Archive for October, 2011

Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Photo by © Michaël Van Broekhoven, 1996.

The presentation of the EPIC Sempervirens Award for Lifetime Achievement has become a time-honored tradition within the Annual Meeting and Fall Celebration of the Environmental Protection Information Center. Past recipients of the award have included Karen Pickett of the Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters, Richard Gienger, EPIC’s forest advocate and the foremost independent restoration policy mentor on the North Coast, and Patty Clary, the Executive Director of Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, one of the plaintiff organizations on the Richardson Grove defense work.

This year the EPIC Sempervirens Award goes to Darryl Cherney! We have chosen to recognize Darryl for a full lifetime of contributions to forest protection in our bioregion not only because of his long trajectory as a political organizer and his catalog of fun and thought provoking recordings, but also for his current work as the producer of the soon-to-be released film Who Bombed Judy Bari?

Darryl will be joining us to receive the Sempervirens Award at the Mattel Community Center on Friday, November 4, for the 34th EPIC Annual Meeting and Fall Celebration. We hope that everyone can make it out that night for dinner and music to celebrate Darryl, and EPIC, and this wonderful place that we are all working so hard to protect. As part of our preparations for the November 4th party, we had a chance to catch up with Darryl to ask him a few questions about his work and what the award means to him. It is really interesting to learn of Darryl’s perspective on the film, and on EPIC as an important organization for our community.

How has it gone for you making the step from being a musician on stage with a guitar to being a producer pulling together all the loose strings of a documentary? Are they totally different arts, or do you see similarities?

It’s been said that movies incorporate all the arts: music, dance, theater, painting, drawing, and so on.  And I’ve been a stage performer and a playwright, so this wasn’t a huge step.  Further, I don’t regard myself so much as a film maker as an activist/musician who was compelled to make a film.  In reality, this is simply another campaign for me to organize–it’s a project.  My next project might be an operetta or just archiving the thousands of tunes I’ve written and recorded on cassette into some kind of order.  The goal, with any of my projects, is defending Mother Earth.  In that sense, the movie provides complete continuity with my life work.  And it has been an opportunity to put a big punctuation mark at this juncture of my life.  The film both completes a phase and begins a new one.  I hope at some point that the opportunities to speak in public both life and through the media increase exponentially because of this movie.

What will be the most compelling element of the upcoming documentary? Things are getting close to the finish, when do you think it will be released?

The movie will be released sometime between mid-November and January.  There have been so many last minute things to fix, from sound issues to getting the credits right.  Don’t want to forget anyone, right?

The most compelling aspect of the movie is Judi Bari, lying on her deathbed, giving her testimony under oath.  The strength and courage of this working class single mother of two providing us this legacy as one of the last things she does on Earth is inspirational and moving.  The other compelling aspect is what one of our friends described as the “blueprint” nature of our movie.  The project barely leaves out anything in the long list of how to win a campaign.  This story incorporates many victories, from Headwaters to beating the FBI in court and others as well.  It’s not often we see a documentary that is so filled with humor and victory in the midst of the furious battle.

Do you have thoughts about what type of impact you would like to have with the film? What kind of influence or inspiration would you like the film to provide to the audience?

The goals of the film are to inform people on the tactics and strategies available, to inspire us all to take action, and to educate the public as to who the historical figure Judi Bari was/is.  Oh, and we want to inspire a renewed interest in solving the case of Who Bombed Judi Bari.  In short, we’d like to educate and inspire people as to how we can save the world.  I’d like to see the film run on every continent and in every country.  I’ve traveled extensively and I’m not so naive to think that there are powerful people and struggles everywhere that could teach us a thing or two, but Judi Bari has a lot to teach the world, as well. In fact, we’ve pretty much resurrected her.  Judi Bari is a living activist yet again and saying everything she ever said for all to hear.

Who are some of the people that you most appreciate for having helped keep momentum growing for the film?

The list of credits and thank you’s in the film is voluminous.  Mary Liz Thomson, the director and editor has to come first and foremost.  Her pacing and editing pretty much make the movie.  Elyse Katz, who produced Trudell the documentary plus numerous other fine films, has really cracked the whip to ensure we got everything done we needed to do, like securing the licensing for all the songs, photos, video clips, appearances, artworks, etcetera.  And I can not leave out the videographers, the eco-paparazzi who followed us wherever we went.  That would include Kay Rudin, Andy Caffrey, Steve Jacobson, Stuart Rickey, Louis Bigfoot Shultz and so many others both local and national.

