Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Videos of Pacific fisher in the Siskiyou Mountains

Game cameras are a good way to capture images of wildlife in order to document their presence and monitor their behavior. We have been setting up game cameras in the Siskiyou Mountains for years, capturing photos or videos of bears, deer, ringtail cats, fox, grouse, lots of mice and other common critters.

Two weeks ago we finally got what we'd been working to capture on video for a couple years: Pacific fisher! These three videos were captured at three in the afternoon, so the videos turned out really good with full color, as opposed to nighttime videos that rely on infrared and are in black and white.

We captured footage of this fisher in the Elliott Ridge Roadless Area in the Upper Applegate at the foot of the Siskiyou Crest. The camera was set up on a small, seasonal tributary stream in an old-growth forest; just as we suspected, it is prime fisher habitat. Recently we had two deer killed on our property, presumably by a cougar. We took some of the bones from the deer kill for the camera and the fisher obviously was pleased to scavenge the bones. This particular fisher appears to be a male because of its large size. Notice the tail wagging in one of the videos. Fishers have long, active tails, which is the reason people have often called them fisher cats.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may soon list the Pacific fisher as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered species protection for the Pacific fisher would protect the species and its old forest habitats in the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. The Siskiyou Mountains support one of the largest remaining populations of the Pacific fisher and should be listed as "critical habitat." Documentation of where fishers live, hunt and disperse is necessary to help this species recover from population decline. Citizens, scientists, and wildlife managers can all contribute to this information through monitoring, observation and research. Someday, hopefully, fishers will once again inhabit their original range on the West Coast of North America. From the wilds of the Klamath-Siskiyou, this species may come back from the brink of extinction. These videos speak for themselves — the Pacific fisher is a beautiful species!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Nedsbar Update: March, 2015

This stand of large, old, low-elevation forest is the destination of the upcoming hike into the Boaz Mountain Roadless Area and units 33-30 and 34-30 of the Nedsbar Timber Sale. The hike is scheduled for March 28. Please join us! Information on the hike is provided below.

The Siskiyou Crest Blog and Klamath Forest Alliance will be hosting numerous hikes and informational events in the coming months to inform and involve the public, as well as build support for the Community Alternative. Please attend the upcoming presentation or public hikes into the Nedsbar Timber Sale.

Nedsbar Community Presentation
March 19, 6:30pm
Applegate Community Grange
3901 Upper Applegate Road
The presentation will explore the Nedsbar Timber Sale and the proposed Community Alternative through beautiful photographs, maps, and the knowledge of local residents. Members of the Community Alternative Working Group, Klamath Forest Alliance, Applegate Neighborhood Network, KS Wild, and local residents involved in the Nedsbar Campaign will be present to answer questions and provide information on the Community Alternative and the proposed BLM logging treatments. 

Nedsbar Public Hike: Boaz Mountain Units
March 28, 2015
Meet at the Applegate Community Grange
3901 Upper Applegate Road
A view across the Upper Applegate Valley from the slopes of Boaz Mountain, on the route of the upcoming public hike into the Boaz Mountain Roadless Area, and timber sale units 33-30 and 34-30 of the Nedsbar Timber Sale.
The hike will explore the Boaz Mountain Roadless Area on the west-facing slopes above Eastside Road. The hike will include spectacular views across the Upper Applegate Valley, sunlit oak woodlands, spring wildflowers, and the beautiful uncut forest proposed for logging in units 33-30 and 34-30. The hike is off-trail and roughly 3 miles round-trip. The terrain is variable; some areas can be steep. Bring a rain jacket, sturdy shoes, water, trekking poles if needed, and a lunch.

Watch this video taken in unit 33-30 of the Nedsbar Timber Sale, the destination of the upcoming public hike.

Jefferson Exchange Interview
Recently the Nedsbar Timber Sale and Community Alternative were highlighted on the Jefferson Exchange, a radio program on Jefferson Public Radio. To hear the interview with Luke Ruediger please follow the link below. 

Nedsbar Timber Sale Community Alternative (CA) Documents 

The Siskiyou Crest Blog is pleased to provide the public all documents to the Nedsbar Community Alternative. Links are provided for each document listed below. These documents were submitted to the BLM by the Nedsbar Community Alternative Working Group on March 6, 2015. The BLM will analyze these documents as part of their Environmental Analysis (EA) for the timber sale. The BLM currently states that the EA will be completed in May.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

PROGRESS: BLM Drops Units in the Nedsbar Timber Sale!

Unit 28-22B was originally proposed for heavy regeneration logging. The Nedsbar Community Monitoring Project and KFA identified the unit as one of the most intact, fire-adapted stands in the Little Applegate foothills. As the community learned about this egregious timber sale unit, they responded with dismay and many attended a public hike led in January. The good news is that the BLM recently dropped commercial logging proposals in the unit. Having this unit dropped from the sale is a major victory towards protecting the Little Applegate Valley from the Nedsbar Timber Sale, however, more still needs to be done. Many more units need to be canceled to protect old, late-seral forests, wildlife habitat, and roadless areas.

The BLM recently released a new Nedsbar Timber Sale map depicting the BLM's "preferred alternative" for their Environmental Analysis (EA), Alternative 4. Alternative 4 is the most timber heavy alternative that will be reviewed in EA. It represents the worst case scenario for the Applegate region, if it is is chosen for implementation. The alternative was developed to maximize timber output to appease (and possibly exceed) the mandates of the Swanson-Superior lawsuit that is currently under appeal. Implementation of Alternative 4 would mean numerous miles of new roads would be built, some in roadless habitats. It would also mean that large areas of the Little and Upper Applegate Valleys would be logged with no upper diameter limit and to canopy closure levels that would impact habitat values, viewsheds, with a result of increased fuel hazards.

