In The Media
November 10, 2016
Will help inform forest management efforts in Pacific Northwest
Susan Jane Brown, Western Environmental Law Center, 503-914-1323, email@example.com
September 30, 2016
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503-484-7495, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild, 503-283-6343 ext. 212
Bob Sallinger, Portland Audubon, 503-380-9728
On Sept. 9 the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission granted a similar petition. The two agencies are required to work together to facilitate murrelet recovery and develop protection measures for occupied sites.
For immediate release
August 9, 2016
Susan Jane Brown, Western Environmental Law Center, 503-680-5513, email@example.com
Todd True, Earthjustice, 206-343-7340, ext. 1030, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Kober, Pacific Rivers, 503-915-6677, email@example.com
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 314-482-3746, firstname.lastname@example.org
Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, 541-488-5789, email@example.com
Doug Heiken, Oregon Wild, 541-344-0675, firstname.lastname@example.org
Megan Birzell, The Wilderness Society, 206-348-3597, email@example.com
Stakeholder Groups Challenge Oregon Forest Management Plan
New Plan Sacrifices Clean Water, Fishing Economy, Carbon Storage, Recreational Opportunities
Eugene, Ore.— Late yesterday, a coalition of conservation and fishing groups challenged in the U.S. District Court in Oregon a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) forest management plan, finalized Friday, that would replace the scientifically sound, ecologically credible, and legally responsible 1994 Northwest Forest Plan on millions of acres in western Oregon. The new BLM plan, collectively known as the Resource Management Plans (RMPs) for Western Oregon, eliminates protections for streamside forests, increases clearcutting, and effectively removes 2.6 million acres of federally managed public forests from the requirements of the Northwest Forest Plan.
“BLM’s new plan would impact the quality of life of rural residents, drinking water quality, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage,” said Susan Jane Brown, staff attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “We need to get this right. We must protect special places that Oregonians love while we work to restore forests and watersheds. A holistic view should drive our public land decisions – not simply finding ways to maximize logging.”
Where the Northwest Forest Plan provided relative stability in Oregon's often-contentious forest management, its elimination on these lands has sowed substantial discord. Last week, timber industry groups also challenged the new BLM plan in Washington, D.C. court, thousands of miles from those who will be most affected by the new plan.
The conservation and fishing stakeholders in yesterday's challenge seek to maintain the protections of the Northwest Forest Plan and its science-based requirements, asserting that BLM's new RMPs violate the Oregon and California Lands Act (O&C Act), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and Administrative Procedure Act (APA), and therefore fail to support multiple uses of Oregon forests managed by the BLM.
"BLM's new plan does a disservice to the years of great progress we've made in balancing timber, recreation, and conservation forest uses," said Nick Cady of Cascadia wildlands. "We can't allow the places we love and rely on to be put at risk by a bad plan. We can do so much better than this, and we must."
The RMPs would increase logging levels by 37 percent, which could boost carbon emissions and make forests less resilient to climate change and other disturbances. In addition, the RMPs fail to recognize how healthy forests bring economic benefits to the state, such as Oregon's $12.8 billion annual outdoor recreation industry, which supports 141,000 jobs and $955 million in state and local tax revenue.
Fishing organizations are highly concerned that the reduction in streamside forest protection could push imperiled species like salmon and steelhead further toward extinction. In southern Oregon, the BLM plan would remove the Applegate Adaptive Management Area that has enabled community members to play an active role in local land management decisions.
The BLM plan cuts corners scientifically and legally. It would cause significant harms to the plaintiff group, including:
- Eliminating the strong water quality and habitat provisions of the Northwest Forest Plan, reducing streamside no-logging buffers by half or more (a loss of 300,000 acres of streamside reserves). These reductions threaten wild native fish, water quality, terrestrial wildlife, and aquatic recreational opportunities.
- Introducing loopholes that would increase logging in older forest, termed late-successional reserves, and eliminate survey requirements for sensitive wildlife that depend on old forest habitat to thrive. In addition, the aforementioned 300,000 acres of riparian reserves, which had been intended to grow into old forest and bolster habitat for old forest species, is now fair game for logging.
- Disempowering public input and involvement by removing BLM and the plan from collaborative Adaptive Management Area efforts.
- Enacting the least ambitious carbon sequestration alternative analyzed. Over the next century, the status quo would sequester twice as much carbon.
- Focusing on more intensive, clearcut-style logging on nearly half a million acres of forests, abandoning the direction towards restoration of forests and watersheds under the Northwest Forest Plan.
- Designating additional recreation areas, in many of which logging and off-road motorized use take precedence and could diminish the types of quiet recreation the vast majority of Oregonians enjoy.
“We have been working with BLM for the last 15 years to develop restoration strategies for degraded forest lands. This has resulted in a successful program of thinning dense young forests to improve habitat, create jobs, and produce wood,” said Doug Heiken of Oregon Wild, “Now BLM is moving in the wrong direction by reducing protection for streamside forests and adopting new loopholes that put old-growth forests at risk.”
