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EPIC Comes to the Defense of Siskiyou Mountains Salamander

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
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Lawsuit Launched to Protect Rare Salamander in California, Oregon

EPIC and allies filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to respond to a 2018 petition for Endangered Species Act protection for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander.

This rare terrestrial salamander lives only in the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southern Oregon and Northern California, primarily in old-growth forests. The best habitat for the Siskiyou Mountains salamander (Plethodon stormi) is stabilized rock talus in old-growth forest, especially areas covered with thick moss. Mature forest canopy helps maintain a cool and stable moist microclimate where they can thrive. The species is threatened by plans from the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management to increase logging in southern Oregon.

There are two distinct populations of the Siskiyou Mountains salamander, separated by the mountain range’s crest. A larger northern population lives in the Applegate River drainage in southern Oregon, while the smaller southern population is in California’s Klamath River drainage. Most known Siskiyou Mountains salamander locations are on public lands managed by the BLM and the Forest Service.

In March 2018 the Center for Biological Diversity, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Environmental Protection Information Center and Cascadia Wildlands filed a formal petition asking the Fish and Wildlife Service to protect the Siskiyou Mountains salamander under the Endangered Species Act.

Conservation groups first petitioned to protect the salamander under the Endangered Species Act in 2004. To prevent the species’ listing, the BLM and Fish and Wildlife Service agreed in 2007 to protect habitat for 110 high-priority salamander sites in the Applegate River watershed. In 2008 the Fish and Wildlife Service denied protection to the salamander based on this conservation agreement and old-growth forest protections provided by the Northwest Forest Plan.

Under the Northwest Forest Plan, the BLM and Forest Service were required to survey for rare species like the salamander and designate protected buffers from logging where the animals were found. But the Western Oregon Plan Revision adopted by the BLM in 2016 substantially increased logging allowed in western Oregon forests, undermining those habitat protections.


Wind Farm Update: Draft Environment Impact Report Released

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
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A wind farm is being proposed for Monument and Bear River Ridges near the towns of Scotia and Rio Dell. The wind farm is expected to produce 155MW of electricity from up to 60 turbines. On April 15, the county released its draft Environmental Impact Report, a document required under state law that examines the likely environmental impacts associated with the project and the potential mitigation measures to reduce the severity of those impacts. Its release has triggered a public comment period that ends on June 5 at 5pm. All comments on the document should be sent to CEQAResponses@co.humboldt.ca.us or Humboldt Wind Energy Project Planner, County of Humboldt Planning Department, 3015 H Street, Eureka, CA 95501.

EPIC is still reading the document—it is, after all hundreds of pages long—and has yet to form an opinion on the project. There are obvious challenges with a project like this. While the project could help to decarbonize our energy grid, an undoubtedly important objective to combat global climate change, the wind project is also likely to result in bird and bat deaths, including to some of the most iconic avian friends, like the marbled murrelet and bald eagle, as well as other species that may be less well known, like the streaked horned lark. In reading the document, EPIC is asking ourselves the following questions: Can the footprint be reduced in a way to further minimize the impact to bird species? Has the project avoided impacts to the maximum extent practicable? Has the project minimized impacts to the maximum extent practicable? And has the project mitigated impacts to the maximum extent practicable?

I hope you take the time to read the document—perhaps focus on the biological resources chapter (Chapter 3.5)—and engage with EPIC to share your thoughts. Feel free to contact Tom via email: tom@wildcalifornia.org or call the office at (707) 822-7711.


Trinidad Art Night

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019
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By: Joseph McDonald

Hello from the team here at EPIC! We just wanted to let everyone know that we are going to be tabling at the upcoming Trinidad Art Night and are excited to see you there!  EPIC will be at the Trinidad Art Gallery at 490 Trinity St, Trinidad, CA 95570. EPIC staff and volunteers will be serving libations and collecting signatures for wolf protection from 6-9pm on Friday, May 3rd. Several different locations are participating in this event, which you can find here. Come on out and say hello and support this awesome event in beautiful Trinidad! Help us spread the word by inviting your friends on Facebook!

 


Join Us: Help Save One of California’s Rarest Plants!

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019
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What: Volunteer invasive plant removal to save the Shasta snow-wreath (details below)

Where: Near Waters Gulch Trailhead, 30 min north of Redding, CA

Directions: Take Packers Bay exit on Interstate 5 Southbound (from northbound I-5, take the O’Brien exit, get back on I-5 heading south, then exit at Packers Bay). From the exit, take your first right onto Packers Bay Rd and follow it southwest towards the bay. About a mile in, the trailhead should be on your right.

When: April 25th & 26 from 9:30 am – 3:00 pm

Why: To help the rare Shasta snow-wreath populations from being invaded by Scotch broom and to avoid drift from toxic herbicides.

Bring: Gloves, water, lunch and wear long sleeves and hat. EPIC will be providing tools but bring loppers if you have them.

What to Know: There are two main locations we will be working; one is roadside and the other is down in the creek. There is a decent amount of poison oak down by the creek. If you are sensitive to poison oak the roadside location has little to none.

