We’ve stayed pretty busy over the holidays here at the NEC with so much going around Northwest California. It was hard to take much of a break. Our staff went home to visit their families. Some of us worked right on through.
We spent a good deal of time participating in Humboldt County’s efforts crafting its Commercial Medical Marijuana Ordinance. The issue of cannabis cultivation and its environmental impacts have occupied a lot of time and effort for your NEC in the last five years. It looks like all the effort and education of the public and elected officials is beginning to pay off.
Agencies from the local to the state are paying attention and starting to act. Because the cannabis industry has been in the shadows—doing what it wants for so long with no oversight—it has been an enormous undertaking to come up with a way to bring it under control and regulate it. County staff has done a commendable job listening to and reflecting on input which the NEC has provided them in concert with our allies EPIC, SAFE and Humboldt Baykeeper.
The NEC continues to work to protect the many wild road-less areas that were dropped from the Thompson Wilderness bill enacted several years ago. The idea to make another attempt at protection for these areas was hatched before Jared Huffman was elected. We approached him as a candidate and he was excited by the concept. Since then we’ve worked tirelessly with Cal-Wild to help craft a large public lands bill. The result is a Wild and Scenic Rivers & Wilderness bill with an important restoration component. As we write this we are days away from handing it over to Congressman Huffman and his staff.
The Forest Service is beginning the process of updating or completely rewriting their individual forest plans—in addition to rewriting the whole Northwest Forest Plan that revolves around the Northern spotted owl. To date, there has been only one Forest Service meeting in our area (Region 5). Most of the action so far has been in Washington/Oregon (Region 6).
We are keeping up to date on the latest moves on this through our participation in the Northwest Forest Campaign Network.
Our efforts to work with the U.S. Forest Service in both Six Rivers and Trinity National Forests through the Trinity Collaborative have continued.
We are making some progress, especially with regard to Six Rivers. Many years of inaction follow decades of abuse and mismanagement.
The collaborative effort is bringing Timber and Environmental groups together, with a diverse mix of community members, to try to find common goals and achieve results in managing our public lands. While it’s been slow going, we actually have found common ground in an effort to try and move the Forest Service forward.
The Promotion of Merv George Jr. to Forest Supervisor of Six Rivers has been a game changer for our efforts. Merv’s frankness and receptiveness to us has been a very refreshing change and we look forward to continuing to work with him and all of his staff at Six Rivers.
Congressman Jared Huffman has also become involved in helping us to reach or goals and is very supportive of our work.