Posts Tagged ‘timber’


Quartz Timber Sale Challenged Over Impacts to Red Tree Voles!

For Immediate Release, May 16, 2018


Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746

Doug Heiken, Oregon Wild, (541) 344-0675

Reed Wilson, Benton Forest Coalition, (541) 754-3254                      

Timber Sale Targeting Mature Forests East of Cottage Grove Challenged in Court

Proposed Logging Would Eliminate Seventy-Five Red Tree Vole Nests

RTV 1EUGENE, Ore.— Today, three conservation groups challenged the 847-acre Quartz timber sale on the Cottage Grove Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest that targets mature forests. The contested area is home to a thriving population of red tree voles, a small tree-dwelling mammal that is a prey source for the imperiled northern spotted owl and is critical to forest ecosystems in western Oregon.

“It is incredibly disappointing to again witness the Forest Service targeting mature forests to solely benefit private timber interests,” said Nick Cady, legal director at Cascadia Wildlands. “The Quartz timber sale is a clear example of the Forest Service’s pursuit of commercial timber at the expense of all the other public values this agency is required to protect.”

The red tree vole is a unique tree-dwelling species that inhabits mature and old-growth forests throughout much of western Oregon. Extensive red tree vole habitat has been destroyed by aggressive logging in Oregon’s Coast and Cascade Ranges. In 2011, the US Fish and Wildlife Service found that the species warranted listing under the federal Endangered Species Act, but declined to extend those protections in part due to regulatory protections on public federal forest lands.  Yet, in 2016, the Bureau of Land Management, which manages interspersed public lands in western Oregon eliminated protections for the species across 2.5-million acres of public forests it oversees.

“The red tree vole is already in a precarious position given the historic logging that occurred in Oregon over the past century,” said Nick Cady.  “And the recent elimination of protections for this species on BLM lands in Oregon places its future in jeopardy. The Forest Service must do all it can to ensure its survival and cancel reckless timber sales like Quartz.”

RTV 3In its initial planning efforts for the Quartz timber sale, the Forest Service surveys documented little red tree vole activity and determined that the forests slated for logging were not good habitat.  Subsequent surveys conducted by volunteers with the Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team and verification surveys by the Forest Service resulted in seventy-five vole nest detections.  Despite this information, the Forest Service decided to proceed with the sale and destroy the vole nest sites.

"Red tree voles are closely linked with northern spotted owls,” said Reed Wilson with Benton Forest Coalition. “They have similar habitat requirements: old trees with cavities, structural defects and massive limbs suitable for nesting – exactly the kind of trees located throughout the Quartz timber sale by the Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team."

RTV 2 “The Forest Service seems determined to proceed with logging these beautiful forests regardless of the diligent efforts of citizens to document the presence of rare wildlife. First, the Forest Service said there were too few red tree voles to warrant protection. Later, the Forest Service said there were too many voles to warrant protection,” said Doug Heiken, conservation and restoration coordinator at Oregon Wild. “The poor red tree vole just can’t catch a break.”

This case is being brought by the Benton Forest Coalition, Cascadia Wildlands, and Oregon Wild.

The filed complaint can be found here.

Red tree vole photos courtesy of Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team.


