EPIC Fall Celebration Featuring Monophonics

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Monophonics Logo - Orange & ClearMonophonics Approve horizontal photo

You are cordially invited to the Environmental Protection Information Center’s 38th Annual Fall Celebration with Monophonics! We are celebrating 38 years of EPIC’s important forest protection work on the North Coast that has helped to preserve some of the largest intact wildest places in the nation.

This year, EPIC proudly presents the Bay Area’s finest psychedelic soul funk band “Monophonics” at the Mateel Community Center on Friday, November 6th featuring a locally sourced, gourmet family-style meal catered by local favorite, Outlaw Kitchen. Doors open at 6:00 PM with a full bar featuring beer, wine and specialty cocktails.

Dine with friends while singer songwriter Josephine Johnson plays her sultry folk tunes. During dessert, the Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award of Environmental Activism will be presented to Betty and Gary Ball, co-founders of the Mendocino Environmental Center. Betty Ball, the consummate networker, was integral to the California Forests Forever ballot initiative, Redwood Summer and the campaign to protect the Headwaters Forest.

An elaborate auction featuring locally hand-crafted art and wares will be a great place for picking up holiday gifts for friends and family. Fall Celebration tickets are available at Wildberries Marketplace, Redway Liquors, and online at All-inclusive dinner and music tickets are $60 (seating is limited) and music only is $20. Doors open at 6pm and Monophonics begins at 9. For more information, visit or call 822-7711.

Josephine JohnsonJosephine writes and sings music from the heart–think Norah Jones, Stevie Nicks, and Janis Joplin meeting up for an afternoon nip of Southern Comfort. Piet Dalmolen is a guitar heavy on the Humboldt scene, most notably in The Nucleus, Free Rain, Money, and Full Moon Fever. Together they deliver a dynamic punch of soulful rock.

We couldn’t do our work without people like you, and this event is a great way for us to commemorate nearly four decades of grassroots support. We hope you will join us on this special occasion to party for a purpose: “For the wild!”



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6:15 PM – Cocktail hour begins

7:00 PM – Gourmet dinner served by Outlaw Kitchen

8:00 PM – Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement and Volunteer of the Year Awards Ceremony takes place

9:00 PM – Bay Area psychedelic soul funk band Monophonics will take the stage


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Monophonics is “One of the best live soul bands I have ever seen!”  Al Bell (Record producer, songwriter, executive, and co-owner of legendary Stax Records)

Raised amid the rich musical culture and history of the San Francisco Bay Area, Monophonics proudly carry the torch through the generations into today’s musical landscape. Holding on to tradition, but by no means purists of any kind, they play their own brand of music known as “Psychedelic Soul.”

Touching on Northern soul, doowop, rock and roll, Psych pop, and cinematic music, Monophonics show off their diversity while remaining true to their roots. Overall it’s heartfelt music and old school vibes, without losing sight of the present. This is music steeped in that timeless feeling when people could write and produce songs that you could listen to over and over again.

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We are seeking volunteers for setup, kitchen and cleanup, if you are interested in volunteering, please email or call 707-822-7711.

Existing North Coast Cannabis Cultivators: Come into Compliance

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

PotleafEPIC applauds the Humboldt County Supervisors for their decision to begin drafting a large-scale medical marijuana land use ordinance that will comply with the new California state laws and the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s water quality order. Local control is critical for our future; we must develop land-use policies that reflect our values such as the protection of forests, families, fish and farmers.

By moving a local land-use ordinance forward, the county is taking the initial steps toward ensuring existing farmers are allowed to come into compliance with the new laws and become part of legitimate society. The first step in this process is to address “existing cultivators.” The goal should be to bring as many cultivators, including those cultivating on Timber Production Zone (TPZ) who are willing to take immediate action to ensure baseline environmental standards are met, into compliance—to be treated as responsible and legitimate business owners. After the county gets a handle on existing cultivation, it can then, begin to address, if, how and where it should allow any new cultivation areas.

EPIC does not support the further conversion of working forests for commercial agriculture, or residential development, because it threatens our vision of creating a well connected, healthy and restored forest ecosystem. When addressing the Humboldt County Supervisors and California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH) EPIC recommended that an ordinance address existing cultivation, and remove language from the law/ordinance that would explicitly allow future cultivation on TPZ lands.

Existing Humboldt County TPZ landowners, who are cultivating, need to initiate the permitting process with the North Coast Water Board—the current deadline for enrollment is February 15, 2016. The new county regulations will require compliance with the Water Board and Department of Fish & Wildlife regulations—now is the time to get started. The state’s new laws require licenses from local jurisdictions.

We are entering a new era in our collective history. We need to work together to ensure systems are in place to stop further environmental damage, provide clear lines for what is and is not acceptable and create a safe-harbor for willing cultivators to come into compliance. I believe it is possible that Humboldt County can have both—protected and restored watersheds and well-regulated, salmon-safe cannabis farms—do you?

For more information and to read the new California laws and North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board’s waiver, click here.

No Small Feat—Your Comments Helped Protect Rare Mendocino Pygmy Cypress Woodlands and Marbled Murrelets

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

SavedMendocino_Pygmy_Forest_in_Van_Damme_State_Park_2Wikipedia-commons-225x300Thanks to the actions taken by EPIC members, the City of Fort Bragg and the County of Mendocino (collectively referred to as the “Joint Powers Authority,”) have indefinitely postponed the hearing to consider certification of the Environmental Impact Report for the Mendocino Central Coast Waste Transfer Station Project.

The Mendocino Central Coast Waste Transfer Station Project would have taken 12.6 acres from Russian Gulch State Park, which contains extremely rare Mendocino Pygmy Cypress Forests, Northern Bishop Pine Forests, and, as recently revealed, several old-growth Douglas fir trees, which State Park biologist have concluded serve as suitable potential marbled murrelet habitat, and given it to the Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Currently, the land is protected in the State Parks system in perpetuity. Should this deal have gone down, the lands would be subject to logging operations pursuant to the Jackson Demonstration State Forest’s mandate and management plan and in exchange the State Park would receive lands that were formerly used as a landfill—Hmm, there is definitely something is rotten about this project…

The Joint Powers Authority was poised to approve the EIR for the transfer station project at a hearing scheduled in Fort Bragg in August, 2015. However, comments submitted by EPIC staff, and comments received from 1,209 EPIC members via our Action Alert have caused the agency to postpone the certification of the EIR indefinitely to allow for “further consideration.” The Joint Powers Authority transfer station project will likely now need to go back to the “drawing board.”

EPIC gets results, thanks to you! EPIC staff wishes to thank all our members who participated in our Action Alert, or otherwise provided comments on the transfer station project. Our collective efforts have likely served to protect the rare and unique pygmy forestlands of Russian Gulch State Park.

Your actions, and your donations, make a big difference! Please consider making a gift to EPIC so that our top-notch advocacy for Northwest California’s forests can continue.

Read EPIC’s Comment Letter Regarding the Waste Transfer Station 8.11.15

Listen to the KMUD Environment show hosted by EPIC’s Wildlife and Forest Advocate, Rob DiPerna discussing issues associated with the rare pygmy forest.


A Day on the Elk River

Monday, September 28th, 2015
Elk River Train Trestle. Photo Courtesy of Natalynne DeLapp.

Elk River Train Trestle. Photo Courtesy of Natalynne DeLapp.

The consequences of the recent intensive timber extraction in the Elk River watershed are fairly well-understood—landslides, bank erosion, gullying, road-related runoff, and failed road facilities, among many other impacts, have resulted in an astronomical amount of sediment being delivered and deposited into Elk River and its tributaries, resulting in rises in the level of the riverbed and channel restrictions, over-vegetation, and of course, causing significant increases in the frequency and intensity of flooding. Individuals and families have lost their domestic and agricultural water sources, have their homes flooded and have their ingress and egress to and from their homes blocked from three to 20 times-a-year. Fences are destroyed and can’t be rebuilt because the next high water would destroy them, houses can’t be lived in because of continuous mold problems and septic systems are flooded.

In modern times, the discussion continues as to what impacts contemporary logging operations are having, as conducted by HRC and Green Diamond Resource Company, the two large industrial timberland owners in the watershed. Each of these postulates that so-called “legacy” i.e., historic, or pre-contemporary operations, impacts, and practices are to blame for the condition of Elk River, and that contemporary operations do not significantly contribute to the problems.

Humboldt Redwood Company, unlike its counterpart, Green Diamond Resource Company, maintains an “open-door policy” when it comes to visitors on its property. So, earlier this month, EPIC staff joined representatives of Humboldt Redwood Company, and long-time upper Elk River resident, Kristi Wrigley, on a field tour to witness current on-the-ground conditions on HRC property, and to discuss the logging, environmental, and most importantly the human issues in the upper part of the basin.

Our tour began not on HRC land, but at the infamous concrete bridge over the North Fork Elk River at the corner of Elk River Road and Wrigley Road. There, we viewed the over-grown vegetation on the banks of the river, with thick layers of sediment deposits clearly visible on the river-bottom as well. Here, the channel gradient is very low, and as we all know, water, as well as sediment, which is carried by water, flows downhill. In reaching this low gradient section of the river, the sediment has nowhere to go, and the river does not have enough assimilative capacity to carry all the sediment downstream. There is little wonder that the flooding continues at its frequent and frightening pace here.

Elk RIver flooding bridge. Photo courtesy of Kristi Wrigley.

Elk River flooding stone bridge at the corner of Elk River and Wrigley Roads. Photo courtesy of Kristi Wrigley.

