Archive for December, 2010

Green Diamond HCP delayed by Humboldt Marten concerns

Monday, December 27th, 2010

The new Green Diamond Northern Spotted Owl Habitat Conservation Plan proposal has been delayed. According to the US Fish and Wildlife Service, Green Diamond has decided to consider including the Humboldt Marten in the HCP. This is likely a reaction to EPIC’s recent petition to the US Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Humboldt Marten under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Inclusion of the Humboldt Marten in the HCP would allow Green Diamond what is called take means habitat destruction for and what are considered otherwise lawful activities, i.e. logging.

Green Diamond is also still in the process of gathering information on Barred Owls, a habitat generalist that compete with NSO for habitat, and are known to harass NSO. Addressing the complex problems that Barred Owls pose to the conservation of the Northern Spotted Owl will be an important issue to follow in the new Green Diamond NSO HCP proposal.

The new target date for release of the Green Diamond NSO HCP Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is May or June of 2011. EPIC will continue to notify the public of important developments, and important dates related to the Green Diamond NSO HCP.

Happy Holidays From EPIC

Saturday, December 25th, 2010

The EPIC Board and Staff sends warm holiday greetings to all of you, our online community!

Thanks to your ongoing support and involvement, our work this year has brought in many new allies and generated thousands of online actions in support of the incredible ecosystems of the Northcoast and beyond.

EPIC’s office will be officially closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day, but we can be reached anytime at

With 2010 drawing to a close, we look toward the New Year with a renewed sense of commitment to protecting the forests and watershedsof Northwest California in 2011.


EPIC Board and Staff

Attend Eureka Meeting for Northwest Training Range Complex!

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Please  show your concern for the health of our ocean by attending Navy meetings.

US Navy Representatives will hold two public meetings regarding the Northwest Training Range Complex (NWTRC):

  1. Wednesday, December 15 from 5-7pm at the Wharfinger Building: 1 Marina Way in Eureka, and on
  2. Thursday, December 16, from 5-7pm, and at Pentecost Hall: 822 Stewart Street in Fort Bragg.

Click Here to Sign the Petition to Stop the Navy!

The Navy will provide information to the community and answer questions regarding the NWTRC.  The project includes ranges, operating areas, and airspace that extend west to 250 nautical miles from the coast of Washington, Oregon, northern California and to the east just beyond the Washington/Idaho border. (See map above for visual of all Navy Training Range Complexes).  According to the Record of Decision (ROD) as released on 10/25/10 by the Department of the Navy, the preferred Alternative will consist of “training activities of the types currently conducted will be increased and range enhancements will be implemented, to include new electronic combat threat simulators/targets, development of a small scale underwater training minefield, development of a Portable Undersa Tracking Range, and development of air and surface target services.”

The Navy’s environmental review estimated that active sonar exposure will disrupt behavioral patterns of about 129,000 marine mammals each year.  In November the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a take permit to the navy, which will allow the Navy to harm the mammals during their war games.

According to the Navy’s October 25, 2010 ROD, “Behavioral effects modeling for underwater detonations indicate 262 annual exposures for Alternative 2 that exceed the energy flux density threshold and potentially result in behavioral harassment. The modeling indicates 197 annual exposures under Alternative 2 from underwater detonations that could result in TTS (Level B Harassment). The modeling indicates 12 annual exposures under Alternative 2 to pressures from underwater detonations that could cause slight injury (Level A harassment) and one annual exposure under Alternative 2 that could cause severe injury.”

A huge concern with this proposed project is that there are 21 federally listed species known to occur within the NWTRC, including whales, sea turtles, salmon, sea otters, and others could be affected by the navy’s use of bombs, sonar, vessel movement, aircraft overflight and the dispersal of toxic chemicals used in warfare activities.

It is clear that sonar is extremely dangerous to marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and porpoises because these animals rely on their own sonar for food, navigation, mating and when high frequency sonar like the Navy is proposing to use reaches these mammals, they can be severly affected.  Sonar has a huge impact on marine life anything from frying fish eggs, disorienting marine mammals causing them to be stranded, to permanently damaging their ears or causing them to surface too quickly which can cause internal hemoraging.   Additionally, underwater explosions and mining fields, which are being proposed would result in instant death for these creatures.

The Navy’s ROD says “the Final EIS/OEIS concluded that the information (i.e., variable and context specific behavioral responses, as well as causal factors of marine mammal stranding events associated with MFA sonar) necessary to assess behavioral effects on each species from exposure to MFA and HFA sonar is not yet complete due to the lack of empirical data…The present unavailability of such information is relevant to the ability to develop species-specific behavioral effects criteria. The science of understanding the effects of sound on marine mammals is dynamic…”

“A highly trained Navy, transparency regarding planned activities off our coast, and the protection of marine life are not mutually exclusive” said Thompson.

Spanning from the western United States/Canadian Boarder, south to the Humboldt/Mendocino County boarder the NWTRC is just one of the areas proposed for warfare training operations.  Similar complexes exist offshore from Alaska, Hawaii, the Gulf of Mexico, the Southwestern coast and the East Coast, and the Channel Islands (see map above).

Click here to read previous blog, which includes additional information and links to take action.

EPIC Forces CalFire to Back-track, Recirculate THP

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

EPIC's GIS expert created this map of Northern Spotted Owl habitat within the Green Mule Timber Harvest Plan.

EPIC comments to Cal Fire regarding SPI Timber Harvest Plan 1-10-025HUM “Green Mule” have forced the Department to reconsider the plan after the close in public comment.  The new information and changes provided to the plan by SPI will likely require Cal Fire to recirculate the THP, allowing EPIC and the public the opportunity to analyze and comment on the newly submitted materials.