If arriving late, you may see us on Packers Bay Road (also known as Forest Service road 34N27) before you reach the trailhead. If we are not there, look for the pile of fresh pulled Scotch broom and labeled flagging to find the trail down to the creek. We will leave a few tools near the top of the trail to bring down.

There are only 20 know populations of Shasta snow-wreath (Neviusia cliftonii) on the planet. Most were lost when the reservoir was created. Others are threatened by the proposal to raise the dam and Scotch brooms are another threat that has infested multiple areas near Packers Bay. This plant is endemic to the shores and canyons around the reservoir. The area is rich in biodiversity and is home to many endemic species such as the Shasta salamander (Hydromantes shastae) and the Shasta Chaparral snail.

EPIC staff and volunteers will be pulling the invasive non-native scotch broom and helping to protect streamside plant populations from being sprayed with toxic chemicals. We protected a few of the most sensitive populations from the possible drift of herbicides and we plan to do it again every year till the broom is gone from the creekside location. Working together demonstrates that people power is the best alternative. We look forward to seeing you out there!

If you are unable to make it out for the volunteer day, but you want to support our efforts by helping to cover the costs of travel and supplies, please consider making a donation to EPIC. Thank you for your support!


EPIC in Court: Timber Industry Appeals Seiad-Horse Timber Sale to Ninth Circuit

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019
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Attorney Brodia Minter of KS Wild assesses damage from the Seiad-Horse Project.

EPIC’s successful lawsuit against the Seiad-Horse Timber Sale is headed to the Ninth Circuit. The Seiad-Horse Timber Sale was the Klamath National Forest’s latest attempt to log fragile post-fire forests. To fast track logging, the Klamath National Forest avoided completion of an Environmental Impact Statement, a requirement for projects like this timber sale that present potentially significant environmental impacts.

To stop this illegal timber sale, EPIC filed a lawsuit against the Klamath National Forest and sought a court order to stop most of the project’s activities. The American Forest Resource Council, an industry trade organization representing timber companies, intervened in the lawsuit to defend the Forest Service’s decision. Before the Eastern District Court of California, EPIC won in a sweeping decision that used the Klamath National Forest’s own admissions against them.

Now the timber industry is appealing their loss to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the District Court judge erred in his decision. So EPIC is gearing back up for another round in this litigation.

The timber industry’s plan is likely to backfire. Courts are bound by precedent. For example, all District Courts within the Ninth Circuit are bound by the Ninth Circuit’s previous decisions—from Alaska to California. When EPIC wins before the Ninth Circuit—and we feel confident that we will win, as the Seiad-Horse Timber Sale was blatantly illegal—we will set precedent that will make it more difficult for the government to give illegal sweetheart deals to the timber industry. This is BIG.

A special thanks to our co-plaintiffs, the Klamath Siskiyou Wildlands Center and the Klamath Forest Alliance, and to our attorney, Susan Jane Brown of the Western Environmental Law Center, all of whom are dogged in their defense of our bioregion.

 


CA Bobcats May Gain Additional Protections With New Bill

Tuesday, April 9th, 2019
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By Joseph McDonald

Bobcats have remained an integral part of California’s native ecosystem and their dwindling populations deserve protection. The state legislator has introduced a new bill, AB 1254, which will set a new ban on the trophy killing of bobcats across the state of California. Mountain lions were protected from trophy hunting back in 1971, so we here at EPIC think it’s high time that bobcats are protected.

Bobcats have a special place in the hearts of those here at EPIC. Back in 2015, EPIC and other environmental groups worked together to gather a huge amount of support for a bill that banned the senseless trapping of bobcats. AB 1213 passed and trapping was permanently banned, but bobcats are still vulnerable to trophy hunting across the state.

Bobcats are important to California’s native landscape, and they support the health of the state’s natural ecosystems. The bobcat is a bit bigger than a normal house cat and feeds mostly on small rodents, which keep pest populations down. They are elusive animals and are too small to hunt large game or even threaten livestock or pets. Bobcat kittens are highly dependent on their mothers for up to 10 months, and when a mother bobcat falls to a trophy hunter, her kittens are likely to die from starvation or predation by other animals. Currently, they are freely hunted in 40 states, mostly for their unique spotted fur, and in California over the past ten years more than 10,000 bobcats have been killed. Hunting, combined with habitat loss, poses a serious problem for bobcat populations and California ecosystems.

We know Californians value bobcats— these small carnivores help keep pest populations low which in turn benefits farmers and local communities. The state banned mountain lion hunting as far back as 1971 and once again, the state has the opportunity to make history by continuing its path to protect another keystone species and promote the health of their natural ecosystems by putting an end to trophy hunting of bobcats.


Wolves in Danger- Act now!

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2019
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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.

The Endangered Species Act is America’s most effective law for protecting wildlife in danger of extinction. It serves as an essential safety net when state management has failed to protect imperiled plants, fish, and wildlife. Since its enactment, 99 percent of listed species have survived and hundreds more are on a path to recovery.

