Posts by Tom Wheeler

Novel Elk Hoof Disease Found In Del Norte Elk Herd

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
By

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife recently announced that Treponeme-associated hoof disease (TAHD), a bacterial-associated syndrome causing severe lameness in elk, has been discovered in elk in Del Norte County. TAHD is already present in elk in both Washington, Oregon and Idaho. From their experience, we understand that this disease is likely to cause significant disruptions to California’s elk. Our only hope is to minimize disease transfer and to mitigate impacts where present. In the coming months, EPIC will push the California Fish and Game Commission to promulgate new regulations to prevent disease spread.


Climate Change Anxiety Got You Down? Join Our Webinar!

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
By

Does thinking about climate change give you a sinking feeling? Does the Anthropocene keep you awake at night? Me too. Join EPIC, Friends of the Eel River, Humboldt Baykeeper, and the Northcoast Environmental Center on Tuesday, May 5 from 7-8pm for a special discussion with HSU Professor Sarah Ray, author of the new book, “A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet,” to learn how to become a more resilient person and a more effective activist. Register for the online webinar today!


Fish and Wildlife Service Sides with Timber Industry Over Owl Habitat

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020
By

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has sided with the timber industry, placing millions of acres of northern spotted critical habitat at risk, in a shady backroom deal unveiled earlier this month. Under the terms of this settlement, the Service has agreed to revisit their existing critical habitat rule by July 15, 2020 and finalize a new critical habitat rule by December 23, 2020. At risk is 9.5 million acres of habitat that the Service had previously decided was necessary for the recovery of the northern spotted owl. The story of how we arrived here is a helpful illustration of the ways that the Trump Administration has worked in lockstep with major extractive industries, including Big Timber.


EPIC Honors Eileen Cooper With Semperviren’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020
By

In recognition of Eileen’s work, EPIC is proud to award her our Sempervirens Lifetime Achievement Award. We realize, however, that this recognition pales in comparison to the legacy that Eileen has left on this planet. Eileen is a fighter: for peace, for the common person, and for the environment. Through her decades-long work on behalf of the Friends of Del Norte, she has made her little corner of California a better place.


Some Climate Lessons From COVID-19: Can Working From Home Reduce GHG Emissions?

Tuesday, March 31st, 2020
By

COVID-19 has shaken up the way America works. In response to the threat, offices across the country are locking their doors. Millions of workers are learning to work from home, having staff meetings by video and figuring out how to juggle conference calls and crying kids. This unplanned experiment has already yielded a helpful finding: millions are discovering that teleworking not only works, but often we are more productive. This realization holds significant potential because teleworking is one way we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


EPIC Beaver Rules Move Ahead

Monday, March 16th, 2020
By

Beavers are nature’s restoration specialists. Beavers benefit salmon and steelhead by building better habitat conditions, including creation ponds used by salmon and by increasing stream flow in summer months. Beavers’ roles are so important that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) included beaver population restoration as a goal of the recovery plan for the Southern Oregon/Northern California coastal coho salmon.


Action Alert: Say No To Mendocino Logging of Fragile Post-Fire Forests!

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020
By

The Mendocino National Forest is attempting to hide a 1,300 acre clearcut as a “restoration” project. By its logic, there is a need to cut all trees in order to plant others. The agency is arguing that it is exempt from environmental laws that require a detailed consideration of the likely environmental impacts of the project. All of this is on the heels of a massive post-fire roadside-logging project done without adequate environmental review. EPIC’s staff has rarely seen this level of disregard for science, ecology, wildlife, water quality, or public participation. We need your help to shine a spotlight on this Orwellian abuse of our laws. Click here to take action now!


A Humboldt Solution To The Terra-Gen Aftermath

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020
By

Terra-Gen’s Humboldt Wind Project was flawed but it would have offered this: a large and sudden pulse of low-carbon energy, enough to fill approximately 56 percent of Humboldt’s total electricity needs. With its demise, our odds at reaching our global climate goals become more distant while our challenge to achieve 100 percent clean, renewable energy from local sources is markedly more difficult. Its rejection now raises a new and more pressing moral imperative that we act, and quickly. If not this project, how will we meet our clean energy needs? We face a climate crisis that demands bold action now. We can’t wait.


Spotted Owl In Jeopardy: More Protections Needed

Friday, January 31st, 2020
By

The longtime icon of the forest defense movement, the northern spotted owl, is quickly headed towards extinction. The cause? A fatal combination of historic and current habitat loss and out-competition by the invasive barred owl, together with other, smaller stressors, like rodenticide exposure.


EPIC And Others To Sue USFWS for Putting Northern Spotted Owls at Risk

Thursday, January 30th, 2020
By

On Friday, EPIC and other conservation groups delivered notice to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it would commence a lawsuit against the agency for is failure to complete its evaluation as to the status of the northern spotted owl and whether the owl warrants greater protection under the Endangered Species Act. The notice letter begins a 60-day window for the Service to comply with the law, mandating that the Service evaluate whether existing protections for the owl are sufficient to stave off extinction.


Overview of Humboldt County Climate Action Plan

Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
By

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
By

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
By

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
By

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
By

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
By

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
By

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
By

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
By

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
By

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.