David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Dear Friends,

This coming September will be twenty years since David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain lost his life while trying to prevent illegal logging in an Earth First! Action near Grizzly Creek in the Van Duzen River watershed.  To mark this anniversary and remember an idealistic young man, we have established the David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship.  Administered by the Humboldt Area Foundation, this fund will provide an annual scholarship of $1,000 for a local high school student or first year student at Humboldt State University or College of the Redwoods who has demonstrated commitment to issues of forest ecology through volunteer or academic projects.

In addition to assisting students, establishing this scholarship will provide a focus for reflection on changes in our community over the past twenty years. What have we learned since the painful controversies over and in the forest in the 1990s?  How have we grown as individuals and as a community?  For those of us who knew Gypsy or knew of him, how did his death influence the course of our lives?

We envision memorial events on the HSU campus on Sunday, September 16 and Monday, September 17, including performances, lectures, and art displays.  Members of Gypsy’s family will travel here to attend.  Gypsy’s mother, Cindy Allsbrooks, will serve on the annual scholarship selection committee; we hope the task will bring her comfort.  If you would like to serve on our creative team and help produce the memorial events in September, please contact either of us directly.  We will appreciate assistance with all aspects of the project including designing and facilitating the events, gathering materials for a memorial website, and publicizing the memorial fund and events.

Also, we invite you to participate by making a donation to the Fund.  Donations large and small will be appreciated.  We have set an ambitious goal of $25,000, the minimum required for a Fund to continue into perpetuity.  In addition to helping individual students, the annual  announcements of the scholarship availability and recipients will continue to educate the public about an important era in Humboldt County history and the ongoing story of the preservation and restoration of the magnificent but fragile redwood ecosystem.

To make a donation online or by mail please see:

Sincerely yours,

Marion Nina Amber,

Naomi Steinberg,

Last Chance Grade Project Update

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

The Redwood Highway, also known as Highway 101, is the main north-south arterial connection for North Coast residents and visitors alike. “Last Chance Grade” is a stretch of Highway 101 about ten miles south of Crescent City, which sits precariously above the Pacific Ocean. Built on an active landslide, the road has steadily slipped towards the Pacific Ocean, including a fairly substantial road failure in winter in 2017. In many areas, the road is no longer in its original alignment, having slipped further down the slope. The area that has experienced the greatest movement has moved 40’ horizontally and 30’ vertically so far. The question is not if the road will fail, but when and how badly.

Congressman Jared Huffman has convened a stakeholder group to help work through some of these issues. EPIC, Friends of Del Norte, and Save the Redwoods League sit on this group to provide input from the conservation community. The stakeholder group has met numerous times over the past three years to consider the project. The unanimous conclusion of the group, so far, is that something has to be done to improve the existing road. The question is what, where, and at what cost.

Caltrans is considering possible alternatives and reroutes. Of the six initial options presented by the agency, each has something that would ordinarily rule out that alternative from further study—from massive cost (Alternative F, a deep tunnel under the problem area, would cost one to two billion dollars, if it is even feasible at all!) to large impacts to old-growth (Alternative A2 would affect 3 acres of old-growth redwoods, including the loss of 30-50 trees) to technical feasibility (Alternatives C3-C5 are also in areas prone to sliding and may not be any better at staying open than the current route).

At the most recent stakeholder meeting, Caltrans has introduced two more alternatives: Alternative X, which would take drastic actions to stabilize the current alignment, and Alternative L, which would move the road slightly uphill, perhaps better positioning the road for the future). From their initial descriptions, EPIC is intrigued and excited to develop these alternatives further. Both alternatives initially appear to have the smallest environmental impacts—neither would affect old-growth nor require any stream crossings. Both are relatively cheap too, with a back-of-the-envelope estimate of $100-300 million, making them appear more feasible in our eyes. There are downsides too. Both would be costly to maintain and still prone to failures like the current road has experienced.

