Posts Tagged ‘Cascadia Wildlands’

Mar13

HB77 testimony: Revised water rights bill roundly panned, except by mining interests

By Pat Forgey Alaska Dispatch
March 13, 2014
 
HB 77, a bill that would streamline water use permitting, pits mining interests against tribal groups, fisherman and environmentalists.
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JUNEAU — Modest changes to Gov. Parnell's controversial pro-development House Bill 77 haven't won it any new friends, but outraged those who were told they'd have only limited opportunity to comment on it.
 
"I think it is perfectly ludicrous that we're not getting enough time to comment on a bill that would remove our ability to comment," said Rosemary McGuire, a Cordova commercial fisherman.
 
House Bill 77 is aimed at speeding up permitting for development proposals, especially for small, seemingly innocuous projects, often by limiting public review. But at a public hearing Wednesday in the Senate Finance Committee, many said they feared its effects would go way beyond what was stated.
 
The bill stalled last year after House passage when Senators got concerned after hearing from constituents. After 10 months of revisions, the public was given two days to review it, and then one and a half hours to comment on it.
 
Senate Finance Committee Chair Cathy Giessel, R-Anchorage, was brutal with the gavel, cutting speakers off in mid-sentence after their customarily allotted two minutes were up. Others said they rushed their statements so that others could be heard.
 
Giessel blocked questions from committee members to those testifying and then closed the oral testimony portion of the hearing after its scheduled time was up. Written testimony could still be submitted, she said.
 
Even so, dozens of people in Legislative Information Offices around the state and those who visited the Capitol hearing room in person appear to have been barred from testifying in person.
Other than two mining industry representatives, the changes to the bill were panned.
 
The bill should have already been killed, the senators were told.
 
"We Alaskans seem to be facing this legislation again for some reason," said Hal Shepherd, executive director of Seward's Center for Water Advocacy.
Among those leading the charge against the House Bill 77 were fishing and environmental groups.
 
The bill would limit the number of permits that the public could comment on, and should be called the "silencing Alaskans act." said Lori Daniel of Homer.
 
One provision of the bill would change how water rights reservations are handled. The public can now file for an in-stream water right, to keep water available for fish and other needs. The Department of Natural Resources won't issue those rights, however, and the bill changes the law to have in-stream water rights being held by the state, rather than individuals, groups or tribes.
Daniel didn't like that either.
 
"This bill still takes power away from the people and hold it in the hand of state government, she said.
 
The bill was initiated by Gov. Sean Parnell, whose administration has warned that environmental groups could use Alaska's laws to prevent development unless they were changed.
Gabe Scott of Homer, Alaska Legal Director for Cascadia Wildlands, spoke against the bill.
 
"I guess we're one of those nonprofits the governor is so fearful of," he said.
The Southeast Alaska Conservation Council's James Sullivan said the Department of Natural Resources is worried about outside groups, but its solution in House Bill 77 would only punish Alaskans.
"Though improvements have been made since last year, House Bill 77 is still a flawed and destructive piece of legislation," he said.
 
Daniel Lum of Barrow said the lopsided testimony made it clear where the public stood on the bill.
 
"Can you not hear the overwhelming majority of Alaskans are against House Bill 77?" he asked.
 
The bill, he said, was the product of an all-powerful government that disregards its own citizens.
 
"This is not China, this is not Russia, but if this passes we'll be just like them," he said.
 
Support for the bill came from mining interests, including Donlin Gold and the Council of Producers, a mining industry group.
 
A statement from Stan Foo, general manager of Donlin Gold, offered support for the bill and regulatory reform in general.
 
"We also support efforts to cut unnecessary red tape without diminishing important environmental standards," Foo's statement said.
 
The closed hearing may reopen, however. Late Wednesday the Alaska Senate Majority announced that Chair Giessel will reopen public testimony on the bill Friday at 3:30 p.m.
 
“As a committee, we believe public testimony is an important part of the process,” said Giessel.  “That’s why it is critical to me, and the others, to give Alaskans an opportunity to have their voices heard.”
 
