Posts Tagged ‘Josh Laughlin’

Nov06

Revenge Forestry: A Flare-up in the Elliott State Forest (an Excerpt)

October 14, 2014
by Jonathan Frochtzwajg, Oregon Business Magazine
 
When the Eugene-based timber company Seneca Jones made a $1.8 million bid on land in southern Oregon's Elliott State Forest earlier this year, it wasn't a business decision; it was personal. The 788-acre parcel (along with twoSeneca Clearcut at Dawn other parcels in the Elliott) had been put up for auction at the end of 2013.
 
Just before bidding was scheduled to end, the environmental group Cascadia Forest Defenders sent a letter to Seneca Jones and other Oregon timber companies.
 
Click here to view full article
 

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

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.

Jul11

Suction Dredge Reform Bill Passes Legislature

Salem Statesman Journal by Zach Urness
July 8, 2013
 
A bill that would scale back the number of suction dredge mining permits issued in Oregon has passed the House and Senate and heads to the desk of Gov. John Kitzhaber, who is expected to sign the bill into law.
 
 
Senate Bill 838 restricts the number of permits to 850 statewide — the number issued in 2009 — and directs the governor’s office to create a regulatory framework for how, where and when suction dredging can occur. If revisions aren’t implemented in two years, a five-year moratorium on most salmon rivers would go into effect in January 2016.
 
 
The bill, which also limits the number of miners to one every 500 feet on a river and prohibits mining in salmon spawning areas year-round, passed the House 33-27 on Sunday and the Senate 17-13 on July 3.
The bill was spurred by a sharp increase in suction dredge mining on Oregon’s rivers, most noticeably in the southwest on the Rogue and South Umpqua. The number of permits issued jumped from 414 in 2005 to 2,409 in 2012, due largely to a moratorium issued by California in 2009 and the skyrocketing price of gold during the recession.
 
 
Proponents of the bill claimed that section dredges, large gasoline-powered vacuums that suck gravel from stream bottoms and run it through a device that collects minerals such as gold flecks, is damaging to salmon habitat and water quality.
 
 
Miners contend that the practice is harmless — that natural high water events alter stream beds far more than mining — and actually improve fish habitat by breaking up stream bottoms for spawning and removing harmful metals such as mercury.
 
 
“They’re basically killing off an industry,” said Robert Stumbo, who owns the Armadillo Mining Shop in Grants Pass. “Our suction dredge sales have dropped to zero with just the threat of this bill. You can’t grow a business with only 850 permits being issued. Miners that live outside the state won’t be able to come in and work their claim.
 
 
“This bill is not about harming fishing; it’s a personal vendetta against miners.”
Environmental groups say the law provides a chance to step back and come up with common-sense regulations while still allowing miners the chance to use suction dredges. The law gives preference to miners who held permits in 2009, which would largely favor Oregonians.
 
 
“There will be over two 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 bill is something of a compromise, considering the original called for a statewide moratorium.
 
 
"This legislation doesn’t solve the problem,” said Erik Fernandez of Oregon Wild, a Portland-based conservation group. “But it’s an important step forward in dealing with the invasion of Californians looking to mine Oregon rivers.”

Jun06

New Rules Seek to Benefit Wolf Recovery

Eugene Weekly by Amy Schneider

It’s been more than half a century since packs of gray wolves wandered the rim of Crater Lake and the Three Sisters Wilderness, but conservationists say that their howls may soon be heard again in those areas, once they disperse into western Oregon. Due to a recent settlement between several conservation organizations, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association, wolves are now granted increased protection by Oregon law, easing their transition as they recover their population.

The settlement was the end of a legal conflict that started in 2011, when Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity filed a legal challenge against ODFW’s lethal control of wolves due to conflicts with livestock. As a result, the state lost the ability to kill wolves in relation to livestock deaths until the matter was resolved.

At the time, legislation regarding wolf control was vague. Josh Laughlin, campaign director for Cascadia Wildlands, says that in 2011 before the injunction, the state could resort to lethal control when a cattle owner experienced two livestock losses over an undefined amount of time. “Now with this new agreement, there are clear thresholds that must be met prior to lethal control,” Laughlin says. “And under this new plan, lethal control should be really rare and a last resort.”

