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“State panel leaves Kalama methanol plant review with county, port”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 22, 2016.

Sept. 21, 2016. The Daily News.

Tom Simpson joins Oregon State Parks Foundation Board

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Sep 22, 2016.

The Oregon State Parks Foundation welcomes Tom Simpson, Director of Government & Regulatory Affairs at The Standard, as the newest member of its Board of Trustees. Mr. Simpson represents The Standard before federal, state and legislative bodies and other public policy decision makers. In addition to the Foundation Board, Mr. Simpson is a member [...]

EFSEC declines to review Kalama Methanol Refinery

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 21, 2016.

This summer, we asked Washington's Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council (EFSEC) to review the proposed methanol refinery in Kalama. Our petition explained why the largest proposed methanol refinery in the world deserves a thorough review by the state of Washington. EFSEC denied our request and declined to evaluate the methanol refinery.

2017 Member Reservations Open November 14

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Sep 21, 2016.

2017 cabin reservations for our Cedar and Pacific Yew members will open on Monday, November 14, […]

Join Us for the EcoChallenge Launch Party!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Sep 21, 2016.

If you’re in the Portland area, we hope you’ll join us at our launch party to kick off the 2016 EcoChallenge! We have a lot to celebrate with the launch of this year’s EcoChallenge, and would love to see you… Read More!

The post Join Us for the EcoChallenge Launch Party! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Protections for the Oregon Spotted Frog

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Sep 20, 2016.

After years of illegal grazing, KS Wild and our allies have secured an initial court victory that requires the Forest Service to do its job and protect rare frogs and their fragile riparian habitat.

Nedsbar Timber Sale

By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Sep 20, 2016.

KS Wild filed a formal protest on September 15 2016.

Regulating air for community health – a new concept in Oregon?

By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Sep 19, 2016.

Governor Kate Brown initiated the Cleaner Air Oregon campaign after state agencies discovered that glass makers were the source of heavy metals – arsenic, cadmium, nickel and chromium – impacting nearby neighborhoods in Portland. Toxics heavy metals were found in the air and in the soil, including the soil of home gardens. Children were taken... Read more »

The post Regulating air for community health – a new concept in Oregon? appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

Columbia Under the Microscope: 11/10 in Astoria

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 19, 2016.

Join Riverkeeper and three local scientists for presentations about cutting edge research on pollutants and pharmaceuticals in the Columbia River on Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, from 6:00-7:00 pm, at the Blue Scorcher Bakery located at 1493 Duane Street, in Astoria, OR.

She Who Watches Tour: 10/15

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 19, 2016.

Join Riverkeeper and Native American storyteller Ed Edmo for a private tour of the famous She Who Watches (Tsagaglala) petroglyph and other petroglyphs/pictographs near Dallesport, Washington on Saturday, October 15, 2016, at 11:00 am. Space is limited, register today.

Salmon Viewing: 10/8 with Kat Brigham

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 19, 2016.

Join Riverkeeper and Kat Brigham, of the Brigham Fish Market & member of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016, at Eagle Creek in Cascade Locks, OR for a fall salmon viewing. Register here.

Columbia Under The Microscope: 10/5 in Portland

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 19, 2016.

Join Riverkeeper and three local scientists for presentations about cutting edge research on pollutants and pharmaceuticals in the Columbia River on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, from 6:00-7:00 pm, in Portland, OR, Lucky Lab on Hawthorne.

“Mosier Derailment Fire Sparks Alarm, Action to Stop Oil Trains”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 19, 2016.

September 2016. Mazamas.

“Hot Water, Fish Kills & the Future of Salmon” Comes to Vancouver: 12/1

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 17, 2016.

Join Columbia Riverkeeper for an informative talk: Hot Water, Fish Kills, & the Future of Salmon, at Feral Public House in Vancouver, WA as a part of the organization’s “Love Your Columbia Event Series” on Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016. At this event, grab a drink and learn. Event is free and open to the public. Featured speaker Riverkeeper Attorney Miles Johnson.

“Hundreds rally for and against methanol plant”

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 17, 2016.

Sept. 14, 2016. The Daily News.

Love Your Columbia – Featured

By Liz Terhaar from Columbia Riverkeeper. Published on Sep 17, 2016.

Love Your Columbia Events tell the river’s story, bring the latest science to the masses, and let people get dirty to make the river clean again. Join us this fall for a great series of events.

Desert Conference: Public Lands, Common Ground brings diverse voices to Bend October 14

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Sep 16, 2016.

The 2016 Desert Conference will bring landowners, conservationists, elected officials, scientists and engaged citizens together in Bend on Oct. 14 to explore shared solutions for managing our public lands.

Over 150 Teams Gear Up for the 2016 EcoChallenge! Inspiring Stories from the Field

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Sep 14, 2016.

EcoChallenge 2016 is just around the corner! In exactly one month we’ll be kicking off our ninth annual EcoChallenge and we hope you will join us! With over 900 participants and 156 teams registered so far, we are gearing up… Read More!

The post Over 150 Teams Gear Up for the 2016 EcoChallenge! Inspiring Stories from the Field appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

New Podcast: An Orbital Perspective from Col. Ron Garan

By Joe Whitworth from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Sep 13, 2016.

Imagine being in a barrel that’s going over Niagara Falls. Now imagine it

Explore the Oregon Desert Trail by Boots, Bike or Boat

By Corinne Handelman from Press Releases. Published on Sep 12, 2016.

Join the Oregon Natural Desert Association and the Mountain Shop to learn about new opportunities to explore your public land on the 750 mile Oregon Desert Trail; on foot, by bike or packraft. Our adventure panelists will discuss the value of public lands and importance of proper gear to set out on your next Eastern Oregon exploration!

Patchmarks creates collectible Oregon State Parks Patches and Stickers

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Sep 09, 2016.

Patchmarks.com has designed some great Oregon State Parks patches and stickers. You can purchase them on their website and a portion of the proceeds go to the Oregon State Parks Foundation! Visit their website to see which ones are available. Over the next several months they will be releasing more and you can signup on their [...]

We are gearing up for Ticket2Ride!

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Sep 08, 2016.

We want to ensure that all kids have access to our State Parks – to appreciate and learn about nature. Ticket2Ride is a program that will help do just that! This fall, we are teaming up with Ecology in the Classroom & Outdoors and an Encore Fellows from Intel to get 5th graders, from 9 schools in the Portland [...]

Imagine A Day Without Water: September 15

By Nicole Miller from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Sep 07, 2016.

Odds are you turned on the tap several times today. To brush your

The post Imagine A Day Without Water: September 15 appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

UPDATE: Portland Fossil Fuel Policy Work Moves from F to B-Minus

By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 07, 2016.

By Ted Gleichman, policy advisor, Oregon Sierra Club Beyond Gas & Oil Team Portland’s Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) has proposed zoning amendments for review by the Planning & Sustainability Commission (PSC) that are substantially less destructive than the agency’s original plan.  But “less bad” does not equal “good.” BPS was charged with implementing […]

Walking our Talk With a New Sabbatical Benefit for Employees

By Kerry Lyles from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Sep 06, 2016.

Voluntary Simplicity was the second discussion course that NWEI published in the early 1990s, and over the past twenty-plus years we’ve inspired thousands of people to integrate simplicity and intentionality into their lives. Living with intention is a value that we hold… Read More!

The post Walking our Talk With a New Sabbatical Benefit for Employees appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Portland Rocks Hard Against the TPP!

By aharris24 from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Sep 02, 2016.

By Alexander Harris On Saturday, August 20, over a thousand Oregonians came together in downtown Portland to “Rock Against the TPP” with musicians, comedians, and activists from around the country. The concert tour’s stop in Portland not only had outstanding music and spectacular speeches, but also featured a photo petition with huge props (TPP Death […]

More than $100,000 awarded to study improvements for vital creek in Northeastern Oregon

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Sep 02, 2016.

The Oregon Water Resources Department’s Water Conservation, Reuse and Storage Grant Program has

The post More than $100,000 awarded to study improvements for vital creek in Northeastern Oregon appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Judge: U.S. Army Corps Illegally Authorized Cormorant Killing on Columbia River

By aberman from News. Published on Sep 01, 2016.

A federal district court ruled late Wednesday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers acted unlawfully by failing to consider alternatives to killing double-crested cormorants on the Columbia River.

Profanity: It Could Happen Here.

By rob from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Aug 31, 2016.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Whether you’re lucky enough to live near the big wild places of the West or you’re stuck in traffic on the Jersey turnpike, wildlife and public lands belong to all Americans.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Wherever you are, if you pay attention to wildlife issues, you’ve no doubt heard about the ongoing tragedy related to Washington’s Profanity Peak Wolf Pack. The single family of wolves represents over 10% of the state’s entire recovering population of American Gray Wolves.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">When Oregon killed the Imnaha Pack in response to conflict with the livestock industry, we said no one should be celebrating the death of cows or wolves. The same can be said in this case.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">As our name implies, Oregon Wild’s mission is to protect and restore Oregon’s wildlands, wildlife, and waters as an enduring legacy for future generations. However, given the volume of questions we have received and its ramifications for Oregon, it has become nearly impossible to stay silent on the matter.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">The mission of Oregon’s wildlife agency (ODFW) is “to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations.” Decisions on how best to carry out that mission should be based on science, broadly held public values, and the law.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Common or rare, all wildlife matter. However, wolves get disproportionate attention – especially when they are at the center of human-caused conflict.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">In our view, the goal of wolf conservation and management should be to better understand wolves and their role on the landscape, educate the public, minimize conflict between livestock and wildlife, reduce unnecessary social conflict, and reduce the need to kill wolves so the native hunter can once again play out its rightful role on the landscape.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">When wolves are killed by any state, it’s a demonstration that we’ve collectively failed to meet those goals. At minimum it should lead to some serious reflection.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Many details of the situation in Washington remain unclear. Not having a shared set of facts makes it difficult to resolve conflict. What we do know is that the Profanity Peak Pack is the second in 4 years to be killed on behalf of the same livestock operator. We can’t comment on the validity of emerging arguments regarding the specifics of operations of the Diamond M Ranch. However, in both cases, at taxpayer expense, a pack of wolves is being killed by helicopter on public lands.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">After the Wedge Pack was killed in 2012, a WDFW spokesperson state “Our director has said that he never wants to do this again… The social acceptance is just not there.” Many of us watching from afar breathed sighs of relief.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Recent science and experience has shown that killing wolves increases conflict and reduces social tolerance in communities hostile to wolf recovery. If wolf recovery with minimal acrimony is the goal, such actions cannot become normalized and they must not spill over into Oregon.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Sadly, Oregon cannot be too self-righteous on this matter. Though less dramatic, we’ve seen similar situations play out here. Under Oregon’s weak wolf plan, Profanity could happen here.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">From 2012-2015, under terms agreed to by the livestock industry, conservationists, and the state, Oregon’s wolf population grew. Cattle depredations decreased. And there was no litigation. To all but the most intransigent voices, the plan was a success.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">In 2015, key provisions of the plan expired.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Since then, Oregon stripped wolves of endangered species protections. Litigation has been filed. Governor Brown declared a state of emergency. Poaching increased. Oregon killed wolves by helicopter gunning. Livestock depredations have increased.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Oregon’s wolf plan is currently under review.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">We support non-lethal measures to prevent conflict as well as working with the state and other stakeholders to find common ground and solutions. However those efforts are means to ends – less livestock loss through better husbandry, less killing of wildlife, and less conflict. We’ve seen time and again, killing wolves achieves none of these.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Rather than repeat past mistakes, Oregon Wild and other public interest organizations support carrying forward the parts of the plan that worked and fixing (rather than discarding) those that fell short. In particular, that means providing clear, defensible, and enforceable standards for non-lethal conflict prevention measures that will ensure killing wolves is truly an option of last resort.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">Meanwhile, the livestock industry, some hunting groups, and even some Commissioners are arguing for allowing trophy hunting of wolves in Oregon as soon as next year. While meetings between the state, stakeholders, and the public have been positive in tone, the agency has not yet tackled difficult issues and seems to be headed toward a plan that will ensure a state of constant conflict.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">We are aware of extreme language on both sides of the wolf debate and while we understand the public is justifiably upset, we would also be remiss not to remind all citizens of their responsibility to treat one another – even those with whom we strongly disagree – with respect and civility. Threats of violence going in either direction are especially unacceptable.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">To many observers, Washington seems to be following in the footsteps of Sarah Palin’s Alaska. Oregon may not be far behind. We cannot allow that to happen. The killing of rare wildlife on public lands to appease special interests must not be normalized in our state. Oregonians deserve better.


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">We urge Oregonians who value wolves and native wildlife to:


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt">


0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"> 

Planting the Future in Salem

By Randi Orth from Growth Rings. Published on Aug 31, 2016.

Friends of Trees is gearing up for a massive season of trees in Salem and our first priority is to make sure that all trees have what they need to succeed. This means we need YOU! Yep, you! We are actively recruiting volunteers to be a part of our volunteer Crew Leader team in Salem to […]

South Hillsboro: A few thoughts on a new development

By alyson from The Latest. Published on Aug 30, 2016.

20160830
Alyson Marchi-Young
Tue, 08/30/2016 - 11:35am

It was announced that a planned community in Hillsboro will finally be breaking ground, with an expected 8,000 new units of housing for upwards of 20,000 residents.

read more

Our Summer 2016 EarthMatters Newsletter is Here!

By Kerry Lyles from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Aug 30, 2016.

The Summer 2016 Edition of our EarthMatters Newsletter is here! Click here, or the image below, to download the EarthMatters newsletter. This issue’s lead article is on ways to find happiness without costing the planet. As author Sarah van Gelder reminds… Read More!

The post Our Summer 2016 EarthMatters Newsletter is Here! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

Big names and bold conservation

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Aug 30, 2016.

Over the past several weeks, The Freshwater Trust has brought you stories from its

The post Big names and bold conservation appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Choose a Nature Challenge & Celebrate 100 Years of National Parks!

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Aug 26, 2016.

It is time to pack a picnic and explore the natural beauty of our amazing planet! If you are in the United States, this week is a perfect time to visit one of the 413 National Parks as the National Park… Read More!

The post Choose a Nature Challenge & Celebrate 100 Years of National Parks! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

‘A great reward for the effort’: Volunteer Christopher Masciocchi Shares Why it is Great to Be a Neighborhood Coordinator

By Randi Orth from Growth Rings. Published on Aug 25, 2016.

If volunteering with Friends of Trees has been on your radar or you are just looking for ways to contribute to your community–you are in the right place! Friends of Trees is seeking dedicated volunteers for a variety of roles in the coming planting season. Today we are highlighting Christopher Masciocchi, volunteer Neighborhood Coordinator to East […]

Lawsuit Filed to Protect Threatened Marbled Murrelet From Logging on Former Elliott State Forest

By aberman from News. Published on Aug 25, 2016.

Cascadia Wildlands, the Center for Biological Diversity and Portland Audubon filed a lawsuit in federal court today seeking to block Scott Timber Company from logging a portion of a 355-acre parcel of land that until 2014 was part of the 93,000-acre Elliott State Forest and provides habitat for the threatened Marbled Murrelet.

Are you up for the Challenge? The 2016 EcoChallenge is here!

By Kerry Lyles from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Aug 25, 2016.

We have been excitedly awaiting this day! Today we launch EcoChallenge 2.0, and invite you to register for the 2016 EcoChallenge! The premise is the same as always — we invite you to take on a two-week Challenge this October,… Read More!

The post Are you up for the Challenge? The 2016 EcoChallenge is here! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

License Plate Revenues Go Back to Habitat Restoration

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Aug 24, 2016.

The Freshwater Trust has been awarded a $232,166 grant from the Oregon Watershed

The post License Plate Revenues Go Back to Habitat Restoration appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

A New Direction for Oregon's Forests

By Jason from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Aug 22, 2016.

Watseco Creek flows through a clearcut above Rockaway Beach Oregon.

Our friends over at the North Coast State Forest Coalition have launched an online petition directed at Governor Kate Brown, who will soon be appointing new members to Oregon’s Board of Forestry. The petition calls on Governor Brown to “ appoint someone that helps diversify the expertise and background of the Board . . . who is not tied to commercial timber interests.” 

If you are one of the few people in Oregon who follows the Oregon Board of Forestry (BOF) and their shenanigans, then like me, you are probably itching to get over there and sign it. You can find that petition by clicking here

If like many Oregonians, you aren’t familiar with this particular acronym and its place in Oregon’s alphabet soup of boards, commissions and agencies, read on, friend. Let me tell you about one of the many ways the clearcut and spray industry has too much power to do as it pleases to the forests and rivers that Oregon’s people and wildlife depend on.

So what is the Board of Forestry

The BOF has 7 members, appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate, whose job is to “supervise all matters of forest policy within Oregon.” Which means that they make the rules that regulate logging, appoint the State Forester, and oversee the State Forester’s management of the Oregon Department of Forestry. 

  This clearcut near the author's home demonstrates what this Board of Forestry considers "sustainable". 

To put it another way, when I look up at those steep hills, near my home in the Coast Range, with streams running through them and helicopters spraying dangerous chemicals on the clearcut moonscape, I often wonder :

"Why is this still happening in Oregon in 2016?"

 

There are two answers to that question: Oregon law allows it (Oregon Forest Practices Act), and the BOF refuses to take meaningful steps to update logging regulations in the state. 

You have heard from Oregon Wild about work we are doing to address the Oregon Forest Practices Act, to have it reflect modern science and modern values such as clean water, clean air and human safety. Well, the BOF is the other thing that must change if we are to see healthy, forested watersheds in the future. 

Why does the Board of Forestry need to change?

The glaring problem with Oregon’s BOF is this: we should know by now that it is unreasonable to expect an industry to regulate itself, but 5 out of 7 members of this board are currently or recently tied to the business of resource extraction (logging, drilling, mining.) Only one Board member has a substantial background in science, and as you may expect, you will often find her fighting a steep uphill battle as she works to bring science and common sense to board members more focused on corporate profits than forest and watershed health. 

Examples of this industry slant can be seen in the Board’s recent decision to strip protections from Bald Eagle winter roosting sites, or to deny a request that they follow laws protecting threatened Marbled Murrelets. Additionally, just this last year, Oregon lost over $1 million in federal grants from science based agencies when the BOF failed to enact rules to protect Oregon’s streams and the fish who live in them by leaving larger stips (buffers) of trees along the sides of some streams. Instead of accepting the advice of fisheries biologists calling for a minimum 150ft buffer protecting streams, the BOF accepted buffers less than half that size. 

To make matters worse, these new rules do nothing to address the fact that Oregon’s logging law leaves at least 70% of the stream network completely unprotected from clearcut logging. The results of such failures were clear last year as river temperatures skyrocketed, fish started dying, and fishing was closed to many Oregonians. 

In addition to failing to protect waters and wildlife, the BOF has no representation for the foresters and woodlot owners throughout the state who are making a real effort to develop logging styles that will enhance them, instead of destroying them. Only large industrial models seem to be of concern to this board, with a focus on short-term profit instead of long-term forest and watershed health. 

The Board of Forestry desperately needs reform, but don’t just take it from me: let me introduce you to some real experts on the subject. Peter Hayes is a former member of the Board of Forestry, and his family has been in the forest products business since 1848.

Hyla Woods, Peter’s company, strives to create ecologically complex, economically viable, responsibly operated forests.

Peter Hayes of Hyla Woods

 

“The effectiveness of the Board of Forestry depends on it being composed of members who are willing and able to truly understand and fairly represent the interests of all Oregonians,” Peter told me, regarding the membership of the Board. “The interests of innovative, forward looking, regenerative forestry in Oregon are best served by a Board of Forestry whose members are free of conflicts of interests linked to industrial forestry. For too long Oregonians have tolerated a system that expects an industry to be self regulating.”

Consider these words from David Eisler, owner of Shady Creek Forest Resources, an FSC certified woodlot and mill in the Coast Range:

shadycreekmill.jpg
   Shady Creeek Forest Resources Mill & forest

“As a forestland owner who manages, harvests, mills and sells forest products and has a stake in Oregon's forestry future I have, over the last 30 years, consistently felt that the Board Of Forestry has not given concern for issues that impact forest health, aquatic health and most importantly, human health.The Board clearly represents and protects the industrial forestry model to the exclusion of other valid forestry interests.”

Well said gentleman, well said. 

Governor Brown has already struggled to win over Oregonians who care about the health of our forests, waters and wildlife. It is time to send her another reminder that Oregonians value healthy watersheds, and we expect our elected officials to protect them. Are you ready to sign that petition now? Sign the petition here!

 

 

Photo Credits: 
Photo's by Jason Gonzales. Photo of Peter Hayes submitted by Peter Hayes.

Opal Creek Fire Ban

By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Aug 22, 2016.

Beginning August 22, the Opal Creek Scenic Recreation Area is on a complete fire ban. Due […]

EcoChallenge as an Answer to the Say-Do Conundrum

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Aug 17, 2016.

This week Yale Climate Connections posted an article on the ‘say-do conundrum,’ a phenomenon we’ve long considered in the development of our EcoChallenge and discussion course programs. For example, 88% of Americans say that recycling at home is important, but only… Read More!

The post EcoChallenge as an Answer to the Say-Do Conundrum appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

A decade later and a basin made better

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Aug 15, 2016.

2015 was a big year full of accomplishments for The Freshwater Trust in

The post A decade later and a basin made better appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Let’s Get Dirty – for National Water Quality Month

By Danielle from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Aug 15, 2016.

What’s the difference between dirt and soil? When it’s on your clothes, it’s

The post Let’s Get Dirty – for National Water Quality Month appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival brings best outdoor, conservation films to Bend on September 9

By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Aug 12, 2016.

Experience rock climbing in Lebanon, skiing in Antarctica and more when the Wild & Scenic Film Festival makes its stop in Bend on Friday, Sept. 9. Tickets are on sale now for two screenings at the Tower Theatre in downtown Bend.

Clean Water, Healthy Soil

By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Aug 11, 2016.

The Tualatin Soil and Conservation District has served the people of Washington County since 1955. The District is asking voters to approve a permanent tax levy to provide services needed to protect the water, soil, and other natural resources in Washington County. The resource needs of the region exceed the District’s ability to provide services. […]

Partner with NWEI to Launch a New Simplicity Course

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Aug 11, 2016.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hoffman NWEI is currently creating a new discussion course on intentional living and simplicity – and we invite you to help us bring this… Read More!

The post Partner with NWEI to Launch a New Simplicity Course appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

A Summer Full of Trees

By Randi Orth from Growth Rings. Published on Aug 08, 2016.

Hey! My name’s Bryan, and I am working as an intern (via the Duke Engage program) for the summer here at Friends of Trees. In my position, I support both the Neighborhood Trees and Green Space programs as they perform necessary administrative and maintenance tasks in between planting seasons. We don’t plant in the summer […]

Will Portland Abandon its Pledge Against New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure?

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 08, 2016.

By Ted Gleichman, policy advisor, Oregon Sierra Club Beyond Gas & Oil Team Last November, the Portland City Council voted unanimously for a binding policy resolution to stop any fossil fuel exports through Portland and to ban new fossil fuel infrastructure for exports or storage.  This unprecedented measure put Portland on a state-of-the-art path for […]

Second Year of Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute

By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Aug 08, 2016.

The Foundation is working with the Oregon Parks & Recreation Department to increase uses of the parks by students and schools in order to connect the parks with education. The second session of Cottonwood Crossing Summer Institute, conducted this June in partnership with Eastern Oregon University, is just one example of how state parks can [...]

1% for the Planet CEO Kate Williams featured on podcast

By Joe Whitworth from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Aug 07, 2016.

From a small office in Burlington, Vermont, one organization is leading a global charge.

Oregon Sierra Club August Events

By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 07, 2016.

August 17th: Time To Choose – Portland Join NAACP Portland Chapter and Oregon Sierra Club, Columbia Network for a special screening of Time To Choose and featuring a special keynote address by social justice activist, leader, and NAACP Portland Chapter President Jo Ann Hardesty. Climate change is the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced – and […]

Rock Against the TPP Coming to Portland!

By aharris24 from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Aug 05, 2016.

By Alexander Harris This summer, the Sierra Club is working with the OR Fair Trade Campaign and over 40 labor and environmental groups to plan Oregon’s largest anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership event ever! On August 20, over a thousand Oregonians will come together for Rock Against the TPP, a nationwide concert tour meant to raise awareness of the threats of the TPP. The weekend of action […]

Out with the paper and in with the app

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Aug 04, 2016.

The release of our 2015 Annual Report gives The Freshwater Trust some exciting stories to share with

The post Out with the paper and in with the app appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

The Freshwater Trust receives $64,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support long-term restoration

By Haley Walker from The Freshwater Trust. Published on Aug 03, 2016.

Grant is part of philanthropic effort to help support community-based environmental projects PORTLAND,

The post The Freshwater Trust receives $64,000 grant from Wells Fargo to support long-term restoration appeared first on The Freshwater Trust.

4 Simple Ways to Connect With Nature

By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Aug 03, 2016.