 

Mar06

Press Release: Washington Wildlife Agency Urged to End Support for Abolishing Federal Wolf Protections

For Immediate Release, March 6, 2014
 
Contacts:
Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 779-9613
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463
Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, (208) 861-4655
Tim Coleman, Kettle Range Conservation Group, (509) 775-2667/(509) 435-1092 (cell)
Rebecca J. Wolfe, Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club, (425) 750-4091
 
OLYMPIA, Wash.— Eleven conservation organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Washington residents sent a letter to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife today urging the agency to rescind its support for stripping wolves of federal Endangered Species Act protections. The department has repeatedly expressed support for dropping the federal safeguards, most recently in a letter sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Dec. 13, 2013. The delisting runs counter to the best available science and ignores the values of the vast majority of Washington residents who want to see federal wolf protections Leopold wolf following grizzly bear;Doug Smith;April 2005maintained.
 
“Most people in Washington want wolves protected. The state department’s perplexing stance is out of step with the science and the values of local residents,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolves are just beginning to recover in Washington and face continued persecution. Federal protection is clearly needed to keep recovery on track.”
 
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in June 2013 proposed to remove federal endangered species protections for gray wolves across most of the lower 48 states, including in the western two-thirds of Washington. The science underlying the proposal has been sharply criticized by many scientists, including a peer review panel contracted by the federal agency, which unanimously concluded the proposal was not based on the best available science.
 
“The department should have never endorsed the delisting given the extremely controversial and political nature of this issue,” said Nick Cady of Cascadia Wildlands.  “The department should instead be focused on ironing out significant shortcomings within its own wolf program, in order to prevent future regretful decisions, like the extermination of the Wedge pack.”
 
Washington’s wolf population has grown from zero wolves in 2007 to roughly 51 wolves in 10 packs at the start of 2013, with new numbers to be announced this week. The recovery has largely been driven by federal Endangered Species Act protections, which led to the reintroduction of wolves in adjacent Idaho and made it against the law to kill wolves. Wolf recovery in Washington was almost upended when several members of the state’s first pack, known as the Lookout pack, were poached. In 2011 the poachers were caught and prosecuted under federal law and the pack has started to make a comeback. In 2012 the Wedge pack was killed in a department lethal control action over wolf-livestock conflicts on public land. The mass killing resulted in public outrage that the department had acted in violation of the state wolf plan and that the rancher involved had refused to adequately protect his cattle.
 
In February, a wolf was found illegally shot and killed in Stevens County.
 
“The scientific peer review panel was unified in rejecting the federal government’s scientific basis for proposing the national delisting of gray wolves,” said Suzanne Stone with Defenders of Wildlife. “Washington state should withdraw its support of the Service’s delisting proposal and instead advocate that the Service follow the best available science, as required by law, to chart a sustainable recovery path for wolves in Washington and throughout the U.S.”
 
The Department’s support for dropping federal protections for wolves runs contrary to the sentiments of Washington residents, nearly three-quarters of whom oppose delisting, according to a September 2013 poll. That matches the strong support nationwide for continued federal wolf protections demonstrated in a national poll conducted in July 2013.
 
“The protection of wolves as part of our Washington state wildlife is a public trust issue,” said Rebecca Wolfe of the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club. “It is the duty of the department to care for the wildlife entrusted to them by the people.”
 
“It’s time for the department to lead, governed by science, not pandering to special interests, mythology, science fiction or their desire to sell hunting licenses,” said Timothy Coleman, executive director of Kettle Range Conservation Group. “Gray wolf reintroduction to Yellowstone National Park showed the species is essential to ecosystem health.  Washington citizens strongly support gray wolf recovery and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife should do all it can to make that happen.”
 
The letter to the department was filed by groups representing hundreds of thousands of Washington residents, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, The Humane Society of the United States, Western Environmental Law Center, Defenders of Wildlife, Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club, Wolf Haven International, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, Kettle Range Conservation Group, The Lands Council and Wildlands Network.
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Feb06

State Stops Timber Sales to Help Bird

The Associated Press by Jeff Barnard
February 6, 2013
 
The state Department of Forestry has agreed to cancel more than two dozen timber sales on state forests because they threaten the survival of the marbled murrelet, a seabird that nests in large, old trees.
 
The proposed settlement filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Eugene comes in a lawsuit brought by three conservation groups, Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Audubon Society of Portland.
 
It alleged that the department violated the Endangered Species Act prohibiting the harming, or take, of a protected species by failing to protect stands of trees on the Elliott and other state forests where threatened marbled murrelets build their nests.
 
