2013 was a very productive year for our ecological protection work thanks to our 29 dedicated volunteer interns (the most ever for one field season), law students and lawyers lending their time and expertise, Oregon Community Fund donors and other donors, grants from the Fund for Wild Nature and Astrov Fund, online donors, and many in-kind donations. We have reached a turning point of a more stable financial and volunteer base from which to gain more long-term financial stability and greater staff capacity. In 2014 we are facing the challenge of bringing on another Co-Director to make our work load of monitoring four National Forests and one Bureau of Land Management District in eastern Oregon (a huge area) more sustainable. We thus need your financial support and continued volunteer efforts to make this possible. We will be having a Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project strategy meeting this winter to adapt to changing legal and policy conditions and plan new strategies to increase our effectiveness. This will incorporate the new science and technological skills our incoming Co-Director, Paula Hood, who brings to the Project new points of emphasis. Examples include wolf recovery education in unreached parts of rural eastern Oregon, and new legal strategies and local public outreach efforts. Please read on for details of our 2013 accomplishments, current challenges, and plans for 2014. Please call us if you’d like more information on our past achievements or on how to get involved. Thanks for your support!
–Karen Coulter, Director
Proposed Timber Sales Field-Checked & Volunteer Interns
This last summer we covered thousands of acres of proposed timber sales, hiking, camping, taking notes on conditions, and documenting wildlife, plants, forest types, and ecological impacts with photographs. We field-checked the Kahler collaborative group sale on the Umatilla National Forest, the McKay sale and the Wolf collaborative sale on the Ochoco National Forest, the Junction and Big Marsh sales on the Deschutes National Forest, and the Wolf collaborative group sale on the Malheur National Forest. This would not have been possible without all the volunteers who came out and helped! Thank you to: Ivette, Helen, Crystal, Maria, Alex, Gambit, Luck, Julian, Pat, Isolde, Elliot, Kecia, Heather, Lumen, Chris, Sam, Jo, Ulvric, Ayala, Swift, Pamela, Karen L., Max, Maralena, Kyle, Ella, Riley, Dusty, and Karl.
Project Comments, Appeals, Objections, & Litigation
Karen Coulter, BMBP’s Director, wrote comments on the following agency projects: Big Marsh Restoration, Deep Creek Restoration, Wenaha Wild and Scenic River Management, Camp Creek Large Woody Debris placement, Malheur Range Aquatics Project, Keeney Aspen Restoration, Sisters Wilderness Prescribed Fire, the Ochoco Summit OHV (off road vehicle) trail, the Ochoco Fox Cluster Grazing Allotments, and the following proposed timber sales: Pole Creek Fire “Salvage”, Rocket, Tollgate, Wilkins, McKay, Kahler, Tumalo, Bear Wallow & Bend Municipal Fuel Break. With volunteer research and writing by Earth Rise Law Center law students and Tom Buchele, attorney; Asante Riverwind (original BMBP co-founder); Jeff Thompson, attorney; and Kristin Stankiewicz, attorney, respectively, we were able to file appeals and objections for the following proposed timber sales: McKay, Rim Paunina, West Bend, and Galena. Karen Coulter wrote the objection for the Upper Pine sale. Litigation of the Snow Basin and South George timber sales (Wallowa Whitman and Umatilla National Forests) and the Wallowa Whitman Invasive Plant Management Plan were made possible by Tom Buchele, attorney, and law students of the Earth Rise Law Center; Sean Malone, attorney; and activists with Hells Canyon Preservation Council and the Public Lands Council.
Out of these efforts, we saved or modified the following public forest acreage and values:
-Dropped 300-400 acres of sale units in the McKay timber sale, including planned commercial thinning within Riparian Habitat Conservation Areas, sale units in moister mixed conifer old growth, and logging removal of live trees over 21” diameter at breast height (dbh)
-Stopped 1,000 acres of the Upper Pine timber sale (Malheur National Forest) with help from Oregon Wild, including cancellation of logging in roadless areas, potential Wilderness areas, and of snags over 21” dbh
-Dropped areas never logged before and mixed conifer suitable habitat for Pacific Fisher along Walker Rim in the Rim Paunina sale. Retention of intact old growth Ponderosa pine groves and girdling (snag creation) instead of logging removal of isolated pines with mistletoe over 21” dbh, with help from Oregon Wild
-Reduction of toxic herbicide use on the Wallowa Whitman National Forest from 11,000 acres to less than a thousand acres, thanks to the hard work of law students and Tom Buchele of the Earth Rise Law Center.
Public speaking included:
-Presentations on old growth forest ecology in eastern Oregon to a Portland State University forest ecology class and at the Portland Community College/Cascade campus
-Earth First! history at Reed College, the Resistance Ecology conference at PSU, and at the University of Oregon/Eugene for Alternative Radio and a live audience.
-Social movements and forest defense for a related class at Portland State University.
-Alliance-building between the animal rights movement and the ecology movement at the Resistance Ecology Conference.
-A discussion of Karen Coulter’s Rule of Property booklet and the Commons with 10 people at Community Supported Everything, a mutual aid center in Portland
-A workshop on strategic campaigning at the Trans- and Women’s Action Camp at the Clackamas River.
Media Work included:
-Background for a story on Black-backed woodpecker proposed up-listing.
-An interview in the forest for an article and video on the definition of old growth forest for the Bend Bulletin.