“In the end, the fate of biodiversity and ecosystems depends on political choices and individual choices…If people never experience nature and have negligible understanding of the services that nature provides, it is unlikely people will choose a sustainable future.” – … Read More!

The post 4 Simple Ways to Connect With Nature appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

A Picture can Save 21,000 Acres

By marielle from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Aug 01, 2016.

The 12th annual Outdoor Photo Contest is underway! No doubt you've heard the phrase "a picture says a thousand words," but a photo can do even more than that. Images can be powerful tools to encapsulate a place, person, or time in history. For our public lands, a photograph can even be a catalyst for permanent protection.

Take Opal Creek Wilderness, for example. Today, thousands of people flock to its old-growth trees and its emerald waters; locals and visitors alike go to soak in the beauty and savor the experience of walking through an ancient forest. Today, no one questions why such a place has value; no one laments that this wild place was saved from clearcutting and development.

But back in the 1980s, Opal Creek was on the chopping block. Oregon Wild (then Oregon Natural Resources Council) had been working tirelessly with local advocates to keep this gem pristine, but help was needed to ensure it would remain uncut.

Enter Larry Olson, landscape photographer. After hearing about the threats to this incredible forest watershed, he ventured into the wildlands and captured a photo that became the poster image for the conservation effort. His photo brought Opal Creek to the eyes of people across the nation. In 1996, Opal Creek Wilderness was designated.

As a photographer, you too can be a part of the conservation efforts still at hand. Help us showcase Oregon's incredible public lands and enter the 12th annual Oregon Wild Outdoor Photo Contest

Photographers of all ages and abilities who've entered the Outdoor Photo Contest over the last eleven years have all had one thing in common: a love for Oregon and what makes it special. Your photos tell a powerful story of our diverse landscape, its unique ecology, and the conservation history that has protected special places for us to experience today. Help us continue that story and conservation success.

Each year, our Endangered Places category features public land at risk, just as Opal Creek and other adored wildlands once were. This year we focus on the Malheur Wildlife Refuge and the recent occupation that brought the attacks on our public lands front and center. By capturing and sharing what you love about Malheur through the Outdoor Photo Contest, you can help us increase the exposure on a continuing problem and keep our public lands in the public eye.

The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 16th at midnight, so get outside, explore the wild, and capture that winning shot. If you need some guidance for your summer photographic adventures, consider joining a free, guided Oregon Wild Summer hike.

The $5 contest entry fee is small but the rewards are great. You could win a $250 gift certificate from sponsor Pro Photo Supply and more by submitting up to five photos in the contest's four main categories.

Whether your photos win or not, one thing is certain – your images will continue to be a voice for Oregon's wild places beyond this year's contest. Your photos have the power to inspire others to protect our beautiful state.

So get going – join us on an Oregon Wild Hike and submit your photos to the Outdoor Photo Contest.

Best of luck and thank you for sharing your images of our amazing public lands!

Read the full article about Larry Olson's photograph by Zach Urness in the Statesman Journal

 

Photo Credits: 
Photos top to bottom: Blue Mountains owl by Scott Carpenter, Opal Creek by Stan Newman, Flag Point by Kat Dierickx.

(P)rebuttal

By rob from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Aug 01, 2016.

A 63-year-old essay provides the perfect answer to an outdated letter written in the 21st century.

 

Old prejudices die hard. 

A recent letter to the editor in my local newspaper – the Wallowa Chieftain – starkly brought that point home. It said in part:

"The wolf is the most destructive animal on Earth.' Of what value are they? They are ravaging our elk and deer herds and terrorizing our livestock. Their insatiable hunger drives them out of the woods to attack livestock and people. These are the true facts. If the number of wolves is not controlled in Wallowa County, walking our many trails will no longer be safe. We have had cattle on this land for more than 35 years and not one has ever killed until now."

Take that in for a while. Pretty hard to believe, isn’t it?

Just the Facts

After getting past my disbelief of reading such rhetoric, I considered a response. As I composed it in my head, I got caught up – as I often do – in an exercise of point-by-point fact-checking. 

    People will be attacked. Our trails won’t be safe?

    • In the last century, exactly 2 people have been killed by healthy wild wolves on the entire North American contient. No one has been so much as licked by a wild wolf in Oregon since they began returning home.

    Wolves are terrorizing livestock?

    • Income from the livestock industry has increased in Wallowa County every year since wolves returned and stats are available.
    • Of the 1.3 million cows in Oregon, 55,000 die each year before being shipped to the slaughterhouse from things like weather, disease, and domestic dogs. Last year, wolves killed 4 – one was illegally grazing on public lands. 
    • A single lightning strike in Wallowa County killed more cows in a herd managed by an OCA lobbyist than wolves in the entire state over the last 3 years combined.

    Wolves are ravaging elk and deer herds?

    Ms. Anderson’s cows haven’t killed in 35 years?

    • Maybe this isn’t what she meant, but that’s good news. After all, according to the CDC, cows kill about 22 people each year in America.

    Saying “these are true facts” doesn’t make it so. But these are real numbers from real sources. Click the links (and this one) to learn more.

    Values

    Then it occurred to me that pointing out obvious misinformation was missing the point. This wasn’t about facts and figures. It was about something else – fear, anger, a feeling of powerlessness…a radically different view of the natural world and our place in it.

    Though the letter seemed to come from a previous century, the perfect response had been written over 60 years earlier.

    In 2016, Ms. Anderson writes 

    “The wolf is the most destructive animal on Earth.' Of what value are they?”

    In 1953*, Aldo Leopold wrote:

    “The last word in ignorance is the [wo]man who says of an animal or plant, 'What good is it?' If the land mechanism as a whole is good, then every part is good, whether we understand it or not. If the biota, in the course of aeons, has built something we like but do not understand, then who but a fool would discard seemingly useless parts? To keep every cog and wheel is the first precaution of intelligent tinkering...

    "Harmony with land is like harmony with a friend; you cannot cherish his right hand and chop off his left. That is to say, you cannot love game and hate predators... The land is one organism.”

    I hate to wordsmith one of America’s greatest writers. However, I might quibble with one word choice. "Ignorance" is accurate and it’s validating. But it’s incomplete. 

    We’re all ignorant when it comes to the natural world. Even the simplest landscape is infinitely complex. It defies complete understanding. To admit as much takes humility. And humility is a rare trait indeed.

    Humility doesn’t sit well with those who  believe the world and all the things in it are here for our immediate and exclusive benefit and exploitation. It’s hard to accept for those who believe America’s greatest days included sanitizing the landscape of anything wild, native, inconvenient, or outside our control. 

    Those who need certainty are easy prey for those who simply state - and repeat - “these are true facts”.

    Here We Are…

    There are reasonable disagreements to be had on many aspects of wildlife conservation and management. Making choices based on uncertainty is difficult enough. Making sound choices based on things that are objectively untrue is at best a matter of chance.

    If we don’t start from a shared set of facts, it’s hard to move forward together. But we live in a world where it’s easy to insulate ourselves from anything that challenges our pre-existing biases. Even presidential candidates can get away with picking and choosing their own versions of facts and history.

    Whether it’s denying climate change, pretending the Federal Government doesn’t have authority over public lands, or believing our current president is secretly a muslim terrorist, anyone can find someone to validate their wildest biases. 

    As an aside, I can’t help but chuckle that the source for the "true facts" in Ms. Anderson’s letter is a book written by a guy named Ted B. Lyon. (If you don’t get the joke, say it out loud!)

    When it comes to wolves, there’s an entire campaign of purposeful misinformation and fear. Exhibit A is a recent ghost written op-ed from the livestock industry that attempts to “set the record straight” on wolves before objectively re-writing history (here’s the counter-argument). Glen Beck obsessively rants about the nefarious sounding Agenda 21. The Koch bros funded a documentary whose main premise was that OR-7 is part of that vast conspiracy.

    There is much to celebrate about the communities of the rural West. However they can be incredibly insular. It can be easy here to truly believe wolves are a threat. Conservationists must only advocate for their recovery to destroy rural America and get rich. If polls are to be believed, the majority of Americans who value native wildlife must be out of touch or themselves against the values of "Real America.

    …And There We Go

    Our decisions – personal and political – are far better when they have a foundation in facts and science and an accurate account of history. But they’re also driven by a blend of values, emotions, and our own experiences.

    Emotions can drive us off-track. We don't all share the same values. But if we don’t agree on the most basic facts – the sky is blue, the earth is round, wolves are a native species that generally don’t harm people – it’s difficult to see us moving forward in a constructive manner. 

    That’s why it’s frustrating to see decisions in Salem made based on anecdote, myth, and politics masquerading as fact. It’s frustrating to see those who mislead and willfully misunderstand - those who bully and lie - rewarded by leaders whose job it is to represent all Oregonians. 

    A little humility can go a long way. We don't know everything. So when it comes to making choices based on imperfect information, I'm with Aldo. Conservative and conservation share a common root word. When it comes to our wildlife, it makes sense to me to be humble and apply a conservative and cautious approach.

    Living in a beautiful place like Wallowa County, it can be easy to forget just how much we've destroyed, and take what’s left for granted. But what is wild is precious. And it is increasingly rare. There are plenty of landscapes with roads, feedlots, and nothing nearly so wild as a wolf. 

    But living here and rapidly approaching 40, I can say – as Aldo did – 

    “I am glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in.”

    If future generations are to be able to say the same, we can’t take what’s left of the wild for granted. 

    Antiquated prejudices and fear-mongering may be easy to dismiss. But if they simply lead to eye-rolling, they are dangerous things indeed.

    * As noted on the Oregon Wild Facebook page, Aldo Leopold died in 1948. However his essay "Round River: From the Journals of Aldo Leopold" which (as far as I can tell) was first published in 1953. *

    Rogue Pack: The Next Generation

    By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Aug 01, 2016.

    As we've been preparing for this second annual Crater Lake Wolf Rendezvous (learn more here), exciting news came out for wolves in the Crater Lake region. Last week we were introduced to Journey's third litter of Rogue Pack pups, and the newly dubbed Silver Lake wolves, in trail cam photos from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Rogue Pack Pups!    OR7 AKA Journey

    The other exciting news is that OR3 and OR28 have had at least one pup and are now dubbed the Silver Lake wolves. OR3 is an 8-year old male who, like Journey, dispersed from the Imnaha pack in eastern Oregon. This family has been dubbed the Silver Lake wolves. They are not currently considered an official “pack,” which requires evidence of at least four wolves traveling together in winter.

    OR3 and pup! OR3 and pup... seconds later

    There is still a lot of work to be done to assure continued wolf recovery in Oregon, and we will need your help to keep it on track. However, we are excited to share news like as evidence that your continued interest and support has made moments like this possible.

    Want to learn more about Oregon’s wolves? Check out the new Pacific Wolf Family webpage to learn more about the history of wolves in the Pacific Northwest, and detailed information on all the packs in Oregon, Washington, and California!

    So how do we get Oregon back on track for wolf recovery? That will be the topic of discussion at wolf forums in Eugene and Portland this month. Join us as we explore the successes and setbacks of wolf recovery with a panel of conservation experts, political insiders, and wildlife advocates. Congressmen Peter DeFazio will be kicking off the Eugene event on August 16th and Congressman Earl Blumenauer will be speaking at the Portland event August 24th. 

    RSVP for Eugene (Aug 16) RSVP for Portland (Aug 24)
    Tags: 
    Photo Credits: 
    US Fish and Wildlife Service

    Crow Feather Farm

    By Ellen Rifkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Jul 31, 2016.

    Beyond Toxics is publicizing local gardens friendly to our increasingly fragile population of pollinators. In this blog we visit Jessica Jackowski’s garden in Eugene. Along a path at Crow Feather Farm, borage blossoms unfurl in spirals. A honeybee dances among them, then attaches herself upside down to a nectar-rich mini-grotto, proboscis sucking up sweetness. A... Read more »

    The post Crow Feather Farm appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    Urban Growth Boundaries

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Jul 28, 2016.

    20160728
    1000 Friends Staff and Board
    Thu, 07/28/2016 - 12:20pm

    It's time to double down on their protection

    You may already know UGBs are the single most contested aspect of Oregon’s land use planning program. UGBs make Oregon different by giving landowners certainty, shaping our cities and towns, and enabling our agricultural economy to thrive without risk of urban sprawl. Today UGBs face a pressing threat: special interests are claiming they drive up housing costs.

    read more

    A Diverse Portland-Metro Area

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Jul 28, 2016.

    20160728
    Andrew Riley
    Thu, 07/28/2016 - 12:10pm

    Still Experiencing Stark Disparities

    Metro's latest Regional Snapshot makes it clear: the Portland region is growing more diverse every year. Communities of color now make up over a quarter of the metro area's population, but still experience stark disparities.

    read more

    A Special Privilege

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Jul 28, 2016.

    20160728
    Jason Miner
    Thu, 07/28/2016 - 12:00pm

    Oregon Wineries and Commercial Activity

    Over three legislative sessions and in innumerable conversations in Salem from 2011 to 2013, 1000 Friends championed protecting farmland for farming alongside vintners and winemakers. Wine industry leaders worked to define what are and are not acceptable practices on wine lands. People often say the devil is in the details, and some of the most detailed work on this issue has been defining when commercial activities on farmland go too far.

    read more

    Reflections from the Wallowa Wolf Rendezvous

    By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jul 28, 2016.

    Oregon Wild Wallowa Wolf Rendezvous participants Gabriella Diaz and Brenda Kameenui, with a 360 degree video (below) by Ben Prindle

    Gabriella Diaz

    It was Oregon Wild’s 7th annual Wolf Rendezvous that brought me to eastern Oregon for the first time. Driving on highway 82 into Enterprise, you descend into the small town with the most breathtaking view of the Wallowa Mountains to the east. Known as the Alps of Oregon because of its jagged rows of snow covered peaks, the Wallowas range over 40 miles across the horizon and contain 18 peaks over 9,000 feet and several Wild and Scenic rivers. In the heart of the Wallowas lies Oregon’s largest wilderness area, Eagle Cap, that boasts over 350,000 acres of rugged, undeveloped country. This is where I’d be spending the next four days of what would be an incredibly unique and fascinating journey into wolf country and politics

    The purpose of this trip was to gain an understanding and appreciation of plight of gray wolves in Oregon. At the time, it had only been weeks since a ten year old wolf known as OR-4, his pregnant mate, and their two pups were shot dead from a helicopter due to repeated cattle depredations. This hurt, knowing the wolf population in the entire state of Oregon to be roughly 106, a delicate tribe without much protection since gray wolves had been delisted from the state Endangered Species Act in November 2015. To be honest, after what had happened since November, I was doubtful we’d see a wolf, but given the chance it was absolutely worth a try. 

    We met our fearless leaders Rob Klavins, Wally Sykes, and Lena Spadacene at our base camp in the foothills of the Wallowas. After meeting our Rendezvous group, we hiked to an outcrop that overlooked this great expanse of land: the agricultural community laid below us, to the east was Zumwalt Prairie and just beyond that was Hells Canyon and the Blue Mountains. The view was so clear you could see Idaho and Washington from where we stood! After getting oriented to the land and where we’d be going, we trekked back down to camp, eager to start our journey the next morning.  

    The next few days were a spectacular blur. On Friday we were out the door at 8am to meet with Roblyn Brown, Wolf Coordinator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. She dedicated her entire morning to speaking with us about wolf management, wolf biology, the collaring process, tracking systems, and more. She answered every question we voiced, and by the end we were brainstorming ways on how to better work together. When asked what was the most surprising thing she learned while working with wolves was, she responded that people can be awful, and that really resonated with me. What had Roblyn been through, not only in managing wolves, but the people who love and hate them as well?

    Later than evening we met with Wallowa County Commissioner Chair, Susan Roberts, at Barking Mad Farm. Susan was born and raised in Wallowa County and had seen wolves disappear and come back over the past several years. While her and I personally disagree on wolf management, we had a lively discussion on how the county has changed (or not) while we scarfed down a delicious homemade dinner prepared by Emily Klavins. Exhausted, we took a minute to see the sun set, and made our way back to camp for a warm fire. 

    The next day we met up with former U.S. Forest Service employee and ethno-biologist, Ralph Anderson for a guided tour of the Zumwalt Prairie, the largest remaining bunchgrass prairie in the country. This incredible piece of land is home to several different raptor species, elk, deer, coyotes, fox, and ground squirrels, among other creatures. Not only were we learning about the land and seeing some of the animals that live there, we also got to taste it! We tried Biscuitroot, wild onion, and a few other flowers and roots. 

    We eventually made our way up to an old Native American summer camp where we saw remnants of bark peeling, and the use of cambium as a food source. You could almost feel the old spirits walking with us, and I tried to imagined what the camp looked like hundreds of years ago. 

    For me, one of the highlights of this trip was going to a sacred spot on the lip of Hells Canyon, the country’s deepest river gorge (yes, deeper than the Grand Canyon!). It felt incredibly spiritual looking out over the ice carved land to the Blue Mountains, and reflecting on how and why I came to be there in the first place. It’s a moment I’ll never forget. 

     

     That Sunday morning was the official end of the Wolf Rendezvous, but with the option to stay and hike Hurricane Creek Trail just outside of Enterprise. Unsurprisingly, the entire group opted to stay! A word about this year’s Wallowa Wolf Rendezvous group; they were incredible. We all came from different walks of life but had one thing in common: our love of wolves and the natural world. To Linda and Dave, Kathy, Brenda, Ben, Megan, Mary, Rob, Ralph, Lena, Wally and Koda, thank you for making this trip what it was. It wouldn’t have been the same without you!

    As I reflect on my time in the Wallowas, I think about what the point was. Yes, it was to potentially see a wolf, yes it was to go to the epicenter of the wolf debate, and yes it was an opportunity to get different perspectives on this important wildlife issue. But it was also more than that. I think we all left with a renewed sense of hope for the future of Oregon’s wolves. Oregon Wild made it so that we must have these conversations without being disrespectful and name calling, we must talk openly about this issue and have debates with multiple stakeholders, and we must advocate for a future that includes wolves and cattle ranchers living in balance. Oregon Wild and Rob Klavins have done something incredible, and I couldn’t be more honored or proud to have been involved. 

    If you’re interested in signing up for the next Oregon Wild Wolf Rendezvous, check out our website at www.oregonwild.org. Many thanks to Mountain Rose Herbs and Oregon Wild for making this trip possible! 

    Brenda Kameenui

    The Wolf Rendezvous 2016 did not disappoint.  We didn’t see a wolf, but our group of 10 campers did experience all manner of wolfness:  biology, habitat, trail cam photos, scat, and Rob Klavins’ terrific wolf call.  The ODFW wolf biologist drove from La Grande to devote a morning to our education.  A lifetime Wallowa County resident naturalist devoted a full day to our enjoyment of the Zumwalt Prairie, in full wildflower bloom and waving grasses, as well as the deep and glorious canyon west of Hells Canyon, in layers of ancient geology stacked in hues of green and gold.  Naturalist Ralph Anderson illuminated our understanding of early Nez Perce residents, dug allium root for a sweet and spicy taste test, and told us of spiritual customs that supported the tribe before they were removed from their beloved Wallowa homeland.

    From breakfast cooked by Oregon Wild staff, to staff naturalist interpretations, to a broader understanding of wolf and rancher behavior, this experience is a full 10!  We all felt privileged and well fed by the extraordinary beauty of Wallowa County and the sense that the ground we walked on was shared by a lofty predator that roams the area.  Hats off to Oregon Wild for tireless efforts to return the wolf to the ecosystem and cycle where it belongs. 

    Photo Credits: 
    Rob Klavins, Gabriella Diaz, video by Ben Prindle

    Volunteer Spotlight: Martha, SE Portland Neighborhood Coordinator

    By Randi Orth from Growth Rings. Published on Jul 27, 2016.

    Today I introduce you to Martha: Neighborhood Coordinator to SE Portland’s Laurelhurst neighborhood and all-around amazing member of our Tree Team. [But before I get too far, if you don’t know what a Neighborhood Coordinator is and why they make our Neighborhood Trees planting events successful year after year, get in the know!] Recently, Martha and I talked about trees, […]

    Join One of NWEI’s Upcoming Webinars!

    By Deborah McNamara from Northwest Earth Institute. Published on Jul 27, 2016.

    We believe the solution to the planet’s biggest challenges lies in the power of collective action – which is why we’ve just launched a brand new EcoChallenge.org! The new site gives you the tools and inspiration to reduce your impact… Read More!

    The post Join One of NWEI’s Upcoming Webinars! appeared first on Northwest Earth Institute.

    “Herbicides as a Last Resort” – A County Policy Ignored, Never Defined and Never Implemented

    By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Jul 26, 2016.

    Beyond Toxics was one of the members of a Lane County Roadside Integrated Vegetation Management Plan Stakeholders group. The IVMP stakeholder group was very diverse, with members ranging from the Lane County Farm Bureau to NCAP to ODA to Beyond Toxics. The reason I agreed to join the IVMP stakeholder group was to tackle the... Read more »

    The post “Herbicides as a Last Resort” – A County Policy Ignored, Never Defined and Never Implemented appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    Living Legends: Jack Broome & Althea Pratt

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Jul 26, 2016.

    By Larry McClure, Tualatin Life Behind the big hedge next to the WES station you can barely see Tualatin’s only building on the National Register of Historic Places, the 1858 Sweek House. John and Maria Sweek and descendants made a permanent mark on early city history.  But it is two residents in this remarkable house

    Elected Officials Race in Canoes and Kayaks August 6, 2016

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Jul 25, 2016.

    The winner is… Tigard City Councilor John Goodhouse. Also participating (L to R) … State Rep Joe Gallegos Jen Nelson, Tualatin Soil & Water Conservation District Forest Grove City Councilor Victoria Lowe Mark Jockers, Clean Water Services Washington County Commissioner Roy Rogers Tigard City Councilor John Goodhouse (winner) Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten Team Gallegos Tualatin […]

    A New Life in a Different World

    By Bryan Kurz from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jul 25, 2016.

    It’s hard to describe exactly what Opal Creek is without experiencing it for yourself. For me […]

    Beautiful Evening + Community = Great Stories of Watershed Health

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Jul 19, 2016.

    Last month, twenty Kellogg Creek neighbors joined The Wetlands Conservancy and The North Clackamas Urban Watersheds Council (NCUWC) for a summer evening potluck. The picturesque, streamside Cavalier HOA park in Milwaukie provided the background for a night of storytelling. Long-time residents and watershed newcomers shared their overall appreciation of the place they all call home

    The Wetlands Conservancy Re-Accreditation Public Comment Period

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Jul 19, 2016.

    The Wetlands Conservancy received accreditation from the Land Trust Alliance five years ago and is applying for renewal of our accreditation in September 2016. Accreditation recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust, and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. Accredited land trusts meet national quality standards for protecting

    Newell Creek Headwaters Restoration

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Jul 19, 2016.

    The headwaters of Newell Creek are located at the Environmental Learning Center on Clackamas Community College Oregon City campus. Newell Creek makes its way to the Willamette through 1,800 acres of intact green space, the largest in the South Portland metro area.  Newell Creek Canyon is home to deer, Pacific wren, pileated woodpeckers, varied thrush, coyotes and

    Remembering Deb

    By aberman from News. Published on Jul 09, 2016.

    Deb Sheaffer, Portland Audubon’s Wildlife Veterinarian, passed away on July 5, just a little more than a month after she learned that the cancer she had battled so bravely last summer had returned. Our deepest condolences go out to Deb's husband Ron, her children, Nate and Mary, and all those who knew and loved her.

    We Need Resilient Forests

    By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Jun 30, 2016.

    “Timber’s Cover-Up” tells the forest story and offers solutions … in 4 minutes Recently, I had lunch in the employee cafeteria of an international corporation based in Lane County. I was somewhat amazed, but pleased, to see efforts to celebrate Farm Worker Appreciation Week. There were large colorful posters of farm workers and glossy brochures. ... Read more »

    The post We Need Resilient Forests appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    The First Every YIMBY Conference

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Jun 29, 2016.

    20160629
    Madeline Kovacs
    Wed, 06/29/2016 - 12:10pm

    Yes in my Back Yard is gaining steam

    Earlier this month, Portland for Everyone staff attended the first ever “YIMBY” (Yes in My Backyard!) conference, convened in Boulder, Colorado. YIMBY groups are popping up across the country in response to mounting housing shortages, resulting in insufficient housing supply and steeply climbing rents.

    read more

    Meet the 2016 Summer Interns!

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Jun 29, 2016.

    20160629
    Tim Kerkhove and Elise Nelson
    Wed, 06/29/2016 - 11:30am

    The Gerhardt and DukeEngage Interns are here

    1000 Friends of Oregon is pleased to introduce our summer interns. If these two are any indication of our future leaders, we will all be better for it.

    Tim Kerkhove - 2016 Gerhardt Intern

    read more

    Greater Protections Sought for Threatened Marbled Murrelets in Oregon

    By aberman from News. Published on Jun 21, 2016.

    Conservation groups submitted petitions today asking the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and the Oregon Board of Forestry to take new measures to better identify and protect important forest areas for protected marbled murrelets.

    Green Building Certification Just Got Less Green

    By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 21, 2016.

