Action Alerts

Make Your Voice Heard in Redistricting!

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2021
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California is redrawing its federal and state legislative maps (including losing one congressional seat!). That means that your legislative district might change. 

While environmental and climate justice advocates have been building a policy agenda for years, we currently do not have the political power in California to act on these solutions at the rate and scale required. The 2021 redistricting process is a unique moment to make key structural change: not only for the next legislative session, but for this final decade leading to the 2030 climate deadline.

California’s Constitution requires that redistricting preserve “communities of interest”—those economic or cultural ties that bind communities together—to the maximum extent possible. Northwest California is one of those communities of interest. Our coastal-moderated ecosystems share the same ecological history, which in turn has shaped the culture and economy of the area. The threats facing Northwest California are also similar, whether from sea level rise, drought, or climate change. Our environment and economy are best served by keeping Northwest California together. 

The redistricting process begins by soliciting input from the public about what forms their community of interest. Unique public comments are very important to the process. There are two ways you can participate!

Participate in a Communities of Interest Public Hearing!

The Citizen Redistricting Commission is holding virtual meetings based on “zones.” Your address is in Zone A. The Citizen Redistricting Commission is hosting a special meeting for our zone on July 1 from 12-8pm, to solicit input. Go to https://www.wedrawthelinesca.org/meetings to see the meeting agenda and to register to speak! Each speaker will get up to 3 minutes.

Need talking points? Check out below for more information!

Draw Your Own Map!

Don’t want to sit through a public meeting? Can’t make July 1st? No problem! Submit your testimony online, by email or by mail.

The Citizen Redistricting Commission has set up a cool website where you can draw your community of interest. Go to DrawMyCACommunity.org and follow the helpful tutorials. (Having trouble? Email [email protected] and we can help you through it!)

You can also provide input to the Commission by emailing: [email protected] (CC us at [email protected] too!) or by snail mail: California Citizens Redistricting Commission, 721 Capitol Mall, Suite 260, Sacramento, CA 95814. You can even call in your comments to (916) 323-0323.

Need Help with What to Say?

At a loss over what to say? That’s understandable. We are here to help. The Commission needs to know four key things from you about your community. Here are some thoughts to help guide your testimony. 

Where is your community located?

State where you are from and that you are speaking to preserve Northwest California’s community of interest.

What are the economic, social, and/or cultural interests that bind your community together?

There are many ties that link our communities together in Northwest California. Here are a few we at EPIC have thought of. Feel free to use any of these examples or add your own:

  • Our coastal-moderated forests, particularly the redwoods, form an ecological community that provide a shared economic history and a shared cultural history. Likewise, climate change presents unique challenges for this region (sea level rise, reduced summer fog and increasing temperatures). The importance of the redwoods to our cultural identity is mirrored in the names of our community institutions, Redwood Community Action Agency to the Redwood Rural Health Center to College of the Redwoods.
  • Our region shares similar land-based agricultural interests, from wineries stretching North from Sonoma through Humboldt, to cannabis. Climate change is going to affect agriculture in our region, from warmer temperatures to less precipitation. We are better able to mitigate and adapt together
  • Our wild salmon fisheries found in the coastal streams and rivers of Northwest California, though a shadow of their former runs, are still vitaly important to our area and help to form a shared cultural interest. From tribal fishermen to recreational anglers, we share a love of our wild salmon and the region is invested in taking concrete steps to bring our salmon back. We are best able to advocate for salmon through preserving this community of interest. 
  • Although Northwest California is often very rural, we are noticeably different from much of rural California. Environmental protection, love of public lands, and concern about climate change are values shared in Northwest California. 

Why should your community should be kept together for fair and effective representation?

Because our economies and cultures are shaped by our shared natural environment, our interests are best served when we are represented together. Whether it is addressing sea level rise or the threat of a warming climate on our economies, the environmental challenges of the present and future will affect coastal communities in a similar way.

What nearby areas does your community want to or not want to be grouped with? 

Northwest California share a common economy and culture; by contrast, we are less similarly aligned with our fellow residents to the East. These areas are more culturally conservative and their economies are still more tied to extractive economies, making them a poor “fit” with our area.


ACTION ALERT: Save Richardson Grove For Future Generations!

Tuesday, June 15th, 2021
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For more than a decade, EPIC and allies have fought the proposed Caltrans project in Richardson Grove. The Grove was designated as a heritage park and protected in the California State Park system, and is one of the state’s oldest and most popular state parks. Richardson Grove sits alongside the wild and scenic Eel River, and is a place that is of incredible value to a multitude of people from around the region, the state, the country, and the world. Richardson Grove is the gateway to Northern California’s redwoods, and it shelters one of the last protected stands of accessible old-growth redwood trees in the world.

Will you speak up today for these iconic trees?

The proposed highway-widening project would cut into and pave over root systems of thousand-year-old trees, potentially causing dieback of the canopy and possible loss of parts of the grove of irreplaceable redwoods. All this would be done just to force oversized trucks up and down the coast. And it’s unnecessary, because other cost-effective and environmentally sound transportation solutions exist.

Under this new administration, we have another chance to stop the project and explore alternatives. We can’t do it without the support and participation of the community. Take action today and let our representatives know that Richardson Grove is not up for experiment!

Tell U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Caltrans and your legislators to save the redwoods of Richardson Grove for future generations and the climate.

Take Action Today!


Take Action: Call For An Immediate Halt To Logging In Occupied JDSF!

