2022 Annual Report

Tom Buchele with old growth fir in the Walton Lake timber sale (Ochoco NF)

In the News:

Walton Lake timber sale (Ochoco National Forest (NF)
BMBP granted stay to keep injunction against logging in place for now

This November, a Ninth Circuit Court panel granted Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project’s motion for a stay, leaving in place an injunction that prevents the Forest Service from logging the mature and old forest around Walton Lake in the Ochoco National Forest. 

Walton Lake is located in the Ochoco Mountains in central Oregon, northeast of Prineville. The Lake is one of the most popular recreation areas on the Ochoco National Forest, and is known for its old growth trees, abundant wildlife, and scenic beauty. 

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project and our attorneys have been fighting to stop logging of the forest around Walton Lake since 2015. The Forest Service has repeatedly attempted to log this magnificent and ecologically important forest in three related and virtually identical proposals over the past several years. BMBP and our dedicated attorneys successfully stopped the agency’s first two logging proposals, and are now appealing to the Ninth Circuit Court to stop the agency’s third and most recent attempt.  

Nest with bird eggs in a sale unit in the Walton Lake sale (Ochoco NF)

In September of 2021, BMBP was granted a Preliminary Injunction to halt planned logging around the Lake, pending the District Court’s decision. In September of 2022, the District Court decided against most of BMBP’s claims. The District Court’s ruling would have paved the way for the Forest Service to begin logging as early as this fall. Fortunately, on November 18th, 2022, a Ninth Circuit panel stepped in and agreed to leave the injunction against logging in place—and to keep the trees around Walton Lake standing—while BMBP’s appeal of the lower court’s decision is being considered. 

The Walton Lake sale authorizes clearcutting of all the fir trees, including very large and old firs, on approximately 35 acres. The sale also includes an additional 43 acres of logging in mature and old forests that form the scenic backdrop of the lake and provide important habitat for wildlife. BMBP’s initial lawsuit showed that although the Forest Service’s notices to the public described their proposed logging as “thinning,” an internal Forest Service document described the logging of the old growth fir forest as a “clearcut”. 

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project is represented by Tom Buchele at Earthrise Law Center, and Jesse Buss and Bridgett Chevallier at Willamette Law Group. 

Austin measuring an old growth Grand fir in the Morgan Nesbit sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF)

Expanding BMBP’s legal capacity: 
BMBP welcomes our new Staff Attorney!

This year, BMBP took the crucial step of hiring a full-time Staff Attorney. Austin Starnes came on as BMBP’s new Staff Attorney this fall. We’re grateful to have his enormous talent and dedication at BMBP. 

Austin recently graduated from Lewis and Clark Law School, where he helped the Earthrise Student Law Clinic with Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project’s litigation-related work. He has experience as a Law Clerk at Northwest Environmental Defense Center, and as a Policy Extern at the Wildlands Network. He’s excited to continue his mission of conserving and protecting the ecosystems of the Blue Mountains and Eastern Oregon and Washington. 

Pileated woodpecker forage on a fir snag in the Baker City Municipal Watershed sale (Wallowa-Whtiman NF). Snags (standing dead trees) provide essential habitat for wildlife, such as shelter from weather and predators, nesting spaces, and foraging for insects. Unfortunately, there is a deficit of snags across the landscape, with logged forests generally having fewer snags than unlogged forests.

We’re happy to welcome Austin on board as part of our staff! 

Given the current threats to forests, wildlife, and clean water— it’s essential for BMBP to have the legal capacity to mount strategic and well-coordinated challenges to ecologically harmful projects on public lands in Eastern Oregon. Please donate to BMBP to help fund our ongoing legal work to protect forests!

In Eastern Oregon, heavy and widespread logging and livestock grazing continue to threaten imperiled fish and wildlife, clean water, and forest habitats. Unfortunately, timber interests and agencies are using the climate crisis as an excuse, under the guise of perceived safety from wildfires, to further ramp up logging at an alarming pace and scale. 

Creek in the Bark sale (Malheur NF)

Most of the landscape-scale logging on public lands in Eastern Oregon and Southeastern Washington is taking place in the backcountry, far from communities. Work immediately adjacent to homes and communities, such as home hardening (preparing homes to protect them from fires), is a much more effective strategy for protecting communities—Logging in the backcountry will not keep communities safe— particularly not from large, climate-driven fires which are driven by heat, drought, and wind.

