Elk like to graze on young brush and shrubs. Before European colonization, fire helped keep a steady supply of young, tender and nutritious browse available. The history of fire suppression has reduced the habitat quality of our lands. With fire suppression, forests have become more dense with trees and our shrubs have become more mature. Helping to reestablish fire on the landscape will benefit elk by improving their habitat. (As if we needed another reason to end the war on fire!)

Wolves Will Need More Elk!

Wolves are back in California! This is GREAT news, but to sustain wolf packs (and to reduce incidents of livestock predation), we need more elk. Wolves preferentially prey on elk over deer, when present, but will eat deer when elk are not present. Here’s the rub: we don’t have elk like we used to. California was once home to an estimated 500,000 elk; today, there are ~12,900. California’s elk populations are also significantly smaller and patchier compared to other western states where wolves have become reestablished. Wolves’ backup food option, deer, are suffering a long-term statewide decline. To help our wolves (and our elk), we need to get serious

The Elk Management Plan calls for increasing elk populations by 10% by 2028 (in areas where human-elk conflicts are expected to be minimal). The Elk Management Plan also calls for the careful monitoring of individual “Elk Management Units” to watch out for thresholds indicating a serious impact to localized elk populations, such as if a population decline greater than 25% over three years.

Connected Landscapes are Important!

Long-term viability of California’s elk requires a well-connected landscape. Large mammals, such as elk, require interconnected habitats and populations. Absent these connections, we run the risk of genetically isolated populations, increasing the susceptibility to disease and the development of genetic defects. (Think of the problems that royal families have had when inbreeding goes too far….)

The Elk Management Plan highlights that the identification of current elk movement corridors—plus envisioning what corridors the elk might need in a changing future landscape. This is key and something that EPIC has been working on for a LONG time. (Anyone out there remember EPIC’s MAP RAP project from the early 1990s?)


Passive Restoration: Protecting Our Forest-Meadow Soil Reservoirs

Thursday, November 30th, 2017
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A forest meadow in the Marble Mountain Wilderness collects snows and recharges the “sponge”

Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California [i]

It is late November in the Klamath Mountains Bioregion[ii] and snow has begun to accumulate in the high country. For the next six months snow will rule the high mountains and few humans will venture there. While martens hunt in the subnivian space[iii] and the snow grows deeper, water seeps into cracks and fissures in rocks, into the many downed logs which litter unlogged forests and into sponge-like forest and meadow soil, filling the millions of tiny spaces found there with water.

With the coming of springtime warmth, the snowpack begins to melt. Meltwater swells mountain streams and the rivers below enabling Spring Chinook salmon to reach the deep, cold pools in which they will spend the summer. The springtime flood also enables Steelhead and resident trout to spawn higher in our watersheds than would otherwise be possible.

But long after the snowpack is gone, healthy forest and meadow soil continues to slowly yield the water stored in its many pores, sustaining both streamflow, salmon and the water supply on which humans depend through the long dry season. The soil acts like a sponge soaking up water, forming vast reservoirs. But like the sponge in your kitchen, forest and meadow soil can be compressed and compacted, damaging its water storage capacity, increasing flood flows and decreasing dry-season streamflow, also known as baseflow.

Logging, and particularly logging with bulldozers and dragging logs via cables to roads and landings, compacts forest soil damaging its water holding capacity. Livestock grazing can also degrade the health and water holding capacity of soil, particularly the soil underlying the wet meadows, springs, seeps, fens and willow wetlands found at higher elevation within western national forests. Because cattle grazing on public land weigh more than a ton (up to 1500 pounds), the season-long grazing without herding practiced on most western public land severely compacts meadow soil and lowers the water table, thereby reducing the water holding capacity of the meadows.