The murrelet is a robin-size bird that lives on the ocean and flies as far as 50 miles inland to nest in old growth forests. The bird was declared a threatened species about two decades ago, making it a factor in the continuing court and political battles over logging in the Northwest.
 
The settlement comes as the state has been trying to increase logging on state forests to provide more funding for schools and counties and more logs for local mills.
 
The Elliott State Forest, where the bulk of the canceled sales are located, typically provides millions of dollars to the Common School Fund. But in 2013 it cost the fund $2.8 million because of reduced logging, according to the Department of State Lands. The rest of the canceled sales are on the Tillamook and Clatsop state forests.
 
State Department of Forestry spokesman Dan Postrel said the department began canceling timber sales in 2012 as it revised its protection policy for the murrelet, and that the settlement wraps up a total of 28 timber sales.
 
Postrel said the department is reviewing science related to the murrelet to “help inform the best long-term plans and strategies.”
 
The state managed the Elliott for years by protecting habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the murrelet but scrapped that approach after federal biologists refused to approve revisions that allowed more logging. Instead, the state adopted a policy used by private timberland owners that refrains from logging where protected species are actually living.
 
The lawsuit argued that rather than preserving a large area of trees around a murrelet nest, the department was leaving small patches and clear-cutting close around them, leaving the nests vulnerable to attacks by jays and ravens that eat the young.
 
The birds are difficult to spot when they fly swiftly into a stand of trees at dawn. The nests are difficult to spot, as well. The eggs are laid in a mossy depression on a large branch high in a tree. Laughlin said the department also has agreed, in a separate action, to stop its practice of sending its own observers to verify murrelet sightings by a contractor, which conservation groups feel violates the accepted scientific protocol.
 
“This was an incredibly arbitrary and reckless process that we believe, in the past, led to loss of occupied murrelet habitat,” Laughlin said.
 
Oregon Forest Industries Council President Kristina McNitt said in an email that the organization was worried that the state may not be able to meet its obligations to the Common School Fund and counties after withdrawing the sales.
 

Jan20

Cascadian Connections: Mountains, Rivers and Minds

By Bob Ferris
 

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I just received a holiday card from a friend my wife and I met a decade ago on Santa Cruz Island across the water from Santa Barbara. We met during a weekend work party removing alien, invasive eucalyptus trees from the reserve owned by The Nature Conservancy. Nothing remarkable here.  What is remarkable is that he sent his card to a five-year old address of ours in Vermont and the person living in that rural farm house took the time and effort to track down my new address and forwarded the card.
 
This card—with its smiling faces and a rapidly growing child—along with the act of this unknown Vermonter remind me of how important both connectedness and unselfish actions are.  This is particularly true to many of the wildlands and wildlife we seek to protect or enhance here in Cascadia.  Places like the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska, for instance, are absolutely dependent on people who live outside of this amazing coastal landscape and are willing to speak up against clearcutting old-growth habitats in this 17 million-acre federal forest that is home to salmon, bears and the iconic Alexander Archipelago wolf.
 
Similarly our efforts to block coal and other fossil fuel exports like LNG from ports in Cascadia are all about a connectedness to Asia, the Northern Rockies, Southern California and the Pacific Ocean because much if not most of the associated air pollution; coal mining and natural gas fracking; wind-blown particulate matter; and ocean acidification happens or accrues outside of Cascadia.  Certainly there are regional impacts to consider but we cannot help but be motivated—like the person in Vermont—over feelings that what touches one touches all.  There is some sort of inherent global responsibility regardless of the remove.
 
This connectedness and need for unselfish acts is part of the reason why we at Cascadia Wildlands might falter when asked to define hard boundaries for Cascadia.  We go through this process where we start with the north-to-south mountains (i.e., The Cascades) and expand that vision of our bio-region eastward with the rivers that cascade into the northern portion of the eastern Pacific and westward to include waves, kelp forests and nearshore fish nurseries.  But neither of these constructs accounts for the true connectedness of the region or our organization.  
 