    Many Oregonians pride themselves on the state’s environmental record and ongoing sustainability efforts. One element of this commitment is demonstrated through the increasing popularity of green building standards that promote energy and resource-efficient projects. The US Green Building Council (USGBC), through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification, is the most widely used rating system.

    Unfortunately, thanks to some Oregon politicians and the timber industry, LEED Certification has become a little less green and a little more greenwashed.

    LEED-certified buildings are awarded points for various aspects on their design and construction. Depending on the total points, projects can receive a designation of Certified, Silver, Gold, with a Platinum rating being the highest.  Points are awarded for, among other factors, energy efficiency, water conservation, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and sustainably sourced materials.

    And it’s the sustainably sourced materials aspect of LEED that has made Oregon’s timber interests grouchy. You see, until recently, the US Green Building Council did not acknowledge a majority of the wood products from Oregon’s private forests as sustainable and ecologically friendly enough to warrant any points. This is because the program used by a majority of Oregon’s private forestland operators – The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) – is by and large meaningless. Other certification programs, like those provided by the Forest Stewardship Council, work to prohibit harvest of rare old-growth forest, prevent loss of natural forest cover, and prohibit highly hazardous chemicals. These values are not required by SFI, which was crafted by the logging industry and designed to meet minimum state law requirements. Essentially, if you’re obeying the law, you get an SFI certification. And even if you break the law, SFI does not revoke its seal of approval, nor does it make any effort to authenticate or police SFI certified forest operations.

    So, despite the fact that SFI and Oregon’s weak forest laws have contributed to over a half a million acres of deforestation since 2000, led to steep declines in wildlife populations, result in the regular contamination of drinking water, and have destroyed hundreds of miles of fish habitat, Oregon politicians like former-Governor John Kitzhaber and Congressman Kurt Schrader spent years trying to force the USGBC to lower its sustainability standards. The Oregon Forest Resource Institute (OFRI), the tax-funded pseudo-governmental propaganda arm of the clearcutting industry, lobbied for lower standards as well (although they don’t refer to it as lobbying because they are legally forbidden from doing so). 

    While this effort has been cheered on by logging corporations, it has been very disturbing to smaller woodlot owners practicing actual sustainable forestry (which some now call ‘biodiverse forestry,’ recognizing the term ‘sustainable’ is being perverted by the clearcutting industry). These landowners have been working to find a way to balance stewardship with new, environmentally sensitive forestry techniques. A dumbing-down of green building standards would essentially push them out of a niche market, and eliminate their incentive to do the right thing.

    Sadly, Oregon politicians finally prevailed over these small business owners and actual sustainability. Earlier this year, Rep. Kurt Schrader proudly announced LEED recognition of SFI

    This was a missed opportunity. Rather than working with forestland owners to improve practices to better protect fish, wildlife, and clean drinking water, Oregon has championed lowering the bar. There are many forestland owners that would like to do the right thing, but the resources aren’t available to educate them. Some of OFRI’s budget currently used to run tax dollar-funded ads during the Superbowl could instead help foresters become enrolled in sustainability certification programs that take forest conservation more seriously.

    When people see a LEED-certified building, they expect environmental leadership. Clearcut hillsides, poisoned drinking water, dead fish, and landslides are not leadership. SFI and Oregon’s weak logging rules are not leadership. Our state and our forests deserve better. Tell Rep. Kurt Schrader that LEED-certification must go beyond SFI and Oregon’s Forest Practices Act. Constituents can contact Rep. Schrader via his website. Others can leave a comment on his Facebook page.  

    For more information, here is a comparison between FSC and SFI

    Photo Credits: 
    SFI clearcuts by Francis Eatherington

    Oregon Appeals Court Set to Rule on Plan to Sell off Elliott State Forest

    By aberman from News. Published on Jun 15, 2016.

    The Oregon Court of Appeals is set to decide the legality of a 788-acre timber sale on the Elliott State Forest following a court hearing last Friday.

    Groups Plan to Sue over Pacific fisher

    By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jun 14, 2016.

    KS Wild was joined by several conservation groups who plan to sue the federal government for backtracking on more than a decade's worth of studies when it failed this spring to list the Pacific fisher as a threatened species, saying isolated populations, including those in southwest Oregon, warrant protection.

    Oregon's Toxic Air and Poisoned Water

    By Jason from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

    Oregon has a problem with toxic air and poisoned water.

    You’ve probably seen the headlines about Portland’s air and lead in the drinking water of schools, but the problem goes beyond that. Rural Oregonians in the Coast Range and beyond have been dealing with issues like these for decades. It’s bad enough that the logging industry mars the landscape with endless clearcuts. It’s even worse that residents have to fight to stop drifting pesticides from contaminating their air and drinking water. While Oregon’s leaders have pledged action to help Portland residents, rural Oregonians are at risk of being left behind.

    The 5th generation loggers and mill operators at Hyla Woods are the latest victims of drifting aerial spray, reporting a pesticide exposure they experienced on their forest-land as a helicopter sprayed a nearby clear-cut. Peter Hayes, former Board of Forestry member and owner of Hyla Woods is quoted in the story saying:

    “I think we need to take a hard look at the current practice. Too often, it degrades the things we have in common: our air and water. Too often it has impact on other people’s lands. We need to take a solid look at it.”

    At Oregon Wild, we couldn’t agree more! Unfortunately, the Oregon Legislature and Board of Forestry have been unable to reform our weak forest laws in recent years.As a first step in our efforts to reform state forest laws that allow aerial spraying of chemicals and intensive clearcutting, we've been testing the waters with ballot initiatives. As you might guess, King Clearcut has blocked reform at every turn - and, as expected, the timber industry is fighting us now. Lobbyists for Oregon’s clearcutting industry are challenging our efforts through the Oregon Supreme Court. Apparently they don’t like the idea of these practices being exposed to every Oregon voter in a voters pamphlet and would rather keep it in the dark.

    Whether through ballot measures, legislation, or other means, rest assured we will continue to defend the values of Oregonians demanding a right to clean air and water. The deep pockets of the timber industry, and their army of lawyers and lobbyists won’t keep us from fighting for Oregon, but it is vital that you make your voice heard in Salem!

    If you haven't already, tell Governor Kate Brown that it is time to reform Oregon’s harmful logging practice by signing our petition today!

    Photo Credits: 
    Doug Heiken, Tim Giraudier

    New and updated materials now available for Oregon Desert Trail

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jun 13, 2016.

    New tools and updated information are now available to help plan adventure on the Oregon Desert Trail, a 750-mile route through Oregon’s high desert.

    Detective Work in the Ancient Forest

    By Claudia Christensen Garcia from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jun 10, 2016.

    I moved to Jawbone Flats in March with the understanding that I would spend the spring […]

    A refuge for wildlife... or potatoes?

    By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 08, 2016.

    Decoys to scare away native wildlife. Workers dressed in hazmat suits spraying pesticides. Water diversions draining wetlands to irrigate industrial agriculture. Does this sound like a National Wildlife Refuge to you?

    If your answer is “no” you are not alone.  But this is exactly how the US Fish and WIldlife Service currently manages Lower Klamath and Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs).  Over the last several decades, they have favored private industrial agribusiness on refuge lands over the needs of wildlife and preserving remaining wetlands, causing the number of birds visiting this region drop to one-fifth their historic levels. The good news is we have an historic opportunity to reform management of these refuges, and protect America’s wildlife!

    Last spring, Oregon Wild and our allies won a legal battle over the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s refusal to develop a long overdue “Comprehensive Conservation Plan” for five of the Klamath Basin’s national wildlife refuges. These plans, mandated by a 1997 law, must ensure that commercial activities on refuge lands do not harm wildlife. While the vast majority of refuges nationwide have completed such plans, Bear Valley, Tule Lake, Clear Lake, and Lower Klamath national wildlife refuges have missed the deadline for adopting plans by 4 years.

    The development and implementation of conservation plans for these refuges provide an historic opportunity to reform their management, and to ensure the needs of bald eagles, tundra swans, sandhill cranes, and white pelicans take priority over the demands of highly subsidized agribusiness operations.  Today, more than 22,000 acres of National Wildlife Refuge lands in the Klamath is leased to private agribusiness, displacing wildlife, destroying wetlands, and wasting water.

    Conservation plans for the refuges could help restore balance to the region and help reduce or eliminate this shameful practice.

    The draft plan for these five refuges is now available for review and public comment. Please submit your comments today, and join us in making the case that eagles, ducks, and geese must take priority over agribusiness on refuge lands. Let’s help secure a better future for the Klamath’s spectacular wildlife!

    NOTE: US Fish and Wildlife are only accepting comments via their website. Some suggestions are listed below. It is vitally important that you do not let these extra steps discourage you from commenting! Even a few sentences makes a difference.

    In your comments, please let USFWS know that they should:

    • Prioritize the conservation and restoration of migratory birds, fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats within the refuges, and reduce or eliminate activities that harm these values.
    • Eliminate the leaseland agribusiness program and restore these lands to wetlands that are actually managed for wildlife.
    • Use all water rights owned by the US Fish and Wildlife Service for wildlife and wetlands first, not to support agribusiness.  It is unacceptable for wetlands and wildlife areas to be dried up while the USFWS allows full water deliveries to industrial agriculture on refuge lands.
    • Aggressively pursue programs to increase the amount of water available for wildlife, and use it to restore wetlands and improve conditions for native wildlife.

    Comments may be submitted here: http://1.usa.gov/1TOWrrR

    Or via regular mail:
    Public Comments Processing
    Attn: FWS-R8- NWRS-2016- 0063
    Division of Policy and Directives Management
    U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
    4401 N. Fairfax Drive, MS 2042-PDM
    Arlington, VA 22203

    Tags: 

    Summer Breezes at Opal Creek

    By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jun 06, 2016.

    Summer days are here again! Here’s what it takes to have the best Opal Creek experience this […]

    The Instability of Stability: Remembering Jack Ward Thomas

    By arran from Oregon Wild blogs. Published on Jun 02, 2016.

    On May 26, 2016, Jack Ward Thomas lost his battle with cancer. Thomas began his career with the U.S. Forest Service as a research wildlife biologist in 1966. He was one of the top scientists involved in the construction of the Northwest Forest Plan, the management framework that stopped the wholesale liquidation of Oregon's oldgrowth forests on national public lands and protected critical spotted owl and salmon habitat. He later became the 13th Chief of the USFS, serving from 1993-1996.

    Copied below is a speech from Thomas on the need to protect our national public lands.

    Speaking strictly for myself, I say that these are my lands and my lands are not for sale, not for giveaway, not for "devolvement." I asked my sons and they say the same. My grandchildren are too young to talk much--but they will learn to know and appreciate their heritage--if these lands are still theirs as citizens of the Republic. Of course, my grandchildren and their children to be born in 25 or so years have no voice today. So I speak for them now, for I believe that they deserve a chance to make some choices. The same choices that today's citizens were given by our ancestors.

    The Instability of Stability

    by Jack Ward Thomas

    Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation

    As I and my key staff suffered through all the acrimonious congressional hearings that have gone on this year--with more to come--I was struck with how many times the desire for "stability" or "predictability" of timber supply was mentioned by committee members and witnesses as an absolute necessity. The issue is at the forefront of the discussion of how national forests should be managed. The extensive, increasing and continious changes prevalent throughout western societies now becomes manifest in how natural resources are exploited. These continuing debates and changes shake the pillars of the temple of the faithful who chant many mantras with the same meaning--"non-declining even flow," "community stability," "annual sales quantity," "predictability." This refrain was manifest in hundreds of the responses that the Forest Service received to the proposed revised land use planning regulations published in the Federal Register "give us guaranteed results and assured stability." 

    The vision that I was taught in school of the "regulated forest" and the resultant predictable outputs of commodities has turned out to have been a dream. And a dream that could only be realized in a time of seemingly boundless virgin forests. This vision held only so long as, no matter what the circumstances, there was more timber available over the next ridge. And, that timber was relatively cheap--easy to access and long--and environmental risks were either less appreciated or more palatable than at present. Further, it was assumed that good forestry was--as a matter of course--good wildlife management, good watershed and management, etc. 

    By now it is becoming obvious that this dream was built on the pillars of the seemingly boundless virgin forest and an ethic of manifest destiny coupled with hubris of being able to predict the response of nature and humans. This was coupled with an inflated sense of understanding of forested ecosystems and of human control. Perhaps it is time to recognize that such stability is not attainable in any western region except for relatively short periods of years or decades. 

    Why? Consider the variables that interact to affect long-term stability of the supply of timber. Each variable is subject, more or less independently, to considerable variation over the longer term. Taken together, in terms of their interactions, these variables are guaranteed to produce varying levels of uncertainty and makes attainment of stability unlikely. 

    It is increasingly apparent that ecological processes are not as well understood nor as predictable as had been assumed by natural resource managers steeped in Clementsian ecological theory of orderly and predictable succession of plant communities from bare ground to a mature, steady state. Ecologists now understand that ecological responses to management actions may vary widely depending on the interactions of influences ranging from vagaries of climate to impacts from previously executed management activities. 

    Impacts of insect and disease in managed forests are not clearly predictable nor more than marginally or temporarily controllable. The levels of insect populations and diseases are influenced by the interactions of ecological processes and previous forest management actions. Such presents problems enough with native insects and pathogens. And, given an adequate timeframe, the continued exchange of forest pests and diseases between continents is certain. It is well to consider the consequences of such introductions that have already taken place such as chestnut blight, white pine blister rust, gypsy moth, to name a few. Methods of "control" are constantly evolving but the feasibility of such treatments are dependent on a number of factors including environmental effect, cost effectiveness, public acceptability and legality --all of which fluctuate. Only 25 years ago, DDT was being widely applied in the forest environment and was highly effective in suppressing some insect "outbreaks" and assumed to be benign in the environment. Times change. DDT is now banned from such use. 

    Fire seems less and less "controllable" or even manageable--at least not at the levels assumed in the past. Of course, fire is part and parcel of ecological processes. Debates now rage over appropriate policy toward fire control, the use of prescribed fire--and where, when, if and how to suppress wildfire. The extent and severity of wildfires that occurred several times in the past decade would not have been considered likely one or several decades ago. 

    Drought, perhaps another word for weather, comes periodically and is not highly predictable in terms of occurrence, duration, severity or influence. The interactions of weather extremes with other variables that affect the forests can be dramatic. For example, consider the interaction of the spruce budworm outbreak and severe drought in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. If global warming and its effects on weather patterns predicted by some scientists are borne out, there will be dramatic impacts on managers' ability to forecast commodity production. Others question the entire hypothesis. Uncertainty abounds. 

    Management actions have a pronounced effect on future forest conditions--this, of course, is expected. But, such management actions vary widely and treatments change quickly with the interactions of ecological understanding, markets, public acceptability, cost/benefit estimates, funding available and legality. And, management actions frequently do produce the results anticipated. Management actions take place with capabilities in risk assessment are rudimentary at best. 

    Funding is the fuel that drives most land management activities. The best laid out management plans can only be effective when executed by a qualified work force to the extent that funding allows. Experience has shown that funding for forest managment--at least on federal lands--has never come forth at anything approaching programmed levels. And, what funding is available have proven to be neither stable in amount nor in designated purpose. Funding amounts and focus change dramatically with the surges of political tides, the change of persons in power in key positions and the economic and social pressures of the moment. The trend to micro-management of federal land through the budget process by the Congress and the Administration, seems to be increasing inexorably over time. Perhaps the instability of natural resources management is one of the attributes of a vibrant democracy. 

    The presence of a stable work force of adequate size and with appropriate skills and sufficient experience in working within particular ecotypes and cultures is essential to any "stable" management approach. A work force that is in a constant state of flux due to budget shifts, uncertainty of policy, shifts in organizational structures and dramatic adjustments in size is not a work force that has the highest probability of producing predictable results. The last several years have been notable for dramatic change in work force numbers and skill mix--with significant losses among the most experienced personnel, declining budgets and changes in budget allocations that reflected changes in priorities. 

    Science continues an inexorable march toward "truth" or, at least, some better approximation thereof. Unfortunately, for the sake of predictability, in the course of this march new knowledge, understandings and hypotheses for management come even more rapidly to the fore. Inevitably, such proves perennially unsettling to the status quo and cause adjustments--sometime dramatic adjustments--in management approaches. Stability, thus, can only be maintained in the absence of new knowledge. And, in the longer term, achievement of some degree of stability will require a constant balancing act between new knowledge that increases yields and new knowledge that produces changes in or constraints on present practices. Unfortunately, this recognition has led some in political power to seek stability by means of limiting the acquisition, dissemination or use of new knowledge. 

    Closely related to development of new knowledge is the development of technology that will constantly produce new opportunities to conduct forest practices in better ways, obtain information and store and process data in new and more meaningful ways. Yet new technology, like new information, can cut both ways in terms of effect on stabaility. 

    Markets determine prices to be paid for commodities and, in turn, the feasibility and purpose of management for the production of wood fiber. Markets also influence the timing of the cutting of trees and the feasible intensity of management. Markets then produce both short- and long-term effects on forest management that have an unsettling effect on stability and form of supply. Local fluctuations in markets for wood products seem to be becoming even less predictable as timber markets become increasingly worldwide in scope. 

    Closely related to markets for wood are the effects of substitutability of other products for wood or stability. As wood prices increase, more and more substitutes for wood come into some markets which serve to constrain some wood prices at the margin. 

    Perhaps most influential of the variables that influence stability in forest management, and resultant timber cut levels, are shifts in perceived public opinions about what is appropriate forest management. Such is particularly focused as to what is appropriate management for the public's lands. Significant changes in public opinion can be noted over the past 50 years--with truly significant and intense shifts over the past 2-3 decades. These shifts are manifested in the laws with direct influence on federal land management that came into being over that period. Examples include the determined move by foresters to even-aged forest management in the period 1960-1985 and the subsequent retreat from "clearcutting" in the early 1990s. 

    These shifts in public opinions come to bear on land managers through politics. As the political pendulum has swung back and forth over the decades, associated effects on forest management and timber supply are obvious. Politics comes most obviously to bear in the enactment of laws that can and do have dramatic effect on forest management. the interactions of such laws as the Multiple-Use Sustained Yield Act, the National Forest Management Act, the Wilderness Act, the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and others that geometrically increase those effects have produced a situation where predictability of timber yield has been dramatically influenced. This predictability is also shaken by administrative actions of regulatory agencies exercising their authorities under these laws. Note the 80% reductions in timber yields from the public lands in the Pacific Northwest emanating from the decisions to list the northern spotted owl, the marbled murrelet and various species of salmon as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. Such listings, of course, were the result of the recognition of more complex social and environmental problems. 

    Of equal significance is the inexorable increase in the number of court cases and appeals emerging as a consequence of these laws and their interactions directed toward federal land management agency(s) actions. New court decisions are, in turn, rendered--often with dramatic influence on federal land management--on an ever-increasing rate. Each such court decision has potential to dramatically influence the predictability of timber supply and other multiple uses (grazing, fish and wildlife, recreation and water). 

    Added to this already fluid situation is the increasing propensity of both Administration and the Congress to micro-manage federal land management agencies' activities through the budget process. Budgets, after all, are very significant policymaking tools. It is increasingly common for the long-standing struggle for power between the Executive and Legislative bodies over federal land management to be played out in the form of increasingly detailed budget direction to land management agencies. And, it is becoming more common for the Congress to dramatically alter the effects of law(s) and evolved case law by giving contrary direction in legislative budget action with the caveat--"all other laws not withstanding." These "quick fixes," however, frequently cause far more problems in federal land forest management over the long term than they "fix" in the short term. The increasing acrimony of the debate over the advisability and approaches to carrying out the timber salvage and release of the "318 sales" mandated in the Rescission Bill of 1995 is another example. 

    The response by the various government agencies involved in attempting to carry out Administration and congressional budget direction in compliance with all the applicable laws that are constantly--and independently--subject to interpretation by the courts at these levels has been to evolve increasingly complex processes to try to lay out a path--a yellow brick road to the Emerald City--that will assure a managerial decision that will stand up to the judicial review that will, most assuredly, come. 

    These increasingly complex processes, in turn, produce a veritable minefield of potential violations of process that resource managers must avoid in any attempt to produce commodities in compliance with often conflicting laws and regulations and political direction. Any violation of process, no matter how slight, may well result in a judicial injunction. These complex processes--which become more complex with each court loss--require more and more sophisticated technical assessments of various kinds and more and more time to execute. And, thus, these processes become increasingly expensive in dollars and time. Managers, unfortunately but understandably, produce an atmosphere for managers that has become known as "risk aversion." This makes timber sales ever more expensive to execute and produces increasing difficulty in producing timber from federal lands with returns that are above costs needs careful examination as to the "benefits" that result from such increased sale preparation costs and difficulty--i.e., are better, more environmentally sensitive timber sales the result? 

    Given the myriad of interacting variables, it is time for concerned citizens and our leaders to accept the reality that the dream of a stable timber supply--and other "products"--from public lands is an illusion. Certainly, this conclusion is inevitable if the status quo is maintained. 

    If the stability or predictability of timber supply (or any other product) is deemed important, the picture painted here is a gloomy portrait. However, while stability seems likely to be considerably less certain than in the "good old days" when virgin forests and forest managers unknowing of consequences and with too much certitude buttressed the myth of stability, commodity production from federal lands could be much more predictable than at present. How? 

    Ecological processes are too complex to ever be fully understood. However, such understanding is being dramatically enhanced and can be accelerated with increased, or at least stable, levels of research effort. The trend toward using ecosystem management concepts in carefully defined contexts holds promise for dampening oscillations in forest management outputs caused by managerial attempts to sustain biodiversity by addressing "recovery"--one threatened or endangered species at a time. Oscillations in timber supply can be moderated by taking a conservative view of "annual sale quantity" projections as opposed to the tendency to make overly optimistic projections such as those that resulted in the first forest planning efforts of a decade or so ago. 

    It is becoming increasingly obvious that the overriding de facto policy for the management of federal lands has become the protection of biodiversity. That de facto policy has evolved through the interaction of laws, regulations, court cases and expedient administrative direction. This de facto policy, I believe, is the crux of the raging debate over the levels of commodity production that can be expected from the federal lands. Such a dramatically important policy should be recognized and examined closely by the American people, the President and the Congress. If that is the policy, it should be clearly stated, recognized openly and the consequences accepted. If such is not a desired national policy, that should be stated. In the recognition of this crux of the issue of federal land management and in a clear declaration of policy regarding preservation of biodiversity, lies one key to the "stability" debate. 

    The role of insect and disease in forest management could be addressed in a fashion more in tune iwth long-term effects. This would replace the more common management course of "control" efforts involving application of pesticides whose effects in overall ecological processes are poorly understood and are often found ineffective or environmentally unacceptable in the long term. Such a systems approach will require reconstitution of research and development efforts that have deteriorated over the past several decades. Much good thinking and planning have already gone into the design of such efforts. 

    The role of fire in forest ecosystems has been reevaluated at the federal policy level. It is clear that controlled fire has a part in forest management. But, past fire and forest management practices have helped produce situations in many areas of the west where many wildfires now burn too hot and too expansively to be ecologically, socially or politically acceptable. Therefore, it is essential to begin producing situations in managed forests wherein fire can plan an appropriate and immediate role. This will require a shift in management policy and a shift in management policy and a shift in management focus and funding priorities. It is well past time to face up to the costs of fire management. "Funding games" with the federal land management agency budgets in which true costs of firre control efforts are, at best, difficult to ascertain and, at worst, camouflaged should cease. These games make it appear that budgets for fire management are much lower than is actually the case. Fire management is routinely funded at too low a level to make proactive, effective management efforts possible. And, then, agencies are afforded an "open checkbook" to fight wildfires of a size and intensity to provide adequate political impact to open the checkbook. Such an approach is misleading in both terms of the actual resurces allocated to fire suppression management over the long term and in terms of making the best and most effective use of resources, of people and dollars. 

    Weather fluctuations cannot be controlled but can be recognized and anticipated as natural phenomena that occur--and on a recurring basis. Such occurrences are normal and are not an unnatural "disaster." And, if such fluctuations are considered as within the range of anticipated variability, anticipated consequences can be modeled into anticipated management outcomes. 

    Outcomes of management actions can be conservatively estimated with past experience as a guide. Insanity has been defined as doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. Decidedly, optimistic outcomes were the trademark of the first generation of forest plans. With decided regularity, this optimism has not been justified and only reluctantly recognized and abandoned. This caused the agency(s) performance, in terms of commodity production, to consistently come in at below anticipated levels--i.e., the predictions were not valid and belated recognition of that fact, in turn, caused additional instability because of accumulated effects. More conservative approaches are more apt to produce predictable results. And, if results exceed those anticipated, it is easier to adjust commodity yields upward than to deal with the social and political consequences of short fall. 

    Funding could be guaranteed over longer time frames. For example, steady funding for, say a 5-year period with enhanced ability to shift funds between budget line items at the land management agency head's discretion could add considerable stability to programs. This stability in funding is directly related to the maintenance of a stable and appropriately balanced work force. It would be likewise conducisive to stability of production if work force numbers and composition were predicated on work to be done and objectives achieved rather than on politically driven manipulations of the work force unrelated to the work to be done. Or, conversely, the work to be done should be adjusted to match funding and work force--and quickly. Doing "more with less" can only stretch so far as the corollary situation of doing "less with less" quickly sets in. 

