Habitat Conservation Plans – A Tool for State Forests

April 23, 2014

Over the next year, the Department of Forestry will be reviewing and possibly re-writing the administrative rules that dictate management of Oregon’s state forests, defining the future of some of our state’s most vital natural spaces. Pressures to increase logging on the Tillamook and Clatsop forests is intense. Populations of marbled murrelets, spotted owls, Coho salmon, red tree voles, and other species already struggle to thrive within those borders without the threat of increased timber sales and management that prioritizes short-term profits over long-term forest health. Those most vulnerable species are only signposts for the vibrancy of the entire temperate eco-systems in these emblematic forests.

Coho Salmon are listed under the Endangered Species Act

Coho Salmon are listed under the Endangered Species Act

Every citizen of Oregon has a strong interest in the management of our entrusted state forest land, and a duty to advocate for prudent land use! In the past, the relationship between conservationists and timber companies and their proponents has been defined by embittered conflict and hostility – and often lawsuits. While seeking injunctions can be a strategic method for halting dangerous and illegal practices, there are other methods for pursuing conflict resolution and creating viable strategies for species preservation.

The Endangered Species Act contains a provision for Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) – a series of permits and mitigation planning that is usually pursued by non-federal entities that want to build on or log land where endangered species reside. Permits allow the construction or other activity, and the Habitat Conservation Plan explains how the party will help the population grow in other ways. Without vigilant oversight from citizens and non-profits, HCP’s can become unwieldy and risky management plans that harm endangered species.  However, they can also be a powerful tool.  The State of Oregon could seek an HCP on state forest land to limit the potential for messy and expensive lawsuits, create important wildlife habitat, and provide certainty around timber revenue.

Read more here to learn more about the history of Habitat Conservation Plans and what they might mean for Oregon’s state forests.


Happy Earth Day to Seneca Jones!

April 22, 2014

2457514213_a8e4935293_bIn the ongoing saga of the State Land Board’s decision to sell off portions of the Elliott State Forest to meet its mandates under the Common School Fund, Seneca Jones Timber Company received an early Earth Day present earlier this week. As reported in the Oregonian, Seneca Jones submitted the winning bid on the 788-acre East Hakki Ridge tract, getting the parcel for pennies on the dollar: $1.9 million for timber valued by the State of Oregon at more than $5.5 million.

 

 

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Luckily, our coalition partners at Cascadia Wildlands, Portland Audubon, and the Center for Biological Diversity have stepped in to file suit to prevent what is likely an illegal sale of this tract. As the Court decides on the request for a preliminary injunction to stop the sale, the State Department of Justice has agreed to hold off on closing the sale until after May 1.

Meanwhile, the Sierra Club and our coalition partners continue to urge the State Land Board — made up of Gov. John Kitzhaber, Secretary of State Kate Brown, and Treasurer Ted Wheeler — and other state leaders in Salem to pursue a solution for the Elliott that protects the unique forest and keeps it in public ownership, while also satisfying the school fund mandate required by these lands. The bright side of the low monetary value for the three parcels that were sold is that it helps us to make the case that it’s even more affordable than we might have thought for the State to buy out the Elliott from its Common School Fund burdens and transfer the land to Oregon State Parks, for instance.

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Clearly, the drama at the Elliott State Forest is about to get a lot more interesting, so stay tuned!


You can determine the fate of Oregon’s Environment and Wild Places!

April 1, 2014


WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT!
Your gift directly to the Oregon Chapter today guarantees that 100%

of your contribution will make a difference right here in Oregon!

Dear Sierra Club Supporter,

Waldo Lake - Brian Pasko Photography

Your generous donation to the Oregon Chapter can help us protect places like Waldo Lake, Oregon’s second largest lake and one of the three purest water bodies in the world.  Your gift to the Oregon Chapter is a guaranteed investment in the future of Oregon’s environment and public lands.Dear Sierra Club Supporter,

You play a critical role in protecting Oregon’s environment! Today you have an important opportunity to make a donation directly to the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club and ensure that 100% of your donation will support the Sierra Club’s efforts right here in Oregon.

