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Urgent Action: Comment Letters to State Needed to Stop Marbled Murrelet Extinction on State Lands

Feb. 22 – Hear Expert Live on Conservation Alternative

Write Comment by March 9, 5 PM, to Support Conservation Alternative

Urgent action is needed now to support the Conservation Alternative from the Marbled Murrelet Survival Project to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

OFCO members have worked for over 30 years to ensure that Marbled Murrelets, an endangered species designated at the federal and state levels, survive the multiple challenges from environmental degradation of the forest and marine environments where they live. The clock has run down; the time to act is NOW.

DNR’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on the Long-Term Conservation Strategy proposes alternatives that will not protect this important indicator species for our area. The Marbled Murrelet Survival Project, including OFCO and other important conservation organizations, has commissioned scientific and economic experts to propose an alternative that will protect the species: the Conservation Alternative. We need your support immediately!

Tune in to the webinar on Feb. 22 and hear scientific expert Dr. Kara Whittaker explain our proposal. Write in support of the alternative by March 9. Decades of work have come down to this!

Webinar: Wed., Feb. 22, 2 PM PT
Join the webinar with access to presentation and materials: You have to go online first!
https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/957452301
Dial in for phone only: United States: +1 (408) 650-3123  Access Code: 957-452-301
Join the meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.

Learn about and submit your comment letter in support of the Conservation Alternative.

PLEASE write a personal and organizational comment letter in support of the Conservation Alternative to protect the Marbled Murrelet by March 9, 5 PM.

Comments should be submitted to the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) Center at sepacenter@dnr.wa.gov or SEPA Center, PO Box 47015, Olympia, WA 98504-7015. The subject line of all comments should include “SEPA File No. 12-042001.” For more information on the DEIS, click here.

Every comment will matter in this 11th hour to protect this endangered species. Write from your heart, and your head! Encourage your family to write. Every letter matters! If you want more information about the Conservation Alternative to write your letter, contact Patricia at info@olympicforest.org. We will have points for your letter.

Watch our new Commissioner of Public Lands, Hilary Franz, on the need to protect the Marbled Murrelet here.

Please also write about the timber-cutting levels tied to the Long-Term Conservation Strategy; we need your comments on that too, by March 9, 5 PM. The subject line of those comments should include “SEPA File No. 15-012901.” See: www.dnr.wa.gov/shc. They are twins; one impacts the other.

Thank you!

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OFCO Objects to Electronic Warfare Training in Olympics

Click here to read the Objection Letter.

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OFCO to File Objection on Forest Service Draft Decision to Permit War Games

Growler jet - Google free imageThe Olympic Forest Coalition is working with the West Coast Action Alliance and Karen Sullivan, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist, to object to the U.S. Forest Service Notice of Decision/Finding of No Significant Impact (ND/FONSI). This is an administrative step that will allow the Forest Service to issue a 5-year special use permit to the Navy, allowing it to use roads in the Olympic National Forest for electronic warfare training exercises. The permit will allow the Navy to station mobile emitters on these roads that Growler jets and ships will use in overflights and electromagnetic targeting, 260 days per year, 8–16 hours per day, including weekends.

 

 

Why OFCO and the West Coast Action Alliance are submitting an objection:

  • The Navy special use permit application and the U.S. Forest Service decision improperly “segmented” the electronic emitters from the directly associated training exercises—specifically, jet overflights—in order to get findings that there will be no significant impacts. This is illegal. The training exercises can be carried out on Dept. of Defense lands and not endangered species (Marbled Murrelets and Northern Spotted Owl) habitat.
  • The U.S. Forest Service used the Navy’s Environmental Assessment (2014) and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Opinion (2016) as the basis for its finding of no significant impact. Both documents excluded the cumulative actions and cumulative impacts from the directly related training activities (overflights). The analysis used outdated, inadequate, incomplete and invalid data and science.
  • Our objection proposes that the U.S. Forest Service complete a full Environmental Impact Statement with adequate science, cumulative actions and impacts, and full disclosure of all documents and public participation processes. We are requesting a meeting to hear their response to our objection.

Objections are due by Friday, January 13. The rules say that you can’t object if you didn’t comment in 2014, unless there is significantly new information. And there is! You may submit your own objection. Follow West Coast Action Alliance advice here. You can read more information on the special use permit here.

Remember, as Karen says, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.” Watch for further action on related decisions and take action. Sign up for OFCO newsletters and e-alerts by sending a request to info@olympicforest.org, and check the West Coast Action Alliance site for updates.

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Year-end Appeal

   ex•tir•pate verb
        1  root out and destroy completely
        2  Synonym: weed out, destroy, eradicate, stamp out, root out, wipe out, eliminate, suppress, crush

Dear Friends,

You and I know there are pivotal moments when we are challenged to step up and keep going. No matter how tired or discouraged, even when we cannot see clearly a path forward. Now is one of those times in ways you may not yet know about.

We are writing on behalf of the Olympic Forest Coalition to ask for your help. This month, after more than 10 years, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources issued two policy decisions that have the potential to drive Marbled Murrelets into extirpation in Washington, or to put us on a path toward a vibrant, sustainable habitat for the murrelets and other important indicator species in our forests. The two policies are the Long Term Conservation Strategy (to save endangered species) and the Sustainable Harvest Calculation (to set timber logging levels for the next decade). Both together will change the face of our environment for the foreseeable future in the beautiful stretch of forest along the coast—the Olympic Experimental State Forest. And it could mean that Marbled Murrelets become “extirpated”—a term used by scientists and policy makers to describe the elimination of species in our forests, but not yet across the world.

The Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife reports that we are losing Marbled Murrelets from Puget Sound and Washington coastal waters at an annual rate of -4.65%.

Added to this evolving policy is an urgent and critical problem: The U.S. Forest Service will issue a permit to allow the U.S. Navy to conduct military testing in the fragile habitats of Olympic forests, the Salish Sea, and the Pacific Coast Marine Sanctuary. Jets will be given a permit to fly training exercises 260 days per year, 16 hours per day, over Olympic forests and waters. National security must include securing our natural environment.

We have days to organize, educate and provide scientific, economic and policy direction to the newly elected Commissioner of Public Lands, the Board of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—to convince them to take a decision that will make state forest lands a safe place for endangered species, water and other natural resources, and livelihoods for our forest communities.

OFCO needs your financial help to ensure that the voices of environmental protection are organized, uplifted and heard in Olympia, and that we speak to decision-makers with good science and economics balancing the interests of vibrant ecosystems and communities. And, if necessary, we must have the resources to mount a legal challenge to state or federal agencies to enforce the Endangered Species Act for Marbled Murrelets, bull trout, and Northern Spotted Owls.

“The bell has rung. We have 90 days to save the Marbled Murrelets. After 30 years of work—it comes down to this.” ~Marcy Golde, OFCO Board Member

 

We are asking your help to raise $10,000 in support of this campaign. OFCO has a legal trust account of $10,000 to match your support of our Marbled Murrelet campaign.

Your contribution will directly support:

 

  • Reporting on science, policy options and action to ensure grassroots Peninsulans have the information to make informed decisions and to change decisions affecting our shared environment and communities.
  • Organizing members and supporters to engage federal and state agencies in charge of Olympic forests and waters in the January 2017 hearings, through the public comment and objection periods ending, respectively, in January and March 2017.
  • Analyzing and monitoring timber sales on public lands to ensure that they meet legal requirements and that logging doesn’t destroy the forests needed by endangered species
  • The last resort: Mounting a powerful legal challenge to stop the worst policy from going forward. OFCO is working with renowned Seattle law firm Ziontz Chestnut, representing tribes, environmental and public interest groups, and local businesses in Washington state for over 60 years.

We need you to do more than make a donation; we need you to lift up your voices, to attend the so-called Public Meetings in January, to write decision-makers in state and local offices, and to be ready to engage your elected officials between now and March. Sign up for OFCO action alerts by sending a request to info@olympicforest.org.

We are not alone in working to save the Marbled Murrelet and to stop the Navy. The Olympic Forest Coalition has strong allies—the Washington Forest Law Center and the Marbled Murrelet Survival Project and its members (Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Washington Environment Council and others). The West Coast Action Alliance, Olympic Park Associates, and National Park Conservation Association also engage in efforts to save the marine sanctuary, communities, and Olympic forests from excessive and unnecessary military training exercises.

It is not too late. Our dedicated scientist advocates assure us that we can protect the Marbled Murrelets in our state. Newly elected state officials with environmental values and track records will take office in January.

Please click here to print a donation form to send in with your check. If you prefer donating online, please visit olympicforest.org/join-us to contribute through our PayPal account.

Monthly giving, through your bank or PayPal, is an easy way to provide support and avoid renewal reminders, along with their postage and natural resource costs. If you’d like to learn more about giving monthly, please email info@olympicforest.org.

Season’s greetings, along with our thanks for your continued support and commitment to protecting endangered species, conservation, our forests and waters, and our collective power.

Connie Gallant                        Marcy J. Golde                            Patricia Jones                                                                             President                  Board/Murrelet Survival Project              Executive Director

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Decisions on Marbled Murrelet & Deadline to Save Marbled Murrelets Start in January

Washington State Department of Natural Resources Marbled Murrelet Draft EISs
Will Lead to Extirpation – Campaigns Need Your Support in January
for Marbled Murrelet Month

The Washington Department of Natural Resources issued two important Draft Environmental Impact Statements in early December that, if adopted as written, will likely lead to the extirpation of Marbled Murrelets in Washington’s Olympic forests: Draft Environmental Impact Statement on Marbled Murrelet Long-Term Conservation Strategy (Murrelet LTCS Draft EIS) and the 2015–2024 Sustainable Harvest Calculation Draft EIS. Public meetings will be held January 10–19 around Western Washington. Comments and change proposals are due March 9, 2017.

OFCO and the Murrelet Survival Project (coalition of conservation groups) are organizing an effort to change these key policies. Washington Forest Law Center’s Dr. Kara Whittaker is leading a team of experts and conservation advocates to propose alternatives to the DNR’s draft options. The Washington Environment Council is working with economists to develop alternatives for disadvantaged trustee local governments on the Sustainable Harvest Calculation. We need your support at key public meetings in January – your presence, comments and letters! Join us in Port Angeles on Tuesday, January 17 – the public meeting starts at 6 PM at Port Angeles High School, 304 E. Park Avenue. Watch for news of a rally before the meeting.

DEIS and Sustainable Harvest Calculation web portal with documents and public meeting information