    While the search for new understanding through science may produce short-term instabaility in commodities such as timber supply as managers react to new information, such efforts are essential to long-term stability if renewable natural resources are to be managed in a sustainable fashion. In the end, there can be no turning back from science--no matter now politicaly expedient that may seem in the short run. Given the inexorably increased human polulation with increasing per capita demands on natural resources, humans are engaged in a race between increasing knowledge to ensure the sustainability of renewable natural resouces and ultimate disaster. And, while the cost of the acquisition of understanding through science may seem expensive, that cost is minischule over the long term compared to the cost of ignorance. Yet, as a nation, we are stepping back from an already inadequate investment in such research and synthesis of extensive information for use in guiding management. 

    The continued development of technology is likewise essential to make better and more environmentally benign use of forested lands that are available for timber production. The same is to be said for better and more varied uses for wood previously considered non-merchantable. These and other such developments can help increase the efficiency in use of timber yields and thus offset the constraints on wood supply that come about for other reasons. Efficiency in the harvest and processing of wood and in resuse (recycling) of wood fiber should be considered as valuable--or more valuable--than increased wood production. 

    The effects of shifts in markets for timber can be somewhat stabilized by allowing land management agencies more flexibility in when and how timber is marketed. Selling timber at a relatively continuous rate regardless of current Arice would seem irrational to any private land owner and might seem equally ill-advised to land management agencies. Timber purchasers sometimes buy, for speculative reasons, the regular offerings of federal timber--which are offered regardless of market conditions--and cut these sales at a more opportune time. Withholding federal timber from the market during periods of inordinately low prices should produce pressure for increase in price and selling when the price is relatively high should produce forces that reduce price. The result should tend to be a market with dampened oscillations in price over time--which should, in turn, have a stabilizing influence. This should provide better opportunity for federal land managers to avoid "below cost" timber sales, which would tend to stabilize the political discourse that surges around this complex issue; discourse which is often times over simplified. Timber sales could be readied at a relatively continuous rate and marketed at appropriate times in order to assure a stable work force and a mechanism to respond rapidly to market conditions. 

    Substitutability of other products for the use of wood, over the long term, may well be based on comparative advantage in terms of environmental costs and consequences of production. Ot the extent that wood can be produced in a sustainable and aesthetically acceptable fashion, it should have a significant edge in the market relative to substitutes over much of the developed world. That, over the longer term, can also influence the stability of "market share" for wood products. 

    Public opinion seems to be increasingly polarized about the management of federal lands and leads to potentially wider swings in the politics surrounding these issues. This volatility could be dampened by concerted efforts to bring voices of moderation into the debate to provide credible alternatives to the "spin doctors" that make a living by and through dissemination of propaganda and the creation and exacerbation of conflict. These gladiators get paid to win, not to search out consensus. The Forest Service played the role of moderation in the past and could do so again given proper policy direction by the administration and the Congress. So long as the land management agencies operate in an arena where national policy is unclear and federal land management agencies serve as "designated punching bags" for the gladiators, the melee will continue. In clearly stated national policy for management of public lands lies enhanced stability. And, the Forest Service (among other agencies) given portfolios and funding to take "the bully pulpit" for natural resources management that executes a clearly stated national policy in a sustainable manner could play the agency's historic role as a conservation leader. 

    It is time to acknowledge that this nation has come to a point where the interacting forces of the myriad of laws and regulations that come to bear on federal land management plus the constant upsets in balance that occur with decisions in court case after court case have produced a situation antithetical to predictability and stability of federal land management. 

    The applicable laws should be evaluated, in total and restructured to remove conflicts while radically simplifying management processes. More "quick fixes" of amendments to various acts seem likely to cause instability over the long term. Changes, piece meal, inapplicable laws could cause even more problems due to the upset in the balance of the myriad case law. Perhaps it is time for a resurrection of the concept embodied in the Public Land Law Review Commission. The efforts of that commission, in the late 1960s, indicated significant problems and solutions which were never significantly addressed by the political process. And, it is important to recognize that most of the environmental laws which impact so significantly and disproportionately on the federal lands were enacted since that time. This is not time for timidity. The situation is producing increasing polarization in concerned citizenry and conflicts in public land management which, in turn, produces increasing frustration in the body politic. This could lead to poorly considered and sweeping changes in the responsibility for or methods of public land management or both. 

    Administrative findings of regulary agencies concerning proposed management activities by land management agencies produce situations where equally or better well-qualified experts in management agencies can be and are second guessed by colleagues in regulatory agencies. This can be disruptive, redundant, irritating and expensive duplication of effort. For example, might it be preferable for regulatory agencies to produce or approve recovery plans for threatened or endangered species in cooperation with management agencies--and, then, leave the responsibility for plan execution to the land management agencies. The current situation increasingly amounts to joint management of federal lands by management and regulatory agencies. Though such is working somewhat better over time--the situation should be reevaluated with an eye to reducing redundancy, some increases in efficiency assured (i.e., costs reduced) and time of project execution minimized. 

    Court rulings are proliferating and creating continuing chaos in trying to carry out land management activities. Agency decisionmakers spend as much or more time with lawyers than with natural resource management personnel. Of course, such is a part of what has evolved as the "American way" of increasing solution to disagreement through litigation. And, of course, agencies should obey the law. That is not my point. The laws might be changed to provide that the lower in a legal action pays the cost of the winner--particularly if the judge considers the plaintiff's case to be frivolous. In present circumstances, the government pays if it loses but the reverse is not true, i.e., the plaintiff does not pay costs if they lose. In fact, the government sometimes pays the plaintiff even when the government wins depending on the opinion of the presiding judge. This provides incentive to sue the government and no significant disincentive (i.e., no penalty--and, perhaps, a reward for losing) for such actions. Some lessening of court cases would contribute to enhanced stability. 

    Micro-management of agency activities by both executive and legislative branches of government are somewhat antithetical to a stable management program. In terms of Congress, such micro-management is commonly carried out through the budget process with detailed instructions that change from year to year and election to election. Laws are made and dismantled without much public disclosure in instructions put forth through the budget--including "earmarking" of funds to projects of individual congressmen and senators. If Congress and the public truly want "stability" and "predictability" in land management agency programs, it should be recognized that much--perhaps most--of the instability can be traced directly to Congress in the interaction of the "crazy quilt" of laws and regulations and budget instructions produced. Micro-management exacerbates already serious ills. 

    The avoidance, or at least diminution, of contrary direction to land management agencies from the executive and legislative branches of government is critical to enhanced stability. Such conflicting instructions put the management agencies squarely between a "rock and a hard place." Unfortunately, the public does not understand the agency's dilemma and puts blame on the agencies for the results of the strife between executive and legislative branches. To the extent that such struggles can be moderated, increased stability and predictability in land management can be anticipated. 

    Complex processes that have evolved to deal with too much uncoordinated law, too much uncoordinated regulation, that require too much interagency involvement can and should be simplified. Dramatically reducing and simplifying these proceses, while maintaining the intent of the laws upon which they were built, will contribute to channeling the energies of natural resource management agencies away from process and toward focus on achieving on-the-ground results that the public (or Congress and the administration) expects and the agency(s) strive to provide. The intent of any process should be to provide logical mechanisms for achievement of a defined objective. Agencies lose few lawsuits over the technical aspects of natural resource management. Lawsuits that produce losses for land management agencies most frequently focus on the details of adherence to process--with rules that change with the results of each lawsuit. The result has been the evolution of the "appeal proof" or "suit proof" process with documentation covering every possible aspect of consideration in great detail. "Suit proofing" wasn't the aim of the National Forest Management Act nor the Endangered Species Act. The aim was to produce a better job of land management. The original intent has, in my opinion, been perverted. Risk aversion can be an expensive management style. 

    So, while "stability" in timber supply (or any other supply) cannot be assured--improvements could and should be made. As natural resource managers, we stand on a slippery slope where we dare not stay. The evolving situation is politically, economically and ecologically untenable. We must seek and find firmer ground. 

    The assorted frustrations associated with public land management have come to a point that serious consideration is being given by Congress to transferring ownership of these lands or the "development" of their management to the states or other entities. This is a debate that could bear dramatically on stability. 

    In a hearing earlier this year before a House budget committee, the chairman asked for my opinion as to the appropriateness of "devolving" the ownership or management of the National Forests. I asked for his permission to answer that question from two perspectives--as Chief of the Forest Service and as an individual citizen of the republic. That permission was granted. 

    Answering as Chief, I spoke of the same ideas and concepts that were put forward by Gifford Pinchot and twelve later chiefs that followed him and preceded me. Their rationale are a clear part of the conservation history of our country and need not be repeated here. 

    Instead, I will talk about my individual answer. Perhaps each of you can think of what your answer would have been. And, while doing that, consider the stability of other aspects of management on the public's lands--water, recreation, fish and wildlife, livestock, grazing, mining, etc. What is your personal stake in these questions. 

    I was born and raised in central Texas--a state with minimal amounts of public land. Hunting and fishing and just wandering the woods was my passion--as it is today. But, any such endeavor required asking, even begging permission to go into the woods--or sneaking, I become highly adept at all three. 

    Once physically grown, I went off to Texas A&M with the dream of being a wildlife biologist. Upon graduation, I found work with the Texas Game & Fish Commission and, for 10 years, was instrumental in establishing and fostering wildlife management on private land--and its commercialization. We were successful beyond our wildest dreams. But, I never set foot on private property to hunt or fish without asking permission or by paying a fee. 

    Then, I went to work for the Forest Service and, for the first time in my life, set foot on a national forest--land that belonged to me and to every other citizen of the United States. I thought I had encountered heaven on earth. The land was my land and no one and no sign said to me "posted, keep out." The days of begging permission and paying to get past those signs were over. 

    What an incredible inheritance from our forebearers. These lands are an inheritance like no other people in the world posses. How unique that is in the human experience and how incredibly precious. I ponder much on that as I move closer to the end of my life and farther from the beginning. I think much about what we will leave behind for the people of the United States. 

    Yet, there are those who say the nation cannot afford to maintain that inheritance. My response is, how can we not afford sustaining that heritage. These lands are part of America's culture--the only such lands that the vast majority of us will ever own. Ten percent of the American people control 90 percent of the national wealth. Is that not enough? Can we have nothing of our great inheritance for the American people at large? Can anyone seriously believe that "development" of ownership or mangement of the nation's land will not bring the day closer of those "keep out" signs springing up around the borders of what was once our land? 

    When the 191,000,000 acres were placed in the national forest system they were lands of little value. Some of those lands, particularly east of the Mississippi, had been seriously mistreated. Then, over the next 100 years, these very same lands have become incredibly--too valuable, some believe, for the American people at large to own. If these lands have increased so much in value in 100 years, it is not too difficult to imagine how valuable those lands will be in another 100 years. By then, it is likely that our nation's population, given current trends, will have doubled and, perhaps, redoubled. If those lands are worth gold today they will be worth diamonds in another 100 years. That is not the question. The question is who will own and control these lands? 

    To say we, as a people, cannot afford those lands is to say that we would "devolve" our heritage and our inheritance for a mess of potage. Speaking strictly for myself, I say that these are my lands and my lands are not for sale, not for giveaway, not for "devolvement." I asked my sons and they say the same. My grandchildren are too young to talk much--but they will learn to know and appreciate their heritage--if these lands are still theirs as citizens of the Republic. Of course, my grandchildren and their children to be born in 25 or so years have no voice today. So I speak for them now, for I believe that they deserve a chance to make some choices. The same choices that today's citizens were given by our ancestors. 

    I ended by saying to the congressman, "Speaking for me, my children, my grandchildren, I object." The congressman asked, "Why do I think your answer as Chief was "no" and your personal answer is "hell no!?" 

    So, while citizens consider questions of stability and of viable communities, it is well to ponder an even deeper question. What role do the national forests and other public lands play in the culture of our nation and, perhaps more important, in the culture and economy of our region and states? I cannot conceive of America without national forests. The most destabilizing act I can visualize for good wildland natural resource management is America is the "devolvement" of the national forests and other public lands. But, perhaps, I am too steeped in Forest Service traditions and too emotionally and viscerally attached to these lands that I own in common with all Americans. Perhaps, but, I don't think so. I certainly don't feel so. 

    Every American should consider the facts swirling around the issues of "devolvement" and your feelings and have your answer and response ready as the debate begins. 

    It is time to realize that assuring a completely stable supply of commodities from public lands is a desire and planning goal that cannot be realized under present circumstances. And, while achieving that goal is not possible, the situation could be improved. Those improvements will require significant changes in present management under present circumstances. But, improvement--significant improvement--is feasible. 

    In summary, the timber supply from federal lands is one drought, one insect and disease outbreak, one severe fire season, one election, one budget, one successful appeal, one loss in court, one listing of a threatened or endangered species, one new piece of pertinent scientific information, one change in technology, one shift in public opinion, one new law, one loss of a currently available technological tool, one change in market, one shift in interest rates, et al, away from "stability" at all times. And, these changes do not come one at a time, they come in bunches like banannas and the bunches are always changing. So, stability in timber supply from the public lands is simply a myth, a dream that was never founded in reality. It is time to stop pretending. 

    National Wetland Month Photo Contest Slideshow

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 31, 2016.

              Thank you to all who participated in our National Wetlands Month photo contest.  We are overwhelmed with the beauty, humor and obvious love you have for your wetlands.  Keep exploring and we encourage you to send us your photos through our social media channels throughout the year!

    Westside Bypass: The Zombie Dinosaur

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 26, 2016.

    20160526
    Mary Kyle McCurdy
    Thu, 05/26/2016 - 5:20pm

    Why we don't need a freeway through farmland

    The Westside Bypass Freeway was a dinosaur in the early 90s, when regional leaders wisely determined that transportation dollars could be better spent to move more people and freight by investing in transit, a grid street pattern, bicycling facilities, and walkable communities.  Instead of building an oversized and costly freeway through some of the world’s most valuable farm land, Washington County and Metro successfully implemented a more efficient, cost-effective, and integrated transportation and land use system.

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    Preserving Land in Oregon

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 26, 2016.

    20160526
    Alyson Marchi-Young
    Thu, 05/26/2016 - 5:00pm

    A tale of two studies


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    Ruling protects Greater Sage-Grouse on Steens Mountain

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on May 26, 2016.

    A three-judge panel from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling May 26 that rejects the Secretary of the Interior’s approval of an industrial-scale wind project proposed for Steens Mountain.

    Great Blue Heron Week: June 1 - June 12

    By aberman from News. Published on May 26, 2016.

    Join us for Great Blue Heron Week and explore Portland's official bird as you discover natural areas all around the city.

    The Wild Owyhee

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on May 26, 2016.

    Far in the southeastern corner of the state, beyond the dry mountain shadows of the Cascade Range, past high-desert plateaus and cow-spotted ranchland, on the desolate fringe of the great basin, lies the Owyhee. Oregon is known for its forests, but its greatest wilderness is actually a desert. One of the last truly untouched places […]

    Cranes, curlews, and cows – the delicate debate over Oregon’s federal lands

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 25, 2016.

    Last night, May 24th, PBS News Hour aired a story about the work of the High Desert Partnership, spotlighting our Director Esther Lev.  Click here to watch the full story! story! If you are interested in Esther’s personal story of this collaboration, we recently posted this blog: http://wetlandsconservancy.org/find-common-ground-in-the-harney-basin/ We are looking forward to continued work in

    Goal 10 - Housing and what we can do about it

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 23, 2016.

    20160516
    Mary Kyle McCurdy
    Mon, 05/16/2016 (All day)

    Testimony to LCDC following their Hatfield Fellow Report

    1000 Friends of Oregon has been engaged in Goal 10, Housing, since the inception of the land use program, through litigation, advocacy, policy development, and community engagement.  Therefore, we are particularly heartened to see the work of the DLCD Hatfield Fellow focused on affordable housing.  Julia McKenna has provided a comprehensive report on the status of housing issues within the land use program, how it relates to the Oregon Housing & Community Services agency (OHCS), and current issues facing Goal 10 – including its possible role in how jurisdictions demonstr

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    Oregon Housing Study Presented by Hatfield Fellow

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on May 23, 2016.

    20160517
    Sadie Carney
    Land Conservation and Development Commission
    Tue, 05/17/2016 (All day)

    Julia McKenna started work as a Hatfield Fellow with the Department of Land Conservation and Development (DLCD) in August, 2015, focused on housing. Energy behind the topic grew through the course of the 2016 legislative session, with at least eight bills and countless hours of testimony responding to housing challenges from every part of Oregon getting attention at the capitol. “Housing has become part of our everyday conversation in state agencies,” says DLCD Director Jim Rue, “it’s everywhere.”

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    Tremendous sugar pines in the Applegate

    By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on May 23, 2016.

    The Butte Fork trail is the lowest elevation and most gentle of all the hiking routes in the Red Buttes Mountains. There’s a lot to love about this route through the last untouched valley in the upper Applegate, including wildflowers, views of the snowy Siskiyou Crest ridgeline and the cascading of the Butte Fork and its tributaries. Surprising old-growth Sugar Pines along the trail to Cedar Basin will not disappoint.

    Hood River County Votes Against Nestlé!

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on May 20, 2016.

      by Francesca Varela On Tuesday, the people of Hood River County voted to block Nestlé from building a water-bottling plant near the city of Cascade Locks. Ballot Measure 14-55—a countywide ban on commercial bottled-water facilities—passed easily, and has set an important precedent, not only for Oregon, but for the rest of the country. Massive […]

    Cormorant Nesting Colony Targeted by Federal Agencies Suffers Complete Failure

    By aberman from News. Published on May 20, 2016.

    Audubon Society of Portland calls on federal agencies to permanently stop the slaughter of cormorants and immediately launch a comprehensive investigation of the killing program

    Join us in Salem on May 23 to speak out for the Owyhee!

    By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on May 18, 2016.

    The Owyhee needs you NOW. Will you join us in Salem on Monday, May 23, to ensure our Oregon lawmakers know Oregonians want the Owyhee Canyonlands protected? The House Rural Communities, Land Use, and Water Committee will meet to discuss permanent protection for the Owyhee. A group opposing protection will be there in force, so […]

    Grey to Green: The Ongoing Story of Tree Planting in Portland

    By Dave from Growth Rings. Published on May 13, 2016.

    In 2008, Friends of Trees in partnership with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Environmental Services embarked on a transformative eight-year journey to boost green infrastructure in Portland. Take a look to find out what’s been accomplished, learn about the impacts of those accomplishments, and reflect on the success of this government – non-profit – […]

    Evening for Opal Creek–Thursday, May 19!

    By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on May 12, 2016.

    Our annual fundraising bash is in just a few days, and we’ve got a great evening […]

    Wetlands Feeding the World

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 04, 2016.

                  May 17, 7 pm. Nyberg Rivers New Seasons Join us in the community room for a fun and interactive presentation. Wetlands are famous for providing abundant wildlife habitat, and most of us know that they play a vital role in protecting water quality. But did you know that

    Plan Your Summer Adventures with Tualatin Riverkeepers

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on May 04, 2016.

    This Summer Tualatin Riverkeepers has a big menu of adventures for you to experience.  Canoe trips, kayak trips, the ever popular waterfall tour, River Professors Lectures and a new event, the Bird & Wine Tour are planned for you.  Join our group events. Check out the complete menu  and register online at our Eventbrite Page. […]

    Update: Westside Salvage Logging

    By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on May 03, 2016.

    Clearcutting has started in the recovering post-fire "Westside Salvage" logging units. KS Wild is supporting the Karuk Tribe in emergency legal motions that will ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in early May to halt the logging while affected wildlands and wildlife get their day in court. Cross your fingers and stay tuned as we continue to do all we can to promote real restoration and protect forests and watersheds of the Marble Mountains from clearcutting.

    Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill Opening and Supporting TWC on May 15th!

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on May 03, 2016.

    TUALATIN, Ore. (Apr. 29, 2016) – The new Sharky’s Woodfired Mexican Grill® in Tualatin, Ore., will hold a fundraiser for The Wetlands Conservancy on Sunday, May 15, as part of The Wetlands Conservancy’s celebration of National Wetlands month. Sharky’s, a premium fast-casual restaurant and lifestyle brand offering an award-winning and innovative Mexican-inspired menu, will donate

    Safety Video Emphasizes the Right Life Jacket Fit for Kids

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on May 01, 2016.

    New CAP case looks at Measure 49 in Yamhill County

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Apr 27, 2016.

    20160427
    Mary Kyle McCurdy
    Wed, 04/27/2016 - 2:35pm

    read more

    Hearing from our rookie Crew Leaders

    By Randi Orth from Growth Rings. Published on Apr 27, 2016.

    Friends of Trees  has an amazing volunteer base. Like, really incredible. We’re joined by thousands of individuals at our planting and tree care events every year (5,000+ this season, but who’s counting?), who give us their time, energy and smiles. And at every event, rain or shine, are the familiar faces of our Crew Leaders, […]

    Tribe AND Conservationists File Suit to Protect Wild Salmon, Rural River Communities

    By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Apr 27, 2016.

    The Karuk Tribe, along with the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center (KS Wild), Center for Biological Diversity, and Klamath Riverkeeper, filed suit in federal court challenging a massive post-fire logging plan in Klamath National Forest that will increase fire danger, degrade water quality, and harm at-risk salmon populations. The Tribe leads a diverse plaintiff group united by a common interest in restoring healthy relationships between people, fire, forests and fish.

    Beaver Watch: Tualatin Basin

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 25, 2016.

    Greg Lewellan, The Wetlands Conservancy May 12, 2016 – 7:00 pm Tualatin Heritage Center 8700 SW Sweek Dr, Tualatin, OR 97062 Beavers are the ultimate “ecosystem engineers”. No other wildlife species’ behavior is as critical to the viability of so many other species in this environment. Greg Lewellan will share the history of beaver in

    Who are YOUth?

    By Joel Iboa from Beyond Toxics. Published on Apr 22, 2016.

    Who are YOUth? Workers’ rights, air toxics, pollinators, policy change, racial justice, chemical exposures, pesticides, herbicides, these and many others are all issues Beyond Toxics continues to fight for. And while it’s important we continue this work it’s also important that we remember who we are doing it for. A year ago Beyond Toxics made... Read more »

    The post Who are YOUth? appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    Homesteader: 1890 – 2016

    By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 20, 2016.

    Northwest Oregon’s state-owned forests are comprised of less than .01% old growth, a stunning number that indicates their fraught history of devastating fires and aggressive logging. A notable patch of the Clatsop State Forest contains a timber sale known as “Homesteader.” One part of this sale (Area 2) especially, contained a stand trees upwards of 125 years old that […]

    Earth Day: Past and Present

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 19, 2016.

    In recent years, Earth Day has come to be associated with buying green. Earth Day is coming up; buy compostable bamboo plates for your next picnic. Earth Day is coming up; offset your airline miles by donating to rain-forest preservation. Earth Day is coming up; buy yourself a pair of athletic pants made from recycled […]

    Worth a Dam

    By Kendra Manton from Wetlands Conservancy. Published on Apr 19, 2016.

    May 25th, 2016 7-9 pm at Oregon Public House Village Ballroom Come join us for a beer and celebrate wetlands and beavers of the West. Beaver, our beloved state animal is woefully misunderstood and blamed for many of our urban water issues.  Dr. Heidi Perryman formed Worth A Dam to defend the beavers in her

    Stopping LNG Export through Oregon: Both Projects Collapse!

    By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Apr 18, 2016.

    By Ted Gleichman They seemed insurmountable at first: two massive methane export projects in under-employed Oregon, one on the south bank of the Lower Columbia, and the other grabbing a struggling industrial port on the southern Oregon Coast.  Each $7 billion-plus plan required hundreds of miles of new pipelines, feeding fracked gas from the Rockies […]

    U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Announces Inexplicable Decision to Reverse Course on Protecting Rare Forest Mammal

    By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Apr 14, 2016.

    Agency abruptly withdraws proposed rule that would have protected the Pacific fisher under the Endangered Species Act.

    Tips for Safe Paddling on the Tualatin River

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Apr 14, 2016.

    On April 12, 2016 a kayaker was rescued from the Tualatin River 1/2 mile downstream of Cook Park by TVFR and Clackamas rescue teams.  Those familiar with this stretch of the river know that this shallow location always has current.  At springtime flow levels, the kayaker was unable to paddle upstream.  She was wearing a […]

    National Marine Fisheries Service Releases Biological Opinion Requiring Stronger Floodplain Protections for Salmon and Communities

    By aberman from News. Published on Apr 14, 2016.

    On April 14, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) concluded that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must change its implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program in Oregon to better protect imperiled salmon, steelhead and Southern Resident Killer Whales. In its biological opinion (BiOp), NMFS concludes that FEMA’s flood insurance program violates the Endangered Species Act by subsidizing development in floodplains that jeopardize the continued existence of salmon, steelhead and Southern Resident Killer Whales and adversely modifies the designated critical habitat of anadromous fish species in Oregon. The BiOp includes a list of reforms FEMA should implement that will not only protect federally listed salmon, steelhead, and killer whales but will also reduce flood risks to people and property.

