Thursday, January 12, 2017

A Good Day for Southern Oregon!

Rough and Ready Creek flows into the Illinois Valley from the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area. The watershed was included in the 20-year Mineral Withdrawal.
Today was a good day for southern Oregon and its wild places. Two major victories in the struggle to protect our last wild, intact landscapes were realized today. It is a victory for the land, for our communities and for the future. Today, President Obama designated a nearly 48,000-acre expansion to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument east of Ashland, Oregon. The BLM also announced a 20-year Mineral Withdrawal in the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area on Baldface Creek and Rough and Ready Creek, west of O'Brien, Oregon. The withdrawal also protects Hunter Creek and the North Fork of the Pistol River in coastal southwestern Oregon. The Mineral Withdrawal totals 95,805 acres on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, including some of the region's most pristine streams and fisheries. It also includes 5,216 acres of BLM land in the Medford and Coos Bay Districts. The Mineral Withdrawal protects large swaths of the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area from large-scale strip mining and new mineral development.


Both of these wild places are very close to my heart. I learned to love the wildlands of southern Oregon and northern California in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument and the South Kalmiopsis Roadless Area. I can look back at the extended backpacks of my youth, into Baldface Creek and Rough and Ready Creek, enjoying the pristine waters, unique serpentine geology, diverse botany, stark beauty and lonely canyons. I think of swimming clear, blue, rock-bound pools with only cobra lily, Jeffery pine and summer steelhead, as my company.

Horseshoe Ranch Wildlife Area will be included in the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, protecting some of the region's most interesting low elevation habitats.


I think of full moons on Pilot Rock looking across the Cascade-Siskiyou region. I think of long rambling hikes through the Monument, to the volcanic grandeur of Jenny Creek Falls, the wild, rugged canyons surrounding Horseshoe Ranch, and to the summit of Grizzly Peak with its fire swept rock gardens and majestic old forests. I think of cold, clear winter days on Round Mountain and rain-drenched hikes to Lost Creek Falls. In these places I found myself. In these places I found meaning and peace, like I never knew existed. I emerged from childhood with a sense of place and a sense of responsibility to that place, with an undying urge to defend the wild and immerse myself in its humbling solitude. 

Many years ago (1995), I fought with youthful zeal for the old forests we called "Hoxie," forests targeted by the BLM in the Hoxie Griffin Timber Sale and bitterly opposed by a youthful cadre of activists. We toiled in the snow, blockaded the road, occupied log trucks and screamed out in passion for the earth. The sale and its old-growth forests were cut, but a new movement was born and a personal journey began. The struggle to save "Hoxie" was disappointingly lost. How ironic that at the time no one would listen. Today, the president of the United States acknowledged their values and these same forests we so idealistically fought to protect have now been preserved for posterity in the expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. 

Today was a good day. Let us celebrate these important victories and give thanks to those who have worked to secure them — thanks, you know who you are. Then let's move on to protect the next wild place. What next? Anywhere wild!

Ancient black oak on Scotch Creek in the Horseshoe Ranch addition to the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Pickett West Timber Sale: Cheney Creek, Southside and Highway 238 Units

Old-growth forest proposed for logging in the Pickett West Timber Sale on lower Cheney Creek.

The Klamath Forest Alliance and Applegate Neighborhood Network have continued our monitoring effort for the Pickett West Timber Sale. We began on the Applegate Valley portions of the timber sale, surveying units around North Applegate and Murphy. Recently we visited a few units accessed from Cheney Creek Road, Southside Road, and Highway 238 near Murphy.

Cheney Creek Unit

I visited one small Pickett West unit on Cheney Creek on road 37-7-13.1. The unit lies directly adjacent to unit 13-7 of the recently cut Cheney-Slate Timber Sale. The proposed unit is located on a steep, densely wooded northwest-facing slope, directly above the mainstem of Cheney Creek, an important steelhead and coho salmon stream in the Lower Applegate River watershed near Wilderville.


Lush and productive forest proposed for logging in the Pickett West Timber Sale.
The forest is lush, dense and very productive for the Applegate Valley. In these westernmost watersheds, a distinct coastal influence drifts up the river with the winter fog. While the eastern, more interior portions of the Applegate Valley are arid and dry, the westernmost watersheds represent quientessential Pacific Northwest habitat. The increased precipitation and productive soils grow dense, multi-layered forests of tanoak and massive old Douglas-fir. A waist-deep tangle of evergreen huckleberry carpets the forest floor, mixed with half rotted, moss covered logs and stout, branchy Pacific yew trees. 