Thursday, June 10th, 2021
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Logging commenced yesterday on the highly contested timber harvest plan called Caspar 500 in Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) where a tree sit in an almost two-hundred-year-old redwood known as the “Mama Tree” has captured the public’s attention since April. Trees are being felled despite people being present in the forest in the same location in an effort to protect the trees.

Early yesterday morning, tree sitter Alder reported hearing chainsaws and heavy thuds as big trees were being cut at a “fast and furious” rate in multiple locations. Alder immediately notified Cal Fire State Forests Program Director, Kevin Conway, as well as contractor, Anderson Logging, of people’s presence on the ground in vicinity. Many community members, trail hikers and bikers have flocked to the woods in a last ditch attempt to keep standing the trees they love.

Concerned community members called on Kevin Conway, Cal Fire State Forests Program Director, to immediately halt logging operations while people are in the woods. Previous negotiations for dialogue broke down recently when Cal Fire refused to agree to halt logging while talks were initiated.

While the Mama and Papa trees have focused public attention on JDSF, activists emphasize that they are “not the only trees in the forest” and that it is the entire forest in the context of climate change, cultural and tribal protections and current environmental and economic issues affecting Mendocino County and the world.

The Coalition to Save Jackson State Forest in JDSF is calling for a moratorium on logging until a new Environmental Impact Report for the JDSF Management Plan is completed, stating: “The old report, drafted 2007, is woefully out of date”.

Please join us in urging Cal Fire State Forests Program Director, Kevin Conway, to halt logging operations immediately so negotiations can continue and until proper dialogue has been reached. An easy to fill out template letter can be found at the link below! Sign today!


Action Alert: Say No To Toxic Herbicides

Tuesday, June 1st, 2021
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Take Action! The Mendocino National Forest is proposing to spray toxic chemicals on over 1,500 acres just north of Clear Lake. The North Shore project in the 2018 Ranch Fire area also includes 500 acres of post-fire logging and 1,080 acres of planting. A majority of herbicide use would be for killing all vegetation around planted trees, which is entirely unnecessary for sapling survival. Over 400 acres includes application for non-native invasive plant species, which could be treated by multiple non-toxic alternatives.

The poisonous chemicals contained in herbicides are harmful to people, wildlife, and the environment. Even when herbicide is carefully applied, there is a potential for harm to native species through off-target drift, surface runoff, or leaching. Imazapyr, one of the herbicides proposed for use is well documented to harm amphibians and fish when it contaminates watercourses. Imazapyr has been recorded to exude out of the roots of treated plants into the surrounding soil, thus impacting surrounding plant communities. Fluazifop, has been found to stimulate pathogens in the soil while inhibiting bacteria with plant growth promoting abilities. Triclopyr BEE is also proposed. Triclopyr poses a greater risk to humans and wildlife, and has a higher chance of entering waterways than Glyphosate. Another concern is their persistence in the environment. Aminopyralid, has been well documented to have an abnormally long half-life for an herbicide with samples having a half-life lasting over 500 days. Developed in 2005 by Dow AgroSciences, aminopyralids long-term effects remain unknown.

Further, the Forest Service argues that it needs to use herbicides in order to make up for the spread of invasive species it causes while undergoing the project. First the agency fails to control invasives before they spread. Then, through fire suppression actions, seeds are knowingly distributed all over. Now it proposes to trample through the forest with logging equipment, disturbing the soil and promoting further infestation. So, the Forest Service is pushing herbicides in order to combat a problem, which it created and proposes to worsen.

Alternative 4 is the No Spray option in the Environmental Assessment. Please urge the Mendocino National Forest to consider and use non-toxic alternatives!


Protect Klamath Salmon: Tell Our Representatives To Release Preventative Flows!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
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In response to the lowest historical flows on record into Upper Klamath Lake, the US Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) just announced its Klamath Project 2021 Temporary Operations Plan. Although the Plan reduces diversions for irrigators, it fails to meet the biological needs for coho salmon and Chinook salmon in the Klamath River, and Lost River and shortnose suckers in Upper Klamath Lake. Fill out a letter form here to ask rulemakers to release preventative flows into the Klamath River to ensure that flows into the Klamath River will meet the biological requirements for salmon and other fisheries!

“It is unfortunate that a severe drought and climate change, coupled with risky decisions made in 2020, have left us all in this impossible bind this year,” said Frankie Myers, the Yurok Tribe’s Vice Chairman. “Based on the current conditions, the Yurok Tribe is acutely concerned about the health of the entire river from the headwaters to the sea, because it is the beating heart of all the Tribes in the basin. The Klamath salmon are now on a course toward extinction in the near term.”

Currently, the Klamath River is blocked by four dams obstructing fish passage slated for removal by 2024. While these worthy efforts are underway and the prospect of a restored Klamath Basin is becoming a reality, it is critical that the remaining salmon and steelhead runs are protected until the dams come out.

Klamath River-Photo by Matt Baun: USFWS.

The Klamath River is home to the third largest salmon run on the West Coast and is thought to have the highest potential for complete salmon recovery in the United States. However, dams blocking the Klamath River have led to an infestation of toxic algae and warm water temperatures that cause fish disease. Additionally, water deliveries to irrigators have resulted in less water available to provide salmon runs with a release of water to flush out Ceratonova shasta, a fish killing parasite that can lead to fish die-offs.