We then spent the rest of the day progressively moving up the watershed on HRC property. We viewed revegetating MAXXAM-era clear-cuts, and second growth redwood stands selectively harvested by HRC over the last several years. The old MAXXAM-era clear-cuts seem to be regenerating, but also appear to be jam-packed with innumerable young tress. HRC’s selectively logged areas, by contrast, largely contained what appeared to be well-spaced and stocked post-harvest.

Elk River Restoration Project on HRC Land. Photo courtesy of Nataynne DeLapp.

We also viewed two stream restoration effort sites along the Elk River on HRC land, where woody material is being placed back in the river to create complexity, flow mediation, and salmonid habitat enhancement.

That evening, EPIC’s Rob DiPerna joined Elk River resident Kristi Wrigley on KHSU’s Thursday Night Talk program, to discuss the issues in Elk River and our day in the field.

The question arose, in one form or another, throughout the day about whether or not contemporary logging practices and associated activities have improved, and whether or not these improvements are adequate to address sediment production from the contemporary operations. In other words, just because the logging may be “better” does that then mean that it is benign in terms of its effects on Elk River? However, the more important question is whether any logging at all is appropriate in Elk River in light of the extreme and significant cumulative impacts that have occurred over the last 25 years in the watershed. These more important questions form the foundation of the true discussion over contemporary logging in Elk River.

EPIC wishes to thank both Elk River resident Kristi Wrigley and HRC for an informative day of discussion about the environmental and human rights issues in Elk River. EPIC is dedicated to working with stakeholders to seek common ground and foster dialogue, while advocating for best forest and watershed management practices to protect and recover the river for fish, wildlife, water quality, and humans alike.

Part one in a six-part series. Future articles will focus on the following topics:

2) Vital statistics about Elk River; 3) Cumulative impacts; 4) Management regimes; 5) Legal and regulatory frameworks; and 6) Social issues.

Humboldt County: It is High Time to Regulate Cannabis!

Monday, September 14th, 2015
frog on marijuana

Photo credit: Kym Kemp

Update: On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, the Board of Supervisors passed a motion directing County Counsel to develop a medical marijuana ordinance in compliance with state law to be effective no later than March 1, 2016; the Supervisor’s Ad Hoc Committee will work to develop a framework for a county Cannabis Commission; and a local taxation measure will be on the Humboldt County ballot as soon as June 2016 or no later than November 2016.

Local control is critical for our future. Humboldt County must take initiative to develop its own land use ordinance to regulate the number, size, and location of operations for commercial cannabis cultivation that fits the specific needs of our forests, fish, farmers and families.

Now is the time, the momentum is here. On Friday, the State of California provided the first ever comprehensive framework to regulate commercial cannabis cultivation. This is huge and much needed, but a work in progress. The new laws will provide clear rules within two years, allow for cultivation of up to one acre of cannabis, and focus on the licensing processes for commercial sales, which includes a requirement for local permitting. Additionally, in August, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board issued its groundbreaking water quality order, the first regulation by a California state agency designed to address environmental impacts from cannabis cultivation. However, because the regulation was developed by the Water Board, the order only explicitly focuses on water quality issues.

These are monumental steps taken at the behest of cannabis farmers and many others to transition the industry from underground to legitimate. For nearly two decades, since cultivation for medical use was decriminalized, there have been very few rules and regulations to govern what activities are and are not acceptable. Cannabis production increased dramatically, particularly in the last 5 years, where watersheds in Northern California have seen increases in area under production ranging from 55% to over 100%. And because there are no external incentives to improve practices and because law enforcement does not appear to discriminate between good and bad growers, there is a perverse incentive: go real fast, go real big, and take the chance that you’re not going to get caught.

Humboldt County needs to put its own plan in place before we allow more development in our already over allocated watersheds. Because existing and reasonably foreseeable future regulations from the state do not solve our problems, we need to act locally. A county land use ordinance has the potential to regulate the number, size, and location of operations.

The Water Board order provides a good template to base a land use ordinance for Humboldt County. The Water Board framework provides the necessary carrot and stick to bring an industry, which has historically existed only by breaking the law, to come into compliance with the law. Growers who fail to comply with the order will face stiff civil penalties while growers who comply with the regulation will shift from regulatory targets (“red dots”) to being largely left alone (“green dots”). Furthermore, looking forward, compliance with state and local laws will be one of the criteria that the state considers when granting potentially lucrative growing licenses. Such a framework, which provides incentives for farmers to come into compliance and address the damage that our community is suffering in the absence of appropriate environmental regulation and enforcement.

It is imperative that cultivators begin the process of coming into compliance with the NCRWCQB’s order before February 6, 2016.

California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH) has led the most recent effort in Humboldt County to advance the creation of a land-use ordinance that focuses on protecting small cannabis farmers. One of the guiding priorities for CCVH in crafting their ordinance was to create a regulatory structure which made sense to the average cannabis farmer, providing clear rules and a structure that would encourage compliance.

The CCVH ordinance rightly focuses on permitting existing operations, ensuring that those folks who are already members of our community have an opportunity to come out of the shadows. Focusing on current operations also establishes a baseline to slow or stop the green rush; new operations above a significant threshold would require a conditional use permit, a process whereby the impact from an additional operation can be scrutinized before any plants are in the ground.

EPIC had previously taken issue with the CCVH ordinance, particularly a portion of the ordinance that could encourage further forest fragmentation through opening land zoned as “timber production zones” or TPZ to commercial cannabis cultivation. As part of CCVH’s public comment period for their draft ordinance, EPIC submitted substantial comments. EPIC, the Northcoast Environmental Center, Humboldt Baykeeper and S.A.F.E. submitted additional recommendations aimed at addressing permitting and licensing for existing operations and mitigating ongoing environmental impacts of the cannabis industry to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors.

This began a productive dialogue between EPIC and CCVH. Through numerous meetings, calls, emails, and text messages we discussed our vision for Northern California’s forests and farms and realized that our principles were not far apart.

On Tuesday, September 15, 2015, CCVH turns their hard work over to the Humboldt Board of Supervisors along with a series of recommendations. The Board, having received the ordinance language, can run with the baton, sending it through the necessary internal and public review. The Board, which has previously dragged its feet on cannabis regulation due to a lack of clarity from the State, will hopefully feel a greater charge from the public to see this ordinance to completion in an expeditious manner.

To be successful, a local land use ordinance must:

  • Stop the “Green Rush.” This is the exploitation mentality of people who have flocked to the region looking to make fast money regardless of the environmental and social consequences of their activities.
  • Create a safe haven for existing cultivators who want to come into compliance, without fear of persecution.
  • Protect Humboldt County’s small-scale, salmon safe, sun-grown, artisanal cannabis farmers.
  • Provide clear lines as to what activities are and are not acceptable.
  • Prevent and mitigate the negative environmental impacts associated with cannabis cultivation.
  • Halt the further fragmentation and conversion of our working forests for commercial agriculture.
  • Mandate that all water used for cannabis cultivation be stored, with no
    surface water diversions between May 15 and October 31* (this date is based on the NCWQCB’s new order).
  • Create a tax-system for farmers to be able to contribute financially to society.
  • Protect Humboldt County from a future filled with Big Tobacco-owned mega-grows.
  • Restore damaged watersheds and watershed function.
  • Provide adequate funding resources to inspect, enforce, and remediate cultivation areas.

Passage of a land use ordinance is not the end but the beginning. After California legalizes recreational cannabis, the regulatory landscape will become even clearer. A future local land use ordinance that addresses new cannabis cultivation and cultivation for recreational purposes will be necessary. We must remember that regulations and laws are not going to be perfect the first time around and that adaptive management strategies must be employed. The community must work together to provide feedback to agencies and elected officials as the implementation of the new rules are seen to either be effective or ineffective. Through all these steps, EPIC will be there to work with anyone or any group who is sincere in promoting environmentally responsible cannabis cultivation.

Click here to read the California Bills: AB243, AB266 and SB643.

* The staff at EPIC believe that all water used for any commercial agriculture should be stored and not diverted from surface waters during the dry season.

Westside Community Meeting in Orleans September 11th

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Westside from BR Lookout

This Friday, concerned community members will be meeting to discuss impacts of the Westside project on our communities. In the coming days, the Klamath National Forest plans to auction off 14 timber sales, that have been analyzed as part of the Westside post-fire logging project, a large commercial salvage logging proposal that covers over 30,000 acres of management including logging on about 10,000 acres of forests affected by the Whites, Beaver and Happy Camp fires of 2014. Areas proposed for logging are adjacent to wilderness areas, the Pacific Crest Trail, within Wild and Scenic River corridors, critical habitat for coho salmon and northern spotted owls and wildlife corridors that are important for providing linkages between the islands of protected areas. The timber sales proposed in the Westside project are all located within the blue circle on the map (below). The Klamath National Forest has not yet released the Record of Decision, which was expected this week, and has not completed formal consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or National Marine Fisheries Service. The Klamath National Forest has not yet received a water quality permit from the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.

EPIC Connecting Wild Places with Westside IDsmallOver the past year, our staff has read and commented on the Westside Environmental Impact Statement and attended the informational meetings put forward by the Klamath National Forest, and we have all agreed that the information and format that has been provided is less than unhelpful.

In order to better understand the landscape that will be affected by the proposed Westside Project, we have used the shape files for the project boundaries to illustrate aerial images from google earth. These maps more accurately depict the scale, magnitude and context of the proposed project by showing the project in relation to the watersheds that are at stake. These maps will be available at the community meeting.

