Buy Your Tickets for EPIC’s Forest Prom!

Sunday, April 22nd, 2018

Join us for EPIC’s Forest Prom  Saturday, April 28th at the Veterans Hall in Arcata.

This redwood carpet affair will provide an experience you do not want to miss! Whether you never went to your High School Prom, desperately want a “do over”, or just want to have a good time, this event promises to create lasting memories all in support of EPIC’s efforts to protect and restore the forests of Northcoast California.

EPIC Prom is ALL ages.

Come dressed to impress and be ready to capture new prom memories in our photo booth. Don’t worry about spiking the punch- our full bar will have mixed drinks, locally crafted brew, and non-alcoholic beverages. Be sure to pre-order and pick up you freshly foraged corsages and boutonnieres for your date (updates to follow!).

A live vinyl set will be provided by DJ East One and funky soul jams by the Apiary will close the night. You won’t be able to stop your feet from moving, hips from shaking and singing along with friends.


8PM: doors open for cocktail hour and photobooth
8:30PM: Live vinyl set by DJ East One
10PM: Prom King and Queen Commencement
10:30PM: Music by the Apiary

Tickets available online or at Wildberries.

Advanced Student Tickets $10

Advanced Non-Student Tickets $15

Stay posted for Prom King and Queen nomination updates and announcements!

Volunteers are needed to help with the production of this event. If you are interested in getting involved, please email or call 707-822-7711.

Action Alert: Seiad “Salvage”- Bad for Water, Wildlife and Wild Places

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018

A view from the Siskiyou Crest and the Pacific Crest Trail into the Abney Fire and the Seiad Horse Project. The fire-affected forest at the headwaters of Horse Creek is proposed for clearcut logging and plantation development. The impacts to ecological, recreational and scenic values will be severe if the Seiad Horse Project is implemented. Photo by Luke Rudiger.

Protect the Siskiyou Crest: Click Here to Act Now!

The Klamath National Forest has done it again, planning over 1,200 acres of post-fire logging adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail on the steep slopes of the Siskiyou Crest. The Seiad-Horse Creek project would: significantly increase sediment in already impaired watersheds critical for salmon, require “take” or killing of threatened species, harm wildlife connectivity, and affect Roadless and Botanical Areas. Rather than fully address the impacts through an Environmental Impact Statement, the Forest Service released a Draft Environmental Analysis (EA) initiating the public scoping comment period.

Water Quality

All twelve of the creeks within Seiad and Horse Creek watersheds, which are tributaries to the Klamath River, are listed as 303(d) impaired for temperature and sediment under the Clean Water Act. This means that the current conditions do not meet water quality standards. According to Forest Service models, many of the streams are already over the “threshold of concern” yet the project would increase the risk of soil loss, sediment delivery and landslides and would further exacerbate adverse effects to aquatic and riparian habitats.

Wild salmon populations on the Klamath River are the lowest in history, suffering from disease and warm water as a result of dams, decades of mismanagement, years of consecutive wildfire, wildfire suppression activities and subsequent widespread industrial post-fire logging. Coho salmon are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act and the Karuk Tribe recently submitted a petition to list the Klamath spring-run Chinook salmon, which is currently being considered. The Seiad-Horse project has a “May Affect, Likely to Adversely Affect” determination for coho salmon and for coho and Chinook essential fish habitat. Unconvincingly, the EA claims that logging over 1000 acres in impaired watersheds would improve aquatic conditions in the future by placing large woody debris in Horse Creek and by treating some sediment sources from roads sometime within the next twenty years.


Recent science shows that female Pacific Fishers, may find forests that burn at high-severity to be the best habitat for raising litters. Possibly due to increased abundance of small mammals in open forest canopies. Spotted owls also seem to prefer post-fire habitat for this reason. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Like salmon, northern spotted owl (NSO) populations continue to decline. Both the Seiad-Horse and recent Westside project have a “Likely to Adversely Affect” determination. Westside allowed the take (harm or kill) of up to 100 owls. The directly adjacent Horse Creek post-fire logging project has a “May Affect, Likely to Adversely Affect” determination. This Klamath region has been recognized for being critical for NSO conservation by providing a “source” population; however, the intense harm in these watersheds from the Klamath National Forest continues to multiply.

The Siskiyou Crest connectivity corridor provides habitat for fishers, martens, wolverines, bald eagles, northern goshawks, bats and the endemic Franklin’s bumblebee and Siskiyou Mountain salamander. Vast swaths of clearcuts would create large and contiguous openings, which may impact all of these species. Fire-affected forests are fully functioning habitats. High severity patches generate critical ecological pulses of dead trees (biological legacies) that are associated with extraordinary levels of biodiversity and provide complex forest structure used by a plethora of animals.

Upper Horse Creek, the Condrey Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area, Johnny O’Neil Late Successional Reserve, and the Abney Fire viewed from the Siskiyou Crest. The burned forest at the center of this photograph is proposed for clearcut logging by the Klamath National Forest. Photo by Luke Rudiger.

Wild Places

The project area is central to the Klamath Siskiyou bioregion, which is home to the largest expanse of wild lands on the West Coast. These forests are a stronghold for rare species and ranks third in species richness (for taxa ranging from butterflies and plants to birds and mammals) for all temperate conifer forests across the continent. Seiad and Horse Creeks specifically rank some of the highest in biodiversity in the state. These forests also contain some of the highest biomass-dense forests in North America, sequestering carbon and storing carbon long after a fire.

