Overview: 2014 has been a very productive year for Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project: We brought on Paula Hood as a second campaigner to increase our capacity as an organization. Increasing our staff capacity is crucial to our forest defense work, as timber sales have greatly increased in size and are now planned at an accelerated pace. Paula has contributed her expertise in riparian ecology and internet and mapping skills, and her well-informed passion in forest collaborative meetings, volunteer coordination and training, and her advocacy for wolf protection. She has also been engaged in grant proposal writing and raised the funds for her pay for 2014. Our Director, Karen Coulter, received the MacFarlane plank award from Friends of the Clearwater for over 20 years of dedicated forest defense.
We won our 9th Circuit appeal supporting our legal claim to better analyze potential impacts and protect riparian areas from toxic herbicide spraying on the Wallowa Whitman National Forest with attorney Scott Jerger. We plan to apply this precedent-setting victory to other invasive plant management plans. We also won our appeal on the Snow Basin timber sale with attorney Tom Buchelle and law student Emma Bruden, which will set important precedents for several other timber sales using Forest Plan amendments to violate the existing Forest Plan standards. We saved 1,300 acres from logging in the Rocket timber sale on the Deschutes National Forest. We trained the most volunteers for any single field season: 45! (30 new & 15 returning) and trained 11 volunteers in field-checking livestock allotments, a new focus for our ongoing work.
Many thanks to foundations and major donors helping make this work possible: Astrov Fund, Burning Foundation, Fund for Wild Nature, Oregon Community Foundation donors, and Oregon Deep Ecology Fund through Vanguard Charitable. We also wish to thank our in-kind donation supporters, including Eco Teas, Celestron, and Vortex for tea and binocular donations.
Challenges: We greatly need increased financial support to continue to fund Paula’s position, raise our Director’s pay for 2016, and to meet our increasing costs due to the Forest Service push to heavily log the forests in eastern Oregon at an accelerated rate and in areas never logged before (such as roadless and “undeveloped” areas). We are also working to stop the Forest Service’s return to logging large trees (despite a well-documented regional deficit in large tree structure), and to fight their proposals to log Wild and Scenic River corridors, riparian habitat conservation areas, goshawk habitat, recreational sites, and other areas previously protected from logging for long-recognized ecological and social values. Almost every timber sale or collaborative “project” now includes such unacceptable logging plans, necessitating more funding for our objections and potential litigation. We are challenging Forest Service proposals to actively manage Wilderness Areas by starting prescribed fires in them under the guise of fire risk reduction- even though most of these high elevation forests are naturally subject to, and actually need periodic stand replacement fire to create habitat niches for wildlife and plant species adapted to fire ecology forests. We are trying to protect recently burned forests from post-fire “salvage” logging that destroys rare and crucial wildlife habitats. Please consider increasing your support for our forest protection work to meet these challenges!
Forest Defense Work: With the help of 45 volunteer interns, we field-checked thousands of acres in six proposed timber sales on three National Forests: the Big Mosquito, Magone, and Deardorf sales on the Malheur National Forest (proactive preliminary field-checking of key areas of Magone and Deardorf before sale units were identified), the Ursus and Flat sales on the Deschutes National Forest, and the Gap sale on the Ochoco National Forest. We also field-checked four livestock grazing allotments proposed for renewal on the Ochoco National Forest. Thank you to all our field-checking volunteers: Brittany, Brenna, T.J., Merlin, Cicada, Rocks, Dandy, Maria, Alex, Gambit, John, Tim, Caroline, Stephan, Arlo, Seth, Maya, Arthur, Rachel, Ira, Cody, David, Kara, Charlie, Centi, Ilana, Stephen, Foster, Sam, Anna, Ian, Chris, Nico, Mesa, Gavy, Darby, Ayala, Pat, David, Johannes, Kecia, Jessy, Aaron, Erin, & Julia!
We wrote comments on the Blue Mountains Forests Plan Revision (with two volunteers taking on sections), 13 proposed timber sales (Big Mosquito, Elk 16, Two Bulls Fire, Junction, Kahler, Marsh, Wolf/Ochoco, Wolf/Malheur, Gap, Tiger-Webb, Melvin Butte, Ten Cent, and Bailey Butte “salvage” sale, three livestock grazing allotment Plans (Central Malheur, Fox Canyon and four Ochoco allotments), the Malheur Invasive Plant Management Plan, the Newberry Geothermal Consent to Lease EA, the Greater Sage Grouse Management Plan, the programmatic Aquatic Restoration Plan, a proposal for Lookout Mountain mountain bike trails, and two proposals for prescribed fire management in Wilderness Areas (for the Sisters and Mt. Washington Wilderness Areas.)
We filed appeals or objections on the South George timber sale, the Fox Canyon allotment Plan, the Wolf/Ochoco timber sale, the Tollgate timber sale, the Rocket timber sale, the Newberry Geothermal leasing, the Summit Logan grazing allotment plan, and the Summit OHV trail system (defeated with lots of help!) We still have an active lawsuit on the South George timber sale.
