Archive for September, 2011

Spotlight on the Salmon River Ranger District, Klamath National Forest

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

With an increasingly intense proliferation of timber sales on our national forests the Forest Service is working hard to “get the cut out” despite growing evidence of long term harm to wildlife and salmon, and the decimation of old growth forests.  With a new ranger in charge, projects on the Salmon River are getting increasingly worse.

Nearly all projects are justified by a fear of wildfire and claim that the forest is overly dense.  However, science shows that logging can increase the risk of fire.  Generally, northerly aspects are moist and dense, and southerly aspects are more open with an inherently higher chance of burning.  Our forests need fire, and high severity fire is part of a healthy ecosystem that typically burns less than 10% of any given fire event.

The Partially Good:  The Eddy Gulch project covers a huge expanse of land, 25,969 acres, between the North and South Forks of the Salmon River, including 8,291 acres of commercial tree harvest, 17,524 acres of underburning and thousands of acres of brush clearing.

Guidelines call for protecting trees over 20 inches in diameter, and units are concentrated on ridge tops where most fires start and where there is a chance to stop fire from entering into the next watershed. However, much of this area is set aside for protecting old growth forest habitat, there are 23 Northern Spotted Owl (NSO) nest sites in these watersheds, and yet some stands would be reduced to 40% canopy closure.

The Bad:  The Little Cronan project is being done with minimal environmental review with no opportunity for appeal.  This project is on the Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River, which is critical for salmon recovery. The FS is proposing to use a trail as a logging road, and is targeting old growth trees to make the forest “healthier.” However, it is those older, bigger, fire resistant trees that provide the best habitat for old growth dependent species.

The Ugly:  The Petersburg Pines Healthy Forest Restoration Act Project proposes over 2,000 acres of commercial logging on the South Fork Salmon River.  The USFS claims that it is following the Salmon River Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). This is a blatantly false claim.  The CWPP calls for 80% canopy retention and demands a discussion for harvesting any trees over 27 inches in diameter.  Despite this, more than half the project targets ancient trees in old growth/late seral stands.  The project would remove NSO habitat and reduce canopy down to 40%.

The USFS has no current baseline population information for the NSO, yet it continues to target habitat for logging.  The Recovery Plan for the owl states that the main threats are competition from barred owls, and past and current habitat loss. Recent research indicates that logging reduces the competitive advantage that spotted owls have in dense forest and increases the chance for barred owl invasion. (Dugger et al. In Press, Transient dynamics of invasive competition: barred owls, spotted owls, habitat, and the demons of competition present. Ecological Applications. [doi:10.1890/10-2142.1])

EPIC believes that management should prioritize small diameter forest stands and plantations (previous clearcuts). Our message is clear: no logging old growth, stay out of spotted owl territories, no new roads, keep adequate canopy and protect the soil, water, fish and wildlife.

EPIC Screening of Patagonia Rising

Monday, September 26th, 2011

EPIC Screening of Patagonia Rising Puts Removal of Klamath River Dams in a Global Context.

At 7 PM on Tuesday, October 11, at the Arcata Theater Lounge (1o36 G Street, Arcata), EPIC will be proud to host a screening of the documentary film Patagonia Rising. This film describes the efforts of communities in Chile to protect the wildest rivers in the Patagonia region from mega-hydroelectric development, and their realistic vision for sustainable alternatives.

This compelling film is particularly relevant in Northwest California due to the public comment period that is currently underway on the Draft Plan for the removal of 4 obsolete and destructive dams on the Klamath River. As communities in California work to fulfill the promise of an agreement to decommission dams and begin to restore the long-abused Klamath, people all around the world are struggling to defend their still free-flowing rivers from large dams. This global dynamic is essential to understanding this historic moment for the rivers in our region.

Come out to the Arcata Theater Lounge at 7 PM on October 11 to see an amazing documentary film that recounts a story that the filmmakers decided was “too important not to tell.” Patagonia Rising is an independent documentary that explores the perspective of families along the Baker River in Chile’s Patagonia whose way of life is threatened by a proposal to build a series of giant dams that, if built, would forever change the landscape and the culture of this wilderness refuge.

We at EPIC have chosen to host this film because we believe that a global perspective on the costs of the hydropower industry can assist in understanding the importance of public participation in the plan to remove dams from the Klamath River. This film screening on October 11 launches several weeks of activities around the Klamath dam removal plan. EPIC is one of several organizations participating in a “teach-in” event that is scheduled for 6:30 PM on October 19 at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. As well, a series of public hearings on the Klamath dam removal will be hosted by the Department of Interior, including a hearing on October 26 at the Arcata Community Center in Arcata.

Come out to this film on October 11 to learn of what is at stake in one of our planet’s iconic struggles over natural resources, and what it means for us at home in Northwest California.

For background on the Klamath Dams Removal Plan listen to the most recent version of the EPIC Edition of the KMUD Environment Show where EPIC’s Gary Graham Hughes interviews Felice Pace, Klamath resident and author of the “Klamblog” (

See the trailer here:

Patagonia Rising from Brian Lilla on Vimeo:

Download the print-ready poster here.