Large and mature trees at risk of being logged in the Camp Lick sale (Malheur NF)

Also In the Courts:

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project’s strategic litigation has a long-standing and successful history of protecting mature and old forests, biodiversity, and ecosystem integrity on public lands in Eastern Oregon. Since BMBP’s inception in 1991, our litigation has helped set important legal precedent and strengthen environmental protections and management practices on a regional scale. Our current legal cases focus on protecting large trees, mature and old forests, and imperiled fish and wildlife. Protecting forests is crucial for fighting climate change and ameliorating its effects, and for ensuring that species have the best chance to survive and adapt to climate change.

Pileated woodpecker in the Camp Lick sale (Malheur NF). BMBP field surveyed this sale in 2016.

The Camp Lick sale (Malheur NF)
BMBP sues to protect large trees and imperiled steelhead trout

In 2021, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project filed suit against the Forest Service to protect large trees and imperiled steelhead in the Camp Lick timber sale in the Malheur National Forest. Our litigation on the Camp Lick sale is ongoing. Oral arguments for the case recently took place in District court in December 2022. 

The Forest Service plans to commercially log approximately 12,000 acres in the Camp Lick sale, and to log large trees as part of the sale. Logging is also planned in streamside corridors, and adjacent to creeks that support imperiled fish such as Mid-Columbia River steelhead, which are listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act.

BMBP is challenging the agency’s failure to analyze the cumulative impacts of the Camp Lick sale and numerous back-to-back sales to imperiled fish habitat.

Pygmy owl with ground squirrel prey (Camp Lick sale, Malheur NF)

The Camp Lick timber sale is one of a series of large, back-to-back sales in the Malheur National Forest. Taken together, the Camp Lick sale and neighboring sales contain over 50,000 acres of commercial logging in recent, current, and proposed timber sales over the past several years. Many of these back-to-back sales include large tree logging, and several include logging within designated streamside corridors. 

Despite the enormity of these sales and their potential for widespread and damaging environmental consequences, the Forest Service failed to conduct an adequate cumulative impacts analyses for imperiled fish or wildlife. Shockingly, it appears that approximately one third of Mid-Columbia River Steelhead trout in the Malheur NF may be harmed by logging in these back-to-back timber sales.

Recent logging in the Camp Lick sale (Malheur NF). Logging has begun while BMBP’s case is being heard.

BMBP’s lawsuit also challenges the Forest Service’s illegal use of site-specific Forest Plan amendments as a loophole to log large trees in the Camp Lick sale. The Forest Service has repeatedly attempted to side-step their own regulations through the illegal use of site-specific Forest plan amendments.

Gambit measuring an old growth Ponderosa pine on a steep slope over a creek in the Baker City Municipal Watershed sale

In a 2014 lawsuit filed by BMBP on the Snow Basin timber sale in the Wallowa-Whitman NF, a District Court ruled against the agency’s use of this practice, and determined that the agency was violating existing standards. BMBP is again challenging the Forest Service’s illegal plan to log large trees, and defending the previous Snow Basin ruling.

The Forest Plans that guide management on National Forests in Eastern Oregon had, until very recently, prohibited logging of large trees (those ≥21” diameter at breast height) under most circumstances. However, they still apply to the Camp Lick sale, as it was planned while those rules were still in place.

BMBP is represented by Tom Buchele at Earthrise Law Center and Austin Starnes, BMBP’s Staff  Attorney, in the ongoing litigation for this case.

Boi with old growth Ponderosa pine in the Bark sale (Malheur NF)

The South Warner sale (Fremont-Winema NF)
Fighting for large trees

In October of 2022, Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project filed suit against the United States Forest Service to stop the illegal logging of large trees in the South Warner project in the Lakeview District of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.

The Forest Service is planning to commercially log approximately 16,000 acres in the South Warner sale. The sale is being pushed through under a Categorical Exclusion (CE). CEs are a way for the agency to fast-track sales and severely limit environmental analysis and public input. 