While about 180,000 Chinook salmon off the Northern California Coast are waiting to enter the Klamath, we are seeing the lowest historical inflows on record into Upper Klamath Lake. In 2002, low flows and warm water temperatures caused by dams and diversions in the Klamath Basin, similar to conditions that are projected for this season, resulted in the largest fish kill in U.S. history, where an estimated 60,000 fall Chinook perished. Since the fish kill, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) has released preventative pulse flows into the Klamath and Trinity Rivers when conditions existed that were similar to 2002. If temperatures become higher than the acute stress level for Chinook, 72 degrees Fahrenheit, a large-scale fish kill is likely and the Klamath could lose the entire run, which would have major environmental and economic implications.

The BOR has indicated that it will monitor conditions on the Klamath and release flows if salmon show signs of disease and start dying, which would take at least four days to reach infected salmon in the Lower Klamath. It is a widely accepted fact that once salmon are diseased and dying, an attempt to minimize losses will be too late and a large-scale fish kill in the Lower Klamath would already be well underway.

In addition to the water management plan for 2021, the BOR has committed to providing $15 million in emergency funds for irrigators in the upper basin and $3 million for Tribes. Additionally, the USDA has committed another $10 million for farmers, which totals $25 million for farmers and only $3 million for Tribes. Reclamations plan has led to an unequal distribution of funding and water resources.

This year’s Klamath salmon run needs your help! Please click the link below to send a letter to David Felstul, Chief for the Division of Water Operations for the Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Senator Alex Padilla, and Congressman Jared Huffman, asking them to release preventative flows into the Klamath River to ensure that flows into the Klamath River will meet the biological requirements for salmon and other fisheries.

Take Action!


Take Action: Stop Deceptive Water Project On The Shasta River!

Tuesday, April 20th, 2021
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Shasta River. Photo by Val Atkinson.

The Shasta River is one of the main tributaries to the Klamath River and one of the historic key spawning grounds for salmon and steelhead. The waters of the Shasta, drawn from the glaciers and snowmelt of Mount Shasta, together feeding year-round springs, have since time immemorial provided cool, clean waters and a great gravel bed that was perfect for spawning. So good that up to half of all salmon in the Klamath watershed came back to the Shasta to spawn.

A century plus of development has radically transformed the Shasta. A dam captures channel shaping winter flows and in summer the river is so over-allocated that it nearly runs dry during the height of the irrigation season. Now the Grenada Irrigation District wants to upgrade its diversion method—and they want you, the taxpayer, to foot the six million dollar bill. On Thursday, the Wildlife Conservation Board will be reviewing grant proposals for instream flow enhancement projects including the proposed Grenada Irrigation District Flow Enhancement Project (aka pipeline)—a project for which we have ample evidence showing should not be funded. Click here to take action.

While Grenada says that this pipeline will result in a more efficient delivery of irrigation water, the new pipeline is likely to increase demand by making it cheaper to irrigate. At present, while Grenada is generally prohibited by stream flow levels from pumping their full paper water right, they can pump some water in all years. But most properties in the district are not currently irrigated due to the high costs of lifting water plus the substantial leakage from their ditch on top of their inefficient flood irrigation. This makes agriculture uneconomical—the water cost is more than the value that the crop justifies. But if the delivered cost of water could be cut by reducing both the lift and the leakage, more people in the district will likely irrigate and Grenada could then pump continuously, rather than intermittently as they now do, ultimately depleting more river flow, not adding to it. Total diversion would actually increase, to the detriment of the fish and river.

All of this is to be funded with Prop 1 funds, which are directed to enhancing fish flows. This money could find a far better home than subsidizing the Grenada Irrigation District’s inefficient irrigation. Please write today to the Wildlife Conservation Board and urge them to deny funding to this irresponsible pipeline that threatens critical fish populations and the health of the Shasta River.

Take Action Today!

EPIC is proud to work with the Friends of the Shasta River to improve in-stream conditions for California’s rare and threatened fish.


Action Alert: Protect Forests for Earth Day 🌎

Monday, April 19th, 2021
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Our nation’s old growth forests are an incredibly important climate solution. Our temperate rainforests rival tropical rainforests in terms of the amount of carbon they store per acre, and large, old trees everywhere store the majority of carbon in forests. However, these bigger, older trees are still being logged when they should be protected for carbon storage, wildlife habitat, and clean water.

We have an exciting opportunity right now to change this trajectory. Through the Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is being asked to seek public input regarding USDA’s climate strategy. This public input will be considered as USDA prepares recommendations to expand climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices and systems.

We need the US Department of Agriculture to protect our forests!

And we need YOU to tell them why!

Take Action Now!

When we protect our forests from logging, we both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and ensure these forests continue to store vast amounts of carbon —a win-win climate change solution! In California, our intact forests also offer unique and critical habitat for at-risk fish and wildlife, including the marbled murrelet, salmon, and the northern spotted owl. Healthy forests also filter water to keep our streams, rivers and lakes clean and cold, and these same forests protect watersheds and communities from flooding and landslides.

Please join us in calling on the US Department of Agriculture to incorporate permanent protections for mature and old growth forests, limit post-fire logging, and protect our watersheds as part of our nation’s strategy to address climate change and protect 30 percent of land and water by 2030.


Your Comments Needed To Rescind Trump Rollbacks of Spotted Owl Critical Habitat!

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2021
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Take action! The northern spotted owl needs your help. At the close of the Trump  Administration, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service slashed more than 3.4 million acres of Critical Habitat in a last minute gift to the timber industry. The Biden Administration is formally reconsidering the Trump-era withdrawal of over 3.4 million acres of northern spotted owl Critical Habitat.

The Biden Administration still needs to hear from YOU that protecting northern spotted owl habitat is a priority.