Real Restoration

The impact of bad logging and unmanaged cattle grazing on the cold baseflows on which salmon and other fishes depend throughout the summer has, for the most part, been ignored by public land managers, tribes, restoration councils and others who expend millions of taxpayer dollars each year to “restore” our streams and salmon. But so long as the water holding capacity of forest and meadow soil continues to be degraded, the active restoration these government and community organizations engage in and fund cannot successfully restore salmon and other Public Trust[iv] stream resources. For restoration to be effective, the activities causing degradation must end as well. Ending the activities which cause resource degradation is known as passive restoration.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, and Regional and State Water Boards are responsible for assuring and that water supplies are protected. Yet these regulatory agencies continue to allow bad logging and poorly managed headwater grazing to damage our mountain forest and meadow soil reservoirs. That ongoing and cumulative degradation of the sponges is preventing recovery of healthy streamflow and healthy salmon runs. Until we as a society insist that those practices, including bad logging and irresponsible grazing, which are the root causes of stream degradation and poor salmon survival finally end, active restoration will continue to fail to achieve its core objectives.

That’s why EPIC, EPIC’s allies and The Project to Reform Public Land Grazing, which EPIC sponsors, focus on ending those practices which damage Northwest California’s and the West’s headwater forest and meadow reservoirs. By insisting on passive restoration, we compliment the work of tribes and restoration groups, rendering the active restoration in which they engage more effective. When you support EPIC you are supporting those efforts, including protecting the vast forest and meadow reservoirs which sustain the water supply on which humans, salmon and healthy streams depend.

Help protect healthy forests and meadows on our public lands!

Click here to donate to the Grazing Reform Project.

Thanks for your support!

Felice Pace, Coordinator

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[i]  The Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California was founded in 2009 to document the bad public land grazing management that has resulted in violation of water quality standards in the very headwater streams that should have the highest water quality and to advocate for regular herding and other modern grazing management practices which, if required, would vastly improve water quality and flows in public land headwater streams.

[ii]  The Klamath Mountains Bioregion extends from Snow Mountain in the Mendocino National Forest to the Rogue and Umpqua River Divide in SW Oregon. It is also known as the Klamath-Siskiyou Bioregion. The Siskiyou Mountains are a prominent East-West running range of the Klamath Mountains.

[iii]  The subnivian space is a thin air layer found between the covering snow and the surface of the soil and its vegetative debris.

[iv]  That water, as well as the fish and wildlife which depend on water, are the common heritage of all humans, and therefore can not be owned and must be shared, has been recognized in western law since the days of the Roman Emperor Justinian. Coming to us via English and US Common Law, the Public Trust Doctrine holds that water, fish and other resources dependent on water are the common heritage of all humans. The PTD also guarantees right of access to all streams within the mean high water level.

 


BREAKING: EPIC Moves to Ban Clearcutting in Humboldt!

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017
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EPIC has submitted a voter initiative to Humboldt County to ban the destructive forestry practice known as “clearcutting” within Humboldt County and implement well-recognized principles of sustainable forestry. Clearcutting and other evenaged management involves the removal of all or nearly all of a forest stand in a single harvest. This extreme forest disturbance harms water quality and wildlife habitat, and exacerbates climate change. Volunteers will be collecting signatures on the petition with the intention of making it on the general election ballot in November 2018.

Humboldt County would join Marin County in banning clearcutting, and would join a number of other local governments, including Berkeley, Brisbane, Daly City, Davis, Menlo Park, Monte Sereno, San Francisco, Saratoga, and Sunnyvale, in expressing their opposition to the practice. Local regulation of timber production is preempted by state law; however, the California Forest Practice Act provides that counties can recommend rules to the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection. These rules must be adopted if the rules are consistent with the Forest Practice Act and necessary to protect the needs of the county.

We have a big task ahead of us. EPIC needs to gather the valid signatures of ~4,000 Humboldt County voters in order to get the initiative on the ballot. Once on the ballot, we will need to turn out voters to push the initiative to victory!

