News from the Center

Well, here it is – 2020. We’re still on the lookout for the prophesized flying cars and robot servants, but for right now we’ll stay focused on things that are actually happening around the Center.

Long-Awaited Forest Planning Process Begins
Region Five of the Northwest Forest Service has announced that it will begin the scoping process for its Land and Resource Management Plans for four Northwest California forests – Klamath, Mendicino, Shasta-Trinity, Six Rivers and the California portions of the Rogue River – Siskiyou National Forests. That would cover just under six million acres of public land in Northwest California. This is a very important process because all activities that will take place in these forests will be governed exclusively for the next 15-20 years by these management plans. A worrisome indication of what this process could look like are the recent management plans that were developed for the Sequoia, Sierra and Inyo National Forests in Central California. The plans fell well short of protecting the valuable resources contained in these national forests. “Scary” and “ugly” was how local activists described the plan and the public process. A coalition of environmental groups is forming, including regional, national and most importantly local environmental groups like your NEC. The last time that we all engaged in the forest planning process was in the early ‘90s and it took a herculean effort, lots of time and money, and years of engagement. This is an enormous task that we’ll be undertaking.

Forest Wide Fuels and Fire Project
The Six Rivers National Forest has announced the beginning of scoping as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of its Six Rivers Hazardous Fuels and Fire Management Project. It will involve a series of vegetative hazardous fuels reduction and fire management treatments across the forest targeting shrub fields, woodlands and small trees with stems less than 12 inches in diameter, authorized by one federal decision. The Forest Service anticipates preparing a decision memo using categorical exclusion (CE) Category 6: Timber stand and/or wildlife habitat improvement activities that do not include the use of herbicides or do not require more than 1 mile of low standard road construction. Examples include but are not limited to: (ii) … brush control … to reduce fire hazard …; (iii) Prescribed burning to control understory hardwoods …; and (iv) Prescribed burning to reduce natural fuel build-up and improve plant vigor (36 CFR 220.6(e)(6)). This is a very large project for a Categorical Exclusion (CE) and the NEC will be monitoring this, along with EPIC and S.A.F.E.

Board of Supervisors Election
Unlike election primaries of the past, this one takes place on March 3, which is coming quickly. Three supervisorial districts are up for election. District 3 only has the incumbent, Mike Wilson, running, so that one is settled. The other two districts have contests. District 1 has the incumbent Rex Bohn versus challenger Clif Berkowitz. In District 2, the field is much bigger. The incumbent Estelle Fennell is being challenged by four candidates: Michelle Bushnell, Sean DeVries, Rick French, and Michael McKaskle. There have been and will be debates and public forums leading up to the March 3 election. If you live in these districts, get informed. To read statements from some of the candidates, see page 13 of the EcoNews.

Your Watchdog
Our ability to monitor many of the items discussed here wouldn’t be possible without the help of our supporters. The outpouring of financial support we received from you in 2019 was very inspiring. We also held two successful fundraisers and were able to end the year in the black.

Exciting New Addition to the NEC
We’d like to welcome the very talented community organizer Caroline Griffith to the NEC staff as the EcoNews Coordinator & Journalist. Caroline will be attending various meetings and notifying our members of any important action opportunities or decisions while coordinating all the varying aspects of EcoNews. She’ll be assisted by Chelsea Pulliam, our current Administrative Assistant and Outreach Coordinator who will be stepping up to perform all graphics and layout needs with EcoNews. This first issue we’ve tried to stick to the tried and true format that we have. In upcoming issues, this new team will be implementing new ideas as warranted. Please see Caroline’s introduction on page 5.

Open House
Thanks to all for attending our Open House. It was great to see so many faces and hear what you’d like us to work on. Also, big thanks to all who purchased Winter Vacation Raffle tickets and congrats to the lucky winners. We really appreciate the support of the businesses who donated: Humboldt Bay Social Club, Requa Inn, Blue Lake Casino, Benbow Historic Inn, Lady Anne Victorian Inn, 511 Restaurant and Finnish Country Sauna & Tubs.

Spring Dinner & Dance – March 7
Join us for our fourth Annual Spring Dinner & Dance, which will be Saturday, March 7th at Bayside Community Hall. Musical talent Kingfoot will be providing the heel kicking dance music and tickets are available online and at the office. We’re switching up the menu this year with an amazing baked potato bar – complete with a variety of toppings for any kind of fully loaded baked potato you can imagine – vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free friendly! We’ll have an eclectic mix of items in our silent auction, so be sure to get your tickets early! We’re also looking for volunteers to help during the day and items for the silent auction. Contact the office if you’re interested!

6th Annual Tim McKay Birdathon
Bird lovers! Now is the time to mark your calendars for the Sixth Annual “Tim McKay Birdathon”. While the start date isn’t until May, now is the time to start forming your team and soliciting donations. This is a fun event that helps get people out in the field, enjoying our beautiful surroundings and remembering why it’s so important to protect our valuable resources. Proceeds from the Birdathon are split between Redwood Region Audubon Society and the NEC, so two great organizations benefit from you spending a day out in the field, having fun counting birds. If you’re not a birder but would like to sponsor one, please contact the NEC office.

Bouquets of gratitude to groups, businesses, and individuals who deserve special thanks!
Bouquets of eternal gratitude to Morgan Corviday for all her environmental passion and amazing artistic and editorial work on EcoNews these past 9 years! We wish her the best as she focuses on her graphic design business.

Thanks to all who donated new or gently used water bottles for the Raven Project! Together we’ve supplied them with over 60 water bottles. If each of those bottles is used at least 200 times, that will save 12,000 plastic bottles from entering the landfill!

Thanks to sewing and upcycling master Rebecca for creating curtains for our office storage area using upcycled materials.

Thanks to all who came to the Open House!