The Karuk Alternative maps that were developed by the Karuk Tribe have proposed to reduce the project scope to focus on strategic ridge-top fuel breaks to protect rural communities so that fire can be reintroduced to the landscape. The Karuk Alternative is a third of the scale of the Klamath National Forest’s proposal.

Since the beginning of time, fire has shaped the landscape of the region, and it is well documented that cultural burning was used to thin the understory, and allow for healthy larger trees to thrive. prescribed fires were also used to encourage the growth of important resources such as acorns and bear grass, which is used by local tribes to make baskets. Over the last century, these mountains have endured the ecologically damaging practices of clear-cut logging, fire suppression, and plantation forestry, which shape most of the landscape we see today. If you live in or visit the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains and observe your surroundings, you have probably noticed the vicious cycle of:

1. clear-cut logging of the big old fire-resistant, shade-producing trees;

2. plantations that quickly become brush fields due to lack of funds to maintain them in an ongoing way;

3. fire suppression policy that continually increases the size and severity of fires that get away;

4. fire-fighting strategies that increase the size of the burned area; and

5. salvage sales that cost taxpayers more than the government makes on the sale, and in many cases leave huge amounts of slash on the ground, setting us up for the next fire. (And setting the fish up for a hot, sediment-choked, disease-prone environment.)

If you would like to learn about the size, scope and specifics of the Westside salvage sale and discuss potential consequences and community responses, you are cordially invited to come to this important informational meeting for Westside post-fire logging project on Friday, September 11, 2015 at 6:30 pm at the Karuk DNR-Department of Natural Resources Community Room, 39051 Highway 96. In Orleans, CA. All are welcome. Refreshments and dinner included, but bring a potluck dish to share if you can.

DIRECTIONS: Headed northeast on Highway 96, go one quarter mile past Orleans and cross the bridge over the Klamath. The parking lot is on the right hand side (Just after Red Cap Road). Cell phones and GPS Navigation systems do not work here, so you may want to map your route in advance. Allow ~2 hours of drive time from Arcata area.


Google Earth image maps with timber sale boundaries – Organized by timber sale and/or watershed.

Westside Fact Sheet and Agency Contacts for Westside Project – 1 page fact sheet for letter writing.

EPIC Guide to Groundtruthing trifold – An excellent guide for analyzing project impacts in the field.

The Westside Story – An in epic analysis of the wildlife, wild rivers, and wild places that would be affected by the Westside project.

Final Comments on Westside DEIS – EPIC, Klamath Forest Alliance and KS Wild comments on the Westside Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

The Westside Final Environmental Impact Statement – A link to all of the Klamath National Forest’s documents related to the Westside project.

Timber Sale Maps developed by the Klamath National Forest:

Whites Fire Salvage Heli Map

Walker Creek Fire Salvage Heli Map

Tyler Meadows Fire Salvage Heli Map

Tom Martin Fire Salvage Heli Map

Slinkard Fire Salvage Heli Map

Salt Creek Fire Salvage SBA Map

Middle Creek Fire Salvage Heli Map

Hamburg Fire Salvage Map

Greider Heli Fire Salvage Map

Cougar Heli Fire Salvage Map

Cold Springs Fire Salvage Map

Caroline Creek Fire Salvage Heli Map

Blue Mountain Fire Salvage Heli Map

Beaver Fire Salvage Timber Sale Map



Groups Fight to Save Rare, Mink-like Carnivore in California and Oregon

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Marten2ThumbnailLawsuit Will Challenge Failure to Protect the Coastal Marten

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental Protection Information Center filed a formal notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today for failing to protect the coastal marten, a secretive member of the weasel family, under the Endangered Species Act. The groups, represented by the public interest law firm Earthjustice, petitioned in 2010 for federal protection of the rare carnivore, then known as the Humboldt marten, but the Service issued a decision denying protection earlier this year.

A small carnivore related to minks and otters, the coastal marten is found only in old-growth forest and dense coastal shrub in Northern California and southern and central coastal Oregon. Once extensively trapped for their fur, the cat-like animals were once common, but now fewer than 100 of them survive in California, while an unknown, but very small, number are still found in Oregon.

“The science clearly shows that coastal martens are some of the most endangered animals in the United States,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity and lead author of the petition to protect the marten. “Denying protection to the coastal marten is a blatant example of the Fish and Wildlife Service caving to pressure from the timber industry — at the expense of an irreplaceable creature.”

Coastal martens were believed extinct — with 95 percent of their old-growth forest habitat lost and a history of excessive trapping — until they were rediscovered on the Six Rivers National Forest in 1996. In 2009 the first marten to be photographed in recent times was detected in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park by remote-sensing camera.

“It’s unjustifiable that the Service denied protection for the coastal marten,” said Rob DiPerna, EPIC’s California forest and wildlife advocate. “We already nearly lost the coastal marten to extinction, and so now we need to do everything we can to protect this special part of our natural heritage.”

These martens’ historic range extends from Sonoma County in coastal California north through the coastal mountains of Oregon. In Oregon the marten lives in the Siskiyou and Siuslaw national forests.

“This is one of those unfortunate cases where science got streamrolled by political expediency,” said Greg Loarie, attorney for Earthjustice representing the groups. “It’s impossible to reconcile the Fish and Wildlife Service’s own finding that coastal martens are gone from 95 percent of their historic range in California and down to the last 100 individuals with the Service’s conclusion that martens don’t desperately need protection under the Endangered Species Act.”

The extremely secretive animals are known for their slinky walking motion and ferocious hunting skills. Typically about 2 feet long, with large, triangular ears and a long tail, they eat smaller mammals, berries and birds, and are preyed on by larger mammals and raptors.

Humboldt Marten: Slinky, cat-like and nearly extinct – Excellent article by MSNBC

Final 60-Day Notice of Intent to Sue RE Marten 9-1-15


If you held the purse strings to Caltrans, how would you spend your tax dollars?

Monday, August 24th, 2015

CRTP_LOGO_2ColorWould you build bigger freeways or fix existing failing roadways and infrastructure?

Would you chose to bulldoze through a wetland in order to reduce a five and a half hour drive time by five minutes or would you make improvements to portions of the road known to regularly cause deadly accidents? Would you design projects to accommodate the needs of commercial interests or the regional community who use the roads?

These are the questions, we at EPIC continue to ask ourselves and we would like to know what you think—what are your transportation priorities?

For the past 7-years, EPIC has defended the ancient redwood forest of Richardson Grove State Park and the Wild and Scenic Smith River from two highway realignment projects the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has designed in order to allow oversized trucks into sensitive environments. The purpose of these projects is questionable, with dubious economic justifications and known negative environmental impacts. Are these projects what the North Coast wants and needs?

Our court cases have stopped the projects and have shown a lack of agency consideration to legal obligations; and over the years public perception has changed, especially in Sacramento, regarding what should Caltrans’ priorities be. EPIC is committed to holding the line for the legal defense for Richardson Grove, and the Smith River 197/199 Project; however lawsuits slow, they do not typically make projects go away. We believe that with increased public pressure and new information, we can build the political momentum needed to stop these projects once and for all.

I would like to introduce you to a newly created organization called the, Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities (CRTP). CRTP is dedicated to a new vision for transportation on California’s North Coast. Their vision is to build on the geographic advantage of the North Coast by encouraging spending of limited transportation infrastructure dollars on projects that ensure a high quality of life for the community. They reject the outdated idea that limited transportation dollars should be spent on building ever-wider roads, but instead, focus on maintaining the roads and bridges we have in order to ensure that people can continue to get to local homes and businesses—and then improve our community-level infrastructure to ensure that they want to stay.

The Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities will be on redwood coast community radio station, the KMUD Environment Show, on Tuesday, August 25th, from 7-8pm. Listen live at 99.1FM or stream it live or archived at

On Wednesday, August 26th CRTP is hosting a “Meet and Greet” from 5-7pm at the Chapala Café (201 Second St, Eureka). These are informal occasions for anyone interested in the issues to talk about CRTP’s plans and priorities as well as other local transportation topics.

CRTP Priorities

Spend our limited transportation dollars on maintenance and repairs first. For many years, our state and our nation have built more and bigger infrastructure than we can afford to maintain. On the North Coast, the rugged and unstable terrain combined with the age of our roads and bridges make this problem particularly acute. Our crumbling roads and bridges put basic access for residents and emergency services at risk. Fixing these problems needs to come before we even consider expanding existing roadways.

Only fund new infrastructure that supports healthy, livable, sustainable communities. The road-building, road-widening approach to transportation planning is a relic of an earlier era—a fact reflected by Caltrans’ current mission and policies. When we build new infrastructure today, it should be with the goal of supporting safe, environmentally sustainable, community-building modes of transportation, such as walking, bicycling, mass transit, and responsible marine transportation.

Cancel counterproductive road expansion projects. We can no longer afford new infrastructure for the biggest fossil fuel-burning vehicles. Thanks to the “Buckhorn Grade” project, the biggest trucks on the road will soon have two ways to enter Humboldt and Del Norte Counties—via US 101 from Oregon and Highway 299 from Redding. The proposed Caltrans projects at Richardson Grove and on Highways 199/197 would add two more segments to this STAA trucking network, inviting even more big trucks into our communities and increasing greenhouse gas emissions at a time when Governor Brown has required Caltrans to reduce them. These projects are expensive, unnecessary and damaging to our roads, communities and environments. They reflect outdated planning priorities, and they do not serve our local needs. They can and should be canceled.