The Pacific Crest Trail runs just above the Siead-Horse project. Logging on 1,270 acres is proposed between the Kangaroo and Condrey Mountain Roadless Areas, entirely within the Johnny O’Neil Late Successional Reserve, an area designated to maintain and restore habitat for old-growth dependent species. Post-fire logging is unequivocally damaging to fire-rejuvenated forests and aquatic ecosystems. The impacts to ecological, recreational and scenic values will be severe if the project is implemented.

Click Here to Act Now!


EPIC in Court (Again) to Defend Richardson Grove

Wednesday, April 11th, 2018

EPIC was back in court on March 28th to defend Richardson Grove against Caltrans’ effort to dismiss our most recent state lawsuit, filed last summer in Humboldt County Superior Court. (For more on our older but currently ongoing state lawsuit, click here.) Once again, the courtroom was packed to the gills with supporters of the Grove. And, once again, our longtime attorney, Sharon Duggan, put on a great show for supporters.

Caltrans claimed that the court lacked jurisdiction because either EPIC had previously brought the same claims or could have previously brought the claims when we filed our earlier litigation. Sharon forcefully argued that neither was the case: the claims were based on new information presented by Caltrans and therefore could not have been brought before.

While Caltrans’ argument doesn’t pass the smell test, their motion is still dangerous. Should the judge agree with Caltrans, this would stop the new case. And given that Caltrans is trying to stop our old case at the same time, we could quickly get shut out of state court. (But don’t worry too much: we can always appeal either decision should we lose. Plus, we still have our federal lawsuit, for a total of three cases to protect the Grove.)

The judge said that she was going to take her time to review the briefings and other materials—a lot of reading, with all of the citations in our briefing to documents before the court—so EPIC doesn’t anticipate a decision imminently.

Stay tuned for more developments!

Modest Victory for Rare Plant – Volunteers Needed in Shasta to Remove Noxious Weeds

Tuesday, April 10th, 2018

Shasta snow-wreath

There are only twenty known populations of the Shasta snow-wreath (Neviusia cliftonii) on the planet, endemic to the shores and canyons around Shasta Lake. In a modest victory through the objection resolution process EPIC has protected a few of these populations from the possible drift of herbicides, glyphosate and aminopyralid. The Shasta Trinity National Forest has agreed to partner with EPIC and the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center to pull and cut scotch broom in areas growing near creeks and Shasta snow-wreath populations.

Neviusia have existed for over 45 million years, from the Eocene period, however the Shasta snow-wreath was not discovered until 1992! The Eastern Klamath Range, where this rare plant lives, is an ancient landscape, neither glaciated nor overlain by volcanic material, as were the surrounding Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and Trinity Mountains. The area is rich in biodiversity and is home to other endemic species such as the Shasta salamander, Hydromantes shastae, a state-listed threatened species and the Shasta Chaparral snail.

The Shasta snow-wreath is in the rose family and can grow from 2-4 feet tall. Its showy white dime size flowers only bloom for a week to ten days in April to early May and are covered with tufts of stamens rather than petals. This native shrub is included in the CA Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants on list 1B.2 (rare, threatened, or endangered in CA and elsewhere). Many of the populations were lost when Shasta Lake was created and others are threatened by the proposal to raise the dam.

Scotch Broom

Scotch brooms have infested multiple areas near Packers Bay on Shasta Lake. The California State Department of Food and Agriculture has listed these brooms as a Class C pest species, that is, “troublesome, aggressive, intrusive, detrimental, or destructive to agriculture, silviculture, or important native species, and difficult to control or eradicate.” In response, the Forest Service has proposed the application of herbicides to eradicate these species. While EPIC was not able to stop the project entirely, we will be protecting the most sensitive areas near the water and rare plant populations by hand pulling the invasive weeds. By working together with volunteers consistently over the span of many years, as seed sources can last up to thirty years, we will demonstrate that people power is a better alternative to toxic chemicals.

Come join EPIC and the Mount Shasta Bioregional Ecology Center on Saturday May 19 from 10-3. Meet at the Garden Gulch Trailhead, which can be reached from the Packers Bay exit on Interstate 5 (from northbound I-5, take the O’Brien exit, get back on I-5 heading south, then exit at Packers Bay).

Bring lunch and plenty of water. Wear boots, gloves, hat and long sleeved shirt. We will have some tools available, but please bring digging tools, weed wrench, clippers and/or handsaws.

EPIC Petitions to Ban Humboldt Marten Trapping in Oregon

Wednesday, April 4th, 2018

Photo credit: Center for Biological Diversity

On April 4th, EPIC and four sister conservation organizations filed a rulemaking petition asking the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to ban trapping of Humboldt martens in Oregon’s coastal forests. The petition follows a new study that found that trapping could easily wipe out the species in the state.

Humboldt martens are under review for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act and the California Endangered Species Act, but they can still be trapped for their fur in Oregon even though fewer than 100 survive in the Siuslaw and Siskiyou national forests. California banned the trapping of these secretive, mid-sized forest carnivores in 1946.

“Humboldt martens have been driven to the brink of extinction by logging and development of their old-growth forest habitat and historical over-trapping,” said Nick Cady, legal director at Cascadia Wildlands. “Banning trapping is a critical first step to prevent the imminent eradication of the species from the state.”

A newly published scientific study concluded that Humboldt martens are so rare in Oregon that trapping just two to three individuals could result in wiping out the population on the central coast. In addition to trapping, Humboldt martens are threatened by vehicle collisions on Highway 101 and ongoing logging of mature forest habitat.

“The state needs to follow the new science and stop the trapping of these cute and ferocious animals,” said Tierra Curry, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It would be tragic if Humboldt martens were lost for future generations of Oregonians.”