The sale includes the logging of large trees, with the agency relying on the illegal rollback of protections for large trees that took place during the final days of the Trump administration. Should logging move forward in this sale, we are very concerned about the loss of large trees and wildlife habitat. 

Previously, Forest Plans that guided management on National Forests in eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington prohibited logging of large trees in most circumstances. The prohibition was put into place in the mid-90’s because of the well-documented deficit of large trees across the landscape due to over-logging and mismanagement.

Pacific tree frog in post-fire, burned forest in the Pomeroy sale (Umatilla NF)

For over 25 years, the prohibition on logging large trees has been crucial for wildlife, water quality, and carbon storage. Numerous wildlife species depend on large trees and old forests for habitat, including American marten, Vaux’s swifts, Pileated woodpeckers, Black bears, numerous bird species, and bats. Large trees make up only 3% of the trees in these forests, yet store approximately 42% of the carbon. 

In a rushed and illegal process that circumvented public participation, the Forest Service eliminated meaningful protections for large trees on approximately 11 million acres across six National Forests: the Deschutes, Ochoco, Malheur, Umatilla, Wallowa-Whitman, and Fremont-Winema National ForestsOver 115 scientists spoke out against the rollback of protections for large trees. Over 30 organizations, including wildlife, conservation, Indigenous, public health, and climate groups, raised concerns about the agency process and rule changes.

BMBP is being represented by Tom Buchele at Earthrise Law Center and Austin Starnes, BMBP’s Staff Attorney, on the South Warner case.

Karen with large, scorched, living Engelmann spruce tree (Pomeroy post-fire timber sale, Umatilla NF)

Large Trees Targeted for Logging:

In the last days of the Trump administration, protections for large trees were rolled back on approximately 11 million acres across six National Forests in Eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. These protections, which were part of the rules known as the “Eastside Screens”, were intended to prohibit logging of trees ≥21” in diameter in most situations. These protections have been crucial for wildlife, water quality, carbon storage, and forest climate resilience. 

Under the new rule changes, the Forest Service can now log Grand fir up to 30” in diameter at breast height. The agency also has much greater discretion in logging large and old trees of all species. The prohibition on logging large trees under the Eastside Screens was a  ‘standard’, and as such it prevented logging of large trees in most situations. While the Forest Service had, unfortunately, continued to use loopholes to log large trees while the standard was in place, it nevertheless greatly curtailed logging of large trees and was crucial for protecting mature and old forests. The ‘standard’ was recently changed to a ‘guideline’ under the new rules, which means it is easier than ever for the Forest Service and timber companies to indiscriminately cut large trees with almost no accountability, transparency, or public oversight.

Mature and old trees play a vital role in the ecological functioning of many of the forests in Eastern Oregon, and protecting them has long been a central focus in BMBP’s work. Unfortunately, increased logging of large trees exacerbates many of the negative ecological effects of climate change and further degrades high-quality wildlife habitat and connectivity. Logging large trees increases carbon emissions, and is exactly the wrong direction for addressing climate change.

Black-backed woodpecker in the N. Fork Crooked River sale (Ochoco NF)

BMBP has a long history of work to defend large trees and mature and old forests. We are currently challenging the rollback of protections for large trees in the South Warner sale on the Fremont-Winema NF through our litigation on that sale. We’ve sued to protect large trees in the Camp Lick sale, and we’re fighting to defend the old growth forest around Walton Lake in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. We are engaged in ongoing and in-depth work to defend large trees and mature and old forests in our comments, objections, and negotiations. BMBP is also continuing to work closely with a coalition of several groups calling for the reinstatement of strong protections for large trees in Eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington.

Big trees are important— but it’s not just about the big trees! Preserving wildlife corridors, unfragmented and high-quality wildlife habitats, riparian ecosystems, and other unique and ecologically important areas is also crucial for protecting ecosystem integrity and biodiversity. A holistic approach to protecting forests is essential for ensuring that species have the best chance at surviving and adapting to climate change.

