Archive for November, 2013

Encouraging a Culture of Humboldt County Philanthropy

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

finished Holiday Gift Web Banner 2011The following letter was published in the “My Word” section of the Times-Standard on November 17, 2013

There is a long tradition in Humboldt County of supporting locally owned businesses and artisans. We have strong connections to our local food movement, and support our local farmers. “Humboldt First,” “Shop Local,” “Locally Delicious,” and “Buy Fresh Buy Local” are examples of the catchy taglines that remind Humboldt County residents about the vitalizing effects of investing locally. We subscribe to this practice because we know it is good for our economy, our environment, and our community. By adhering to these beliefs we are tangibly improving Humboldt County’s resiliency and sustainability into the future.

Building upon our already strong tradition of localized self-reliance, I ask Humboldt County residents to help create a more robust non-profit sector by encouraging a culture of “Giving Local.” Generous community support for local nonprofit organizations is critical to ensuring that the many social, environmental and economic services provided to our community are maintained in the face of challenging economic times.

On the North Coast there are hundreds of local nonprofit organizations that provide key services to the community. They exist to solve social problems and advance important causes. They have an interest in making our community a better place to live. These organizations provide access to the arts, health care, and educational opportunities. They are the hospitals, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and human services that provide for the hungry, homeless, children, seniors and victims of crime. They are the organizations that protect the environment, defend human and civil rights, and assure access to information in the form of free public radio and television.

Our local nonprofits were built to respond to local needs, and are invested in the welfare of the local community. They cannot be supplanted by larger out-of-the-area nonprofits.

Unlike the big national organizations, many of our local nonprofits are not very good at self-promotion. Often, the public does not realize the breadth of services they benefit from which are made possible by the work of nonprofit organizations.

Many assume that government or private foundation grants are meeting the financial needs of these institutions, but they are not. The economic recession has meant that private foundations are not contributing what they once did, and the competition among grantees has increased. There are many local nonprofits that relied entirely on state and federal government grants to provide social services, but due to budget cuts, they are now turning to the community to get help reaching their budget goals.

It is not just the services that are provided that make our local nonprofit organizations important. Supporting these local organizations makes sense from an economic standpoint. We know that on a regional level, a financial investment in local non-profits has many of the same positive benefits as supporting locally owned businesses. They keep dollars in the local economy and use an array of supporting business services, are invested in the well being of the community, they maintain community and the character of the region.

It is estimated that 75 percent of Americans give to charitable causes. We give time and money, we donate our life-giving blood, give up our seats on the bus, we provide jackets and blankets to the homeless during the winter, but we need to do more. I want to encourage the Humboldt County community to build upon our already strong culture of self-reliance to create a more robust and strong non-profit sector. We need to cultivate our generosity out of appreciation for the services provided by nonprofits and out of reverence for the future of our community.

Robert L. Payton said, “Philanthropy permeates American life, touches each one of us countless times in countless ways; philanthropy provides the resources for some of the most important activities that give shape and substance to our efforts to be a free and open and democratic society.”

We all have a choice in how we spend our hard-earned money; during this season of thanks and generosity I encourage you to give to our local public interest organizations because you value and benefit from their mission, and because you believe in humanity’s ability to positively impact the world.

Celebrating and encouraging charitable activities that support non-profit organizations is becoming a national movement that kicks off the holiday giving season with “Giving Tuesday.” Giving Tuesday follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year “Give Local” on Tuesday, Dec. 3, and make “Giving Tuesday” a part of your effort to build a resilient and sustainable Humboldt.

You don’t have to wait until “Giving Tuesday” to make a donation, you can click here and give to EPIC today.

Natalynne DeLapp is the Development Director for the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC). EPIC works to protect and restore the redwood forest ecosystem and native wildlife of Northwest California.

EPIC Membership Meeting in Arcata December 6

Monday, November 18th, 2013

join now buttonWant to learn more about forest conservation on the Redwood Coast? Ready to get more involved with the governance of the North Coast’s premier independent public interest advocacy organization? EPIC members and Wild California lovers are invited to attend the second of our Fall 2013 Membership Meetings on Friday, December 6, at the EPIC office in Arcata. The previous EPIC membership meeting was held on Thursday, November 14, in Redway.