BLM Seeks Input on Management of Headwaters Forest Reserve

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Headwaters Forest Thinning By Rob DiPernaThe Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on plans to amend the management plan for the Headwaters Forest Reserve, located just south of Eureka, California.

The 7,742-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve was established in 1999 by the landmark Headwaters Forest Agreement, and in 2004, the BLM adopted a contemporary management plan for the reserve. The 2004 plan articulates nine management objectives for the reserve, foremost among these being preservation of old-growth dependent species and habitats, and the restoration of old-growth and aquatic ecosystems.

While the Headwaters Forest Reserve was originally created for the purpose of protecting old-growth forests and old-growth dependent species and their habitats, only a percentage of the reserve actually contains old-growth forests, with the majority of the reserve containing previously-harvested stands in varying states of regeneration and recovery.

The primary means of returning previously-managed forests towards old-growth characteristics over time in the Headwaters Forest Reserve has been the use of prescribed thinning. Currently, the BLM employs a method known as “lop-and-scatter,” where forest stands are thinned by cutting small-diameter trees in young, dense regenerating forest stands, and the resulting material is scattered on the forest floor. No trees are removed from the forest.

The purpose of these thinning treatments is to move previously-harvested stands towards an old-growth-like state over time, consistent with the reserve’s management goals. Previously-harvested stands in the reserve represent a wide range of forest conditions which are in varying states of regeneration and recovery. Regenerating forests often grow back much thicker and denser than the original forest stand condition. As a result, regenerating previously-harvested forests often contain too many trees, too tightly packed together. This results in forest stands which are highly homogenized and simplified, leading to unhealthy conditions for wildlife, and the forest itself.

The BLM is now seeking to revise its 2004 management plan to allow for greater flexibility in the methods available for restoration of previously-harvested forest stands in the reserve. Possible approaches could include re-entry of previously thinned stands or even the implementation of prescribed burning in previously-managed stands to thin trees and manage fuel loads.

The BLM will hold a public meeting to take input on potential revisions to the 2004 management plan on Tuesday, September 1st, from 6-7:30 p.m. at the BLM offices in Arcata, located at 1695 Heindon Road in Arcata. EPIC encourages interested members of the public to attend.

New California Wolf Pack

Thursday, August 20th, 2015
California Wolf Pups 1-jpg

Photos Courtesy of California Department of Fish and Wildlife

The Shasta Pack of Northern California is a family of seven gray wolves, two adults and five pups! The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) just released photos of the pack, which are all dark in color. The pups appear to be a few months old and approximately 35-40 pounds.

CDFW had set up additional trail cameras after earlier photographs recorded a single canid in May and July. More photographs and video of the Shasta Pack are expected next week.

California Wolf Pups 2The world famous lone Oregon Wolf, OR-7 had made California part of his home range for four years. He was the first confirmed wolf in the state since 1924. He and his family of three new pups, two yearlings and mate, the Rogue Pack, are currently residing in Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest in Oregon.

In anticipation of wolves returning to golden state, EPIC worked to see the gray wolf listed as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. In June 2014, the California Fish and Game Commission voted in favor of listing. This was also the day that first OR-7 pups were confirmed. The gray wolf continues to be listed in California under the Federal Endangered Species Act; therefore, it is illegal to harass, harm, pursue or to engage in any such conduct.

California Wolf Pups 3Now that we have an official wolf pack regulations and enforcement of the protection of wolves is paramount. The California Draft Wolf Management Plan is expected to be released for public comment this year. EPIC has put in hundreds of hours as a stakeholder with the CDFW and many others to draft the plan. The draft plan has since gone through peer review and is currently being updated to include the new Shasta Pack information.

Please stay tuned for more updates and the opportunity to comment on the California Wolf Plan later this year.

Our grass-roots organization is supported by people like you, so if you would like to help us protect wolves, please make a contribution:

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Northern California National Forests on Fire

Monday, August 10th, 2015
River Complex

River Complex


Last month’s storms in the North Coast resulted in hundreds of lightning strikes igniting forest fires across the region and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Now a combined total of approximately 102,755 acres are burning on the Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests.


Shasta Trinity National Forest contains 7 fire complexes totaling 80,249 acres:

Route Complex            19,974                   15% contained       *Dozer lines & tree felling

South Complex            18,108                   5% contained         *19 Dozers

River Complex             18,235                   12% contained        *4 Dozers

Fork Complex              22,312                   19% contained         *54 Dozers

Shf Lightning               75

Saddle Fire                   1,542

Hog Fire “Saddle Fire”      3

Six Rivers National Forest contains 3 complexes totaling 22,506 acres:

Mad River Complex 19,189                  35% contained           *6 bulldozers

Gasquet Complex     2,335                    9% contained            *Dozers & tree felling

Nickowitz Fire             982                    17% contained

Hog Fire -Saddle Fire-dozer lines

Hog Fire -Saddle Fire-dozer lines

Thousands of fire fighters are on the ground, some in an effort to protect life and property and others are in the wilderness and backcountry. Fire suppression and the military style of firefighting can be more environmentally destructive than wildfire itself. Crews typically construct ridge top fire lines with bulldozers, dump fire retardant, ignite high severity back burns, fell trees and open up decommissioned roads to access and suppress the fires. These damaging efforts are often ineffective, for example yesterday a burning tree fell across a containment line on the Route complex, causing the fire to escape.

Route Complex

Route Complex

Techniques such as back burning purposefully result in high intensity fire consuming all of the vegetation in its path. Fire retardant can be toxic to fish, especially when it is applied into creeks and streams. Snags are felled throughout sensitive areas. The Six Rivers allowed an untold amount of chainsaw work to cut snags in the Siskiyou Wilderness in the Peak Fire. Perhaps the most destructive activity is the construction of often-ineffective firelines creating miles of ridge tops that are plowed to bare earth. In the Fork Complex alone, there are multi-agency crews operating 54 bulldozers.

Fire has shaped the region for millennia; it is a natural force that keeps our forests healthy by cleaning out the understory and opening the forest floor. Wildfires are most commonly started by lightning, which strikes on ridge tops, then creeps down the mountain side, most often over 85 percent of forest fires burn at low and moderate severity, and less than 15% burns at high severity. In this scenario, most of the largest trees are left alive and the smaller understory is cleaned out, allowing the larger trees more light and nutrients to grow.

Dozer Line on Castle fire in South Complex

Dozer Line on Castle fire in South Complex

Once the smoke clears, many of these burned forests will be considered for post-fire “salvage logging” timber sales, as we are experiencing on the Klamath National Forest in the Westside project, which is slated for a decision in early September. Post-fire operations usually propose to remove the largest (most profitable) trees, which are the most valuable to wildlife, soil stability, soil structure and carbon storage. Salvage logging on steep slopes leaves the sensitive landscape susceptible to landslides and erosion, removes important habitat and damages natural growth and recovery.

In order to allow our forests to undergo natural processes, fire suppression should focus around homes and communities by creating a defensible “fire safe” area. Landscape level fire strategies that include shaded fuel breaks and the widespread use of cultural and prescribed burning should be and are becoming a priority for national forest managers, tribes and rural communities.

Below are some maps of the fires as of August 10, 2015:

*Photos and maps and data courtesy of

Don’t Trash our State Park Lands—Protect Mendocino County Forests

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Mendocino_Pygmy_Forest_in_Van_Damme_State_Park_2Wikipedia commonsTake Action: Would you trade rare state park forestland for a defunct waste transfer station? Neither would we. Yet, that’s what the County of Mendocino and the City of Fort Bragg are poised to do.

In a complicated three-way land swap proposal, 12.6 acres of rare Russian Gulch State Parks forestland would be transferred to Jackson Demonstration State Forest, which would then transfer 17 acres of its property to the city and county for development of the Mendocino Central Coast Waste Transfer Station. State Parks would then have the option of acquiring 60 acres of county and city property, formerly the site of the Caspar Landfill and waste transfer station.

How is this possible? The framework of this land swap was created by legislation brought forward by then-Assemblymen Wesley Chesbro. The proposed Central Coast Waste Transfer Station is currently undergoing environmental review. Numerous groups, citizens, and even public agencies have submitted comments expressing concerns about the proposed land swap and the adverse environmental consequences of the project, citing inadequate treatment of potential environmental impacts and inadequate consideration of other feasible alternatives.

So, what’s at stake? The 12.6 acres of Russian Gulch State Parks property currently proposed as part of the swap contain rare and important forest habitats, including Mendocino Pygmy Cypress Woodlands, Northern Bishop Pine forests, and also serve as important habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the marbled murrelet. These lands would be transferred to Jackson Demonstration State Forest, which is dedicated to experimental logging of its forestlands for sustainable wood production. Meanwhile, state parks would get in return lands that were once a landfill and waste transfer station.

Fortunately, there is still time to stop this ill-conceived plan. On August 17, 2015, the city and county will hold a hearing on whether or not to certify the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the project. The FEIR, like the draft before it, is fatally flawed and should not be the basis for allowing the project to go forward.

Click here to take action now to tell the City of Fort Bragg and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors that you value rare forests!

Half-Solutions for Fisher Conservation

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Pacific-Fisher_Bethany-Weeks-300x200The work to protect the last remaining Pacific fishers has taken a half-step forward and a half-step back.