Old, fire-scarred Douglas-fir trees grow in clusters across the slope, piercing through the secondary canopy of tanoak trees. These are dense woods with the shelter of a closed canopy and the protection of large, dominant old trees. The layered canopy, large old conifers, abundant downed wood, and complex late-seral habitat creates ideal conditions for the Northern spotted owl, Pacific fisher and red tree vole.

Higher on the slopes are closed mid-seral forests that also provide important habitat for the Northern spotted owl. Lush, intact forests like this are not in need of "restoration" or silvicultural manipulation — they should be left alone. The stand currently maintains healthy conditions and a natural resilience to fire, insects and disease. The habitat complexity, biodiversity, and cool, protected microclimate is currently moderating fire hazards, buffering the stand from drought stress, insect infestation and the immediate effects of climate change. 
Lush, old forest proposed for logging on Cheney Creek.

This proposed Pickett West Timber Sale unit is an oasis and refuge for wildlife in a changing climate and in a changed landscape. The majority of the Cheney Creek watershed has been heavily logged by both the BLM and private timber interests, leaving islands of old habitat scattered across the watershed. The habitat connectivity provided by this stand, and into the riparian area of Cheney Creek, is important for late-seral species such as Northern spotted owl, Pacific fisher, red tree vole, and northern flying squirrel. The cool, low elevation forest habitat will become increasingly important to wildlife in a fragmented landscape and changing climate. The unit should be canceled from the Pickett West Timber Sale.

Directly across road 37-7-13.1, in a once lush riparian terrace adjacent to Cheney Creek, the BLM recently logged unit 13-7 in the Cheney-Slate Timber Sale. The unit was logged to within 50' of the fish bearing stream and was tractor yarded. In the process, the rich understory, the nurse logs, and rich alluvial soils were badly damaged as the tractor tread compacted and disturbed soils and large trees were dragged from the streamside terrace to the adjacent logging road. The main component of the understory, dense thickets of evergreen huckleberry, has been removed by the tractor, leaving only bare and compacted soil covered in a layer of logging slash. Nearly all the beautiful bigleaf maples and canyon live oak were cut to facilitate the removal of commercial timber.
Unit 13-7 of the Cheney Slate Timber Sale cut in 2016.
The Purpose and Need in the Cheney-Slate Environmental Assessment (EA) recommended the following: "promote/retain a multilayered stand structure and a diversity of size classes; increase seral stage diversity across the landscape: create conditions that are favorable for the initiation, creation and retention of snags, down wood, large vigorous hardwoods, and understory vegetation diversity in areas where these are lacking" (p.7). The EA also identifies a need to, "improve and protect aquatic, riparian and terrestrial habitats" (p.9); however, the reality on the ground tells a much different story.

Southside Road Unit

The Southside Road Unit is located directly adjacent to a portion of Southside Road, between Murphy and Wilderville, Oregon. A small corner of BLM land abuts Southside Road, providing public access to a unique, beautiful and interesting ecosystem. 


Open oak woodland at the northern portion of the area is not in need of additional manual fuel reduction as it has already been thinned. The area is proposed for fuel reduction in the Pickett West Timber Sale. A low intensity prescribed fire would be the most appropriate treatment on this site.


The northern portion of the area appears to be affected by ultramafic soils such as serpentine. The area is open and sparsely wooded with short-statured oak, a few twisted manzanita and scattered overstory pine or cedar. Native grasses and forbs, now dormant for winter, adorn the rocky soils. The slopes are gentle, rolling, and divided by faint ridges and small trickling waterways pouring through the leaky soil like a sieve. 

The area has been treated for fuel reduction in the past, however, additional fuel reduction is proposed in Pickett West. It is hard to imagine what the agency believes that area needs, as fuels in this location are extremely low for southwestern Oregon, competition is minimal between trees, and soils are poor enough to ensure that very little has grown back since the last fuel reduction treatment. Stand conditions in the oak woodland area appear characteristic. The agency could consider a low intensity prescribed fire in the flashy, grassy fuels, but manual fuel treatment is currently unnecessary.


Mixed conifer forest including large, old-growth trees is proposed for logging in the Pickett West Timber Sale.
Further to the south, the woodlands transition into stands of madrone, black oak, pine and Douglas-fir.  The soils are more productive and the slope undulating between small gulches lined in Pacific yew and bay laurel. The ground is cobbly with very little fine fuel or duff layer — the "soil" is largely covered in mossy rocks the size of a football. Scattered old pine and fir grow among wide branching madrone and a few black oak. The large, old trees support gnarled old branches, broken and flat-topped crowns and other characteristics of old-growth trees. They are scattered about at low density in groupings of two or three or four or more trees. The largest trees grow adjacent to the stream.