Relatives of minks and otters, Humboldt martens are found only in old-growth forest and dense coastal shrub in southern and central coastal Oregon and northern California. The cat-like animals were thought to be extinct until they were rediscovered on the Six Rivers National Forest in 1996.

Today they survive only in three small isolated populations of fewer than 100 individuals each — one in northern California, one straddling the border and one in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.

“In addition to today’s petition, the Humboldt marten needs more lasting protections afforded through the Endangered Species Act,” said Tom Wheeler, Executive Director at EPIC.

There are two subspecies of Pacific martens in Oregon. Humboldt martens on the coast are critically imperiled, but interior martens from the Cascades and eastern mountain ranges are not imperiled. The petition seeks a ban on trapping west of Interstate 5.

Today’s petition was filed by Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Protection Information Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and Oregon Wild. The department has 90 days to initiate rulemaking or deny the petition.

Richardson Grove in Court: Supporters Needed!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Where will you be on March 28th?

Come show your support! EPIC and allies will be back in court on March 28th in Eureka at 1:45, defending our most recent case filed in the Humboldt County Superior Court. We should be in Courtroom 4, but due to a shortage of courtrooms, we might get moved on the day of. Please check the directory by the elevators to determine the correct courtroom.

Caltrans is trying to kill our lawsuit through a “demurrer”—arguing that we, the plaintiffs, are barred from bringing a new case because this case is too similar to a case that we have previously filed. We obviously disagree. Caltrans has materially changed the project and has seemingly increased the level of impacts of the project on old-growth redwoods. This is a BIG court date for Richardson Grove because if EPIC is successful, we have the potential to stop Caltrans from moving forward with the project. We need your support in court to show the judge that the public wants to protect Richardson Grove State Park from more asphalt and big rigs.

As a refresher, EPIC has THREE! ongoing lawsuits to protect Richardson Grove: our new federal and state cases, filed this summer and fall, and our original state court case which resulted in the ongoing injunction against Caltrans. On March 6, Caltrans moved to stop the new state lawsuit. Supporters of the Grove were there in force! Over 50 people crammed into the tiny courtroom to show their love of the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park. We are still waiting on a ruling on that case, but your presence made a difference!

EPIC and allies have held back the bulldozers and cement trucks for over a decade. We are in it for the long haul. Thank you standing by us all this time. Your support makes all the difference.

If you love the grove, please consider a donation to help with the defense of Richardson Grove. Court cases ain’t cheap!

Planning to attend? RVSP to Tom at We will likely have a friendly post-court beer to discuss next steps on what we can do to protect the sacred grove.

SOS: Save Our Salamanders!

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

Siskiyou Mountain Salamander Photo by William Flaxington

EPIC Files Petition to Protect Siskiyou Mountains Salamander

EPIC and our sister conservation groups KS Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a federal petition for Endangered Species Act protection for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander, a rare terrestrial salamander that lives in old-growth forests in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and Northern California.

“The Siskiyou Mountain salamander is under imminent threat from numerous timber sales,” said Tom Wheeler, Executive Director of EPIC. “Already on the verge of extinction, the salamander needs protection now before it’s too late.”

The salamander is threatened by federal land-agency plans to ramp up logging in southern Oregon and northern California.

“This highly specialized animal can’t adapt to logging, so it will be pushed to the brink of extinction without Endangered Species Act protection,” said Jeff Miller with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The salamander is a unique indicator species of forest health in the Siskiyou Mountains. It deserves immediate protection in the face of accelerated logging.”

“By eliminating the ‘survey and manage’ program that required timber planners to look for salamanders before logging their habitat, the Bureau of Land Management has put this rare species in further peril,” said George Sexton with KS Wild. “Increased logging of mature forests in the Applegate Valley could jeopardize the very survival of the salamander.”

The Siskiyou Mountains salamander (Plethodon stormi) is a long-bodied, short-limbed terrestrial salamander, brown in color with a sprinkling of white flecks. The species only lives in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and Northern California; it has the second-smallest range of any western Plethodontid salamander. Its best habitat is stabilized rock talus in old-growth forest, especially areas covered with thick moss. Mature forest canopy helps maintain a cool and stable moist microclimate.

“We have to ensure this unique salamander doesn’t blink out of existence,” said Josh Laughlin with Cascadia Wildlands. “In addition to playing an important ecological role by contributing to nutrient flow and soil health, the Siskiyou Mountains salamander is a distinct part of this region’s natural heritage.”


There are two distinct populations of the Siskiyou Mountains salamander separated by the Siskiyou Mountains crest—a larger northern population in the Applegate River drainage in Oregon and a small southern population in California’s Klamath River drainage. Most known Siskiyou Mountains salamander locations are on U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management lands.

Conservation groups first petitioned for protection of the salamander under the Endangered Species Act in 2004. To prevent the species’ listing, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service signed a conservation agreement in 2007, intended to protect habitat for 110 high-priority salamander sites on federal lands in the Applegate River watershed. In 2008 the Fish and Wildlife Service denied protection for the salamander based on this conservation agreement and old-growth forest protections provided by the Northwest Forest Plan.

Under the Northwest Forest Plan, the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service were required to survey for rare species such as the Siskiyou Mountains salamander and designate protected buffers from logging where salamanders were found. But the Western Oregon Plan Revision adopted by the BLM in 2016 will substantially increase logging in western Oregon and undermine the habitat protections of the salamander conservation agreement.

CDFW Stalls, Green Diamond Clearcuts, Humboldt Marten Looses Ground

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.

EPIC & Latino Outdoors Redwood Hike Series & Outdoor Skills Training

Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) and Latino Outdoors are pleased to present a series of bilingual interpretative hikes and associated outdoor skills training workshops to connect diverse communities with nature and outdoor experiences. All events are free and open to all ages.