    US Army Corps Begins 2016 Cormorant Slaughter

    By aberman from News. Published on Apr 11, 2016.

    On Wednesday April 7, the US Army Corps and USDA Wildlife Services began shooting Double-crested Cormorants near East Sand Island. Federal agents in boats are using shotguns to shoot birds out of the sky as they fly and forage in the Columbia River Estuary. Conservation groups have expressed deep disappointment that the Federal Government would initiate the 2016 killing season despite the fact that the federal court has indicated that it hoped to rule on the legality of the lethal control program before the killing began in 2016.

    High Desert Speaker Series Wraps with New Look at Old Favorite: the John Day

    By paul@onda.org from Press Releases. Published on Apr 11, 2016.

    The Oregon Natural Desert Association's High Desert Speaker Series concludes in Portland on April 25th at 7 p.m. with the talk, Hidden Wonders of the John Day, by ONDA Stewardship Director Ben Gordon.

    High Desert Speaker Series finale in Bend

    By paul@onda.org from Press Releases. Published on Apr 11, 2016.

    The Oregon Natural Desert Association's High Desert Speaker Series finale in Bend takes place on April 26 at 7 p.m. with a special presentation from ONDA Central Oregon Wilderness Coordinator Gena Goodman-Campbell.

    West Coast Forage Fish Protections Mean Big Things for Seabirds

    By aberman from News. Published on Apr 05, 2016.

    After more than three years of hard work, Audubon Society of Portland and our partners, including Pew Charitable Trusts, Audubon California, Oceana, and Audubon Washington, have secured a huge win for forage fish species. As of May 4, 2016, dozens of forage fish species will gain federal protection under a new rule from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

    Thank You River Connections Sponsors

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Apr 05, 2016.

    Thank You Premier Community Bank, Metro, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Backyard Bird Shops, and NW Natural.

    Oregonians in Action Propose UGB Name Change

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Apr 01, 2016.

    20160416
    Alyson Marchi-Young
    Fri, 04/01/2016 - 10:15am

    Last month, Oregonians in Action proposed a language change for statewide documents.

    read more

    Dispelling the Myth of UGB's and Affordability

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Mar 30, 2016.

    20160330
    Alyson Marchi-Young and Mary Kyle McCurdy
    Wed, 03/30/2016 - 4:55pm

    read more

    Land Use Regulations and Income Segregation

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Mar 30, 2016.

    20160330
    Alyson Marchi-Young
    Wed, 03/30/2016 - 4:40pm

    read more

    Do Strict Land Use Regulations Make Metropolitan Areas More Segregated by Income?

    By alyson from The Latest. Published on Mar 29, 2016.

    20160329
    Michael C. Lens & Paavo Monkkonen
    Journal of the American Planning Association
    Tue, 03/29/2016 (All day)

    ABSTRACT

    Problem, research strategy, and findings: Income segregation has risen in each of the last four decades in U.S. metropolitan areas, which can have lifelong impacts on the health, economic productivity, and behaviors of residents.

    read more

    Volunteer Spotlight: Dian Odell

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 25, 2016.

    Dian Odell has been volunteering with the Oregon Chapter Sierra Club since August 2014. She comes in twice a week to help out in the office. “Usually entry of donations and event attendance into Helen (the central Sierra Club database), preparing for mailings, research, procedure documentation. But also computer support, ‘cleaning’, optimizing, [and] upgrading,” Dian […]

    Revolutionizing Oregon: the Clean Electricity and Coal Transition Plan becomes law

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 24, 2016.

    By Francesca Varela Nearly every day I hear news about climate change, and usually it’s not good. Just the other day I read something about how temperatures are rising more quickly than predicted; how the rate at which the seas will rise has probably been underestimated. I’ve been reading about water rationing, and superstorms; stagnant […]

    Upholding the Legacy

    By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Mar 23, 2016.

    I grew up in New England with a forest outside my back door, but my grandparents […]

    Victory! Jordan Cove LNG Pipeline Denied

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 18, 2016.

    By Francesca Varela How does this sound for a bad-news proposal? Stretch a 232-mile pipeline across forests and backyards, old-growth cedars and mushroom-sided streams, halfway across the state. Gouge the forest. Scar it. Fill said pipeline with natural gas—one of the dirtiest fuels available to us. Build a terminal in Coos Bay. Convert natural gas […]

    Volunteer Spotlight: FERC rejects Jordan Cove LNG!!!

    By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 18, 2016.

    (Here’s how it happened: Three and a Half Zeros, Plus a Minus) By Ted Gleichman Among the most important values of Sierra Club to our planet and society are effective grassroots action, long-term attention to detail, and structured commitment to change.  With the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s astounding decision against the Jordan Cove LNG export […]

    2016 Legislative Wrap-up: Victory on Coal and Clean Energy!

    By rhettlawrence from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Mar 17, 2016.

    It was a whirlwind session of the Oregon Legislature for 4 weeks of February (and 3 days of March). Sierra Club staff worked hard to track bills, provide testimony, and meet with legislators in Salem to advocate for renewable energy, wildlife protection, our state forests, and more. And though there were some real disappointments out […]

    Feds reject Jordan Cove LNG terminal

    By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Mar 11, 2016.

    Federal regulators have rejected plans for a liquefied natural gas terminal in Coos Bay. On Friday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission denied applications from two Delaware companies to site the massive Jordan Cove Energy Project in the Southern Oregon coastal town.

    Portland Audubon's Statement on Environmental Debate

    By aberman from News. Published on Mar 03, 2016.

    Audubon Society of Portland is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. As such, we do not endorse candidates. However, we do participate in the election process to ensure that environmental issues are well considered and that the public understands how candidates will approach these issues.

    Oregon needs local toxics-reporting laws

    By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Mar 02, 2016.

    By Mary O’Brien and Lisa Arkin It’s important to know when you’re being poisoned by industrial toxic discharges, whether to air, water or land. Some would even say you have a right to know. But how much you can know depends on good laws. Gaps and loopholes in federal and state regulations have allowed stained-glass... Read more »

    The post Oregon needs local toxics-reporting laws appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    Help Build the Cottonwood Canyon Experience Center

    By OSPF from Oregon State Parks Foundation. Published on Feb 24, 2016.

    With your contribution of any size, you can help us demonstrate individual support for building the Cottonwood Canyon Experience Center to serve state park visitors and the surrounding communities of the John Day watershed.

    Nature Day Camp Registration is Now Open

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Feb 23, 2016.

    REGISTER BY APRIL 15 FOR THE EARLY DISCOUNT Tualatin Riverkeepers’ summer day camp program welcomes youth between the ages of 4 and 13. Camps foster an appreciation and love of nature through place-based, hands-on experiential learning: lessons and activities are designed to develop campers’ self-confidence, problem solving skills, and understanding of their ecological niche. While […]

    Timber’s fallen: Efforts show promise for working conditions in Oregon forestry

    By John Jordan-Cascade from Beyond Toxics. Published on Feb 18, 2016.

    PART III | Advocates, reforestation operators say effective policy changes will need to come from the top down by Emily Green | 18 Feb 2016 This is Part III of a three-part series on the working conditions and treatment of Oregon’s immigrant forestry workers. Marko Bey was sitting in on the squatters’ movement and organizing... Read more »

    The post Timber’s fallen: Efforts show promise for working conditions in Oregon forestry appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    The View from My Desk

    By Megan Selvig from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Feb 18, 2016.

    I have an office job…in the middle of the woods. I am a year-round resident of […]

    On the Linn County Lawsuit

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Feb 16, 2016.

    You know when you drive to the coast, like out to Cannon Beach or Tillamook, and you pass by those clear-cuts? There’s a thin layer of trees in front of them—a disguise of sorts—but if you look past them, through those dark branches, you can see whole fields of dry, broken, dirt, painfully bright and […]

    High Desert Speaker Series continues in Bend

    By elisa@onda.org from Press Releases. Published on Feb 12, 2016.

    The Oregon Natural Desert Association’s High Desert Speaker Series continues in Bend on March 15 at 7 p.m. when Chuck Gates, founding board member of the East Cascades Bird Conservancy, will present details of the lives and behaviors of the many fascinating birds that call Oregon’s high desert home.

    Audubon Society of Portland Statement on the End of the Occupation at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

    By aberman from News. Published on Feb 11, 2016.

    February 11, 2016: The last occupiers of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge surrendered to federal authorities this morning, ending the illegal armed occupation of Malheur. Audubon Society of Portland appreciates law enforcement officials who worked to bring this illegal occupation to a close, Malheur Refuge staff and their families who were displaced by this occupation, and the local community who strongly rejected this occupation.

    Thankful for the end of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge takeover

    By Lindsay Jones from Press Releases. Published on Feb 11, 2016.

    As the media trucks pull out and the wheels of justice move forward, the Oregon Natural Desert Association vows to remain committed to the health and welfare of the Malheur Refuge.

    The Hardesty Wildlands need your help!

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Feb 05, 2016.

    What’s happened to all the wild places? While once the whole world was wild, now we’re left only with dark pockets. Again and again we return to these hidden, mossy stream-sides, because we intrinsically feel better there. There’s something about the wind circling through high hemlock canopies, and the impacted delicacy of wet soil that […]

    Investing in the Future: The Healthy Climate Bill and the Coal Transition Plan

    By Francesca G. Varela from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Feb 04, 2016.

    When I was a kid, teachers always gave us the same piece of environmental advice: reduce, reuse, recycle. The emphasis was always on what we could do as individuals. We could pick up litter. We could recycle cans and bottles. We could donate our old clothes. If everyone did these small things, they would add […]

    ONDA to release its 2016 calendar of guided restoration trips

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Feb 01, 2016.

    The Oregon Natural Desert Association offers guided restoration trips throughout eastern Oregon every year. Registration for this year's slate of trips opens Friday, Feb. 12.

    Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board Awards up to $6 Million Grant for Collaborative Conservation to Improve Aquatic Health and Wetlands in Harney County

    By aberman from News. Published on Jan 29, 2016.

    The Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) voted Tuesday (January 26, 2016) to allocate more than $1.6 million to support a diverse partnership working to improve habitat values and water quality in Malheur Lake and other Harney Basin wetlands.

    KS Wild Joins Statewide Actions to Support Public Lands

    By Amy from KS In The Press. Published on Jan 21, 2016.

    "We're going to be positive. We're going to be peaceful and we're going to talk about how much we love public lands."

    BLM disagrees with O&C's timber harvest goals

    By morgan from KS In The Press. Published on Jan 18, 2016.

    The Bureau of Land Management says it isn't mandated to offer up timber harvest of 500 million board feet identified in the 1937 O&C; Act, because its analysis shows that isn't sustainable.

    Update: Malheur Refuge occupation

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 14, 2016.

    ONDA condemns the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and adamantly urges our elected officials to take a leadership role in reaching a swift, peaceful resolution to this unprecedented act of hostility.

    High Desert Speaker Series continues in Bend

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 14, 2016.

    Registration is now open for the next installment of the Oregon Natural Desert Association's High Desert Speakers Series in Bend. Dr. Dennis Jenkins, senior staff archaeologist for the Museum of Natural and Cultural History at the University of Oregon, will take the audience on a trip through nearly 14,000 years of human history in eastern Oregon.

    Homesteader: The Precipice of a Huge Loss

    By soccer21chr from Oregon Sierra Club Blog. Published on Jan 13, 2016.

    Over 1600 Oregonians voiced their disapproval of clearcutting old growth as part of the Homesteader timber sale in the Clatsop State Forest. It is obvious that the loss of trees that survived the Tillamook Burn and a century of logging would be devastating, but is important to get an up-close view of what we lose […]

    $1,000 reward offered for info on ancient juniper

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 11, 2016.

    The Oregon Natural Desert Association, Friends of the Oregon Badlands Wilderness and Juniper Group of the Sierra Club are offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of those responsible for chopping down an ancient juniper tree in the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

    What’s new for 2016

    By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jan 08, 2016.

    This year we’re celebrating 20 years of Opal Creek Wilderness protection! And we’re celebrating in a […]

    Meet our new Program Director!

    By Gabrielle from Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center. Published on Jan 08, 2016.

    Jay Davis just moved to Oregon from Wisconsin, with a background in running experiential education programs […]

    Opportunities to Get Involved with Malheur National Wildlife Refuge with the Audubon Society of Portland

    By aberman from News. Published on Jan 05, 2016.

    January 5, 2016: Audubon Society of Portland's connection to Malheur National Wildlife Refuge reaches all the way back to our advocacy for its establishment in 1908. In fact, we were founded in 1902 in part to advocate for Malheur.

    ONDA statement on occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by militant extremists

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Jan 04, 2016.

    The Oregon Natural Desert Association issues a statement regarding the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge by militant extremists.

    Audubon Society of Portland Statement on the Occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge

    By aberman from News. Published on Jan 03, 2016.

    January 3, 2016: We hope for a safe, expeditious end to this armed occupation so that myriad of local and non-local stakeholders can continue to work together to restore Malheur in ways that are supportive of both the local ecology and the local economy

    Press Release: McKenzie Camp acquisition

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Dec 30, 2015.

    The McKenzie River Trust protects clean water and salmon habitat near Blue River following a land acquisition from Rosboro. Continue reading

    High Desert Speaker Series returns to Bend

    By Heidi Hagemeier from Press Releases. Published on Dec 22, 2015.

    The 53-mile journey of three women, ages 65-80, will kick off the Oregon Natural Desert Association’s High Desert Speaker Series, returning to Bend on January 19 at 7 p.m. The series will kick off with Sagebrush Sisters, a documentary about that hike, and a panel discussion with the three hikers moderated by ONDA Greater Hart-Sheldon Region Coordinator Jeremy Austin.

    It’s the trees

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Dec 21, 2015.

    Thanks to you, an oak woodland and working forest is protected. Continue reading

    Eugene struck out with Seneca deal

    By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Dec 15, 2015.

    It’s the bottom of the ninth, and Lane County citizens are down 0-3. From our seats in the nosebleed section of the bleachers, we find our home team facing direct impacts of localized carbon pollution, air quality and the size of our energy bills. During Eugene’s recent cold snap, we shivered as temperatures dropped below... Read more »

    The post Eugene struck out with Seneca deal appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    The New Clean Water Service Permit: What would be good for the Tualatin River and our neighborhood creeks?

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

    After many years of delay, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is about to renew the permit that allows Clean Water Services (CWS) to discharge wastewater and stormwater to the Tualatin River system. There are some great innovations in the draft permit.  Clean Water Services will be permitted to use “natural treatment systems” at Fernhill […]

    The New Clean Water Service Permit: What would be good for the Tualatin River and our neighborhood creeks?

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Nov 25, 2015.

    After many years of delay, Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is about to renew the permit that allows Clean Water Services (CWS) to discharge wastewater and stormwater to the Tualatin River system. There are some great innovations in the draft permit.  Clean Water Services will be permitted to use “natural treatment systems” at Fernhill […]

    ‘Safe Harbors’ for native fish

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Nov 17, 2015.

    This is part of a series about the MRT members who have played a part in the incredible comeback of Oregon chub. In the coming days and weeks, we’ll share more stories of MRT members who aided the recovery. ‘Safe … Continue reading

    GUEST BLOG: Toxics in our Living Rooms

    By Elizabeth Reis from Beyond Toxics. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

    The comfortable chair that I just bought and sit in for hours each day is giving me a sore throat and making my eyes sting. I know that sounds crazy, but I’ve been experimenting for about a month now, and I can say for certain that after about a half hour of sitting in it... Read more »

    The post GUEST BLOG: Toxics in our Living Rooms appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    The importance of healthy floodplains

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Nov 11, 2015.

    Because of members like Art and Anita Johnson, we've helped Oregon chub recover. Continue reading

    Beers Made By Walking comes to Eugene

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

    8 local breweries have created beers inspired by hikes on MRT lands, and you can taste the results. Today Continue reading

    The little fish that we’d never noticed

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 30, 2015.

    George Grier and Cynthia Pappas protected their land in 1992. They didn't know then that they would play a critical part in the recovery of Oregon chub. Continue reading

    BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue?

    By Lisa Arkin from Beyond Toxics. Published on Oct 16, 2015.

    Two years ago, there was little public awareness about the common industrial practice of using helicopters to spray thousands of acres of forests with herbicides. That was before the Cedar Valley spray case in which over forty people reported being sickened by exposure to a chemical soup raining down from an aerial herbicide spray. After... Read more »

    The post BLOG: Helicopter herbicide sprays are poisoning Oregon…is it rigged or is it rogue? appeared first on Beyond Toxics.

    Oregon chub makes a comeback

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Oct 15, 2015.

    Because of members like you, an Oregon native makes a comeback It was the early 1990s. Like many of our native fishes, the Oregon chub was in trouble. Chub lived their lives in the moist backwater channels and sloughs of … Continue reading

    Have you seen the new Paddlers’ Map?

    By trkpost from Tualatin Riverkeepers. Published on Oct 06, 2015.

    The new Paddler’s Guide to the Lower Tualatin River is now available at local paddling shops, libraries, and by mail from the Washington County Visitors Association.

    Beers Made By Walking

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on May 19, 2015.

    Beers Made By Walking Brewers to create drinkable portraits of protected lands Beers Made By Walking, a program that invites brewers to go on nature hikes and make beer inspired by plants found on the trail, is partnering with McKenzie … Continue reading

    Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on May 14, 2015.

    Public Meeting: Scholfield Creek Wetlands Conservation Area Tuesday, May 26th at 6pm Reedsport City Hall, 451 Winchester Ave in Reedsport Summary: Please join us to learn more about a proposed land conservation project along Scholfield Creek near the city of … Continue reading

    McKenzie floodplain forest will be home to fish and wildlife forever

    By liz from McKenzie River Trust. Published on Mar 05, 2015.

    Because of you, the abundant fish of the lower McKenzie River will thrive. Another critical piece of their habitat is protected! Continue reading

    What is a Forest Plan…why is it being revised…and why should you care???

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 30, 2014.


    By David Mildrexler and Veronica Warnock

    A Forest Plan is a document that guides the overall land management direction of a National Forest for a period of about 15 to 20 years.  It is a strategic document that establishes Management Areas (MAs), and develops goals, objectives, standards, and guidelines for resource management within each of these MAs.  A Forest Plan can be likened to a zoning plan that establishes the various approaches to land use on our private lands.  Just as the zoning of private lands is critical to protecting Oregon’s incredible natural heritage and rural areas from unchecked development, the zoning of our National Forests is equally important for protecting the precious natural resources they provide, and biodiversity they support.  At the end of a Forest Plan’s life, these documents are out of date.  For example, on issues like climate change, watershed protection and restoration, and wildlife corridors, science can inform management much different today than it did 20 years ago.  Likewise, a growing human population and technological advancements are placing more and different pressures on our National Forest Lands.

    While a description of a Forest Plan might come across as a little dry, let me add these key words to the description; Wild and Scenic Rivers, old growth forests, wildlife corridors and connectivity, Wilderness areas, roadless forests, native fisheries, research, scenery, restoration economy, and the application of best available science to restore our National Forests.  The Forest Plan is the time and place to advocate for the things you love and would like to see on your National Forest.

    The Forest Service is combining the Forest Plan Revision for three National Forests within the Blue Mountains, the Wallowa-Whitman, the Umatilla, and the Malheur.  Together these forests span 5.5 million acres, approximately 2.5 times the land mass of Yellowstone National Park. 
    The Proposed Action was released in 2010 for public comment.  The Forest Service took those comments and developed six alternatives that are now out for public review.
    The time is now to advocate for the protection of our last stands of old growth forests. We need standards and guidelines that maintain healthy and productive soils, protect riparian areas and water quality, and end post fire logging.  It is time for management that protects all of the plants, fish and wildlife that call our beautiful National Forests home.  This is your chance to talk about the big picture issues.  Don’t hesitate and don’t be intimidated.  Express your voice to reflect your issues! 

    Attend one of HCPC’s House Parties and learn how to write effective comments!
    La Grande - Wednesday July 30th             
    Portland -  Thursday August 7th (date change)
    For more information about the house parties, check out our website or our HCPC FaceBook page! 


    Here are some suggested points to include in your letter:

    The Forest Plans Need to Include More Enforceable Standards and Guidelines: The proposed forest plans contain very few standards and guidelines; instead, they are driven by non-enforceable aspiration desired conditions, goals, and objectives.  Incorporating standards and guidelines into forest plans is essential. Standards are the only planning component that are measurable, binding and enforceable thus ensuring environmental protection and planning efficiencies. 

    Alternative C Best Addresses the Issues of Access; Economic and Social Well-Being; Livestock Grazing; Old Forest; Recommended Wilderness; and Ecological resilience: The Forest Service is analyzing alternatives A through F, with A being the “no action” alternative – it continues with the forest plans currently in place. Alternative B is the proposed action that was sent out for public scoping in 2010. Alternative C was developed to address conservation concerns and is the most environmentally responsible alternative. Alternative D was developed to address comments received from the timber industry, county governments and motorized interests. Alternative E is the Forest Service’s “preferred alternative” (the one they are leaning towards adopting). Alternative F is very similar to Alternative E –the only difference being the amount of timber outputs produced annually.

    While Alternative C responds to many of our concerns, it is not perfect - it still needs to incorporate standards instead of aspirational language. For Example, the road densities within Alternative C should be standards instead of desired conditions. 
    Ask for a Balanced Approach to Access: Motorized access to our public lands should not come at such a cost to riparian health, elk security and other wildlife considerations. Reduction in maintenance costs, disturbance to wildlife, and sediment traveling to our streams and rivers will not occur without the adoption of enforceable and measurable standards. 

    Current Grazing Management is Unsustainable and Must be Addressed by the Proposed Forest Plans: The Preferred Alternative retains the same number of cattle across the three forests. Current management levels and practices have degraded public rangelands and riparian areas; destroyed water quality; and negatively impacted many threatened and endangered fish, wildlife and plants. More than 80 percent of wildlife species in the West depend on riparian areas. These areas make up roughly only 1.5 percent of public lands and are disproportionately affected by livestock grazing.  The time is now to rethink how we manage livestock grazing across the Blue Mountains. 

    Old Forests Deserve Enforceable and Measurable Protections: The current forest plans for the Blue Mountains were amended to include the “21” rule”. The rule prohibits the logging of trees ≥ 21” dbh. The plans also designate specific old growth forests as areas where commercial logging is prohibited.
    The proposed plans do away with old growth management areas and replace the 21” rule with a non-enforceable guideline. Specifically, the guideline states that management activities within “old forest stands should generally emphasize retaining live trees with certain old tree characteristics…tree characteristics and old age many vary by species and site.”
    The Blue Mountains are deficient in both old and large trees; trees that provide important habitat values and are fire resiliency. Old trees and old forest must be protected. 

    The Preferred Alternative Does not Recommend Enough Wilderness: HCPC and our conservation partners have identified 1.8 million acres of potential new Wilderness on public lands in northeast Oregon, including Joseph Canyon, the birthplace of Chief Joseph. These lands form an irreplaceable web of habitats and wildlife corridors connecting three giant eco-regions—the Northern Rockies, the Northern Basin and Range, and the Pacific Northwest. Think wolves, lynx, moose, bighorn sheep, sockeye salmon, bull trout, and someday even the magnificent California Condor with its 9-foot wingspan.  Despite this incredible opportunity to safeguard these remaining roadless lands, under the preferred alternative the Forest Service is only willing to recommend roughly 5 percent of lands with Wilderness potential to Congress for Wilderness designation. Five percent is not enough! 

    Comments on a draft version of forest plans for the three forests can be submitted through August 15, 2014. 
    Electronically at: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/BlueMountainForestPlanRevisionComments 
    Via Mail: Blue Mountains Plan Revision Team, P.O. Box 907, Baker City, OR 97814 
    Or via Fax: 541-523-6392


    testing

    By rocco from Renewable Northwest - Making the Northwest's Clean Energy Potential a Reality.. Published on May 28, 2014.

    testing sahring

    By renewables from Renewable Northwest - Making the Northwest's Clean Energy Potential a Reality.. Published on May 24, 2014.

    Elegy to Tim Lillebo, by Bill Fleischmann

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 19, 2014.


    Somewhere in Oregon there is a corner of an office, a closet or attic space where dozens of cardboard tubes are hidden away. Each tube contains several topographical maps, many with scrawled notes about landscapes that he visited. Most of these landscapes were Roadless Areas in National Forests. On most of these maps are drawn boundaries; lines which hope to protect something precious.

    Life has boundaries for all of us. Some are limited by income, others by physical impairments, mental limitations, or simply circumstances. Wilderness must be protected within boundaries because deep inside the DNA structure of all humans there is a primitive desire to greedily consume everything which is balanced by an equally primitive need to know that there are still places on maps where the disease of civilization has not yet infected and sickened the land. He understood this.

    Wilderness advocates are an odd lot. We gather together reluctantly to protect the lands we love. In 1975, when a group in Bend first formed to protect Roadless Areas of the Deschutes National Forest, there was a slide show and a lecture scheduled in an auditorium on the campus of Central Oregon Community College. As attendees filtered into the room, most seated themselves as far from others as the space allowed, resulting in an audience that resembled an array of free radicals in a biochemistry graph.