The Oregon Chapter has only one month each year to reach out for our annual fundraising appeal. We rely on your donation each year to continue our important work. Please consider a generous gift to the Oregon Chapter today!

The Sierra Club in Oregon has a tremendous record of success and your donation today will be a guaranteed investment toward the future of the Oregon’s environment and public lands! During this past year, the Oregon Sierra Club’s volunteers and staff secured important conservation victories for Oregon:

  • Sea planes and motor boats on Waldo Lake—BANNED!
  • A new designation to protect critical state forest habitat—SECURED!
  • Plans to build coal export terminals at the Port of Coos Bay and Port of St. Helens—DEFEATED!
  •  An industry-backed attempt to roll back Oregon’s leading renewable energy policies —THWARTED!
  •  Legislation that sought to harm wolves and cougars —BLOCKED!
  •  Thousands of engaged citizens who care about Oregon’s environment and energy future - MOBILIZED!

Your donation to the Oregon Chapter today will help will help us continue our efforts to protect Oregon’s environment and public lands in the coming year, including the Sierra Club’s work to:

  • protect Oregon’s wild forest and high deserts,
  • stop proposals to export coal, natural gas, and oil overseas using Oregon’s rail lines and ports, and
  • advance policies and programs that will dramatically increase Oregon’s use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies.

And, while conservation victories are important, that isn’t all we’re doing! In 2013 Sierra Club volunteers led hundreds of outings in Oregon. We’re also investing in new outreach tools to bolster our conservation work and engage the next generation of Sierra Club supporters. Check out our website and like us on Facebook to see what is coming up. Sign up for ouraction alerts and monthly e-mail newsletter.  Get involved!

I’m not writing this to someone else─this message is to you. Someone who enjoys all the beautiful things our state has to offer and shares our vision for an even better Oregon─a vision of clear skies, old growth forests, free-flowing salmon-filled streams, and wide open vistas. If you like what we’ve been doing and want us to be able to keep making Oregon a better place to live and explore, please consider a donation to the Oregon Chapter today. We need your support!

Thank you. We can’t do what we do without you.

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Brian Pasko,
Director Oregon Chapter Sierra Club

P.S. Would you please consider a monthly contribution to the Oregon Chapter? A gift of just $10/month will help provide the financial stability we need to continue our work in Oregon.But, no matter how you choose to give, every dollar counts, and your support is tremendously appreciated. Please help us continue our work to protect Oregon’s air, water, and precious public lands.


DALE R. JONES (1939-2014)

March 21, 2014

Dale Jones, an influential environmental leader with the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth in the northwest during the 60’s through the 80’s, passed away in Washington, DC in late January of heart failure. Raised in Holland, Michigan, he attended the University of Arizona on a tennis scholarship before being drafted into the U.S. Army. After duty in Vietnam he supervised the movement of war materials during the Cuban missile crisis to Florida. Later, he was stationed at Fort Lewis where he developed his love for the Northwest.

Upon discharge, Dale settled down in Seattle, worked for Westinghouse and developed his love of the Northwest and the need to conserve its resources. He joined the Mountaineers building their film and photo collection. Then he joined the campaign to save the North Cascades from the loggers’ chainsaws and the board of the North Cascades Conservation Council from 1969 to 1990. Dale also became increasingly active with the old Pacific Northwest Chapter of the Sierra Club. From 1969-70, he was the editor of the “Conifer” – the chapter’s newsletter.

His involvement with the Sierra Club brought him in contact with executive director, David Brower. When Brower left the Club and founded Friends of Earth (FOE) he asked Dale to establish the NW office in Seattle. In that position he became a leading spokesman on the northwest conservation issues of the time including endangered species, energy conservation, hunting rights for Natives in Alaska, and opposing DDT spraying in northwest forests. In 1970, FOE led the opposition to congressional funding of a supersonic transport airplane by Boeing due to concerns with high-level ozone pollution and noise. In keeping with his unique tactical approach, Dale would meet out of town reporters at the airport and take them to their meetings with Boeing officials, thereby ensuring that national reporters heard the environmentalist’s message last.