Thanks to the Act, wolves have returned across the Northern Rocky Mountains and the Western Great Lakes states. Wolves are just beginning to repopulate in the Pacific Northwest, including here in California. Without federal protection wolves may never recover in places like Colorado or the Adirondacks.

There were once hundreds of thousands of wolves in the lower 48, but today there are only roughly 5,000. California is home to perhaps fewer than ten confirmed resident wolves at present. Their ongoing repopulation from neighboring states could be jeopardized should they be delisted. For example, in Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming, where wolves have already lost federal protections, trophy hunters, trappers, and others have killed nearly 3,500 wolves since just 2011. Federal protections are essential to help wolves return to remaining suitable habitats where they used to roam.

As part of our nation’s heritage wolves deserve better. Playing politics with imperiled wildlife is unacceptable. Act now to defend wolves across the country! Click here to sign the petition.

The comment deadline for wolf delisting is May 14th 2019. If you would like to submit your own substantive comments electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov – in the Search box, enter Docket No. FWS–HQ–ES–2018–0097, which is the docket number for this rulemaking.

 


California’s Wolves

Monday, April 1st, 2019
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OR-7, affectionately named “Journey”, was the first confirmed wolf in California since 1924. He traveled over 4,000 miles back and forth from California to Oregon in 2012-13 and has since sired five litters in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest. At least three of OR-7’s pups and two of his siblings have been documented in California.


The Lassen Pack is California’s second confirmed wolf pack. Their territory lies within Lassen and Plumas counties. The alpha male (CA08M) was born into the Rouge Pack in 2014, sired by OR-7. The alpha female (LAS01F) was collared in June of 2017. The pair has had two litters and currently consists of two yearlings and five pups.


OR-54 was born into the Rogue Pack, likely in 2016. She was 83 pounds when collared in October 2017. In early 2018 the young female traveled over 500 miles through four counties in one month before retuning to Oregon. She returned to California in April 2018, traveling through six counties and spent most of her summer near the Sierra Valley. By January 2019, OR-54 had traveled over 4,325 miles.


The Shasta Pack was the first contemporary wolf pack in California. The alpha female was the younger sister of OR-7. The all black pack occupied a portion of Siskiyou County and produced five pups in spring 2015. The family was last seen together in late 2015. There were no sightings until May 2016, when a solo yearling male (CA07M) was detected near pup-rearing sites used in 2015. He is thought to be the only know survivor from the pack. In November 2016, CA07M was the first wolf to return to Nevada in nearly 100 years. While it’s believed the pack no longer exists, some evidence suggests at least one wolf was roaming within the Shasta Pack territory in 2017.


OR-44 was born into Oregon’s Chesnimnus Pack in 2016 and was collared in December that year. He entered CA in March 2018 into Siskiyou County where he was last located due to his collar failing. His current whereabouts are unknown.


CA10F is a female wolf born into the Rouge Pack in 2014. She is a sister to the alpha male of the Lassen Pack. She was tracked moving southeast through Siskiyou County in January 2017. She has no collar and her current whereabouts are unknown.


R.I.P — OR-59, a 1.5-year-old male, entered California on September 29, 2018. On December 5, in Lassen County, he was detected in the vicinity of a dead calf that had died of natural causes. On December 9th his collar sent a mortality signal and he was found dead. The action is now under criminal investigation.


R.I.P — OR-25, was a full brother to OR-7. He traveled through Washington’s Columbia Basin, Mt. Hood National Forest and down the length of the Oregon Cascades. In late 2015 and early 2016, he made four separate trips to California, where he roamed Modoc, Lassen, Shasta and Siskiyou counties. In late October 2017, at four years old, he was killed illegally in Klamath County, Oregon.


R.I.P — An uncollared wolf was found dead in Lassen County on September 5, 2018. The mortality is under investigation.


Wolves need your help! The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing to remove wolves from the federal Endangered Species Act across the continental United States. The comment deadline for wolf delisting is May 14th 2019. Act now to defend wolves across the country! Click here to sign the petition.

 

 


EPIC Victory! RCEA Votes to Increase Renewables to 100% by 2025

Friday, March 29th, 2019
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RCEA Board votes to increase renewable energy to 100% by 2025

On Thursday, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority unanimously voted to set a goal of 100% clean, renewable energy by 2025, directing the staff to begin taking steps to plan for this change. This step means that Humboldt will lead the nation in pushing for clean energy, setting an energy target that is 20 years more ambitious than under California energy law, which requires the entire state to move to 100% renewable energy by 2045. Currently Humboldt County draws approximately 42% of its power from renewable energy.

A point of future discussion will undoubtedly be the role of biomass in future clean energy discussions. Humboldt County currently operates two industrial-scale biomass energy facilities and RCEA sources energy from both in its current energy mix.

Last night was the culmination of over two years of organizing. EPIC is grateful to our friends at the Coalition for Responsible Transportation Priorities, 350 Humboldt, Climate 911, and the Cool Solutions podcast for their help in pushing this resolution past the finish line! EPIC is also thankful to the hundreds of activists who contacted RCEA to let them know that they support this goal. They heard you!