To further narrow their thinking, Caltrans has completed an “expert risk assessment,” where the agency has employed the help of geotechnical experts from across the West Coast to do an initial assessment of the various alternatives. The assessment focused on three factors: the cost to maintain the road (“cost”), likelihood of impairments to mobility, such as temporary lane closures for road work (“mobility”), and the risk of a full road closure (“closure”). One alternative, the long tunnel under the problem area (Alternative F) scored far better than the rest—but this alternative is the most expensive to build in the first place (“cost” in the report only concerns the cost to maintain) and the agency lacks the geotechnical data necessary to understand if this alternative is even possible. So it may be cumulatively cheaper to build a less expensive road but pay higher annual maintenance costs than to build an expensive road that doesn’t cost much to keep up.

The geotechnical analysis is only part of the consideration of values necessary to refine the alternatives. It doesn’t include consideration of environmental values, like preservation of old-growth or sediment inputs to rivers. To refine the alternatives further, Caltrans will conduct a “value engineering analysis” that will require soliciting thoughts from stakeholders about their deeply held values. These values will inform what alternatives that Caltrans will further decide.

By November 2018, Caltrans hopes to begin “scoping” under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). NEPA and CEQA are the laws that require the agency to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of the various alternatives. The project will still take many years to complete, with Caltrans searching for money from federal and state coffers.

EPIC will keep our members informed as we learn more information.

EPIC Stops Tower in Redwood National Park

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

The Office of Emergency Services (OES) has heard our voices loud and clear, and has decided not to put an emergency communications tower in Redwood National Park. The initial proposal called for three towers ranging from 120 to 270 feet, one of which was proposed inside the boundaries of Redwood National Park. But thanks to the 1,451 EPIC members from 32 states and 28 countries who spoke up by sending comments through EPIC’s two action alerts, none of the towers will be built within Redwood National Park. Instead, the towers will be built at alternative locations outside of the park.

The approved project includes three new towers to replace and provide the same level of coverage as the Red Mountain communications site, which must be removed due to its location within the Helkau Ceremonial District, a site that is sacred to the Yurok Tribe. The towers will provide coverage in the remote and rugged region within the Yurok Reservation, as well as Redwood National Park and surrounding areas that do not have cell phone reception. The emergency communication towers will be for use by state, federal and local law enforcement, transportation, fire, medical and resource agencies. Once the Red Mountain site is cleaned up, the Yurok Tribe will once again be able to access their sacred site and begin holding ceremonies as their ancestors have since time immemorial.

The 5 alternatives that were considered in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) include:

  • Alternative 1: Rodgers Peak (Redwood National Park), Rattlesnake Peak and Alder Camp.
  • Alternative 2: Same as Alternative 1, except Rodgers Peak site would expand clearcutting from 1.5 acres to ~3.9 acres to install a solar array as a primary power source.
  • Alternative 3: Rodgers Peak would not be developed under this alternative. Rattlesnake Peak and Alder Camp would be the same as Alternative 1 and Green Diamond 1 and Orick sites would also be developed for a total of 4 towers.
  • Alternative 3a: Rattlesnake Peak, Alder Camp and Green Diamond 1 sites would be developed. Green Diamond 1 site is clearcut.
  • Alternative 3b: Identical to Alternative 3a except Green Diamond 2 site would replace the proposed Green Diamond 1 site. The Green Diamond 2 site is clearcut and a portion of the parcel is located within the Coastal Zone. However, the tower would be built outside of the coastal zone.
  • Alternative 4: No Project Alternative. Decommissioning activities would be implemented at Red Mountain, and the sacred site would be restored consistent with existing permits issued to the State by the USFS. None of the proposed sites would be developed and the entire region would lose emergency communication services.

The tower locations that have been approved in the Final EIS include Rattlesnake Peak, Alder Camp and Green Diamond 2. The Initial Scoping Notice only proposed one alternative that included Redwood National Park. After over 600 comments poured in, OES developed a range of alternatives, with Alternative 1 identified as the proposed project, but after hearing from community input in the form of the second round of hundreds of public comments requesting that the agency avoid building a tower in Redwood National Park, the OES went with Alternative 3b, which includes Rattlesnake Peak, Alder Camp and Green Diamond 2. The Green Diamond 2 location is partially within the coastal zone; however, the location of the proposed tower would not be in the coastal zone, and is in an area that is already clearcut.