New conifer cones in the Pomeroy post-fire logging sale (Umatilla NF)

Tell decision-makers: Let forests grow. This year, the Biden administration issued Executive Orders that acknowledge the importance of forests, particularly mature and old forests, in the fight against climate change. Unfortunately, the administration has not proposed goals or tangible plans that would provide the paradigm shift required by the climate and biodiversity crises. Alarmingly, the administration has not recognized logging as a threat to mature and old forests. We urge everyone to contact the Biden administration, as well as their state and local representatives, to encourage them to take more substantive steps towards fighting climate change and deforestation. We are asking decision makers for a national moratorium on logging of mature and old forests, and to reinstate the prohibition on logging large trees in Eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington.

Hemlock surveying a stream drainage in the Baker City Watershed timber sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF)

Wildlands field surveys

Every summer, BMBP staff and volunteers survey thousands of acres of proposed timber sales. Field surveying is the backbone of our work, and provides on-the-ground evidence for our public comments, negotiations, and litigation.

During the 2022 field season, we hosted 31 volunteers, including 17 new and 14 returning volunteers. Our summer field season volunteers were delightful to work with, and included: Sebbi, Boi, Ember, Alizah, Brittany, Brenna, Merlin, Sophie, Will, Grace, Jack, Bramble, Sam, Lena, Elora, Karl, Bird, B, Cooper, Moss, Leo, Steph, Rachel, Drea, Adam, Pip, Sunny, Gambit, Hemlock, Mary, and Tush. Many thanks to our wonderful volunteers! In addition to the volunteers who camped with us, we also want to thank David and Dee for their independent field survey work for BMBP. 

Ella with an old growth Western larch in a Morgan Nesbit sale unit (Wallowa-Whitman NF)

A shout-out to Ella Hackett, BMBP’s Summer Intern in 2022: This year, BMBP hired our first-ever Summer Intern! Ella Hackett filled our summer internship position from late June through early September. This year’s field season was especially busy, and we couldn’t have covered as much ground in the woods or in our forest campaign work without her help. Having Ella’s additional help during our busy field season was crucial. Ella helped with field work, public outreach, social media, developing education materials, and alliance and coalition work. We’re hoping to continue our summer internship position next year and into future years.

Elora measuring an old growth Grand fir on a very steep slope over Gumboot Creek, Morgan Nesbit sale

With the help of our volunteers, we field surveyed five timber sales and did selective monitoring in two additional sales: In the Wallowa-Whitman NF, we surveyed the Baker City Watershed “Fuels Management Project” and most of the Morgan Nesbit “Forest Resiliency” sale, which we will be returning to complete next summer. We finished surveying the Bark sale (Malheur NF), and the first half of the North Fork Crooked River sale (Ochoco NF), which we will also be returning to next summer. We spot-checked the South Warner sale (Fremont-Winema NF). We surveyed the Pomeroy “Danger Tree and Fire Salvage” timber sale and conducted post-logging surveys on selected sale units in the South George “Vegetation and Fuels Management” sale (both sales are in the Umatilla NF).

The smallest of the timber sales we surveyed in 2022 is the Pomeroy post-fire sale, at approximately 1,076 acres of commercial logging. The Morgan Nesbit and Bark sales are both extremely large sales, with planning areas ranging from 83,000 to 85,000 acres and unspecified acreages of logging in both projects. The Baker City watershed sale includes about 3,0000 acres of commercial logging, with up to approximately 5,000 acres of additional logging possible, mostly in roadside areas. The North Fork Crooked River includes 4,787 acres.

Murderer’s Creek, flourishing as a result of livestock exclusion, restoration, and beaver (Malheur NF)

What’s at stake: Logging is increasingly targeting relatively pristine and never-logged forests that provide the best wildlife habitat. The Forest Service has also been increasing proposals to log large trees and within streamside corridors in most recent and new sales— including sales that propose thousands of acres of logging.   

The Morgan Nesbit project area in the Wallowa-Whitman NF is 87,000 acres, with an as yet unspecified amount of commercial logging.  The sale includes unroaded landscapes, thousands of acres of the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, and places that have been proposed for Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River protections. This forest contains crucial wildlife corridors, and supports moose, elk, wolverine, salmon, and wolves. 

Deer in the Pomeroy post-fire sale (Umatilla NF)

The Pomeroy post-fire logging sale in the Umatilla NF plans to log in ecologically sensitive and fragile post-fire habitat. We are very concerned about the degradation or destruction of important wildlife habitat, the effects to clean water, and the lack of adequate environmental review or public transparency. 