Join EPIC to vote for and confirm the 2014 EPIC Board of Directors, and discuss and consider important changes in our organization by-laws that will facilitate greater membership participation in the organization.

2013 EPIC Northern Humboldt Membership Meeting, Friday, December 6th, from 5:00-8:00pm at the EPIC Office in Arcata (145 G Street, Suite A, near the Marsh)

Connect with EPIC staff and Board of Directors to learn about biodiversity conservation strategies for the North Coast, discuss how to promote meaningful public participation on issues critical to our bioregion, and provide input for EPIC’s current and future campaigns! At this meeting we will elect and confirm the 2014 Board of Directors. Current EPIC members have voting rights (if you would like to vote for the 2014 Board of Directors, please join or renew your membership here).

Free and open to the public.

An Update from the Project to Reform Livestock Grazing on Public Land in Northern California

Monday, November 4th, 2013

The Public Lands Program is a core focus of EPIC’s public interest conservation advocacy work. Monitoring industrial grazing activities on public National Forest lands in Northwest California is an enormous task and requires back country excursions into remote wilderness areas. The following is an overview from Felice Pace, who works closely with EPIC to track impacts of livestock grazing on public land and report those findings to the regulatory agencies who are responsible for managing those lands, but who have too little budget to monitor them. Thanks to Felice Pace for his labors on this project, and for making this report possible.

For the past 4 years, EPIC, the Project and other partners have been working to reform livestock grazing on Northern California’s national forests. We do this by documenting on-the-ground impacts livestock grazing is having on biodiversity, including water quality, riparian areas, wetlands, native vegetation and native species. Staff, interns and volunteers use that documentation to advocate for grazing management reform.

On the ground documentation informs EPIC’s participation in environmental analysis and decision making for specific grazing allotments. Where negative impacts can not be eliminated or reduced to insignificance though active management, we work to eliminate livestock grazing altogether.

During our first four field seasons, we focused on livestock grazing within portions of the Marble Mountain, Russian and Trinity Alps Wilderness Areas that are part of the Scott River Basin. On-the ground documentation of grazing impacts in the Scott River Basin compliments water quality testing by the Quartz Valley Indian Reservation, a federal tribe.

This past summer, we expanded the Project’s reach to include grazing on both the Oregon and California sides of the Siskiyou Crest between Mount Ashland (west of Interstate 5) and the Red Buttes Wilderness Area. The Pacific Crest Trail follows the Crest touching on 10 different grazing allotments on two national forests.

siskiyou grazing allotments

For three days in early September, Luke Ruediger, who lives on Elliot Creek below the Crest, and I monitored the Beaver/Silver and Elliot Grazing Allotments on the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest and the Horse Creek and Dry Lake Grazing Allotments on the Klamath National Forest. Unfortunately, what we found is what we’ve come to expect: trashed springs, degraded willow wetlands, trampled streambanks and streams opened to solar radiation through removal of riparian vegetation and to sedimentation from trampled streambanks.

Alex's Hole: The streambanks are trampled, riparian willows have been degraded and removed

Alex’s Hole: The streambanks are trampled, riparian willows have been degraded and removed

As on other grazing allotments the Project monitored, we found telltale evidence of the lack of adequate herding by livestock owners who are permitted to graze cattle on these public lands. Unlike elk which constantly move from place to place, grazing cattle find an area they like and stay there until moved by herders or until all palatable forage in the area has been consumed. That results in a pattern in which the locations cattle prefer are trashed while other parts of grazing allotment are lightly grazed or not grazed at all.

In three days of monitoring in which we visited portions of nine watersheds, the vast majority of the wet meadow systems encountered were negatively impacted by grazing. The hardest hit grazing locations are Alex’s Hole and the Silver Fork Basin on the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest, Reeves Ranch Spring and Deer Camp on the Klamath National Forest.