According to ODFW’s website, the new plan says that lethal control of wolves can only be used when four incidents of wolf-related livestock death occur over a consecutive six-month period. Also, livestock producers must show that they are actively using forms of non-lethal mitigation to discourage the wolves, including removing carcasses and bone piles from their fields, putting up electric fencing and being present during times in which cattle are particularly vulnerable, like birthing. One wolf, OR.7, also known as Journey has ventured into western Oregon but not yet formed a pack.

While this is only an agreement and the plan still needs to pass legislation, Laughlin says the new rules “have broad support across the political spectrum,” including Gov. John Kitzhaber’s office. Having specific rules in place will help to smooth conflict when wolves eventually disperse from their current habitat in northeastern Oregon.

“We’re in the midst of a wildlife recovery success story, and with this new agreement in place, the story’s just gotten better,” Laughlin says.
 

May28

Blog: Landmark Settlement Reached for Wolves in Oregon

by Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director

It has been nearly 20 months since Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild and Center for Biological Diversity were granted an injunction against the state killing wolves in Oregon. Prior to filing the case, two things became clear: 1) the state of Oregon was becoming more comfortable killing endangered wolves, and 2) not enough was being done on the ground to prevent conflict between livestock and wolves. So we litigated and stopped the lethal control, protecting the approximately 14 wolves in Oregon at the time.

On May 23, Cascadia Wildlands and Oregon Wild settled the case after 17 months of significant negotiation with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Governor John Kitzhaber’s office and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association. This agreement will have positive and lasting implications for wolves and expedite their remarkable recovery back into Oregon.

The settlement agreement is profound for Oregon wolf recovery in a number of ways:

1) It incentivizes responsible livestock husbandry. In order for a livestock depredation to qualify toward the “chronic depredation” threshold, which can trigger lethal control, the new plan requires livestock producers to use pro-active and non-lethal techniques to reduce conflict between wolves and livestock. Examples include removing wolf attractants such carcass and bone piles, using electrified fencing, employing human presence while livestock grazes on the open range, and protecting herds at their most vulnerable times, like during birthing, and nursing. It also requires the creation of an area-specific conflict deterrence plan by the state and livestock producers that best fits the particular depredation situation. Prior to the injunction, there was not a clear action plan to be followed to reduce conflict.

2) It redefines “chronic depredation.” “Chronic depredation” is now defined as four depredations by the same wolf or wolves reasonably believed to be responsible for the incidents within a consecutive six-month period. Prior to the settlement, “chronic depredation” was defined as two livestock depredations over an unspecified period of time in an undefined area.

3) It requires public accountability.  Unlike prior to the injunction, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife must now make information readily available to the public at least on its website, including maps of “areas of known wolf activity” and “areas of depredating wolves,” livestock depredation investigations, non-lethal and proactive techniques used by livestock producers in each incident, area-specific conflict reduction plans, and lethal control requests. Prior to the injunction, we were met with resistance trying to obtain this kind of critical information, and when public information requests were made, released information was incomplete.

In addition to these notable gains, the agreement sets the stage for gray wolf recovery in the rest of Oregon and the region because this new rule governs the western recovery zone of Oregon (west of Hwy 97/20/395) even after recovery objectives are met in the eastern recovery zone (east of Hwy 97/20/395). This transition from Phase I to Phase II of Oregon wolf recovery is expected by 2015 when we will likely have at least four breeding pairs of gray wolves for three consecutive years in the eastern zone. (Per the Oregon Wolf Plan, a breeding pair is defined as a pack with at least two pups that survive through the calendar year.) Having this new rule in place in the western recovery zone of Oregon will be critical to ensure wolves advance into the Cascades, Coast Range and Siskiyous, and ultimately, California.

Some will ask why we opted to lifted the stay on wolf killing and settle the case. The answer is fairly simple: It is our job to do what is best for wolf recovery in the state and region, and to do this, we keep as informed as possible, read the politics, and then make decisions. All indications pointed to legislation likely to pass into law in Salem that would moot the stay and reinstate the plan we originally challenged. This outcome would mean more dead wolves more often and take us back to square one. Instead, we leveraged the stay against killing wolves as much as reasonably possible in the negotiation to get an outcome that is profoundly better for wolf recovery. Moreover, the new agreement garnered buy-in from the livestock industry, and now all the stakeholders know exactly what is expected on the ground in order to get to the newly defined “chronic depredation” threshold.