Many of the sale units we surveyed in this sale contain green trees and trees showing green regrowth after last year’s fire. Logging will threaten green trees and sensitive post-fire habitats. 

While the agency published an environmental assessment (EA), they refused to provide an opportunity for the public to comment on or submit objections to the EA. 

BMBP volunteer (Bark sale, Malheur NF)

The Bark timber sale (Malheur NF): The Bark sale includes old growth forests, including Ponderosa pine and Douglas fir and moist mixed-conifer forest. The higher elevation mixed-conifer mature and old forests support a high diversity of wildlife species that are dependent on large and old structure.  

The timber sale area also includes several major creeks, with stream side riparian hardwoods (and beaver hard at work at Murderer’s Creek!), interesting rock formations, and free-roaming bands of wild horses.

The Bark timber sale on the Malheur National Forest has been severely over-logged from past clearcutting. This has unfortunately resulted in uniform, homogenous pine plantations that are severely deficient in wildlife habitat. We are finding increasingly more forest left in this degraded condition.

Happy volunteers with a 45.6″ old growth Douglas fir in the Baker City watershed sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF)

The Baker City Watershed “Fuels Management Project” (Wallowa-Whitman NF): The logging sale units in the Baker City Watershed are in high elevation, moist mixed conifer forest. This high elevation, naturally denser forest retains more moisture from numerous creeks and tributaries, as well as from deeper winter snow pack retention.  

We are opposed to any logging in the watershed, especially as almost all the sale units are on steep slopes over creeks, with easily displaced ash soils that could ruin water quality and harm fish species.

The creeks are currently in near-pristine condition. Logging within streamside riparian buffers, particularly on steep slopes, would threaten water quality and aquatic habitats. Some of the watershed sale units appear to never have been logged.

Moss measuring an old growth Grand fir in the Morgan Nesbit sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF)

We are also opposed to planned prescribed burning in the watershed’s Inventoried Roadless Area, as the forest is naturally prone to infrequent stand replacement fire. Prescribed burns with multiple ignitions planned could easily go wrong and end up burning the watershed at stand replacement levels, contradicting the purpose of the sale. Also, sale units are located along a road that divides the Inventoried Roadless Area— the road should be closed, rather than used to further more logging in the area.

The Baker City Municipal Watershed timber sale purports to be a fire risk reduction “project”. However, most of the mature pine plantations are already wide open from past commercial thinning, with no excessive fire risk now.

Get involved: volunteer with BMBP! We are out in the field with volunteers from June through September every year. Volunteers are trained in native plant and wildlife identification, map and compass orienteering, and determining habitat conditions. We also teach volunteers about basic ecological issues, and current threats to public forests in Eastern Oregon. Most of our time in the field is spent in the forest, documenting conditions within proposed timber sales. We prefer interns to volunteer for at least one to two weeks in the field. No prior experience is necessary. Call us with at least two weeks notice and let us know when you want to come out!

Acres saved: As a result of our and our allies’ objection to the Cliff Knox sale (Malheur NF), the agency changed 190 acres of commercial logging in the Malheur River Inventoried Roadless Area to include only non-commercial logging. The agency dropped logging of large trees (those over 21” in diameter) on approximately 300 acres in mountain mahogany areas. They also agreed to change about 354 acres of commercial logging to noncommercial, and 391 acres of commercial logging to thinning only small diameter trees. 

Ruby with old growth Western larch and Douglas fir, Morgan Nesbit sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF)

Comments and objections: BMBP is currently tracking over 30 agency projects in different stages of planning. We submit public comments on every major timber sale in our work area. 

So far this year, BMBP has submitted comments on the Ellis sale, the Pomeroy post-fire logging sale; the Sunflower Insects and Disease CE (Umatilla NF); the Baker City Municipal Watershed project (Wallowa-Whitman NF); the Cabin Butte sale (Deschutes NF); the Wild Horse Adoption Facility CE (Ochoco NF); and the Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy Implementation Plan. We also submitted comments on the Forest Service’s plan on defining and identifying mature and old forests, which they are developing in response to the Biden Administration’s Executive Order on climate and forests.  