Mud Springs on the Dry Lake Allotment has been trampled. Cattle waste has been deposited in the water. The presence of multiple cattle trails are a classic indicator of overgrazing.

Mud Springs on the Dry Lake Allotment has been trampled. Cattle waste has been deposited in the water. The presence of multiple cattle trails are a classic indicator of overgrazing.

Our Project advocates that National Forest managers require grazing permit holders to ride the range on a regular basis in order to move their cattle from preferred to ungrazed locations and to keep them from trashing springs, streambanks and willow wetlands. While theoretically required, regular herding rarely takes place in fact. Lack of actual herding on the 13 grazing allotments the Project has monitored to date is a strong indication that the Grazing Allotment Management System – which is relied upon by agencies responsible for assuring that Forest Service managers comply with the Clean Water Act – is not functioning to prevent pollution and wetland degradation. While the Project has previously documented problems with the Allotment Management System on the Klamath National Forest, this is the first time we’ve made that finding with respect to the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.

While trashed springs, riparian areas and wetlands are common on monitored allotments, the four Siskiyou Crest Grazing Allotments monitored this September are unique in significant respects. Unlike most other Klamath National Forest Grazing Allotments, the Dry Lake and Horse Creek Allotments have multiple permit holders rather than a single livestock operator. In addition, grazing on these allotments begins in Spring and extends a full six months. Cattle grazing on other allotments we’ve monitored is limited to 3 months, beginning mid-July and ending mid-October.

Unmanaged grazing can do a lot more damage in six months than in three months. With a month and a half still remaining until cattle were scheduled to be removed, Luke and I found that available forage had already been fully utilized on both sides of the Siskiyou Crest by early September. EPIC and its partners will push to have the grazing season shortened on these allotments.

Deer Camp Meadows: With over 5 weeks remaining in the grazing season available forage has already been fully utilized. The cattle should have been removed but were not.

Deer Camp Meadows: With over 5 weeks remaining in the grazing season available forage has already been fully utilized. The cattle should have been removed but were not.

Where’s the bunchgrass?

Native bunchgrass was once the dominant vegetation in dry meadows found along the Siskiyou Crest. However, many years of poorly managed grazing has eliminated native bunchgrasses from these meadows. Bunchgrasses are highly susceptible to repeated grazing in a single season. Their absence in dry meadows along the Crest is yet another indication that adequate herding is not occurring.

Near Reeves Ranch Springs: Repeated grazing in a single season has virtually eliminated native bunchgrass from Siskiyou Crest dry meadows (the fence post is from a fence the Forest Service built to protect the springs but which was taken down)

Near Reeves Ranch Springs: Repeated grazing in a single season has virtually eliminated native bunchgrass from Siskiyou Crest dry meadows (the fence post is from a fence the Forest Service built to protect the springs but which was taken down)

Scarcity of native bunchgrasses has also been observed on the nine other allotments we’ve monitored; dry meadows devoid of bunchgrass contrast with nearby ungrazed dry meadows where bunchgrass is the dominant vegetation. Repeated grazing during a single season is the only rational explanation. We conclude that the decline of bunchgrasses is the result of Forest Service managers allowing grazing permit holders to avoid regularly herding their cattle. Elimination of dry meadow bunchgrass results in cattle spending more time grazing in wetlands and along streambanks.

Getting to reform

The Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California prefers to work collaboratively with Forest Service and regional water quality managers and local stakeholders – including federal tribes – to achieve clearly needed reforms. Our experience with collaborative reform over the past four years, however, has not been positive. So far, responsible Forest Service managers have offered only token changes where fundamental reform is needed to end degradation of land, water, native vegetation and wildlife.

While the Project and its sponsors – which include the Klamath Forest Alliance and Wilderness Watch as well as EPIC – still seek collaborative reform, we are preparing to press the need for reform with higher levels at both federal and state levels. As we move up the chain of command, the focus will be on compliance with requirements of the Clean Water Act. The high quality waters which emerge as springs on the People’s forests are supposed to be maintained at high quality; instead they are being polluted from the source on down.

The Project and sponsors have also begun exploring litigation options as a means to compel the Forest Service and regional water quality boards to bring public land grazing into compliance with the Clean Water Act and other applicable laws.

You can help

As the Project to Reform Public Land Grazing in Northern California looks forward to our fifth year, we encourage EPIC members, students and others to get involved. Grazing allotments are spread across Northern California public lands; citizens who use those lands are urged to visit local grazing allotment and take photos documenting cattle trashed springs, streams and wetlands. You can give those photos to Forest Service district rangers and ask them to end the degradation. If you send us the photos along with location information, we’ll use them to pressure federal and state officials to require real changes in how public land grazing is managed.

The more pressure we can bring to bear in support of reform, the more quickly and effectively reform will occur. Contact me at 707-954-6588 or to explore how you can help reform public land grazing on Northern California’s public lands. Training in the field or in town is available.

EPIC Thank You!

Monday, November 4th, 2013

3The staff and board of the Environmental Protection Information Center would like to thank all of the community members and businesses that made it possible to throw an incredibly entertaining and successful Dia de los Muertos benefit, on Friday, November 1st at the Mateel Community Center.  The 36th Annual Fall Celebration was attended by over 500 people who turned out to show their grass roots support for EPIC.

A HUGE thank you to volunteers Tryphena Lewis and Natalia Boyce, and their kitchen crew, for their contribution to the event, their help and talents allow us  to pull off our events with massive style and grace! Together they prepared the gourmet flavors for our dinner, drink and dessert menus with exceptional taste, eye for detail, endless reserves of energy–and all at no charge to EPIC! Their volunteer contributions puts our supporter dollars directly into the continued protection and restoration of the redwood ecosystems. We thank all of our volunteers who worked tirelessly on this event, and we really can’t thank them enough. They came early, stayed late, worked with aching feet, scrubbed dishes, helped raise money, contributed money, and did their absolute best to make our event wonderful while keeping smiles on their faces even after ridiculously long hours.

A special thank you to Katie Dodd, Galen O’Toole, Gabriel Salazar, Jeffrey Hinton, Rob Fishman, Angelina Lasko, Kelly Karaba, Wesley DeMarco, Stephen Luther, Kalyn Bocast, Farmer, Greenleaf, Monday, Tove Patterson, Joe Metzger, Brandon Norris, Christinia Hunter, Emilee Quakenbush, Arturo Marcos, Karla Velasco, Vanessa Algarra, Shawn Smith, and possibly a few more, who’s names we’re forgetting, but that we are also extremely grateful too. Thank you to Chakeeta Marie and the Circus of the Elements for dazzling guests with their fire dances. And of course, a huge thank you goes out to Indubious, New Kingston, resident D.J. Nat Pennington, and the Coup for rocking the house with some EPIC beats!

A sincere thank you goes out to the following businesses for their generous contributions: Abraxas, Abruzzi, Alan Sandborn, Arcata Exchange, Baroni, Bead Supply, Benbow Inn, Bergin Siplia Wines, Blue Moon Gift Shop, Bubbles, Caravan of Dreams, Carol Reed-Jones, Celtic Art, Copper Fairies, Crows Cloth, Denise Hisel, Derek Jones, Finnish Country Spa, Fire and Light, Fire Arts Center, Frey Vinyards, Holly Yashi, Hoof and Horn, Hooked Productions, Jeeba, Jenny Metz, Jim Lamport, Joe Hiney, Karen Rice, KMUD Radio, Kristen Hoard, Lagunitas, Lobos Del Mar, Lost Coast Communications, Mad River Brewery, Mark Henson, Mateel Community Center, Organic Atrire, Peoples Records, Pierson’s Building Supply, Pro Sport Center, Redway Liquor, Rob Siefert, Saraba, Shakina, Shebobo, Sierra Martin, Simply Macintosh, Sunny Asylum Designs, Synergy Organic Clothing, Thistle Glass, Tie Dye 2, Tracy Rain Law Office, Trim Scene Solutions, Violet Green Winery, and last but not least, Wild and Wooly.

To see more picture, check out EPIC’s Facebook Page!


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