2014 EPIC Year in Review

By
Friday, December 19th, 2014

grandfather treehuggerWhen it comes to getting things done, EPIC churns out one campaign after another in the pursuit of making our world a better place. Over the past year, we have taken on almost every project you can imagine, from getting protections for the Grey Wolf, to banning rodenticides, to protecting wild places, to thwarting Caltran’s attempts to harm ancient redwoods, our team is proficient in bringing about changes to better the environment and quality of life.  The list below takes a look at some of our most notable accomplishments from 2014. We could not do all of this work without the support from our members, interns, volunteers and activists, so we would like to thank you for all that you do to fuel our efforts into the future.

PUBLIC LANDS

Filed a third lawsuit to prevent Caltrans from vandalizing the ancient redwoods in Richardson Grove State Park, convincing Caltrans to rescind its approvals for the project. Caltrans must now restart the full environmental review of the project if they choose to move forward with the proposal. Earlier in the year, the California Appeals Court ruled that Caltrans Failed to Consider Highway Project Impacts on old-growth redwoods.

Secured a preliminary injunction halting Caltrans’ 199/197 Highway-widening proposal in Del Norte County along the Wild and Scenic Smith River, citing substantial violations of the Endangered Species Act, a ‘haphazard” consultation process with the federal fisheries agency, and the potential for irreparable harm to the Smith River and salmon habitat.

Developed and launched the Connecting Wild Places Campaign, which sets out to designate, protect and connect habitat areas, wildlife corridors, carbon-dense forest stands and all remaining old-growth in northwest California to build a well-connected network of wild lands to allow for the movement, mating, foraging and adaptation of species in an era of climate change.

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act, we submitted a message on behalf of 50,000 EPIC and conservation partner members asking U.S. Department of the Interior Sally Jewell and California National Forest and Bureau of Land Management Supervisors to protect and connect wild places.

Prepared a legal complaint challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to log over a thousand acres in the Klamath National Forest along the Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River. Because of the threat of litigation, the Forest Service withdrew important old growth reserves from the Salmon Salvage timber sale, resulting in the protection of some of the best northern spotted owl habitat in the proposal.

Sent three separate action alerts opposing U.S. Forest Service proposals for post-fire “salvage” logging in the Klamath National Forest:

  • Westside Project (604 comments)
  • Jess Project (1,182 comments)
  • Salmon River Salvage (1,347 comments)

Sent 1,073 comments on the Crawford Timber Sale within the Siskiyou 1 Roadless Area, a proposal that would be damaging to forest health and biodiversity with taxpayers footing the bill for corporate timber profits at the expense of wildlands and wildlife.

Monitored and documented cattle grazing allotments in wilderness areas that have resulted in fragmentation of willows and wetlands and degradation of watersheds. The documentation was then sent to federal and state officials to encourage more effective grazing management to protect our public lands and public trust resources.

Worked with conservation groups, Tolowa Dunes State Park, and Biologists to survey, document and map current fencing and restoration efforts to develop a plan for removing old livestock fencing from the park to improve habitat for migratory wildlife such as elk. The majority of the fencing is scheduled to be removed in early 2015.

Filed a Freedom of Information Act request with Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service to request documents detailing the effects of trespass marijuana growing on public lands and their impacts on forests, fish, and wildlife.

Participated in Humboldt County’s Cannabis ordinance workshops and Growing Green citizen workshops to advocate for ecologically sustainable solutions for the cultivation of our region’s number one cash crop.

WILDLIFE

Successfully petitioned to protect the Gray Wolf under the California Endangered Species Act. For more than two years we advocated for the wolf, gathered over 4,000 comments, attended countless hearings, hosted teach-ins and testified at the California Fish and Game Commission hearing in Fortuna when it was announced that OR7, California’s wandering wolf had sired puppies and that the species would be granted protections!

Action alert to urge U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to grant protections for fishers as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Encouraged 2,409 epic members to take action ultimately convincing the California Fish and Game Commission to end inducements (cash prizes) for wildlife killing contests.

Launched campaign that resulted in a statewide ban on over the counter sales of dangerous anticoagulant rat poisons that kill countless children, pets and wildlife each year.

Commissioned a wildlife researcher to conduct an independent review of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Northern Spotted Owl initial evaluation of our petition to list the Owl as threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act. This report will be presented to the Commission to provide scientific evidence that the species is in decline and needs protections.

Filed and settled two separate lawsuits to reform the timing and number of fish released from Trinity and Mad River fish hatchery practices to protect native wild salmon populations from being bred with and preyed upon by hatchery fish.

Joined forces with other groups to file a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service seeking Endangered Species Act protection for a silvery phacelia, a rare plant that grows in coastal areas along northern California & southern Oregon.

WATER

Submitted comments and gathered 1,207 signatures to urge the Oregon Department of Water Resources (ODWR) to deny the Red Flat Nickel Corporation’s Strip Mining application that was proposed for the headwaters of the Wild and Scenic Smith River. Earlier this month, we learned that the mining corporation has appealed the ODWR’s denial, and now we are urging congressional representatives in Oregon and California to block the proposals by issuing a mineral withdrawn for mining in the sensitive areas of the Illinoi and Smith River, click here to take action.

Participated in workshops that developed into California’s newly adopted Groundwater Legislation.

Attended rally in Sacramento and encouraged 1,880 people to send comments to the Bureau of Reclamation to prevent a fish kill in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. In the end, the Bureau made the decision to release the flows and this year’s salmon runs were one of the largest on record.

Developed comments and an action alert yielding 1,598 comments requesting withdrawal of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan, a proposal that was based on over allocated water rights that would take more water from Northern California’s rivers threatening the viability of endangered species and native salmon runs only to benefit large industrial agricultural interests.

Attended meeting where we delivered over 10,000 petition signatures opposing the Navy’s Northwest Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement, which proposed the harm, kill or harass more than 500,000 marine mammals with sonar, weapons, and toxic chemicals. The extensive comments submitted during the last public comment period have forced the Navy to write an additional Supplement to the initial Environmental Impact Statement, which is currently being circulated for public comment and includes a series of meetings with one in Eureka on January 16, 2015.

Participated in Sacramento Rally and submitted over 6,000 comments to California lawmakers, asking them to ban fracking in California.

PRIVATE INDUSTRIAL FORESTLANDS

Filed a petition to challenge CAL FIRE’s use of ‘G-Plus Methodology,’ an underground regulation that illegally applies an alternative review and approval standard for private industrial Timber Harvest Plans

Worked with residents, forest defenders and timber managers in the Mattole watershed to assess primary forests and the effects timber harvest proposals would have on the landscape, eventually Humboldt Redwood Company agreed to temporarily halt logging in these controversial places. EPIC plans to continue working with stakeholders in this area to develop a plan that will protect old growth stands and restore the watershed.

In 2014 EPIC has successfully engaged on conservation advocacy issues at the national, state, and local level, and our advances are directly attributable to the consistent support that our small, grassroots and community-based organization receives from our membership. Thank you for a positive 2014, we are well positioned to have a successful 2015. Click here to read our vision for 2015.