Today, there are approximately 50 known wolves in Oregon across seven packs clustered in the northeast portion of the state. When this year’s crop of pups emerge from their natal dens in the next few weeks, this new historic agreement is expected to be locked into place and will likely provide a management template for other states who are beginning to see wolves return. As a consequence, we believe this agreement will help reduce conflict on the ground and predict the wolf population in Oregon will expand sooner into places like the John Day, Three Sisters, Crater Lake, Klamath Basin, Kalmiopsis and other famed landscapes that evolved with wolves for millennia.
 

May24

Press Release: Settlement Reached in Wolf Legal Fight

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 24, 2013
 
Contact:
Rob Klavins, Wildlife Advocate, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343 ext. 210, rk@oregonwild.org
Steve Pedery, Conservation Director, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343 ext. 212, sp@oregonwild.org
Nick Cady, Legal Director, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, nick@cascwild.org
Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 844-8182 jlaughlin@cascwild.org
 
Salem, Oregon  – After seventeen months of grueling negotiations, conservationists, Governor John Kitzhaber, the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW), and the livestock industry have reached a compromise settlement agreement that resolves a long-running legal battle over wolf conservation in Oregon.
 
“Oregonians treasure our state’s wildlife and want to see it protected,” said Dan Kruse, an attorney for Oregon Wild and Cascadia Wildlands. “This settlement will put in place, for the first time, clear standards and public accountability for what must happen before ODFW or livestock interests can kill an endangered wolf, and measures that should reduce conflict between wolves and livestock. I applaud all the parties for coming to this agreement, and in the coming months we will be watching closely to ensure it is faithfully implemented.”
 
On October 5, 2011, a coalition of conservation organizations filed a legal challenge against the state’s aggressive killing program that targeted endangered gray wolves. The groups believed the state’s actions violated both the state’s Wolf Plan and Endangered Species Act. That same day an appellate commissioner with the Oregon Court of Appeals issued an injunction suspending the state’s ability to kill wolves on behalf of the livestock industry.
 
The settlement agreement resolves this legal conflict by establishing a new management framework which more clearly outlines steps that must be taken before the state can again consider killing endangered wolves. The agreement emphasizes the employment of responsible livestock husbandry practices and requires thorough use of proactive, non-lethal techniques to preempt conflict between wolves and livestock.
 
“We went to court because ODFW was breaking its own rules and state endangered species laws,” said Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild’s Wildlife Advocate. “This settlement is far from perfect, but it requires more transparency from the state and responsibility from the livestock industry. Now it’s up to the agency to honor the terms of the agreement and ensure wildlife management lives up to Oregon’s proud conservation values.”
 
Wolves began returning to Oregon in the late 1990s, after being hunted, trapped and poisoned to extinction in the first half of the twentieth century. In 2005, after wolves begin to return to Oregon the state and stakeholders created a wolf plan that prioritized conservation and non-lethal steps to prevent conflict with livestock as the species recovered in our state. When the plan was followed in 2009, conservationists did not oppose lethal action against wolves in Baker County. However, facing increasingly intense pressure from livestock interests, the state initiated a series of aggressive lethal actions against endangered gray wolves in Oregon. Conservationists believed this effort violated both the spirit and the letter of the Oregon Wolf Plan.
 
“This agreement gets us back to the wolf plan we thought we had in 2005,” said Nick Cady, Legal Director from Cascadia Wildlands. “Under this agreement killing wolves should be an option of last resort. Ranchers need to do their part to improve animal husbandry and coexist with native wildlife, and ODFW needs to live up to its mission to ensure abundant populations of native wildlife for all Oregonians.”
 
With support from the conservation community, in 2012 Oregon increased efforts to educate ranchers about the steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of conflict. Simple measures like burying dead cattle, keeping young calves and other vulnerable animals behind fences, and checking cattle more frequently have reduced conflict in Oregon, even as the number of wolves in the state has grown. In 2012, the state’s known wolf population grew from 29 to 46, and only four cows were lost to wolves.
 