In 1973, Dale was honored by the Oregon Environmental Council with a special commendation for his work in environmental and conservation issues especially the addition of the Minam River Canyon to the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Dale also received the Washington Ecological Commission’s Environmental Excellence Award, a statewide recognition presented by Governor Booth Gardner for his outstanding work in environmental protection.

Overall, Dale is remembered by his friends and colleagues for his unfailing optimism, good cheer, sense of humor and his endless encouragement to fight on for the right causes regardless of their popularity. He established a base of support for the environmental cause in the northwest. We owe a debt of gratitude to Dale for the beauty that remains. He is survived by his wife, Rachel Evans of Washington, DC.


Last Chance to Get Paid to Go Solar!

February 18, 2014


Oregon’s Solar Incentive Program is coming to an end soon!

The popular Oregon Solar Incentive Program (OSIP) has one last application period coming up on April 1, 2014. Sign up now for a free consultation, or read more about the program below.

The Oregon Solar Incentive Payment program (also known as the Feed in Tariff) has been a huge driver to the success of Sierra Club’s “Go Solar+” program.

In contrast to standard net metering, the Solar Payment program actually pays the owner a premium rate for the solar power they produce for 15 years.

Depending on which county the property is in, the rate varies from $.252/kW-Hr to $.39/kW-Hr. Factoring in the up-front cost of the system, a 30% Federal Tax Credit, and the monthly energy savings and payments generated, most solar projects break even in 5 – 7 years. Great news for you, and our planet!

April 1st is the deadline for the next round of Solar Payment applications in Oregon. Click here to request a free home evaluation and learn more about Oregon’s Solar Payment Program!

Are you eligible?
• You must be a Pacific Power or PGE customer in the state of Oregon to qualify
• Systems must be 5kW or greater in size
• Must be new equipment installed by an Energy Trust Trade Ally partner
• System must be sized to produce 90% or less of your annual usage
• One system may be installed for each meter on the property
• Capacity reservations are allocated via a lottery on April 1, 2014

Please join us and become part of the clean energy solution.  Click here to request a free home evaluation and learn more about Oregon’s Solar Payment Program!


Contribute to EarthShare at your workplace: it’s so easy

January 3, 2014

Threats to our natural world are growing, as are demands on the lands, water, food, energy and other resources people and wildlife need to thrive. As green as Oregon is, it’s simply not enough. We need more people and businesses supporting the environmental movement. EarthShare is working to make that happen.

EarthShare Oregon, of which the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club is a member, engages people at their workplaces, bringing new support our organizations, both across Oregon and around the world. Through a single gift to EarthShare, you can easily support more than 70 of the best environmental organizations — or you can choose your favorites (like us!).

The Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club  is a proud member of EarthShare Oregon. What does this mean to you? If you work for the State of Oregon, the Federal Government, Kaiser Permanente, NW Natural, PGE, or one of more than 100 employers, you can make a regular donation from your paycheck that benefits your favorite Oregon conservation groups, including the Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club! EarthShare’s workplace and online giving options are easy ways for you to share responsibility for stewarding Oregon’s environmental legacy.

Please invest today through EarthShare to help us plant more trees, recycle more waste, move more quickly to clean energy, protect more threatened land, and safeguard more clean water. Not only are you protecting Oregon’s environmental legacy, but you’re inviting and inspiring others to share in that responsibility.

If your workplace is not currently involved in an EarthShare giving campaign, establishing one is easy. EarthShare will work with your employer to set up a program that meets your company’s needs.

With your contribution through EarthShare, you can share in the responsibility for protecting Oregon’s natural legacy. For more information, please contact Jan Wilson at EarthShare: (503) 223-9015 or jan@earthshare-oregon.org; or visit http://earthshare-oregon.org/.


John Muir – The Sierra Club and Oregon

November 25, 2013

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John Muir and the Sierra Club have a longstanding relationship with Oregon.  Beginning in the 1870’s, Muir was interested in the forests and glaciers of the Cascades and in 1880 presented three impromptu lectures in Portland after his first visit to Alaska.  Speaking to standing room only crowds, he “talked of the youth of the world, the present morning of creation and the beginning of the work of the infinite.”