The Pacific fisher—a small and rare carnivore that depends on old forests in California—is in dire need of protection. Fishers have been extirpated from the majority of the West Coast; California’s forests represent their last remaining significant populations. To recover the species across their historic range, we need to first protect the last remaining California fishers.

California’s fishers have never fully recovered from historic impacts, such as logging and trapping. And, new impacts, particularly forest fragmentation, increased predation, and rodenticide exposure associated with illegal marijuana operations, have acted to kick the species while it is down.

Last Wednesday, the Fish and Game Commission considered whether to protect the species under the California Endangered Species Act. Instead of the full protections needed (and warranted under the law), the Commission decided to only protect a small portion of California’s rare Pacific fisher. By a unanimous vote, the Commission adopted the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recommendation that only fishers in the Southern Sierra Nevada be protected; fisher in Northern California are left to fend for themselves. It was a half-victory for the fishers. But a half-victory is not enough. All of California’s remaining fishers need protection.

This one setback won’t stop EPIC from its mission to protect the Pacific fisher. EPIC is also pushing for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. Way back in 2000, EPIC and other conservation organizations petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the fisher. After 15 years of fighting—including numerous successful court battles—the Fish and Wildlife Service is set to make a final decision in early 2016.

Thank you to the thousand-plus supporters who took action to protect the fisher. We will need your voice again soon to make sure the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service does not follow the California Fish and Game Commission’s example.

Final Push for the Protection of Pacific Fishers

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

Pacific Fisher

Take Action: The Pacific fisher needs your help. The fisher is a candidate for protection under the California Endangered Species Act. The Department of Fish and Wildlife has recommended, however, that the fisher not receive protection in the vast majority of its range. The Fish and Game Commission has the last word though and they need to hear your voice. Please tell the Fish and Game Commission that you support protecting all fishers, not just some.

Protecting the fisher is important. California is home to the majority of the remaining fisher populations on the West Coast, but historic impacts, such as logging and trapping, together with new threats such as rodenticide associated with marijuana production, are threatening the fisher with extinction. California needs to act fast to ensure that fisher populations stabilize and eventually recolonize their historic home range.

The Pacific fisher is experiencing a downward trend in population size across California for numerous reasons. Over the past 200 years, logging and trapping pressures dramatically reduced the California Fisher population. Today, fishers are still recovering from past decimation while they face a handful of new challenges such as forest fragmentation, increased predation, and toxicant exposure.

Pacific fishers are sensitive to forest fragmentation. Fishers prefer to make their dens in old-growth trees due to their structural complexity and dense canopy structures that provide necessary protection to help fishers evade their natural predators, like the bobcat and coyotes. Flat open spaces, such as those resulting from clearcut logging, makes it very difficult for fishers to migrate because of a lack of natural coverage from predation. Furthermore, fragmentation creates new openings and passages for predators like coyotes and bobcats to migrate into previously secure fisher habitat. Natural understory, such as downed logs and snags are important for coverage and also provide habitat for prey, small mammals like rodents, birds, rabbits and the nearly extirpated porcupine. While logging green trees has diminished on our national forests in the past two decades, new fragmentation threats are emerging, such as post-fire “salvage” logging.

A “green rush” is underway in California’s forests: Northern California and the Sierras are inundated by marijuana grows. In order to prevent pests from infiltrating their crop, growers will spread anticoagulant rodenticides around their property. Fishers, especially the foraging male, will sometimes ingest these poisons or will be exposed by preying on animals which had ingested the poison. Females that nest in riparian zones are especially prone to contact with the rodenticide because of their close proximity to marijuana farm’s irrigation lines. Exposure to this rodenticide is wreaking havoc on local fisher populations, either directly killing the fisher or by reducing its survival fitness, making them more susceptible to predators and more difficult for them to catch their prey.


Take Action: Klamath River Runs Brown!

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015
Klamath River Near Mouth 7.13.15 by Mark Harris

Near the mouth of the Klamath River. July 13, 2015. Photo Courtesy of Mark Harris

Take Action Now to stop Westside: A few short but intense rain storms hit the 2014 fire areas on the Klamath National Forest causing massive sediment events that turned the mighty Klamath and Salmon River systems muddy and brown. On July 5th, 7th and 12th rainstorms brought over an inch of rain in less than an hour causing road damage, intense debris torrents with slurries of mud, rock, water and trees to sliding for miles, filling in pools and creeks that serve as some of the best salmon spawning habitat. These watersheds are located within the same steep and unstable hillsides that are targeted for logging in the Westside project.


Juvenile and adult salmon struggle to survive in oxygen-depleted lethal water temperatures with high rates of disease and algae. The storm events greatly increased turbidity and lowered oxygen levels in the water for nearly two weeks. Massive amounts of sediment dumped into some of the most important spawning habitat and cool water refuges. There appears to be considerable reduction in size, volume, and depth of pools. It is uncertain how salmon and other aquatic life will survive this onslaught of impacts, especially with the hottest summer temperatures soon to come and the proposed clearcutting and logging activities.

Coho salmon are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. There are 101 miles of coho Critical Habitat in the project area. This includes the rivers affected by recent storms, Klamath and North Fork Salmon Rivers and many of the cool water tributaries vital for fish survival, including: Grider, Beaver, Elk, South Russian Creeks and Whites Gulch.


Road systems were blocked and sliding mud, trees, rock and debris clogged dozens of culverts and ditches. Thousands of cubic yards of sediment came down hills and hundreds have already been cleared from roads with heavy machinery, but much more debris continues to be suspended on the hillsides waiting for the next rain event.

Click here for before and after photos of road work in the Walker Creek drainage. At least 24 different road locations on roads 46N64, 46N65, and 46N67 were blocked by mud, rock, and debris flows, and numerous culvert inlets are still buried under mud and rocks.

Roads are the leading contributor of sediment into our creeks and rivers. There are over 950 “legacy” sites, which are chronic sources of sediment in the Westside project area. The Klamath National Forest is proposing to treat only 150 legacy sites in one watershed, leaving over 800 sites untreated.

The Forest Service proposes to open miles of decommissioned and self-decommissioned roads. These roads also contain legacy sites. For instance, road 16N41 up Little Elk Creek is approximately 2 miles long and completely grown over, which would require intense forest clearing and reconstruction just upstream of coho Critical Habitat. Further, there are over 280 miles of level 2 roads, passable by high clearance vehicles only, which would require reconstruction in order to accommodate for the proposed use by heavy machinery and large trucks. These are few of many road issues that were not adequately considered, addressed or disclosed.

The Past the Future and Westside

As temperatures and extinction rates soar globally and climate change brings more extreme weather, like summer rainstorms – our water, wildlife, salmon and wild places need extra protection. Low to no snow pack and higher temperatures means increasingly low and warm summer flows in our rivers. Extreme wind, rain and fire leave behind fragile ecosystems susceptible to severe damage from industrial activities on the landscape.

The Klamath Mountains are some of the steepest and most erodible hillsides on the west coast. For decades we have witnessed and documented major impacts to our watersheds during large storm events. The decomposed granitic soils in the Westside fire areas will slide downhill and into our rivers. The entire watersheds of Grider and Walker are unstable, which is where the highest concentration of Westside units are proposed!

Click here now to tell Patty Grantham to stay off geologically unstable slopes, disclose the extreme amount of roadwork proposed, to learn from the past and allow for the natural recovery of our fragile and fire dependent watersheds.

Rivers and Creeks up Close 

A few short and intense summer storms brought massive debris flows choking the Klamath and Salmon Rivers and many of its tributaries with thick sediment and mud. The Klamath Mountains are some of the steepest and most erodible lands on the west coast. The rivers listed below support a suffering salmon population- all are proposed for clearcut logging by the Klamath National Forest in the Westside project and all are listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act, mostly from temperature and sediment. Many of them are supposed to be federally protected designated or eligible for designation as Wild and Scenic Rivers.

Klamath River

The Wild and Scenic Klamath River (Karuk: Ishkêesh,‪ Klamath: Koke,‪ Yurok: Hehlkeek ‘We-Roy,‪ Hupa: k’ina’-tahxw-hun’) flows 263 miles southwest from Oregon and northern California, cutting through the Cascade Range to empty into the Pacific Ocean. It is listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act for Nutrients, Organic Enrichment/Low Dissolved Oxygen, Temperature and Microcystin.

It was once the third most productive salmon-bearing river system in the country. Today, thanks to habitat blocking dams, logging, mining, grazing, agriculture, poor water quality and too little water left in the river, the once abundant Klamath salmon runs have now been reduced to less than 10% of their historic size. Anadromous species present in the Klamath River basin below Iron Gate Dam include Chinook, coho, pink, and chum salmon, steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout, eulachon, white and green sturgeon, and Pacific lamprey. Some species, such as coho salmon, are now in such low numbers in the Klamath River that they are listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

North Fork Salmon River

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 for high temperatures. The Wild and Scenic Salmon River provides over 175 miles of anadromous fish habitat and 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. It is home to one of the most sought after world-class whitewater rafting trips in the country. It 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 released roadless areas within the Westside project 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 is home to many rare species, including Pacific fishers and pine martens. The North Fork Watershed Analysis notes that, “the watershed has habitat critical to wildlife and fish species that are listed or petitioned for listing through the Endangered Species Act. Some of these habitat features may be at risk and need protection or enhancement. Older, late successional forest stands and anadromous fish habitat are considered some of the most important features within the watershed.”