Clearcutting isn’t necessary to run a successful timber company. Humboldt Redwood Company, the successor to Pacific Lumber Company, does not employ evenaged management, for example. Neither does Collins Pine, a timber company based in Plumas, CA. Clearcutting is a relic from another era. It’s time we implement modern sustainable forestry practices in Humboldt.

Three Ways to Help!

We are going to need your help! Big Timber is set to fight us every step of the way.

  1. Spread the news! Share this with your friends and let them know that big change is afoot.
  2. Volunteer! We need signature gathers in Humboldt County ASAP! Sign up here to help collect signatures.
  3. Donate! Printing a voter petition costs lots of money. Help us get the signature gathering off the ground by donating. A donation of $100 will pay for 200 petitions, pens and clipboards.

Action Alert: Oppose Federal “Logging Without Laws” Legislation!

Thursday, November 9th, 2017
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Take Action Now! Last week, the House of Representatives passed the horrific “Logging Without Laws” bill, a piece of legislation that will suspend key environmental laws and push forward Trump’s radical anti-public lands agenda. The bill passed on a near party line vote: 232-188.

Now the fight moves to the Senate. Let’s let our Senators know that we can’t sacrifice our public lands for private profit. Click here to take action.

The deceptively-named “Resilient Federal Forests Act” (H.R. 2936) is the worst piece of forest legislation in EPIC’s lifetime (and that’s saying something, as previous bad bills include the ’95 Salvage Rider and the Bush-era Healthy Forests Restoration Act).

Among the carnage, the bill would:

  • Allow up to 50 square mile clearcuts without examining the environmental impact
  • Undercut the Endangered Species Act by
  • Close the courtroom door for EPIC and other environmental champions.

The Senate is our last hope. Click here to let your Senators know: Oppose the “Logging Without Laws” legislation!

 


Welcome Judith! Fond Farewell Dian!

Thursday, November 9th, 2017
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The ballots have been counted and we have a new Board of Directors at EPIC! We are excited to welcome Judith Mayer to the Board. Judith teaches in HSU’s Department of Environmental Science and Management, and Environment and Community graduate program. She holds MS and PhD degrees in City and Regional Planning. Judith is serving a fourth term on Arcata’s Planning Commission, currently as vice-chair, after two terms on Arcata’s Economic Development Committee. An Arcata resident since 2000, Judith has lived, traveled, studied and worked extensively in the US, Europe, and Asia. A founding member of The Borneo Project of Earth Island Institute, she also served as its Director/Coordinator, and continues on its board. Her research and advocacy for community environmental planning in the US and abroad gives her a local and global perspective on North Coast concerns. Judith hopes to contribute to EPIC’s defense of the Earth, and believes EPIC’s effective public persuasion, collaborative efforts, regulatory advocacy, and willingness to sue if necessary make EPIC the North Coast’s most effective environmental advocacy organization.

EPIC is also excited to welcome back Shawnee Alexandri, Robert Shearer, Peter Martin, Mitra Abidi, Noah Levy, Tom Preble, Nate Madsen, and Tony Silvaggio for another tour of duty on the Board. We are lucky to have such a committed and engaged Board.

EPIC is sad to bid adieu to Dian Griffith. Dian has been a stalwart supporter and friend of EPIC for many years and has served EPIC for 17 years, first as EPIC’s bookkeeper before transitioning to the Board. Dian always provided a keen financial eye, ensuring EPIC’s long-term viability. She also is a good friend and her positive outlook will be missed. While Dian is stepping down from the Board, she is not leaving the community and intends to stay on as an advisor to EPIC. In recognition of Dian’s longtime service to EPIC, we have renamed our annual Volunteer of the Year Award, presented at the Fall Celebration, in her honor. Many thanks, Dian, and happy trails!


Thank You for Supporting 40 Years of Forest Defense!

