Archive for November, 2016

Westside Update: EPIC Before Ninth Circuit to Defend Owl, Coho Habitat

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

westside-legal-team-sf-11-15-16EPIC was back in court on Tuesday before to stop the Westside Timber Sale, a series of clearcuts totaling around 6,000 acres on steep and unstable slopes above the Klamath River near Happy Camp, CA. EPIC was before the Ninth Circuit challenging the denial of a temporary restraining order sought last spring. Logging has continued all summer, resulting in the destruction of northern spotted owl habitat. There is no timetable for a decision.

While much of the logging may be completed before a court ever rules on the merits of the case, EPIC is committed to seeing this litigation through. The Westside Timber Sale sets a dangerous precedent, especially as we expect illegal logging projects like Westside to increase under a Trump administration.

EPIC filed this lawsuit because of concerns to wildlife, including the northern spotted owl, coho salmon, and the Pacific fisher. The logging will destroy northern spotted owl habitat, resulting in the “take” of up to 103 owls—2% of the total species population. Logging will result in more sediment being released into the already overloaded Klamath River. Karuk fisheries experts have testified that they believe that the logging could result in the localized extinction of coho salmon in the mid-Klamath watershed. Logging is also set to take the large trees that the Pacific fisher needs. EPIC is currently in litigation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service over its failure to protect the fisher under the Endangered Species Act as the fisher is in continued decline because of logging projects like Westside.

Courthouse News – 9th Circuit Urged to Stop NorCal Logging Project

EPIC Secures Victory for Clean Water in Elk River

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

AElk River flowing over road. Photo courtesy of Elk River Residents Associationnother EPIC victory in court! A Sonoma County Superior Court judge sided with clean water and good government last week in dismissing a lawsuit brought by Humboldt Redwood Company’s (HRC) lawsuit against the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board over a disputed Timber Harvest Plan (THP) water quality permit enrollment in the heavily impacted Elk River watershed. EPIC and the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Association intervened in the lawsuit on behalf of the Regional Water Board in order to support the ability of the Board to exercise its independent authority under the California Porter-Cologne Water Quality Control Act to restrict, limit, or prohibit discharges of sediment pollution into the heavily impaired Elk River watershed. The Sonoma County Superior Court ruled in favor for EPIC and the Regional Board on all counts and dismissed the case.

HRC filed suit in Sonoma County Superior Court against the Regional Water Board in August 2015 seeking to compel the Regional Board to authorize discharges of sediment pollution into the Elk River watershed in conjunction with timber operations. The Regional Board declined enrollment of the THP in the current waste discharge permitting program at the time it was requested, citing significant sedimentation from timber operations currently impairing the Elk River watershed, and the ongoing efforts of the Regional Water Board to adopt a new Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) and new Watershed-Wide Waste Discharge Requirements (WWDR) for HRC timber operations in the upper watershed.

The Sonoma County Superior Court found that the Regional Board’s decision was not a denial of enrollment and coverage of sediment discharges in conjunction with timber operations on Unit 1 of the McCloud-Shaw THP as HRC contended; what’s more, the Court found that even to the extent the decision of the Regional Board could be construed as a denial, that the weight of the evidence in the record pertaining to pre-existing sediment impairments, and the risk of further discharges of sediment pollution that would further threaten water quality and public health and safety would have supported a denial of coverage for further sediment pollution discharges.

HRC’s lawsuit against the Regional Board is set against the backdrop of ongoing efforts by the Regional Board to adopt a long-overdue TMDL Action Plan for Upper Elk River aimed at constraining sediment pollution into the river system. As found by a recent technical sediment analysis (Tetra Tech 2015), the Upper Elk River watershed is overwhelmed with logging-related sediment pollution, to the point that the river now has a “zero assimilative capacity,” i.e., the river system cannot intake further anthropogenic sediment discharge inputs. In May 2016, the Regional Water Board at long-last adopted a TMDL Action Plan to constrain and remediate the sediment pollution problem in Upper Elk River, and established a zero load allocation target—in other words, the objective is to prohibit any new sediment pollution discharges while efforts are undertaken to remediate and restore channel capacity in Upper Elk River.

The Regional Board is also working to adopt a new, and more restrictive WWDR permit for HRC timber operations in Upper Elk River in light of the findings of the technical sediment analysis and new TMDL target objectives. The newly proposed WWDRs would include greater restrictions on wet-weather road use, and propose enhanced Riparian Management Zone buffers and protection measures above and beyond the prescriptions currently in place for the Upper Elk River watershed.

The Regional Water Board will hold a hearing on Wednesday, November 30, at City Hall in Eureka, to consider adopting the new WWDR framework and constraints for HRC timber operations in the Upper Elk River watershed.