This watershed has a total of 1,035 miles of roads, and over 73 stream crossings. These roads—along with timber harvesting in this area—have increased landslide potential, and have therefore increased the potential for negative impacts on the streams. Logging in this area has also led to a decrease in shade along the entire North Fork of the Salmon River. As a result, the Salmon River is now listed under the 303(d) Clean Water Act for temperature. This increase in water temperature has resulted in fish kills of Chinook salmon and steelhead during drought conditions, such as in the years 1994 and 2014.

South Russian Creek and Music

South Russian Creek, fed from the Russian Wilderness, is eligible for designation as a Wild and Scenic River and is recognized for its magnificent stand of old growth Engleman Spruce and for pristine water quality. Music Creek is a tributary to South Russian Creek that leads to the Russian Wilderness and the Pacific Crest Trail. Both of these watersheds are comprised of highly erodible decomposed granitic soils and have seen huge landslides and road impacts from past storms. In August, 1996 a thunderstorm triggered a debris torrent that scoured 2.6 miles of stream in Music Creek. The resulting plume of sediment impacted the North Fork and Mainstem of the Salmon River for several weeks.

Whites Gulch

Whites Gulch is a tributary to the North Fork Salmon. It is critical cold water refugia and spawning habitat for juvenile and adult Coho salmon, spring and fall Chinook salmon and steelhead trout. Whites Gulch watershed contains Critical Habitat for Coho salmon and the Northern spotted owl. This watershed is also home to one of the four Northern goshawks nest areas that would have a high risk of abandonment because of the Westside clearcutting units.

The outer ridges were used extensively for fire suppression operations during the 2014 fires and the road system, with its many sediment sources, also saw a large amount of traffic from heavy trucks.

In October 2008, the Salmon River Restoration Council, in cooperation with the California Department of Fish and Game and NOAA Open Rivers Initiative, removed two dams from the upstream reaches of Whites Gulch. Both of the dams were remnants of the historic mining activity that had occurred within the watershed. The removal of the dams and the subsequent removal of the culvert barrier on Whites Gulch Road, restored access to 3.5 miles of refugia, rearing and spawning habitat in Whites Gulch.


Grider Creek/ No Name Creek (Grider Tributary)

Upper Grider Creek watershed contains one of the most important roadless areas, which provides a vital north to south wildlife corridor that connects the Marble Mountain Wilderness with the Siskiyou Crest and Red Buttes Wilderness. The entire watershed contains the largest expanse of geologically unstable areas of the Kla math National Forest and is where the highest concentration of clearcut units in the Westside project are proposed.

Grider Creek is a key watershed, meaning that it contains crucial for salmon survival. It provides spawning, rearing, and holding habitat for Steelhead, Coho, and Chinook salmon. In fact, the mouth of Grider Creek used to provide one of the largest and most important cold water refuge areas on the Klamath River. Unfortunately, the storm of 1997 raised water temperatures in this area and degraded its function as a cold refuge.

It is eligible for designation as a Wild and Scenic River recognized for its undisturbed old growth mixed conifer forests, high water quality and for wildlife because bald eagles and peregrine falcons nest there. These eagles would have a high risk of abandoning their nest areas because the Westside project would decimate the area.

While Grider Creek still has large areas with minimal human activity, it is clear that managed areas of the creek are being degraded. Areas that previously provided the connectivity necessary for the wellbeing of many sensitive species in the area have turned into patchy forests unusable by many animals. If human activity increases throughout this pristine area, habitats will quickly diminish and already threatened species will suffer.


Walker Creek

Walker Creek provides high quality water to the Middle Klamath River and acts as a thermal refuge for anadromous salmonids during warm months. Additionally, Walker Creek provides spawning, rearing, and holding habitat for fall and spring-run Chinook salmon, winter and summer-run steelhead and threatened Coho salmon.

The Walker Creek area contains many large, active earthflow landslides and with Grider, contains the largest expanse of geologically unstable areas of the Klamath National Forest and is where the highest concentration of clearcut units in the Westside project are proposed. This along with strong seasonal storms makes this creek particularly susceptible to large amounts of sedimentation. Past management of this area has not been successful in combating this unique feature, and has made stream sedimentation worse. These high levels of sedimentation can have devastating effects on sensitive aquatic species, and therefore must be properly controlled in order for the creek and the surrounding habitat to thrive.

Elk Creek 

The Elk Creek watershed is 60,780 acres of steep slopes and large dispersed benches. It is the municipal water supply for the town of Happy Camp. This watershed provides 51.6 miles of habitat for Steelhead, Coho, and Chinook salmon, Pacific lamprey, Klamath small-scale sucker, and other native fish species. In fact, Elk Creek provides one of highest quality spawning and rearing habitats for Coho salmon in the Middle Klamath River. Its low water temperature also makes Elk Creek an important thermal refuge for many aquatic species during warm periods.

In addition to aquatic species, this watershed is home to many threatened, endangered, and sensitive species listed under the Endangered Species Act. These species include Northern spotted owls, marbled murrelets, bald eagles, and peregrine falcons. Other sensitive species include goshawks, willow flycatchers, fishers, western pond turtles, great grey owls, and martens.

Elk Creek is eligible for designation as a Wild and Scenic River and is recognized for its fisheres, geologic and wildlife values because the Siskiyou Mountains Salamander has been found there.

Logging and road building activities throughout the watershed have disturbed habitat crucial to the survival of both aquatic and terrestrial species. For example, 9,833 acres of Elk Creek watershed have experienced harvest activity over the last 40 years, 7,445 of which were clear cuts or other types of regeneration harvest. This, along with other activities has caused the creek to exceed the Mass Wasting threshold of concern, which indicates an increased risk for hillslope sediment production. It has also led this important thermal refuge to range from “properly functioning” to “at risk” for proper stream temperatures. Once a cool water safe haven for aquatic species, increased water temperatures throughout this creek may lead to increased wildlife mortality. And while storm events and landslides are natural disturbances throughout this watershed, road building, timber harvesting, and other human activities have made it so storm events have much higher impacts on downstream aquatic resources than they naturally would.

The current goals for the Elk Creek watershed include maintaining and restoring the following: spatial and temporal connectivity, physical integrity of the aquatic system, water quality necessary to support healthy ecosystems, and sediment regimes in which aquatic systems evolved. In order to meet these goals and protect important wildlife throughout Elk Creek, it is critical that human activity is kept to a minimum.

Beaver Creek

Beaver Creek after storm. July 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of Bruce Harlow

Beaver Creek after storm. July 15, 2015. Photo courtesy of Bruce Harlow

The Beaver Creek watershed is checkerboarded with forests used as industrial timberlands. Extreme logging has taken place since the 2014 fires. Logging operations were still active up to the time of these recent storms. The Klamath National Forest has had the sense to cancel commercial logging in the watershed in the Westside project.

Beaver Creek is an important tributary to the Klamath River. This watershed makes up approximately 70,000 acres of steep sloped habitat dominated by mixed conifer and true fir forests. Beaver Creek is home to several sensitive species such as Northern spotted owls (threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)), northern goshawks, martens, fishers, willow flycatchers, Siskiyou mountain salamanders, and great grey owls. Additionally, Steelhead, Coho, and Chinook salmon are dependent on Beaver Creek habitat for spawning, rearing, and holding for adult and juvenile fish. Due to its ecological importance, this watershed includes designated Special Interest Areas, and Late-Seral Reserve land allocation areas. These areas provide important habitat for sensitive species, and help protect the integrity of this rich watershed.

Over the years the quality of the Beaver Creek has been greatly degraded. Roads, mainly created to access timber harvest areas, are the current largest impact on the drainage. Approximately 440 miles of roads and an unknown amount of skid trails now occur within the drainage. These roads, as well as timber harvesting, has negatively impacted the watershed and degraded high quality habitat in many ways. Accelerated erosion associated with roads and logging leads to extremely high levels of stream sedimentation, which in turn results in loss of aquatic habitat for many species. In fact, Beaver Creek is on the 303(d) Clean Water Act list as impaired for sediment, and it has been reported that the likelihood of aquatic habitat being damaged due to debris is likely, and may influence the surrounding habitat for as long as ten years.

Roads and timber harvest also decrease connectivity and makes it more difficult for wildlife to easily move across the landscape. Connectivity is extremely fragmented but important for many species in this area, such as the spotted owl. There are 20 known spotted owl activity centers distributed throughout the Beaver Creek watershed. Without sufficient connectivity throughout the landscape, these owls and other late-seral dependent species are at an increased risk of endangerment.

The forests and rivers need your voice: Click here now to tell Patty Grantham to reconsider post-fire logging sensitive watersheds in the Westside proposal!

Conversion of Forests for Commercial Marijuana Cultivation–an Invitation to Disaster

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015
16,000 square feet of cultivation on 100 acres, plus road infrastructure.

16,000 square feet of cultivation on 100 acres, plus road infrastructure.

We are somewhat strange bedfellows — the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) is a non-profit group based in Arcata devoted to the defense of the North Coast’s forests; the Humboldt Redwood Company is a forestry company devoted to managing its large blocks of forestlands to provide for long‐term ecological, social, and economic vitality. Although we don’t always see eye-to-eye, we do agree on this: the marijuana “regulation” being forwarded by California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH) is bad for our forests. And what’s bad for forests is bad for Humboldt County.

Forests are important to California. Not only do they provide us humans with jobs, wood products, and recreation, they also provide important habitat for California’s rare and native species, like the Humboldt marten and the northern spotted owl; fight climate change by sequestering carbon; and help to supply clean, cool water. But our forests are at risk. Increased forest fragmentation — the breaking of large intact tracts of forests into smaller clumps — is driven by the desire to make way for new residences or commercial ventures by clearing forest land. And fragmentation poses a serious threat to the values our forests provide.