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017
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The staff and board of the Environmental Protection Information Center would like to thank all of the attendees, businesses, sponsors, volunteers and artists who helped make the 40th Anniversary Fall Celebration a fun and successful event! Each year we look forward to this EPIC reunion where we can visit with people who make up the heart and soul of the redwood region’s environmental movement. The legacy that the EPIC community has made lives on through generations of grassroots activists and continues with the vibrant new energy of those who seek our efforts out to help keep our little corner of California the special place that we all know and love. Attendees included past and current staff, board, volunteers, colleagues, Sempervirens Award winners, and fresh new faces eager to participate in the contemporary environmental movement.

Judi Bari, Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement for Environmental Activism Award Winner

We were honored that Alicia Littletree, Dennis Cunningham, Priscilla Hunter, Polly Girvin and Darryl Cherney gave such eloquent and heartening accounts through spoken word and songs of Judi’s activism and efforts that helped build the Redwood Summer environmental movement that led to the protection of Headwaters Forest. Judi is an inspiration to us all! Considering today’s political climate and continued destruction of the Earth, nonviolent grassroots activism is as crucial as ever. Judi believed that “You cannot seriously address the destruction of the wilderness without addressing the society that is destroying it.” Over 20 years later, this analysis remains true – and is a conversation we should continue with future activists. Honoring Judi is a means to remembering the unity of the Redwood Summer – the fight for not just our environment, but for all those living within it.

Molly Gilmore, Volunteer of the Year

This year Dian Griffith will be leaving the EPIC Board after putting in over a decade of work, we thought it was appropriate to name our volunteer award the Dian Griffith Volunteer of the year award in honor of her hard work and dedication. It was with great pleasure to recognize Molly Gillmore for her ongoing dedication to environmental protection through her volunteer work with EPIC throughout the past year. Molly is a pleasure to have in the office and out in the field, with her positive outlook and cheery personality, she flawlessly handles just about every task we have asked of her. Thanks to Molly for showing up and being motivated to get stuff done, its people like her who make this organization possible!

Business, Artist and Sponsors

A huge thank you goes out to all of the businesses and artists who contributed to the silent auction, dinner, and refreshments, it definitely takes a village to pull this event off! Sincere appreciation to Mad River Brewery, Redway Liquors, Pacific Seafoods, Pocket of Posies flower Shop, Bubbles, Ramones, Wildberries Marketplace, CO-OP, Garberville Community Park, Arcata Exchange, Humboldt Distillery, Jason Lopiccolo, Pen + Pine, Joann Kelly Catsos, Chautaqua Natural Foods, Lagunitas Brewery, Disneyland, Bead Mask, Tot Mocs, Humboldt Spice Co., Mark Henson, Sierra Martin, Redwood Empire Golf & Country Club, Driftwood Designs, Hubb Caps, Myrtletown Healing Center, Endless Jewelry, Stone Leaf Jewelry, Mitra Abidi, Belle Star, Adams Ranch Olives, Flaming Pearl, Mystic Fables, Baby MaMa, Barb’s Designs, Julia Garretson, Oala Khast, Jo Stafinbil, James DeRoso, Ogres by Jam, Sprout, Marilyn Haber, Ragged Thistle, Jewell Distillery, Deja Vux Jewlery, Signature Coffee, Dias Artistry, Patagonia, Nothing Obvious, Fire Lily Ceramics, Organic Attire, Hisel Pottery, Cool Shoe, Godwit Days, Meagan Meadows, Norma Mounce, Laser Trees, Matt Jones Art, SeaPod, Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, Arcata Core Pilates, Hoot and a Holler, Kats Creation, Dandelion Herbal Center, Foodwise Kitchen, Benbow Historic Inn, Humboldt Bay Social Club, The Minor Theater, Nieves, Loise’s Finishing Salts, Plum Blossom Farm, Fungaia Farm, Witch in the Woods, Peter Martin, Tony Sylvaggio, Tom Preble, Virginia Bass, Dani Burkhart, Allen McCloskey, Sungnome Madrone, Compliant Farms, Humboldt County Growers Alliance, Heartwood Institute, Spirit Door Creations, Gypsy and Loud, Red Zola, Synergy, Funshine Daydream, and to Peter, Wyatt, Thomas Dunklin, Nate Madsen, Noah Levy, Mark Harris, Rob of the Redwoods, Turtle River Design, Hal Glick, K. Rudin and the Wheeler and Villalobos family for generously donating rentals and resort accommodations.

