Category Archive: Posts

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National Park Service Extends Comment Deadline to October 10 on Goat Removal Plan – OFCO Submits Comment

Please click here to review background information.

The Olympic Forest Coalition has submitted a comment on the National Park Service’s Mountain Goat Management Plan/Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS). Our colleagues of the Olympic Park Associates are requesting that our members write and express their support for a modified Alternative D. Click here to view OPA’s web page.

OFCO supports the capture and removal of non-native goats, with their relocation to the North Cascades which have declining populations, and lethal removal. While the lethal removal of invasive non-native goats is a heartbreaking option, the removal plan from the 1980s failed to stop the destruction of alpine habitats and allowed this aggressive species to increase in population at 8% per year. This has led to further degradation of natural areas, public safety problems in popular recreation areas and a tragic death. Click here to see OFCO’s comment. Please consider the issue carefully, review the science and plan, and write a comment today!


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OFCO Requests Governor Implement Permanent Salmon Net Pen Ban

OFCO Board VP Lorna Smith has spearheaded OFCO’s request to Governor Jay Inslee to permanently ban Atlantic salmon net pens in marine waters off the Olympic Peninsula. Click here to see OFCO’s letter. Commissioner of Public Lands Hillary Franz called for a temporary ban after the disastrous release of non-native Atlantic salmon from Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island operation.

The State has temporarily suspended new net pen permits while they investigate the incident. Click here to view the State’s Incident Command page. OFCO has asked the Governor to ban all non-native net pens in Washington, to close existing ones and to stop any permitting of future pens. The damage has been done, however. According to Smith, tribal natural resources agencies have reported gravid Atlantic salmon upstream. On September 15, Washington State Dept. of Ecology ordered Cooke to turn over information by Oct. 30.

DOE is pursuing Cooke’s violation of state and federal law. The Dept. of Natural Resources’ longer-term plans include recovery of salmon, developing better oversight of existing net pen operations, but not a ban. Tribes on the OP are calling for a ban to protect native fish following efforts to capture released fish in an attempt to prevent their entering Washington’s rivers.

The solution: a long-term ban and payment of clean-up and damages by Cooke. Watch for updates as a campaign for a permanent ban develops.

Recommended for viewing to learn more about the issue: Salmon Confidential, a documentary about net pens in Canada.

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OFCO Submits Comment on Navy’s NWTT SEIS Expanding Militarization of the Olympic Peninsula

The Department of the Navy announced that it will undertake a supplemental (SEIS) to the 2015 Northwest Training and Testing Final EIS/OEIS. The Navy is seeking comments on the scope of the SEIS:

“to assess the potential environmental effects associated with military readiness activities, including training and research, development, testing, and evaluation (hereafter referred to as “training and testing”) activities conducted within the EIS/OEIS Study Area (hereafter referred to as the “Study Area”). As part of this process, the Navy will seek the issuance of federal regulatory permits and authorizations under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act to support future military readiness activities within the Study Area beyond 2020.”

OFCO submitted this comment, renewing concerns of earlier comments about segmenting the NEPA process associated with the more than 30 EAs/EISs/SIESs associated with the increased militarization of the Olympic Peninsula, scheduled over the next three years. The impacts on threatened and endangered species on the OP and in associated marine waters, human health and local economies have not been addressed properly in the Navy’s analyses. The Navy extended the comment deadline to Oct. 6, and provided a web portal for comments, a much-needed change in its procedure to inform and include affected communities.

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Olympic National Park Needs Your Help to Remove Non-native Mountain Goats

Dear OFCO Members and Supporters –

Please consider attending a meeting below and also commenting to support Olympic Park Associates (OPA) in their efforts to protect the Olympic National Park. They have worked on this issue for many years and have worked to achieve a compromise solution. Thank you for your help!

Support is needed for the draft plan to remove goats from Olympic National Park and Forest. Public meetings are scheduled for mid-August and comments accepted through September 26.

After decades of study and experiment, Olympic National Park has decided to take action to remove non-native mountain goats and restore degraded alpine habitats in the Olympics.

The Park’s preferred alternative (Alternative D) in its draft Mountain Goat Management Plan proposes to live-capture and relocate goats to native habitats in Washington’s North Cascades where goat populations are in steep decline. Following that, remaining non-native goats will be removed by aerial and ground-based shooting by park staff and trained volunteers.

OPA supports this sound and far-reaching approach to resolve this long-standing threat to the Park’s ecological integrity and public safety. We recommend the goal of the final plan be to eliminate all non-native goats from the Olympics.

The plan, developed by the National Park Service in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service and the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife with significant public participation, is a thoughtful and sensitive compromise approach. It will eliminate exotic goats from the Olympics, protect irreplaceable alpine plant and animal communities, and help restore struggling native mountain goat populations in the North Cascades.

We urge you to contact park planners and express your support for Alternative D: live capture and relocation followed by lethal removal.

If you can, please plan to attend one of these public informational meetings scheduled for mid-August:

Olympia: Mon. 8/14, 5–7 PM
Olympic National Forest Supervisor’s Office
1835 Black Lake Blvd. SW
Everett: Wed. 8/16, 5–7 PM
Everett Public Library Auditorium
2702 Hoyt Avenue
Port Angeles: Tues. 8/15, 6–8 PM
Olympic National Park Visitor Center
3002 Mount Angeles Road
Seattle: Thurs. 8/17, 5–7 PM
Seattle Public Library (Douglass-Truth Branch)
2300 Yesler Way

It is essential that this problematic threat to irreplaceable park resources, as well as visitor safety, finally be resolved.

To comment on the plan:

Go here and click on “Comment Now.” Support the park’s preferred alternative (Alternative D) and urge park planners to aim for complete removal of non-native goats from the Olympics, not merely a reduction in number.

For more information on the long-standing problem of non-native mountain goats in the Olympics, go to this Olympic Park Associates web page and follow the links for background.

To review the Park’s Goat Management Plan DEIS, click here.

Thank you for defending Olympic National Park’s wilderness and ecological integrity.

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Tell Governor Inslee to Protect Our Salmon and Our Sound from Atlantic Salmon Net Pens

OFCO, along with many other environmental organizations, has signed the petition urging Governor Inslee to stop the expansion of Atlantic salmon net pens. Oregon, California and Alaska have already banned Atlantic salmon net pens in order to protect the native fish and health of the waters. Cooke Aquaculture, an Atlantic salmon net pen conglomerate, is currently seeking a permit to install an extensive salmon net pen in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, east of Ediz Hook.

Wild Fish Conservancy, the author of the letter to Governor Inslee, is asking for individuals to sign onto the letter also. You can add your name by visiting this link.