EPIC and Latino Outdoors are providing a series of seminars designed to expose wilderness users to a variety of skills, and knowledge, in particular for those interested in leading bilingual hikes throughout the Redwood Hikes series.

Join us February 25th for our first Outdoor Skills Training Workshop: Introduction to Interpretive Guiding. Topics to be covered include an introduction to interpretive guiding, leave no trace, basic equipment knowledge, and leadership skills. Meet at Humboldt State University, Founders Hall – Green and Gold Room 116 at 10 AM

The first hike will be lead by our newly appointed bilingual guides on April 15th through Headwaters Forest Preserve, South Fork Elk River Trail. This 3-mile trail is suitable for all levels of ability. Please meet at EPIC headquarters 145 G Street, Arcata at 10 am. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear, bring food, water, and anything else you may need to be comfortable in the forest. Lunch will be provided*

Want to help? If you have strong ecological knowledge about a subject matter and are bilingual, we’d love for you to join our team! Email to learn how you can get involved.

Redwood Hike Series 2018

April 15th Headwaters Forest Reserve: South Fork Elk River Trail
Distance: 6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Total Time: 3 hrs

May 6th Johnson Camp Trail: Humboldt Redwood State Park
Distance: 10 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Total Time: 5 hrs

July 16th Stout Grove: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Distance: .6 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Total Time: 5 hrs

September 23rd Trillium Falls Trail: Redwood National Park
Distance: 3 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Total Time: 4 hrs


Caminatas De Secoya 2018

15-Abril Headwaters Forest Reserve: South Fork Elk River Trail
Distancia: 6 millas
Dificultad: Facil
Tiempo Total: 3 hrs

6-Mayo Johnson Camp Trail: Humboldt Redwood State Park
Distancia: 10 millas
Dificultad: Moderar
Tiempo Total: 5 hrs

16-Julio Stout Grove: Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park
Distancia: 0.6 millas
Dificultad: Facil
Tiempo Total: 5 hrs

23-Septiembre Trillium Falls Trail: Redwood National Park
Distancia: 3 millas
Dificultad: Moderar
Tiempo Total: 4 hrs

Fish and Wildlife Service Says Goodbye to Spotted Owl Assistance in California

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Photo by Jeff Muskgrave

So long, and thanks for all the technical assistance! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently announced it will no longer provide technical assistance to private timberland owners in California to ensure Timber Harvest Plans and other logging plans avoid “take” of the federally-threatened northern spotted owl. The announcement closes a 19-year chapter in which the federal wildlife agency has provided private timberland owners and the California Department of Forestry (CAL FIRE) with biological review of THPs and other state-sanctioned logging permitting frameworks aimed at avoiding “take” of the spotted owl.

The U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service originally listed the spotted owl as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1990, and began formally offering assistance to CAL FIRE and private timberland owners in California as of 1999 at the request of then-California Secretary of Natural Resources, Mary Nichols. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began to scale back its technical assistance program for private timberlands in California in 2008, handing the brunt of the day-to-day work of ensuring spotted owl “take” avoidance over to CAL FIRE, the lead agency responsible for approval of private timberland THPs and other similar logging projects that could adversely impact northern spotted owls.

The technical assistance program never received a fully-funded mandate or line-item in the agency’s budget, and with a Republican President and Congress in D.C. until the election of former President Obama, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s program was targeted and slowly began to be dismantled.

The scale-back of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 2008 created a vacuum of checks and balances on private timberlands “take” avoidance assurance in California, and some large industrial landowners, most notably Sierra Pacific Industries and Fruit Growers Supply Company, took full advantage by conducting risky logging activities in and near spotted owl nesting sites that never would have been sanction by the Fish and Wildlife Service during the technical assistance era. With CAL FIRE alone and in the lead, it was clear the fox had been left guarding the northern spotted owl nest sites.

In 2012, EPIC took action. We filed a listing petition with the California Fish and Game Commission requesting that it list and protect the northern spotted owl under State law and the California Endangered Species Act. It took nearly five years, but the Fish and Game Commission did eventually list the northern spotted owl under the California Endangered Species Act, an action that was codified as of June 2017.

Today, our efforts to see the spotted owl listed and protected under State law could not have better timed. The most recent range-wide northern spotted owl demographic study released in 2016 showed continued and alarming declines in owl populations, reproduction, and survival, across all 16 long-term study areas throughout their range, including three study areas in California. According to the study, northern spotted owls are declining at a rate of nearly four percent per-year, and that rate of decline is accelerating.

With an even less-friendly Republican President and Congress giving away anything and everything it can to extractive industries and interests, and a new and much more top-heavy agency control policy being handed down by the President, Interior Secretary Zinke, and Congress in D.C., it has become clear that the only way to protect, restore and recover threatened and endangered fish and wildlife like the northern spotted owl is to focus on what can be done right here in California.

Now, with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service completely abandoning the spotted owl in California, our State wildlife agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is ready to step up and step in to ensure spotted owls are not only protected, but also hopefully conserved and recovered in the State.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will now be the defacto lead on protection, enhancement, restoration, and recovery of the spotted owl in California. The challenges to this are many, and seem quite daunting: past and ongoing habitat loss, continued expansion and competition from barred owls, increasing risk of second-hand toxicant exposure, climate change, small, and isolated and fragile remnant populations all demand a holistic view and approach to spotted owl management and conservation in California that does more than focus on the tired, old question of “to take or not to take.”