-An interview for an article on the state of the Northwest forest defense direct action movement for the Source Weekly in Bend.
-A submitted Op. Ed. on the proposed West Bend timber sale that was printed in the Source.
-A re-printing of parts of our 2012 annual report in the Earth First! Journal.
-Karen Coulter did a radio interview that was aired on KOPV community radio in Bend on the West Bend timber sale and was in a presentation that was aired on an Alternative Radio program.
-A presentation of a full-length slide and speaking teach-in on the Earth First! movement history on Portland cable T.V. with David Delk as host.
-A premier showing of a video by Kenneth Watson interviewing Karen Coulter with before and after footage of the logging at the EXF old growth timber sale on the Deschutes National Forest, presented in Portland at a showcase for new Portland artists.
Collaborative meetings attended with local communities, including loggers, timber industry representatives, ranchers, and Forest Service staff, included:
-Meetings with the Harney County Restoration Collaborative group
-A field trip with the Blue Mountain Forest Partners Collaborative of Grant County
-Meetings with the Umatilla Forest Collaborative group and the Ochoco Forest Collaborative group, and science field trips hosted by the Forest Service
Our new website was designed and updated by volunteer intern Kyle Miskell, and we sent out action alerts to supporters regarding the need for comments on the McKay timber sale, the Ochoco Summit OHV trail, and the West Bend timber sale.
-Foundation grant applications, new foundation research, communications with major donors, and funding appeals. -In-kind donations, which included an entire truckload of food for volunteers, plus compasses and binoculars from Ivette’s and Alex’s efforts.
-Hefty donations of two huge boxes of multi-grain and sweet potato chips from Food Should Taste Good, Inc., about 28 pounds of hiking bars from Larabar, 7 pounds of organic teas from EcoTeas, and two pairs of nice binoculars from Celestron , thanks to donation solicitation by volunteer interns Alex and Maria.
Plans for the rest of 2013 include appeal negotiations on the Galena timber sale, appeal of the Fox Canyon cluster grazing allotments on the Ochoco National Forest, and comments on the Rocket timber sale Environmental Assessment. Our work will also include discussion of our field survey results for the Wolf collaborative project timber sale with the Paulina District Ranger, participation with Paula Hood in the “Managing Eastside Moist Mixed Conifer Forests” Science/Policy workshop in Pendleton on December 4th and 5th.
A music benefit for Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project will be held, with a memorial for Shawn Carroll, a BMBP volunteer intern who died last year, December 20th. Artists playing this include Slow Teeth and Strange Weather, at the Bellow Cult Bike Shop at NE 41st and Sandy Blvd. Please call us for details—(541) 385-9167.
We will also be participating in collaborative group meetings with the Harney County and Ochoco collaboratives and in a meeting discussing monitoring plans for federal grant-funded projects on the Malheur National Forest on November 18th and 19th.
Plans for 2014
Plans include a strategic planning meeting with staff, long-term volunteer interns, and supporters of Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project. This will include discussions on phasing in and training Paula. This will also include plans on initiating new side projects, such as Paula’s research into information requested from the forests on monitoring of Best Management Practices and Project Design Criteria to increase Forest Service accountability. Other projects include public education in rural eastern Oregon on wolf recovery and the ecological importance of wolves. Related work will include assistance with the anti-fur trapping ballot initiative or other approaches for ending ecologically devastating fur trapping in Oregon that threaten listed species such as Canada lynx, Pacific fisher, and Gray wolf, as well as countless other predators. We will also be focusing more on stopping or significantly modifying livestock grazing allotments on the Ochoco, Umatilla, and Malheur National Forests.
As usual, we’ll be following through the public process with current timber sales and will be field-checking new proposed timber sales on the Umatilla, Ochoco, Malheur, and Deschutes National Forests. This work averages six timber sales each field season, ranging from 4,000 to 17,000 acres of commercial logging proposed per sale. We will also be addressing National Forest invasive plant management plans on these forests with an appeal of a court decision on riparian protection needed for the Wallowa Whitman. This decision would also apply to other forests, and negotiations with the Malheur National Forest as well as comments on their new plan. We will be commenting on other agency projects, appealing or filing objections as needed, and litigating when necessary. We will be doing volunteer and donor recruitment through speaking engagements, workshops, and media work, including:
-A potential workshop at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington
-Tabling and possible speaking at the Environmental Law Conference in Eugene
-Workshops at the national Earth First! Rendezvous in northern California
-Media work primarily in Portland and Bend.
We will continue our summer volunteer internship program field-surveying proposed timber sales from the beginning of June until the last weekend of September and we’ll be fundraising to cover Paula’s pay and our other expenses.
Please Donate as much as you can to help our work continue!
$10,000 could cover most of Paula’s pay for a year
$5,000 could cover almost half her pay
$1,000 can fund the expense of a lawsuit
$500 can cover needed truck repairs
$250 can pay for telephone bills
$150 can pay for another GPS unit for volunteers
$75 or $50 can cover printing and postage costs.
Any amount is welcome! Please send donations to the return address below, with checks made out to “League of Wilderness Defenders” for a tax deduction. You can also donate online by clicking our fund-raising Pileated woodpecker at the top of this page. Please call us if you’d like to volunteer or make an in-kind donation at (541) 385-9167 and send donations of needed gear or food for volunteers to the address below. Thank you!
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project
27803 Williams Lane
Fossil, OR 97830