By Tom Wheeler
EPIC is proud to announce its association with the Law Firm of Marten, Fisher and Owl. A West Coast firm, Marten, Fisher and Owl know that the best defense is a good offense; that’s why we’ve partnered with them to protect the North Coast. Check out the latest litigation from this feisty forest firm.
EPIC Sues Trump Administration to Save the Humboldt Marten
EPIC, together with our friends at the Center for Biological Diversity, sued the Trump administration for its failure to finalize Endangered Species Act protection for the Humboldt marten. Fewer than 400 of these secretive forest dwellers remain in four isolated populations along a narrow strip of coastal habitat in northern California and southern Oregon. Since 2010, EPIC has worked to secure long-term protections under the federal Endangered Species Act for this critter. Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has fought us every step of the way.
Most recently the Service failed to finalize protections for the marten, blowing past missed deadlines and ignoring our letters of protest. In October 2018, eight years after EPIC and the Center for Biological Diversity first petitioned to protect this rare carnivore, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed listing the Humboldt marten as a threatened species under the ESA. But the wildlife agency has yet to finalize the rule, denying the marten the protections it needs to survive.
EPIC Challenges Crawford Timber Sale
In May, EPIC filed litigation to challenge the Crawford Timber Sale on the Klamath National Forest. The project is located 15 miles southwest of the town of Happy Camp and north of Dillon Creek, a salmon stronghold of the Klamath River. It proposes logging the forest canopy down to 30% in over 250 acres of mature and old-growth forests.
The virgin forest in the Crawford Timber Sale is just outside the Siskiyou Roadless Area and provides an important wildlife corridor between the Siskiyou and Marble Mountain Wilderness Areas. The project would threaten the Pacific fisher, a candidate for listing under the federal Endangered Species Act and would also put at risk the northern spotted owl. Serving as Critical Habitat for the imperiled northern spotted owl, the project area is home to two of the few reproductive owl pairs remaining on the Klamath National Forest. The Crawford Timber Sale would result in the “take” of these surviving pairs and would remove and degrade over 350 acres of Critical Habitat.
Humboldt County Revises Contract with Wildlife Services
EPIC was proud to be a member of a large coalition of environmental and animal rights groups who successfully moved Humboldt County to revise its contract with the federal Wildlife Services, a branch of the Department of Agriculture that kills “problem” wildlife. Under threat of litigation, the coalition pressed for substantial changes to the contract, and the county listened. A win/win/win for wildlife advocates, wildlife, and the county!
Under the revised contract, Wildlife Services will implement numerous reforms to reduce its killing of wildlife involved in conflicts by — among other reforms — prioritizing non-lethal mitigation measures in urban and suburban areas and prohibiting killing of beavers. Advocates began working with county officials after notifying the county that its existing contract with Wildlife Services violated state law by allowing the use of lethal methods without considering their impacts to the environment. Under the modified contract, Wildlife Services cannot kill animals in urban or suburban areas of the county until after implementation of “all feasible non-lethal mitigation measures.” The new contract also imposes reporting requirements and restricts cruel or ecologically harmful killing methods such as pesticides, lead ammunition and body-gripping traps.
For nearly a decade, Humboldt County has employed Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of native animals under contract with Wildlife Services. Data from that federal wildlife-killing program shows that in the period from 2008-2017 in Humboldt County alone Wildlife Services killed at least 178 coyotes, 54 black bears, 43 gray foxes, 23 mountain lions, 483 raccoons, 880 skunks, and 112 opossums — overwhelmingly on behalf of the livestock industry.