Comments are due March 31st. Pre-filled comments available at form below. Comment today!

Take Action Now!

 


Action Alert: Help Stop Destructive Post-Fire Logging Project In Shasta-Trinity Nat’l Forest!

Monday, March 22nd, 2021
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The Shasta-Trinity National Forest has proposed extensive post-fire logging under the guise of restoration within the August Complex Wildfire area. The August Phase 1 project includes over 3,500 acres of logging around the town of Forest Glen and east of South Fork Mountain within the Wild and Scenic South Fork Trinity River corridor and its tributaries of Collins, Rattlesnake, Smoky and Prospect Creeks and the East Fork South Fork Trinity River. The stated purpose of the project is for public safety along 33 miles of roads and other infrastructure, expedited restoration, and economics. Let the Shasta-Trinity National Forest know that logging after a fire harms water quality, wildlife and wild places. Real restoration allows for natural recovery. Take action today to support an ecologically sound alternative.

The public scoping notice claims that post-fire logging increases carbon sequestration. On the contrary, post-fire logging has negative implications for climate change. When a live tree burns in a wildfire, most of the carbon is not released into the atmosphere. In fact, roughly 95% of the carbon remains in the burned snag. As they naturally decompose and decay, much of the carbon is returned to the soil where it provides nutrients to plants as they re-grow the forest. However, when trees are removed, that carbon is erased from the ecosystem and the already depleted soil is left without the nutrients it needs to replenish and regenerate. Logging, trucking, milling and manufacturing also greatly contribute to carbon emissions.

Snags in a Post-Fire Landscape.

The August Fire Phase 1 project, which runs directly to the rivers edge in some places and throughout multiple stream systems, would negatively impact the National Wild & Scenic South Fork Trinity River. The river is designated as “wild” because of its outstanding fisheries and it is legendary for its chinook salmon and steelhead trout fishing by drift boat or walk-in riverside spots. Both of these species are threatened. Logging fire-affected forests is well known to cause sedimentation, which directly harms juvenile salmon and diminishes their aquatic habitat. The South Fork Trinity River is listed as 303(d) sediment impaired under the Clean Water Act. Additional sedimentation would further harm these fish populations and water quality.

The Shasta-Trinity August Complex Phase 1 planners want to hear from the public about what alternatives to consider in the environmental assessment. Let them know you support natural recovery and an alternative limited to imminent hazard trees on main roads and infrastructure.

Close of business on March 26th is the deadline to submit comments.

Click the button below for an effortless form to submit yours today!

Take Action!


Action Alert: Support The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation Repatriate Unceded Land

Tuesday, March 9th, 2021
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The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation needs your support today! After 160 years of colonization, approximately 1,600 acres of their traditional cultural property has been listed for sale by the long-standing settler family. Due to decades of destructive commercial agricultural use and unpermitted development of ungranted tidelands and navigable waterways, the property owners have been issued a slew of egregious violations from the California Coastal Commission, California State Water Resources Board, National Marine Fisheries Service and California State Lands Commission.

The property, which is now known as Reservation Ranch, is a Traditional Cultural Property of the Tolowa Dee-ni’. It is the heart of the original 40,000 acre Smith River Indian Reservation. Located along the wild and scenic Smith River in northern California, this property also lies in the heart of the Smith River Estuary and provides crucial habitat for a variety of flora and fauna, including Roosevelt Elk, waterfowl and Coho Salmon, an endangered species.

Check out their incredible story map for the full history and story of the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation’s relationship with this land here, Selling Stolen Land: Unceded Territory of Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation.

 The Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation needs your help to return this unceded property back to their rightful ownership and to work towards the long overdue environmental and tribal justice this land and watershed deserves. Please sign their petition today and share with your community to get the word out! Shu’ shaa nin-la (thank you in Tolowa Dee-ni’).


ACTION ALERT: Tell CAL FIRE Not to Log 90 Year Old Forest Adjacent to Mendocino Woodlands

Monday, February 1st, 2021
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Last month, EPIC asked our members to tell CAL FIRE not to proceed with the Mitchell Creek Timber Harvest Plan (THP) or any THPs in the heavily used western portion of Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Despite hundreds of you writing in to tell them not to, CAL FIRE has decided to move forward with a nearby THP that could be even more destructive. CAL FIRE needs to know that we are watching them and that these plans are opposed. Take action today!

The Mendocino Woodlands Outdoor Center was constructed by the Works Progress Administration in the 1930s. It’s purpose was and remains to “enable the children of the state to better comprehend the outdoors, particularly the social and economic importance of the study, conservation, protection, and utilization of natural resources.” Today, Mendocino Woodlands has over 10,000 attendees each summer. Groups of children and adults use the space to connect with nature and learn about the importance of California’s Coastal Redwood forests.

CAL FIRE has proposed the Little North Fork Big River THP for the area immediately to the East of the Woodlands. During timber operations, “campers in the Mendocino Woodlands Outdoor Center will experience the acoustic effects of logging including falling trees, chainsaws and yarder whistles.” The timber operations will also shut down many of the trails leading out of the Woodlands into the surrounding forest. Popular trails like the “Eagle’s Roost Trail”, the “Marsh Creek Trail”, and the “Big Tree Trail” will be closed for months at a time. Originally, CAL FIRE tried to claim that their logging would have no visual or recreational impacts after the operations were completed. But, when it was pointed out to them by the Department of Parks and Recreations that this was impossible, CAL FIRE amended their position. Now, CAL FIRE claims that “[n]ewly constructed roads and evidence of other timber harvesting activities will be directly adjacent or overlap trails within the the planned harvest area… but are not expected to create a cumulative visual impact.”

