November 26, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director, 541.844.8182
Francis Eatherington, Conservation Director, 541.643.1309
Eugene, OR — Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands today expressed disappointment with the O&C forest legislation released by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) that affects management of over two-million acres of public forestland in western Oregon. The conservation organization believes that it is a bad deal for the environmental values that make Oregon special and is committed to working with the Senator to see it drastically improved.
“At a time when the demand for clean water and fish and wildlife recovery is high, Congress should be doing all it can to ensure these Oregon values are embraced, not eroded,” says Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director with Cascadia Wildlands. “This bill guts the landmark Northwest Forest Plan’s environmental protection measures, limits citizen participation and judicial review in forest planning, and doesn't solve the funding crisis faced by some western Oregon counties.”
Cascadia Wildlands has worked closely with Senator Wyden's office in the recent past on some of the Wilderness proposals in the bill, including Devil's Staircase and Wild Rogue, but believes those efforts should not be coupled with the logging bill for western Oregon. In the current legislation, the conservation gains are far outweighed by the costs to clean drinking water, fish and wildlife, and recreation opportunities. The bill unravels the framework of the 24-million acre Northwest Forest Plan by shrinking streamside buffers in half that were designed to benefit salmon and clean water and eliminating the old-growth forest reserve system established to protect older forest-dependent species.
“Some of the things in this proposal are what we saw George W. Bush and Big Timber attempt during that dark period, notably trying to weaken the conservation standards for fish and wildlife in the Northwest in order to ramp up the cut,” says Francis Eatherington, Conservation Director of Cascadia Wildlands. “Instead of squeezing our cherished public forests for every last penny, Congress, state and county politicians should take a fresh look at the timber harvest and severance tax in the state, the absurdly low property taxes in some of the most affected counties, and capitalize on the jobs and raw logs being shipped to Asia.”
Cascadia Wildlands has long supported federal forest management in western Oregon that prioritizes restoratively thinning dense tree farms, which generates timber volume for local mills, employs a steady work force in the woods, and raises revenue for counties. Senator Wyden’s bill moves away from this restorative approach toward a controversial clearcutting practice called “variable retention harvest” in forested stands up to 120 years old where 70% of the trees are logged.
* Turducken (dictionary.com): a deboned turkey that is stuffed with a deboned duck that is stuffed with a deboned chicken.
Take action by sending Senator Wyden a personalized comment.
Press Release: Cascadia Wildlands to Celebrate 15 Years at the 11th Annual Wonderland Auction on Dec. 14
For Immediate Release
Alyssa Lawless, Mountain Rose Herbs, 541.741.7307
Since 1987, Mountain Rose Herbs has been known for its uncompromising commitment to organic agriculture, sustainable business practices, and a steadfast focus on the pure aesthetics and freshness of botanical products. Their wide range of product offerings includes bulk herbs and spices, aromatherapy and essential oils, tea and tea supplies, and natural health and body care. Every aspect of product creation is carried out in accordance with strict quality control and organic handling procedures by employees who care. From fragrant and beyond-fresh organic herbs and spices, to soothing essential oils and delicious herbal teas, the quality and integrity of Mountain Rose Herbs is unparalleled – with smiles guaranteed. To learn more about Mountain Rose Herbs please visit www.mountainroseherbs.com.
September 26, 2013
Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, 707-779-9613
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, 541-488-5789
Lauren Richie, California Wolf Center, 443-797-2280
Pamela Flick, Defenders of Wildlife, 916-203-6927
Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, 503-551-1717
• Agree that wolves play an important role in maintaining deer and elk populations, bringing a healthier balance to ecosystems (Oregon – 69 percent; Washington – 74 percent; California – 73 percent);
• Support restoring wolves to suitable habitat in their states (Oregon – 66 percent; Washington – 71 percent; California – 69 percent);
• And, agree that wolves should continue to be protected under the Endangered Species Act until they are fully recovered (Oregon – 63 percent; Washington – 72 percent; California – 80 percent).
Jerod Broadfoot of the Oregon Outdoor Council and His Wife Under Investigation for Wildlife Violations
For Immediate Release
September 20, 2013
Nick Cady, Legal Director 541-434-1463 firstname.lastname@example.org
Cascadia Wildlands to US Forest Service—18 Years is Too Long to Wait for Action on Bull Trout
Eugene, OR—Cascadia Wildlands filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management over their failure to consult and consider the impacts of projects and actions on the critical habitat of federally threatened Bull Trout (Salvelinus confluentus) throughout its range in the Pacific Northwest.