BMBP submitted objections to the Green Ridge (Deschutes NF) and Cliff Knox (Malheur NF) sales. We attended objection resolution meetings for these and for the Patrick  sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF). 

Goldenrod spider on an arnica flower (Bark sale, Malheur NF)

We attended the agency’s public open house meeting in Baker City regarding the Baker City Municipal Watershed project, and an agency field trip to the Green Ridge sale in September. We also attended the agency’s Forest Plan Revision meeting in John Day in November. 

BMBP submitted a Freedom of Information Act request about logging implementation in the Big Mosquito sale in the Malheur NF, in relation to the logging and felling of large and old trees. Last summer, BMBP found dozens of large and old Ponderosa pine trees cut down in this sale, despite the agency claiming that the sale is supposed to protect those very trees. 

Please visit BMBP’s website to sign up for our Action Alerts! Public pressure matters, and even brief comments can make a difference.

Drea in a big fire scar in an old growth Ponderosa pine in the North Fork Crooked River sale

Movement building and public outreach
Ongoing coalition and alliance work:

The Pacific Northwest Forest Climate Alliance (PNWFCA), which BMBP helped found in 2019, now includes over 60 grassroots forest and climate groups. The PNWFCA provides a structure for groups and individuals to share information and tackle a variety of forest and climate-related projects through working groups. BMBP is part of the steering committee, and co-leads the Field Survey working group. BMBP helped create the guiding principles and structure of the Alliance, and helps with meeting facilitation and other coordination. We are excited to help strengthen activist networks and get needed work accomplished.

Butterfly on aster flower (Morgan Nesbit sale, Wallowa-Whitman NF)

Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project has also continued to be deeply engaged with a coalition of groups in Eastern Oregon, including Greater Hells Canyon Council, Oregon Wild, Central Oregon Landwatch, Great Old Broads for Wilderness, WildEarth Guardians, and the Juniper Group of the Sierra Club. BMBP is an active member of the steering team, and helps organize and co-lead the coalition. The coalition formed as a response to the rollback of protections for large trees under the Trump administration, and has called for a reinstatement of strong protections for large trees in Eastern Oregon and southeastern Washington. 

Western tanager (Pomeroy post-fire sale (Umatilla NF)

Workshops, fieldtrips, panels, and press: 

BMBP published a press release on Walton Lake, regarding the Ninth Circuit Court panel granting our motion for a stay in order to keep the trees standing while our appeal is heard. The story was widely circulated in local news outlets, including the KTVZ, Central Oregon Daily News, the Bend Bulletin, and other outlets. 

Paula Hood, BMBP’s Co-Director, was honored to participate in a panel discussion at Greater Hells Canyon Council’s Gala this fall. Paula highlighted the disparity between the Forest Service’s characterization of logging proposals to the public vs. the far more ecologically destructive reality that BMBP has documented in the field in several recently logged timber  sales. The panel featured discussion about indigenous perspectives on fire by Camas to Condors Indigenous Liaison Tiyana Casey, and included Meadow Wheaton of the Rural Cinema Project’s perspectives on how films allow us to engage in new ways with conservation issues. Thanks to Greater Hells Canyon Council for hosting the panel, and for inviting BMBP to participate!

Sophie with recent logging (South George, Umatilla NF)

Ella helped provide support with staffing and logistics during the Deep Roots: Training for Forest and Climate Action Camp which took place in the Willamette National Forest in September. The action camp was organized by the PNW Forest Climate Alliance, as well as 350 Eugene, Cascadia Wildlands, and a number of other partners.

Paula published a commentary in August in the Capital Chronicle titled Logging Interests Now Dominate Forest Collaboratives.

In August, Karen Coulter, BMBP’s Director led a field trip with two staff members from Natural Resources Defense Council in the Austin sale (Malheur NF). The field trip focused on forest ecology in Eastern Oregon, and on our concerns about logging in sales such as Austin, including widespread large tree logging in our region. 

White-breasted nuthatch in the North Fork Crooked River sale (Ochoco NF)

In July, Tom Buchele, with several of his students from Lewis and Clark Law School, visited BMBP in the Morgan Nesbit sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF) for a weekend. Karen led a field trip for the law students, and discussed our concerns about this and other sales in Eastern Oregon. It was lovely to have Tom and the law students in the forest with us again! Tom Buchele is a Clinical Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark Law School. He has represented BMBP in numerous legal cases. 