The THP area was last harvested 90 years ago and since then has developed into a healthy, second growth forest. CAL FIRE claims that this is a young forest that needs thinning but research has shown that second growth coastal redwood forests develop better without human intervention. The reason is that even single-tree selection logging carries with it a host of associated impacts that negate any benefit conferred by thinning. For example, the THP calls for 3.5 miles of new roads. These new roads will contribute to sedimentation of the Little North Fork Big River and disrupt wildlife. The THP will also disturb 484 acres of high quality northern spotted owl nesting and roosting habitat. Because the area has not been harvested in 90 years, the THP area is one of the best places for Northern Spotted Owls left in JDSF. CAL FIRE claims they are conducting this Timber Harvest Plan to promote the development of late seral forest habitat, but is it worth it to harm northern spotted owls when they could just let nature regenerate on its own?

CAL FIRE just moved this THP into “second review” which means the deadline to submit public comments on this project is fast approaching. Let CAL FIRE know that this 90 year old second-growth forest that is beloved by campers and hikers should be allowed to naturally regenerate without human intervention!

Take Action


Take Action For Richardson Grove!

Monday, December 14th, 2020
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We need your support at the Board of Supervisors weekly Zoom meeting on the morning of Tuesday, December 15th. Staff have provided the Board with an alternative statement expressing community opposition to the Richardson Grove Project and highlighting that the county takes no formal position on the project. This is BIG!

Please let the Supervisors know that you support the alternative statement!

The meeting starts at 9am and this item will likely be heard in the morning session. (There is no time certain.)

How to Zoom public comment: When the Board of Supervisors announce the agenda item that you wish to comment on, call the conference line and turn off your TV or live stream. Please call 669-900-9128, enter Meeting ID 931 8995 1592 and press star (*) 9 on your phone, this will raise your hand. You’ll continue to hear the Board meeting on the call.

We need you to let them know that you love Richardson Grove State Park and that you don’t support highway widening that threatens old-growth redwoods. Share why you feel passionately about the grove–perhaps you have a favorite memory of the park, or that when you hit the park after a long road trip you feel like you are home again–why you are opposed to the project, and politely ask that they remove support from the project from the document. Positive comments are much more effective than negative or angry responses to the Supervisors. 

How to watch: You may access the live stream of the meeting by using the following link: Watch live: http://humboldt.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?publish_id=2

Agenda: https://humboldt.legistar.com/View.ashx?M=A&ID=736535&GUID=DD19A2F4-6FF5-49E6-BA94-C955867B50A5

Can’t make it? It is important that Supervisor Fennell and Supervisor Bass hear from their constituents. Please write them at [email protected] and [email protected]


ACTION ALERT: Tell CAL FIRE Not To Log The Western Jackson Demonstration State Forest

Monday, December 14th, 2020
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Jackson State Demonstration Forest. Photo by the USFS Pacific Southwest Research Station

CAL FIRE intends to conduct extensive logging in the Western Jackson Demonstration State Forest. Let them know that California’s state lands are better used by wildlife, recreational users, and for carbon sequestration.

Take Action Today

The Jackson Demonstration State Forest (JDSF) was created by the state of California in 1949.  Before that, the land was owned by the Caspar Lumber Company.  More than 90 years ago, Caspar harvested most of the old growth trees and left behind a forest that was a shadow of its former self. Nearly all the old growth redwoods, Douglas fir, hemlock, and their companion ecosystems were gone. California purchased the land with the intention of using it as a place to demonstrate new timber harvesting techniques. While logging has continued under the state’s ownership, and 75% of the forest has seen one or more harvest incursions since then, some of the forest has remained untouched for the last 90 years. In that time, something miraculous has begun to happen: 10,000 acres of a new, second-growth forest has emerged which is beginning to take on some of the qualities of an old-growth redwood forest.  

Speckled Black Salamander in the Jackson State Demonstration Forest. Photo by Ken-ichi Ueda.

Because most private timberlands are operated as timber plantations where the timber is harvested every 40 years, second-growth forests like JDSF are exceedingly rare. Because they are so rare, second-growth forests provide critical habitat for a wide variety of threatened species.  Northern spotted owls depend on older forests for unique habitat and forests like JDSF are just beginning to take on the characteristics necessary for northern spotted owls to thrive.  The JDSF also contains some of the last remaining coho salmon in California and any logging operation will threaten the spawning of these crucial salmonids. With most of California’s timberlands unsuitable for these species due to extensive logging, CAL FIRE would do better to leave the second-growth forest within JDSF alone.   

Another reason CAL FIRE should refrain from logging JDSF is that it provides ample recreation opportunities for Californians. JDSF is located near the cities of Mendocino and Fort Bragg.  Because of this, the forest has developed into a place cherished by thousands of recreational users. Campers have been spending their summers at the Mendocino Woodlands camp since it was constructed in the 1930s. Now, CAL FIRE has plans to log more than four and a half square miles of the oldest remaining groves, all in the most popular and recreated Western segment of the forest, where campers will be forced to endure the sounds of chainsaws felling nearby trees. CAL FIRE’s timber harvest plans also call for the closure of a large number of trails within JDSF which will severely limit recreational opportunities in the coming years.  

