Victory: Wildlife Habitat Protected

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Thursday, August 21st, 2014

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

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

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

More on the Salmon River Watershed

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

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

You can review more pictures and past posts at: http://www.wildcalifornia.org/action-issues/fire/