    If there can be such a thing as a camaraderie of solitary individuals, this room represented exactly that. Wilderness advocates value our isolation not because we crave loneliness but because we require solitude as a respite from the world of civilized chaos that swirls around us and threatens to devour peace of mind. A love of solitude and a desire to be free from the constraints of society form the basis of a desire to protect wild lands. But few individuals stay true to this cause their entire lives, devoting themselves to it. Poring over maps for forty years with a cigarette and a cup of coffee while Red Garland’s Country Little Shack plays in the background.

    Tim Lillebo loved those maps. He loved a good blues tune. He loved good coffee and he loved rolling a cigarette while his eyes followed the well spaced loops in a contour line that represented a seep or a bog where elk could wallow in mud and escape biting deer flies in the middle of summer in a remote canyon near Glacier peak. He loved to follow the tight contours of ridgelines where perhaps the last lone wolverine in Oregon was spotted near Monument Rock. He loved to stand in a forest of old ponderosa pines; he called them pumpkin pines, and gaze into the rich yellow and orange hues of their puzzled barks. He loved wild land enough to devote his entire adult life to it, with little monetary reward. If good coffee and blues and a pouch of roll your own could be acquired, Tim was happy. Saving and protecting wild land kept his soul fed. And Oregon will forever benefit from his efforts.

    Over the past 40 years most of us wandered away from the cause, nipping at the edges in our respective habitats by signing a petition here, writing a letter to congress there. We had families to raise, careers to chase, dreams to follow. But Tim stayed at it, working every day to draw some protective boundaries around land that is always threatened. One man’s passing does not stop a cause as deeply rooted in the human psyche as Wilderness advocacy, but it certainly sent a tremor wave throughout this odd camaraderie of solitary souls who still seek the solitude of wild places.

    Somewhere, in an office or a closet or an attic are dozens of cardboard tubes of topographical maps which should be protected so that future generations can unroll them and study the work of one man who stood for something greater in a world that seems to only reward wealth and power. We should teach those after us to follow those contour lines. Because land will endure long after human effort passes away.

    Big plans for a green spring

    By sschroeder from All News. Published on Mar 20, 2014.

    Our supporters share their tips for the home and office

    Missing Tim Lillebo

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 17, 2014.


    Hells Canyon Preservation Council recently lost a great friend when Tim Lillebo passed away.  Tim went out to shovel snow at his home in central Oregon on Saturday, February 8 and apparently died of a heart attack or another sudden critical health problem.  Along with Tim’s family and many friends, we are mourning his loss and celebrating the bright spirit of Tim Lillebo.

    In many ways, Tim was a living symbol of the forests of eastern Oregon.  He was born and raised here and he devoted his career to protecting and restoring old growth forests, clean waters, and habitat for fish and wildlife.  Back in the 1970s, Tim was hired by the Oregon Wilderness Coalition which later became Oregon Wild.  He worked there continuously until his recent death.  Tim was a man with strong principles and a deep land ethic.  He also had a unique ability to connect with people and work through difficult issues with people who disagreed with him.  And somehow, he was able pull this off with a twinkle in his eye.

    In the early days, Tim successfully worked to gain Wilderness protections for some of the last remaining wild and roadless National Forest lands in eastern Oregon.  He also fought logging projects that were cutting down some of the last remaining old growth trees left on public lands.  Here at the HCPC office, we have a photo of Tim walking around the base of a huge old ponderosa pine tree marked with blue paint, indicating that the tree was marked to be cut.  This pine tree looks to be over five feet across at the base and it would have been centuries old.  I don’t know if Tim was able to save this particular tree, but he loved big old pines with thick, yellow plated bark and he devoted much of his life to saving them.

    During the past several years, Tim worked to protect and restore the forests by working with collaborative groups for the National Forests of eastern Oregon.  Membership in these groups includes timber industry, logging interests, and local county commissioners.  As you may imagine, there are significant differences of opinion within these groups, but Tim was exceptional in his ability to sit down and talk respectfully with people of many different viewpoints. 

    Tim grew up in John Day and La Grande and his grandfather was a logger.  These experiences helped him relate to people in the collaboratives, but I think that more importantly he was a genuinely caring person.  He worked to find solutions that would truly benefit the forests as well as the people and communities nearby.  He made sure that projects described as forest restoration would in fact restore forest conditions and reverse the effects of past logging and fire-exclusion.  He stuck to his principles but he gave respect to others and he received it in kind.

    I really got to know Tim over the past several years while we worked together as members of the collaborative groups for the Umatilla and the Wallowa-Whitman National Forests.  I’m really grateful for the many conversations that we shared, for the time that we spent together and for the work that we were able to accomplish together in partnership. 

    When Tim and I would speak on the phone he would greet me by saying, “How ya doin’, rascal?”  Well, right now, the honest answer is that I miss Tim terribly and it feels like there’s a hole as big as Hells Canyon left behind where he used to be.  Tim had the courage of a bear, a heart the size of a mountain, and the brilliant flash of a red-tailed hawk.  He taught me a lot about conservation work.  He left behind a legacy of accomplishments to benefit the public lands, forests and people of the Blue Mountain region.  All of us here at HCPC will use this legacy as an inspiration to motivate our conservation work into the future.

    Tim and I attended a collaborative meeting together on the day before he died.  As I left the meeting and walked across the snowy parking lot, I heard him call my name and I looked over to see him smiling and waving broadly over his head.  I waved back.  Good-bye, Tim.  Well miss you. 

    - Brian Kelly, Restoration Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

    Funding eco-activism like the United Way

    By sschroeder from All News. Published on Feb 13, 2014.

    Goodbye to a key forest advocate and our friend

    By sschroeder from All News. Published on Feb 10, 2014.

    The Oregon environmental community lost a true icon this weekend with the untimely death of Oregon Wild’s Tim Lillebo.

    Your Comments Needed NOW

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 07, 2014.

    Please help protect the Joseph Canyon area--an important part of your National Forest lands and waters. 

    You can submit scoping comments on the Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project until Monday, February 10 at 5 PM.

    Comments should be sent to John Laurence, Forest Supervisor, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, at comments-pacificnorthwest-wallowa-whitman@fs.fed.uswith reference to Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project.

    HCPC has been participating in collaborative groups to encourage the Forest Service to include important protections into the project design.

    The Lower Joseph Creek Forest Restoration Project has the potential to align with sound forest management principals if important protections are included.

    These protections include:

    • Protect all old trees, large trees, old growth forests, and previously un-logged forests from logging.
    • Protect all roadless areas and potential wilderness areas from logging.
    • No construction of new roads or temporary roads should be allowed.
    • Roads that are unneccessary or harmful to fish and wildlife habitat should be closed and restored.
    • Wildlife habitat should be protected and improved.
    • Aquatic restoration projects to improve fish habitat and water quality should be included in the project.
    • Two new Research Natural Areas should be created.

    The Forest Service has been receiving comments from people who want to keep ALL of the roads open, want MORE logging, and want MORE roads.

    This is your opportunity to comment on behalf of old growth forests and fish and wildlife habitat.

    Here is a description of the proposed action
    Click here for maps and more information.
     




    Wildlife Watchers Field Report for 2013

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 17, 2014.

    From HCPC Restoration Director Brian Kelly:

    We were hoping that by the middle of last June that we’d be able to drive up to Dunns Bluff.  The bluff is an impressive rock outcrop near the edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  But as we climbed higher and higher on the rough Forest Service road, we found ourselves busting through deeper and deeper snowbanks.  The back of the four-wheel drive pickup truck was loaded with wildlife cameras, meat for bait, trapper’s lure for attracting wildlife, cables, locks, tools and an assortment of hardware.  All of this bounced around in the back of the pickup making enough racket to scare away just about any wild animal within a mile.  At the time, it seemed like a strange way to attract wildlife, but we knew that once things quieted down, we’d get some good wildlife photos.  Finally, we had to accept the fact that there was just too much snow for us to drive to our destination.  And it was too far to walk.  We turned the truck around and retreated for the day with a promise to return.

    meat (bait) was placed inside metal cylinders  

    Within a week, the weather turned hot and the sun made short work of those persistent snowbanks.  Soon the road was clear and we were able to drive near Dunns Bluff and then hike into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.  Before too long, we had installed eleven motion-activated cameras in strategic locations in old growth forests of mountain hemlock, Engelmann spruce, sub-alpine fir, grand fir, lodgepole pine and western larch.

    At Hells Canyon Preservation Council, we actively work to protect the important lands and waters of the greater Hells Canyon region.  Fragmentation of habitat from roads and logging can be a significant threat to the connectivity of important habitats such as old-growth forests.  During the past few years, we’ve advocated to protect the habitat of the Castle Ridge area and worked with the US Forest Service to achieve protections for habitat connectivity in this important landscape.  Castle Ridge is an 8,790 acre roadless area on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest located between the Eagle Cap Wilderness and the Grande Ronde Valley.  Through the Wildlife Watchers program, we collaborate with the US Forest Service to monitor wildlife in important habitats that are essential to the connectivity of the region.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council staff, volunteers from our membership, and Forest Service wildlife specialists work together to accomplish the many tasks that the Wildlife Watchers project entails. 

    Volunteer Allan Gorthy sets up trail camera
    The first order of business to start the field season was to review the available data and maps for likely habitat.  This was followed by field reconnaissance.  Then we hiked into the backcountry while packing in a variety of equipment and supplies.  When we found a good location for a camera point, we set up the camera, strapped it to a tree and locked it in place.  We set up bait in bear-proof cylinders and we applied lure to attract wildlife close to the cameras.  After installation, the cameras’ sensors snapped photos when wildlife came into view.  The cameras were programmed appropriately for each site and then they were revisited every two weeks for maintenance.  The memory cards were checked, the photos were viewed, stored and filed, and the wildlife species were identified.



    The eleven cameras captured photos of northern flying squirrel, bobcat, mountain lion, black bear, mule deer, white-tailed deer, Rocky Mountain elk, Douglas squirrel, bushy-tailed wood rat and coyote.

     Three wildlife species of particular interest in the Castle Ridge area are the American marten, wolverine, and the wolf.  We were disappointed that we did not capture any photos of these species with our eleven trail cameras during the field season.  However, it’s important to note that the absence of photographs does not necessarily mean that these animals are not present or traveling through the area or utilizing the habitat during certain seasons.  

    Wolverines were recently documented in the Eagle Cap Wilderness just to the east of the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.  DNA analysis of one of these wolverines showed a genetic relationship to the wolverines of Idaho and we assume that their travel corridor was through the connected habitat of the greater Hells Canyon region.  American martens were also photographed in the Eagle Caps during this recent wolverine research.  The American marten is considered to be a management indicator species because it is associated with old growth forests in northeast Oregon and so it has been a species of particular interest for the Wildlife Watchers program.  Wolves have entered Oregon from Idaho through the Hells Canyon region as well.  Since wolf recovery in Oregon is an important recent development, there is much interest in their whereabouts in the local landscape.

    When wildlife travel into the Pacific northwest from the Rocky Mountain region, they often enter through the wild lands of northeast Oregon.  Moose, wolverines, and wolves have all come into Oregon this way over the past few years.  This is not surprising because the Wallowa Mountains, Blue Mountains, Hells Canyon and the Seven Devils are rich with interconnected lands and waters providing an amazing diversity of quality habitat.

    The snow returned to Castle Ridge in October.  After hiking in through a few inches of fresh new snow, we removed the cameras for the season.  It had been a successful field season of collaboration with the Forest Service and volunteers.  We collected valuable wildlife information that will be used to inform future decisions that affect the land management of the area.  Through the Wildlife Watchers project, we are connecting people to the land while we work to protect the connections of important habitats across the landscape. 

    Hells Canyon Preservation Council appreciates the efforts of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and of the HCPC volunteers who make this program possible.  We would also like to thank our funding partners—Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Mazamas, and Patagonia.

    If you are interested in becoming a Wildlife Watchers volunteer in 2014, please contact HCPC  Restoration Director Brian Kelly at brian@hellscanyon.org.

    The Forest Connection

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 13, 2014.


    An excerpt from Michael Pollan's  recent New Yorker article "The Intelligent Plant."
    The most bracing part of Mancuso’s talk on bioinspiration came when he discussed underground plant networks. Citing the research of Suzanne Simard, a forest ecologist at the University of British Columbia, and her colleagues, Mancuso showed a slide depicting how trees in a forest organize themselves into far-flung networks, using the underground web of mycorrhizal fungi which connects their roots to exchange information and even goods. This “wood-wide web,” as the title of one paper put it, allows scores of trees in a forest to convey warnings of insect attacks, and also to deliver carbon, nitrogen, and water to trees in need.
    When I reached Simard by phone, she described how she and her colleagues track the flow of nutrients and chemical signals through this invisible underground network. They injected fir trees with radioactive carbon isotopes, then followed the spread of the isotopes through the forest community using a variety of sensing methods, including a Geiger counter. Within a few days, stores of radioactive carbon had been routed from tree to tree. Every tree in a plot thirty metres square was connected to the network; the oldest trees functioned as hubs, some with as many as forty-seven connections. The diagram of the forest network resembled an airline route map.
    The pattern of nutrient traffic showed how “mother trees” were using the network to nourish shaded seedlings, including their offspring—which the trees can apparently recognize as kin—until they’re tall enough to reach the light. And, in a striking example of interspecies coöperation, Simard found that fir trees were using the fungal web to trade nutrients with paper-bark birch trees over the course of the season. The evergreen species will tide over the deciduous one when it has sugars to spare, and then call in the debt later in the season. For the forest community, the value of this coöperative underground economy appears to be better over-all health, more total photosynthesis, and greater resilience in the face of disturbance.
    In his talk, Mancuso juxtaposed a slide of the nodes and links in one of these subterranean forest networks with a diagram of the Internet, and suggested that in some respects the former was superior. “Plants are able to create scalable networks of self-maintaining, self-operating, and self-repairing units,” he said. “Plants.”
    As I listened to Mancuso limn the marvels unfolding beneath our feet, it occurred to me that plants do have a secret life, and it is even stranger and more wonderful than the one described by Tompkins and Bird. When most of us think of plants, to the extent that we think about plants at all, we think of them as old—holdovers from a simpler, prehuman evolutionary past. But for Mancuso plants hold the key to a future that will be organized around systems and technologies that are networked, decentralized, modular, reiterated, redundant—and green, able to nourish themselves on light. “Plants are the great symbol of modernity.”

    A humbling hike to South Sister

    By sschroeder from All News. Published on Sep 29, 2013.

    Nature enthusiast, EarthShare employee and contributor Meghan Humphreys finds danger and gratefulness in the wild.

    Big Win for Wildlife

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Sep 25, 2013.



    Antelope Ridge Energy Project Has Been Stopped

    The proposed Antelope Ridge wind power project has been stopped.  Citing current market conditions, developer EDP Renewables withdrew its application with Oregon Department of Energy to build wind turbines and a new road system in important wildlife habitat adjacent to the Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area.  

    This is very good news for local wildlife.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council strongly supports energy conservationand responsible renewable energy development.  However, it's essential that renewable energy projects must be located on appropriate sites and that wildlife and their habitat are protected in the process.   

    The Antelope Ridge project proposal certainly presented significant threats to local wildlife.  Hells Canyon Preservation Council actively worked to address these concerns through advocacy, education, and collaboration.  We testified at a public hearing and submitted detailed comments to Oregon Department of Energy on behalf of wildlife and their habitat.  We received sign-on in support for our comments from Oregon Natural Desert Association, Defenders of Wildlife, and the Audubon Society of Portland.  We met with Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Oregon Department of Energy, EDP Renewables, and the local grassroots group Friends of the Grande Ronde Valley as part of our efforts to protect wildlife and address the negative impacts of the proposed project.     

    EDP Renewables had proposed to build 164 turbines over 47,000 acres of private land in the hills just south of the Grande Ronde Valley.  Antelope Ridge would have been built immediately north of EDP’s existing Elkhorn Valley wind facility where four golden eagles have been found dead since May 2009, presumably killed by wind turbines.  Since Antelope Ridge would be larger and located closer to eagle nesting areas, the likelihood of more golden eagle deaths would be high, according to US Fish & Wildlife Service.

    According to comments from Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, “The Project is one of the first wind power projects in Oregon proposed to be sited in critical big game winter range and very productive wildlife habitat, resulting in the construction of a large industrial structure that negatively affects Oregon’s wildlife.”

    Burrowing owls, Swainson’s hawk, and red-tailed hawks nest within the project area.  Four species of bats were identified within the proposed project area.  A potential sage-grouse lek is located near the southern end of the project.  The sensitive plant species Douglas clover and Oregon semaphore grass grow in the project area as well. 

    Antelope Ridge would have been constructed just south of Ladd Marsh Wildlife Area, northeast Oregon’s largest remaining wetland.  It would have been built about a dozen miles west of the Eagle Cap Wilderness.  Forests, sagebrush /grasslands and wetlands provide key wildlife habitat in the project area.  Wildlife travel through the project area, and it’s an important wildlife connectivity corridor.  In fact, the Washington Wildlife Habitat Connectivity Working Group has identified the area as an important habitat link between the essential habitats of the Wallowa Mountains and the Blue Mountains.  A new road system would have fragmented habitat, and birds and bats would have been killed by the blades of the turbines.  Locating a large wind power project in critical big game habitat would be harmful to elk and deer and would set a terrible precedent for future projects.

    The Antelope Ridge project has been more or less on hold for the past year.  While the withdrawal of the application is welcome news, it's worth noting the following statement in the letter from the developer:

    "Although current market conditions do not allow us to proceed with the application process at this time, we look forward to building upon the strong precedent that has been set in coordination with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Oregon Governor’s Office to potentially restart project permitting in the future."

    So while the recent withdrawal of the application is very good news, it's possible that a new application may be developed sometime in the future.

    For the time being, however, this is very good news for eagles, elk, bats, hawks, owls, deer, and other wildlife species.  It’s also good news for the protection of the Ladd Marsh wetlands and the important wildlife connectivity corridors found within the project area.  And it’s good news for people who care about wildlife.

    Renewable energy is a very good thing.  The earth’s future hangs in the balance over how well we are able to conserve energy and develop clean energy production.  However, renewable energy projects must be developed on appropriate sites.   And it’s essential that we protect wildlife and their habitat in the process. 

      
    Story & photo by Brian Kelly,
    Restoration Director



    Newsletters

    By sschroeder from All News. Published on Sep 13, 2013.

    Find and subscribe to green news, events and volunteer opportunities.

    Update on Bighorn Protection from Darilyn Parry Brown

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 28, 2013.

    Hells Canyon Preservation Council is a member of a regional Bighorn Advocacy Group whose primary aim is to see wild bighorn sheep herds in eastern Idaho, northeastern Oregon and southeastern Washington gain the permanent protections they need to thrive in their native habitat.  HCPC has been a key advocate for bighorn herds in the greater Hells Canyon area for nearly a decade.  Though again and again, we’ve won our battles to protect bighorns in the courts, these victories are still not secured.

    When I first came on as HCPC’s Executive Director early 2012, I took the lead on HCPC’s work to ensure lasting protections for wild bighorn herds in the Hells Canyon Country.  Most recently these efforts have focused on urging the Forest Service to follow their own Record of Decision released in 2010 that closes certain domestic sheep grazing allotments in the Salmon and Hells Canyon bighorn herds’ habitats and mandates deliberate risk reduction measures be put in place on open allotments.

    Wild bighorn sheep are extremely susceptible to a pathogen carried by domestic sheep. Bighorn sheep die-offs have been on-going in Hells Canyon for over twenty years.  In 1991, the Forest Service publicly acknowledged one of the first documented die-offs in Hells Canyon when ninety percent of the Seven Devils bighorn herd was wiped out.  Other documented die-offs in the region date back even further.  In 1986, a massive bighorn die-off was discovered in the nearby Wallowa Mountains within the Eagle Cap Wilderness in northeast Oregon.  This was not the first die-off, but was the most devastating.  The discovery of the diseased carcass of “Spot,” the largest bighorn ram ever found in the continental United States, and the loss of over two-thirds of the herd (66 animals) to disease in a period of a few weeks, was a tragedy that attracted substantial public attention.  The cause of the die-off was determined to be pneumonia linked to Pasteurellabacteria.  In 1992, there was another massive bighorn die-off, this time in the Hells Canyon NRA in the Sheep Creek drainage on the Idaho side of the Canyon.  The culprit was again verified as pneumonia symptoms tied to Pasteurella bacterial infection.  Other die-offs have followed since, in herds within Hells Canyon as well as other nearby areas. 

    Unfortunately, the Forest Service is not implementing or enforcing meaningful risk reduction measures. During the past two grazing seasons there were numerous instances where herders and/or herd dogs were not evidently present with their bands, animals were scattered and not recovered, and observers noted sheep outside allotments - in the areas with the greatest likelihood of domestic sheep and bighorn contact. Scattering events and sheep unaccounted for contribute to increased risk of contact between wild bighorn and domestic sheep. 
    In September 2012, a foraying ewe was sighted on three different occasions by hunters on the Grassy Mountain allotment that was just vacated that season due to the 2010 decision to close allotments.  Had we not challenged the Payette National Forests’ interpretation of the Simpson Rider intended to stop the implementation of grazing allotment closures just a few months earlier, there would have been domestic sheep on the allotment where the ewe forayed. This was a very narrow miss that could have proven disastrous to an entire herd of wild bighorn.     
    Due to a lack of adequate “contact risk reduction” action on the part of the Payette National Forest, in March HCPC submitted a letter to Payette National Forest Supervisor Keith Lannom urging him to adopt recommendations drawn up by the Bighorn Advocacy Group that outlined a realistic set of tools for reducing risk to the Salmon and Hells Canyon bighorn sheep herds. On June 10th, Supervisor Lannom hosted a meeting in response to ours and other members of the Bighorn Advocate Groups’ letters. However, domestic sheep had already been turned out on the allotments of concern (on June 1st).  Half an hour prior to the meeting, we were provided with a hard copy of the Forests’ Response to our recommendations. 
    The Forest chose not to adopt any substantive portion of the recommendations; instead, they chose to use the following rationale to comply with the 2010 ROD: “The Forest Service sets permit requirements and allows the permittee to establish the management context...”  I think it is accurate to say, HCPC and our allies in attendance, which included representatives from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, the Nez Perce, Western Watersheds, and The Wilderness Society, are extremely discouraged by the Forest Service’ response.
    Bighorn protection is not a popular idea among the small number of permittees who utilize our public lands to support massive domestic sheep operations in Idaho.  These powerful few have lobbied hard and continue to put tremendous pressure on the Forest Service to place their interests above those of threatened bighorn sheep.  Due to this heavy pressure, the victories we’ve worked so hard on over so many years for wild bighorn are not yet fully realized and we know we have to dedicate elevated efforts to the cause. 
    Since the June meeting with the Payette, Veronica Warnock, HCPC’s Conservation Director, has taken the point on HCPC’s bighorn work. HCPC remains committed to saving wild bighorn herds.  Veronica and the Bighorn Advocacy Group will keep the pressure on the Payette Forest Service—and the heavily subsidized grazing permittees—as long as it takes to gain lasting protections for these magnificent animals of the canyons.
     - Darilyn Parry Brown
    Executive Director, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

    Snow Basin Update

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 28, 2013.


    HCPC is seeking a Preliminary Injunction to stop the release and logging of two timber sales in the Snow Basin Vegetation Management Project.  The Skull and Empire sale areas within the project contain thousands of old growth trees and Bull trout habitat.  
    On July 8th, HCPC Executive Director Darilyn Parry Brown testified in federal court to the fact the Forest Service WILL cut large old-growth trees, particularly on the Skull sale, if an injunction is not awarded.  
    HCPC staff and volunteers visited old growth trees and stands in Skull in May and July provided proof the Forest Service is planning to remove many more ancient trees than it originally disclosed through the NEPA process, thus violating many environmental laws and its own decision.  
    Judge Hernandez’s decision on the injunction is expected by July 18th when the Skull sale is scheduled to be released.

    Humor, Facts, and Fundraising - Tom Lang's books

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 14, 2013.


    It was at the Green Action Day in Portland, back in May, when Tom Lang walked up to the HCPC booth and introduced himself to HCPC’s Restoration Director Brian Kelly.  They got to talking, sharing interests in protecting wild places and blues music.  Tom, impressed with HCPC’s accomplishments, came up with a way he could support that work.  As an author, selling his books from his website, he could offer HCPC part of the proceeds of the sales of his books.  Their discussion continued through emails, and came up with a plan. 
    Starting July 12th, 20% of the purchase price of books purchased through Tom’s website and entered with the “HCPC” code will help fund HCPC’s work to protect, restore and connect.   

    This creative way to help HCPC is part of the funding “patchwork quilt” that keeps HCPC going, along with memberships, monthly River Runner donors, major gifts, bequests, grants, funding through EarthShare, and event income.  Every piece of the quilt is important, and HCPC is delighted to have Tom Lang contributing his piece.