“As a fish that requires cold, clean water and complex aquatic structures, the presence or absence of Bull Trout in our streams and waterways is a true indication of whether or not we are fulfilling our obligation to protect, maintain and enhance our aquatic heritage,” said Nick Cady Cascadia’s Legal Director. “ The current management plans for Bull Trout were put into place in the 1990’s and were only supposed to serve as interim guidance for 18 months. We have been waiting 18 years for the Federal government to release management plans for this important and sensitive fish.”
According to the Endangered Species Act, agencies like the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Forest Service are required to consider the impacts of projects and actions such as their forest plans on listed species and their critical habitats. In September of 2010, the US Fish and Wildlife Service after a long legal battle finally designated critical habitat for the species across the Pacific Northwest. However, the Forest Service has failed to update its 18-year-old conservation plan for the species and ensure that agency actions do not destroy or adversely modify these areas critical to the species persistence.
Bull Trout are native to North America. In the US they are found in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, western Montana and a single river in northern Nevada. They have been likely extirpated in their historic range in northern California.
Bull trout have strict habitat requirements and need cold water (below 55 °F or 13 °C), clean gravel beds, plentiful cover such as downed timber and undercut banks, and large systems of intact waterways for their spawning migrations. As a result, they prefer cold lakes, deep pools in rivers and high mountain streams. Bull trout occasionally visit ocean habitats and have been known to use coastal waters to migrate from one river to another.
“Bull Trout are the “canaries in the coal mine” for aquatic ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest,” said Bob Ferris Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands. “If we fail to respond to monitoring information and make the adjustments dictated by climate change, we are ignoring vital feedback about our land and resource management practices.”
Governor Signs Bill to Protect Salmon Habitat by Reducing Impacts of Suction Dredge Gold Mining on Oregon Rivers
State of Washington Petitioned to Better Protect Wolves: Seven Groups Ask State Wildlife Agency to Follow, Enforce Wolf Plan
In a comprehensive five-year process, Washington’s wolf plan was crafted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife with input from a 17-member stakeholder group; more than 65,000 written comments from the public; and a peer review by 43 scientists and wolf managers from outside the state. Yet despite the plan’s formal adoption by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in December 2011, department officials have publicly stated they view the plan as merely advisory and have recently proposed numerous amendments to Washington’s Administrative Code that significantly depart from the wolf plan’s provisions.
For additional information and background please see:
Press Release: Bill to Protect Salmon Habitat in Oregon Passes House and Senate, Awaits Governor’s Signature
For immediate release
July 8, 2013
Forrest English, Rogue Riverkeeper, 541-261-2030
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Salem, OR — Celebrated by fishermen, landowners, outdoor recreation businesses, and river advocates, Senate Bill 838 (SB 838) has just been passed by the Oregon House and Senate. SB 838 is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting only a signature to become law. The bill takes steps to protect salmon habitat throughout Oregon through reasonable reductions in levels of suction dredge gold mining.
“Salmon and clean water are some of the defining characteristics for Oregon’s streams and rivers,” said John Ward of Rogue Flyfishers. “This bill is a balanced first step to ensure their protection as most Oregonian’s desire.”
Although the original bill called for a total statewide moratorium, the final bill is a compromise with three main sections to be implemented over the next 3 years. The first part starting in 2014 will bring the maximum numbers of permits down to 850 statewide – levels not seen since 2009 – giving preference to long-time Oregon miners and making little change to current dredging regulations.
The second portion of the bill directs the Governor’s office to lead agency and public participation in proposing a new comprehensive regulatory framework for the legislature’s approval in 2015. This framework would be designed to meet reasonable protections for threatened and endangered salmon and trout, while simplifying Oregon’s currently complex permitting process for this activity.
“There will be over 2 years of public process to ensure that these new regulations are well thought out, scientifically based and effective,” said Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands. “This is a fair and balanced process that will benefit clean water and salmon into the future.”
The third and final part of the bill—a 5 year moratorium on suction dredging in salmon habitat—will go into effect only if the legislature fails to act in 2015 by adopting the Governor’s new regulations.