Oregon Board of Forestry Reverses Course, Will Develop Murrelet Protections

For Immediate Release, December 1, 2016
Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746,
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (503) 484-7495,
Oregon Board of Forestry Reverses Course, Will Develop Murrelet Protections
Rulemaking Initiated to Protect Imperiled Seabird on State, Private Lands
EUGENE, Ore.— The Oregon Board of Forestry has reversed its prior decision to deny a petition from conservation groups that called for the identification and protection of marbled murrelet sites on state and private forest lands. The Board is now coordinating with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and other state land owning agencies to identify and protect important old-growth forest areas for the seabird threatened with extinction.
“It is reassuring to see the Board reverse course on this issue, especially given Oregon’s current efforts to sell off the Elliott State Forest,” said Nick Cady, legal director of Cascadia Wildlands. “The Elliott is a unique block of old-growth forest that is critical to the survival and recovery of this species, and should be the first area prioritized by the Board.”
Murrelets fly inland from the ocean to nest on wide, mossy limbs found in in the mature and old-growth forests of the Oregon Coast Range.  While most of Oregon’s coast range has been converted into industrial timberland that does not provide nesting habitat for the bird, the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest, located in the coast range just east of Coos Bay, is a crucial block of older forest habitat and essential to the reproductive success of the species.
”The marbled murrelet is the only seabird in the world that nests in old-growth forests and needs our help to survive,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “I’m thrilled Oregon’s Board of Forestry is finally stepping up to provide protections to this imperiled bird and the forests it depends on.”
The petition to the Board of Forestry was filed Sept. 9th in conjunction with a petition to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to uplist the species’ protection status from “threatened” to “endangered.” Given recent efforts by federal land managers to gut protections for the species and the substantial amount of habitat on state and private lands, the Department of Fish and Wildlife granted the petition, but the Board of Forestry denied its petition. After the Board’s denial, conservation groups filed a Petition for Review and asked the Board to reconsider its decision in light of requirements under Oregon law related to imperiled species.  The Board convened a special meeting on November 29, 2016 and stated it “withdraws and reverses its August 1, 2016 order denying the Petition for Rulemaking, accepts the Petition for Rulemaking, and immediately commences the rulemaking process.”
“Deforestation throughout the Coast Range have reduced habitat for marbled murrelets to just a few islands of old growth in a sea of clearcuts and monoculture tree plantations,” said Steve Pedery, conservation director for Oregon Wild. “Oregon is already decades overdue in developing a meaningful plan for conserving murrelet habitat. They cannot wait another 30 years.”
While murrelets have been listed as a ‘threatened’ species for nearly 30 years, Oregon has never developed a plan to recover them or protect the old-growth habitat that they depend on, and instead, the state has relied on the nesting habitat located on nearby federal forestlands.  This is no longer sufficient as murrelet populations in the Pacific Northwest continue to decline, and a recent status review conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service determined that conservation of nesting habitat on state and private lands is now critical to the species’ survival.
The Petition to the Board of Forestry can be found here.

Bob Ferris on the Radio in Coos Bay–of Timber, Coal, LNG, and Jobs


Bob Ferris interview on the Mark McKelvey Show on July 10, 2012.  He and Mark talk about timber, coal, LNG and jobs in Coos Bay.  The 40-minute interview starts at about minute 11 and can be heard by clicking here.










