CDFW Stalls, Green Diamond Clearcuts, Humboldt Marten Looses Ground

By
Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Humboldt Marten 6/1/17 courtesy of Bluff Creek Project.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) continues to unlawfully delay production of a status review and report to support the California Endangered Species Act listing process of the critically-imperiled Humboldt marten. The California State wildlife agency has been negotiating terms of a potential Safe Harbor Agreement with voluntary marten conservation measures from Green Diamond Resource Company, while at the same time, it has been over two years since the agency was directed by the Fish and Game Commission to complete a status review and report within one-year. Meanwhile, Green Diamond goes about the business of clearcutting on the very same lands that might support martens and marten habitat, which would be involved in any potential Safe Harbor Agreement. Sadly CDFW’s inaction on the status review and report while gambling on reaching a Safe Harbor Agreement with Green Diamond makes prognosticating about the fate of the marten in California quite clear-cut; regardless of what happens from this point forward, the Humboldt martens loose.

EPIC and allies filed a petition with the California Fish and Game Commission to list the Humboldt marten as an endangered species in California back in June of 2015. In February 2016, the Commission found that the listing of the marten may be warranted and designated the marten as a candidate for CESA listing. The Commission also directed the Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct a status review of the marten in California, and to deliver a status report on the marten to the Commission within one year to allow the Commission to consider the evidence and render a final listing decision. In February of 2017, the Department requested, and the Commission granted, a six-month extension on the delivery of the status review and report. State law affords one six-month extension.

It is now March of 2018, and the status review and report are still not complete and have not been delivered to the Fish and Game Commission, and the Department of Fish and Wildlife is not offering EPIC a timeline for completion and delivery; in fact, the Department of fish and Wildlife isn’t even responding to our phone calls and e-mails regarding the timeline for the status review and report for the Humboldt marten.

And while the Department of Fish and Wildlife works to negotiate behind-closed-doors with Green Diamond Resource Company over a potential Safe Harbor Agreement and voluntary conservation measures on its industrial timberlands for the marten, Green Diamond is simultaneously working to clearcut the vast majority of its holdings in the areas of its property that would be the subject of the Safe Harbor Agreement and that are the most critical for marten protection, habitat connectivity, and species conservation.

EPIC’s investigation into how many THPs have been filed with the Extant Population Areas and the potential Dispersal Areas for the Humboldt marten indicates that some 47 THPs have been approved in areas most critical for marten conservation since the 2016 candidacy decision. These THPs are all in the Lower Klamath River and Upper Redwood Creek area, ground-zero for marten protection and conservation. Almost all of these THPs have been submitted by Green Diamond and involve extensive clearcutting. EPIC has conducted additional investigations and discovered ten additional THPs not yet approved or incorporated into the CAL FIRE GIS shape files for THPs as of the most recent software update. All ten of which have been submitted by Green Diamond, and all involve clearcutting of extensive acres, and in portions of its property most critical to marten protection and long-term marten habitat conservation and connectivity to other suitable habitats.

Map of THPs within Humboldt marten extant population areas and potential marten dispersal areas.

And so, the combination of delays in the listing process for the marten and Green Diamond’s clearcutting of the exact same land that would be subject to any Safe Harbor Agreement for voluntary conservation measures for the marten with the State leaves the marten loosing on all fronts, and regardless of the eventual outcome of the CESA listing process of the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s negotiation with Green Diamond for voluntary conservation measures.

EPIC will continue to challenge the Department of Fish and Wildlife’s unlawful delays of the CESA listing process, and will continue to advocate for listing and meaningful conservation measures for the critically-threatened Humboldt marten.