THP 1-10-025HUM, “Green Mule” proposes to log 92 acres, 89 via clearcut.  The THP is within the 1.3mi home range of two Northern Spotted Owl centers.  SPI intends to conduct clearcut logging within 1,000 feet of one of these activity centers.  Clearcut logging within this distance of an NSO can result in significant habitat modification, alteration of home range micro climactic conditions, impair juvenile dispersal, and result in site abandonment.

Also at issue was SPI’s proposal to employ the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s NSO take avoidance guidelines by utilizing interior region habitat definitions, but coastal region retention standards. The FWS has indicated to both EPIC and to Cal Fire that this approach was not scientifically defensible, nor consistent with the intent of the FWS guidance.  In response to our comments on this matter, Cal Fire sent a letter to SPI requiring them to either employ the FWS guidance utilizing the interior region standards, or revamp the plan to comply with the sub-par California Forest Practice Rules NSO take avoidance option, called Option G.

SPI chose to revamp the plan to comply with option G.  Option G allows landowners like SPI to employ sub-standard habitat protection and retention standards.  Option G also allows SPI and others to employ antiquated, and inferior definitions for NSO habitat that represent the lowest possible denominator of what could be considered as NSO habitat.  The FWS has indicated that the use of Option G will not likely avoid take of NSO in many situations.  The “Green Mule” THP clearly represents one of these instances.

SPI has taken its opportunity to employ these sub-par standards, and now proposes to draw the critical area (core area) in such a way that it conveniently excludes the portion of the THP that would clearcut within 1,000 feet of the NSO center.  SPI has reasoned that the THP area in question is not connected to the rest of the NSO core area because it is not typed as nesting/roosting habitat.  However, EPIC’s review of the aerial photography and the THP habitat analysis maps suggests that the habitat typing provided by the RPF is questionable at best, particularly when the use of the sub-par FPR definitions is considered.

Thus EPIC’s comments have forced Cal Fire to reconsider the “Green Mule” THP, and will likely result in recirculation of the THP so that EPIC and the public can review and comment on the changes to the plan and the new information provided to the record.  EPIC will continue to monitor the progress of this THP, and will likely submit further comments if and when the plan is recirculated.

EPIC Holiday Open House, Book Sale and Art Soirée:

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

EPIC Art and Book Sale by appointment or during office hours at 145 South G Street, Suite A in Arcata. Call 707-822-7711 for more info.

If you missed Arts Arcata, you still have about a month to see our art exhibits and check out the books we have available!!  The Environmental Protection Information Center welcomes art and book lovers of all ages to its premiere EPIC Gallery exhibition and booksale.  For the first time ever, EPIC participated in Arts Arcata and has amazing art displayed in the office until mid January.  Stop by and check out local artists and their depictions of the beautiful places we work to keep wild, and go home with some awesome books for your family and friends.  The EPIC Gallery celebrates the art and inspiration of Humboldt County, with a particular emphasis on art that captures the beauty and distinction of the Northcoast.  Until further notice, EPIC will have an ongoing book sale featuring hundreds of brand new, hardback, botanical, gardening, bonsai and animal related coffee table books with full color illustrations sold at a discounted price.

Book Sale!  EPIC recently received a generous book donation of hundreds of brand new, hard back, botanical and animal related coffee table books with full color illustrations.  These books would easily be worth 30 or 40 dollars in a store (and some are listed for up to $150 new on but we are offering most of them for a donation of $10-20!  Books make great gifts and proceeds go to a good cause.  So come down on December 10th from 5-9pm during Arts Arcata, and pick up some awesome books for your family and friends!    See you there!

Books We Have Available:

2850 House & Garden Plants
A Redoute Treasury
An English Florilegium
An Inroduction to Bonsai
Art Nouveau
Botanical Prints
Classic Natural History Prints: BIRDS
Classic Natural History Prints: FISH
Duck Stamps and Prints
Edward Lear’s Birds
Garden Rooms
Glen Loates: A Brush With Life
Glorious Flowers
Ikebana (Blue)
John Gould’s Birds
Menaboni’s Birds
Romantic Rooms
Small Garden Design
The Apple Book
The Art of Botanical Illustration
The Art of Natural History
The Botanical Atlas
The Cactus Handbook
The Encyclopedia of Flower Arranging
The Handbook of Cacti & Succulents
The Most Beautiful Flowers
The World Atlas of Birds
Twentieth Century Wildlife Artists
What Flower is That?
What Shrub is That?
World of Birds
Mary Anne’s Garden
Wild America
Essential Annuals
A Book of Lilies
The Annual Encyclopedia
The Oriental Carpet
The Plant Kingdom Compendium
The Wading Birds of North America

Art exhibitions include displays by aerial photographer Patrick Cudahy, landscape photographer Peter Carlson and feather and ink artist Noel Soucy.

J. Patrick Cudahy features amazing aerial photography from his series “Above the Secret Space of Tides.”  The exhibit includes photographs of Northcoast estuaries taken from a small airplane, 1000 to 3000 feet high.  This aerial perspective reveals the Northcoast in a way not seen before.

Peter Carlson is a Northern spotted owl biologist who photographs owls and the beautiful places in which they live.  His photographs depict the wild landscapes and critters here in the pacific northwest.  EPIC works to protect many of the places that Carlson has captured in his photographs.

Noel Soucy is a biologist and a copetitioner for listing the Humboldt marten as an endangered species.  Her colorful caricatures are created with ink dipped feathers, depicting many of the species she works with in the field, including the Northern spotted owl, the Humboldt marten and other critters of the Northcoast.