Posts by Tom Wheeler

EPIC Beaver Rules Move Ahead

Monday, March 16th, 2020
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.