We’ve also incorporated the music of over 30 musicians from local favorites like Joanne Rand to virtuoso instrumentalists like Matt Eakle, flautist for the David Grisman Quintet.

The Sempervirens Award from EPIC is for lifetime achievement. Some of your biggest achievements are your music and entertaining, but we also know it is for your tireless political organizing, much of which has been deadly serious. But you really are renowned for a sense of humor. What are some of your comic memories of EPIC over the years?

I’m not sure we really want to go there.  But some of it involved french fries, spittle  and desks standing up on end.   I’ve written more than a few songs and even an imrprov, which I can be known for, about the EPIC Board of 1987.  One verse just screams out “Woods!!!!!!!!” as the only line.

And then there was the generic timber harvest plan (THP) challenge I drafted up and got dozens of people to file against logging plans.  EPIC actually sued where the challenge on one plan was just the generic challenge.  The thinking was since the California Department of Forestry was generically rubber stamping every single THP, we could just submit the exact same comments on every THP.  We had so many people contacting their office to request copies of THP’s that they closed their office to the public except for two days a week, increased the price of getting a THP from one dollar for the entire THP to 25 cents per page, which could cost a hundred bucks of the THP was long enough. And then they passed a regulation that gave us 15 days to comment instead of 25 days.  That’s how democracy responds when you actually express an interest on how things work.

So their response was a riot.  By 1995, we had an action where Earth First! literally took over their entire office from the ground floor to the roof and physically removed the doors from their hinges to demand an open door policy.  That was funny, except for the pepper spray. That, in fact, was the first time it was used against us.

Many things have changed since you started organizing for the redwoods with Earth First! What are the biggest changes? Do you think there is still work to be done by an environmental watchdog like EPIC? Why do you think it is important to support EPIC in 2011?

The biggest change is that there are so many fewer trees and so many fewer jobs because of it.  But with that has been an increased awareness and acceptance of environmentalists and our message.  The big companies are gone:  MAXXAM/Pacific Lumber, Georgia Pacific, Simpson and Louisiana Pacific.  The new companies are more willing to communicate and more importantly, the tension between the hippies and the rednecks, the loggers and the environmentalists, has diminished to being barely discernible, with a few exceptions of course.  It’s sad that we had to lose what we have both in nature and in humanity to get to this point, however.

EPIC is essential to keep the fire in the belly burning.  A group which in part is dedicated to litigation is indispensable in the battle to save our Mother Earth.  It’s expensive, time consuming, and requires a high trained skill-set involving people who can get things in place before the lawyers even show up.  EPIC has always been user friendly to the community and open-minded about the wide array of tactics employed by all.

I continue to support EPIC and we’ve included EPIC in the select groups given credit in our movie as ones we think the public ought to support.  EPIC’s website is in our credits and linked to our movie website in a prominent way.  Viva EPIC!  Viva Judi Bari!  Viva Mother Earth!

Thanks Darryl for your words, wisdom, and dedication! Be sure to come out and offer Darryl congratulations on November 4 to the Mateel Community Center in Redway during the 34th EPIC Annual Meeting and Fall Celebration. It is going to be an EPIC good time!

Darryl Cherney is joining a remarkable list of recipients of the Sempervirens Award. Be sure to congratulate all the winners of the Sempervirens Award for their invaluable contributions to advocacy in our community.

Listen to the latest EPIC edition of the KMUD Environment Show featuring an interview with Darryl.

Sempervirens Lifetime Achievment Award Recipients

  • 2001 Cecelia Lanman
  • 2002 Fred “Coyote” Downy
  • 2003 Lynn Ryan
  • 2004 Patty Clary
  • 2005 Karen Pickett
  • 2006 Robert “Man Who Walks In The Woods” Sutherland, Ruthanne Cecil, Marylee By The River
  • 2007 David Simpson & Jane Lapiner
  • 2008 Sharon Duggan
  • 2009 Trees Foundation
  • 2010 Richard Gienger
  • 2011 Darryl Cherney

Roadless Rule is Reinstated

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Underwood Mountain Roadless Area on the Six Rivers National Forest (spoiled by road construction during a fire used to facilitate logging)

Finally after a decade of court battles the 2001 Roadless Rule is once again the law of the land. Nearly 50 million acres of America’s richest natural resource—our National Forests—are now protected by a decree of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. The court has firmly and unanimously taken a stance for wildlife, forests, and clean water.

