Posts by Tom Wheeler

Overview of Humboldt County Climate Action Plan

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
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Last week, Humboldt County and the City of Eureka held a meeting to talk about their joint Climate Action Plan. The Climate Action Plan is a multi-jurisdictional plan to take action to address climate change on a local level. The plan consists of three primary components: an accounting of existing emissions, an emissions reduction target, and a set of strategies to achieve that target.


Mendocino National Forest Proposes Herbicide Invasive Removal Project

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020
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The Mendocino National Forest is proposing to spray herbicides across 54 acres to kill brooms—Scotch, Spanish, and French brooms—highly-invasive species that outcompete natives, form dense thickets, and provide little sustenance to native wildlife. The project is in response to the 2018 Ranch Fire, which burned large swaths of the national forest, including the areas proposed for treatment.


Kiss Me Under the Hemi-Parasitic Aerial Shrub

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
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Mistletoe is the horror of many a person at the annual Christmas Party. Mistletoe may be associated with unwanted advances, but for ecology nerds, we know that this weird shrub is fascinating and important. Given that mistletoe co-evolved with the wildlife of California, it comes as no surprise that mistletoe plays an important role in forest ecosystems. Mistletoe brooms provide an excellent structure for nesting birds, including the northern spotted owl and marbled murrelets, which appears to have a particular fondness for the dense foliage–so much so that 90% of owl nests in Southwest Oregon are reported to be in mistletoe.


Santa’s 2019 Naughty and Nice List: A Sneak Peek

Wednesday, December 18th, 2019
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We here at EPIC are close with Kris Kringle. (He is an environmentalist after all, using reindeer to power his sleigh instead of fossil fuels.) We are so close that EPIC has an exclusive sneak preview at his naughty and nice list.


Next Week is #GivingTuesday: Give Back To Local Non-Profits

Monday, November 25th, 2019
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Giving Tuesday is coming up on Dec. 3rd—the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving—and this is your friendly reminder to donate. Giving Tuesday is the quaint alternative to the wanton consumerism of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Instead of binging on things that you don’t need and only momentarily distract you from the void inside—speaking from personal experience—you can give back to the local institutions that shape our communities and make Humboldt, and the world, a better place.


Giving Tuesday Coming Up: Give the Gift of Healthy Forests

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
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This Thanksgiving holiday, after you’ve gorged yourself on turkey or tofurkey, after you’ve been trampled for door buster savings on Black Friday (or righteously protested mass consumerism by strolling through a park instead), and after Cyber Monday is just a fleeting electron, give big on December 3rd for Giving Tuesday! Giving Tuesday is a nationwide movement to support local institutions, which help to make your world a better place.


EPIC Petitions for Better Beaver Regulations: Proposed Rules Would Clarify Rules for Trapping

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
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Last week, EPIC filed a rulemaking petition with the California Fish and Game Commission to ensure greater protections for beavers and to clarify existing legal rules concerning their trapping. The proposed regulations would impact the 700+ beavers killed each year because of conflict with the human environment, and would require individuals to exhaust non-lethal methods to deter or diminish conflict before a permit could be issued that would allow their lethal removal. It further codifies federal law prohibiting the removal of beavers if that removal would harm a species protected by the Endangered Species Act.


Action Alert: Planning Commission Meeting for Terra-Gen’s Proposed Wind Project This Thursday

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
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The Humboldt Wind Project, proposed by Terra-Gen, is rightfully drawing significant controversy and public attention. Proposed outside of Scotia, California, the project seeks to place 47 turbines in a remote and ecologically important area. Home to rare and federally-protected flora and fauna, the project site has been described by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife as “inappropriate” for wind energy development given the potential impacts. The last opportunity for Humboldt County to meet its legal obligations before the Planning Commission is this Thursday, November 21, at 4pm.


Bee a Zombie this Halloween!

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
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Looking for a spooky Halloween costume? Look no further! Bee a Zombee this Halloween and share a cool ecological story as you trick-or-treat. Zombie bees, or zombees, buzzing through the neighborhood on a cold Halloween night. Sounds like fiction (or a great Halloween costume!), but it’s real. While not undead, the bees are controlled by a parasite growing inside their bodies.


Scare-O-Trauma: A Hoary Bat Story

Tuesday, October 29th, 2019
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Halloween is just around the corner and with it comes all of the bloodcurdling terrors of the night. So it’s time to put on your bat wings and hit the streets to show that you are the most adorable of them all: the small but helpful hoary bat. 