Richardson Grove Court Update

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019
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On Monday, EPIC was back in court for what felt like the millionth time to defend the ancient old growth Redwood trees of Richardson Grove State Park from Caltrans’ proposed highway widening. Sharon Duggan, longtime attorney and friend of EPIC, represented EPIC and allies in court before Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Kelly Neel. As the plaintiff, EPIC was allowed to argue first. In her defense of the grove, Sharon was masterful.

At the heart of the case are two important arguments. First, Caltrans substantially changed the project—increasing the amount of cut and fill—earthwork, involving heavy machinery across sensitive shallow roots—and the public should be afforded the opportunity to comment on the proposed changes. Second, the “addendum” provided by Caltrans that describes the new changes contained numerous and substantial errors, such that no reasonable person could understand what the heck the agency is proposing to do or what the impacts would be. (I can confirm that trying to figure out what Caltrans is doing or what the impacts might be is like trying to learn Trigonometry from a textbook written in Phoenician.)

In its rebuttal, Caltrans dismissed our claims with sophisticated sophistry. To our first issue, Caltrans responded: “Why should we offer new public comment, when we allowed public comment back in 2008-2009?—that should be enough.” (Seriously, that was their argument.) The judge appeared to doubt the agency’s case. After Caltrans’ attorneys concluded their argument, the judge asked, “What’s the harm in allowing new public comment?” To which Caltrans had no argument other than it didn’t think it was necessary. The truth of the matter is that Caltrans wants to keep the “administrative record” for the project closed and not allow another opportunity for EPIC and the public to poke holes in their arguments.

To the second issue, Caltrans admitted that there were errors and discrepancies, but instead of owning up to their mistakes, Caltrans pointed to all of the paper that it had created in developing the project, some 19,000 pages. Their argument: Yes, there may be errors in some places, but that’s to be expected when you have a big project. This trick—to bury a court under a heaping mound of paper—is a common one used by any party that wants to make it look like it did a thorough job and make an overburdened judge’s work more difficult by forcing her to sort the wheat from the chaff. But it masks a fatal flaw. While there are a lot of pages, not all pages have the same weight. Where it matters—the most consequential documents—are where those errors and internal discrepancies matter. Throughout the project’s development, Caltrans has failed to generate public support because of their sloppy work. How can we trust an agency that no old growth will be adversely impacted if the agency can’t keep their facts straight?

The case is now in Judge Neel’s hands. She stated that she would take the case seriously and appreciated the broad public show of support for Richardson Grove. Cross your fingers and think good thoughts. And when you are traveling through Richardson Grove, Go Slow for the Grove!


Help Save One of California’s Rarest Plants

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019
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Save the date! There are only 20 know populations of Shasta snow-wreath on the planet. Come join EPIC April 25-26 at Packers Bay on the Shasta Reservoir to help protect this beautiful plant from being invaded by Scotch broom. EPIC volunteers will be pulling the invasive non-native Scotch Broom and helping to protect stream sides from being sprayed with toxic glysophate.

The Shasta snow-wreath (Neviusia cliftonii) is endemic to the shores and canyons around Shasta Reservoir. Neviusia have existed for over 45 million years; however it was not discovered until 1992! The Eastern Klamath Range is an ancient landscape, neither glaciated nor overlain by volcanic material, as were the surrounding mountains. The area is rich in biodiversity and is home to other endemic species such as the Shasta salamander (Hydromantes shastae) a state-listed threatened species and the Shasta Chaparral snail.

Many Shasta snow-wreath populations were lost when the reservoir was created and others are threatened by the proposal to raise the dam. Scotch brooms are another threat and have infested multiple areas near Packers Bay. Last year EPIC protected a few of the most sensitive populations from the possible drift of herbicides and we plan to do it again every year till the broom is gone from the creek side location. Working together demonstrates that people power is the best alternative.

Stay tuned for more details coming in April.


Logging Companies are Cutting Down California’s Forests—So That You Can Throw Them Away!

Monday, March 18th, 2019
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There’s little doubt that California’s forests are under siege; the problem is, we are told that California’s forests are under siege from things like wildfire, “pests,” pathogens and mortality. However, the reality is that the biggest threat to California’s forests has been and continues to be logging, the logging industry, agency enablers of logging, and the lies and misconceptions these folks spin.

A recent report produced by the California Board of Forestry and Fire Protection, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the United States Forest Service and the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana provides an assessment of carbon storage in forest ecosystems in California and of carbon storage in wood products produced in California.

While the report indicates that California’s forests are sequestering (storing) carbon dioxide at approximately 27 million metric-tons of carbon dioxide per-year, slightly exceeding the 20 million metric-ton objective established by the California State Legislature in 2010 (Assembly Bill 1504, Pavely), a closer look at the numbers shows some alarming trends.

According to the AB 1504 Forest Ecosystem and Harvested Wood Products Carbon Inventory Report, over half of the carbon being stored in California’s forests is stored on our Federal lands, in our National Forests, Wilderness Areas, and in our BLM lands, while our wood products are storing less carbon dioxide, and the wood products we produce are being thrown into landfills, resulting in additional carbon dioxide storage losses.

The Harvested Wood Products Carbon Inventory looked at wood products used and the end use outcomes of harvested wood products from California’s forests on Federal and Non-Federal lands, and shows a sharp decline in carbon dioxide stored in harvested wood products, and a dramatic increase in the amount of carbon dioxide being lost from wood products that end up in landfills where no energy capture is created from combustion as biomass or hog fuel.

What’s happening to our harvested wood products, why are they not storing carbon, and why are we throwing them away? Logging of native forests and the creation of even-aged, monoculture, short-rotation industrial tree plantations on private industrial lands and on our National Forests, means harvesting of increasingly younger forests in an unnatural plantation setting that translates into quick growth of fiber, but not carbon dioxide-storing heartwood.

The majority of the harvested wood products from our private industrial timberlands in California are young, even-aged, mono-culture plantation-grown, and grown for the quick production of wood fiber, most of which turns out to be sapwood, and the trees simply are not allowed to grow long enough, slowly enough, or under the most optimal conditions to produce heartwood fiber, tighter growth rings, and thereby store greater amounts of carbon dioxide.

These young, plantation-grown, sapwood harvested wood products are far less structurally sound and far more prone to rot, decay, mold, and to eventually, end up in the neighborhood landfill.

The findings of the AB 1504 Forest Ecosystem and Harvested Wood Products Carbon Inventory Report shows that our wood products are losing carbon sequestration both in the products themselves, and through an eventual end-outcome of landfill waste. Loss of carbon storage debunks the false narrative being spun by the logging industry and its lobbyists that carbon dioxide stored in a board-foot is just as good as carbon dioxide being stored in living trees, roots, soil, and plants in native, diverse forests.

As always, the timber industry and its apologists would have us pay attention to anything, and everything other than the men behind the chainsaws.


Another Attack on Wolf Recovery

Thursday, March 14th, 2019
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OR 54 of the Rogue Pack

By Joseph McDonald

Once again the federal government is trying to ease its responsibility to protect America’s wildlife, and once again wolf recovery is targeted. On March 14, the US Fish and Wildlife Service formally announced its plan to delist gray wolves across the country. Ten years ago the Obama Administration tried to remove Gray Wolves from of the Endangered Species Act, and ten years ago enough lawsuits and complaints from wolf advocates, including EPIC, stopped the administration from proceeding. It seems that history is doomed to repeat itself, now ten years later the antagonistic Trump Administration, which has shown that it is no friend to the environmental movement in this country, is trying to do the same thing that the Obama Administration failed to do.

The history of gray wolves in America has been exceedingly dark and destructive. Their habitat has been increasingly encroached upon and in the Northwest, wolf populations were completely eradicated or driven out. Wolves were in the midst of a crisis and it was only through advocacy from environmental organizations and grassroots movements that the wolves were protected under the Endangered Species Act, both the federal and California state versions of it. It has been many years but the hard work of caring people has shown progress for wolf populations. In 2011, Gray wolves were spotted in California for the first time in decades, marking that the population is in the very early stages of recovery.

The return of the wolves should be celebrated and fostered, but the federal government sees the budding wolf populations as an excuse to abandon the commitments that it made to protect them, which would leave wolf families vulnerable to trophy hunters, ranchers and state governments. Here at EPIC we are striving to protect and restore wolf populations and their native habitat in the northwest and throughout America. We will fight with everything we have to convince US Fish and Wildlife Service, either through lawsuits or petitions, that wolves deserve a place in this country just as much as we do.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service will accept public comments until early May.

Stay tuned for future EPIC action alerts.


Richardson Grove Back in Court: Help Fill the Courtroom!

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
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Photo by Jeff MusgraveEPIC is back before the Humboldt County Superior Court to defend the ancient groves of Richardson Grove State Park from Caltran’s bulldozers. This is a major hearing and we need your support. Help us pack the courtroom to show the people’s support of the grove! Join us on March 18 at 1:45 p.m., Humboldt County Superior Court, 525 Fifth Street, Courtroom 4 (Hon. Kelly Neel). We do not anticipate the hearing to take more than two hours.

According to the legal brief:

“This case challenges the May 22 2017 approval of the Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project (“Project”) by the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”), and its accompanying certification of a 2010 Environmental Impact Report (“EIR”) and approval of a 2017 Addendum. Intent upon allowing large trucks through the Richardson Grove State Park, Caltrans continues to pursue its realignment of State Highway 101 within the State Park, placing at risk the destruction of California’s most irreplaceable public resources: ancient redwoods and the habitat they provide. Caltrans refuses to satisfy its legal obligation to adequately disclose and evaluate the Project’s environmental effects on these resources – effects which threaten the loss of these scarce resources and directly impact the Park.

This case follows a successful 2010 action challenging Caltrans’ initial approval of its project to alter the road to allow the big trucks. In response to that action, in 2014 Caltrans set aside its approvals, and then in May 2017, without notice, or invitation to review, approved the Project, relying almost entirely on its invalidated 2010 EIR and an improperly approved addendum. At issue now is Caltrans’ failure to comply with CEQA in its certification and use of the 2010 EIR and approval of its 2017 Addendum.”

For those who want to come prepared, you can find the briefings for the hearing here, here, and here. Check out our archives here for more on the struggle to save Richardson Grove.

 


Darryl Cherney Fundraiser for Gypsy Scholarship

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
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On the 20th anniversary of the controversial agreement that established the Headwaters Forest Reserve in Humboldt County, legendary songwriter, singer, and activist Darryl Cherney will raise awareness and memories on March 10, at the Arcata Playhouse to benefit the new David Nathan “Gypsy” Chain Memorial Scholarship fund.

On Sunday, March 10th Cherney will take the stage at the Arcata Playhouse to entertain and educate with his political songs and stories from his years as an organizer with Earth First!  The event is a benefit for the David Nathan Gypsy Chain Memorial Scholarship Fund. Admission is $ 20 (with additional donations appreciated), but FREE to students. Doors open at 7:00, and the program begins at 7:30.

Naomi Steinberg, one of the event organizers, comments, “Darryl is just the right person to lead us in a reflection on the Headwaters deal concluded 20 years ago.  His songs are as powerful, passionate and funny as ever. On March 2 a new generation of HSU students will get to learn about an important piece of Humboldt County history, and on March 10 we can enjoy a reunion of old activists and hopefully inspire some young ones.”

The David Nathan Gypsy Chain Memorial Scholarship was established to remember a young activist killed in 1998 while protesting illegal logging in the Grizzly Creek watershed.  Make a tax-deductible donation online or by mail through the Humboldt Area Foundation, which administers the scholarship fund. For information, see http://www.davidgypsychain.org or http://www.hafoundation.org/GypsyChain .

Student applications are now open for the $1000 scholarship, until March 15, through the Humboldt Area Foundation’s scholarship website at http://www.hafoundation.org/GypsyChain or https://www.hafoundation.org/Grants-Scholarships/Scholarships-Apply-Now . Students can also learn more about the scholarship and how to apply for it at https://hafscholar.fluidreview.com/p/a/19205 .

The scholarship will be given to a student graduating from a Humboldt high school and planning to attend HSU or CR, or to a continuing first year HSU or CR student, who demonstrates commitment to environmental protection through study and activism.


EPIC is Hiring!

Tuesday, March 5th, 2019
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Position title: Development and Communications Coordinator

Position type: Full time, salary ($31-35K) + benefits

Location: Arcata, California

Application deadline: April 1, 2019

Are you an energetic and outgoing person who loves to work in teams? Do you have a love for nature and want to advocate for its protection? The Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) is looking to find the newest member of our team! EPIC has worked for the protection and restoration of Northern California’s forests since 1977. You would join a professional team of lawyers, policy experts, and activists to protect forests, wildlife, and clean water.

EPIC is looking for a Communications and Development Coordinator (“Coordinator”) to help better tell our story to both the public and funders. At EPIC, you would develop media content for numerous platforms, produce exciting and engaging events, represent EPIC before members and the public, and advocate for the conservation of our forest ecosystems.

Qualified and motivated applicants should submit a resume and cover letter by March 31, 2019 to Tom Wheeler at tom@wildcalifornia.org. Applications will not be reviewed until after the March 31 deadline.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The Coordinator develops and implements strategic, creative and effective marketing and communications programs to inform and engage members, stakeholders and other audiences; support fundraising; and grow the organization’s membership base—all to advance EPIC’s conservation objectives. Specific responsibilities include:
• Develop and create media for EPIC’s website, newsletter, social media, and other platforms and venues.
• Represent EPIC at events, engaging and informing EPIC members and the general public on the work of the organization.
• Design engaging events and fundraisers for the organization, including our annual Fall Celebration fundraiser.
• Maintain and manage our member database.
• Develop and coordinate bulk mailers.
• Other related duties as identified.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS
As the Coordinator, you must be a team-player, professional and well-spoken. You must also be highly organized and detail-oriented, with the ability to manage multiple tasks simultaneously. It is also important you display excellent verbal and written communication and interpersonal abilities as you will often be the “face” of the organization.
• Bachelor’s degree desired.
• Excellent oral and written communication skills, including proficiency in grammar, editing, and proofreading.
• Prior event planning experience.
• Ability to synthesize information and translate it into engaging written work.
• Highly organized, detail oriented, high level of initiative and ability to work independently and collaboratively.
• Ability to multitask and manage multiple projects simultaneously.
• Collegial, upbeat, personable team-oriented working style, able to thrive in a small office environment.
• Knowledge of social media platforms and strategies.
• Experience working with WordPress, Microsoft Office, and Adobe Creative Suite
• The successful candidate will be a hard worker, and creative problem solver.
• Ability and willingness to work some evenings and infrequent weekends due to attendance at special events including occasional travel.
• California driver’s license and personal auto insurance.
• Ability to stand on feet up to eight hours per day.
• Ability to lift and carry boxes weighing up to 40 pounds.
• Must embrace EPIC’s mission and programs to protect and restore the forests of Northwest California.

COMPENSATION AND REWARDING BENEFITS
Salary range is $31,200 – $35,000 per year depending on qualifications and experience.
At EPIC, you will be part of a small but powerful team of activists. We place a high priority on our team members and prioritize flexible schedules and a sane work/life balance. We will ask you to give us your very best every day, and will challenge you with interesting work, stretch assignments, a collaborative and supportive work environment and plenty of learning and growth. In additional to our flexible schedule and living wage pay, EPIC will also provide the following benefits:
• Medical/Rx and Dental insurance
• Paid parental leave
• Paid time off including holidays, vacation, personal, sick time, bereavement and pay for jury duty
• Opportunity for travel

To Apply:

E-mail a cover letter and resume to tom@wildcalifornia.org. Position open until filled. No phone calls please.


Happy 20th Birthday to the Headwaters Forest Reserve

Thursday, February 28th, 2019
By

Happy 20th Birthday to the Headwaters Forest Reserve! The 7,472-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve is located just south east of the City of Eureka, CA., and was established on March 1, 1999 as part of the landmark Headwaters Forest Agreement between the U.S. Government, the State of California, the MAXXAM Corporation, and its subsidiaries, the Pacific Lumber Company, the Salmon Creek Corporation, and the Scotia-Pacific LLC.

The Headwaters Forest Reserve was created to protect the last large, intact, old growth coast redwood forest on the planet that remained in private ownership, punctuating a 13-year campaign that involved mass demonstrations and acts of non-violent civil disobedience, lawsuits filed by EPIC and others, and a huge network of groups and volunteers working to get the word out and influence lawmakers.

Only about 40 percent of the 7,472-reserve contained old growth or residual old growth at the time of the land transfer in 1999. There were clearcuts, landslides, and thousands of miles of roads and skid roads, hundreds of old, failing stream crossings, and millions of tons of earthen material to stabilize. Most of the previously-logged areas now contain evenaged stands thirty-years-old or less.

In addition to the congressional mandate to maintain existing old growth forests in the Reserve in an Ecological Reserve status, a mandate also exists to restore landscapes, watersheds, and forests previously damaged by logging. The BLM has removed roads, restored stream channels, fixed stream crossings, thinned over-dense previously-logged stands, while it simultaneously monitors the endangered fish and wildlife that utilize the reserve as a last refugia, all as part of its Resource Management Plan for the Reserve.

Marbled murrelets, northern spotted owls, coho salmon, Pacific fisher, black bear, mountain lions, black-tailed deer, great horned-owls, tree-voles, and woodrats, just to name a few, call the Headwaters Forest Reserve home. The Reserve boasts flowers of spring Western trillium, and the serpent-like feted adder’s tongue. Douglas Iris, rhododendrons, and a barrage of berry blossoms and fruits also call the Headwaters Reserve home.

Twenty years later, the Headwaters Forest Reserve receives thousands of visitors each year. The South Fork Elk River Trailhead, located at the end of Elk River Road, south of Eureka, hosts hikers, runners, bicyclists, baby strolling and roller-blading as it follows the South Fork Elk River through the old logging ghost-town of Falk to the Headwaters Education Center.

The Headwaters Forest Reserve currently only contains two public hiking trails in keeping with the designation as an Ecological Reserve and part of the Bureau of Land Management’s National Conservation Lands Network.

The South Fork Elk River Trail is open for public day-use access, with a trail that runs nearly 11-miles round-trip. The Salmon Pass Trail is restricted access and is only open seasonally with reservation made for tours through the BLM. The Salmon Pass Trail is an approximately 3-mile loop that accesses the Salmon Creek side of the Reserve.

The existence of relatively few trails doesn’t translate into a lack of visitation in the Headwaters Forest Reserve. The Reserve’s proximity to Eureka and the open-access on the South Fork Elk River Trail and the flat riverine nature of the trail for the first three miles makes it a perfectly-suited location for all levels of visitors.

It is a real work-out, no matter which trail one chooses, to be able to experience the majesty of the old growth redwood forest at the Headwaters Forest Reserve; this is all too fitting, and very much the spirit of the place, and all those that dedicated parts of their lives to its creation. This is a spirit very much like that the old growth forest itself, stout, strong, tenacious, precious, and rare.


Fight Climate Change Through Community Forests!

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
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Arcata Community Forest Trail

To help combat climate change, Humboldt County must do something bold: invest in its forests through the creation of a Humboldt County Community Forest. Humboldt County’s renowned redwood trees are the most carbon-dense in the world, capturing and sequestering more carbon per-tree than any other on the planet. Because these trees are long-lived and not prone to fire or disease, they make excellent carbon storage devices. Beyond carbon, our forests offer so much more: clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation, and jobs. Through the creation of a Humboldt County Community Forest we could manage local forests to maximize all of these local benefits, instead of sending away our timber and profit out of the area.