This decision is amongst the most significant conservation victories in several decades and is powerfully constructed despite an array of industry foes and their army of lobbyists who sought to unleash road builders, loggers, and mining engineers in some of our most pristine natural sanctuaries.

For purposes of the rule, “roadless areas” are defined as contiguous blocks of backcountry public land that are 5,000 acres or larger and do not have improved roads. Those opposing this rule defended their claim that a national forest road system covering more than 380,000 miles that is eight times the size of the federal highway system was just not enough.  These wild areas will be barred from new road construction and logging with some exceptions, including when fire or other catastrophic events threaten human lives or property.

Roadless areas are some of the most ecologically important lands that we have remaining in the nation.  The rule is crucial to prevent the continued fragmentation of roadless lands, which serve as sanctuaries for wildlife. The decision affirms the value of backcountry areas in sustaining healthy and secure habitat for fish and wildlife, including big game, and conserves America’s backcountry recreational activities and outdoor heritage.

The 10th Circuit Court’s unanimous decision found that the roadless rule did not violate NEPA, the Wilderness Act, the Multiple-Use Sustained-Yield Act and the National Forest Management Act – a victory on all counts!  The 2001 rule has now been upheld legally in both the 9th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeals thus removing the cloud of legal uncertainty surrounding the rule for a decade.

The 2001 Roadless Rule is in effect nationwide except in Idaho, where the U.S Forest Service did a separate rulemaking that was completed in 2008.

And the legal battle isn’t over, with a challenge from the state of Alaska still pending before the federal district court in Washington, D.C.  Separately, the state is also appealing a March ruling by a federal judge in the District of Alaska who struck down a Bush administration rule that exempted the Tongass National Forest from the roadless rule. That case is now pending before the 9th Circuit. Nonetheless, the decision by the 10th Circuit is great news for wildcountry!

EPIC Annual Fall Celebration Features Fishtank Ensemble

Monday, October 17th, 2011

Fishtank Ensemble will get people dancing at the EPIC Annual Meeting on Nov 4 at the Mateel in Redway

The Environmental Protection Information Center is excited to invite our members and the general public to the 34th EPIC Annual Meeting and Fall Celebration from 6 PM – Midnight on Friday, November 4th, at the Mateel Community Center, located at 59 Rusk Lane in Redway.

We are very pleased to announce that the musical entertainment for the night will feature the intoxicating sounds of Fishtank Ensemble. As one of the most exciting new groups to recently explode on the international music scene, Fishtank Ensemble will bring it’s unique blend of Romanian, Gypsy Jazz, Flamenco, Balkan, Turkish, and Tango rhythms and melodies to the Mateel stage for their only fall 2011 appearance in Humboldt County.  Music is scheduled to begin at 9 PM. This high energy set will be sure to get everyone dancing, and will provide a raucous soundtrack to round out a traditionally EPIC party.

The main stage festivities will be only a part of the evening’s activities. The evening will start at 6 PM with the annual EPIC membership meeting, which will include brief updates of EPIC’s work to advocate on behalf of the globally treasured landscapes of the redwood region, as well as the nomination and election of the following year’s Board of Directors. At 7 PM a mouth-watering dinner will be served, highlighting a Mediterranean themed gourmet meal prepared by Tryphena Lewis, punctuated by a variety of fine desserts, and accompanied by excellent locally produced beers and handcrafted wines.

Ongoing through the evening there will be a silent auction for products, artwork and services from the local business and artist community, providing attendees a chance to bid on and take home an engaging array of high-value items at potentially breathtakingly affordable prices.

As well, EPIC is pleased to announce that Darryl Cherney is this year’s winner of the EPIC Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award, joining a long list of community members whose efforts to protect and restore the environment of our bioregion merit distinction and recognition. Darryl is a renowned Earth First! troubadour who has recorded dozens of unforgettable songs that capture the life essence of redwood activists. Darryl has in the last several years demonstrated a spectacular diversity of talents in the process of making the film Who Bombed Judi Bari?, a soon-to-be-released work that will prove to be one of the definitive documentaries of the redwood region. We are very proud to present the Sempervirens Award to Darryl at this year’s annual meeting.