In July, Paula worked with the John Muir Project, the Pacific Northwest Forest Climate Alliance, the Forest Carbon Coalition, and the Climate Forests Campaign to coordinate a webinar with Dr. Dominick DellaSala discussing his groundbreaking research on conducting the first mature and old growth assessment for the USA. BMBP also gave presentations on our field survey program and our work to protect large trees in Eastern Oregon to the PNW Forest Climate Alliance. 

Trout in the Bark sale (Malheur NF)

In May, Karen participated in the Land and Water Protection panel in “A Radical Gathering: Cultivating the World We Deserve” webinar series. She discussed advocacy strategies for communities all around the country using courts and the power of the people.

Karen gave two workshops at the national Earth First! gathering on biocentrism, and about wildfire, climate change, and forest management.

This past spring at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference (PIELC), BMBP’s Director, Karen Coulter, gave presentations on Field Surveying for Forest Defense and The ‘New Normal’ Needs a New Constitutional Amendment panels. 

Also at PIELC, BMBP’s Co-Director, Paula Hood, participated in the panel Cautionary Tales from the Collaborative Industrial Complex, along with fellow panelists Rob Klavins (Oregon Wild) and Dr. Chad Hanson (John Muir Project). 

Please visit BMBP’s website under “Media Highlights” to see videos of our presentations and other recent media work.

Yellow pine chipmunk in the Bark sale (Malheur NF)


We are deeply grateful to everyone who has donated to support our ecological protection work. Many heartfelt thanks to the Anne K. Millis Fund through Oregon Community Foundation; the Astrov Fund; the Burning Foundation; the Clif Family Foundation; the Faegan Donor Advised Fund through Social Justice Northwest; Fund for Wild Nature; Lush Charitable Giving; and the Rose Foundation. 

Special thanks to Dick Roy for his support, to Jen Wilder for her help with fundraising, and to all of the volunteers and donors who helped with our Annual Benefit in October. Thanks also to Japanese Auto for keeping our vehicles safely maintained, and to the Broadway Minuteman Press in Portland for their help printing our work reports on recycled paper. 

Many thanks to all of the generous donors who supported BMBP’s work in 2022!

Our motley crew of Annual Benefit planners and cooks! Thank you Brenna, Mike, Merlin, and Brittany!

BMBP’s Annual Benefit:

BMBP held our Annual Celebration and Benefit in October in Portland. Thanks to everyone who joined us for a lovely evening or donated online! BMBP’s Annual Benefit included a presentation about BMBP’s work by our Director Karen, food and hot apple cider, music, and a forest-themed costume contest, and an auction. Our auction included a bike, gifts from Well Spring Spa, incredible art work, and more! 

Sophie and Will, dressed as an aster and a penstemon, were the overall costume contest winners!

Special thanks to Brenna Sahatjian and Mike Horner for their hard work helping to organize the event, to Brittany for contributing wonderful vegan dishes, and to Merlin for helping with all the loose ends at the last minute. Brenna, Brittany, and Merlin have helped to organize and cook for BMBP’s Annual Benefit for the past several years. Mike provided essential help this year as well as last year. We truly could not do all of this work without their help!

This little skunk was the “most realistic” costume contest winner

We are very grateful to musicians Adhamh Roland and Rachel Freifelder, who played songs and shared their talent with us. 

Many thanks also to all the volunteers who helped staff the event, helped solicit donations for the auction, set up the projector and sound system, brought food, and helped set up and clean afterwards! Thanks to: Elora, Mary, Harlan, Susan, Bramble, Monica, Cory, Rachel, Ella, and Erik. 