Our Cascadia defining exercise puts us in a quandary.  On one hand we feel the need to be provincial—almost isolationist and jingoistic—but then we understand that wolves will not recover swiftly if anti-wolf rhetoric in other regions is left unaddressed.  So we frequently deal with wolf issues in Idaho, Montana and Utah.  The same is true for efforts to bring reform to USDA Wildlife Services, block GMO fish or comment on black bear issues near Lake Tahoe.  We cannot and should not help ourselves in these instances for we know—just as the Vermonter—that if we do not take action that the connection or connectedness will not be maintained.  
 
We hope that others feel the same.  And we think that they do because 13% of our web traffic comes from outside the United States. We also count San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City in our top 10 web traffic cities which is good because we often need out-of-region political and other support on issues such as O&C lands, wilderness designations, and coal trains.  
 
Perhaps in the grand calculus of all of this it is less important where you live and more important how you think and what you love.  In this latter sense we are all connected and should be.  If you like it wild as we do you are part of Cascadia.
 

Dec17

Press Release: Over 100,000 in Northwest Oppose Gray Wolf Delisting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2013

CONTACT:
Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, 707-779-9613
Jasmine Minbashian, Conservation Northwest, 360-671-9950 x129
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, 503-283-6343 x210

SEATTLE— Demonstrating Americans’ broad opposition to the Obama administration’s plan to strip Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves, members of the Pacific Wolf Coalition submitted 101,416 comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today favoring continued wolf protections. The comments on behalf of the coalition’s members and supporters in the Pacific West join 1 million comments collected nationwide expressing Americans’ strong disapproval of the Fish and Wildlife Service proposal to remove federal protections from gray wolves across most of 0462_wenaha_male_wolfthe continental United States.

“The gray wolf is one of the most iconic creatures of the American landscape and wolves play a vital role in America’s wilderness and natural heritage,” said Pamela Flick, California representative of Defenders of Wildlife. “Californians, Oregonians and Washingtonians want to see healthy wolf populations in the Pacific West. In fact, recent polling clearly demonstrates overwhelming support for efforts to restore wolves to suitable habitat in our region. Removing protections would be ignoring the voices of the majority.”

The strong support for maintaining wolf protections was apparent in recent weeks as hundreds of wolf advocates and allies turned out for each of five public hearings held nationwide. At the only hearing in the Pacific West, Nov. 22 in Sacramento, Calif., more than 400 wolf supporters demanded the Fish and Wildlife Service finish the job it began 40 years ago.

"Gray wolves are just beginning their historic comeback into the Northwest, and they need federal protections maintained at this sensitive time," said Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director with Cascadia Wildlands. "Politics shouldn't trump science during this critical recovery period."

Wolves are just starting to return to the Pacific West region, which includes the western two-thirds of Washington, Oregon and California. This area is home to fewer than 20 known wolves with only three confirmed packs existing in the Cascade Range of Washington and a lone wolf (OR-7) that has traveled between eastern Oregon and northern California. Wolves in the Pacific West region migrated from populations in British Columbia and the northern Rockies.

“Wolf recovery has given hope to Americans who value native wildlife, but remains tenuous on the West Coast,” said Rob Klavins, wildlife advocate with Oregon Wild. “Wolves are almost entirely absent in western Oregon, California and Washington. Especially as they are being killed by the hundreds in the northern Rockies, it's critical that the Obama administration doesn’t strip wolves of basic protections just as recovery in the Pacific West begins to take hold.”

“The current proposal by the Fish and Wildlife Service to prematurely strip wolves of federal protection would limit recovery opportunities for the Pacific West’s already small population of wolves,” said Lauren Richie, director of California wolf recovery for the California Wolf Center. “Scientists have identified more than 145,000 square miles of suitable habitat across the region, including California, where wolves have yet to permanently return.”

“It’s a powerful statement when nearly 1 million Americans stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the nation’s top wolf experts in their conviction that gray wolves still need federal protections,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Wolf recovery on the West Coast is in its infancy, and states where protections have been lifted are hunting and trapping wolves to bare bones numbers.”
 
To promote gray wolf recovery in the Pacific West and combat misinformation, the Pacific Wolf Coalition has launched its new website — www.pacificwolves.org. The site, which offers easy access to factual information and current wolf news, is part of the coalition’s ongoing work to ensure wolf recovery in the West.

“OR-7’s amazing journey shows us that wolves can recover to the Pacific West, if we give them a chance” said Joseph Vaile, executive director of Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center.