Although significant unavoidable impacts will be made to the visual resources of Lyons Ranches Historic District, the OES has issued a Statement of Overriding Considerations along with its project approval, finding that the project benefits (providing emergency services communications and cleaning up a sacred site) outweigh the impacts of replacing the red mountain tower with three new towers that affect the viewshed of the surrounding areas.

EPIC Summer Events

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Each Summer, EPIC’s staff, board, and volunteers share their love for the wild all across the North Coast! Catch us tabling at your favorite music festival, leading a bilingual hike along your favorite swimming spot, and hosting our second annual EPIC Base Camp. We are pleased to present new merchandise for the summer season—including car bumper stickers, and a re-release of our beloved “Save Richardson Grove” t-shirts. We will update our online store as soon as possible, so keep your eye out if you’re interested in ordering through our website. Our hikes and workshops fill up fast, so be sure to register!

Here’s a list of the EPIC happenings this summer:

May 19th: Packers Bay Invasive Weed Pull. Our breadth of work takes us far and wide.  In a modest victory, 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. Join EPIC this Saturday, May 19 from 10am-3pm in an effort to remove invasive Scotch broom to protect native Shasta snow wreath populations . 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).

June 2nd-3rd: Benbow Summer Arts & Music Festival. What better way to kick off the summer than dancing among the redwoods and swimming in the majestic Eel River. The Benbow Summer Arts Festival features more than 150 handmade craft, food, and non-profit vendor booths, a Kid Zone with arts & crafts, dancing, and fun for the whole family. Join us, and pick up the latest EPIC swag!

June 28 – July 1st:  Kate Wolf Music Festival.  For the 9th year in a row, EPIC joins our friends among the beautiful black oaks of the Hog Farm in Laytonville. This festival is a must for those who enjoy classic rock, country, and bluegrass music. Sign our latest petition postcards and learn more about what EPIC has in store for 2018 and beyond.

July 16th: Bilingual Redwood Hike-Hiouchi Trail, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Join EPIC for a Redwood hike through Hiouchi Trail in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. This hike will meander through an enchanting forest landscape watched over by towering giants. The stunning old growth and pristine Smith River along the Hiouchi Trail makes it one of the most beautiful places on the North Coast. This 3 mile loop is well-maintained trail and designed to be accessible to almost anyone. Please come prepared with water and hiking shoes, as well as swimming gear so that you can fully enjoy the Wild and Scenic Smith River. Click here to register! 

September 7th-9th: EPIC Base Camp. Mark you calendars for EPIC’s second annual Base Camp. Join us for a weekend of ground-truthing trainings, workshops, and more! More updates soon.

September 15th-16th: North Country Fair. Join us along the coast for our last festival of the year. It always feels good to end a busy summer season at home on the coast. Don’t miss your chance to buy our latest summer merchandise!

September 16th: Outdoor Skills Training-Map Reading and Land Navigation. Join EPIC and Latino Outdoors for a series of seminars as well as hands-on activities designed to expose wilderness users to a wide variety of skills and knowledge, in particular, to those interested in leading groups for future EPIC and Latino Outdoors hikes. Learn basic navigation skills using a map and compass to find your way. Learn the parts of a compass, how to read a topographic map, and how to use them in tandem to lead and develop hiking routes. Click here to register!

September 23rd: Bilingual Redwood Hike-Trillium Falls Trail, Redwood National Park.  Don’t miss our last hike of the series! One of our staff favorites, this hike will explore the misty hallways of an ancient redwood home. The stunning old growth, vast creeks, and 10 ft waterfall make it the most popular and awe inspiring trail in Redwood National Park. This 3 mile loop is a well-maintained trail and designed to be accessible to almost anyone. Click here to register!

EPIC Forest Prom Thank you!

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

The staff and board of the Environmental Protection Information Center would like to thank all the attendees, businesses, sponsors, volunteers and artists who helped make our first EPIC Forest Prom a success! It was inspiring to see a room full fresh faces engaged in our cause. We were thrilled to host an event that showcased our old school EPIC charm with the vibrant new generation of environmental activists.

EPIC was proud to partner with Zero Waste Humboldt to host a Zero Waste Prom! From our decorations and corsages—to our glassware and eco green plates, we were able to pull off a huge event with little to no waste.