A portion of the stand is proposed for commercial logging. 
Growth is slow on these harsh soils.  I bored one tree, only 18" in diameter, that was 147 years old. If this unit was logged a strict upper diameter limit of 18" would be necessary to protect old-growth trees and maintain adequate canopy cover.



Highway 238 Unit
Groupings of large overstory trees should be retained in the Highway 238 stand.
I also visited a proposed Pickett West Timber Sale unit directly adjacent to Highway 238, east of Murphy, Oregon. The area lies directly across the road from a small county-owned property on the Applegate River. Many people access the Applegate River from this highway pullout; however, few realize the forest on the slope adjacent is also public land. 

The area is an isolated parcel of BLM land: the lower portion is targeted for commercial logging, while the upper slope is proposed for fuel reduction.

The stand is mid-seral with scattered old pine, fir, madrone, and on the lower slopes bigleaf maple. Beneath the few scattered old trees, grow relatively dense, closed canopy stands of pole-sized fir trees. In places the understory is covered in a thick carpet of ferns. The unit is proposed for commercial logging and could likely be treated to increase stand health and reduce fuel loading if done with sensitivity. 

A lush understory of ferns colonizes a natural forest opening.

The treatment should target small diameter understory trees, mostly Douglas fir. Trees of commericial size and non-commercial size would need to be removed for the treatment to effectively reduce fuels and positively influence stand structure. A 20" diameter limit and an emphasis on maintaining groupings of dominant trees should be implemented. The slope is north facing; a 60% canopy cover retention target should ensure Northern spotted owl habitat is maintained while ample canopy cover reduces the potential for a dense shrub response.  

Klamath Forest Alliance (KFA) and Applegate Neighborhood Network (ANN) intend to continue monitoring proposed Pickett West Timber Sale units. Please consider supporting our efforts with a tax-deductible donation. Specify that your donation will support the Siskiyou Mountains Conservation Program.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Gap Fire Report: Natural Fire Effects, Fire Suppression Impacts & Post-Fire Logging

The Gap Fire burned around the meadows near Buckhorn Spring on the Siskiyou Crest.

The Gap Fire burned between August 27 and September 17, 2016, in the Horse Creek watershed north of the Klamath River. The fire began with intensity, burning under extreme conditions as it approached the small rural community of Horse Creek. Being funneled down the Horse Creek canyon by strong winds and plume-driven runs, the fire tragically burned nine homes on the evening of August 28 — more details about this are included in the report.

By September 1, weather conditions had moderated and the fire burned at low- to moderate-severity as it approached the Siskiyou Crest near Condrey Mountain and Dry Lake Mountain in upper Buckhorn Creek and Middle Creek. The Gap Fire brought many benefits to the forests and ecosystems of the Siskiyou Crest: it reduced fuels, recycled nutrients and enhanced wildlife habitat. It also naturally thinned forests, opened forest stands in vast low-severity underburns, regenerated montane chaparral fields with mixed-severity fire and created small, isolated openings in otherwise forested habitats with moderate- and high-severity runs. Habitat complexity, age class diversity and forest heterogeneity were positively affected, reinforcing the ancient mosaic of fire on the southern slope of the Siskiyou Crest.


The Gap Fire on the slopes above the Klamath River.
The Gap Fire burned through the Johnny O'Neil Late Successional Reserve (LSR), a large area set aside to promote late-seral habitat conditions and connectivity between LSR forests and wilderness landscapes on the Siskiyou Crest and in the Marble Mountains. In the Johnny O'Neil LSR, old-growth forest, second-growth forest and dense plantation stands burned in a healthy mixed-severity fire mosaic.

The Gap Fire also burned adjacent to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), the Condrey Mountain Blue Schist Geologic Area, the Condrey Mountain Roadless Area, a designated Back-Country Area, the Horse Creek Botanical Area and in watersheds providing cold water refugia for threatened coho salmon. The northern portion burned into the high country of the Siskiyou Crest in old-growth red fir, white fir and hemlock forest, adapted to mixed-severity fire. The fire burned through these forests at low- to moderate-severity, creating minimal tree mortality and largely maintaining the ancient forest canopy.

