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
October 7, 2016
>Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, firstname.lastname@example.org
>Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 779-9613, email@example.com
>Catalina Tresky, Defenders of Wildlife, (202) 772-0253, firstname.lastname@example.org
>Lia Cheek, Endangered Species Coalition, (617) 840-4983, email@example.com
>Arran Robertson, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343 x 223, firstname.lastname@example.org
>Lindsay Raber, Pacific Wolf Coalition, (928) 301-6321, email@example.com
• 67 percent oppose hunting wolves as a tool to maintain deer and elk populations.
• 63 percent oppose Oregon’s removal last year of endangered species protections for wolves.
• 67 percent said they don’t believe wolves pose an economic threat to the cattle industry that necessitates killing wolves.
• 72 percent said nonlethal conflict prevention measures must be attempted before officials are allowed to kill wolves.
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.
Press Release: Marbled Murrelet Moves One Step Closer to State Endangered Status, Stronger Protections
September 9, 2016
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, email@example.com
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Sallinger, Audubon Society of Portland, (503) 380-9728, email@example.com
September 7, 2016
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 314-482-3746, firstname.lastname@example.org
Matthew Bishop, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-324-8011, email@example.com
Press Release: Lawsuit Filed to Protect Threatened Marbled Murrelet from Logging on Former Elliott State Forest
Contact: Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495
Bob Sallinger, Portland Audubon, (503) 380-9728
Lawsuit Filed to Protect Threatened Marbled Murrelet from Logging on Former Elliott State Forest
Logging Highlights Controversy Over Ongoing Privatization of Public Forest
EUGENE, Ore.— Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and Portland Audubon filed a lawsuit in federal court today seeking to block Scott Timber Company from logging a portion of a 355-acre parcel of land that until 2014 was part of the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest and provides habitat for the threatened marbled murrelet. The Endangered Species Act strictly prohibits “take” (harm, harassment or killing) of threatened species like the murrelet, which, unlike any other seabird, nests on the wide branches of large, old trees, making a daily trip of up to 35 miles inland to bring fish to its young.
The groups are seeking emergency relief to stop logging that under state law could begin as soon as Sunday.
“It was illegal for the state of Oregon to log the marbled murrelet’s habitat and it is illegal for Scott Timber Company to do the same,” said Nick Cady, legal director at Cascadia Wildlands. “We intend to hold the landowner accountable to the law to ensure this imperiled species receives the protections it needs.”
In 2012 the three groups sued the state of Oregon for illegally logging marbled murrelet habitat on the Elliott and other state forests. The state settled the suit in 2014, agreeing to drop 26 timber sales and stop logging in occupied murrelet habitat. But following the loss, the state sold three parcels totaling 1,453 acres, even though they contained mature and old-growth forests that are occupied by the murrelet, including the 355-acre Benson Ridge parcel.
“By trying to log, then sell occupied marbled murrelet habitat, the state of Oregon has completely disregarded its duty to protect these unique birds and the remaining old-forest they need to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center. “This shortsighted action on the part of the state not only endangers the survival of the birds, but shortchanges Oregonians who’re counting on the state to protect our natural heritage.”
At the time of the sale, the groups notified Scott Timber and other buyers that in purchasing the land, they were taking over the responsibility of ensuring the survival of the murrelet, and that logging of its habitat would violate the Endangered Species Act. Scott Timber responded that it had no immediate plans to log the Benson Ridge parcel it had purchased, but has now proposed a timber sale in habitat where murrelets have been documented in recent years.
“The marbled murrelet has lost most of the old-growth habitat it needs to survive in the Oregon Coast Range and is facing degraded ocean conditions due to climate change and other factors,” said Bob Sallinger, conservation director at the Audubon Society of Portland. “Flagrant violations of the Endangered Species Act in addition to these factors are a recipe for disaster for these birds.”
The controversy over the Benson Ridge parcel exemplifies why the public is so outraged about the privatization of public lands. Currently Oregon’s State Land Board, made up of the governor, treasurer and secretary of state, is in the process of disposing of the rest of the Elliott State Forest.
“This unfortunate situation should send a clear message to Governor Kate Brown, Treasurer Ted Wheeler and Secretary of State Jeanne Atkins that further privatization of the Elliott will directly threaten imperiled salmon and wildlife, old-growth forests, recreation opportunities and other values that Oregonians hold dear,” said Cady. “Our leaders in Salem must stand up for Oregonians, and halt the ongoing privatization of the Elliott State Forest.”
In June the groups sent a petition to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife requesting uplisting of the murrelet from “threatened” to “endangered” under the state Endangered Species Act, and to the Board of Forestry requesting that it identify and protect important forest sites critical to the murrelet’s survival — a requirement of the state's endangered species law that has never been met.
Cascadia Wildlands represents approximately 10,000 members and supporters and has a mission to educate, agitate and inspire a movement to protect and restore Cascadia’s wild ecosystems.
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.
For immediate release
August 9, 2016
Susan Jane Brown, Western Environmental Law Center, 503-680-5513, firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd True, Earthjustice, 206-343-7340, ext. 1030, email@example.com
John Kober, Pacific Rivers, 503-915-6677, firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 314-482-3746, email@example.com
Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, 541-488-5789, firstname.lastname@example.org
Doug Heiken, Oregon Wild, 541-344-0675, email@example.com
Megan Birzell, The Wilderness Society, 206-348-3597, firstname.lastname@example.org
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.