To promote the conservation of California’s forested landscape, in 1976 the state ordered counties to identify forestlands where timber management is the “highest and best use of the land” and categorize them as Timber Production Zones or TPZ. By law, use of TPZ land is restricted to timber harvesting and other “compatible uses” — those activities, as defined county-by-county, that do not “detract from the use of the property for, or inhibit, growing and harvesting timber.” In exchange for limiting the uses of TPZ land, and knowing that sustainable timber management is not a “get rich quick” scheme, the state offers TPZ landowners significant breaks on property taxes. As a whole, the TPZ system has worked: forest conversion slowed dramatically and responsible landowners could expect a profit from forest management.

While purportedly a marijuana regulation, the CCVH initiative would do more than regulate pot — it would further open our forests to development. Under the initiative, commercial marijuana cultivation would become a “compatible use” with forestlands in Humboldt County. This little change in the law could have drastic consequences. By opening TPZ land to commercial marijuana cultivation, those growing marijuana — California’s most lucrative crop — on TPZ land would receive a tax break. In turn, because of this preferential tax treatment for those growing marijuana on TPZ as opposed to other types of land, the price of timberland would jump as more growers flock deeper into the TPZ land in the hills. Therein lies the problem.

This article was written by Natalynne DeLapp and Mike Jani and published in the Myword column of the Times Standard on July 9th

Action Alert to Protect the Wild & Scenic Smith River from Strip Mining

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Smith River by Amber Shelton SM

Take Action Now: Mining companies want to develop large-sale industrial nickel strip mines in the headwaters of the Smith, Illinois and Pistol Rivers. Last year, a mining permit was denied by Oregon Department of Water Resources, but a Canadian based nickel mining company has appealed the decision. Unfortunately, the outdated mining law of 1872 prioritizes mining over all other land uses, and it is possible that the mining industry could have their way with these world class rivers if additional measures are not taken to protect them.

We need your help to ask the Obama administration for maximum temporary protection by withdrawing these rivers from mining while Congress considers the Southwest Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act, which has been proposed by Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representative DeFazio of Oregon, and Representative Huffman of California.

Nickle strip mines would negatively impact some of the highest quality rivers left in the United States, and the native fish and wildlife that depend on them. These pristine watersheds deserve protections from mining operations, haul roads, cesspools, and nickel processing facilities.

Help us keep our wild and scenic rivers pristine. The Interior Department is taking comments on the proposed mineral withdrawal now. Please click here to send a letter of support to protect our clear, emerald waters from industrial mining operations.


Legendary Landmark—EPIC v. Johnson turns thirty

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Sally.Bell.GroveEPIC has long been recognized as the regional leader in environmental advocacy for Northwest California’s forests. Our three-pronged approach of education, outreach, and strategic litigation has led to improvements in land management, law, and policy. In EPIC’s 38-year history, we have filed an untold number of lawsuits aimed at holding government and the industry accountable and protecting our wild California.

EPIC has a demonstrated history of successful impact litigation. From EPIC v. Johnson and Sierra Club v. Board of Forestry (1988) (CA Supreme Court Case; THPs may not be approved that fail to include information on impacts to old-growth dependent species), to Marbled Murrelet and EPIC v. Pacific Lumber Company (1993) (Owl Creek federal case), to the more recent successes of Bair et al. v. CalTrans (2010) (Richardson Grove case), EPIC has used the courts to intervene where government has failed.

One lawsuit, however, seems to transcend the rest, standing as a hallmark accomplishment in changing the legal and regulatory landscape for environmental review and protection on private forestlands in California. EPIC v. Johnson (1985) 170 Cal.App.3d 604, has stood the test of time as one of the most significant legal victories in the effort to properly regulate the private timber industry. EPIC v. Johnson changed the legal and regulatory landscape for the timber industry in California and brought it into the modern age.

Setting the Stage

In the beginning5The State of California has struggled with how to regulate the private timber industry since its inception, the first Board of Forestry was appointed in 1885. After WWII, an ad valorum tax became law, a misguided policy to feed the building boom – landowners were annually taxed on their standing timber until they cut 70% of it. This law remained in effect until 1976. By the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, evidence was beginning to mount demonstrating that this policy and the timber industry was responsible for depleted forests, damaged watersheds, and diminishing fisheries and wildlife. To this point, the industry had basically been self-regulated. However two major events would inexorably change this dynamic.

First, in 1970, the California legislature enacted landmark legislation that became known as the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Through an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process, CEQA requires that projects must evaluate potentially significant environmental impacts, and if such potential impacts are identified, must mitigate all significant adverse impacts to insignificance. The spirit of CEQA brought into being an environmental awareness and consciousness in the public debate about growth, development, and industry.

Secondly, legal action challenging the self-regulation of the industry shook the landscape. In 1971, Bayside Timber v. Board of Supervisors, the courts ruled that the existing Forest Practice Act was unconstitutional because the Board of Forestry, which regulated the private timber industry, was composed entirely of the industry itself.

In 1973, the State legislature enacted the modern Forest Practice Act. The modern Forest Practice Act created the contemporary review and regulatory system that we have come to know today. In order to harmonize the Forest Practice Act and CEQA, the Secretary of Resources certified the Forest Practice Act and extant Forest Practice Rules as a certified regulatory program under CEQA in 1976, thus exempting the private timber industry from the requirements to prepare an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). A certified regulatory program is an alternative program under CEQA, which allows for exemptions from preparation of an EIR so long as the program contains all the substantive requirements of CEQA.

Georgia-Pacific, the Sinkyone, and the “Sally Bell” Grove
It is in the backdrop of this new legal and regulatory landscape that our story truly begins. EPIC was born out of the herbicide wars of the 1970’s. Soon, EPIC became involved in the struggles to protect and defend at-risk landscapes. In particular, the area that is now Sinkyone State Wilderness and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park on the northern Mendocino County coast, traditionally used by Native Americans, became a focal point of conservation efforts, and eventually, litigation.

The Sinkyone coast of northern Mendocino was a battleground for conservation efforts in the mid 1970’s. California State Parks designated two land management units as projects, the Bear Harbor unit in the north, and the Usal beach unit in the south. In 1975 most of the Bear Harbor unit was acquired with the purchase of the old Bear Harbor Ranch.

Sally Bell GroveIn 1977, Georgia-Pacific proposed to liquidate the old-growth forests of the Little Jackass Creek watershed. The California Department of Forestry convinced GP to conduct its logging operations in stages, as opposed to cutting the entire watershed at once. In late 1977, GP had it’s first THP in the watershed approved with 40 acre and 80 acre clearcuts on either side of what would eventually became known as the “Sally Bell” grove. GP carried out two more approved THPs in 1978 and 1979, one adjacent to the Sally Bell Grove area and the other above Bear Harbor mainly in Jackass (or Wolf Creek) watershed.

In the THP on the knoll and valley adjacent to the Sally Bell Grove area, which was mostly clearcutting, a designated significant archaeological site was bulldozed by GP to make a layout pad for falling an old-growth redwood. GP was taken to court and ended up having to do a complete archaeological inventory for their entire 50,000 acre Usal unit. The judge was pressed to, but did not, impose mandatory consultation with Native Americans as part of his ruling.

EPIC commented on all of the GP THPs along the Sinkyone Wilderness Coast between 1977 and 1986. In 1983, EPIC filed its first forestry-related litigation aimed at stopping GP from clearcutting the Sally Bell Grove. EPIC, the public, and tribal interests worked with the state legislature, State Parks, and land acquisition interests such as Trust for Public Lands to try and secure funding to purchase the GP holdings along the Sinkyone coast.

EPIC v. Johnson

In 1983 GP proposed to clearcut 75 acres of old-growth redwoods of the Sally Bell Grove, and some other areas, and CDF approved the THP. EPIC and the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) filed suit against the agency, CDFCDF, and its Director, Ross Johnson, as well as the Board of Forestry, the Secretary of Resources, Rex Timber, and GP.

EPIC v. Johnson brought four major claims. First, the suit contended that the six-page THP approved by CDF must comply with all provisions of CEQA from which they are not explicitly exempt that CDF abused its discretion by approving the THP without requiring GP to analyze the cumulative impacts of its combined old-growth logging projects in the Sinkyone coast. Second, EPIC argued that CDF abused its discretion by failing to require GP to consult with the Native American Heritage Commission over sensitive historic cultural sites. Third, there were insufficient steps taken to ensure that the heritage sites were adequately protected. Finally, EPIC argued that CDF abused its discretion by failing to provide a timely response to public comments when it approved the THP.

EPIC filed suit in state court. The case was heard in Mendocino County. The Mendocino County court denied EPIC’s request for a Writ of Mandate. EPIC appealed the decision to the California Court of appeals, and the Court granted a Stay until a decision could be made. The appeals court, unlike the trail court, agreed that CDF had abused its discretion and issued a Writ of Mandate setting aside the approval of the THP on July 25, 1985.

Legal Claims Analysis

EPIC prevailed on all four of its major claims against the approval of the THP. The court agreed with EPIC that all substantive provisions of CEQA apply to the approval of THPs unless such provisions had been explicitly exempt from application by statute. Two previous court cases also found that the Forest Practice Act and THPs must comply with CEQA, however, in EPIC v. Johnson, CDF itself argued that it only needed to approve THPs utilizing the criteria of the Forest Practice Act and Rules. The courts once again rejected this argument, and thereafter, there was little debate as to the applicability of CEQA to THP approvals.