Unfortunately, the Klamath National Forest (KNF) has now proposed a large post-fire logging project in this important landscape. The inaptly named Horse Creek Community Protection and Restoration Project — a name clearly chosen to greenwash the real intentions of the project — calls for clearcutting old-growth snag forest and building "temporary roads" in upper Buckhorn and Middle Creeks. The project also includes post-fire logging in the Johnny O'Neil LSR and tractor yarding on extremely sensitive and erosive schist soils. I encourage folks to vocally oppose this project, support protection of the Siskiyou Crest, and the inclusion of local tribes in the decision making process. 


Old-growth snag forests at the headwaters of Buckhorn Creek on the Siskiyou Crest are proposed for clearcut logging. Small snag patches like this one would be accessed with "temporary roads," tractor or skyline yarded, clearcut and replanted with plantations stands. Both snags and live trees would be cut.


With the support of Klamath Forest Alliance (KFA) and Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), I have published the Gap Fire Report, an in-depth analysis of the Gap Fire, its fire effects, the proposed post-fire logging and the impact of discretionary fire suppression activities.

The Gap Fire Report can be viewed at the following link:

The Gap Fire Report is the seventh fire report KFA has produced in the past five years. We are attempting to document the impacts of fire suppression and the actual mosaic of contemporary fire in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. The result is an extensive case study from across the Klamath-Siskiyou region and its many wildland habitats. The research documents the beneficial effects of contemporary wildfires, the impact of fire suppression activities and potential management recommendations that would reduce the impact of fire suppression activities while maximizing the beneficial effects of wildland fire. 


Check out KFA's Klamath-Siskiyou Fire Reports 2012-2016


Monday, December 19, 2016

Pickett West, the AMA & the Applegate Ridge Trail


The east fork of Rocky Gulch supports spectacular fire-adapted, old-growth forest identified by local residents as a highlight of the Applegate Ridge Trail. BLM has identified the area for logging in the Pickett West Timber Sale.
The BLM's Grants Pass Resource Area has proposed a massive timber sale sprawling across 200,000 acres in the lower Applegate River, the Illinois River near Selma, and the Rogue River area from Graves Creek to Galice. The BLM has named this timber sale Pickett West. The portion of the timber sale proposed in the Applegate Valley is located within the Applegate Adaptive Management Area (AMA). The AMA was designated in the Northwest Forest Plan to promote community collaboration, innovation and experimentation in land management projects. The goal of the AMA is to implement a collaborative process steeped in the local community. The AMA was intended to promote a collaborative, community-driven process of identifying goals, outcomes and objectives for land management projects in the Applegate Watershed. 

At this time, the BLM has failed to respond to numerous requests from the Applegate Valley community encouraging collaboration in the Pickett West Timber Sale. We have asked the BLM to conduct land management planning through the framework of the AMA. The BLM's silence and unwillingness to respond to the requests of various community members demonstrates a lack of commitment to the Applegate Valley community, to collaboration, and to the AMA and its stated objectives.

Despite the BLM's lack of engagement, the Applegate Neighborhood Network, Klamath Forest Alliance and the Siskiyou Crest Blog have joined forces to support an initial survey of Pickett West timber sale units in the Applegate Valley. I recently visited large units at the headwaters of Rocky Gulch and Miners Creek, above Missouri Flat and North Applegate Road. This area has been proposed as a portion of the Applegate Ridge Trail (ART), a long-distance hiking trail connecting the towns of Grants Pass and Jacksonville, Oregon. 


West fork Rocky Gulch
I began by traversing the headwaters of Rocky Gulch. The watershed is steep and as its name implies, very rocky. My route followed the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail into units proposed for logging in the Pickett West Timber Sale. The unit is large and diverse, extending across the headwaters and reaching into the east and west forks of the stream. 


The west fork of Rocky Gulch is steep, rugged and riddled in low outcrops, rock mulch and scree-like soils, supporting large fire-generated stands of live oak and madrone. The dense canopy of hardwoods is punctuated by groupings of large pine and fir.

In the 1930s the ridgeline extending from Grants Pass to Jacksonville, including Rocky Gulch, burned in a series of fast moving fires. These large fires have shaped the nature of vegetation in the Applegate Valley, creating a mosaic of forest, woodland, grassland and dense chaparral. The Rocky Gulch watershed also burned at low-severity in the 1987 Savage Creek Fire, reducing fuel and maintaining healthy stand conditions. 

The east fork of Rocky Gulch is highly diverse and uniquely beautiful— it will be a highlight of the Applegate Ridge Trail. The area supports spectacular old-growth forest; however, it is also a large timber sale unit proposed by the BLM in the Pickett West Timber Sale.