In 2018, EPIC will be pressing the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to create a Recovery Strategy for the northern spotted owl in California that addresses threats to the species and the opportunities for conservation and recovery on a holistic and state-wide programmatic basis. You can follow our spotted owl advocacy efforts at:



Richardson Grove Fight Goes to Court

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

EPIC Attorney, Sharon Duggan explaining next steps to Richardson Grove supporters.

On Tuesday, EPIC and allies were back in court to stop the highway expansion through the ancient redwoods of Richardson Grove State Park. Richardson Grove supporters packed the courtroom—an overflow-sized crowd that made the bailiff nervous and the judge pay attention. (Thank you for your help! It was so inspiring to see so many passionate community members. <3 <3 <3)

At issue was Caltrans’ attempt to discharge of the “writ of mandamus” issued by the Court of Appeals—the court order, in non-legalese, which ordered Caltrans to do a better job on analyzing the impacts to old-growth redwoods. By “discharging the writ,” Caltrans would be one step closer to starting on their destructive project.

Speaking on behalf of the trees, our hot shot attorneys Sharon Duggan and Stu Gross, made clear that Caltrans’ attempts to clarify the impact to old-growth redwoods just muddied the waters—for example, the number of old-growth trees impacted by the project has increased despite Caltrans assertions that they have shrunk the scale and impacts of the project. This failure to clarify the impacts is important because it violates what the agency was ordered to do by the Court of Appeals. Because the impacts to old-growth is still unclear—although Caltrans does admit that a significant number of old-growth redwoods would experience dieback in their canopy—EPIC argued that Caltrans failed to do what the Court of Appeals required of the agency.

The judge, Honorable Kelly Neel, was attentive and seemed to grasp the importance of the hearing. At the outset, she made clear that she would not rule immediately as she would need time to consider the briefing and the arguments.

We are confident that the facts and law are on our side. But just in case we lose here, we have backup plans. If we lose at the Superior Court, we can always appeal to the court of appeals. Further, we have two new lawsuits—one filed in Humboldt County Superior Court and one in the Northern District of California—that we will continue to press. We have held back the bulldozers and cement trucks for over ten years. We aren’t giving up the fight any time soon!

Defending Richardson Grove isn’t cheap. Please consider a donation today to help fund this lawsuit and others.

It’s Official: Humboldt County Opposes Offshore Oil Drilling!

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

We are a forest group, but sometimes we get moved to work on issues a little outside of our normal stomping grounds. In January, Interior Secretary Zinke proposed issuing 47 new offshore oil leases—including two from Mendocino to Del Norte. The thought of oil derricks off our shore (and oil spilling onto our coast) moved EPIC to act!

EPIC has teamed with Humboldt Baykeeper and the Northcoast Environmental Center to take on any proposed offshore oil drilling. Together, our organizations have pledged that we will fight any attempt to open offshore oil and gas development. As we stated in our open letter:

The Trump administration announced that it would open offshore oil drilling for nearly all continental waters in the United States, including here along our North Coast. Trump will have to go through us first. Our organizations, the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Humboldt Baykeeper, and the Northcoast Environmental Center, pledge that we will do everything in our power to fight offshore oil and gas development in Northern California.

We are proud to report that we’ve made progress. On Tuesday, February 27, 2017, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors issued a formal resolution opposing offshore oil and gas developing. What’s more, the Board of Supervisors have pledged to work with the California Coastal Commission to redo our “Local Coastal Plan” to ban all onshore support facilities for offshore oil as well.

EPIC would like to thank the Board of Supervisors, particularly Supervisor Mike Wilson, for taking a leadership role on this issue.

Remembering Ruthanne Cecil

Wednesday, March 7th, 2018

Our merry gang of misfits and troublemakers is one smaller with the passing of Ruthanne Cecil. Ruthanne was there at the beginning, organizing community members to fight the aerial spraying of herbicides. EPIC was quite different back then—a completely volunteer organization that was once based out of an abandoned step van in Southern Humboldt.

Her son, Donovan Cecil, graciously provided EPIC with this remembrance of his mother:

Ruthanne Cecil passed away unexpectedly at her home in Arcata on Feb. 13, 2018. She was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Sept. 15, 1945 to Lester and Ruth Josephs, joining her older sister, Beverly. She is survived by her son, Donovan Cecil (Annie); Donovan’s ex-wife, Alicia Renata; grandsons, AJ Mcreynolds and Devon Cecil (Amorette), as well as her sister, Beverly Galvan, of Portland. Also grieving her loss are her dear friends Cynthia Packard, Nathan Muus and Lillian Hoika.

She met Vayne Cecil when she was in college at Wheaton, Chicago, in 1965. They moved to the San Francisco Bay Area together, where they had their son, Donovan, in 1967. They separated around 1973, although she always spoke of him with love and affection. Vayne passed away in 1999.

She came to Humboldt County in 1974, fell in love with the area, as so many did, and bought property in Ettersburg. She was very proud of having built her cabin while trying to go back and forth from the Bay Area, settling here permanently in 1976.

She was a very active member of the community, serving in many organizations over the years. She was a founding member of EPIC (Environmental Protection Information Center), worked on the Redwood National Park Trails project with RCDC (Redwood Community Development Council), and published a newspaper (the Country Activist). She also served as Executive Director of CEED (the Center for Environmental Economic Development) and helped with many other groups that protected our local environment.

She earned a law degree from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco in 1997, where Janet Reno gave the Commencement Speech. She wrote her Doctoral Thesis on Global Income Inequality, and, as a result of this, gave a talk at the United Nations on that topic. Most recently, she served on the Arcata Council Energy Commission.