The court agreed with EPIC that CDF had abused its discretion by failing to require GP to analyze cumulative impacts. Here, CDF argued that it need not consider cumulative impacts because there were no explicit rules requiring such analysis in the Forest Practice Rules. The court also rejected this argument.

Second, the court agreed with EPIC that CDF had abused its discretion by failing to consult with Native American representatives over potential impacts to cultural resources. Here again, CDF fell back on the argument that it need not consult because there were no rules in the Forest Practice Rules requiring it to do so. The courts rejected this argument, referring back to CEQA, which requires public agencies to consult with all agencies having jurisdiction over the affected natural resources.

Third, the Court agreed that adequate measures were not considered or implemented to ensure that the Native American Heritage sites were protected.

Finally, the court agreed with EPIC that CDF had abused its discretion by failing to provide a substantive response to public comments within the then required 10 days after THP approval. The court reasoned that CEQA called for a good faith, reasoned response to public concerns that showed why a particular comment was rejected or accepted. Responses to public concerns are now issued at the time of THP approval.

Enduring Legacy

After the landmark victory of EPIC v. Johnson, the same GP forester who had written the set-aside THP for the Sally Bell grove resubmitted the THP to CDF, changing only the date on the THP application. EPIC v. Johnson II was filed. This case never resulted in a decision, however, as EPIC’s victory in the original case, coupled with public pressure, legislatively-allocated funds, and funds from the Trust for Public Lands and the Save-the-Redwoods League resulted in the purchase of the 7,100 acres of GP lands on the Sinkyone Coast in December of 1986. 3,255 acres of this was transferred to State Parks and incorporated into Sinkyone State Wilderness and Sinkyone Wilderness State Park, with the rest acquired by the Sinkyone Intertribal Council in 1997 as Sinkyone InterTribal Wilderness.

Not only did EPIC v. Johnson save the old-growth of the Sally Bell grove, but, perhaps even more significantly, it forced CDF and the private timber industry to address the cumulative impacts of its logging activities on sensitive and irreplaceable natural resources. It took CDF and the Board of Forestry about six years to come up with a check-list process, and still thirty years after the EPIC v. Johnson decision adequate reform – despite report after report and blue-ribboned panel after panel – is still being held up. There were and continue to be efforts to improve the processes for protection of Native American Heritage, and compliance with CEQA, that have had some good results. There still is not an ongoing reality of true consultation with California Indians that is required by federal agencies.

Work Remains

Fulfillment of the full spirit and intent of EPIC v. Johnson remains elusive. Although the Board of Forestry did create a mechanism for the analysis of cumulative impacts from approved THPs, significant problems remain. According to EPIC co-founder, and EPIC v. Johnson plaintiff, Richard Gienger, the full intent of EPIC v. Johnson has never been implemented or realized. “The current system doesn’t work and no one wants to face it,” said Gienger. Specifically, Gienger calls out the gross inadequacy of restricting the cumulative impacts analysis only to projects conducted within the past 10 years. Gienger said that the legacy effects and cumulative impacts of historic logging activities are still being felt, some from the late 1800s, but especially since 1950 and right up to today. More troubling, however, is the institutional culture at CDF and other state agencies that results in unjustifiable decision-making. “Decisions aren’t being made based on the conservation and recovery of the forests, watersheds, and wildlife; nor on the long-term needs and balanced relationships with human communities,” Gienger said. “Decisions are being made based on current net economic value which basically forces cutting as soon as there is merchantable value.”

EPIC has proved itself as probably the singular most effective environmental advocacy group at changing law, regulation, and policy governing the private timber industry in California using strategic litigation. Today, EPIC is deeply engaged in the newly created “Timber Regulation and Forest Restoration Program” which is aimed at developing transparency, efficiency, and environmental integrity in the private timber industry regulatory process. EPIC will continue to advocate for our forests, watersheds, and wildlife on privately managed forestlands and will work to uphold the public trust and keep both public agencies and private industry accountable to the law.

Action Alert to Ban Bobcat Trapping in California

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

bobcat-kitten flikrTake Action Now: Bobcats are still being trapped throughout California, and their pelts are sold in the international fur trade market. Recent spikes in demand from countries like Russia and China have increased prices for bobcat pelts, resulting in a boom in bobcat trapping throughout the State of California.

On October 11 2013, the Governor approved the Bobcat Protection Act of 2013 (AB1213), which directs the California Fish and Game Commission to increase bobcat protections, and now the Commission is considering two options for bobcat trapping restrictions: Option 1 proposes a partial closure of the state to bobcat trapping by establishing closure boundaries around protected areas; and Option 2, which EPIC supports, would implement a complete ban on commercial trapping of bobcats throughout California.

The Commission is slated to make a decision to adopt regulations at their August 5th hearing, which will be held at 8am at the River Lodge at 1800 Riverwalk Drive in Fortuna California.  EPIC will join bobcat advocates from around the state to rally for the protection of bobcats at 7:30am before the hearing.

Two days before the hearing, on Monday, August 3rd from 6-8pm, EPIC and our allies will host a teach-in and poster making session in the Arts & Crafts Room at the Arcata Community Center. 

The trapping industry  has openly opposed the state wide ban, and will likely send a spokesperson to speak at the August 5th hearing in favor of bobcat trapping. This is why it is important for bobcat allies to make a presence and show the Fish and Game Commission that the overwhelming majority of people are in favor of a statewide ban.  The law on the books allows bobcat trapping season to take place between November 24 and January 31, and anyone possessing an easy-to-obtain trappers’ license can trap as many bobcats as desired until a statewide total of 14,400 bobcats are killed for the season. The nearly unrestricted statewide cap is based on out of date population estimates from the 1970’s of 72,000 individuals. This baseline number is deeply troublesome. Over thirty years ago, in 1982, a court found that the science behind the 1970’s population estimate was too flawed to qualify as the basis for a bobcat management program. Yet, no additional surveys have been conducted since.

Bobcats are shy creatures that do not threaten public safety, and while no one knows what the current bobcat populations are, there is anecdotal evidence that trapping has greatly diminished localized bobcat populations, throwing ecosystems off kilter. In fact, the state legislature recognized that bobcats are important apex predators that play a significant role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem, reducing rodent populations and preying on populations of many animals that are considered “nuisance” animals such as raccoons, opossums and skunks. Bobcat trapping hurts more than bobcats; it hurts our forests and fragile ecosystems.

In addition to protecting bobcats for ecological reasons, there is a moral obligation to end the cruel and inhumane methods of killing bobcats. Because their pelts are worth more without bullet holes or other marks, trappers often strangle, stomp or bludgeon them to death. California should lead the nation and outlaw this cruel and harmful practice.
Click here to take action now!

P.S. The last time we attended a Fish and Game Commission hearing in Fortuna, we helped sway the Commission to protect gray wolves in California and with your help, we can do this again for the bobcats.


State Wildlife Action Plan Update & Alert

Monday, June 22nd, 2015

Photo Credit: USFWS

Take Action: Advocate for a strong conservation legacy of California’s imperiled wildlife by asking the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to prioritize the protection of species in the North Coast Klamath Province and Pacific Northwest conifer forests.

CDFW is updating the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). The public review and comment period on the draft is open until July 2, 2015. California is the wildlife state, harboring more species and endemic plants and animals than any other state in the nation and it is the most populous, which makes this plan no small task.

The SWAP is a “comprehensive plan for conserving the state’s fish and wildlife and their vital, natural habitats for future generations.” Rather than concentrate on single species, the CDFW targets conservation through defined provinces and different natural habitat types. It includes the consideration of climate change and revises the list for the Species of Greatest Conservation Need and also reiterates the need to promote partnerships with federal, state and local agencies, tribes and non-governmental organizations. The Draft plan outlines goals, key ecological attributes, objectives, pressures and threats, strategies, companion plans, adaptive management and monitoring.

There are over 1,000 species of invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, fish, birds, mammals and plants that are considered as Species of Greatest Conservation Need! The list includes 414 fish and wildlife species. National forests account for 15.8 million acres (48%) and other public lands account for 4.2 million acres (13%) of the golden state.

The North Coast and Klamath Province encompasses 14 million acres and the vegetation consists of predominantly conifer and mixed conifer forests.  Logging is one of the pressures outlined in the Draft plan. Forestry is the most widespread land use consisting of 1.9 million acres of privately owned timberlands mostly in the coastal portion and 4.8 million acres of national forests and public land managed by the US Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Other pressures in our province include agriculture, dams and water management/use, housing and urban areas, invasive plants/animals, fire and fire suppression, livestock, farming and ranching and climate change.

Strategies and objectives, in the Draft plan, to conserve wildlife in Pacific Northwest Conifer Forests are: data collection and analysis, outreach and education, management of invasive species, advocating for wildlife-friendly fire management, management planning to ensure the conservation of redwood habitat, improving fire management plans and influencing management of federal lands with partnerships.

While much consideration has gone into the SWAP Draft Update there is a need to prioritize and strengthen working relationships between CDFW and the US Forest Service. Because of increasing pressures and dwindling populations of threatened and endangered species there is also a need to prioritize the conservation of old-growth and mature forest habitat throughout the state, primarily within the Pacific Northwest.

Please take action to ensure a strong conservation legacy for California’s people and wildlife!

Click here for more information or to read a copy of the SWAP Draft Update