Timber Firms Join Murrelet Lawsuit

July 9, 2012

The Eugene Register-Guard by Karen McCown 
A Eugene lumber company is among forest industry firms intervening in a lawsuit filed in federal court by environmental groups against Gov. John Kitz­haber and state land and forest management agencies.
U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken last week granted a request by Eugene-based Seneca Sawmill Co. and four other logging industry entities to join with state officials in defending the state’s plan to allow more logging in the Elliott, Tillamook and Clatsop state forests. All of the forests are in Oregon’s Coast Range.
The lawsuit by Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands and two other environmental groups alleges that additional logging would harm the habitat of the marbled murrelet, amounting to an illegal “taking” of the seabird in violation of the Endangered Species Act.
The seabird is federally listed as a threatened species. It lays its eggs on large, mossy branches of primarily old growth trees, according to the complaint filed by Eugene attorney Daniel Kruse and other lawyers.
State officials have said they have a “vigorous” forest management plan to protect the murrelet but voluntarily suspended logging on 10 timber sales in the coastal forests until Aiken rules on the environmentalists’ motion for an injunction against logging while the case is being argued.
The state protection plan for the birds includes designated buffer zones of protected forest ranging in size from 20 to several hundred acres where murrelet activity is detected. The plan also requires curtailed logging schedules during the birds’ April to September nesting period.
The industry groups are expected to help defend the state’s forest policy.
Besides Seneca, they include the Oregon Forest Industries Council, Douglas Timber Operators, Scott Timber Co. Inc. of Coquille and Hampton Tree Farms Inc. of Salem. The council represents more than 50 logging and wood products companies, including Seneca and Scott. Other area members of the group include Eugene-based Guistina Land and Timber Co., the Murphy Co. and Eagle’s View Management Co. Inc; Springfield-based Rosboro and Timber Products companies; Starfire Lumber Co. of Cottage Grove; Davidson Industries of Maple­ton; Hull-Oakes Lumber Co. of Monroe; Menasha Forest Products Corp. of North Bend; Plum Creek Timber Co. of Coos Bay and Elkton-­based Rocking C Ranch.
Seneca legal affairs director Dale Riddle said Friday that the company decided to intervene individually in the case because it bought one of the contracts that has now been halted, the Millicoma Lookout timber sale, from the Elliott State Forest in Coos County. Under its bid, the company will pay $372.75 per thousand board feet of Doublas fir logged within the 54-acre sale area.
A state Forestry Department bid notice described the tract as containing 102- to 145-year-old, second-growth Douglas fir, as well as some red alder and western hemlock. The agency’s biological survey report on the sale noted that it contains “potentially suitable habitat for marbled murrelets.” It also reported 54 sightings of the birds within the tract in 2008 and 41 sightings in 2009.
The intervenors have an interest in the case because they rely on timber sales from state and federal agencies and because the public lands case could set a precedent restricting their “use and management” of private lands for timber production, Roseburg attorney Dominic Carollo wrote in their motion to join the suit.
Seneca owns and manages about 165,000 acres of Oregon forestland, some located within 50 miles of the Oregon Coast and within the range of the marbled murrelet, Carollo wrote.

The Carbon Curtain Coalition

Naomi Klein in her book Shock Doctrine laid out a recipe for our destruction: Take a real or manufactured crisis, add economic interests with political clout, and apply both towards a bend-over-backwards Congress and a panicked public.  The end result being economic interests allowed to cause us more harm and make even more money in the process.  And nowhere is this doctrine more in evidence than the current efforts to make our beloved Cascadia the carbon export capital of North America.

In our set of carbon scenarios the extractive industries—coal, oil, gas, and timber—are using the current economic and energy crises to get sweetheart deals to make their economic schemes work.  It does not take a Nobel Prize winning economist to understand that for raw natural resources from North America to be competitive with their Asian equivalents in Asian markets, our governments have to sell them for less than they are actually worth.  (If you want to delve into the economic nuts and bolts of this I would suggest skimming The World's Greatest Coal Arbitrage: China's Coal Import Behavior and Implications for the Global Coal Market by Richard Morse and Gang He from Stanford—their basic messages being that China has coal and they only buy it from us because we are willing to sell it cheaply.)
But a low return from deeply discounting our shared assets is only one of the impacts.  All of the export schemes also endanger our health, safety, and quality of life and compromise wildlands and wildlife.  Take the Coos Bay LNG boondoggle, for example.  To make this beast work we not only have to sell our future energy security cheaply but we also must sacrifice the water quality in areas of the Rockies where the natural gas will be extracted by fracking; condemn private land and further fragment public lands with 320 miles of pipeline; and put an entire community at grave risk with the siting of the explosive LNG terminal in the flight path of a local airport.  
When looked at in totality these schemes begin to look like a demented game of Mad Libs where you simply substitute the offending carbon commodity—e.g., coal, tar sands, LNG, timber, shale oil–and then fill in the blanks regarding human, community, and ecosystem impacts.  There would likely also be an irony blank where the wonder of private enterprise and job creation come face-to-face with the reality of the massive public subsidies and investments required to enable these projects and the job losses in the manufacturing sectors associated with the supplying of underpriced raw materials to a competing economy.
While we are on the topics of private investment and job creation, two issues should arise.  First, private is an interesting term when looking at funding coming from investment banks such as Goldman Sachs—in the case of the Cherry Point coal terminal—just how “private” is that capital from an institution holding broad deposits and still making profits because of federal intervention and tax-payer investment.  And as for job creation, the extractive industries are really not very effective at translating capital in to jobs or even delivering on what relatively scant jobs they promise to create.
To those watching and studying this collective phenomenon, it really feels like we are being attacked on all fronts at once.  That is often demoralizing unless you start to also see the little dots of resistance emerging from Alaska to California and from Washington to Montana.  It is good to see the coal folks working together both in the US and Canada.  The same is true for the oil pipeline people and LNG opponents too.  But we really need to all understand that this collective rush to ship needs to be met with collective and responsive opposition.  