“Oregon has a chance to learn from the mistakes of other states and become a model for how to balance conservation values with demands from the livestock industry,” said Steve Pedery, Conservation Director for Oregon Wild. “In the coming years, we look forward to working in Salem, at the federal level, and on the ground to advance wolf recovery and restore other important native species in our state.”
 
Wolf recovery remains popular in Oregon. When the state’s wolf plan was developed in 2005, a state poll showed that 70% of Oregonians supported wolf recovery. A public review of Wolf Plan in 2010 generated over 20,000 public comments. Over 90% were in favor of stronger protections for wolves.
 
While conflict surrounded wolf killing in 2011, other stories inspired hope for Oregon’s fragile recovery. A lone wolf left Northeast Oregon and gained international attention when he became the first wolf in Western Oregon since 1947, and then the first wolf in California in nearly a century. The wolf known to biologists as OR-7 and renamed Journey in an international naming contest is now back in Oregon, and has traveled over 3,000 miles in search of a mate.
 
“This agreement strengthens wolf protections throughout the state and sets in motion recovery across the rest of Oregon and the region,” said Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director for Cascadia Wildlands. “Wolves in the Pacific West are just beginning their historic recovery and will greatly benefit from this new management framework.”
 
The settling conservation organizations were represented by attorneys Nick Cady and Daniel Kruse.

Click here to read frequently asked questions about the settlement.
 
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Feb14

Press Release: Congress Feels the Love for Oregon’s Natural Treasures

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


February 14, 2013

Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands
(541) 844-8182

Erik Fernandez, Oregon Wild
(503) 283-6343, ext. 202

Pete Wallstrom, Momentum River Expeditions
(541) 488-2525

Portland, Oregon   –   A coalition of Oregon conservation organizations is applauding efforts by Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to re-introduce a package of protections for several natural areas in Oregon. Protection for the Molalla River, Oregon Caves, and other areas have been strongly supported by a broad spectrum of Oregonians for years, from local elected officials to fishing guides to rafting companies.

The Oregon Treasures legislation includes areas that have been fully-vetted, and have been introduced in at least one previous congress. Included in the package are:

Devil’s Staircase:  Some 30,500 acres of rare, remaining Coast Range old-growth forest with colossal stands of Douglas fir, hemlock and cedar near the legendary Devil’s Staircase waterfall would be protected as Wilderness.

Mollala River:  A recreational hotspot south of Portland and the source of drinking water for the communities of Molalla and Canby, this 21-mile stretch of the Mollala River in Clackamas County would be protected with a Wild and Scenic River designation.

Rogue River:  The Wild Rogue proposal includes 93 miles of Wild and Scenic River designations and 60,000 acres of Wilderness protection for the rugged canyons and spectacular whitewater of the lower Rogue River.

Oregon Caves:  The Oregon Caves National Monument in Josephine County would be expanded from the current 480 acres to 4,070 acres to head off threats from grazing, and include more of the area’s big trees and old-growth forest while continuing to allow hunting.

Chetco River:  Legislation will enhance the existing Wild and Scenic River designation for this sparkling Curry County waterway to head off threats from destructive mining.

Cathedral Rock and Horse Heaven:  Along the banks of the John Day River in Jefferson County, these areas have long been identified as having outstanding Wilderness attributes, including significant biological diversity and wildlife habitat.

These Wilderness and Wild and Scenic River proposals have the broad support of thousands of Oregonians and citizens’ groups. The Wild Rogue Alliance represents over 100 southern Oregon businesses, along with fishing and conservation groups, while the Molalla River Alliance consists of local property owners, the city of Molalla, and even the local police department.

Currently only four percent of Oregon is protected as Wilderness, the “gold standard” for public lands protection, compared with 10% in Washington, 15% in California, and eight percent in Idaho. “Oregon has a very green reputation, one we don’t live up to very well when it comes to protecting our natural treasures. This legislation is an important step in the right direction in correcting that imbalance,” said Oregon Wild Wilderness Coordinator Erik Fernandez.