EPIC Prom Nominees

Congratulations to Nathaniel Pennington and Briana Villalobos for taking home the crown. We were honored to highlight the impactful work of our EPIC Prom Court Nominees. A special thanks goes out to Jennifer Savage, Mitra Abidi, Natalynne Delapp, Robert Shearer, and Mike Wilson for being such good sports and helping raise money for the forests and wildlife of North Coast California.

Businesses and Sponsors

We owe a special thank you to Lost Coast Communications for their generous radio ad sponsorship, and for Collin Yeo for the A+E blog feature in the North Coast Journal. Thank you to long-term EPIC board member, Peter Martin for your sponsorship—we appreciate your support! A huge thank you goes to The Arcata Veterans Hall and the staff who helped us put up and break down decorations. Joanne McGarry for assisting in our Zero Waste Prom initiative and allowing us borrow her eco green plates. Sue Leskiw for her delicious donated desserts. Arcata Tuxedo for their free tux rental giveaway. Sincere appreciation goes out to Mad River Brewery, Lost Coast Brewery, Humboldt Cider Co., Sean Charles, Moonstone Crossing, and the Co-Op for the food and drink donations. We could not have done it without you all!


We have great appreciation for the musical acts that helped make this event a success! We were happy to support local favorites The Apiary and DJ East One. We were all boogying on the dance floor till the wee hours of the night, and it was truly a joy to see everyone let loose in their formal prom attire. Thank you Phil from the Arcata Veterans Hall for assisting with sound throughout the night.


EPIC’s volunteers are the roots of our success, and EPIC’s Forest Prom could not have happened without their support. A special thank you to Anne, Molly, Abbey, Casey, Amber, and Rob for dedicating the time and energy to craft, create, and forage all the decorations for EPIC’s Forest Prom. Thank you to Luke and Kyra for donating their time to make our EPIC Forest Prom posters, and to Madrone and Halle for making the most beautiful corsages and boutonnieres. Shawnee and Tryphena for allowing us to borrow their pint glasses and bar kit. Adam, Lexi, Madison, Shohei, Emely and Claire for assisting with the setup of the bar and venue. Our fabulous bartenders Pierce, Ali, Elyse, and Daniel for quenching everyone’s thirst. Nathaniel for assisting us at the door, Gigi and Stan for helping us bus dishes, Tom for helping haul the kegs and decorations in his truck, and to Dennis for supporting us wherever we needed help. Many of our volunteers assisted in multiple positions throughout the night—and their dedication does not go unnoticed! Thank you!



We were blessed to have two different photographers document the nights festivities! Thank you to James Adam Taylor Photography for the candid shots, and to Ray Cisek for coordinating our photo booth.

Click here to view your EPIC Forest Prom photo booth pictures!

Don’t worry if you weren’t able to make it this year, we are thrilled to announce that the EPIC Forest Prom will now be an annual event!

Photos Below courtesy of James Adam Taylor:

Additional James Adam Taylor Photography’s candid prom shots can be viewed here.

Dead End—HRC Mattole Road Proposal Fails to Make the Grade

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

Mattole trees between 100-120 years old.

There are some, it seems, that will just never learn. Reciprocity is a basic law of the physical universe, and so it is also true when dealing with suspect timber company behavior. Humboldt Redwood Company just doesn’t seem to be getting the memo, or learning from the mistakes of its predecessor. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

And so it is with HRC’s ill-conceived, and highly suspect proposed Major Amendment to THP 1-12-026HUM, the “Long Ridge Cable” THP, located in the North Branch, North Fork of the Mattole River watershed, in one of the most ecologically significant and unique landscapes on its property, and one of the powder-keg watersheds for the company. Yet, HRC was proposing to construct over 1,000 feet of new road without providing CAL FIRE, the public, or anyone else any legitimate reasons why it was necessary, or even providing the thoughtful analysis of road construction and road networks required by State Forest Practice Rules.

HRC had once promised an open, collaborative, and solution-orientated process for resolving the issues surrounding management of the largely unentered Primary Douglas fir forests of the North Branch North Fork of the Mattole, but this never actually materialized, with the company choosing instead to cut EPIC, the Mattole residents, and the public at-large out and to simply pronounce its intentions to all involved.