“Americans value native wildlife. Spreading the word on what is happening with wolves here and across the country has never been more important. That is why the Pacific Wolf Coalition is using the end of the public comment period as an opportunity to launch our new website,” said Alison Huyett, coordinator of the Pacific Wolf Coalition. “The website will provide the public with current, reliable information on what is happening with wolves and describe how citizens can become involved in protecting this majestic and important animal.”

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The Pacific Wolf Coalition represents 29 wildlife conservation, education and protection organizations in California, Oregon and Washington committed to recovering wolves across the region, and includes the following member groups:

California Wilderness Coalition – California Wolf Center – Cascadia Wildlands – Center for Biological Diversity – Conservation Northwest – Defenders of Wildlife – Endangered Species Coalition – Environmental Protection Information Center – Gifford Pinchot Task Force – Greenfire Productions – Hells Canyon Preservation Council – Humane Society of the U.S. – Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center – Living with Wolves – National Parks Conservation Association – Natural Resources Defense Council – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – Oregon Sierra Club – Oregon Wild – Predator Defense – Project Coyote – Sierra Club – Sierra Club California – Sierra Club Washington State Chapter – The Larch Company – Western Environmental Law Center – Western Watersheds Project – Wildlands Network – Wolf Haven International

Nov27

Wyden Bill Boosts Cuts, Conservation

by Saul Hubbard
The Register-Guard
November 26, 2013
 
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden is seeking to roughly double timber harvests on Western Oregon’s federal forest­ land under a much-­anticipated bill unveiled Tuesday.
 
Like a plan backed by Ore­gon U.S. Reps. Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden and Kurt Schrader that passed the House this fall, Wyden’s bill would split in half the former Oregon & California Railroad Co. lands, with half facing increased logging and the other half dedicated to conservation. Logging of “old growth” forest stands older than 120 years old would be prohibited on all 2.1 million acres.
 
Unlike the House bill, however, Wyden’s plan doesn’t create a state-run trust to take over management of the land where logging would increase. The senator from Oregon, along with environmental groups, had expressed concern that such a trust would circumvent key federal protections for the environment and endangered species on more than 1 million acres of Oregon forestland.
 
Wyden’s plan would ramp up timber production on the O&C lands to an average of between 300 million and 350 million board feet a year, well Buck Rising Variable Retention Harvest 2above the 150 million board feet produced on average over the past decade, but less than the estimated 400 million to 500 million board feet a year that the House bill would allow.
 
Flanked by Gov. John Kitz­haber, prominent Ore­gon timber industry executives and some environmentalists at a Tuesday morning press conference, Wyden, the chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said his bill “can pass the Senate and get signed into law” — unlike the House plan for the O&C lands, which President Obama has said he would veto.
 
Wyden, who has been crafting his proposal with aides and prominent forestry scientists for much of the year, said it would put people back to work and provide a steady stream of revenue for cash-strapped Oregon timber counties, while avoiding large forest clear-cuts and generally protecting forest ecosystems.
 
“We have found a way to create good-paying jobs in rural Oregon and protect our natural treasures,” Wyden said. “And we did it by rejecting radical policies on both ends of the spectrum.
 
“This legislation ends the ‘stop-everything’ bureaucratic approach that beats even the most responsible timber projects into submission, and at the same time it acknowledges that the days of producing a nearly billion-foot (annual) cut are not coming back.”
 
Reactions to the plan were swift — and divided — Tuesday.
 
While a handful of environmental groups offered mild to strong support, most major environmental organizations slammed the proposal as “a bad deal” that would undermine efforts to restore Ore­gon’s “old growth” forests under the Northwest Forest Plan, a timber compromise reached in the early 1990s.
 
Environmentalists took issue with several facets of the bill, including the proposed cut method and Wyden’s efforts to reduce the amount of environmental analyses required for timber sales.
 
Wyden is proposing a practice known as “ecological forestry,” championed by forestry professors Norm Johnson of Oregon State University and Jerry Franklin from the University of Washington. The practice mandates that loggers leave untouched around a third of the trees in any individual stand and allow scrubs and brush to grow unperturbed on the forest floor after the cut.
 