Muir hiked and camped throughout the Pacific Northwest in 1888 visiting the Columbia Gorge, Multnomah Falls, the Cascades and Crater Lake.  His essays about this trip can be found in his book “Steep Trails.”  Here he described Mount Hood as the “ruling spirit of the landscape,” noted with concern the “fierce storm of steel that is devouring the forests” and recommended that “a park of moderate extent might be set apart and protected for public use forever” in the Cascades.

The Sierra Club entered Oregon’s historic forest wars in 1896, when the Oregon Congressional delegation tried to reduce the size of the Cascade Forest Reserve.  The Cascade Reserve was four million acres along the crest of the Cascades from the Columbia River to Crater Lake established in 1893 based on the efforts of Judge John B. Waldo (Oregon’s John Muir).  In its defense, the Sierra Club issued a strong resolution “unalterably” opposing the reduction of the Cascade or “any forest reservation.”  This successful campaign protected what today remains the core of the national forest and wilderness areas in the Cascades.

Wilderness protection in the PNW continued to be the Club’s central priority since this defense of the Cascade Forest Reserve in 1896 and its forested wilderness areas from then on.  The center of conservation concern and efforts in Oregon was at the University of Oregon in Eugene and was led by Karl and Ruth Onthank.  Karl was a longtime administrator and then Dean at the University and they initiated many campaigns especially the founding of the Friends of the Three Sisters Wilderness in 1954. 

As the Sierra Club began to grow in the Pacific Northwest after WWII, 20 of the 87 members in Oregon and Washington met at Patrick Goldsworthy’s Seattle home in 1953 to discuss the possibility of establishing a NW chapter and by September of 1954 the original PNW Chapter was established covering Oregon and Washington.  Soon it was expanded to cover Idaho, Montana, Alaska and British Columbia and Alberta Canada.

They were finally joined by what Brock Evans called the “nest” of Club leaders who came to Eugene:  Sandy and Bert Tepfer in 1955, Dick and Wynn Noyes in 1959 and Holly and Doreen Jones in 1963.  These dedicated families were at the center of all the major conservation battles especially to protect the Three Sisters Primitive/Wilderness Area from then on.  Richard and Maradel Gale came to the group in 1968 adding new energy to fight for French Pete and Oregon’s beaches.

The Club’s first NW office was opened in Eugene in 1961 staffed by Michael McCloskey (a recent graduate of the UO law school and Oregon native).  Mike later went onto be the Club’s conservation and executive director at its national office in San Francisco.  The NW office stayed in Eugene until 1964 when it moved to Seattle.  The Eugene Group (now Many Rivers) was organized in 1962 and was the first such group in either Oregon or Washington.  By 1970 it had grown to 250 members.  The Columbia Group in Portland was started by Larry Williams in 1968.  Shortly thereafter, Larry helped found the Oregon Environmental Council as well.

The PNW Chapter continued to grow and by 1974 had about 4000 members.  At that time, it authorized Oregon and Washington Councils to oversee activities in each state and to prepare for the establishment of separate statewide Chapters.  These were finally established in 1978.  The Oregon Chapter has grown considerably since then with 5 groups and been a leader in a variety of local, state and national environmental issues.  Since the mid 70’s, the key issues were securing protection for Hell’s Canyon from damming, the “Dump Watt” petition campaign (25,000 signatures from Oregon), passage of the 1984 Oregon Wilderness Act, protection for the Columbia Gorge, establishing a Chapter Political Action Committee (PAC) to endorse candidates for federal, state and local offices, establishing a regular and steady lobbying presence in Salem courtesy of Liz Frenkel and no doubt countless other campaigns that still need to be chronicled.  But wilderness and forestlands have always been the Chapter’s prime concern.

On the 20th anniversary of the Oregon Chapter in 1992, Sandy Tepfer (a founder of the Eugene Group) told me what he believed were the PNW/Oregon Chapter’s most “important accomplishment and missed opportunity.”  The accomplishment was the 25 year campaign to restore the French Pete region to the Three Sisters Wilderness between 1953 and 1978.  The most serious missed opportunity was the failure to prevent the Forest Service from building the paved road to Waldo Lake which prevented its designation as Wilderness. 