    You can read excerpts from Tom’s books below and on his website.  Tom’s personal eye view from the perspective of the animals he writes about includes a generous helping of humor leavened with detailed factual information.  He seems to find the crux of the interaction between people and the wildlife and help us look on both sides of the equation.  Anthropomorphizing? Yes, but with a point – and a very useful one.  Laughter is a way to get us outside our comfort zone – looking at ourselves, looking at others from a different place.  We mammals (and fish J) have more in common than we are usually willing to admit … and the about-face brings us closer to our connections.

    Here’s an excerpt from Tom’s book “Bear”, giving us that “about-face” look:
    “I’m a big, bad Alaskan brown bear and I get a little angry now and then. So shoot me. I don’t live in a fairy tale world where the worst thing that can happen is a smelly human eats my porridge and sleeps in my bed. I live in the real world. One day you’re walking down a trail smelling the flowers, the next your head’s hanging on a cabin wall and the humans are sitting on your butt in front of the fireplace.” 

    Here’s a short excerpt from Tom’s book “Salmon”, showing off his skill for weaving in factual trivia -

    “I’ve always been an emotional fish. My friends attribute my moods to my overly sensitive lateral lines, pores that run down my body from head to tail. These pores hook up with a canal under my skin that connects up with my brain, helping me sense minute disturbances and subtle movement. That’s how I can pick the best current, swim through murky water and maintain the tight formation of my school.
    But I think my sensitivity has more to do with unresolved issues from my troubled childhood. My mother and father died when I was conceived. I lived under 6 inches of gravel in Chilkat Lake for 6 months before I emerged as a fry. I fought for a year with my 4000 brothers and sisters over cheap crustaceans and microscopic algae slop–green desmids, blue diatoms and blue-green dinoflagellates. I huddled in fear of swim-by killings when the Chars, a crazed fish gang high on zooplankton, would wipe out 90 of my siblings in one swallow.”


    For a look at how Tom uses humor with great effect, here’s an excerpt from “Moose”:
    “She walked into my office, all 800 pounds of sweet lean Alaskan moose sashaying my way. A light rust tint sparkled off her golden brown hair. She bent over, stripped a willow branch with her mouth and ate slow, like I wasn’t there. She looked up at me. Water lilies danced in the swampy ponds of her eyes.
    “I’m Cervida and I’m missing my male.”
    “I’ll bet he’s missing you, too.”
    “That’s not what I mean. He’s missing. Gone.”
    “How long has he been gone?”
    “Three days.”
    “That’s not long.”
    “It is for one of my bulls. I tell my males when it’s time to be missing and when it’s time to be gone.”
       
    “Look, you beautiful cow, you’re not here to give me a physical and this ain’t no restaurant. So, what can I do for you?”
    “I hear you’re the best.”
    “Best at what?”
    “Finding things.”
    “I’m not bad.”
    “No, you’re not.”
    She chewed the leaf slowly as we stood staring at each other.
    “Are you free to find my male?”
    “I ain’t free and I ain’t cheap.”
    “Neither am I,” she said.
    I stripped a branch from above me and chewed and stared while she chewed and stared back.
    “Sure, Ms. Cervida–”
    “Call me Vida.”
    “Okay, Vida, I’ll graze around and see what I can find.”
    I’m Al Gigas, moose detective. I’ve roamed the mean riverbeds of the Chilkat Valley for ten years and I’ve seen things no creature should ever see and I’ve seen creatures that will never see again. A missing moose is a bad sign but I didn’t mention that to Vida. She wasn’t the first ungulate to walk into my office looking for a loved one. I’ve had brothers looking for brothers, calves for mothers, mothers for calves. I find things, Vida was right about that. But what I find this time of year would be better if it stayed lost.
    October was almost here.”


    Enjoy a fun read, learn a lot, and support HCPC's work! 
    - Danae Yurgel
      HCPC Office Administrator


    July 2013 -- The Water Issue

    By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Jul 11, 2013.

    Wildlife Watchers Project Begins New Season

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 13, 2014.

    Despite the uncertainties of weather and the persistence of lingering snow banks, Hells Canyon Preservation Council’s Wildlife Watchers Program is up and running for the 2013 field season.  

    In a partnership with the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, we’ve started the third season of documenting wildlife using motion-triggered wildlife cameras.  We are particularly interested in finding the American marten (“pine marten”) which is considered a management indicator species by the Forest Service.  After scouting out a variety of forested areas, we installed cameras in locations showing the best characteristics for marten habitat. To attract martens to the cameras, we apply a smelly, gooey substance known as marten lure.  This year, we are also hoping to entice martens to the cameras by placing chicken meat inside metal tubes cabled to a tree.  The tubes are large enough for a marten to crawl in but too small for bears and ravens to be able to access the bait.

    Even though summer is officially here, the snow banks live on in the high country.  Moss Springs is above Cove, Oregon and sits at about 6,000 feet above sea level. When we drove there this year in mid-June, the snow was gone.  But as we drove north from Moss Springs toward Point Prominence and gained a bit of elevation, we soon hit snow.   It was deep enough to warrant turning around the four-wheel drive pickup while we still had the chance.  A week later, about three inches of new snow fell near the 7,000 foot level in the local mountains, just a couple of days before the Summer Solstice. Still, the weather forecasts predict 90 degree days before the end of June.

    Welcome to early summer in the Blue Mountains.

    After turning back to avoid the snow, we circled back and approached the area from lower elevation in the Indian Creek drainage.  We located suitable spots for the cameras and got them set up to start another season of sampling.

    In 2011, the Wildlife Watchers photographed martens in the Elkhorn Mountains and also in the Mount Emily area.  In 2012, we sampled the Castle Ridge area between the Grande Ronde Valley and the Eagle Cap Wilderness boundary.  Surprisingly, we did not capture any photos of American martens there.  Interestingly, however, another old growth associated species, the northern flying squirrel was detected at almost 50% of the camera stations.     

    This year, we returned to the Castle Ridge area, and are now sampling in new and different places.  We are also targeting areas where marten tracks were recorded in the past.  We hiked deeper into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area and installed cameras in some forested areas showing habitat characteristics that martens typically utilize.  We are also interested in the possibility that we may catch a photograph of wolverines or wolves moving from the Wilderness into the Castle Ridge Roadless Area.

    HCPC appreciates the efforts of the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and the HCPC volunteers who make this program possible.  We would also like to thank  our funding partners - Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative and Mazamasand Patagonia. Stay tuned for more reports!   

    - Brian Kelly
      HCPC Restoration Director       

    June 2013 - "Your Share" E-newsletter

    By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Jun 18, 2013.

    Finding Common Ground on Eastern Oregon Forests

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 29, 2013.

    The following letter was published as a guest editorial in the La Grande Observer newspaper:
    Finding Common Ground On Eastern Oregon Forests

    Oregon’s public forests provide an tremendous variety of benefits to our state; they  protect our air and water, provide core habitat for fish and wildlife, offer recreation opportunities, and support the economic health of surrounding communities. Oregon’s forests also provide a special, uniquely Oregon quality of life that we all hope remains intact for generations to come.

    Unfortunately, how to best manage these public lands is often a source of conflict.  This is especially true when the Forest Service pursues poorly designed timber sales, like the Snow Basin logging project on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in northeast Oregon.

    After a century of short-sighted management decisions, our east side forests are at a crossroads. Fire suppression and logging practices of the past have created forests significantly removed from what nature intended.  Most of our old growth trees — those most resilient to fire — have already been logged, and a tangle of roads fragment our wildlife habitat.

    The good news is conservation groups like Oregon Wild and Hells Canyon Preservation Council are successfully working with other forest stakeholders, including elected officials, landowners and the timber industry, to design logging projects which support rural economies while reducing the risk of fire, and protecting the remaining old trees and un-roaded wildlands on our forests.  This common sense approach of working together to restore forests and watersheds has gained support in recent years, and is leading to enhanced trust and agreement, less controversial projects, and more forest and watershed restoration work getting done.


    Unfortunately, the Snow Basin project is an example of a logging sale which fails to build on this common ground.  Instead of focusing on thinning dry forest stands and reducing the risk of fire to homes and communities, the Forest Service has chosen to rush forward with a plan that includes logging in fragile, high elevation moist forests where fire risks are low and science demonstrates intensive logging is not appropriate.  Many leaders and land managers are calling for “increased harvest” off of Eastern Oregon’s public lands.  If they are serious, they should embrace a science-based approach that focuses on areas of consensus, and recognizes that today our forests are just as valuable for clean drinking water and our tourism and recreation economy as they are for two-by-fours.  That is the only way to forge a sustainable, consensus-based path through the woods.

    Now is the time to be far-sighted in our actions.  Advancing projects which strengthen local economies and forest health depends on all stakeholders working together and using science as our guide.  We must site logging projects in areas where they do not compromise the forest’s ability to respond to a changing climate, survive high-intensity fires, and support fish and wildlife.  There may be room to increase the pace and scale of restoration-based thinning in east side forests, but we must avoid the mistakes made with Snow Basin.  Any increase in logging must go hand and hand with increased protection for important environmental values.

    Many leaders and land managers are calling for “increased harvest” off of Eastern Oregon’s public lands.  If they are serious, they should embrace a science-based approach that focuses on areas of consensus, and recognizes that today our forests are just as valuable for clean drinking water and our tourism and recreation economy as they are for two-by-fours.  That is the only way to forge a sustainable, consensus-based path through the woods.

    Veronica Warnock, Conservation Director
    Hells Canyon Preservation Council

    Steve Pedery, Conservation Director
    Oregon Wild

    Your phone's last call should be to a recycler

    By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 12, 2013.

    The Oregonian covers cell phone recycling. Did you know that EarthShare can help you recycle your cell phones at work? Read on to find out more.

    Biophilia: This is Your Brain on Nature

    By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 12, 2013.

    Studies and articles abound showing the positive effects of natural settings on the human mind and body.

    Your Share - April 2013

    By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 02, 2013.

    Burgerville Rocks!, Meet our Newest Charities & More!

    Your Share - May 2013

    By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Apr 02, 2013.

    Plastic recycling changes in the Metro area, the best hikes & lots of spring inspiration!

    Burgerville Employees Pledge $22,000 to EarthShare Member Groups

    By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 26, 2013.

    Burgerville employees give generously to environmental nonprofits during their Spring workplace giving campaign.

    News & Press

    By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 14, 2013.

    Get the latest updates from EarthShare and our members.

    EarthShare Oregon welcomes seven new member groups

    By kverzwyvelt from All News. Published on Mar 14, 2013.

    Oregon’s environmental federation expands to offer more choices for employee engagement.

    Charles Jones Remembers Jack Barry

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Mar 06, 2013.



    Dear Conservationists,


    On Christmas evening, at his home in La Grande, Jack Barry, 87, died. With him were wife Lois, family and friends.

    Jack was among the early HCPC founders, primarily a bunch of Idaho Falls (Arco) nuclear engineers who couldn't abide the thought of the proposed dam in Hells Canyon (Brock can provide more background on Jack's early involvement.)

    I met Jack shortly after arriving in La Grande in 1974. He had left the nuclear industry. Lois was hired by Eastern Oregon University becoming a much respected, loved and admired English professor -- one known to never suffer inept administrators gladly.

    If anyone embodied a mad-dog environmentalist, it was Jack. He was fearless, persistent, relentless. He brought a much needed brand of obnoxiousness to countless public hearings, often the perfect antidote for public officials cowered by a bunch of burly loggers and industry hacks.

    At a Hatfield Senate wilderness hearing in La Grande, Jack, exercising First Amendment rights to the hilt, failed to act with expected propriety to St. Mark. The La Grande police hauled him out of the auditorium, threw him up against the foyer wall, handcuffed him, and hauled him in. Jack (without a lawyer, but with much help from Lois) sued the police and received a very substantial out of court settlement from the city.

    Probably a dozen years ago, HCPC honored six venerable NE Oregon conservations, stalwart defenders of our lands and heritage, at a large banquet. Jack, Loren Hughes, Bill Obertauffer, Bill Brown were among them. The speeches on behalf of Jack were the highlight. No one was ever a better recipient of hilarious roasts and toasts as the inimitable Mr. John Barry.

    As ferocious (and admittedly, at times, trying) as Jack could be in public hearings or HCPC board meetings, he was absolutely the sweetest and most gracious host or guest in any social gathering or random rendezvous. He was always interested in your doings, your life, and your well-being. He met you with a smile and left you with a laugh. You loved to meet him on the street or in the store. Jack was always interesting. Jack was fun. He was a peach of a guy.

    I'm quite sure I will never meet another Jack Barry. That saddens me.

    HCPC is proud to have Charles Jones on the Hells Canyon Preservation Council Board of Directors

    Green Your Camping Trips!

    By Meghan Humphreys from All News. Published on Mar 05, 2013.

    Here are our green tips for making the most of your outdoor experience, while taking care to leave a healthy environment when you pack up and head home.

    Remembering Beginnings: Brock Evans on HCPC History

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 27, 2013.



    My personal recollections are that the HCPC was founded in 1967... same year as I was appointed to be the Sierra Club's and Federation of Western Outdoor Club's Northwest representative (March). I believe my first meeting with them (about September, 1967), referring to their "new" formation, is in my archives at the University of Washington Library.

    Although there had certainly been opposition to Brownlee, Oxbow, and Hell's Canyon dams before that time, it was not effective and except for perhaps the Idaho Wildlife Federation, not very well-organized. That doesn't mean that there weren't precursors (in the form of opposition to dams in Hells Canyon); it just means that no such entity as HCPC per se, existed.

    So my understanding when I came upon the scene in 1967 was like your own, Charlie -- the dam(n) builders built the easiest Snake River ones first -- easier politically for Idaho Power as a "private company" as well as logistically... it was when they attempted a project that affected three states, that the "public power" people challenged them, here).

    Many of our kind of people then were also rightly fearful of the proposed Nez Perce Dam, just a mile or so below the confluence of the Snake and the Salmon -- because it would have drowned out the Lower Salmon gorges too. Somewhere around that time, the two applicants shifted the proposed site to High Mountain Sheep, just upstream of that confluence, I recall.  Anyone who floats down the Snake past that original site now can still see those white-painted initials way way up: "PNPC, Pacific Northwest Power Company" -- the private boys.

    Last time I saw that one, coming off the Salmon and floating (with Ric Bailey's crew) out onto the great living Snake, he pointed out those initials to us -- and everyone got goosebumps. My own heart leapt, jumped for joy, that that is all that was left of such a monstrous river-destroying venture -- those initials, 5-600 feet above us.

    I imagined then, with a shudder -- if that dam had been built, no one ever again would know what this place was like... instead of the songs of the canyon wrens, the grand play of early-morning
    light and shadow on the cliffs, the murmur and tugs of a great living river at our boats, we instead would have all been in diving suits in the gloom of 500 feet of deadness above us. 

    Someday, when everything else is safe and saved, I suggest we seek to preserve those initials -- as a kind of National Monument -- a memorial to the love, passion, and courage of our small bands, willing to stand and fight for it all, despite all the money and political power on the other side..

    My first connection with the issue came in May 1967, while attending the meeting of the ExCom of the Pacific Northwest chapter of the Sierra Club (then comprising all the SC members in the four NW states -- things were so tenuous and so much smaller in those times), on Hood Canal, WA. To this meeting came one Floyd Harvey, river boat operator from Lewiston. He asked the Sierra Club for help, and I was directed -- "look into this Brock," etc.

    I was very gloomy because, from my previous law practice, I knew that the legal case -- of WHO got to build the new dam, public or private power, was before the Supreme Court -- and it was the only issue -- who, not whether.  So, what could be done at this late date, when all seemed so, well, impossible? Remember there were no environmental laws at all then, no NEPA, no ESA, no nuthin'.

    I have told the story before (in the Falcon, some years back), but I had not yet heard anything about any specific organization like HCPC dedicated to fighting this dam, which may only mean that my information wasn't very good. And I hadn't yet visited Idaho, part of my "territory." I know i would have certainly tried to contact them had I known, even though the legal situation seemed like grasping for straws. Remember, other Idaho stalwarts had just lost the battle over Dworshak Dam on the Clearwater, not to mention Hells Canyon, Oxbow, etc.

    In those days, it was dam builder heaven wherever there still existed a free-flowing stretch of river... just as it was logger's heaven, wherever there were big trees.

    So I was gloomy, depressed about that directive, to "investigate and do something about it..." Then in early June I noticed a short paragraph in my daily copy of the Lewiston Tribune, to the effect that Justice Wm. O Douglas had somehow persuaded his colleagues that "we cannot decide the issue of who gets to build this proposed dam until we first decide whether it is in the public interest to license any dam at all here..."Or words -- such wonderful words! to that effect.

    Heresy! The dam-building juggernaut was in full force across the whole Northwest at the time; the idea of any dammable river being allowed to flow free was utter heresy -- nonsense.

    But here was an opportunity, a tiny opening -- for us, at last, to DO something!... and not to belabor the story here, I filed a Petition of Intervention before the Federal Power Commission, and much to the disgust and disdain of the dam builders we were accepted into the case that September. While I was preparing the legal documents (July-August), I tried to find plaintiffs who would have some credibility, both within the court, and also in the public arena -- for we all knew that the legal action was just a precious delay... it was in the public/political forum where we would have to finally save it...  if we could. I couldn't file such a case in my own name.

    The problem was that then, in those far-off times, enviro legal actions were little understood. I had to explain to the Presidents of the Sierra Club and FWOC what a plaintiff was! And had to have someone from Idaho, to satisfy the local credibility question.. But that summer, not yet having heard of HCPC, the only group I knew of from the state who would likely respond was the Idaho Alpine Club, based in Idaho Falls. They signed on too, that August.

    As things grew more and more serious, and it looked like we just might have a chance to build a real campaign, I thought to myself -- "I'd better get over there and have a look." So I first visited the Canyon in early September, was stunned by the beauty and magnificence of the place. And it was around that time that I believe I met some folks from what they told me was the newly-formed HCPC... probably including Jack, Jim Campbell, Jerry Jayne, Russ Mager, Pete Henault... all of whom, and so many more over the years -- Russ Brown, Boyd Norton, come to mind, Ken Witty... and of course Jack, a lion of a man always out front whenever the issue was raised -- assumed the grassroots political leadership, on the ground, which was so crucial to our final successes in the 70s. Especially re Congressman Al Ullman, Senator Frank Church, and Bob Packwood... and neutralizing Senators Len Jordan and Mark Hatfield.  What a grand bunch of comrades to have by anyone's side, I have always felt. 

    Those were very hot and heavy times, especially in Eastern OR, where no one will be surprised to know that dam-building sentiment was higher there than anywhere else. So it took really brave people, like Jack, Ken Witty, Carmelita Holland, bless them every one, to stand up and be counted in those scary times. 

    And as it turned out, those same leaders of the Idaho Alpine Club who signed my Petition of Intervention turned out to be the very core, the heart and soul of the HCPC which they had just formed, too! One of the finest and happiest results in all my campaigning experiences.

    So that's my recollection of how it all began in my memory. Whatever there may have been before, the Hells Canyon Preservation Council came to be in 1967 as I have always understood it, from working with those on the ground in those times. It's possible that my archives on the Hells Canyon struggle, housed in the University of Washington Library's Special Collections, may shed more light on the matter.

    Sorry for such a long tome, but I felt that some of you would enjoy the context.
    Best wishes, Brock

    HCPC is proud to have Brock Evans on the Hells Canyon Preservation Council Board of Directors


    "We all do better when we all do better" - EarthShare Oregon

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Feb 14, 2013.

    "We all do better when we all do better."
    I love that quote, which I first heard from populist philosopher Jim Hightower. I think of that wisdom when we ask how to be effective in a world with so many challenges. Another way of thinking of it is "How do we love all children, of all species, for all time?" (a quote I heard on the E2 program on OPB).   
    One of the great answers to that is beautifully illustrated in the children's book "Swimmy" - a simple idea - join together.
    HCPC is proud to be a member of EarthShare Oregon - a joint effort by a broad range of Oregon's environmental groups.  Read about EarthShare Oregon on their website.
    You can support HCPC and the other members of EarthShare Oregon by bringing EarthShare into your workplace (see below).
    Imagine this beautiful, amazing and awe-inspiring earth we all love singing, in the words of classic R&R "Come together - right now - over me!"

    Wishing you all a cozy Valentine's Day
          with lots of togetherness,
    Danae   
    Office Administrator
    Hells Canyon Preservation Council  


    Call on EarthShare for help with your office’s Green Team
     Do you work for a company that has a Green Team or Sustainability Committee?  Many Pacific Northwest employers have these squads of employees who are committed to improving their workplace’s environmental performance, and making the lives of all employees greener.  But once the recycling center is set up, and the copier paper has been switched to a recycled content, what can these groups do to keep sustainability in the forefront?
    EarthShare Oregon can help employers with this common problem. Its dozens of local member charities work on everything from bicycle commuting to renewable power generation. Through EarthShare, these nonprofits can help your company’s green team explore new sustainability avenues. 
    Contact Meghan Humphreys at EarthShare Oregon (503-223-9015) or meghan@earthshare-oregon.org) to discuss potential topics for your office’s upcoming Green Team meetings.



      

    Jack Barry - Visionary Voice 1925 - 2012

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jan 04, 2013.


    We at HCPC are grieving the loss of one of the visionaries who founded the organization to prevent further damming of the Snake River back in the mid-60s. Jack Barry passed away on Christmas evening following a lovely dinner with family and friends.  We are going to sorely miss his keen insight and wit. 

    The obituary below was written by his wife Lois Barry:


    John E. (Jack) Barry was born in Boston, 5 March 1925 to Gertrude French Barry and Walter J. Barry. He died suddenly at home on December 25.   During WW II he proudly served in General Patton’s 3rd Army, fighting through France, Germany and Austria til the war’s end. After graduating from Middlebury College, with the remainder of his GI Bill, he enrolled at the University of Innsbruck, Austria where he studied math but “majored in skiing.” Inspired by Richard Halliburton’s Royal Road to Romance, Jack became a life-long adventure traveler. During one spring break he and two friends rode their 3-speed bikes from Innsbruck, to Cairo, Egypt where he climbed the Great Pyramid at Cheops.

    Reluctant to leave Europe, Jack worked in Heidelberg, Germany for the U.S. Army Education program, where he met Lois Andrews. They married in Heidelberg in 1953. After their return to the U.S., Jack worked on jet engine noise suppression at Boeing in Seattle, experimental engine programs for Beech Aircraft in Boulder, the earliest satellite communication systems for Telecomputing in Alamogordo and Philco in Palo Alto, and nuclear reactor testing for Phillips outside of Idaho Falls, Idaho where Jack and a small group of fellow scientists  formed the Hells Canyon Preservation Council in 1967 to prevent construction of further dams on the Snake River.

    In 1967, never a “company man,” Jack decided to leave industry. With teaching certificates, he and Lois searched the Pacific Northwest for a perfect spot to raise their children. For a poor kid who grew up selling papers on the streets of Boston, purchasing 150 acres on the Morgan Lake Road in La Grande was a dream come true. The family immediately acquired two horses, a pony, three pigs, two steers and a hundred chickens. Soon Jack was active in successful efforts to prevent old-growth logging on the Minam and a proposed dam on Catherine Creek. Eventually Jack purchased and preserved 1,000 beautiful forested acres in Oregon.

    After teaching science and math in local schools, it was time for adventure. In 1972, Jack and Lois packed up the family for two years of teaching at the American School in Tehran, Iran. As chair of the math department, Jack arranged for school buses to take students to the opera, “an important part of students’ education.” Ever a gypsy, he drove the family’s VW bus 5,000 miles in the Middle East where they camped out in Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and Pakistan, then drove and camped from Tehran to Copenhagen and back to Amsterdam for their return to the U.S.

    While they were in Iran, a forest fire burned the family home. Using a quick sketch on a piece of notebook paper, Jack and his sons built a new house on the Morgan Lake Road. His mantras, depending on the situation, were “Everything is Transcendental” and “Attitude is Everything.”

    Jack never made a reservation, often picking locations because their names (like Krk and Ybbs) interested him. He and Lois enjoyed camping all over the Western United States and Canada, and travels to Nepal, Bali, Egypt, Mexico, Chile, Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia, as well as frequent trips to visit friends in Europe. They also visited Newfoundland where his mother’s home place at French’s Cove is now a national historic site. There he was pleased to learn that he might be descended from pirates, which explained his love of "messing about in boats."

    Jack is survived by his wife, Lois, his daughter, Kimberley Barry (Ashland), sons Brian Barry (Bend) and Peter Barry (Joseph), and his very special grandson, Kai Barry (Bend). Jack was a man of strong and consistent opinions. A committed environmentalist and unapologetic Democrat, he liked “old stuff,” especially books, and was ever curious and alive to the world. He never met a dog he didn’t like and --like Mark Twain -- looked forward to meeting his dogs (22 who adopted him over a lifetime) in their heaven. His legacy, joy in the moment and love of the natural world, is shared by his family and friends. A celebration of Jack’s life will be held in mid-June when the wild-flowers are in bloom on the Morgan Lake Road.

    The Dawn of Dam Removal

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jul 06, 2012.

