June 25, 2015
Posts Tagged ‘Josh Laughlin’
June 25, 2015
May 31, 2015
Dear Cascadia Wildlands Supporters,
Bushwacking through head-high ferns to find the elusive Devil’s Staircase waterfall. Watching salmon thrash upstream to their natal grounds. Hearing the pre-dawn keer of the marbled murrelet high in the canopy. Knowing wolves are reclaiming their rightful place back in Cascadia. Educating and empowering communities to confront power imbalances. These are the things that keep me feeling alive and ever committed to the work of Cascadia Wildlands.
I’m determined to lead our powerful team into the future and further realize our vision of vast old-growth forests, rivers full of wild salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia bioregion.
I’m grateful for what Bob brought to Cascadia Wildlands over the past three years to make us a stronger organization. His expertise in conservation biology, decades of non-profit experience, and his ability to dig up the dirt on and expose the despoilers of wild nature are just a few things that have helped take us to the next level.
Every day, I’m amazed at what we have accomplished for a conservation organization our size. I get even more fired up for what we have our sights on. Because 2015 may be the year gray wolves get established in the Kalmiposis Wilderness, northern California, Oregon’s Willamette National Forest, and Washington’s Gifford Pinchot National Forest. Much of Oregon’s remarkable wolf recovery has been facilitated by our legal challenge that halted wolf killing in Oregon and ensuing landmark settlement agreement that created the strongest wolf plan in the country.
With continued determination, we will have a lasting conservation solution for Oregon’s 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest now that we have ground old-growth clearcutting to a halt. This year we hope to put a nail in the coffin of the proposed 150-foot-wide, 230-mile-long liquefied natural gas (LNG) pipeline and export facility slated for Coos Bay that would wreak havoc for salmon, wildlife and our climate. And we will continue to fight tooth-and-nail against the 6,000-acre Big Thorne old-growth timber sale in Alaska’s fabled Tongass National Forest (image at left) in Cascadia’s northern reaches.
Having been with Cascadia Wildlands essentially since its formation over 15 years ago, I’m excited, rejuvenated and ready to lead the organization into the future. Thanks for believing in us, taking action when called on, and supporting our conservation work over the years and into the future. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any thoughts or questions.
For a wild and free Cascadia,
Interim Executive Director/Campaign Director
P.S. You can also mail a check or money order made out to Cascadia Wildlands and send it to POB 10455, Eugene, OR 97440.
Photo Credits: Top left, Josh Laughlin, Interim Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands, at Devil's Staircase in 2012. (Photo courtesy Cascadia Wildlands.) Middle right, Subadult and pup from the Imnaha Pack, taken July 2013. (Photo by ODFW.) Bottom left, Breathtaking photo of the Tongass National Forest. (Photo courtesy of David Beebe.)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 17, 2013
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 the 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.”
– # # # –
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
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 day 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.
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.
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.
May 24, 2013
Rob Klavins, Wildlife Advocate, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343 ext. 210, firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Pedery, Conservation Director, Oregon Wild, (503) 283-6343 ext. 212, email@example.com
Nick Cady, Legal Director, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, firstname.lastname@example.org
Josh Laughlin, Campaign Director, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 844-8182 email@example.com
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.