A beautiful mosaic of habitat: the rock outcrops and grasslands at the head of Rocky Gulch.
Large rock outcrops line the headwaters of Rocky Gulch's east fork. The outcrops rises to the ridge, broken by isles of brush, small grassy clearings, open-grown bigleaf maple, and large black oak. The habitat is diverse, dynamic and highly scenic. Views extend across the pastoral Applegate Valley, its rugged, jumbled foothills and the high peaks of the Siskiyou Crest. 

Just below these outcrops lies an exceptional stand of old-growth Douglas fir. The stand is open and spacious, with large, bigleaf maple and ancient, wide-branching madrone. Massive and blackened fir trunks, underburned in the 1987 Savage Creek Fire, create a towering green canopy. 

Old-growth forest in the east fork of Rocky Gulch, underburned in the 1987 Savage Creek Fire.
The massive old trees with their thick, corky bark, high canopies and wide spacing have grown through droughts and fires, and windstorms, and all forms of calamity. Through the adversity, the stand has developed all the characteristics of healthy old-growth forest, including: a multi-layered canopy, massive old conifers, snags, hardwoods, large downed trees, structural complexity, a legacy of natural disturbance and spatial heterogeneity. 

The forest is naturally fire resilient and highly diverse. It provides Nesting, Roosting and Foraging (NRF) habitat for the Northern spotted owl and intact habitat for the Pacific fisher. It also provides a very enjoyable recreational experience to hikers on the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail. The value of this particular forest standing, is far greater than the value of the two-by-fours it would produce. The late-seral habitat in the upper forks of Rocky Gulch should be deferred from treatment in the Pickett West Timber Sale. 

The east fork of Rocky Gulch supports high quality late-seral habitat for species such as the Northern spotted owl and Pacific fisher.

I hiked the proposed Applegate Ridge Trail east, over a low saddle, through a dense plantation and into the Miners Creek watershed. The Applegate Ridge Trail will stay high on the ridge in the grassland, chaparral and oak woodland at the headwaters of Miners Creek.  The Pickett West Timber Sale units are located below the trail in the forests of Miners Creek.

The proposed units in Miners Creek could be logged responsibly, to reduce fuels and provide ecological benefit if care is taken during thinning operations, and with community collaboration and input. Miners Creek includes numerous old plantation stands, planted at high density; they represent some of the most altered ecosystems on the landscape and the most dangerous fuel loads. The unnaturally homogeneous nature of these plantation stands could be broken up; removing some merchantable trees, reducing fuel loads and excessive stand density. Many nearby stands, although not clear-cut, have also been heavily impacted by previous high-grade selective logging. Many of these stands could also benefit from treatments aimed at retaining the stand's largest trees, reducing fuels, maintaining biodiversity and building resilience. 

A dense plantation in Miners Creek that would benefit from thinning.
The Applegate Neighborhood Network has proposed a community alternative for the AMA portions of the Pickett West Timber Sale. This community alternative would achieve the following goals: reduce fuel loads, encourage healthy, resilient forests, institute an upper diameter limit of 20" DBH, maintain all Northern spotted owl habitat, prohibit new road construction, and retain adequate canopy cover.

The Pickett West planning process, done through the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), gives us a unique opportunity to propose non-motorized hiking trails within the project area. For five years the Applegate Trails Association has been developing a plan for the Applegate Ridge Trail (ART), and Pickett West gives us the opportunity to push for approval of the western portion of the trail, or the West ART. Currently Applegate Trails Association is awaiting approval of the East ART, which has a completed Environmental Assessment (EA) with the Medford District BLM. Trail work could begin as early as February on the East ART. To help complete the trail from Jacksonville to Grants Pass, let's keep the importance of non-motorized recreation at the forefront of the Pickett West project and show support for the West ART trail during the planning process. The ART Trail will serve the heart of the Applegate Valley once completed.  

Please contact the Medford District BLM and ask them to:


  •  Implement a meaningful collaborative process with the Applegate Valley community in those portions of the planning area located within the Applegate AMA. 



  • Implement the Pickett West Community Alternative as proposed by ANN, including a 20" upper diameter limit, maintain all Northern spotted owl habitat, prohibit new road construction and protect the wildland character of the Applegate Ridge Trail. 



  • Approve the West Applegate Ridge Trail, from Slagle Creek to Board Shanty Creek, in the Pickett West Decision Record. 