With the health of the lower Rogue Valley’s economy in mind, Pete Wallstrom of Momentum River Expeditions, a commercial rafting company and guide service said, “Expanding safeguards for the Wild Rogue would not only help protect our local environment, but also our local recreation and tourism economy for generations to come. The Rogue River is a nationally-recognized treasure that lures people to the area on name and reputation alone. It is one of the central engines of a tourism and recreation economy in southern Oregon that continues to grow and provide sustainable long-term jobs and opportunities.”

Noting the classic, wild character of the Devil’s Staircase area, Cascadia Wildlands Campaign Director Josh Laughlin said, “The thundering waterfalls of the Devil’s Staircase, towering old-growth forests, rugged terrain, and myriad of unique species are part of what make Oregon so special. Long overdue for Wilderness protection, it is exciting to see Devil's Staircase wilderness legislation once again moving through the process to protect it forever." 

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Dec21

Press Release: Anniversary of OR-7′s Arrival in California Inspires New Wolf Alliance

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2012
 
CONTACT:
Amaroq Weiss, California Wolf Center, 707-779-9613
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, 541-844-8182
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, 503-484-7495
John Motsinger, Defenders of Wildlife, 202-772-0288
Joseph Vaile, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, 541-488-5789
Rob Klavins, Oregon Wild, 503-551-1717 (media only)
 
SACRAMENTO, Calif.- Twenty-five wildlife conservation, education and protection organizations in California, Oregon and Washington today announced the formation of an alliance committed to recovering wolves across the region. The Pacific Wolf Coalition envisions populations of wolves restored across their historic habitats in numbers that will allow them to re-establish their critical role in nature and ensure their long-term survival. The announcement of the Pacific Wolf Coalition coincides with the one-year anniversary of the first wolf, OR-7, in California in nearly 90 years.  
 

OR-11 from NE Oregon's Walla Walla Pack (ODFW)

Wolves are making a comeback in the Pacific West.  Here, as elsewhere in the lower 48, wolves were driven to regional extinction decades ago. The Pacific Wolf Coalition's mission is to ensure wolf recovery in the West. "The Pacific Wolf Coalition formed to unify efforts to restore wolf populations here in our region and to demonstrate that wolves and people can coexist," said Josh Laughlin with Cascadia Wildlands. "Working together we can give wolves a fighting chance to naturally return to their native lands in the western states."
 
Just one year ago – on Dec. 28, 2011 – a young, male wolf from northeast Oregon's Imnaha Pack loped across the state line into California, where he has continued to make his home, exploring seven northern counties in his search for a mate and territory of his own.  
 
"This wolf's journey is our own,” said Amaroq Weiss of the California Wolf Center. "His arrival in California restores a native species to our state, itself a remarkable event. His continued presence for an entire year, roaming landscapes his ancestors once called home, indicates we still have good wolf habitat here. Californians have literally been handed the makings of a conservation success story for our state and for the Pacific West region. We are very much celebrating this anniversary."
 
Over the past 13 years, wolves from Idaho and British Columbia have naturally dispersed into Oregon and Washington, forming these states' first-known wolf packs in decades. Today there are six confirmed and two probable packs in Oregon, and eight confirmed and four probable packs in Washington, with three of those packs residing in the Cascade Mountains. Journey's trek into California links the third state of the Pacific West into an envisioned region-wide wolf recovery success story, and is a source of great hope and inspiration.
 
"The return of wolves to the northern Rockies has been a remarkable success story, and now we have a chance to write an exciting new chapter in the Pacific West,” said Pamela Flick with Defenders of Wildlife. “We look forward to using our decades of experience to forge new partnerships with landowners that will allow people and wolves to coexist."
 
OR-7 is still capturing headlines with his ongoing travels, despite being caught on camera only once while in California. The GPS collar he's wearing tells wildlife agency staff where he has been, and the agency periodically releases that information to the public.  
 
"We've made tremendous strides in wolf recovery thanks in large part to our nation's landmark environmental laws. However, recovery remains tenuous," said Rob Klavins with Oregon Wild. "To make sure there are enough wolves to play their irreplaceable role on the Pacific Northwest landscape, they need to retain the basic protections afforded by the Endangered Species Act."
 