EPIC and PCFFA intervention into the HRC lawsuit against the Regional Water Board has served to bolster the independent authority of the Board to regulate, constrain, or prohibit further sediment pollution discharges resulting from HRC timber operations in Upper Elk River. EPIC will continue to advocate for clean-up and remediation of the impacted condition in Upper Elk River, and for stiff constraints on further sediment pollution discharges in conjunction with timber operations in the upper watershed.

EPIC Thank you for the Fall Celebration

Tuesday, November 15th, 2016

epic-fall-celeb-2016The staff and board of the Environmental Protection Information Center would like to thank all of the attendees, businesses, sponsors, volunteers and artists who helped make this year’s Fall Celebration a fun and successful event. Each year we look forward to this event that resembles a family reunion for those of us who are the heart and soul of the environmental movement of the Pacific Northwest. The legacy that the EPIC family has made lives on through generations of grassroots activists and continues with the vibrant new energy of those who seek our efforts out to help keep our little corner of California the special place that we all know and love. Attendees included past and current staff, board, volunteers, colleagues, sempervirens award winners, and fresh new faces that are eager to participate in the contemporary environmental movement.

Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement for Environmental Activism Award Winner Greg King

greg-king-hugs-familyWe were honored that Greg’s family, friends and colleagues attended the event and gave such eloquent and heartening accounts of Greg’s past and current grass roots activism. We loved the stories from his days as a young reporter investigating the Headwaters scandal to his current efforts with Siskiyou Land Conservancy protecting the Smith River from toxic pesticides. Greg is an inspiration to us all, and we were glad to honor someone who is still working so hard to tackle our contemporary environmental issues.

Volunteer of the Year

briana-vilalobosIt was with great pleasure to recognize Briana Vilalobos for her ongoing dedication to environmental protection through her volunteer work with EPIC throughout the past year. Briana is a pleasure to have in the office, with her positive outlook and cheery personality, she flawlessly handles just about every task we have asked of her. Thanks to Briana for showing up and being motivated to get stuff done, its people like her who make this organization possible!

img_1427A huge thanks goes out to all of our volunteers and the bands for their contributions that made this another successful EPIC event! Woven Roots and Object Heavy rocked the house, keeping people on the dancefloor into the wee hours of the morning. We were also very grateful to Chef Elizabeth and the Uniquely Yours Catering team for preparing the gourmet vegetarian meal that we were able to share while we dined and laughed with our colleagues, friends and the EPC family.


Fall Celebration With Woven Roots, Object Heavy & Joanne Rand – Friday November 4th

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

EPIC Fall Celeb 16 Master

The Environmental Protection Information Center proudly presents the 39th Annual EPIC Fall Celebration at the Mateel Community Center on Friday, November 4, 2016. This year EPIC will honor Greg King with the Sempervirens Award and feature some of our favorite local musicians: Joanne Rand, Woven Roots and Object Heavy.

EPIC's Fall Celebration 2015SCHEDULE:

6PM: doors open for cocktail hour with music by Joanne Rand

7PM: Sempervirens Award Ceremony honoring Greg King will be accompanied by a gourmet vegetarian dinner catered by Uniquely Yours.

9PM: Music by Woven Roots and Object Heavy


Photo by: Mary McKernan

Photo by: Mary McKernan

This year, as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Headwaters campaign, and the 20 year anniversary of the largest forest protection actions ever, we thought that it would be most appropriate to honor Greg King for dedicating a lifetime of work to environmental activism. Greg discovered Headwaters Grove, named it, and was the impetus for the Campaign to Save Headwaters Forest. He is now the Director at Siskiyou Land Conservancy where he continues his efforts to protect the environment throughout the region.


Joanne RandJOANNE RAND For 30 years visionary songsmith Joanne Rand has brought her “Psychedelic-Folk-Revival” across the United States. Matrix Magazine calls Rand’s stage presence “electrifying,” Portland Southeast Examiner calls her “An unforgettable force of nature,” and the N.Y.Times-owned Santa Rosa PD called Rand’s music “Nothing short of brilliant.” This year Rand released her 14th CD of original songs, Still a Real World, co-produced with Stephen Hart (David Bowie, White Stripes, Santana, Stevie Ray Vaughan) and featuring violinist Jenny Sheinman (David Byrne, Ani DiFranco, Norah Jones).    

Woven RootsWOVEN ROOTS harmonizes rich roots reggae and dub styles from the deep wilderness of Humboldt county. Inspiration for the powerful lyrics and beats comes from living close to the earth in the beautiful woodlands of the Pacific Northwest. This young group of musical visionaries are on a quest to create original music using nature as a model of how to maintain the continuity of life on earth. Stepping away from the mainstream path of exploitative and destructive technologies of advanced industrial economies, Woven Roots seeks to use music as a vessel to spread a message of love and understanding for our planets finite resources.

