Year End Highlights

By
Thursday, January 4th, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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