News From the Center

By Larry Glass

Our team at the office has just completed a successful first ever Trash-a-thon! We want to thank everyone who participated or pledged. We couldn’t have done this without the support of our wonderful community. We will give you a full report next month.

Chelsea Pulliam, our Administrative Assistant, Outreach Coordinator, and EcoNews Layout Coordinator has been busy boosting the social media profile of the Public Lands Act Bill, introduced by Senator Kamala Harris. The Public Lands Act includes the NEC-supported Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act by Congressman Jared Huffman. Chelsea has done a great job promoting these wild places with great visual media.

In addition, the NEC’s Coastal Programs Coordinator, Casey Cruikshank has been working hard to analyze our trash collection data. We are transitioning our data collection method to the NOAA data application, which will give us the ability to further engage with the information we receive. This will provide us with the opportunity to tell a story about the waste that is picked up, so that we can help change people’s behaviors in the future. 

Issues We’re Tracking:

The 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule:  Seeks to resolve decades of controversy over subsidized logging and road building on national forests. The fight to establish the rule took years of hard work but apparently the USFS has decided the time is right to test the Roadless Rule. In three cases that we know of; Tahoe, Los Padres, and Shasta Trinity National Forest, the agency is planning various activities in these special and protected areas. The Shasta Trinity is the one we’re focused on. The agency is in the pre-scoping phase on what they’re calling the “Hyampom Fire Resilient Community Project” this is a project that has been talked about for several years and we have supported in concept, but the most recent version of it includes incursion into the Pattison and South Fork Trinity Roadless and proposed Wilderness additions. It’s hard to know at this point whether this is inadvertent or malicious. We will be meeting (by Zoom) with the Forest Supervisor soon. We’ll keep you posted.

USFS Bioregional Assessment: Evaluates existing information to identify key issues that span National Forest boundaries and helps guide the Forest Service in making strategic decisions about revising forest plans. The Bioregional Assessment identifies prominent shared issues, and associated urgency affecting these landscapes and communities and highlights opportunities to update management direction within the assessment area.

This Assessment represents an important development and builds upon a series of prior efforts to examine the Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP) amendment and its implementation. Beginning in 2015, the agency held public listening sessions to gather public and Tribal input for revising the land management plans within the NWFP area. The Bioregional Assessment reflects existing data gathered from many sources and relied on nearly 25 years of monitoring data, the 2018 Synthesis of Science to Inform Land Management within the Northwest Forest Plan Area, other adjacent-area science syntheses, and other information sources such as fire-risk assessments and state action plans.

This Bioregional Assessment is not a decision document and does not impact current management activities. Rather, the Bioregional Assessment will be used to shape ongoing engagement with stakeholders, state, county, Tribal governments, and Forest Service staff in preparation for the next steps in the planning process.

Private Timberlands Watch: Shout out to the Redwood Forest Defense allies that have started defending another redwood grove a few miles north of Trinidad, CA. Green Diamond Resource Company plans to clearcut the forest under an active Timber Harvest Plan (THP). The 40.5 acres of the THP is almost entirely within the limits of the protection zone of two osprey nests (Pandion haliaetus). This bird of prey is a Species of Special Concern in California and is considered a key component of the ecosystem. 

Forest defenders have raised a treesit in a redwood tree slated to be cut that is SEVEN feet in diameter! and is located on a steep slope above McNeill Creek. This sit has been raised on another day of heatwave in the Arctic Circle. The treesitters say their actions are connected to broader issues surrounding climate change.

“Deforestation is a major driver of climate change worldwide, and because temperate rainforests such as this one are especially powerful carbon sinks, logging within the redwood bioregion has global implications. Green Diamond’s management is devastating for the species that call this ecosystem home – but it also affects other biomes worldwide. We are calling for a moratorium on industrial logging during this climate catastrophe.”

Dunes Restoration: We have reviewed the Environmental Assessment for the proposed restoration of 300 acres of coastal dunes located North of the Lanphere Dunes unit of the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  We have taken a look at the need and purpose of the action, and while we concur with the intent and goal of the project, we would normally not support the use of heavy equipment in sensitive areas. However, after reading the document and the purpose for which the heavy equipment will be used and how it will be used, and also due to the type work that needs to be done at these sites and the limits placed on it, we believe that in this particular case the use of this equipment will be beneficial. 

The removal of invasive species from the project area is vital, and we will not support the use of chemicals to achieve this important goal. We are perplexed by the agency’s continued reliance on chemicals to do the removal work that can be done manually. Chemical pesticides pose an unnecessary risk to sensitive plant species, wildlife, soil health, air quality, and human beings. However, continuing to remove invasive species by hand year over year is not only a safer option, but will provide employment opportunities to members of the community.