“Should the Governor and legislature act in a timely manner, miners will continue to be able to use this mining technique in appropriate areas away from endangered salmon without interruption,” said Forrest English of Rogue Riverkeeper. “Only as a last resort would this legislation enact a temporary moratorium in endangered salmon habitat.”
Suction dredge mining in waterways involves the use of gasoline-powered vacuums, mounted on floating rafts, which suck up the riverbed in search of gold. Scientific studies have demonstrated that the practice harms spawning habitat, invertebrate and bivalve communities that feed fish, and stirs up toxic mercury. There has been a spike in suction dredge mining in Oregon since California enacted a moratorium on the practice in 2009 due to its impacts on water quality and fish populations. Between 2005-2012, there was a 580% increase in suction dredge mining in Oregon, more than quadrupling from 414 to 2,409 permits issued. The increasing number of suction dredgers has introduced new conflicts with other river users and landowners.
Science played a major role in the construction and passage of SB 838. In California, state agencies conducted an exhaustive evaluation of the scientific literature, and concluded that the only way to prevent the negative water quality and health impacts of suction dredging is to prohibit the activity altogether. In early April, the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society sent a letter to Oregon legislators outlining the myriad impacts suction dredging has on fish. One of the letter’s recommendations was to prohibit or greatly reduce suction dredge mining in areas used for spawning by sensitive fish stocks. This followed a similar letter issued by the Western Division of the American Fisheries Society prior to the California moratorium.
“Studies have shown that suction dredging can mobilize toxic mercury, and reduce the spawning success of salmon species,” added English. “This bill ensures Oregon will better evaluate the available science and ensure that water quality and our iconic fish species are protected into the future.”
For immediate release
June 20, 2013
Contact: Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463
Washington, DC — The US Senate has approved the creation of the 30,500-acre Devil’s Staircase Wilderness through unanimous consent, marking a major milestone in the long-running effort to protect this spectacular wild area in Oregon’s Coast Range.
The Devil’s Staircase area is named after a series of stair-step waterfalls carved into the sandstone bedrock of Wasson Creek, the main waterway which passes through the proposed wilderness. The area of spectacular old-growth forest, located approximately 10 miles northeast of Reedsport, is home to a host of endangered species, including Oregon coastal coho salmon, marbled murrelet and northern spotted owl, and provides an unparalleled experience for backcountry adventurers.
“Yesterday’s vote in the Senate was a significant hurdle, and an important benchmark on the Devil’s Staircase’s road to full Wilderness protection,” said Josh Laughlin with Cascadia Wildlands. “Generations to come will be forever grateful for the permanent protection of this unique area.”
Conservation organizations have long sought Wilderness protection for the old growth temperate rainforest of the Devils’ Staircase, dating back to the 1970s after federal logging proposals were planned in the area. Although originally included in the 1984 Oregon Wilderness package, which protected several nearby locales in the Coast Range like Drift Creek and Cummins Creek, the Devil’s Staircase was later stripped out of the bill during negotiations.
“The Devil’s Staircase is a classic example of a long-ago vetted Wilderness bill with broad public support,” said Tommy Hough, Communications and Outreach Associate at Oregon Wild. “So much of the Coast Range has been denuded by clearcuts and turned into a monospecies farm of crowded tree plantations, it’s a marvel to see how the Coast Range once was at the Devil’s Staircase. It’s like something you’d find in Olympic National Park.”
A renewed wilderness campaign for Devil’s Staircase resumed in 2007 after the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency that manages the eastern quarter of the proposal area, outlined plans to log the area during a forest plan revision. Over the past six years, hundreds of citizens have been guided into the remote area to see it first hand and have advocated for its permanent protection.
The effort has been championed through the Senate by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and by Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in the House of Representatives, and each elected official or his key staff has been guided into the proposed wilderness area to see it firsthand.
The Senate approval yesterday also designated 14 miles of Wasson and Franklin Creeks in the proposal area as Wild and Scenic and was part of a larger package that advanced 14 public lands bills across the country.
Steve Pedery, Conservation Director of Oregon Wild said, “Yesterday’s Senate approval of not only the Devil’s Staircase, but Wilderness proposals in Michigan and Washington, are already further than any Wilderness bills went in Congress last year, which was the first year no Wilderness bills were passed since 1966. Hopefully the Senate approval of the Devil’s Staircase is a sign of better things to come from this Congress.”
Conservation groups are encouraging re-introduction of companion Devil’s Staircase legislation in the US House of Representatives.
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