Visit the website of the Arcata Theater Lounge.

EPIC Ends Illegal Grazing in Tolowa Dunes

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

EPIC is celebrating a victory at Tolowa Dunes State Park, in Del Norte County on the banks of the pristine Smith River.  Beginning this month, the California Department of Parks and Recreation will no longer allow private cattle grazing on state park land.

In May 2011, EPIC notified the Parks Department that their permits authorizing a private dairy farm to graze cattle on 230 acres of public land along the Yontocket and Tolowa Sloughs were illegal, and that the grazing was adversely impacting those acres and surrounding habitat.  For many years, the private grazing permits violated laws governing the management of California’s state parks, and the California Coastal Act.  EPIC’s persistence in this endeavor in coordination with local citizens made a difference, and the Parks Department will now comply with its legal duties and respect the intended purpose of Tolowa Dunes State Park.

“We are pleased that the Parks Department made the right choice here, siding with native wildlife over private cattle grazing at this unique state park.” said Andrew Orahoske, conservation director for the Environmental Protection Information Center. “We’re looking forward to assisting with the development of a restoration plan for the property, including restoring the wetlands and sloughs of the Smith River Estuary. This area will once again provide critical rearing habitat for juvenile salmon and offer refuge for other imperiled species,” concluded Orahoske.

This victory for Tolowa Dunes State Park underscores EPIC’s commitment to defending threatened state parks throughout northwestern California. Other threats to state parks in Del Norte County include the proposed closure of the Del Norte Coast Redwoods State Park, and the Caltrans proposal to widen U.S. Highway 199 through Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, potentially destroying ancient redwoods forever. As another example of EPIC’s success, in July 2011, EPIC secured a preliminary injunction in federal court halting Caltrans’ widening of U.S. Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park based on irreparable harm to ancient redwoods.

Students and faculty at Stanford Law School’s Environmental Law Clinic assisted EPIC in convincing the Parks Department to remove cows from Tolowa Dunes State Park.

Click here to download official press release

Support Salmon in the Beegum Creek Watershed

Friday, September 9th, 2011

TAKE ACTION NOW!  After years of abuse from logging, poorly placed road construction, and indiscriminate impacts from Off-Road Vehicles (ORVs,) the Beegum Creek Watershed in the Yolla Bolla Ranger District of the Shasta-Trinity National Forest still provides essential habitat for at-risk Spring Chinook salmon. Spring Chinook salmon in the greater Klamath basin are currently undergoing a status review under the Federal Endangered Species Act thanks to a petition put forth to the National Marine Fisheries Service by EPIC.

To their credit, the Forest Service is attempting to fix the damage of the past by repairing, decommissioning and closing old logging roads.  Some of these roads are literally falling into rivers and streams and dumping sediment into fish habitat. The Forest Service is also proposing to rein-in uncontrolled ORV use that has scarred highly erosive slopes and impaired riparian habitats throughout the watershed.

Unfortunately a small minority of forest visitors see Beegum Creek as their private ORV playground to be trashed rather than as an important watershed for salmon recovery.  It is imperative that ORV use is constrained in Beegum Creek in order to recover critical stream habitats for Spring Run Chinook Salmon.

Please take a moment to send an e-letter to the Forest Service letting them know that you support their efforts to restore clean water and salmon habitat in the Beegum Creek Watershed.

Pints for Non-Profits at Redwood Curtain Brewing Co. Sept 21

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Join EPIC on Wednesday, September 21 between 5:00-10:00 p.m. at the Redwood Curtain Brewing Company to try hand crafted artisan ales listen to live music by singer-songwriter Josephine Johnson and get to know the environmental community in our area.

$1 of every pint sold supports environmental protection of the places we love here on the northcoast. Support a great cause and raise your glass to the Environment!

The Brewery is located in Arcata at 550 South G Street #6.  Bring your friends, listen to some music, have a few beers for a good cause and meet some EPIC folks 🙂

See you there!

EPIC Open House Mixer: Protecting Forests, Wildlife, and Clean Water

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

EPIC will hold an Open House at 6pm on Thursday September 15th at our Arcata office.  The open house will feature a short presentation on EPIC’s industrial forestry reform program, which focuses on protecting forests, wildlife, and clean water on privately held forestlands in California.

EPIC is a state-wide leader in the battle to reform the dominant paradigm of industrial forestry on private forestlands.  Highly intensive practices such as high rates of harvest, large amounts of clearcutting, short logging rotations and the wide-spread application of chemical herbicides are threatening our forests, wildlife and clean water throughout the state.  Large private industrial forestland owners are held to much lower protective standards than are logging operations on public lands, and state logging regulations are generally not adequate to protect threatened resources.  Many threatened and endangered species such as Northern Spotted Owls, Marbled Murrelets and Coho salmon now teeter on the brink on private lands where the mandate to log as much as possible as fast as possible pervades management strategies. EPIC is dedicated to continually developing strategies to confront and reform these damaging practices, and envisions a future where our forests can work while providing for wildlife and clean water.

Please join us for an evening of talk and mixing.  The EPIC office is located at 145 ‘G’ Street, Suite A, in Arcata.