However, the Chapter’s successful campaign for SB 602 to ban motorized boats and seaplanes from the lake in part makes up for that “missed opportunity” in the late 60’s when the Club only had a few hundred members in Oregon.  Further, the new campaign to “Keep Waldo Wild” is an additional opportunity to rectify that missed opportunity from long ago. 

The early members of the Club in Oregon and the founders of the Chapter would be and are proud of the Chapter’s continuing efforts to keep up the fight.  It is just one more example of what our founder John Muir said in 1895 that “the battle we have fought, and are still fighting, for the forests is part of the eternal battle between right and wrong, and we cannot expect to see the end of it.”  He went on to say prophetically – “I trust, however, that our Club will not weary in this forest well-doing.”

The Sierra Club in Oregon and Eugene has never wearied in this fight and it is great to see the enthusiasm and strength that they continue to bring to the conservation “battle.”  The Chapter’s history is to be found in books or newsletters but rather in the wilderness that remains.

Ron Eber

Historian – Oregon Chapter

 

 

 


Tell the Oregon Water Resources Department that LNG exports are not in the public interest!

October 10, 2013

The Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club has been very active in its opposition to the proposed LNG export facility in Warrenton, Oregon. Now LNG tankerwe have yet another reason to be concerned about this boondoggle: the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) is currently considering an application by Oregon LNG to use millions of gallons of Oregon’s water each day to export U.S. natural gas.

The Oregon LNG proposal would take water from Oregon’s Skipanon and Columbia Rivers to process and ship massive quantities of gas to high-priced overseas markets. It is unacceptable for our public resources – including millions of gallons of Oregon’s water each day – to be appropriated for Oregon LNG’s new energy export scheme.

OWRD has the authority to deny Oregon LNG’s water rights applications because LNG export is not in the public interest. Take action by October 17 to let the agency know that you are opposed to these proposals.

Unfortunately, OWRD has not made it easy for citizens to comment on these proposals and you will need to cut and paste some of the suggested comments below (or create your own!) and submit them through OWRD’s website or mail them in. See below for comment submission instructions.

Suggested Comments

  • The LNG export terminal would pose significant public health and safety risks. Oregonians should not be exposed to the danger of fires and explosions from pipelines, tanker ships, and LNG tanks at the terminal.
  • The LNG terminal and associated facilities would impair the recovery of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. The in‐water construction work and dredging proposed at the terminal would damage important shallow‐water habitat for juvenile salmon.
  • Exporting natural gas overseas would increase energy costs for Oregon families and businesses by decreasing the supply of natural gas available for heating and power generation. Making electricity and natural gas more expensive for Oregonians and Oregon businesses is detrimental to the public interest.
  • The LNG export terminal could also place a massive new load on Oregon’s power grid, a cost that could ultimately be passed on to Oregon’s many electricity  users.
  • Air emissions from proposed LNG export terminal and associated activities would degrade local air quality and harm human health. Air quality impacts come  from gas flares at the terminal, diesel exhaust, construction dust, and a myriad of other sources.

Please submit your comments before October 17, either in writing by postal mail or by visiting OWRD’s website. However you comment, include your name and address, and state that you are commenting on water right permit applications “S‐87920” and “S‐87921.”

1. Mail comments to:
Oregon Water Resources Department
725 Summer Street NE, Ste. A
Salem, OR 97301

2. Submit comments using the “Public Comment Tool” on Oregon Department of Water Resources’ website (make sure to submit comments on both applications):

- To comment on Oregon LNG’s application for water from the Skipanon River for fire suppression (“Application S‐87921”), go here: http://apps.wrd.state.or.us/apps/wr/public_comment/Default.aspx?workflow_id=539223.
- To comment on Oregon LNG’s application for water from the Columbia River Estuary for cooling water (“Application S‐87920”), go here: http://apps.wrd.state.or.us/apps/wr/public_comment/Default.aspx?workflow_id=539221.

Thank you very much!