“It’s fundamentally different ecologically” from clear-cuts on private forestland, Franklin said. “This will sustain most of the forest processes and animals even when you’re harvesting. (Clear-cutting) terminates the forest system completely.”
 
Josh Laughlin of Eugene-­based Cascadia Wildlands, who has visited test sites of the forestry practice in Southern Oregon, disagreed.
“It’s basically a clear-cut with retention patches (of trees) here and there,” he said.
 
Laughlin acknowledged that the practice “is apples and oranges compared to what happens on private forestlands” and that it could create “potentially useful” forest habitat.
 
“But,” he added, “should we see it across half the O&C lands? No.”
 
Wyden’s bill also proposes conducting only two environmental impact studies — one for “moist” northern forests, one for “dry” southern forests — shortly after the legislation is enacted, which would then remain valid for all timber sales for a decade. It would require all legal challenges to a 10-year logging plan to be filed within 30 days of the plan being finalized. That’s a significant shift from current policy where all individual timber sales can require an environmental analysis and there are few limits on legal challenges.
 
But Wyden argued that environmentalists use the current system to drag out timber sales, creating instability for logging companies and their workforces.
 
Under the bill, “we give everybody one bite at the apple for 10 years, in a very tight time window,” he said.
 
Chandra LeGue, a field coordinator for Ore­gon Wild, described the proposed review process as “extremely disappointing.” She said the “vast majority” of timber sales currently go through unchallenged, but environmentalists “need to hold (forest managers) accountable” on controversial individual sales.
 
“Without that ability to get site-specific environmental reviews, it takes the level of scrutiny (of timber harvesting) up to the 30,000-foot view rather than the 300-foot view,” she said.
 
Mixed reviews also came Tuesday from leaders of timber-dependent counties and logging industry interests.
 
Wyden’s plan is estimated to create approximately 1,650 jobs, and Oregon O&C counties would get at least 75 percent of all timber revenue.
But the proposed level of harvest is far too low to produce enough revenue to replace the federal timber payments that the O&C counties now receive. The payments were designed to compensate rural counties for revenue they lost after environmental concerns caused a sharp decline in logging on federal lands.
 
This year, Oregon’s O&C counties, including Lane County, will receive $35 million in timber payments. While no annual revenue estimate for those counties from Wyden’s bill is available yet, Wyden’s staff projects that to generate the equivalent $35 million, annual timber production would have to hit 700 million to 800 million board feet.
 
That’s a political impossibility, Wyden said, and that’s why he is working on a broader companion measure — set to be introduced next year — that would stabilize “safety net” federal funding to all local governments that produce natural resources.
 
Given Obama’s threat to veto the House-approved O&C bill, Lane County Commissioner Sid Leiken said he supports Wyden’s proposal, referring to it as “the plan timber counties have been waiting for.”
 
“This bill is the best opportunity we have for a long-term solution that will produce jobs in the woods, build on Lane County’s important recreation economy, and support the critical services like public safety that the O&C counties desperately need,” he said.
 
Conversely, Doug Robertson, a Douglas County commissioner who heads the Association of O&C Counties, said counties are not certain that the bill would provide a dependable supply of timber revenue.
 
Nick Smith, a spokesman for pro-timber Healthy Forests Healthy Communities, said the proposal would not “provide the level of certainty and job creation as compared to the bipartisan” House bill.
 
“Citizens in Western Oregon’s rural, forested communities deserve a solution that actually fixes the problems plaguing Western Oregon’s O&C forestlands,” he said. “We believe the most important measurement of any solution is the number of jobs it will support and create for rural Oregonians.”
 
Wyden said he will make passing his O&C bill his top priority in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee in 2014.
 
“I’m going to do everything I can to move this quickly next year,” he said.
 

Sep26

Press Release: Conservation Groups Call for Additional Hearings on Gray Wolf Delisting

Pacific Wolf Coalition members seek hearings in Washington, Oregon and California
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 26, 2013
 
CONTACT:

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
 
SEATTLE, Wash.— The Pacific Wolf Coalition today called on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to hold multiple public hearings in the three West Coast states on the agency’s proposal to remove gray wolves (Canis lupus) from the endangered species list. Combined, the coalition represents more than 1 million members and supporters in Washington, Oregon and California. The coalition’s appeal comes in response to Fish and Wildlife Service’s announcement earlier this month that it would hold only three public hearings nationwide, including just one in the West Coast (in Sacramento, Oct. 2).0462_wenaha_male_wolf
 
“It is unthinkable that the Obama administration is proposing to strip critical protections for gray wolves in places where wolves don't currently exist,” said Josh Laughlin, campaign director with Cascadia Wildlands. “It is even more inconceivable that the administration wants to do this without an adequate public process. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service must stop and listen to people who live in states where wolves are just starting to recover after being exterminated from the landscape.”
 