BLM first attempted to revise its resource management plans in 2008. That plan, the result of a sweetheart settlement between the Bush Administration and the timber industry, was withdrawn by the Obama Administration in 2009, resurrected by a federal judge in 2011 in response to a timber industry lawsuit, and finally rejected by a second federal judge in 2012.
A copy of the complaint is available here.
A copy of the Record of Decision for the BLM plan is available here.
A copy of the groups' protest is available here.
by Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands Legal Director
On August 5, the Bureau of Land Management signed a new management plan for western Oregon. Cascadia Wildlands and our conservation allies protested the initial draft of this plan, but the BLM's decision yesterday largely ignored all our points of contention.
From a broad perspective, the plan will increase logging levels on federal BLM lands by 37 percent. These public lands were originally designed to serve as a refuge and protective zone for imperiled forest species, clean water, carbon storage in an effort to counter-balance the industrial clearcutting and pesticide spraying occurring on intermixed private forest lands. There is no question that this plan deeply compromises our landscape's ability to adapt to ongoing climate change and other disturbances like large-scale fires.
For over the past 20 years, these public forests had been managed under the Northwest Forest Plan, a deal brokered by the Clinton administration to end the timber wars in Oregon. The Northwest Forest Plan was not perfect, but it strived to achieve balance and protect critical resources and generally took a precautionary approach to various unknowns.
The BLM's new plan dramatically reduces almost every protection in the Northwest Forest Plan. Specifically, the plan eliminates stream side buffers, eliminates surveys and buffers for imperiled or uncommon species, disregards climate change and carbon storage, and opens up mature and old-growth forest to archaic cleacrcutting practices. The plan completely ignores the contribution of these public lands to Oregon's booming outdoor industry which is valued at over 10 billion dollars a year. The fishing industry is particularly worried given the potential impacts to Oregon's waterways.
These public forest are our homes, our playgrounds, our sanctuaries. These efforts to strip our forests away from us will not stand. Cascadia Wildlands is part of a broad coalition of conservation, recreation, and fishing groups in staunch opposition to this plan, and we are devoted to protecting these majestic lands. There will be news of our challenge soon.
For Immediate Release, August 3, 2016
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, firstname.lastname@example.orgAmaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 779-9613, email@example.com
John Mellgren, Western Environmental Law Center, (541) 359-0990, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wildlife Agency to Kill Wolves in Northeast Washington
Members of Profanity Peak Pack To Be Targeted in Ferry County
OLYMPIA, Wash.— Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials announced late today they will kill members of the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County. The kill order was issued following investigations concluding the wolves recently killed three calves and a cow and that three other calf deaths are probable wolf kills. All of the losses occurred on public lands grazing allotments, in territory occupied by the Profanity Peak pack. The decision was made under the guidelines of a new lethal removal protocol that was agreed to this spring by the state Wolf Advisory Group, a stakeholder group convened by the Department of Fish and Wildlife that includes agency staff and representatives from the ranching, hunting and conservation community.
“We appreciate the agency’s use of nonlethal measures to try to prevent losses of both livestock and wolves, and are glad to hear the ranchers in question have been working cooperatively with the state, but we are deeply saddened that wolves are going to die,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We are not part of the advisory group but have made clear to the group that we don’t support the killing of the public’s wildlife on public lands.”
According to the protocol agreed to by the advisory group, lethal removal of wolves is considered after four confirmed depredations in one calendar year, or six confirmed depredations in two calendar years. The protocol also requires that the affected ranchers have employed sanitation measures to avoid attracting wolves to livestock carcasses and have tried at least one proactive measure to deter conflicts with wolves at the time the livestock losses took place.
“It’s tragic to see wolves killed, and I hope we continue to see growing wolf populations in Washington despite the yearly culling that inevitably takes place, said Nick Cady, legal director at Cascadia Wildlands. “I do not believe it makes sense to spend taxpayer dollars to kill wolves in remote roadless areas on public lands.”
“The decision to kill wolves is always a sad event, and one that should not be taken lightly” said John Mellgren, staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “But it is even harder to stomach when that decision relates to wolves on our publicly owned lands.”
Cascadia Wildlands educates, agitates, and inspires a movement to protect and restore Cascadia's wild ecosystems. We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers full of salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia Bioregion. We like it wild. Join us at: www.cascwild.org
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
The Western Environmental Law Center is a public interest nonprofit law firm. WELC combines legal skills with sound conservation biology and environmental science to address major environmental issues throughout the West. WELC does not charge clients and partners for services, but relies instead on charitable gifts from individuals, families, and foundations to accomplish its mission. www.westernlaw.org
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, email@example.com
Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 779-9613, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Pedery, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343 ext. 212, email@example.com
June 5, 2016