A Not-So-Special Result from the Oregon Legislature’s Special Session

October 10, 2013

Oregon capitolThe Oregon Legislature convened on September 30 for what was supposed to be a one-day session to resolve some matters related to PERS and revenue reform. As many of you no doubt heard, the process was tarnished by the last-minute addition of a bill to remove local control of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) crops. The Sierra Club was dismayed by this development, but we worked with our allies to try and stop that bill. Unfortunately, because it was attached to the must-pass package of spending bills, the bill went through anyway (our coalition’s statement upon passage is below). While that result was certainly disappointing, we do hope that the Governor’s promise to meaningfully address the issues at a statewide level will bring about some real action on the regulation and labeling of GMOs in Oregon.

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October 2, 2013

The rights of farmers to protect their crops from unwanted GMO contamination and the rights of consumers to make informed purchases should never have been at issue during a special session dealing with PERS and revenue reform. Trading away environmental protections in unrelated legislative negotiations is an all too common practice that’s bad for not just democracy but also the people of Oregon. Unfortunately, the PERS and revenue reform package included SB 863, which prohibits local communities from taking action to address issues related to their food and agriculture system, including conflicts related to genetically modified organisms.

While we strongly opposed SB 863 and its inclusion in the unrelated legislative package, we are encouraged by the governor’s commitment to making real, substantive progress on GMO issues across Oregon.

The governor committed to developing a statewide policy that prevents GMO contamination of non-GMO crops under existing Department of Agriculture authority by June 2014. He will also convene a special task force that will provide expert recommendations on state policy and on legislation that will be introduced in 2015 to address liability and compensation issues related to GMO contamination and consumers’ right to know what’s in their food.

While the legislature should never have agreed to remove the ability of local communities to have a say on GMO issues that affect them, we’re looking forward to working with both the governor and legislative leaders in creating a robust statewide policy that seeks to prevent GMO contamination, address compensation for farmers affected by GMO contamination, and protect Oregonians’ rights to make informed food purchasing decisions.

Oregon Environmental Council

Oregon League of Conservation Voters

Friends of Family Farmers

Organically Grown Company

Oregon Tilth

Sierra Club


Supporting the Sierra Club at work – it’s never been easier!

October 10, 2013

logoHow concerned are you with the quality of the air you breathe? How about the water you drink? With threats to our natural environment growing each day, we count on conservation groups across Oregon and our country to protect our forests, farmland, streams and air quality.

The Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club is a member of EarthShare Oregon, which engages private- and public-sector employees across the state to support nonprofits like ours. With a single gift to EarthShare Oregon, you can help 80 of the best environmental organizations here at home, and from coast to coast.

If you work for the State of Oregon, the federal government, Kaiser Permanente, NW Natural, PGE, or one of more than 100 employers, you make regular donations from your paycheck – simply and without any guesswork.

*Your employer may double your donation*

In fact, if you donate through EarthShare Oregon, your employer may pitch in too! Your $100 donation could become $150, or even $200. That’s what these companies have pledged to do:

Allstate
American Express
Ameriprise Financial Advisors
Ankrom Moisan Associated Architects
Anthro Inc.
Axium
Costco
Datalogic
Entercom
GE Healthcare
Green Mountain Energy
Hewlett Packard
Iberdrola Renewables
JPMorgan Chase
Kaiser Permanente
McKenzie River Broadcasting
Microsoft
Nike
Norm Thompson Outfitters
NW Natural
ODS Health Plans
Organically Grown Co.
Piper Jaffray
Portland General Electric
The Standard
Toyota
United Health Group
Wal-Mart
Zimmer Gunsul Frasca
   

Consider increasing your gift by up to 100 percent without any extra effort! By giving through payroll contribution, you can give a larger gift by spreading the payment out over a year’s time. No personal checks to write or credit card numbers to give out – the money is automatically donated from your regular paycheck.

If your workplace is not currently involved in an EarthShare giving campaign, establishing one is easy. EarthShare will work with your employer to set up a program that meets your company’s needs.

To learn more about EarthShare Oregon and its workplace giving campaigns, visit earthshare-oregon.org.


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