RCEA Biomass Meeting Friday

Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
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The Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA) is considering what role biomass should play in Humboldt’s energy future. RCEA’s decision was prompted by the community’s proposal, supported by EPIC, to require that 100% of our power come from clean, renewable energy by 2025. RCEA will be examining the future of biomass at a special forum at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center this Friday (10/18) from 1-4pm. EPIC encourages our members to attend and let their opinions be known.


Furry Friends, Never Fear: New Protections for Martens and Other Critters Coming!

Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
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EPIC is happy to report two BIG wins! First, based on a petition submitted by EPIC and others, by a 4-3 vote the Oregon Fish and Game Commission baned the trapping of Humboldt martens in Oregon. Second, in a first-in-the-country move, California has banned all commercial trapping of fur-bearing mammals.


Coalition Letter to Terra-Gen

Thursday, September 12th, 2019
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Editor’s Note: The letter below was sent to Planning Director Ford and reflects the opinion of the major conservation organizations of the North Coast. Our organizations are not opposed to wind energy development but recognize that such development much include proven mitigation measures to reduce impacts to wildlife. The project, as conceived in the draft environmental impact report, lacks these measures and is therefore incomplete. A final environmental impact report is expected at the end of September.


EPIC Wishes Happy Trails to Rob DiPerna

Monday, September 9th, 2019
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All of us at EPIC wish Rob DiPerna, our long-time friend and staff member, happy trails as he retires from EPIC. Rob served two terms of duty at EPIC, first in the early 2000s and again for the past decade. In that time, he became California’s preeminent expert on the Forest Practice Act and Rules, helping individuals and groups across the state understand the law and their opportunities to shape.


Trump’s ESA Rollbacks

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019
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In 1813, John James Audubon stood in amazement. The sky darkened as 60 million passenger pigeons blocked out the noonday sun. And this was only the start. The first group was followed by a larger flock, so many that they continued to fly over for three straight days. Modern estimates put the bird’s population around three billion. Less than 100 years later, in 1900, a boy in Ohio killed the last wild passenger pigeon with his shotgun. Something almost unthinkable occurred—life was extinguished permanently—and only in its absence did we realize what we had lost.


Terra-Gen’s Humboldt Wind Energy Project Presents Concerns for Wildlife

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019
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EPIC and the NEC submitted comments in June on the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) for the proposed Terra-Gen Humboldt Wind Energy Project proposed for Monument and Bear River Ridges outside of Scotia. The project as described in the DEIR does not meet the environmental standards nor have the environmental protections we demand. Our organizations urge the project proponents and Humboldt County to undertake additional consultation and outreach efforts to fulfill their obligations to the County’s citizens and our wildlife. Read our detailed comments are here.


Action Alert: Stop Trump’s Plan to Gut NEPA

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019
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The Trump Administration is trying to do through regulation what it can’t through Congress: gut the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The Forest Service has initiated a rulemaking process to create huge loopholes in the federal law, killing public participation in federal land management and eviscerating science-based standards. In EPIC’s 40+ years, this is the most extreme proposal to come across our desk. Yet, because it is being done quietly, these changes are sneaking through without public attention and outrage. On behalf of EPIC and all of the other public interest environmental groups who use the law daily, WE NEED YOUR HELP!


Action Alert: Say No to McMansions and Yes to Land Use Protections

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019
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Before the Board of Supervisors is a crucial vote: Should we make it easier for people to de facto subdivide their property, allowing more McMansions in the hills, or should we try to protect our forests and agricultural lands from sprawling development? Against this threat, we need to show the Board of Supervisors that the people want better land use protections and not houses everywhere in the hills.


Wolves in Danger- Act now!

Thursday, July 11th, 2019
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Take Action! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act across the continental United States. The plan would do away with 40 years of wolf recovery and leave these intelligent animals vulnerable to trophy hunts, trapping, poisoning and persecution. This politically driven agenda is contrary to the clear scientific evidence that wolf populations have not rebounded across their range.


EcoNews Creature Feature: Hoary Bat

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019
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The hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus) is one of North America’s largest bats, boasting a solid 5.9 inches in length. Named for its “hoary” fur—meaning silvery or grayish-white—the bat’s body is encased in cinnamon brown fur tinged in frosty silver. Its tiny face is surrounded by a furry golden halo, making these bats even more recognizable and adorable.  The hoary bat is widespread throughout the U.S., found in 49 of 50 states. Out of the thirteen species of bats that live in Humboldt County, the hoary bat is an especially unique bat due to the fact that it migrates and hibernates, when most bats do one or the other.