Object HeavyOBJECT HEAVY is one of our local bands based out of Arcata, California. Their music draws from the sound of soul music. Inspired by the parameters of Rock, Funk, Blues, R&B and Hip Hop, the band features Two voices which really capture their versatility with lyrics, reminding us of a world in need, a world to love and a place to be free. Their self-titled 1st album features Bill Summers, percussionist of the acclaimed “HeadHunters”. DJ Logic shows up on two tracks, and you’ll get to hear the Legendary Fred Wesley with his signature trombone.


You can purchase tickets for this not to be missed event at Wildberries Market Place, Redway Liquor or online at Brown Paper Tickets:

$60 for dinner, awards and music beginning at 6pm or
$20 for music only after 9pm.


If you can volunteer or if you have an item that you can donate for our silent auction, we would love to hear from you! Please email or call our office at 707-822-7711.


Please join, share and invite your friends to the event on Facebook 🙂
We can’t wait to see all of you there!

EPIC Staff

EPIC Staff

Kimberly, Natalynne, Amber, Tom & Rob

Wild Horses of Modoc National Forest

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

dsc00836The Modoc National Forest is home to the largest wild horse herd in California. There are an estimated 2,200 wild equines living within the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory, which comprises over 360 square miles of federally managed land in the northeast corner of the state.

The Territory

The Devil’s Garden Plateau, also known as “The Smiles of Gods” by the Native people, lies in the heart of the Modoc Plateau. This mile-high prehistoric lava flow is sparsely vegetated with sagebrush flats, native grasses, and the nations largest expanse of juniper. Thought to have formed some 25 million years ago, the Modoc Plateau is a semi-arid region, covered with rough broken lava rock and covers approximately a half-million acres. While very dry most of the year, after the snow melts, the area is covered with hundreds of ephemeral pools and carpeted with wild flowers in the spring.

Further north, the dryness gives way to more pine forested areas, which host some of the largest mule deer in the region. The Garden is home to Rocky Mountain elk, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, turkeys, and sage grouse. It is also habitat for the gray wolf. The wild horse territory is overlapped by eight grazing allotments, which creates competition for forage and water. The plateau is part of the Pacific Flyway where hundreds of thousands of waterfowl stopover in the wetlands during their migration from Alaska and Canada to Mexico.

The Horses

The Devil’s Garden horses are known around the country for the type of horses it produces. They even have a dedicated Facebook page. Wild horses, also called mustangs, are known for their sure-footedness, strength, intelligence, and endurance. Herds on the eastern side of the territory have some draft horse influence in their genes. The western herds have distinct characteristics some with a unique white coloring also known as roan and other herds that are mostly black. The horses arrived here140 years ago with early settlers and they have been legally protected since the passing of the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

In 2013 the Devil’s Garden Plateau Wild Horse Territory Management Plan was updated and it set an “Appropriate Management Level” at a maximum of 402 horses. The evaluation used to determine this number did not take into account the over 1,500 cows grazing within the public lands of the wild horse territory. The updated plan also reduced the size of the territory by 37 square miles.

dsc031572016 Gather

In late September the Modoc National Forest conducted a six-day helicopter roundup and captured 290 wild horses. The mustangs were gathered mainly from adjacent private land, Pit River Tribal land, but also within the boundary of the territory. The roundups started in the early morning to avoid running the horses down in the afternoon heat. Multiple sweeps would happen each day, brining in anywhere between 5-40 mustangs at a time.

yound_stallionsPressured by the low flying aircraft, the wild horses were herded and trapped into small pens. Soon after, the horses were brought to nearby Willow Creek Ranch, a historic property within the wild horse territory. There they were sorted by age and gender. At the end of each day, mustangs age five and under were shipped to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Litchfield Facility near Susanville, CA. A total of 200 horses were brought to Litchfield to be freeze branded, vaccinated, and put up for adoption.

Older equines, age six and up, not adopted that week were released back onto the wild horse territory. The total included 68 stallions and 1 mare. There were 20 older mares that received the PZP fertility control vaccine at the Litchfield Facility who were then shipped back and released. Any of the younger horses that are not adopted from BLM Litchfield Facility after nine months will also be released back onto the territory.

For more information about adopting a wild mustang from the Modoc National Forest’s Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory contact the BLM Litchfield Facility

Photos of Modoc wild horse roundup by Kimberly Baker:


Photos of horses in holding facility by Coni Lehr: