Posts by Tom Wheeler

BREAKING: EPIC Win For Mendocino National Forest at the Ninth Circuit!

Monday, August 3rd, 2020
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In a major victory, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with EPIC in a case impacting the Mendocino National Forest. The court found that the Forest Service’s use of a “categorical exclusion” to avoid an environmental impact assessment for a timber sale following the 2018 Ranch Fire was likely a violation of the law and that EPIC should have been awarded an injunction by the lower court to stop logging.


EPIC on the Radio!

Monday, July 20th, 2020
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Want to keep up with the latest environmental news from the Northcoast? Tune in live to KHUM (104.7 fm Eureka) at 10am on Saturday, KZZH (96.7 fm Eureka) at 11am, or KFUG (101.1 fm Crescent City) and find us on KMUD every second Tuesday. You can also subscribe to the EcoNews Report on your favorite podcast app!


Proposed Caltrans Roadwork Places Old-Growth Redwood At Risk

Monday, July 20th, 2020
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The HUM-36 Three Bridges Project would rebuild two bridges and widen a third bridge along Highway 36 in Humboldt County to provide better bridge rails and wider shoulders on the bridge. Because of impacts to old-growth redwoods, EPIC urges Caltrans to modify the project slightly: to the “Two Bridges Project,” not three. One bridge in particular, a proposed rebuild of a bridge over Hely Creek at Van Duzen County Park, would impact a half-acre of forest, including the removal of an old-growth redwood that measures six feet in diameter, the removal of several other large trees, and impacts to the root systems and pruning of other old-growth redwoods.


Large New Housing Project Proposed for McKay Forest

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020
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A large new residential housing development is being proposed for the outskirts of Eureka, cutting into the McKay forest in Cutten. The project proposes 320 new residential units, in a mix of single- and multi-family developments, together with 22,000 square feet of commercial space incorporated into the development across 81 acres of now-forested lands. The project would require rezoning and subdivision, bringing the project before the Planning Commission.


Opening Brief Filed in Case to Save Humboldt Marten

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020
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EPIC Challenges Take Permit Issued to Green Diamond. In late May, EPIC submitted an opening brief in the case to overturn a permit that threatens California’s last remaining Humboldt martens. With fewer than 200 likely in the state, the marten is teetering on the edge of extinction. Necessary to the long-term survival of the species is to connect the largest population of martens, found on Six Rivers National Forest in Del Norte County, to prime habitat in the Redwood National and State Parks complex to the southwest.


ELK NEED YOUR HELP: Del Norte Elk Face New Disease and Increased Hunting

Friday, June 19th, 2020
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Supporters of North Coast elk, we need your help! On June 25, the Fish and Game Commission is set to hear a report from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife concerning a new disease threatening our North Coast Roosevelt elk. We need people like you to demand that the Fish and Game Commission support a petition filed by EPIC to place a moratorium on hunting until more is known about the disease. Please help by attending the virtual meeting on June 25 to speak for our elk!


Trump Administration Uses COVID-19 “Emergency” to Undermine Law

Tuesday, June 9th, 2020
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In the midst of the turmoil and unrest arising last week in response to the unjust murders of the Black community by police, the Trump administration quietly used the COVID-19 pandemic to undermine federal environmental laws and fast-track oil and gas drilling. Seriously. We have sunk this low. In an executive order issued on June 4, the administration cited the global pandemic and its effects on the economy as justification for “reforming and streamlining an outdated regulatory system that has held back our economy with needless paperwork and costly delays.”


Novel Elk Hoof Disease Found In Del Norte Elk Herd

Tuesday, May 19th, 2020
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.