    In honor of HCPC's inception, winning the fight to stop the final damming of the Snake River in Hells Canyon, we bring you an essay by former Secretary of Interior, Bruce Babbit.

    The Dawn of Dam Removal

    Bruce Babbitt
    Early Fall 2012

    When I began considering dam removal, the Elwha River quickly emerged at the top of my list. The river flows through the heart of Olympic National Park. It once hosted the most prolific salmon runs in the Northwest. And the tiny amount of electricity from the dams could easily be replaced from other sources.

    I went to the Olympic Peninsula to take a look. Sure enough, it seemed the perfect place to begin. The two dams down near the mouth of the river appeared completely out of place in the splendor of the great old-growth forests. I convened a press conference to announce a new era of dam removal, beginning here at the Elwha River.

    And then all hell broke loose. Washington State’s senior senator angrily condemned the idea, vowing, as ranking member of the Department of Interior Appropriations Committee, to put an end to such nonsense. Other members of the congressional delegation chimed in, in opposition. Newspaper editorials ridiculed the plan.

    A few weeks later President Clinton took me aside, looking somewhat bemused, and asked, “Bruce, what is all this stuff about tearing down dams?”  His innocent-sounding question was really a cautionary admonition. Our administration was already caught up in a bitter and politically costly controversy over the spotted owl and logging of old-growth forests in the Northwest. Friends reminded me that cabinet secretaries who stir up too much controversy can and do lose their jobs. The Elwha project would have to go on the back burner for a while.

    That public opinion was flooding in against us was hardly surprising. Back then, tearing down dams to restore rivers seemed a capricious idea dreamed up by another meddling bureaucrat. Why tear down perfectly good dams?

    We quietly set about rebuilding our case. Within the Department of the Interior we began preparing an environmental impact statement loaded with cost estimates, hydrologic computations, sediment studies, fish mortality statistics and regional economic impacts. However, of all the arguments thrown up against dam removal, the most effective was simply, “It won’t work. The salmon have been gone for a hundred years. What makes you think they’ll return?”

    Somehow, somewhere, we had to demonstrate that fish do come back. We needed to show and tell – with a small dam, built within recent memory, surrounded by a friendly community that actually remembered the fish runs and their importance to the community.

    And finally we found a candidate, at the other end of the country on a little-known river on the Atlantic Coast of North Carolina. 

    It turned out that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was already quietly at work on the Neuse River where a small diversion dam built in 1952 near the mouth had killed off one of the most prolific spawning runs of American shad, herring and stripers on the Atlantic Coast. A power company had built the Quaker Neck Dam to draw water for cooling, and it was perfectly feasible to design an alternate intake method.

    On a clear winter day in 1997, we assembled on the river bank. I took a few swings at the concrete with a sledgehammer, and a wrecking ball finished the job. By springtime, fish were swarming up the river, passing through Raleigh 70 miles upstream.

    The success at Quaker Neck brought national press and began to turn public opinion. Across the country local communities came up with proposals, and dams began to come down – at Kennebec in Maine, along the Baraboo River in Wisconsin, the Rogue River in Oregon, and the Butte and Clear Creeks in California.
    With public opinion now moving our way, nationally and in the Northwest, we ratcheted up our efforts in Congress to finish off the Elwha dams. Slowly, at what seemed a glacial pace, funding started to flow, finally coming to fruition in the Obama administration.

    In the space of two decades, dam removal has evolved from a novelty to an accepted means of river restoration. Most importantly, the concept has taken root in hundreds of local communities as residents rediscover their rivers, their history, and the potential not only to restore natural systems, but, in the process, to renew their communities as well.

    I am asked, “After Elwha, what is your next priority?” That’s like asking, “What is my favorite national park?” My answer tends to vary depending on what I have been reading and where I have been hiking most recently. But my nomination would be the four dams – Ice Harbor, Lower Monumental, Little Goose and Lower Granite – that have transformed the great Snake River in western Washington into a slack-water barge channel, destroying thousands of miles of salmon habitat in the Rocky Mountains and driving four salmon species to the brink of extinction.

    Others will have their own compelling priorities – and there are still 75,000 dams for consideration.

    Circling back to Wallowa County with HCPC

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jun 20, 2012.

    After three wonderful years in La Grande, I recently moved back to Wallowa County for the summer. Now that I’m back, it’s very rewarding to see the many ways that HCPC’s work, past and present, helps to improve the lives of many people here in Wallowa County.

    I recently bumped into a friend of mine that I haven’t seen for about three years on the streets of Joseph. I used to work for him when I was a naturalist/guide for Wallowa Resources Elderhostel program some years back. We were catching up and he told me that he was working as a Wilderness Ranger in the Eagle Cap and was on his way up to check Wilderness signs at a few remote trailheads. I knew that HCPC had been able to direct some money to the Forest Service in order to fund a Wilderness Ranger position in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. If you like that kind of work, it’s hard to find a better job.

    There used to be a lot more Wilderness Rangers than there are today and they are sorely needed to help maintain trailheads, clear trails, and to help with restoration and invasive plant removal. HCPC was able to fund this position, with the potential to last for a decade, as a result of our settlement agreement on the Boardman Power Plant. The Boardman Power Plant burns coal and pollutes the skies of the Eagle Cap and Hells Canyon Wilderness areas, not to mention our own communities. I even heard that mercury has been found in the fish in some high elevation Wilderness lakes. HCPC’s work has helped to result in a reduction and eventual stop to this coal-burning plant’s pollution of our environment, while leveraging good jobs in our community.

    It’s very inspiring and eye-opening to see how HCPC’s historic work of preventing the damming of Hells Canyon continues to change lives and create new opportunities for people. Some of my neighbors are hard at work this time of year guiding dozens and dozens of people down the areas many beautiful rivers. It amazes me to think of all the sustainable jobs generated through the rafting industry, and all the people that connect with the awesome Hells Canyon ecosystem by floating through it on the Snake River. And the river rafting industry seems more vibrant today than ever, attesting to the sustainability of rafting and the desire of people to be out in nature.

    The fundamental accomplishment of saving Hells Canyon forever changed Wallowa County and it’s nowhere more evident than in the composition of the local communities. I know many of these remarkable people would not be in Wallowa County today were it not for the work of HCPC. I am really thankful that they are here.

    David Mildrexler, Ecosystem Conservation Coordinator, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

    HCPC welcomes summer intern Joshua Axelrod

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Jun 08, 2012.


    My family moved to La Grande in the late summer heat of 1988, rounding the bend out of Ladd Canyon and catching our first glimpse of Mt. Emily’s iconic profile dominating the distance.  Though my parents were moving to take jobs at EOSC, it was our first time in Eastern Oregon, our weary eyes looking out across the Grande Ronde Valley at the end of a cross-country adventure that took us from the rolling, humid hills of Southern Ohio, across the Great Plains, over the Rockies, and into a piece of the world we had yet to know.  Over the next 13 years, I came to know and love the hills and mountains of Eastern Oregon in ways I cannot imagine knowing any other place.  Spring was spent wandering in search of morels, summer was spent discovering the high places deep within the Wallowa Mountains or tramping through the woods in search of the ever-elusive “large” huckleberry, in fall we waited for the snow, and in the winter we slid around on skis through the silent, frozen woods near Spout Springs, around Anthony Lakes, and near Salt Creek Summit.  By the time I graduated from LHS in 2001, Eastern Oregon had left a deep imprint on my understanding and view of the world.  It had instilled in me a deep desire to protect the natural world so that future generations might be able confront it with the same sense of wonder that all of us who grew up with the Blue Mountains out our backdoor were able to do without even realizing what a gift we had so easily within our reach.

    Josh (red bandana) and his dad crossing a snow bridge above Hurricane Creek, July 2011.
    After high school, I spent four formative years at Middlebury College in central Vermont.  There, surrounded by the entirely different beauty of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks looming just across Lake Champlain, my feelings about the importance of preserving the few remaining wild places left in this world occupied more and more of my thinking. Since that time, life has taken me back to Oregon where I lived and worked in Portland for two years, back across the country to Boston where I lived and worked for three years, and finally, south to Washington, DC where my wife and I decided to take the graduate school plunge together.


    Josh (right), his younger brother Ezra, and his dad in the hills above La Grande, Christmas 2011.
    At the Washington College of Law at American University, I am trying my best to honor my rationale for returning to school to pursue my legal degree.  I am a member of the editorial board of the Sustainable Development Law and Policy publication, a member of the Environmental Law Society, and hope to continue to focus my studies on environmental law and policy.  It is hard to believe that my legal pursuits have brought me back to Eastern Oregon to spend the summer as a legal intern with the Hells Canyon Preservation Council, but I suppose life is full of these wonderfully unexpected twists and turns.  This is the first professional experience I have ever had in a place that I feel a passionate connection to, and I hope that in the next two months I am able to make a positive and substantial contribution to HCPC’s ongoing conservation efforts in what is truly one of the most remarkable corners of the world.

    HCPC and Allies Await Approval for a Settlement Agreement Requiring DEQ to Re-Examine Controversial Mining Practice

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 25, 2012.


    In the spring of 2010, we urged our members to comment on the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) new draft permit for regulating suction dredge mining throughout Oregon (the "700PM permit"). A suction dredge is a gasoline-powered vacuum attached to a floating sluice box. Miners use the vacuum to suck up the bottom of streams and rivers and run sediment through the sluice to filter out gold and then dump the sediment back into the stream.

    Fishermen and clean water advocates are concerned about the negative effects suction dredge mining can have on fish and aquatic habitat quality.  This mining practice kills fish eggs and offspring thereby reducing fish spawning success, deposits fine sediment on stream bottoms, mobilizes toxic heavy metals and harms macro-invertebrate communities that are an essential part of the aquatic food web.

    Because of these negative impacts, HCPC joined a coalition of other conservation groups in January 2011 to challenge DEQ's final 700PM permit in state court for violating state and federal water quality laws.  Over the past several months, however, our coalition has been working to secure a settlement agreement with DEQ that would allow us to dismiss our lawsuit by requiring the agency to re-open the discussion about this controversial mining practice to the public. 
                                                       
    Last week we reached such an agreement.  If approved by the Court, our settlement would require DEQ to robustly examine ways to revise the 700PM permit to ensure compliance with water quality laws and adequately protect fish and their habitat.  Unfortunately, the Eastern Oregon Miners' Association, which intervened as a party to the lawsuit, filed questionable motions that are delaying and threaten to interfere with the Court's approval of our agreement.  We're hopeful these motions can be resolved shortly so we can continue moving forward.

    Oregon’s statewide Clean Water Act permits are usually renewed on a five-year basis. The next version of the suction dredging permit should be finalized by July 2014. The settlement agreement outlines a stakeholder process beginning in December 2012 to initiate the next permit renewal.  Based on the settlement, the permit renewal process will consider prohibited areas based on water pollution, fish habitat and specially designated areas, whether to require annual reports and the cost of this activity to the state, among other items. 

    The number of suction dredges in Oregon has increased dramatically in recent years.  Permits from the Department of State Lands (DSL) have increased nearly 300% from 656 in 2007 to 2,209 in 2011. DEQ permit registrations in the last two years also show that nearly 30% of suction dredge miners are coming from other states to mine Oregon’s streams and rivers.  This likely includes a sizable number of out-of-state miners that used to go to California to dredge before our neighboring state put a dredging moratorium in place until 2016.  This trend is a serious threat to our streams, rivers and fisheries.

    Plaintiffs in this case were represented by the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center ("PEAC").  HCPC's co-plaintiffs include the Northwest Environmental Defense Center, Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center, Rogue Riverkeeper, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, Institute for Fisheries Resources, Oregon Coast Alliance and Oregon Wild.

    Of Killdeer, Camas, and the Travel Management Plan

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 21, 2012.

    I recently worked with a volunteer from the Birdathon, printing small photos of habitat for kids to use in one of the hands-on learning projects Birdathon volunteers offer.  I started thinking about habitat - that conjunction of space/food/water/shelter/structure that allows a species to live there.

    It's hard not to notice the killdeer trying to occupy the gravel right-of-way along a back road.  They can't nest there, between the tires and the cats and dogs and horses and bicycles.  The seasonally scrubbed gravel beds along and in the river are mostly gone.  I sometimes fantasize that we could take all the flat roofs on the downtown buildings, add a shallow gravel layer with a little silt for occasional native grasses, and create some of the nesting area that is now subdivisions and streets and straight narrow ditches.  It would take creativity and commitment and a great deal of buy-in from people who probably mostly don't care about the nesting needs of killdeer. 

    It would have been so much easier to keep a few gravel ridges and sandbars along the river and major creeks, instead of subverting the natural riverine shapes and patterns to the straight and narrow of the Army Corps of Engineers.  Human convenience, thoughtlessness and arrogance trumped the needs of other species.   It would now take a great deal of money and time and effort to rebuild one gravel ridge or sandbar.  

    One of the reasons I support HCPC is that it works to protect the places that do still exist - public lands where wildlife can still find the habitat they need, knowing that it is so much more reasonable (and affordable)  to preserve than to have to rebuild.  And HCPC works to rebuild and restore habitat as well, knowing that we need to repair damage that has been done.  

    This is clear in the recent Travel Management Plan for the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest.  I'm so proud of HCPC advocating for the protection of elk calving grounds from motorized disturbance, for the protection of high wet meadows from destructive and careless cross-country rutting by off-roaders, for the protection of roadless areas from new roads, and for the closure of excess old roads that were supposed to be closed down a decade ago.   

    I recently followed the Mt. Emily Road, looking for wildflowers and enjoying the abundance of blooms and silence and birdsong.   It didn't take long though before I saw the terrible damage left by off-road vehicles tearing across a wet meadow.  The ruts were deep, hard set, and showed as dark brown scars bereft of any green in the midst of wildflowers.    In another case the damage went straight up a steep hillside that was now eroding badly.  There were roads around, a LOT of roads - going off both sides from the Mt. Emily road.  There was no need to go where these ruts went, in one case just cutting a corner between the main road and another side road.   

    I started thinking about how long it would take for those ruts to heal.  Since we can still see the ruts from wagon wheels over 100 years ago, without our help such wounds last a long time.  Wouldn't it be better not to make them in the first place?     

                                          

    Wild Places, Roads and Freedom

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 13, 2012.

    From the edge of the road:  Looking into the roadless.  Photo by Brian Kelly

    It’s been pretty noisy around northeast Oregon lately.  As the US Forest Service tries to deal with motorized use of public lands, objections have been heard from people who have become accustomed to being able to drive just about anywhere they please.  The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest has more than nine thousand miles of roads, many of them left over from old logging projects.  Over much of the National Forest, you are currently allowed to drive off the roads and across country if you feel like it.

    Some folks seem to view the Forest Service travel planning process as a restriction of their freedom and access to public lands.  Of course, when four-wheel-drive vehicles and ATVs drive unrestricted across the landscape then wildlife habitat is degraded, water quality suffers and weeds spread across the countryside.  The peaceful beauty that people seek on public wild lands can become diminished by the impacts of the users.

    What about our freedom?  Well, two of America’s greatest conservationists wrote about freedom in describing their relationship with the natural world.

    “What avail are forty freedoms without a blank spot on the map?”

    Aldo Leopold wrote these powerful words.  While of course we all need roads to access wild places, at a certain point the presence of a road itself diminishes the very character of the wild place that we seek.  The place where the road ends and the blank spot begins is a special place indeed.   You will find wildlife, old forests, and clean waters when you find the blank spots on the map.

    Here are the words of John Muir:

    “Walk away quietly in any direction and taste the freedom of the mountaineer. Camp out among the grasses and gentians of glacial meadows, in craggy garden nooks full of nature's darlings. Climb the mountains and get their good tidings, Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

    Following his description of freedom in the mountains, John Muir added this next sentence:

    “As age comes on, one source of enjoyment after another is closed, but nature's sources never fail.”

    It’s striking to me that rather than complaining about not being allowed to drive a Model T Ford across the forest as he grew older, John Muir chose to rejoice in the enjoyment of nature.

    He was a very wise man and a free man as well.

    ~Brian Kelly

    Analysis confirms Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan Decision leaves plenty of access

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on May 07, 2012.

    It is very important that we use this pause in the Travel Plan Process to better understand what the now withdrawn Decision would have actually done. One of the most common claims put forth against the Travel Plan Decision was that the Forest Service was taking away access to the Forest. Some even claimed that the Forest Service was using the Travel Plan to “lock them out” of the National Forest.


    If there were any truth to these claims, HCPC would be very concerned. How are people supposed to cultivate the life-long connections to the National Forestlands that are ultimately necessary to encourage and advocate for better stewardship of these ecosystems, if people can’t connect with them in the first place? So let’s take a close look and see for ourselves what this Decision would do.

    With our partners, we performed a GIS analysis based on the Selected Alternative Layer (i.e. the now withdrawn Decision). All open motor vehicle roads and trails are mapped in red. We put a one-mile buffer around all open motor vehicle roads and trails so we could visually see how many places on the National Forest could be accessed in less than one-miles distance from the nearest road, a modest distance. These areas are mapped in grey. If an area is further than one mile from a road, it is mapped in light green. Wilderness is in dark green.

     
    The results graphically illustrate that outside Wilderness areas, nearly the entire National Forest is within one mile of a road. The few small islands that are further than one-mile from a road are usually inside Inventoried Roadless Areas (mapped in black crosshatch). These are very small islands, and based on a visual assessment, it appears that the Decision would not leave anywhere outside designated Wilderness further than two miles from an open road. It’s important to note that the map does not show the areas within Wilderness areas that are less than one-mile from a road. If it did, you could see that much of the North Fork John Day Wilderness would be grey color, and a surprisingly large part of the Eagle Cap Wilderness as well.


    These results clearly show that the Forest Service strived to provide very widespread access to the entire Wallowa-Whitman National Forest in their Travel Plan Decision. In our opinion, the Decision did not go far enough to protect roadless areas, old growth forests, critical elk habitat areas, and fragile aquatic environments from the damages of motorized vehicles. We encourage the Forest Service to use this opportunity to strengthen the Travel Plan in these key natural resource areas.

    As HCPC stated in our press release on the withdrawal of the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Management Plan, and as is clearly illustrated in the analysis above, there is no validity in the claims that people will no longer have access to the Forest. Moreover, the Travel Plan is not just about access, but also about protection of natural resources and the costs of maintaining the designated road system. As I stated in my editorial
    (http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2012/04/wallowa-whitman_national_fores.html), what’s really at stake is the quality of the National Forest's we will be accessing.

    David Mildrexler, Ecosystem Conservation Coordinator, Hells Canyon Preservation Council

    Of Truth and Boots

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Apr 16, 2012.

    Wow. Been a very long week. Hard not to talk about the Wallowa-Whitman Travel Plan, with all the terrible misinformation going around. Reminds me of the saying that a lie can run around the world before the truth can get its boots on.
    Truth and facts seem to be badly outnumbered by imagined outrages and fictional claims.
    For the record:
    No, logging will not be shut down by the Travel Plan - it will not be hampered by this Decision.
    No, the forest will not be locked away - over 4,000 miles of roads will remain open.
    No, the process of reaching this Decision did not shut out the public - it involved years of public participation and comments.
    No, the process does not ignore different viewpoints - the Travel Plan includes new trails for off road vehicles (as much as I don't want that).
    No, not all "locals" are against it. I'm local and I'm for an even stronger Travel Management Plan.
    No, the Wallowa-Whitman is not a county or even a state forest - it is a National forest, held in trust not just for us locals, but for the nation; not just for this generation, but for the future as well.

    The Travel Plan Decision is a compromise that addresses the concerns of all stakeholders with a moderate response to the need for travel management. It will close down some roads - mostly old, overgrown, eroded, or duplicate roads that would be too expensive to repair. It does include some protection for much-needed wildlife "security habitat" and some protection for streams with runs of native fish.

    The Travel Plan doesn't go nearly as far as it needs to for wildlife, fisheries, and native plants. Still, I accept that both science and politics are at play, and the Forest Service has done the best it can to respond to all interests.

    What I do not accept is the false portrayals of the issues that I see and hear in almost all venues, from town halls to local papers to neighborhood gossip.

    Lies, even unintentional ones, do not make a good basis for decisions.

    Now, on to the news that the seasonal progression of wildflowers is starting to unroll, bluebirds are back on Cricket Flats, and a sandhill crane was spotted out in the fields by Indian Creek (south of Elgin). Ospreys are back on the nest by Willow Creek and on Woodell Road, and curlews are in the fields north of La Grande.

    Back to enjoying this wonderful place where we live -

    Danae Yurgel


    The Perverse Logic of Wolf Hunts

    By noreply@blogger.com (Hells Canyon Preservation Council) from From the Canyons. Published on Mar 30, 2012.

    The Predator Persecution Complex

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/30/the-perverse-logic-of-wolf-hunts/

    by GEORGE WUERTHNER

    The hysteria that surrounds wolf management in the Rockies has clouded rational discussion. Wolves are hardly a threat to either hunting opportunity or the livestock industry.

    ELK NUMBERS ABOVE OBJECTIVES

    For instance, the Wyoming Fish and Game reports: “The Department continues to manage to reduce Wyoming’s elk numbers. The total population of the herds with estimates increased by 16 percent in 2009 and is now 29 percent above the statewide objective of 83,640 animals.”

    Things are similar in Montana. Populations have grown from an estimated 89,000 animals in 1992 prior to wolf recovery to 140,000-150,000 animals in recent years.

    In Idaho we find a similar trend. According to the IDFG 23 out of 29 elk units are at and/or above objective. Hunter success in 2011 was 20%: one in five hunters killed an elk.

    Wolves are clearly not a threat to the future of hunting in any of these states.

    LIVESTOCK LOSSES EXAGGERATED

    Ranchers are equally irrational. In 2010 Wyoming livestock producers lost 41,000 cattle and calves due to weather, predators, digestive problems, respiratory issues, calving and other problems. But total livestock losses attributed to wolves was 26 cattle and 33 sheep!

    Last year Montana livestock producers lost more than 140,000 cattle and sheep to all causes. But total livestock losses attributed to wolves was less than a hundred animals.

    In 2010 Idaho cattle producers lost 93,000 animals to all causes. Respiratory problems were the largest cause accounting for 25.6 percent of the cattle lost. Next came digestive problems, accounting for 13.4 percent of the cattle deaths. Total cattle losses attributed to wolves was 75 animals.

    To suggest that wolves are a threat to the livestock industry borders on absurdity.

    WOLF CONTROL INCREASES CONFLICTS

    Worse yet, the persecution of predators does not work to reduce even these minimum conflicts as most proponents of wolf control suggest.

    The reason indiscriminate killing does not work is because it ignores the social ecology of predators. Wolves, cougars, and other predators are social animals. As such, any attempt to control them that does not consider their “social ecology” is likely to fail. Look at the century old war on coyotes—we kill them by the hundreds of thousands, yet ranchers continue to complain about how these predators are destroying their industry. And the usual response assumes that if we only kill a few more we’ll finally get the coyote population “under control.”

    The problem with indiscriminate killing of predators whether coyotes, wolves, cougars or bears is that it creates social chaos. Wolves, in particular, learn how and where to hunt, and what to hunt from their elders. The older pack members help to raise the young. In heavily hunted (or trapped) wolf populations (or other predators), the average age is skewed towards younger age animals . Young wolves are like teenagers—bold, brash, and inexperienced. Wolf populations with a high percentage of young animals are much more likely to attack easy prey—like livestock and/or venture into places that an older, more experience animal might avoid—like the fringes of a town or someone’s backyard.

    Furthermore, wolf packs that are continuously fragmented byhuman-caused mortality are less stable. They are less able to hold on to established territories which means they are often hunting in unfamiliar haunts and thus less able to find natural prey. Result : they are more likely to kill livestock.

    Wolf packs that are hunted also tend to have fewer members. With fewer adults to hunt, and fewer adults to guard a recent kill against other scavengers, a small pack must actually kill more prey than a larger pack. Thus hunting wolves actually contributes to a higher net loss of elk and deer than if packs were left alone and more stable.

    Finally hunting is just a lousy way to actually deal with individual problematic animals. Most hunting takes place on the large blocks of public land, not on the fringes of towns and/or on private ranches where the majority of conflicts occur. In fact, hunting often removes the very animals that have learned to avoid human conflicts and pose no threat to livestock producers or human safety. By indiscriminately removing such animals which would otherwise maintain the territory, hunting creates a void that, often as not, may be filled by a pack of younger, inexperienced animals that could and do cause conflicts.

    INSANITY IS DOING SAME WRONG THING OVER AND OVER

    We need a different paradigm for predator management than brute force. As Albert Einstein noted, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Unfortunately insanity has replaced rational thought when it comes to wolf management.

    George Wuerthner is an ecologist with among others, a degree in wildlife biology, and is a former Montana hunting guide. He has published 35 books.

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    As important as energy is to our economy and quality of life, it isn't surprising that energy issues are in the news on a daily basis these days. Dependence on foreign energy suppliers and on fossil fuels - which contribute to climate change - is not a strategy that is sustainable for our needs. Ultimately, a clean, secure, homegrown energy future will be needed to revitalize our economy and sustain us for the long-term.
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