I have talked to many about the efficacy of forming what I have called a Carbon Curtain Coalition that coordinates and enables all of these individual and regional initiatives.  The Carbon Curtain Coalition’s mission would be a simple one: Oppose carbon exports from ports in western North America.  Whether or not this coalition is a good idea or if it gets formed, we should all act like it exists.  We should all watch this important set of issues and be ready to support any and all efforts.  We should all have instant membership by virtue of the fact that these projects will fundamentally change our world for generations to come.
The Carbon Curtain Coalition’s message to politicians would be: If you really want a crisis to take action on, how about the one that is frying Americans to death in the East?  Or how about the crisis that is acidifying our oceans?  Or what about the one that is likely influencing the severity of storms and property losses?  This list goes on and on, but all of these tendrils lead back to carbon in some way.  So get involved and make some noise.
Upcoming Events in Eugene:
July 9—
Eugene City Council Meeting  Come support a No Coal Trains resolution
July 16—
Places to Start:
Power Past Coal (look for your local group on the list of partners
Our Take:



Cordovans, Fishermen Cry Foul On Proposed Road, Port A Wolf In Shepard’s Clothing

By Gabriel Scott, Alaska Reportcordova
February 5th, 2007
Alaska's newest road to nowhere is nearing a decision.
Public comments are pouring in and the town is abuzz about the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Cordova Oil Spill Response Facility, a.k.a. the Shepard Point Road Project, a controversial proposed 4.5 mile road and deep water port, in Orca Inlet, Eastern Prince William Sound, several miles north of Cordova, Alaska. A decision is expected after close of public comment period, January 29th.
Long desired for the access it would offer to export resources from the Copper River Delta, now Bureau of Indian Affairs, at the behest of the Native Village of Eyak, is pushing the project forward under the guise of an oil spill response facility. They are using about $10 million from the state's 1992 Exxon Valdez settlement, and another $8 million of Federal highway funds. The facility would consist of a dock and staging area for oil spill response equipment. While everyone agrees this would be a good thing, where to put it and how to get there are highly controversial.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs is weighing five alternative locations for the facility. Their preferred option is the proposed road to Shepard Point. Other options would build on existing infrastructure closer to town.
Many Cordovans, fishermen and conservation groups see the proposed deepwater "oil spill response facility" at Shepard Point as a smokescreen for private resource development, a money-losing boondoggle and public safety hazard that would weaken community oil spill response. They urge construction of the facility at the existing City Ocean Dock as a more sensible alternative.
"They can better meet all their needs, without building any road, for half the price," said Cordova musician Mike Mickelson.
The project is seen as a boondoggle, or a bonanza, depending on whom you are talking to.
"The Shepard Point option violates all parts of Governor Hammond's Four Criteria Test," says a statement from the Alaska Field Office for Cascadia Wildlands Project, in Cordova. "It won't pay for itself, it's not environmentally sound, it lacks broad public support, and it serves special interests, not the public interest."
None of which seems to bother Bob "Moose" Henrichs, president of Native Village of Eyak and a powerful director at Chugach Alaska Corp., which owns the land, coal, timber and other resources. "I have two words for the city on this," said Henrichs at a City Council meeting January 17th. "Davis Bacon."
The BIA indicates its proposal would cost taxpayers over $30.1 million, most of which would go to construction contracts for the Native Corporations. There is a shortfall of at least $12.6 million for construction and no funding has been identified for the (minimum) $514,000 needed for operations and maintenance. No likely income has been identified.
Critics, and BIA's own studies, warn of extreme avalanche danger. The proposed road crosses a gauntlet of eighteen major avalanche chutes. Avalanche debris will close the road for days to weeks each year, making emergency access difficult. Public safety is a serious concern, as three townspeople have died in avalanches over the last seven years.