Dinner and Music

We have great appreciation for the bands for their contributions that made this another successful EPIC event! Casey Neill and the Norway Rats and Alice DiMicele rocked the house, keeping people on the dancefloor into the wee hours of the morning, and thanks to Joanne Rand for setting the tone with her heartfelt songs, and to Robin Krauss and Rob Siefert for handling the lights and sound. We are also very grateful to Sue Moloney and Sue’s Organics kitchen crew for preparing the gourmet, organic, locally-sourced meal that we were able to share while we dined and laughed with our colleagues, friends and the EPIC Community.

Volunteers

Thank you to Sue Moloney for rounding up and cooking our delicious dinner, Duff and Julian for kicking butt on the dishes, Michael McKaskle for holding down the kitchen, Molly, Bella, and Jenna for coordinating the Silent Auction, Shawnee Alexandri for hauling all the rental items, setup and cleanup, Deja for helping setup, bartend and cleanup, Emily and Serenity Wood for holding down the front entry tickets, Mitra, Tony, Anne, Morgan, and Rob Fishman for managing the bar, Tryphena for hospitality and supplies, Casey, Emily and Matt for helping create our adorable pinecone owl centerpieces, Bruce and Shohei for their assistance in arranging the table decorations, and Adam, Lexi, and Dan and Abbey for lending a hand from start to finish!

This year, Vidu documented the event with his amazing video and photography skills. Thank you Vidu! Click here to check out EPIC photos from the event.


Stop Mendocino National Forest Clearcutting!!!

Thursday, October 19th, 2017
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Take Action Now: The Mendocino National Forest is proposing roughly 1,000 acres of even-aged logging – basically clearcutting – in the headwaters of Grindstone Creek. This includes; green tree retention, group selection, overstory removal and shelterwood seed cut. Green tree retention removes 85% of the trees, group selection equates to mini-clearcuts, overstory removal cuts all the big trees and leaves the smaller ones and shelterwood leaves a few large trees to provide a future seed source. Called the “Four Beetles South” project, the Forest Service is using legal loopholes to avoid public comment to cut a vast swath of forest. This is an alarming return to the old-school industrial practices that we thought we had escaped on national forests.

The plan is being pushed through with minimal environmental analysis and only one opportunity for public comment, also known as a categorical exclusion (CE), purportedly to “avoid litigation.” But by attempting to avoid litigation, the Four Beetles South project is instead inviting it. If the final decision on the project were unfavorable, only filing a lawsuit in federal court could change its course.

In order to use a CE, projects must meet an exacting set of requirements. It must: be a restoration treatment; maximize the retention of old-growth and large trees; use the best available science while maintaining ecological integrity; and it has to be developed and implemented through collaborative process. Four Beetles South fails to meet those requirements.

This “forest health” project is purportedly aimed at making the forest more resilient to insects and disease and is necessary to stop beetles from killing trees. The agency claims it is mimicking beetles by killing trees but it is just capturing the monetary value. In essence, the Forest Service wants to kill the trees to protect the forest, but without trees and snags, there is not forest to protect.

Deforestation, e.g. even-aged logging, has caused an extreme fire hazard throughout our forests, is the leading cause of the 6th great mass extinction of wildlife and directly attributes to global warming. Instead of protecting our forests, the Forest Service is moving forward to make a quick buck and meet timber targets. It’s time agency planners, who are supposed to be serving the public and caring for the land, get with the 21st century.

Please urge the Mendocino National Forest Supervisor and Acting Grindstone District Ranger to rescind the Four Beetles South scoping notice!