The idea of a community forest isn’t radical or new. In EPIC’s backyard, the Arcata Community Forest has been managed for both values since its creation in 1955. The Arcata Community Forest has been a resounding success—paying for its management and expansion through timber revenue, but cutting so little that the forest continues to accrue far more biomass per year than it loses. And if you ask any resident of Arcata, the forest is something more: a community backyard that is the pride of the city. Since 1955, the city has added to the forest, helping to preserve wild places just minutes from the front door of the county’s second largest city.

At the county level, the concept is also not new. The McKay Tract, a 1,000 acre parcel on the outskirts of Eureka, was purchased by the county in 2014 with state grant money. In late January, the county released its draft management plan for public comment. (Comments on the draft plan can be submitted by 5 pm, March 1, 2019, to Hank Seemann via e-mail (hseemann@co.humboldt.ca.us) or hard-copy (Humboldt County Public Works, 1106 Second Street, Eureka, CA, 95501).)

Why now? Humboldt has a tremendous opportunity that it can’t let go to waste. We have started to see a cannabis cash out, where one-time growers are abandoning their property, resulting in heavy fines and a backlog. In November, over $4.5 million in fees were assessed against just five properties for violations of the county’s cannabis land use ordinance. Other people have stopped paying their property taxes and the county may come to own their lands too. Typically, the county sells at auction whatever lands it comes to possess. But what if the county started to hold onto these lands instead?

As the Arcata Community Forest has proven, sustainable forest management is possible and profitable. We can manage our forests, according to Humboldt County values—not those of distant, rich owners of industrial timber companies.


EPIC Holds Southern Humboldt Community Meeting on Green Diamond Sproul Creek Property Purchase

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019
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Thirty Southern Humboldt community members came out on a wet and stormy Wednesday night to attend an EPIC-sponsored Community Meeting to discuss the recent purchase of 9,200-acres of timberlands in the Sproul Creek Watershed by Green Diamond Resource Company.

The event took place at Ganas in Garberville, and featured presentations by Dan Ehresman, Executive Director of the Northcoast Regional Land Trust addressing the Conservation Easement on the property that prohibits sub-division, and by EPIC staff, introducing Green Diamond and its practices to the local community. The Community Meeting was live broadcast over the airways of KMUD, Redwood Community Radio.

After presentations, community question and answer and community brainstorm sessions were held to address concerns, and gather input from the community on how best to engage with Green Diamond as the new landowner.

A big EPIC thanks to Dan Ehresman and the Northcoast Regional Land Trust, to Ganas for helping to facilitate this important Community Meeting and discussion, and especially to KMUD for live broadcasting and archiving the event.

NRLT Sproul Creek Conservation Easement Power Point

EPIC Power Point About Green Diamond Logging Practices

KMUD Live Broadcast Part 1

KMUD Live Broadcast Part 2

KMUD Live Broadcast Part 3


Action Alert: Support Clean, Renewable Energy in Humboldt County

Tuesday, February 19th, 2019
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Take Action Now! On Thursday, February 28, the Redwood Coast Energy Authority will consider whether to transition its electric energy sourcing to 100% clean, renewable power by 2025. The move was brought to RCEA Board of Directors by recommendation from RCEA’s Community Advisory Council.

Previously, the Cities of Eureka and Arcata, together with the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and the McKinleyville Community Services District, have passed resolutions expressing their support. This move is further supported by the Environmental Protection Information Center.

Decarbonizing our energy infrastructure is necessary to address the threat of climate change. Currently, Humboldt County only derives 42% of its energy from “renewable sources,” with the rest provided by large hydroelectric (40%) and other sectors (18%). The move towards 100% clean energy would place Humboldt at the forefront of the clean energy movement.

“In order to confront global climate change it is imperative that we move past fossil fuels and towards renewable energy,” said Tom Wheeler, Executive Director of EPIC. “The Green New Deal begins at home: this is something that Humboldt County can and should do.”

Clean, renewable is now cost competitive with more traditional sources of power, such as burning fossil fuel, and prices are expected to continue to drop as technology improves and more renewable energy sources are added to the grid. Currently, customers of RCEA can choose to purchase 100% renewable power through the agency at a cost of just $.01 per kilowatt hour, or approximately $5 month for an average household. By increasing the total amount of renewable energy purchased, RCEA is also creating a strong incentive for local renewable energy development.

RCEA is a joint powers authority founded in 2003 to develop and implement sustainable energy initiatives that reduce energy demand, increase energy efficiency, and advance the use of clean, efficient and renewable resources available in the region. RCEAs members include the County of Humboldt, the Cities of Arcata, Blue Lake, Eureka, Ferndale, Fortuna, Rio Dell, and Trinidad, and the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District.

Supporters of clean energy are encouraged to attend the Feb. 28th meeting. The meeting will be held at the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District Offices at 828 7th St., Eureka, CA 95501. Clean energy supporters will rally outside the building at 3:00 and the meeting will kick off at 3:15.

For those that cannot make the meeting, click here to let the RCEA Board of Directors know you support 100% clean, renewable energy.