Currently, the Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to host hearings only in Sacramento, Calif., Albuquerque, N.M., and Washington, D.C. Wolf recovery in the states of Washington and Oregon is in its infancy, and California had its first wolf in nearly 90 years confirmed a little more than a year ago. Wolf recovery in all three of these states would be severely stifled if federal protections are stripped. The Pacific Wolf Coalition is requesting that the agency provide West Coast residents adequate opportunity to be heard on this subject by holding additional hearings in Portland and Ashland, Ore.; Seattle, Wash.; and Los Angeles, Calif.
 
According to peer-reviewed research, the three West Coast states contain more than 145,000 square miles of unoccupied, prime habitat for wolves. During the past decade, wolves have been naturally dispersing into the Pacific West from populations in the northern Rockies and British Columbia. Federal protections for wolves have already been removed in the eastern third of Oregon and Washington because the area is part of the Northern Rockies “distinct population segment,” which was delisted in 2011 by Congressional action. The federal government’s current proposal would strip federal protections from the rest of those states and from all of California, removing critical safeguards for recovery of wolves across the entire region.
 
“Beyond their role as a living symbol of our natural landscape, the wolf is a keystone species. Wolves are critical to maintaining the structure and integrity of native ecosystems,” said Pamela Flick, California representative with Defenders of Wildlife. “Federal protections for wolves are essential to help this species recover and expand into still-suitable parts of its former range, just as the bald eagle was allowed to do before having its federal protections removed.”
 
Recent regional polling conducted by Tulchin Research shows that more than two of three survey respondents in the West Coast states support wolf recovery. In fact, more than two-thirds of respondents in each state:
•    Agree that wolves are a vital part of the America’s wilderness and natural heritage and should be protected in their state (Oregon – 68 percent; Washington – 75 percent; California – 83 percent);
•    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).
 
“The science overwhelmingly says that for wolves to fully recover, we need more wolves in more places, and the public overwhelmingly says we need more wolves and less politics,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “So what does Fish and Wildlife do? It ignores the science and restricts the public’s opportunity to comment. Wolves deserve better, and so does the American public.”
 
Click here to read the letter the Pacific Wolf Coalition sent to the the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
 
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The Pacific Wolf Coalition represents 34 wildlife conservation, education and protection organizations in California, Oregon and Washington committed to recovering wolves across the region, and includes the following member organizations:
California Chapter, Sierra Club – California Wilderness Coalition – California Wolf Center – Cascadia Wildlands – Center for Biological Diversity – Conservation Northwest – Defenders of Wildlife – Earthjustice – Endangered Species Coalition – Environmental Protection Information Center – Gifford Pinchot Task Force -Greenfire Productions – Hells Canyon Preservation Council – Humane Society of the U.S. – Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center – Living with Wolves – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – National Parks Conservation Association – Natural Resources Defense Council – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club – Oregon Wild – Predator Defense – Project Coyote – Resource Media – The Larch Company – The Sierra Club – The Wilderness Society – Training Resources for the Environmental Community – Western Environmental Law Center – Western Watersheds Project – Western Wildlife Outreach – Wilburforce Foundation – Wolf Haven International

 

Sep24

Rally to Protect Western Oregon’s Forests, Waters and Wildlife • October 1, Holladay Park, Portland

Join Cascadia Wildlands and conservation allies across the state at a rally to protect western Oregon's public lands, clean rivers and wild fish runsWyden Rally Poster FINAL 10.1.2013 on Tuesday, Oct. 1 from 12:30-1:30 at Holladay Park (NE 11th and Holladay St.) in northeast Portland. 
 
Late last week, through legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Peter DeFazio, the House of Representatives passed a bill that will effectively privatize 1.6 million acres of public forestland in western Oregon and transfer this land into a "logging trust" to be clearcut in perpetuity. Sen. Ron Wyden is currently considering introducing his own bill that will likely increase logging on public lands in western Oregon.
 