EPIC 40th Anniversary Fall Celebration with Casey Neill, Alice DiMicele and Joanne Rand

Thursday, October 12th, 2017
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You are cordially invited to celebrate forty years of grassroots activism for forest and wildlife protection at the EPIC Fall Celebration on Friday, November 3rd from 6pm-midnight at the Mateel Community Center in Redway, CA. We are very pleased to present musical activists Casey Neill and the Norway Rats, Alice DiMicele and Joanne Rand who will be sure to take us on a trip back in time down memory lane, through the redwood curtain and to the roots of the North Coast environmental movement.

EPIC FALL CELEBRATION SCHEDULE

6:00          Doors Open/ Music with Joanne Rand & Rob Diggins

7:00          Sue’s Organics Gourmet Dinner

7:30          Sempervirens Award Ceremony for Judi Bari

9:00          Alice DiMicele

10:00        Silent Auction Closes

10:15        Casey Neill & the Norway Rats

We will be serving up an organic locally sourced gourmet dinner catered by Humboldt County favorite, Sue’s Organics kitchen crew. Sue’s Organics began as a vegan catering business in Humboldt County, California. Their mission is to make the most delicious organic vegan combinations of dressings, sauces and food available to the community.

During dinner, we will be honoring the late Judi Bari with the Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of her renowned environmental, labor and social justice leadership. Bari’s

activism with Earth First! and philosophy of nonviolent protest set the tone for success of Redwood Summer and future direct action movements against corporate logging.

Judi Bari was far more than simply an environmentalist; she was an avid advocate for workers, and the rights of working people. In addition to being a prominent member of Earth First! Judi was also a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), and spent tremendous time and energy not only working to slow the destruction of the last of the old-growth redwoods, but also to organize and cooperate with timber and mill workers, many of whom knew and understood the consequences of the destruction of the forest would also mean an end to their jobs and way of life.

After the awards, we will have a throw back experience dancing on the ruins of multinational corporations with Casey Neill and the Norway Rats and Alice DiMicele.

CASEY NEILL AND THE NORWAY RATS

Casey Neill has been engaged with EPIC and the forest protection movement since the Headwaters era. The music of Casey Neill & The Norway Rats combines high energy rave-ups and haunting sonic reveries built around narrative songwriting. Their latest CD/LP “All You Pretty Vandals” garnered rave reviews from national press, online blogs, and widespread radio play. His songs are stories of American life, anthems for social change, and occasionally something about outer space. The Norway Rats are Chet Lyster (guitar), Kathryn Claire (fiddle), Jesse Emerson (bass) and Stuart Murray (drums). Casey Neill tours extensively throughout the US, Japan, and Europe with the band and solo. A new record ‘Subterrene’ is slated for release next year.

“Reclaiming tradition and social consciousness as weapons of resistance and tools for significant societal change, Neill appeals to our desire for collective experience, spinning touching and uplifting stories of hope, dignity and progressive politics. Be it through raucous rockers, fragile acoustic ballads, passionate bursts of punk fury or soulful touches of Irish folk, Neill’s narrative talent and concern for real people’s struggles stand out.” Marco Rivera, SPLENDID

 “I hear the passion in his singing” – Pete Seeger

ALICE DIMICLE

Alice DiMicele seeks to uplift the human experience through music. Her lyrics are love incantations to the elements earth, water, fire, and air. Drawing from a rich musical background including folk, jazz, funk, rock, and soul DiMicele’s acoustic music incorporates many styles creating a fresh funky stew all her own. With her powerful band behind her, or alone with her acoustic guitar Alice’s multi-octave voice soars high and rumbles deep. As a lyricist and singer DiMicele invokes passionate emotion.With thirteen self-released albums and almost 30 years of touring under her belt, DiMicele is a master of her craft and knows how to delight her audiences be it on a large festival stage, a theatre, or a house concert.

