In 2012, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project engaged in another productive year of efforts to protect biodiversity and ecological integrity across four National Forests of eastern and central Oregon. With the help of 25 volunteer interns (9 returning and 16 new), we field-checked eight proposed timber sales on the Umatilla, Ochoco, Malheur, and Deschutes National Forests. Our biodiversity protection work also included commenting on 10 agency management projects, appealing four timber sales and one herbicide use plan (which resulted in a legal victory), and initiating lawsuits on three timber sales. We also assisted with a petition to uplist the Eastern Cascades subpopulation of the Blackbacked woodpecker and participated in meetings and field trips of four local and regional collaborative groups to advocate for wild Nature and ecosystem protection.
Other public education included seven workshops and activist trainings across Oregon, five speaking presentations, two radio interviews, five newspaper articles, three video interviews, one magazine article, two action alerts, two interviews for graduate students, and support for various movement-building efforts.
Karen Coulter, BMBP’s Director, was honored with the Fund for Wild Nature Grassroots Activist of the Year award. Some of our volunteers have taken initiatives to increase our organizational sustainability, including volunteer committees to improve our website, to start electronic fundraising, to host benefits, and to do outreach to recreational groups. Interns have also volunteered to provide technical support and seek in-kind donations of food and gear for volunteers. A highly qualified forest activist has stepped up to phase herself in over the next four years to assist and apprentice with our existing Director and bring new energy into overseeing our campaign work.
Sad developments have included losing the EXF timber sale case (Deschutes National Forest) in Ninth Circuit Court and losing a long-term friend, volunteer, and major donor to liver cancer. Our good friend Lake bequeathed 30% of her estate to Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, which will be used to pay our expenses over the next three years or more while we continue to raise funds for further campaign expenses. Lake also bequeathed our Director a 2001 Toyota Tacoma four wheel drive crew cab truck, which is being used to transport volunteers during the field season and for public outreach trips.
So we are now in better shape to move forward with our ecological protection work into 2013 and beyond. Still, we need your help to meet expenses as funding is still very low due to the national economic recession, with a sharp drop in both foundation grants and small contributions. So please read about our 2012 accomplishments and our plans for the 2013 year below and give as generously as you can.
Special thanks to all our volunteers without whom our work would be impossible. Thanks to our 2012 interns: Susie, Kyle, Maya, Ulvrick, Grace, Paula, Wren, Michael, Tony, Maralena, Gambit, Axcelle, Alex, Jeremy, Max, Kecia, Arlo, Maria, Jeffrie, Darby, Aaron, Pan, Megan, Nat and Amanda, and to the law students with the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center and Lewis and Clark School and our dedicated activist lawyers, all of whom donate so much of their time and energy to field-check thousands of acres of proposed timber sales or to appeal and litigate the most ecologically destructive timber sales and harmful herbicide use plans.
2012 Annual Work Report: Biodiversity Protection
With 25 volunteer interns over the course of the summer we field-checked the Jackson timber sales on the Umatilla National Forest, the Rim Paunina, Rocket, and West Bend sales on the Deschutes National Forest, and the Elk 16 and Upper Pine sales on the Malheur National Forest. We submitted comments on six timber sales, planned geothermal development in the Newberry Volcanic National Monument, wild horse management, and sage grouse restoration plans. We filed appeals on the Snow Basin and Jackson timber sales and the Deschutes/Ochoco invasive plant management plan, thanks to PEAC law students and lawyer Tom Buchele. We also appealed the Ogden timber sale, thanks to Asante Riverwood, BMBP Co-Founder. We litigated the old growth logging of the EXF timber sale on the Deschutes, thanks to legal advocacy by Rachel DeFazio and Sean Malone. Although we unfortunately lost in Ninth Circuit Court, we video taped a documentary showing before and after of this logging, as an expose to prevent such further agency hoaxes. Thanks to Kenneth Watson for the donated video expertise. We also litigated the Wallowa Whitman invasive plant management plan and won, thanks to PEAC law students and Tom Buchele. We are now in the process of initiating lawsuits on the Jackson, Snow Basin, and South George timber sales, partnering with Hells Canyon Preservation Council on Snow Basin and South George, as well as the Lands Council on South George.