HRC claims it has voluntarily relinquished the rights to log in portions of the unentered primary forests on parts of the two approved THPs in the North Branch North Fork of the Mattole, but the company has refused to codify any of its commitments in writing, either as part of the THPs or in a written agreement with the community and interested stakeholders. EPIC, Mattole residents, and the public have been simply told to trust HRC; however, heavy-handed application of hack-and-squirt herbicides in old hardwood stands and a proposal to construct over 1,000 feet of new road for no identifiable reason has strained any inclination toward trust.

HRC was recently forced to withdraw its amendment and plans to construct the new road, faced with the realities of the regulatory hurdles and great pushback from EPIC, the Mattole residents, forest defenders and others.

With spring springing and the landscape in the North Branch, North Fork of the Mattole River watershed beginning to dry out, the specter of logging still looms, albeit with great uncertainty as to the intentions of HRC, or how much faith and stock can be put in the company’s previous promises and commitments.

EPIC urges HRC to abandon this bull-head, short-sighted and heavy-handed approach to addressing the logging plans in the North Fork, North Branch of the Mattole River, and urges the company to keep its promises to EPIC, the Mattole residents and others that a collaborative and community-orientated process would determine the fate of the forest.

EPIC has submitted two rounds of comments on this THP, see our comment letters below.

EPIC Comments on Long Ridge Cable THP April 2, 2018

EPIC Comments on Long Ridge Cable THP February 14, 2018


Action Alert: Tell CAL FIRE to Deny Green Diamond Plans to Log Marbled Murrelet Habitat

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

Green Diamond clearcut adjacent to Redwood National Park. Remaining trees are supposed to be “habitat” retention areas.

Take Action! Green Diamond Resource Company is refusing to appropriately map known-marbled murrelet habitat, and is refusing to accept recommendations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to protect suitable nest trees and stands associated with known-occupied marbled murrelet habitat. Naturally, Green Diamond would rather clearcut the marbled murrelet habitat instead.

Astoundingly, the California Department of Forestry is siding with Green Diamond and is poised to approve THP 1-17-124HUM, located near Maple Creek and Big Lagoon, in the absence of requiring mapping and protection of the marbled murrelet habitat as required by CDFW, and over CDFW’s official Non-Concurrence with CAL FIRE’s recommendation to approve the THP and allow the logging.

Stand up for marbled murrelets, and help us stand up to Green Diamond and CAL FIRE.

Take Action Now: Tell CAL FIRE it must deny Green Diamond THP 1-17-124HUM according to State Law and State Forest Practice Rules unless the mapping and protection of habitat stands and trees for the critically-endangered marbled murrelet are included in the THP, whether Green Diamond likes it or not!

Click here to take action now!

EPIC Forest Prom Court Nominees

Thursday, April 26th, 2018

We have selected 7 wonderful enviro-nominees to fight for the EPIC Forest Prom crown—and they need YOUR votes to win!

Join EPIC’s Forest Prom this Saturday, April 28th to cast your vote. Like any election, your dollar matters. Each nominee will have an EPIC donation jar set up at the bar, and whoever garners the most donations by the end of the night wins! If you can’t join our funtitivies this weekend, but want to support EPIC’s work please donate HERE! 

Check out whose in the running:

Mitra Abidi, Redwood Community Action Agency. Mitra graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Natural Resources Planning, she was an active CCATer, then tree planter and restorationist, and has been in Humboldt County for 10 years now. She is currently running a garden program through the Redwood Community Action Agency, supporting local community gardens and running a large garden that feeds a local drug & alcohol rehab center/shelter’s kitchen. She’s extroverted, funny, and is outside everyday with her big dog. She cares deeply about our environment and made a promise to herself many years ago to work for the betterment of our earth, either through environmental or social work, for the rest of her life. Mitra has served on the Board of Directors for the Environmental Protection Information Center since 2013.