The new map released by the BLM shows that we have been making progress. Numerous units containing large, old trees, high quality, late-seral forest habitat, and minimal fuel loads were either removed from commercial entry, or changed to fuel reduction units where no large trees will be felled. The dropping of these units also means miles of new road construction and heavy road renovation would also be canceled. The dropping of these units constitutes a victory, but there is more still to do, roadless units that must be dropped, new roads that must not be built, and prescriptions that must be amended to make them more ecologically appropriate and benign. The Community Alternative for the Nedsbar Timber Sale would achieve these conservation goals while reducing fuels and producing a sustainable and appropriate level of timber harvest in the dry, marginal forests of the Applegate foothills.

Below I have highlighted Nedsbar Timber Sale units that have been recently canceled or significantly altered due to public input, the efforts of the Community Monitoring Program, and the efforts of many others in the Applegate and Rogue Valley communities.

Unit 28-22 A, B, & C
Unit 28-22 has been dropped and will not be commercially logged. The unit supports healthy, fire-adapted forests that underburned in 1987.

Unit 28-22 is found on the long, dry ridgeline dividing Yale Creek from the Little Applegate River. The unit is found within the Wildland Urban Interface of Little Applegate Road, adjacent to private residential homes on lower Yale Creek Road.

Unit 28-22 B was one of three units proposed for structural retention regeneration harvest, meaning only 30% canopy closure and 16-25 large trees per acres would be retained after implementation of logging treatments. The stand underburned in 1987 and supports highly fire-resilient characteristics. The stand also supports all the characteristics of old-growth forest with large, old trees, snags, large downed wood, complex stand structure, diverse branching structure, high canopies, and a multi-layered canopy of hardwoods and conifer species. The stand is a model for resilient, healthy stand conditions in the low elevation foothills of the Applegate Valley.

The Siskiyou Crest Blog and KFA recently led a public hike into this unit and the feeling was unanimous that the unit should not be logged.

According to the new map provided by the BLM, the unit prescription has been changed in Alternative 4 to fuel reduction and no commercial logging will take place in unit 28-22 A, B, & C. In Alternative 3 the unit has been entirely canceled. The new road proposed to access the units for logging will also be canceled in both Alternatives 3 and 4.

To view my original blog post on unit 28-22 click on the following link: original post
To view a post on the recent public hike to 28-22, click on the following link: public hike post

Unit 33-20
Unit 33-20 has been dropped and will not be commercially logged. The stand supports a diverse forest of late-seral pine and fir with small oak openings. This unit also underburned in 1987, creating a healthy, fire-adapted habitat. The BLM is now proposing this unit to be a fuel reduction unit.

Unit 33-20 lies due east of unit 28-22 on the same long, dry ridgeline dividing Yale Creek from the Little Applegate River. Found on the north face of the ridge, the unit supports a diverse late-seral forest with old ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, and oak openings. The unit underburned in 1987, maintaining highly fire-resilient stand conditions.

According to the new map provided by the BLM, unit prescription has been changed from commercial thinning to fuel reduction in both alternative 3 and 4, meaning that no commercial logging would take place in this relatively intact stand. Significant road renovation would have been necessary to log this unit. This road renovation will not be necessary under fuel reduction prescriptions, reducing impacts to the area's primitive character.

To view my original blog post on unit 33-20 click on the following link: original post

Unit 36-25
Unit 36-25 is found at the headwaters of Lick Gulch and supports nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for the northern spotted owl. The unit has been canceled.

Unit 36-25 is found at the headwaters of Lick Gulch and supports groves of large, old Douglas fir. The unit has been selectively logged, but many dominant, old trees remain. The unit contains nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat for the northern spotted owl. It is also adjacent to an owl nesting core. The area provides important connectivity habitat to and from these important habitats for the northern spotted owl. The unit was originally proposed for commercial logging and has recently been canceled.

Unit 25-24
Unit 25-24 has been canceled and the diverse, variable stand supporting large old trees will not be commercially logged. The unit was identified by the Nedsbar Community Monitoring Program as a unit of concern and was highlighted on The Siskiyou Crest blog. Information gathered by the monitoring program was also used in an official memo submitted to the BLM by KS Wild, Oregon Wild, Klamath Forest Alliance and others.  The unit has been canceled!

Unit 25-24 is found in the Little Applegate River Canyon and is located within the Dakubetede Roadless Area. The stand supports old-growth trees and extremely variable, diverse stand conditions. The unit is adjacent to some of the most intact old-growth in the Little Applegate Canyon and provides important connectivity and dispersal habitat. The stand was originally proposed for commercial logging, but was recently dropped in the new reiterations of both Alternative 3 and 4.

To view the original photo essay follow this link: Nedsbar photo essay

Still more to do...
Although we have made significant progress many questionable units remain. These include units in roadless areas, units supporting high quality northern spotted owl habitat, units with large, old-growth trees and late-seral stands, units with minimal fuel loads, and units that require extensive road construction. KFA and the Siskiyou Crest Blog are committed to continuing the campaign to Stop Nedsbar as currently proposed and to promoting the Community Alternative to the Nedsbar Timber Sale. We intend to now focus our energy on these remaining units of concern.

If our work is to continue we will need the support of the community. To support this work consider helping to organize around the Nedsbar Timber Sale, or fund our work with a tax-deductible donation. To make a donation visit the KFA website and specify "Nedsbar." For those of you who have recently donated to KFA, please check to see if your donation was received. We had a technical problem on our website and some recent donations within the past two months may have been returned. We now have this problem fixed. We are sorry for any inconvenience; please consider continuing to fund our important work.

Klamath Forest Alliance
PO Box 21
Orleans, CA 95556