Public Outreach: Speaking presentations: on Earth First! movement history at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA and for a social movements class at Portland State University; on three panels at the Environmental Law Conference in Eugene, OR (the state of grassroots forest defense activism, the Trans and Womyn’s Action Camp, Citizen Science with NEST and Coast Range Forest Watch); on
Biocentrism and Deep Ecology at the Cascadia Bioregional Conference at Portland State University; and at the Friends of the Clearwater annual benefit in Moscow, Idaho on threats facing the National Forests and what changes are needed for more effective forest defense activism. Workshops: at the national Earth First! Rendezvous in the Siskiyou National Forest on Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project forest monitoring techniques, the history of the Earth First! Movement, strategic campaigning and Biocentrism and Deep Ecology
Media interviews: on cable T.V. in Portland on Rising Tide, Tar Sands equipment shipments resistance in Oregon and other activist issues; on KBOO radio on the history of U.S. civil disobedience; a video interview on forest defense in the Ursus timber sale; video interviews for Move to Amend; and assistance in editing two videos by B Media to promote Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project and distribute our forest
monitoring and NEPA/legal process training across the country. Collaborative meeting participation: We have attended two meetings and a field trip of the Blue Mountains Forest Partners of Grant County, two meetings of the Ochoco Forest collaborative group, a meeting in Bend of all the Oregon collaborative groups, and a collaborative monitoring group field trip. Meetings with Forest Service staff have included participation in a Forest Plan Revision meeting in Portland, a public meeting on the Magone timber sale in John Day, meetings with a Malheur National Forest botanist regarding the Malheur Invasive Plant Management Plan, and with a Malheur fish biologist and a hydrologist regarding the Aquatic Restoration Plan. Action Alerts: We mailed action alerts to our supporters on four timber sales and the Forest Plan Revision Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
Movement Building and New Directions: Our Director assisted Portland Rising Tide by facilitated two strategy/vision meetings for them and contributing media and police liaison work for the tar sands resistance. She also gave a media training for Keystone XL Pipeline Pledge of Resistance activists in Portland and is now working with several other groups toward building a nation-wide network of biocentric forest defense groups for mutual support and strategizing. She is also talking to other groups about taking a united public position on the negative trends many of the Forest Service-initiated collaborative groups are taking.
Building Internal Organizational Capacity:
Strategy meetings: We are now having annual strategy meetings of both staff and volunteers each winter to integrate our volunteers into more of our organizational work. The first such meeting took place in March and resulted in volunteer interns taking on additional roles in the organization such as researching and writing for our comments on the Forest Plan Revision, in-kind donation solicitation, and outreach to potential allies. We also had two strategy meetings with activist lawyers on legal strategy and a workshop for volunteers on how to comment on agency projects effectively.
Fundraising: We submitted three grant proposals (Paula wrote two of them, one of which funded her pay), communicated with major Donors, and had an art/forest photo show in Bend. Our action alerts included funding appeals to our supporters.
Paula’s work: Paula has greatly expanded our workload capacity by researching and writing extensive comments on the aquatics section of the Forest Plan Revision DEIS; writing comments on three proposed timber sales and a reforestation project; participating in a riparian restoration working group (and convincing the group to monitor stream temperatures) and attending related meetings as well as a workshop and field trip; participating in the Pacific Wolf Coalition; testifying at a wolf management hearing in Central Point, Oregon; sponsoring and attending a wolf research panel in Seattle; participating in three collaborative group meetings and tracking their email discussions; forging relationships with other environmental activists; creating two timber sale maps for our use in the field based on her GIS mapping experience; helping to field check and coordinate volunteers in two timber sales, and preparing three Freedom of Information Act requests. Please help us keep paying her to continue her high quality work and needed assistance!
We need your help to continue our ecological protection work! Please donate as much as you can:
Gray wolf–$5,000 (pays for 5 months pay for Paula or Karen)
Lynx–$3,000 (enough for expenses for 3 lawsuits)
Wolverine–$2,000 (covers 2 months of field season expenses)
Pacific fisher–$1,000 (pays for truck repairs or insurance)
American marten–$500 (covers phone bills)
Elk–$250 (pays for film development)
Northern goshawk–$100 (buys new field equipment)
Pileated woodpecker–$50 (covers postage for mailings)
We also need in-kind contributions:
Working cameras, binoculars, compasses, diameter measuring tapes, GPSes, densiometers, 100% recycled paper, law students to write objections, lawyers to contribute their time to cases, non-perishable food for volunteers, and volunteers to help us field-check thousands of acres of proposed timber sales!
Please send donations and in-kind contributions to:
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project
27803 Williams Lane, Fossil, OR 97830
Please make checks out to League of Wilderness Defenders for a tax deduction, but specify Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project on the memo line. Thank you!
Call us at (541) 385-9167 to volunteer or for more information.
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project
27803 Williams Lane
Fossil, OR 97830