As we have learned from the past, runaway clearcutting will degrade drinking water supplies, erode salmon runs and harm other wildlife. The impending Senate bill could weaken environmental safeguards and limit public input in the quest to ramp up logging.
 
We can't let this happen. We're turning up the heat on Sen. Wyden in the hopes that he will do the right thing and help protect what makes Oregon so special.
 
We've asked you to take action on this issue recently. Now we are requesting your presence at the rally. We're rallying outside Senator Wyden's office at Holladay Park office to send a clear message: Oregonians want our public lands, waters and wildlife safeguarded into the future!
 
If you can't make the rally, please call Senator Wyden's office on October 1 (or anytime before or after) and tell him to protect our western Oregon forestlands for the clean water they provide, the recreational opportunities they offer, and for the salmon and wildlife they harbor. Washington, D.C. office: 202-224-5244; Portland office: 503-326-7525; Eugene office: 541-431-0229. You can also take action by personalizing a letter to the senator.
 
To carpool to the rally from Eugene: Meet at 9:45 am (for a 10:00 am sharp departure) in the parking lot behind FedEx Office at 13th and Willamette St. Contact Cascadia Wildlands for more information: 541.434.1463. Bring a vehicle if you have one, your friends and neighbors, and hand made signs and banners. Hope to see you on Oct. 1!
 

Sep12

Blog: Rhetoric on Tongass Doesn’t Match Actions

by Gabe Scott
 
A nail is being driven in the coffin on Alaska’s Tongass National Forest. Is it a coffin for the old-growth logging industry; or for Tongass wolves, deer and salmon? It is up to you to decide.
 
Recent announcements by the Obama administration offer glimmers of hope. Secretary Vilsack’s July 3, 2013 announcement stated they’ve decided to speed the Waterfall, Coastal Alaska south of Cordovatransition away from old-growth logging. This is welcome news.
 
But the rhetoric doesn’t match actions on the ground. The Forest Service recently decided to log the Big Thorne timber sale. Logging over 6,000 acres of ancient forest on Prince of Wales Island, Big Thorne would be the biggest, most destructive Forest Service sale in a generation.
 
Ironically, Big Thorne is dubbed a “stewardship” project. That’s nonsense.
 
Environmentally, Big Thorne would demolish critical old-growth habitat. Prince of Wales Island has already been logged within an inch of its life. Logging the big tree stands that remain spells disaster. David Person, the world’s foremost expert of Alexander Archipelago wolves, writes that Big Thorne would likely cause “the collapse of a sustainable and resilient predator- prey ecological community.”
 
Second-growth logging isn’t any solution either. Unlike the Pacific Northwest, Alaska’s forests aren’t suited to farming. The second-growth that exists is too small to log. Mills can’t use them. And unlike the Pacific Northwest, where fire-suppression provides an environmental rationale for second-growth thinning, Tongass forests will be most productive by leaving them alone.
 
The problem as well as the solution is seen in the vast network of degrading logging roads on Prince of Wales. A generation of building new roads, while neglecting the old ones, has created a maintenance backlog of tens of millions of dollars. Old roads dump sediment into streams. Old culverts block fish passage.
 
Logging is only a minor part of the economy; salmon are a huge part. So it makes sense to take some of the $200,000-per-job subsidy of the Big Thorne sale, and spend it instead restoring streams and fixing roads.
 
Cascadia, with our close allies at Greenpeace, Greater Southeast Alaska Conservation Community, and the Center for Biological Diversity, have appealed the Big Thorne sale. But lawsuits are a weak tool compared with grassroots pressure.
 
That’s where you come in. I encourage all Cascadians to sign the following petition (and share it with your friends)!
 
 

Sep03

KLCC Hikes into Devil’s Staircase

KLCC Radio by Rachael McDonald

On August 22, Cascadia Wildlands led KLCC reporter Rachael McDonald down into the proposed Devil's Staircase Wildernes. We got her down and back in one day3-7-09 Oxalis Ridge CWP hike Wasson BLM 035 copy with only minor bruises and scrapes. She put together a radio segment that that showcases this unique area in the Oregon Coast Range that we are working to protect forever.

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