Governor Kitzhaber Praises State Forest Conservation Areas

June 5, 2014

 

District Forester Mike Cafferata explaining the Conservation Area's purpose to Governor Kitzhaber

District Forester Mike Cafferata explaining the Conservation Area’s purpose to Governor Kitzhaber

On June 2nd, Governor Kitzhaber toured the Gales Creek area in the Tillamook State Forest. The Creek, which is surrounded by buffers newly classified as High Value Conservation Areas, is also home to several recent stream restoration projects. Oregon Department of Forestry staff and partner groups lauded the stream enhancement work, which includes extensive log placement to improve fish passage and habitat, but the star of the tour was the Conservation Area:

Conservation areas are a critical component of healthy, well-managed public forests,” said Governor Kitzhaber. “They support our great coastal salmon runs and produce diverse wildlife and plant habitat. They provide clean water, carbon storage, and recreation values that are hard to replace elsewhere. I’m inspired and encouraged to see the Department, the Board of Forestry, and stakeholders working hard to sustainably manage and conserve these important areas for Oregonians.

 There are now over 140,000 acres of High Value Conservation Areas designated across Oregon’s 800,000 acres of State Forest land. Over 100,000 acres are in the Tillamook & Clatsop State Forests, where forest health is crucial to providing habitat for coho salmon, marbled murrelets, steelhead, northern spotted owls, chinook salmon, red tree voles, and numerous other species. These lands also provide clean drinking water for over 400,000 Oregonians along with diverse recreation opportunities to coastal and Portland metro residents alike.

The Governor emphasized that the best available science would be used to inform the management of these lands and that carbon sequestration is an important role for these forests going forward. The ongoing balanced management of these heavily-logged lands remains a challenge, but the Governor expressed optimism: “We are using the best available science and strong community partnerships to grow healthy forests and guarantee their benefits reach our children and beyond.”

Still, despite the Governor’s leadership in creating these unprecedented Conservation Areas, the future of these lands is in doubt. Sawmill owners and some county commissioners have proposed that the lands be harvested as though they were private industrial timber lands. As the Board of Forestry writes a new plan to manage these forests, we will work hard to ensure that the best available science and public interest are at the forefront of the conversation.

Governor Kitzhaber and members of the North Coast State Forest Coalition

Governor Kitzhaber and members of the North Coast State Forest Coalition

To read the full press release, click here.


Report from Sutton Mountain

May 8, 2014

 

DSC_0112The High Desert Committee led a trip to the Sutton Mountain wilderness study area at the end of April. Located near Mitchell, Oregon and adjacent to the Painted Hills National Monument, Sutton Mountain provides a birds-eye view of the colorful striations of the Painted Hills, created by wind, time and geologic activity.

After a hike through Black Canyon to gain the upper plateau, the group was treated to blooming hedgehog cacti along the rim. Lunch was spent enjoying the stunning vistas and basking in the sun, then Borden Beck led the climb down along what was surely a mountain goat trail.

Sierra Club outings allow you to explore and enjoy areas of Oregon that you may or may not be familiar with. Experienced volunteer leaders share their favorite areas of Oregon and talk about efforts to protect these areas so that future generations can enjoy these wild areas as we see them now.

Click here to discover a Sierra Club outing in your area.

Click here to read more about the Oregon Chapter’s High Desert Committee and how you can get involved.


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!


Join us in the High Desert this Summer!

April 3, 2014
Anderson Crossing

Anderson Crossing, Oregon High Desert

Southeastern Oregon has some of the most wild and pristine landscapes in the continental United States. Stunning rock formations, endless vistas and wild lands are waiting to be explored, most without developed trails to mark human existence.

If you are the adventurous type, consider joining the Sierra Club’s High Desert Committee on a trip to Oregon’s High Desert this summer. We have trips planned to:
  • Sutton Mountain, in the John Day River area
  • Leslie Gulch, in the Owyhee Canyonlands
  • Anderson Crossing, in the Owyhee Canyonlands
  • Steens Mountain
We have trips for all levels of hikers, with special trips for camera buffs and those who are service-minded. For more informations, visit our website at http://oregon.sierraclub.org/conserv/hidsrt/outings.asp

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.


ODF Needs Revenue Diversification

March 25, 2014

The Oregon Department of Forestry is almost totally reliant on timber dollars to manage our state forests. This model of funding is failing to provide sufficient revenue for ODF. Moreover, it forces the Department to log at unsustainable levels that do not allow for adequate conservation, leaving the state susceptible to messy and expensive ESA lawsuits.

Pennoyer Creek Falls

Timber harvest is a critical revenue source for the Department and provides important family-wage jobs to Oregonians. However, it should only be a part of the equation to provide solvency for ODF. The Tillamook and Clatsop forests provide a range of values to all Oregonians–clean drinking water, diverse recreation, fishing and hunting opportunities, scenic beauty, and wildlife habitat. If the Department’s revenue continues to come wholly from timber dollars, these other values will eventually be lost.

Tell Governor Kitzhaber to lead the effort to diversify ODF funding!


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