Advance tickets to the celebration will be available at local outlets such as Redway Liqour and Blue Moon Gift Shop in Southern Humboldt, the Works in Eureka, as well as at the EPIC office in Arcata, located at 145 G St, Suite A, by the Arcata Marsh. Doors open at 5:30pm. Tickets for Dinner, Music, and Dancing $40, Music and Dancing $20.

Do not miss this great show, and be sure to come join us for an EPIC time on Friday, November 4, at the Mateel Community Center in Redway. We hope you will be there to celebrate with us. For more information, contact EPIC at 707-822-7711.

Be sure to visit the website of the Fishtank Ensemble for more information and video clips of the band.

Billionaire Emmerson Destroys Spotted Owl Habitat

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Archie Aldis “Red” Emerson

Archie Aldis “Red” Emmerson, a billionaire with a net worth of $2.5 billion, and his company, Sierra Pacific Industries, the largest private forestland owner in California, continue their onslaught of clearcutting northern spotted owl habitat.  Forbes ranks Red Emmerson at #153 amongst the wealthiest individuals in United States and #459 worldwide.  Operating in defiance of the law, Sierra Pacific stands as one of the last big logging companies in the State of California without an approved habitat conservation plan.As owl habitat disappears, owl researchers recently issued a comprehensive report detailing the population demography for the species – Forsman et al. 2011, “Population Demography of the northern spotted owls: 1985-2008”, Studies in Avian Biology, UC Press.  The author’s conclusions paint a dire picture, detailing range-wide declines for this iconic forest raptor.  In particular, some of the most precipitous declines have taken place on private timberlands, including lands owned by Emmerson and Sierra Pacific.

While private interests liquidate old-growth trees and leave behind clearcuts visible from space, the state and federal agencies charged with protecting spotted owls and other wildlife have abdicated their responsibilities due lack of funding.  In 2008, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stopped reviewing timber harvest plans in California, citing high costs, leaving it up to state officials at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire).  Without federal owl biologists reviewing timber harvest plans, Cal Fire officials without any expertise in owl biology have relied on private consultants employed by the timber industry.

Under this new arrangement, Sierra Pacific’s destruction of Northern Spotted Owl habitat has accelerated.  Without a federally approved habitat conservation plan, Sierra Pacific’s logging of owl habitat violates the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  A conservation plan would not stop logging, but direct the operations in a more ecologically sound manner.  Furthermore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has concluded that Cal Fire’s approval of timber harvest plans without oversight by federal owl biologists results in harm to spotted owls, particularly on Sierra Pacific land.

Cal Fire for its part insists that it has no mandate to manage for recovery of the spotted owl.  Thus, state officials continue to allow Sierra Pacific to destroy habitat and compromise the integrity of spotted owl home ranges.

The 2011 Revised Northern Spotted Owl Recovery Plan calls for the retention of high quality habitats on private forestlands in order to mitigate for habitat loss and the invasion of nonnative barred owl, a competitor.  Therefore, conservation of spotted owl habitat on Sierra Pacific’s lands is absolutely essential to the recovery of the species.

Forum to Discuss Federal Dam Removal Process on Klamath River

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Toxic algae blooms behind PacifiCorps Iron Gate Dam on the Klamath River.

ARCATA, CA — Environmental organizations from Northwest California and Oregon are organizing a panel presentation to discuss the federal and State environmental impact reports on the proposed Klamath Hydroelectric Project dam removal. The event will be held at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka from 6:30-8:30 PM on Wednesday, October 19. Four speakers will present on various aspects of the draft environmental impact documents and explain their origins and relationship to the Klamath Basin Hydropower Agreement (KHSA) and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA).

The Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for Facilities Removal on the Klamath River was released on Sept 22, 2011. The 60-day public comment period began with the release of the DEIR, and will close in mid-November. A series of public hearings to describe the DEIR and receive public comments will be hosted by the United States Department of the Interior, including a hearing in Arcata from 4:30 – 8:30 on October 26 at the Arcata Community Center. See the documents that are currently available for public review as well as information about the public hearings at the government website

The Klamath In The Balance forum at the Wharfinger Building on October 19 is intended to motivate the public to make informed comments and to actively engage on this globally relevant environmental issue. The panel will feature Bob Hunter, a representative of Water Watch of Oregon who has studied the Upper Klamath Basin for over 30 years. He will briefly characterize the historic hydrology of the Klamath Basin and then describe water allocation under the agreement and implications for the National Wildlife Refuges. Also speaking on the panel is Andrew Orahoske, the conservation director for the Environmental Protection Information Center, who will discuss the legal framework for dam removal, and the requirements for recovering salmon and other native species in the basin.

Patrick Higgins is a fisheries biologist with an intimate knowledge of the Klamath River who will describe the need for ecological restoration to solve water quality problems. Higgins will also discuss the ecological imperative to recover endangered suckerfish of the Upper Basin, as well as salmon. Hayley Hutt, a Hoopa Valley Tribal Council member, will elaborate on concerns about the ramifications of the federal process for Indian Tribes that did not sign the KHSA and KBRA; Hutt will also discuss Hoopa perspectives on the federal legislation that would authorize and fund the agreements. A trained facilitator will moderate a question and answer period with the presenters assembled as a panel.

Co-sponsors of the forum include the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC), the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), the North Group and the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club, Redwood Region Audubon Society, Water Watch of Oregon, and Ancient Forest International (AFI). The event will run from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM, Wednesday, October 19. The Wharfinger Building is located at 1 Marina Way along the waterfront in Eureka. There is no cost for admission, and refreshments will be served. For more information about the event, call the NEC at 707-822-6918, or EPIC at 707-822-7711.

Background websites:

Water Watch of Oregon–

Karuk, Yurok, and Klamath Tribes website–

Official Federal and State Government website–

Independent Conservation Perspectives on the Klamath–

Featured Artist Rachael Rose

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

EPIC is proud to feature artisans from our community and their work. This month we are featuring the work of Rachael Rose, a young woman from the rural town of Fallbrook, just outside of San Diego.  Rachael is an up and coming artist with a passion for owls and nature. She loves painting whimsical nature-inspired art and hopes to inspire and encourage the conservationist in us all, which she has in us, with her rendition of a northern spotted owl painting made specifically for EPIC.

In an effort to for our membership to get better acquainted with Rachael and her inspiration, we asked a few questions about her and her activism. We think this interview captures an important glimpse into a creative talent who is contributing to a community awareness that endeavors to maintain a balanced relationship with the landscape that provides us spiritual and physical sustenance.

What about owls in particular inspires you?

Owls are inspiring to me because they are a symbol for wisdom, intuition, protection and strength. Throughout time owls have been recognized as very beautiful and mystical creatures of the night and I have always been drawn to them.

How is the role of art, and especially art inspired by owls and nature important to you?  

Creating artwork has always been my outlet for expression. Nature is definitely my muse and I am blessed to live in such a rural area of Southern California that is thriving with plant and animal life.  I started painting owls because I loved them and when my owl paintings became more popular I thought it would be a good idea to donate a portion of the proceeds to help owls.  It is a fun way to spread a message and support a great cause.  

Given the impacts on owl habitat, what do you think people can do to help protect and restore healthy owl populations?  

The first thing people can do is to become aware of what is going on, and share it with everyone they know!  After that it just depends on what will resonate with them the most. Searching out great groups like EPIC and supporting them is what I chose to do.  And being able to use my art to help raise money is so incredible and exciting to me. 

Why do you think a group like EPIC is important?  

A group like EPIC is very important because they spread awareness of current critical ecological situations that the general public may or may not have any idea about.  Not only does EPIC provide the information, they also take action in order to make a positive change in the environment.  Our earth needs support for groups like EPIC more than ever right now.  

Please support EPIC by supporting the community of artists and businesses that support EPIC.

Prints of Rachael’s Northern Spotted Owl, will be available for sale at the upcoming Annual Meeting and Fall Celebration on November 4 in Redway. All of Rachael’s other owl paintings and prints are available for sale through her Etsy website, of which 10% of the proceeds go directly to EPIC. If you’d like to see more art by Rachael Rose, check out her official website,