JOANNE RAND

Touring nationally for 30+ years playing original “Psychedelic-Folk-Revival” music, Joanne Rand has just released her 16th indie CD of original songs. Rand’s vocal styling is all her own: “magical and luxuriant, like the best brandy in the world” (-No Depression). Her songs have been called “Nothing short of brilliant,” by Santa Rosa Press Democrat. “Joanne Rand’s voice raises your hair. Elegance and fierceness in the same deep breath,” writes poet Gary Snyder. Rand’s 2015 & 2016 CDs both made the folk DJ most-played-list nationwide and are receiving worldwide airplay.

Born and bred in the Deep South, Rand has performed in Manhattan, L.A., Toronto, Atlanta, Seattle, Hawaii, Alaska & the Amazon. A North Bay readers’ poll once voted her “Best Acoustic Band.” Based in rural Northern California, with a BFA in music composition, she has performed alongside such greats as Bonnie Raitt, Micky Hart, John Hartford, John Trudell, Dougie McLean.

Rand’s songs reflects a wide array of styles (folk, rock, jazz, Celtic, psychedelic, gospel), weaving tales of: War, peace, loyalty, betrayal, hope and humor. “One of the year’s freshest, most distinctive offerings.”-Roots Music Report.

Rob Diggins will accompany Joanne Rand. Diggins is a principal violinist with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra and San Francisco’s Magnificat and will be showing off his fusion, folk, world music and psychedelic rock chops as well as his classical virtuosity.

Volunteers are needed to help with the production of this event. If you are interested in getting involved, please email amber@wildcalifornia.org or call 707-822-7711.

 

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Click Here to visit the Brown Paper Tickets event page.

This year’s silent auction will be amazing! Come prepared to do your holiday shopping with all proceeds going to an important, effective and local cause that benefits wildlife and wild places.

We have rounded up a family trip to Disney Land with accommodations, original artwork, locally crafted products, gift baskets, Dandelion Herbal Center’s “Beginning with Herbs” course, overnight stays at Benbow Inn and Airbnb, artisan jewelry, leather masks, hand crafted ceramics, gift cards, redwood and paddle adventure tours and more!!

 

 

 

 

 


EPIC Urges Supervisors: No New Grows!

Thursday, October 12th, 2017
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EPIC is urging the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the Planning Commission to focus the county’s new cannabis land use ordinance on getting existing cannabis farms to comply with environmental regulations and enforcing against individuals who refuse to come into compliance, not expand growing by permitting new farms to out-of-area developers intent on getting rich from the green rush. Read EPIC’s letter to the Board of Supervisors.

It’s no secret: cannabis cultivation has caused significant environmental damage, from forest fragmentation, water theft and pollution, loss of wildlife habitat, and noise and light pollution. The vast majority of these impacts are coming from unpermitted operations. According to the County, only 8-13% of Humboldt’s cannabis farms have applied for a land use permit. Faced with such dramatic existing “background” cumulative effects, the county should not add to the problem by permitting new cultivators. Instead, the county should focus its resources on either getting existing operations to comply with our environmental regulations or take enforcement action.

EPIC remains committed to the principle that a well-regulated cannabis industry is best for our environment and community. The proposed land use regulations, if followed, will ensure that an individual operation will have a low impact on the environment, likely below that of other forms of agriculture.

More vigorous enforcement is on the way.

In August, the Board of Supervisors increased the Planning Department’s power to enforce against noncompliant operations. The Supervisors decreased the time between a notice of code violation and an abatement order, from 75 to ten days, as well as the Board’s approval of a drastically steeper fine schedule, with a total maximum fine increasing from $10,000 to $90,000. The County has already dramatically increased the number of employees in its Planning Department to process applications and to enforce against noncompliant operations. We are told that the County now has two employees whose job it is to review aerial imagery to look for noncompliant farms and to notify these operations that the County will begin enforcement against them.