Always interested in her roots, she joined several groups relating to her Finnish/Saami heritage and traveled to Finland and Sweden to explore the history of our family and culture. One of her major projects was researching the history and genealogy of the members of the Alaskan Saami Reindeer project. Ruthanne attended many North American Saami events, where she was a “valued and much loved friend with her quick wit and extensive knowledge.” She felt privileged to be an “Honored Elder” and deeply valued her friends and colleagues.

The family would like to thank everyone for the outpouring of love and support we have received. She affected so many people’s lives and was an inspiration to many, although she would never have described herself as such. She was a humble, self-effacing woman who valued her independence, and lived her life in accordance with the values she espoused. She was very much loved by her family and will be greatly missed.

If you would like to honor Ruthanne, please consider donating to the Sami Cultural Center of North America. There is also a GoFundMe page to help the family with funeral expenses. Or any local charity or group of your choice.

Also be informed and vote!

A memorial will be announced at a later date.

Happy Nineteenth Birthday to the Headwaters Forest Reserve!

Tuesday, February 27th, 2018

Headwaters EarthFirst! 20th Anniversary Reunion Hike

The Headwaters Forest Reserve, located just south of Eureka, CA celebrates its nineteenth birthday anniversary on March 1, 2018. The 7,500-acre Reserve was established at the climax of the nearly 15-year-long campaign to Save Headwaters Forest, and stands today as a critical ecological refugia and linage to the primeval past for many critically-threatened and endangered species. The Headwaters Forest Reserve also stands today as a place for pioneering redwood forest restoration, a place for connecting community and visitors to stories of the past, and to a better vision for the future.

Nineteen years after the controversial last-minute consummation of the landmark Headwaters Forest Agreement, known to most activists and conservationists as “The Deal,” on March 1, 1999, the landscape that now embodies the Headwaters Forest Reserve in many ways bears little resemblance to the landscape, or the times when it was first established.

The so-called, “Death Road,” constructed into the heart of Headwaters Grove by Pacific Lumber Company, has been removed and decommissioned. Once raw, the barren clearcuts authored by Pacific Lumber Company and Elk River Timber Company are beginning to regrow and heal. The young, over-dense, biologically-sterile forest plantations established in the wake of the industrial clearcuts have been thinned, restoring both stem count, species composition, and stem density ratios to a more natural and healthy condition.

Today, the Headwaters Forest Reserve is a place where people and history can intersect, and where stewards of the future can learn the lessons from the stewards of the past. The Headwaters Forest Reserve is alive with educational events, living history reenactments, and thousands of visitors annually on the publicly-accessible trails in the Reserve. There is active stewardship as well. BLM volunteer-docents offer guided interpretive tours, and the young, burgeoning Friends of Headwaters Group hosts public trail maintenance days, tree-planting days, and invasive weed removal days. For the last two years, the Friends of Headwaters Group has also helped orchestrate the wildly popular and successful Halloween at Headwaters event in cooperation with the BLM.

Back in 1999 when the Headwaters Forest Agreement was signed, few, if any could have envisioned what the Headwaters Forest Reserve is and has become today. The success and longevity of the administration and public support for the Headwaters Forest Reserve is a great testament to the visionary work of activists at EPIC, Trees Foundation, The Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Sierra Club California, and the larger Campaign to Save Headwaters Forest, which embroiled thousands of ordinary citizens and forest activists in the fight to save the last remaining significant uncut old-growth redwoods in private hands left on the planet.

While our campaign certainly did not get everything it wanted, there yet lies within the struggle, the loss, and the failures, an irreplaceable ecological gem that can still serve as the nucleus and blueprint toward a different and better future.

Our friend Ken Russell uploaded the video below last fall. It was taken on September 15, 1996 at the Protest to Save Headwaters Forest in Carlotta, California, featuring Brian Tripp, Judy Bari, Darryl Cherney, Bonnie Raitt, Starhawk, and 6,000 others in the largest civil disobedience action in the history of the forest preservation movement.



Government Delays a Bad Sign for Humboldt Marten

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

CA Dep’t of Fish and Wildlife Delaying Listing of the Humboldt Marten

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is playing political games with the Humboldt marten. The Department is holding up the listing of the critically endangered Humboldt marten. Why? Because it wants to blunt the impact of the listing on the timber industry by fast tracking a “Safe Harbor Agreement.” We expect this level of chicanery when dealing with the federal government, but we are sorely disappointed when it comes from the Brown Administration.

In 2015, EPIC petitioned to list the Humboldt marten under the California Endangered Species Act—a necessary step to protect the marten because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service illegally failed to list the species. (As a recap: we sued USFWS and won, with a judge finding the federal agency relied on bad logic and science, ordering a redo by the agency.) The Fish and Game Commission moved to make the marten a “candidate” species in February 2016, triggering a legal duty on the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to develop a “status review and recommendation” to the Commission within one year. This status review is supposed to be the best science on the species, and the Department is supposed to then recommend whether the Commission list the species.

Fast forward one year: the Department returned to the Commission and said it wouldn’t be ready in time and asked for a six month extension. By law, the Commission is only supposed to grant an extension when it is necessary to complete peer review on the status review. The Department was then given a new deadline of August 2017 to complete the status review. August came and went. EPIC inquired about the progress of the status review and were told that the Department had not even begun peer review and that they could not provide a date by which they thought they would have the status review complete and delivered to the Commission. In other words, the Department illegally obtained an extension and is now ignoring their duty to produce the status review and recommendation.