Perhaps most shocking of all, CAL FIRE has decided to participate in climate denial. Scientists have known for decades that climate change is manmade. However, with language one would expect from the Trump Administration, the greenhouse gas emissions section of the timber harvest plans begin with the following equivocation: “exactly how and to what extent human activity plays a role in global climate change appears to be unknown.” CAL FIRE needs to be held accountable for this climate disinformation contained within its timber harvest plans.  We believe that instead of denying that humans cause climate change, CAL FIRE should be  demonstrating how a forest can sequester carbon most effectively.

The upcoming “Mitchell Creek” timber harvest plan is the first of many timber harvest plans slated for the JDSF. Let CAL FIRE know that instead of “demonstrating” how to damage a second-growth forest, they should begin the long work of restoring the landscape for wildlife, recreation, and carbon sequestration. Perhaps one day our descendants will be grateful that we preserved JDSF and helped create one of California’s first new, old-growth forests. 

For more information, visit www.MendocinoTrailStewards.org


Action Alert: Tell Warren Buffett to Move Forward With Klamath Dam Removal Agreement

Saturday, August 22nd, 2020
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Four dams on the Klamath River have had devastating consequences for the environment, imperiled salmon, river communities and tribal people who have subsisted off of salmon since time immemorial. For over 20 years stakeholders have worked together in an agreement that would remove the dams and restore the Klamath River in what would be the largest river restoration project in history.

Billionaire Warren Buffet’s company Berkshire Hathoway and its subsidiary PacifiCorp has the opportunity to move forward with dam removal, and has collected hundreds of millions of dollars from shareholders and tax payers to protect its customers and shareholders for the purpose of dam removal, but now the company is threatening to back out of the dam removal agreement.

Please take action to sign a petition urging Warren Buffett, his company Berkshire Hathoway and its subsidiary, PacifiCorp to move forward with Klamath dam removal.


ACTION ALERT: Urge Forest Supervisors To Use MIST Guidelines In Trinity Alps Wilderness!

Sunday, August 9th, 2020
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Red Salmon Complex Fire, July 27. Photo courtesy of Inciweb.

The USFS has delegated authority to firefighters to bulldoze ridgetops in the Trinity Alps Wilderness on the Red Salmon Wildfire Complex. It does not stop there. To align with the “big box” approach there are also miles of dozer lines proposed outside of the wilderness on the Six Rivers and Klamath National Forests. Please act now to urge the agencies to use Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics, while there is still time.

The Red Salmon Complex in the Trinity Alps Wilderness started by lightning on July 26. The complex includes the 751 acre Salmon Fire, which is holding along lines in the Eightmile Creek drainage and Backbone Ridge and the 3,866 acre Red Fire, within the Red Cap Creek drainage. Hand lines and dozer lines have been constructed and firefighters are using trails and adjacent roads as well to ignite strategic burns, some of which is being done by drones.

The concept of Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) is to use the minimum amount of force necessary to effectively achieve the fire management protection objectives consistent with land and resource management objectives. It implies a greater sensitivity to the impacts of suppression tactics and their long-term effects when determining how to implement an appropriate suppression response. The key challenge is to be able to select the tactics that are appropriate given the fire’s probable or potential behavior. There are multiple options available.

The USFS could be maintaining shaded fuel breaks in strategic places, rather than using heavy equipment in a rush in these highly sensitive areas. Proactive fire strategies would help allow some fires to burn, which provides essential ecosystem benefits. The planned dozer lines would eliminate years of recovery from past scars and would harm wilderness values, habitat connectivity and sensitive prairies, meadows and trail systems. Please urge land managers to protect wilderness values, commit to MIST guidelines and use less destructive methods.

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Your Comments Needed: Protect Roosevelt Elk From Increased Hunting

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
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Roosevelt elk bull. Photo by Clinton Steeds, Flickr.

The Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) once ranged from the Bay Area to Alaska along the West Coast. Historically, prior to non-indigenous settlement, elk populations in California were estimated to be around 500,000. By the late 1800’s, elk populations had been completely decimated by the introduction of non-indigenous settlers and the subsequent hunting, habitat loss, and grazing competition from domesticated animals that followed. However, concentrated conservation efforts and the elk’s impressive ability to survive natural and human-induced pressures over time resulted in a rebound of the species, notably rising in the 1970’s. Currently, the three species of elk in California now have a combined population count of about 12,900 (less than 2.5% of the historical population estimate of 500,000). 

Today, California’s elk population is still working to recover from their historic decimation and occupy only a fraction of the territory they once occupied. Elk recovery has been further hampered by legacies of mismanagement, such as translocation of elk outside of areas they had once occupied, resulting in hybridization between elk subspecies. In Humboldt and Del Norte counties, the Roosevelt elk populations are estimated to consist of varying herds of only about 1,600 individuals (although these numbers are still largely unknown and unpublished). Despite these comparatively small population sizes, recreational hunting tags for elk are issued every year through the California Fish and Game Commission, even while collected data shows that elk herds overall do not seem to increase significantly each year and some herds even decline over time. In spite of that data, CFGC currently has a proposal on the table from California Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to increase the hunting tags for Roosevelt elk in Humboldt and Del Norte counties from 108 to 148 for the 2020-2021 season in order to reduce human-elk “conflicts”.

This tag increase is irresponsible when the population data that is relied on for this is anecdotal at best and while alternative solutions to these conflicts exist such as: providing financial assistance for elk fencing, conservation easements on larger ranches to support elk corridors to allow movement between coastal and upland environments, and elk road crossings. Without having accurate and transparent numbers on herd size available, the public does not have an overall realistic view of the populations of elk in this area.