Natalynee Delapp, Humboldt County Growers Alliance. An avid nature enthusiast and amateur mycologist, Natalynne has made it her life’s work to help “shift people’s cultural relationship with environment and community.” Natalynne holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Humboldt State University in Environmental Science: Public Policy. Between 2008 and 2017 Natalynne worked with the Environmental Protection Information Center. In 2014 and 2015, Natalynne helped facilitate dialogue between environmental organizations, cannabis farmers, and the public. By working across political boundaries Natalynne helped shape Humboldt County’s landmark Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance for the benefit of farms, forests and fish. In 2016, Natalynne left EPIC and started the Humboldt County Growers Alliance, a non-profit trade association for legal cannabis businesses who are working together to protect the people, environment and community.

Jennifer Savage, Surfrider Foundation. Jennifer is the California Policy Manager at the Surfrider, she keeps a watchful eye on what’s going on in Sacramento and along all 1,100 miles of California coastline, supporting Surfrider’s 20 California chapters on local and statewide campaigns. With experience as an environmental journalist, radio personality, event organizer and freelance columnist, Jennifer has a lot of tools in her toolbelt to spread the word about threats and solutions to our ocean’s health. She divides her time between San Francisco and Humboldt, and considers the entire California coast her backyard! When not working, Jennifer spends as much time in or around the ocean as possible surfing, hiking and taking photos, preferably with family and friends.

Briana Villalobos, Director of Communications and Development at EPIC. Briana attended Humboldt State University where she earned her degree is sociology with an emphasis on human ecology and ecofeminism. Her passion for environmental and social justice is exemplified by her time and research dedicated throughout her undergrad career, and professional work at EPIC. All of EPIC’s social media posts, radio shows, and outreach events have a little bit of Briana’s touch to them. Briana has been with EPIC for a total of 3 years, and is most passionate about her collaboration with Latino Outdoors and the bilingual hike series. Briana is dedicated to connecting diverse communities with the outdoor narrative, and creating more community-student relationships through internship and volunteer opportunities with EPIC. Briana more commonly goes by her nickname “Bean”, and loves going on hikes with her kitten Arlo, roller skating, cooking with friends, and dancing the night away.

Nathaniel Pennington, he does it all! Nat currently sits on the Board of Directors for Klamath Riverkeeper, Nature Rights Council and Klamath Forest Alliance. He has also worked for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife for over 20 years. Nat ran the Salmon River Restoration Council Fisheries Program for 10 years and has coordinated their annual cooperative spring-run Chinook salmon surveys for the past 20 years.  He is owner/CEO at EcoFlo Rafting Company, Klamath Justice Coalition Member, and was instrumental in the campaign to un-dam the Klamath River. Nat traveled to Borneo and the Amazon with indigenous youth delegations to advocate for the protection of the environment and rivers in regions that were threatened with mega dam proposals. In 2006, Nat secured funding for spring Chinook genetic research that was recently published in Science magazine and coauthored the endangered species act petition with the Karuk Tribe that was recently accepted by NOAA fisheries. Nat understands that a collaborative approach leads to success and would like to thank all of his friends and colleagues who have made contributed to these efforts

Robert Shearer,Botany Teachers Assistant and EPIC Board Member. Bobby has been with EPIC for 6 years now and currently serves as VP of the board. He graduated HSU magna cum laude with degrees in botany and ecology and is currently a biology graduate student and botany teaching associate. He’s a teacher, a dancer, a writer, a naturalist, outdoor adventurer, a political activist, and a lover of all life. The expertise he brings to the EPIC team includes campaign development, strategic planning, and plant-based conservation science. When he’s not in the lab or the classroom, there’s nowhere Bobby prefers to be more than with his loving wife, Ayana Paige, enjoying the incredible forests and rivers of northwest California that EPIC works to protect.  

Mike Wilson, Humboldt County Board of SupervisorsBorn and raised in SoHum, Mike Wilson is Humboldt through and through. Mike is a graduate of the Environmental Resources Engineering Department, Humboldt State University, and is owner of Humboldt Water Resources, a small company that creates new wetland habitats for wildlife species, while also taking advantage of natural ecosystem services to treat stormwater and waste water. Mike is a rabblerouser and punk rocker in addition to his duties on the Board of Supervisors. In his time on the Board, Mike has distinguished himself as the voice for the environment.

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.