 

 


Remembering David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain

Wednesday, October 11th, 2017
By

Photo credit: Penny Andrews/ James Ficklin HAVOC

In the waning months of the Campaign to Save Headwaters Forest prior to the consummation of the March 1, 1999 Headwaters Forest Agreement, known among environmental activists of the time as “The Deal,” tensions between Pacific Lumber Company loggers, private security, and Earth First! forest defenders using their bodies to slow the logging of the old-growth redwoods were on edge. Over a decade of tension and conflict—punctuated by events like the Owl Creek Massacre, the massive non-violent civil disobedience actions of September 1995, 1996, and 1997, and the violent use of Q-tip swabbed pepper-spray in the eyes of immobilized Earth First! protesters by Humboldt County Sheriffs Office—had created a power-keg waiting only for a spark to ignite and fully explode.

That spark was eventually generated by a face-to-face conflict between timber fallers and Earth First! forest defenders. On September 17, 1998, David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain was killed when irate Pacific Lumber Company timber faller, A.E. Aemmons, cut  and felled a tree directly at a group of Earth First! forest defenders on a logging site above Grizzly Creek, adjacent to Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.

Although video tape footage recorded by Earth First! forest defenders clearly showed the angry A.E. Aemmons verbally threatening to kill the forest defenders, then-Humboldt County District Attorney, Terry Farmer, refused to bring charges against the Pacific Lumber Company timber faller, threatening to file manslaughter charges against the forest defenders instead.

Soon after Gypsy’s death, it was revealed that the California Department of Forestry & Fire Protection had charged Pacific Lumber with at least 250 violations of the California Forest Practice Act between 1995 and 1997. These violations continued to accumulate in 1998, and in November of that year, Pacific Lumber became the first company ever to lose its logging license in California. Within less than six months, the Headwaters Forest Agreement between Charles Hurwitz’s MAXXAM Corporation and its subsidiary Pacific Lumber Company, and the State and Federal governments was signed, sealed, and delivered, transferring what is now the 7,500-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve into public ownership for the price-tag of $480 million.

To the surprise of no one, the MAXXAM Corporation eventually ran Pacific Lumber into the ground, and by 2008, PALCO had filed for bankruptcy, marking the close of nearly two decades of protests and conflict between environmentalists and the company.

Gypsy, only 24-years-old, found his way to the California redwoods all the way from Texas, and like so many of us, was captivated by the majesty of the redwood forest, but heartbroken by its ongoing destruction. The hillsides above Grizzly Creek where Gypsy was killed were an important connectivity corridor and buffer between Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park, and old-growth redwood on then-Pacific Lumber Company property that has since been acquired by the State and added to the park. Like so many of the places at-risk in the MAXXAM-era old-growth liquidation logging days at Pacific Lumber, Grizzly Creek was a lesser-known and out-of-the-way place that remained on the chopping block until an option for purchase was included in the Headwaters Forest Agreement by the California State Legislature at the 11th hour.

This September 17, 2017, commemorated the 19-year anniversary of Gypsy’s death. March 1, 2017, marked the 18-year anniversary of the creation of the Headwaters Forest Reserve. On September 17th, EPIC sponsored and led a hike into what is now the Headwaters Forest Reserve on the Salmon Pass Trail, accessed via the Newburg Gate in Fortuna, once the site of massive demonstrations against the destruction of Headwaters, in honor of the memory of David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain. 17 local citizens joined the three-mile loop hike, which includes a traverse through a patch of remaining old-growth redwood now spared from the destructive MAXXAM-era Pacific Lumber Company chainsaws, but many of which still bare the scar of the blue-paint-stripe mark that signified the logger’s intent to cut.

Thanks to David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain and the thousands of others who came to northern California from all over the country and the world to protest the destruction of the last remaining old-growth redwoods on private lands, there today stands a Headwaters Forest Reserve, inside which stand many trees that would have otherwise surely fallen for repayment of junk-bond debt.

This article was published in the EcoNews.