The Pacific Wolf Coalition has also come together under less celebratory circumstances. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the federal agency charged under the federal Endangered Species Act with wolf recovery, is poised to announce a proposal that could end federal protections for wolves in the Pacific West and elsewhere across the country. The Pacific Wolf Coalition supports continued federal protections for wolves here in the western states and in other regions across the country where they haven't recovered.
 
"Residents and visitors alike love the Pacific West for its natural wild beauty and the wildlife that lives here. Restoring native species is crucial to that wild beauty, and wolves are no exception. Protections should remain in place to allow these animals to recover," said Noah Greenwald of the Center for Biological Diversity.
As wolves return to the Pacific West states of California, Oregon and Washington, the member organizations of the Pacific Wolf Coalition believe they do so on a vastly different social, political and ecological landscape than other parts of the country.
 
"We have unique opportunities and challenges here in the West," said Joseph Vaile with Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center. "The Pacific Wolf Coalition is working together to raise awareness and increase public understanding about wolves and the important role they play in nature, and ensure that wolves will be conserved in our region over the long term."
                                                                                                                     
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The Pacific Wolf Coalition includes the following member organizations:
Big Wildlife – California Wilderness Coalition – California Wolf Center – Cascadia Wildlands – Center for Biological Diversity – Defenders of Wildlife – Earthjustice – Endangered Species Coalition – Environmental Protection Information Center – Gifford Pinchot Task Force – Hells Canyon Preservation Council – Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center – National Parks Conservation Association – Natural Resources Defense Council – Northeast Oregon Ecosystems – Oregon Chapter, Sierra Club – Oregon Wild – Predator Defense – Resource Media – The Larch Company – Training Resources for the Environmental Community – Western Environmental Law Center – Western Watersheds Project – Wilburforce Foundation – Wolf Haven International
 

Nov18

Lawsuit Blocks Elliott Logging

The World by Jessie Higgins
November 17, 2012

ELLIOTT STATE FOREST — The state has withdrawn more than 900 acres of planned Elliott State Forest timber sales, pending the outcome of an environmental lawsuit.

The Oregon Department of Forestry instead plans to open 465 acres of alternative logging sites not named in the lawsuit.

'It's certainly nowhere near what was proposed in the annual operating plan," said Kevin Weeks, a spokesman for the Forestry Department. As Elliott logging funds the Common School Fund, Weeks estimates the shift will cost the CSF $9.85 million in revenue in 2013.

The state had already suspended logging on about 800 acres of timberland slated to be clearcut in 2012, said Josh Laughlin, a spokesman for Cascadia Wildlands.

The environmental groups say deferred logging means another year of protection for the endangered marbled murrelet sea bird.

The lawsuit, filed in May by Cascadia Wildlands and several other environmental groups, alleges the state's logging practices violate the Endangered Species Act by killing the sea birds.

'All the current scientific information suggests the sea birds' population is continuing to plummet in this region," Laughlin said. 'Clear cutting of its nesting habitat is a factor. To us, that suggests that public agencies like the Department of Forestry should take stronger measures to ensure their survival."

The suit will be heard by a federal judge sometime next year, Laughlin said.

If the judge decides in favor of the environmental groups, the state would have to drastically adjust its forest management plan.

Cascadia Wildlands hopes the state will pursue a habitat conservation plan, which manages the forest as a whole, allowing logging in certain regions and preserving other regions as habitat for endangered species.

Such a plan must be approved by federal agencies, as it allows the state to log areas where endangered species live. The state managed the Elliott with a habitat conservation plan for years, but scrapped it in 2011 because the National Marine Fisheries Service would not approve the plan, saying it did not adequately protect Coho salmon.

Under the current forest management plan, all areas of the state forest are open to logging so long as no endangered species live in the immediate vicinity. Areas where murlets nest are protected from logging. The method is called 'take avoidance."

Cascadia Wildlands disapproves of this method because it fails to conserve uninterrupted habitat, instead creating a patchwork of logged and unlogged areas.

Reporter Jessie Higgins can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 240, or jhiggins@theworldlink.com.

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