In the meantime it has come to light that the Department has been putting considerable effort into developing a “Safe Harbor Agreement” with Green Diamond Resource Company, the primary private property owner that would be impacted by the marten’s listing. The practical effect on the status review of the “Safe Harbor Agreement” is that Green Diamond would not be subject to the “take” prohibition of the California Endangered Species Act. EPIC has not even been provided a draft version of the Safe Harbor Agreement—we’ve had to ask and have filed a Public Records Act request—but the secrecy under which the agency is developing the agreement is alarming. EPIC is likewise afraid that the Department will finalize the agreement and then use it as a cudgel against listing the marten, a move that the Department could have learned from the greater sage grouse debate; the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list that species after it had extracted a voluntary management plan that it said negated the need for listing. Thus, the Department could (and it is obvious that the timber industry will) use the existence of the Safe Harbor Agreement to argue that additional conservation measures are not necessary.

There are less than 100 Humboldt martens left in California. Unless drastic action is taken, the marten will go extinct. Now’s not the time to be playing political games.

Road to Nowhere—Humboldt Redwood Company Making a Mess of the Mattole

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

Photo courtesy of ‘Save the Mattole’s Ancient Forest’

Humboldt Redwood Company doesn’t seem to be learning the lessons handed down by its predecessor, the now-bankrupt Pacific Lumber Company. Faced once again with community and activist resistance to its plans to log previously-unharvested and extremely rare upland Douglas-fir forests, the Company is resorting to some very Hurwitz-era tactics by proposing to construct over 1,000 feet of new road along Long Ridge in the North Branch of the North Fork of the Mattole Watershed for seemingly the sole purpose of circumnavigating community and activist resistance to its logging plans.

HRC has proposed a major amendment to THP 1-12-026HUM, the “Long Ridge Cable” THP, erroneously arguing that the new road segment is necessary to facilitate greater access to the Mattole property for timber management and fire suppression activities, without offering any explanation or rationale as to why the pre-existing road network, which it has already used to conduct partial harvesting operations, is not sufficient to do the job.

Behind the scenes is a live and real controversy over the company’s claim that the forests to be logged are not “primary forests,” as defined by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), triggering additional conservation requirements and HRC’s refusal to entertain a proposal by the local community to purchase the land for conservation purposes. Why? The answer seems to be that HRC bought damaged goods from Pacific Lumber on the whole as a property investment, and the forests of the North Branch of the North Fork of the Mattole represent the last of the best of what the company has left to work with to meet the financial bottom-line for their owners, the San Francisco-based billionaire Fisher family, which is notorious for the Gap clothing company.

HRC, EPIC, and Mattole community interests and activists have spent the better part of the last five years interacting over the potential fate and management of the North Branch of the North Fork Mattole holdings, with Humboldt Redwood Company once-promising an open and transparent collaborative solution-based process. For years, HRC honored that agreement and we made headway in addressing the controversy. Forest defenders came out of the woods and there was a truce. That has unfortunately ended, as HRC announced that it plans to move forward, simply announcing its findings and decisions without any effort to collaboratively or openly solve the continuing disputes through direct dialogues.

Faced with Mattole community and activist resistance to the logging it proposes, HRC has chosen to forge stubbornly ahead and to propose what is clearly unnecessary additional road construction under false and erroneous pretenses.

Because the amendment to allow the road construction to go forward constitutes a major change to the Long Ridge Cable THP, HRC must go through the normal THP review process, including allowing CAL FIRE and other agencies and the public to inspect and comment on the proposed new road construction. EPIC has submitted comments to CAL FIRE pertaining to the legality and legitimacy of the road construction amendment. Our comments on the Long Ridge Cable THP can be viewed here.

EPIC urges HRC to abandon this ill-conceived and pigheaded approach to community engagement and to return to the table with EPIC, Mattole community interests, and activists to orchestrate a more genuinely collaborative and legitimate outcome for the rare, unique, and critically-threatened upland Douglas-fir forests of the North Branch North Fork Mattole.

Action Alert: Stop Pesticide Contamination in Smith River Estuary

Monday, February 19th, 2018

By Greg King, Siskiyou Land Conservancy

Take Action: After many years the California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board has finally released a long awaited report that provides new and devastating data from the Smith River estuary: From 2013-15 state scientists found 17 highly toxic pesticides in surface waters of the lower Smith River. They also found at least ten instances of that water being so toxic that it destroyed the invertebrates that make up the basis of the salmonid food chain (aka “acute and chronic reproductive toxicity”).

Perhaps more devastating, though, is the state’s response to the contaminated waters of California’s healthiest and arguably most important remaining wild fishery: Water Board officials say that the water’s toxicity is not the result of the 17 pesticides (most of which are used on surrounding bottom lands to grow Easter lily bulbs and are highly toxic to fish), but stem from the water’s “lack of hardness.”

In other words, the state Water Board is currently in the process of abandoning the vital Smith River to the whims of agriculture, where lily farmers annually apply 300,000 pounds of pesticides on bottomlands that surround the Smith River estuary — some of the heaviest concentrations of pesticide applications in California. State officials are now even saying that they may not get around to developing a “discharge permit” for the lily growers, without which the farmers are technically operating illegally (as they have since 2003). Rather, the risk of further pesticide destruction of threatened and endangered estuary wildlife — home to coho and Chinook salmon, steelhead, and the world’s northernmost population of Endangered tidewater goby — will be addressed via the lily growers’ voluntary measures and “best management practices.”

Since its founding in 2004, the Siskiyou Land Conservancy has worked to reduce and eliminate pesticide contamination in the Smith River estuary, the most vulnerable reach of a watershed that is otherwise one of the wildest, healthiest, and most beautiful rivers in the world. Never has there been a more egregious, and Orwellian, abrogation by the state of its duty to protect wildlife in this isolated corner of California. The pesticides are also impacting the health of 2,000 residents in the town of Smith River, according to the Smith River Community Health Assessment conducted by SLC in 2016.