Huge thanks to everyone who donated to BMBP auction! We’re grateful for all of lovely and unique donations we received to help us raise funds for our work:

Awwww 💕

Tomcat Bikes generously donated a brand-new bicycle
Well Spring Spa for the retreat they gifted us (shout out to Sunny Thompson!)
Mama and Hapa’s Zero Waste Store gift certificate
Clinton St. Theater for free movie tickets and popcorn
Portland Nursery gift certificate
Fungaia brought us a shiitake mushroom kit
Deb Einbiender shared one of her amazing leather masks
Phillippa donated her delicious paella dinner for six
Gary Mac Smith donated two incredible paintings
Camilo Velasco donated beautiful prints
Asante Riverwind donated amazing artwork
Bramble gifted us a yard and garden donation
David and Dee shared maple saplings with us
Mike Hastie donated picture frames
Tom Buchele gave us two of his famous handmade pies
Mary VanZant donated a embroidered BMBP pillow and a handcrafted terrarium
Rachel Freifelder gifted us homemade pickles and a garden consultation

Thanks to Junix the crow for taking pictures during the event!

Thanks also to Green Anchors for sharing their beautiful outdoor space with us! 

Green Anchors is a truly lovely and unique community, and we’re grateful for their warmth and generosity. If you’re interested in getting involved with the Green Anchors community or volunteering to help them continue their mission to be center for community engagement through the arts, business, and ecology, please email them at contact@greenanchorspdx.com

The Green Anchors site is situated on a historical shipbuilding site along the Willamette River, and their 7-acre property is a model for brownfield remediation through ecological restoration.  They are a local business incubator, collaborative arts center, educational forum, and site for eco-innovation.

Thanks to everyone who helped make our Annual Benefit a success!

Lena in the Morgan Nesbit sale with an old growth Douglas fir

Please donate to help support BMBP’s work defending forests in Eastern Oregon

BMBP’s work to protect ecological diversity in Eastern Oregon would not be possible without donations from our supporters. Any amount, large or small, goes a long way. We need your help to pay our staff; pursue litigation against destructive projects; and field survey proposed timber sales during our summer field season. 

BMBP’s field surveys are the foundation of our effective forest protection work. Our on-the-ground  knowledge has been key to many of our litigation wins and our success with halting or modifying logging across many thousands of acres over the years. However, training and hosting volunteers in the field, and surveying thousands of acres of proposed sales every year is a major undertaking—we need your support to help fund our field season and forest protection work! 

This year, we have a generous donor willing to match donations, up to a total of $5,000. Please donate to help us benefit from this matching donor offer! We need your help to continue our work.

Bird showing the effects of steep slope movement and landslide risk (Morgan Nesbit sale, Wallowa-Whitman NF)

$10,000-$20,000 helps pay for our four staff members
$5,000 helps cover transportation costs to and from the field, including gas, truck repairs, and insurance
$2,000 helps cover legal expenses for a lawsuit to stop a timber sale or toxic herbicide use
$1,000 helps cover day to day expenses including photo printing, our office phones, and other supplies
$500 helps pay for postage costs
$100 pays for field surveying equipment
$25-50 subsidizes food for volunteers in the field

Sam with an old growth Grand fir over 40” dbh (Morgan Nesbit sale, Wallowa-Whitman NF)

We are also in need of in-kind donations such as non-perishable food for the field (nut butters, tea and coffee, energy bars, etc), and field equipment including diameter measuring tapes, digital cameras, and GPS units. 

If you have a four-wheel drive truck you wish to donate which can handle Forest Service roads and is in good working condition, please contact BMBP at 510-715-6238 or email us at paula@bluemountainsbiodiversityproject.org. 

Please consider becoming a monthly donor, including BMBP in your long-term giving plans, or leaving a bequest to BMBP.

A wild horse in the Bark sale (Malheur NF)

You can donate online at:

Send checks to our Eugene office at:
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project
Eugene Office
1560 Chambers St.
Eugene, Oregon 97402

Send in-kind donations to:
Blue Mountains Biodiversity Project
27803 Williams Lane
Fossil, OR 97830

Jack with an old growth Engelmann spruce, Morgan Nesbit sale (Wallowa-Whitman NF)

You can also contact us at 541-385-9167 about giving to BMBP or volunteering with us (be sure to leave your name and phone number).

Please give what you can in support of BMBP’s work— donations both large and small are essential to keeping our work going.

Thank you for helping to make BMBP’s forest protection work possible!

Karen Coulter, BMBP’s Director, entering a big fire scar on an old growth Western larch in the Bark sale (Malheur NF)