CDFW is prioritizing elk hunting over other priorities. Elk management includes multiple considerations, some of which conflict with each other. Elk management includes many other important priorities such as improving existing habitat, developing new habitat, growing elk populations, conflict avoidance with humans, and improvements of sustainable enjoyment of elk as a public trust resource, through non-consumptive (wildlife viewing) enjoyment. Promoting elk hunting and promoting non-consumptive enjoyment (like viewing) are seemingly at odds, although CDFW is charged with providing for both uses. CDFW is pushing forward an increase in elk hunting tags despite bad data and competing interests that counsel against more hunting. Please let the Commission know that without more transparent numbers, alternative solutions, and increased public participation, this proposal should be opposed and tag numbers should not be increased.

Take Action Now!

 


Action Alert: EPA Suspends Industry Regulations During COVID-19

Thursday, April 2nd, 2020
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We need your help! During this crisis, the Trump administration is silently sneaking through more and more environmental rollbacks that bolster industrial profits over environmental and human health. On March 13th, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order to indefinitely suspend enforcement actions for companies normally regulated under the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. While facilities such as refineries and chemical plants continue to operate during the pandemic, they are no longer required to report when their factories discharge certain levels of pollution into the air or water.

From the order itself:  “In general, the EPA does not expect to seek penalties for violations of routine compliance monitoring, integrity testing, sampling, laboratory analysis, training, and reporting or certification obligations in situations where the EPA agrees that COVID-19 was the cause of the noncompliance and the entity provides supporting documentation to the EPA upon request.”

This gives a free pass to companies to pollute in violation of environmental laws for an indefinite period. This is unacceptable, especially given that many industrial hotspots are centered in already vulnerable at-risk communities.

Please take a moment to let EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler know how you feel by sending him a letter expressing your disappointment with him for relaxing industry regulations instead of safeguarding the environment and our communities.

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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.

Take Action Now!

The “Green Flat Restoration Project” is in response to the 2018 Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Fire Complex. To justify its proposed project, the Forest Service critically muddies the facts about the severity of burned area. By the agency’s telling, the project site is a moonscape desolate of life—with 79% of the area burned at “high-severity.” More accurately, the broader project area burned at a mixed severity—with patches of lower-severity fire (i.e. less mortality and surviving green trees capable of providing a seed source for natural reforestation) near patches of high-severity (i.e., the vast majority of trees were killed by the fire).

Here’s why this matters: by adopting an expansive definition of “high-severity” area, the Forest Service justifies the necessity of the project. It claims that because nearly the entire project falls within a “high-severity” patch, it must be replanted. And, in order to “improve the success” of replanted trees and to reduce fuels, the agency claims it needs to remove dead and live trees that were affected by the fire.

All of this is hooey because the forest stands are entirely capable of natural regeneration. Fire is nature’s phoenix. The mixed-severity of the project area ensures that there is a sufficient seed source nearby, and with resprouting hardwoods, the area will naturally reforest in time. The proposed ground based logging with heavy machinery, by contrast, will eviscerate natural recovery through the churning and disturbance of the already fragile soils. Artificial reforestation is less preferable for numerous reasons: it is more expensive, results in less biological diversity, and spreads invasive species.

Snags are an important part of a post-fire forest.

Snags left behind without logging are biological legacies that help forests recover from one stand to the next. Snag forests provide valuable charcoal and will stand and store carbon for decades. Unlogged post-fire forests provide complex forest structures and biologically vibrant habitats. Often called “nurse logs” after they fall, snags provide future soil nutrients, create cooler micro-climates by casting shade and holding moisture, provide denning, resting and hiding areas for mammals and birds, and feed the millions of micro-organisms that are the base of the food chain.

There is no sound ecological reason for industrial post-fire logging. By misleading the public about the nature and the need of the project, the Forest Service then attempts to shuttle the project through using a “categorical exclusion” from the National Environmental Policy Act’s requirements to carefully study the potential environmental impacts of a project. No consideration of impacts to wildlife. No consideration of impacts to water quality. No consideration to impacts to future fire conditions. Nothing. This fits a trend from the Mendocino National Forest to mischaracterize projects to get out the cut—and one that EPIC sued them over in 2019.

We need your help. The Mendocino National Forest hopes that no one will notice that this “restoration” project is really a timber sale in disguise. We need to flood the Forest Service with opposition to this appalling project before the comment period ends on Friday.

Take Action Now!


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

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
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Monument Ridge, one of the sites proposed for the Humboldt Wind Project. Photo by Rob DiPerna.

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. 

EPIC appreciates the need to take action on climate change, and industrial-scale renewable energy development is one of the kinds of actions necessary to actually minimize the harm associated with our climate crisis. That said, the proposed Humboldt Wind Project is in a poorly sited location and accordingly, is likely to result in significant impacts to wildlife and to Wiyot cultural resources. For that reason, EPIC has been intimately involved in the project throughout its development. Our goal has been—and this has not been without controversy from many of our friends both in favor of the project and opposed—to avoid, minimize and compensate for impacts to the maximum extent possible under the law. You can read EPIC’s comments on the DEIR here

Previously, we have said that we do not believe that the company or the county has met this threshold, and absent significant project changes, we opposed approval of the project. As a result of EPIC and other’s participation, some meaningful project changes have occurred—yet still not enough to satisfy our expectations. You can read a press release sent from EPIC, American Bird Conservancy and the Northcoast Environmental Center about our position here.