Click here to take action! Tell the Water Board that heavy applications of highly toxic pesticides have no place on bottomlands that that surround the vital Smith River estuary.

Once you take action at the link above, send copies of your correspondence to your elected officials:


Hon. Jared Huffman

1406 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

(707) 407-3585


State Sen. Mike McGuire

1303 10th Street, Room 5061 Sacramento, CA 95814



Assembly Member Jim Wood

State Capitol P.O. Box 942849 Sacramento, CA 94249-0002

(916) 319-2002

Hey, Governor Brown, EPIC’s Here to Help!

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Jerry Brown Addressing Headwaters Rally in 1997. Photo by Nicholas Wilson.

Governor Brown to Convene Forest Task Force

In his final State of the State address, Governor Brown highlighted the need for reforms to how California’s forests are managed and directed the creation of a “task force composed of scientists and knowledgeable forest practitioners to review thoroughly the way our forests are managed and suggest ways to reduce the threat of devastating fires.…[and] consider how California can increase resiliency and carbon storage capacity.”

Hey, Governor, EPIC agrees and we are here to help! We will gladly serve on your task force. And not to toot our own horn, but no one’s better suited than EPIC. Since 1977 we’ve been one of the prime advocates in revising our Forest Practice Rules. We have brought over 100 lawsuits—lawsuits that resulted in the discussion of cumulative effects in a Timber Harvest Plan, forced timber companies to plan for a sustained harvest of timber products, and protected sacred ancient forests. Heck, our longtime attorney, Sharon Duggan, literally wrote the book on California’s Forest Practice Rules.

We totally agree that a task force is necessary. For too long, the Board of Forestry and CAL FIRE have been dominated by the timber industry, and look at the result: species that depend on mature forests, like the northern spotted owl and Humboldt marten, are headed towards extinction; we have replaced fire-adapted forests with overly dense fiber plantations; and mismanagement of our forests have turned them from carbon sinks to sources! It is a sorry state of affairs. We did not arrive at this place by chance, but by mismanagement. We need a revised approach to how we regulate forestry.

The Elk Death Trap

Tuesday, February 6th, 2018

A herd of elk has gone extinct in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. Why? Poor road design.

The Boyes elk were first documented in Boyes Meadows in 1937. By the late 1940s, their population ballooned to around 100, taking advantage of the newfound forage to jump in size. Over time the population settled; between 1950 to the late 1990s, the population fluctuated between 20-60 individuals. In 1998, there were 30 elk. By 2011, the herd was extinct.

In 1984, Caltrans began planning for a bypass around the old-growth of the park—today, we call the original road the “Newton B. Drury Bypass.” The original road, just two lanes through enchanting old-growth redwoods and elk-filled meadows—made traffic slow. The new 101 route was twice as big, four lanes, and allowed cars to zip by at 65 mph.

This “improvement” came at a cost. The new road opened in 1992. Construction of the road created meadows and clearings which were soon utilized by elk. Increased road kill soon followed. In places, the road is quite steep. Cars heading downhill (southbound) may find it difficult to stop or evade elk in the roadway. Similarly, elk may find avoiding humans more difficult.

In 2003, Caltrans installed a barrier to separate north and southbound lanes. The barrier, intended to keep cars from cross lanes, was also likely effective in limiting elk mobility, making attempts by elk to evade or avoid vehicles more difficult. Elk and other ungulates have a difficulty assessing vehicle speeds and distance, perhaps making last minute maneuvers, and things that inhibit that flight response, more important. Furthermore, these elk were habituated to humans, and the elk may have had difficulty determining which vehicles detected them and wanted to slow to observe and which vehicles did not detect them or wanted to poach them.

The road also facilitated poaching. The original road was square in the park; this new section of Highway 101 is remote and dark. Poachers have a low risk of getting caught. Again, the habituation of elk likely further enabled poachers by reducing the elk’s usual fear of humans.

Things may be getting better for elk in the area, but not thanks to Caltrans. The meadows along Highway 101 are slowly giving way to forests, as young conifer species and other successional plants began their invasion.

It may take a while before Boyes meadow is home to another herd of elk. A female elk could leave her herd and travel to Boyes meadow to give birth. After birth, the young could stick around with their mother (and potentially other mothers) to start a new herd. This possibility is thought to be “far flung.” Alternatively, the meadow could be recolonized—a small number of colonizing elk, pushed to the meadow by some disturbance, like a fire, and determine that they like it and way to stay. Or an existing elk herd could expand their home ranges, although this too is regarded as unrealistic as other elk herds are separate by a fair distance of thick forests.

For more on the Boyes herd and our fascinating Roosevelt elk, please read “Population Ecology of Roosevelt Elk: Conservation and Management in Redwood National and State Parks” by Dr. Butch Wekerly.

EPIC Membership Mixer

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

Want to learn more about forest conservation on the North Coast?

EPIC members, volunteers, and tree lovers are encouraged to meet the local environmental community for a mixer, February 9th from 6-9pm at the EPIC office (145 G Street, Suite A in Arcata). Meet our Board and Staff and hear about our exciting new programs for 2018.

In celebration of Arts! Arcata, EPIC’s own Forest and Wildlife advocate Rob DiPerna will feature his photography highlighting the region we work to protect.

At 7pm we will be presenting a slideshow outlining recent accomplishments, and new projects we will undertake in the coming year. Learn how to get involved!

Get the latest update on EPIC’s work all while enjoying some drinks, snacks, and beautiful photography!

Please “attend” and invite your friends on Facebook!