One slogan floating around town goes: "Shepard Point Road: It may be expensive, but at least it's dangerous."
Ironically, BIA's option of moving facilities to deeper water at Shepard Point would slow down the first response to a spill, which would primarily be done by the town's own fleet of fishing boats. This would leave the shallow Copper River Delta more vulnerable to a spill by adding 10.1 miles to the run to respond to a spill on the Copper River flats, and 3.9 miles to respond in Prince William Sound.
Cordova District Fishermen United, representing the Copper River salmon fleet and most of the spill responders, has passed a resolution advocating the Ocean Dock Alternative, and opposing the Shepard Point location. The oil company organization responsible for spills in Prince William Sound, SERVS, has also announced an unwillingness to move their spill response equipment. Lacking support from spill responders, Shepard Point road would be a road to nowhere.
The heart of the controversy is an asserted need for a "deepwater" port for oil spill response vessels in Prince William Sound. Proponents point to a 1992 Settlement Agreement that talks about the need for a deepwater port. Critics say that was a political agreement, and point out there are no deep draft oil spill response vessels.
"Their own experts agree we don't need deeper draft for spill response, and the numbers show this," said Cordova fisherman and SERVS Tier 1 spill responder Sierra Drake. "The stubborn refusal to acknowledge this fundamental flaw speaks to ulterior motives. The public really deserves an answer."
One Eyak native believes he knows what that hidden motive is: resource extraction. "This deepwater port is the keystone to a web of threats that could destroy our way of life," warns Dune Lankard, founder of the Eyak Preservation Council and recent Ashoka Award fellow. Lankard points to the deepwater port as the lynchpin to a web of potential resource extraction schemes for coal and old-growth trees at Carbon Mountain, just east of the Copper River Delta. Plans are also in the works for a salmon hatchery along the new road at Humpback Creek, which some say could be the last truly wild run of pink salmon left in Prince William Sound. The deepwater port also could bring large-scale cruise ship tourism to the tiny town, and the road would open up land for subdivisions.
"The supposed purpose of all-tide access for deepwater spill response vessels is a fabricated rationale designed to win funding and permits," according to the Cascadia Wildlands Project. "The truth is, this is classic pork-a public money giveaway to private corporations."
The landowners at Shepard Point are Chugach Alaska Corp. and The Eyak Corp., for-profit sisters to Native Village of Eyak. If the Shepard Point alternative is selected, economic benefits would accrue to these corporations in many ways. In addition to personal benefits for certain directors and officers, the corporations own thousands of acres of developable land and vast stocks of coal and timber. Under BIA's scheme, Native Village of Eyak would get priority construction contracts, then own and operate the facility for whatever uses they desire.
"Chugach Alaska Corp. directors and executives have been in control of this from top to bottom, and are in line to win themselves a free road and port," says Scott. "Hiding behind the public façade of spill response, BIA and Native Village of Eyak, this private corporation is essentially the government decision-maker, the construction company, the eventual owner, and with their coal and forests the biggest long-term customer of the port. Pretty slick. Also, pretty illegal."
Hoping to accommodate both the corporations' desire for money and residents' desire for sustainability, some spill responders urge construction of the facility at an alternative location. This provides the same long-term jobs without the environmental and economic costs. Alternative 2 in the BIA environmental study would build on existing infrastructure at City Ocean Dock. It has won support for better serving spill response, for roughly half the price, with no new road, and without avalanches.
"There are channels we can go through to reallocate this money to improve existing facilities," said commercial fisher and SERVS responder Robert Masolini. "There has been considerable public support for this. I hope the BIA will do what's good for response, and what improves oil spill response time, not detracts from it."
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