The last opportunity for Humboldt County to meet its legal obligations before the Planning Commission is this Thursday, November 21, at 4pm. At that time, the Commission is able to either deny, approve, or approve with additional conditions of approval. EPIC has recommended a suite of additional mitigation measures that the Planning Commission add as a condition of approval. EPIC’s letter with suggested additional conditions of approval is available here.

EPIC appreciates that ours is only one voice in this community dialogue, and we respect that this project requires a difficult and careful balancing of values. Significantly, there is a voice of particular importance and that is that of the Wiyot tribe and they have been firm in their statements that this project will irreparably damage a sacred and culturally important place to their people. On one hand, the many site-specific impacts mentioned are of great concern. On the other, the project is able to produce low-carbon energy and could potentially reduce our reliance on the local natural gas-powered Humboldt Bay Generating Station. EPIC encourages everyone to read about the project, consider these difficult questions for themselves, and present their conclusions at the meeting.

See you at the Planning Commission this Thursday at 4pm. 

What: Humboldt County Planning Commission meeting regarding the Humboldt Wind LLC, Conditional Use Permit and Special Permit.

Where: Humboldt County Board of Supervisors Chambers, 5th Street, Eureka

When: Thursday, November 21, at 4 p.m.

 


Action Alert: Rare Tule Elk Need Our Help!

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
By
by Matthew Fingerett

The small, mostly isolated population of Tule elk are in danger due to the National Park Service’s (NPS) commitment to cattle ranching at Point Reyes National Seashore. Point Reyes is currently the only national park in the country that hosts this subspecies of elk. Today, there are around 4,000 Tule elk in total, all residing in California; this is a stark contrast to the population of 500,000 that existed in California in 1880.

According to the NPS, in 2017 the number of Tule elk at Point Reyes was roughly 660, split between Tomales Point, Drakes Beach, and areas around Limantour Road.

The National Park Service’s mission statement includes the claim that it “cooperates with partners to extend the benefits of natural and cultural resource conservation and outdoor recreation throughout this country and the world.” However, the preferred plan of the NPS regarding the Tule elk in no way benefits natural and cultural resource conservation. The preferred plan of the NPS includes culling the already low population by encouraging shooting Tule elk that cross into areas specifically designated for ranching.

In this case, it appears the only partners to the NPS are those in the dairy or cattle grazing business. In 2017 the NPS settled a lawsuit whereby it became a requirement for the NPS to plan for any impacts as a result of cattle ranching, which includes over 26,000 acres of land at Point Reyes. It does not appear that the NPS is honoring this requirement.

The plan would allow for grazing of 2,400 beef cattle and 3,130 dairy animals. This is at a time when both beef and dairy consumption are in decline. In addition to the reduction of public access to recreation – another commitment claimed by the NPS in its mission statement – the impact from cattle ranching leads to soil erosion, water pollution, invasive plants, declines in fish and bird populations, conflicts with wildlife, and even more greenhouse gas emissions.

We are at a point where the climate crisis is a top priority and should be particularly so for a federal agency like the National Park Service that is widely relied upon to maintain healthy environments and natural resources. Disappointingly, the priority of this agency appears to be profit over the protection of the Tule elk, and therefore other wildlife populations as part of the cascading effect of using lethal means to decrease the already small number of Tule elk we have left.

Click here to Submit Comments Online!

The Point Reyes National Seashore General Management Plan Amendment and Environmental Impact Statement is proposing to dedicate one third of Point Reyes National Seashore to cattle ranching and includes plans to kill off Tule elk that frequent the area. This plan only benefits twenty-four cattle ranchers who sold their land to the public 60 years ago, but still use the national park to graze their cattle. The 45-day public review and comment period is open until 10:59pm on September 23.

Comment Letter Talking Points:

NPS will not be accepting bulk or identical comments, so you must create your own unique letter. Below is a list of talking points that were created from our colleagues at the Center for Biological Diversity. Please personalize your letter and include some of the following talking points:

  • Discuss how wildlife and natural scenery motivate you to visit Point Reyes and other national parks.
  • Point Reyes National Seashore is supposed to be managed under the Point Reyes Act for “maximum protection, restoration, and preservation of the natural environment.” There’s no mandate for prioritizing commercial agricultural leases on these public lands.
  • Natural values, native wildlife, public access and enjoyment should take priority over commercial activities at Point Reyes.
  • Tule elk are an important part of the landscape at Point Reyes. Their recovery is a result of successful native ecosystem restoration, which is a key element of the Park Service’s mission. It’s taken a lot of time, money and effort to restore tule elk to Point Reyes, the only national park where they live. Tule elk should be allowed to roam free and forage in the park — not shot, removed, fenced or treated as problem animals.
  • Right now the Point Reyes ranches enjoy not only subsidized grazing fees and housing, but also taxpayer-funded infrastructure and road improvements, and publicly funded projects. But commercial activities at Point Reyes should be required to accommodate native wildlife — not the other way around.
  • The Park Service shouldn’t allow any new agricultural activities at Point Reyes. Planting artichokes or other row crops will attract birds. And introducing sheep, goats, pigs or chickens will attract native predators such as coyotes, bobcats and foxes. Expanded ranching would only create new wildlife conflicts.
  • Cattle ranching should only be allowed if it’s consistent with preserving the natural environment. And agricultural activities such as mowing shouldn’t be allowed in park areas where they harm endangered species or wildlife habitat, impair water quality, cause excessive erosion or spread invasive plants/diseases.
  • Cattle are the seashore’s primary source of greenhouse gases. So the Park Service’s preferred alternative is inconsistent with its own “Climate Friendly Parks” plan.