Our director gave five speaking presentations (three of which helped pay for her BMBP work) on wolf recovery to Portland State University, on the history of the Earth First! movement at Portland Community College, Cascadia, and at Laughing Horse Books in Portland on “Corporate Rule: How Institutions Leverage Corporate Power” at Reed College in Portland, and on the proposed uplisting of the Eastern Cascades subspecies of the Blackbacked woodpecker at Eugene Public Interest Environmental Law Conference. She also conducted seven workshops and activist trainings on strategic campaigning, twice with Portland Action lab for the Occupy movement, as well as with local activists in Hood River, at the Earth First! Regional Rendezvous in Clatsop State Forest, and for the Trans and Womyn’s Action Camp in Mt. Hood National Forest. She also taught workshops on ending corporate personhood for the Occupy movement and with local activists in Hood River, and gave a Nonviolent Direct Action Training at Reed College, with assistance from a BMBP volunteer intern.
Media work included radio interviews with KBMR, a Nevada City Community station, and with KBOO Community Radio in Portland on abolishing corporate personhood and on the American Legislative Exchange Council. Newspaper coverage included articles in the Bend Bulletin (“Herbicide Use Expands” and a piece on the EXF timber sale), work in the Capital Press on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest herbicide case, in the Baker City Herald on the Snow Basin timber sale, as well as our Op. Ed. on the EXF timber sale in the Bend Source weekly entertainment guide. Karen Coulter wrote an article of a 20 year retrospective analysis of the work of Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project, which was published in the Earth First! Journal. We also did interviews on the collaborative process with two graduate students and one independent reporter. We performed in-depth video interviews with B Media and Kenneth Watson, videotaping an entire field-checking and legal process workshop in the Deschutes National Forest. This will serve as a tool for other groups in different states to reference. B Media and Kenneth Watson videotaped before and after images of the logging of the EXF timber sales on the Lookout Mountain section of the Pringle Falls Experimental Forest. B Media volunteers also donated their time to do a shorter Kickstarter-suitable fundraising video interview with BMBP.
Movement-building support on the part of our Director included winter work with Rising Tide, fighting against coal export terminals in Oregon, and with the Portland Action Lab on the American Legislative Exchange Council’s corporate influence, which pushes discriminatory and anti-labor laws in several states. She also testified at a Portland City Council hearing in favor of a resolution not to recognize corporate personhood and helped with Occupy actions to protest the Citizens United decision and unfair labor practices/global corporatization of the Port of Portland.
Fundraising included three grant proposals, a spring fundraising appeal, speaking engagements, and in-kind donations of four cameras, a truck, camp supplies, food, and a Free Geek computer.
Next Year’s Plans
We will be field-checking at least five timber sales (probably more) across the four forests, writing comments on the West Bend and Rocket timber sales on the Deschutes and on new sales, appealing bad decisions on upcoming timber sales, and continuing our litigation on the Jackson, South George, and Snow Basin timber sales. This will be done with substantial assistance from the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, Hells Canton Preservation Council, and the Lands Council. We will also be pursuing litigation to decrease herbicide use and set time lines for phasing out toxic herbicide use on the Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Deschutes/Ochoco invasive plant management plans, with the help of PEAC law students and Tom Buchele. We will also be commenting on the Malheur invasive plant management plan and the Blue Mountains Forest Plan revisions when these come out.
We hope to initiate projects to end Wheeler County predator trapping, perform local education to aid wolf recovery in eastern Oregon, and stop the cumulative eradication of wild horses in eastern Oregon by the Bureau of Land Management, as we partner with other groups in this effort.
Fundraising will include grant proposals, funding appeals, speaking engagements, electronic fundraising projects, and potential benefits in Bend, Portland, and possibly Northern California.
We need your help!
Please help us by hosting benefits, setting up venues for our Director for paid speaking, volunteering to do pro bono legal work or to write appeals, volunteering to field-check timber sales (call us at least two weeks in advance and leave a voicemail: (541) 385-9167), contributing in-kind equipment donations (eg. a densiometer, good binoculars, DBH measuring tapes, file folders) or T-shirt silk-screening and truck repairs. We badly need cash donations, so please donate as much as you can.
Wolf — $8,000 – can cover the entire field season!
Lynx — $5,000 – a timber sale lawsuit.
Pine Marten — $1,000 – truck repairs; to keep us out on the field.
Black Bear — $500 – telephone bills; networking internally and with other organizations.
Northern Goshawk — $250 – printing costs; fliers, reports, legal case documents, etc.
Pileated woodpecker — $150 – postage; to mail photos and comments for timber sales and action alerts.
Elk — $50 – food for volunteers. BMBP marches on its stomach!
All donations are tax deductible.