  • Defer the late-seral (old forest) portions of the Rocky Gulch watershed from commercial treatment in the Pickett West Timber Sale. 


Send To:
Medford BLM District Manager
Elizabeth Burghard
eburghar@blm.gov

Grants Pass Resource Area Field Manager
Allen Bollschweller 
abollsch@blm.gov

To support our timber sale monitoring efforts send donations to ANN.


Saturday, December 10, 2016

Good News: FERC Upholds Denial of LNG & Pacific Crest Trail Association Protects Donomore Meadows!



The Rogue River and many other rivers and streams in southern Oregon are too precious to risk with contamination from LNG pipelines. FERC recently announced it would uphold its denial of the Jordan Cove LNG Pipeline proposed to cross over 400 rivers and streams. No LNG!



In the aftermath of the Trump election, those of us who care deeply about the environment need a little good news. Yesterday, we got a double dose of much-welcomed good news!

Good News!

FERC Upholds Denial of LNG Pipeline

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) announced they will uphold their denial of the Pacific Connector LNG Pipeline. In March, FERC denied permits for the Pacific Connector LNG pipeline and Jordon Cove export terminal; however, the company appealed the decision and the project was left with an uncertain fate. Yesterday's announcement from FERC is very encouraging and sets a strong precedent for future pipeline proposals.

The Pacific Connector LNG pipeline and Jordon Cove export terminal is proposed to begin in Malin, Oregon in the Klamath Basin, east of the Cascade Mountains, and travel 232 miles to Coos Bay, Oregon. The pipeline would require a ninety-five foot clearcut. The three foot wide natural gas pipeline would cross 157 miles of private land, requiring the use of eminent domain. It would cross 400 streams, including the Rogue, Klamath, Umpqua, Coquille and Coos Rivers, and transport 1.2 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per day. The pipeline would also require a new 420 megawatt power plant used solely to facilitate the export of fracked Canadian gas shipped by massive tankers from the tsunami zone off the Oregon Coast on the North Spit of Coos Bay. The proposal is potentially disastrous to nearly everything in its path and has been strongly opposed by the citizens of Oregon for many years.   

Despite this very good news, we must keep in mind that Jordon Cove and Pacific Connector Pipeline will likely take this decision to the court of appeals, the US Secretary of Commerce, or simply refile the project at a later date. It's not over yet and we may have to keep working to stop this pipeline for a long time ahead.

The good news for the No LNG campaign follows on the heels of the good news for water protectors fighting the Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, indigenous activists, water protectors at the camps, and allies from around the world are cautiously celebrating the news that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced it will not approve an easement needed to permit the Dakota Access Pipeline to drill under Lake Oahe. The Army Corps said it would look for alternative routes for the $3.7 billion pipeline, possibly leading to a full environmental review through an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). 

Under the Trump administration we must stay vigilant for all environmental, social justice and climate change issues.

For now we celebrate these victories! 

More Good News!

The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) Protects Donomore Meadows!


A small portion of the expansive Donomore Meadows system as seen from the PCT. The area is the headwaters of Donomore Creek, a tributary of Elliott Creek.  
   
On the Siskiyou Crest, on the border of Oregon and California, the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) runs through a large, high elevation meadow system called Donomore Meadows. The location of Donomore Meadows on the PCT allows thousands of hikers a year to experience the beauty and high habitat value of these meadows; however, up until now there have always been private property signs marring the wilderness experience. The good news: The PCTA has just announced it has bought the 160-acre Donomore Meadows property through its land protection program!

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has money budgeted to buy this parcel from the PCTA in the next fiscal year through the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The agency has long identified Donomore Meadows as a critical acquisition, but the landowner was not willing to wait for the lengthy federal acquisition process to proceed. 

As a non-profit partner, the PCTA stepped in and acquired the property as an interim measure. It is expected that the land will be transferred to federal ownership and added to the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in the near future. 

Donomore Meadows provides critical habitat for many species that rely on high elevation meadows: from deer and elk, to black bear and cougar, to native bees and butterflies and other pollinators. The grassland and wildflowers of Donomore Meadows, the natural springs that feed Donomore Creek, as well as the surrounding forest, all add up to a wonderful place to walk through on the PCT, as well as a key place for land acquisition to add to the value of public land in the Klamath-Siskiyou. 


I am proud to say that in my region public land is expanding rather than being privatized and sold to the highest bidder as some propose. We need to keep working to acquire important parcels on the Siskiyou Crest for conservation interests, rewilding the incredible land bridge and expanding our public land base, one parcel at a time.