Category Archive: State Lands

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OFCO Requests Governor Implement Permanent Salmon Net Pen Ban

                                    – Sam Beebe/Ecotrust

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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THANK YOU!! OFCO Comments on Draft Impact Statements on Marbled Murrelets and Timber Harvest

OFCO joined with the Marbled Murrelet Survival Project Coalition to submit comments on two important policies affecting the Marbled Murrelet: the Draft Environmental Impact Statements (DEIS) on the species’ Long-Term Conservation Strategy and the decadal Sustainable Harvest Level (Calculation). We asked our members and allies to support our work while the team worked furiously to finish.

We are very grateful for the faith put in our efforts and for all the individual letters you sent in to strengthen the Coalition’s impact.

The Coalition members—including Washington Forest Law Center (WFLC),  Washington Environmental Council (WEC) and OFCO, among others—worked around the clock with WFLC staff scientist Dr. Kara Whitaker, pro bono lawyers (Ziontz Chestnut) and the UW Regulatory Environmental Law and Policy Clinic staff and students, along with commissioned economists and scientists, to put the comment packages together. Our asks are:

  • Carry out a revised DEIS and designate the Conservation Alternative as the preferred option;
  • Delay the Sustainable Harvest Calculation until the Long-Term Conservation Strategy Alternative process is finished, and undertake a revised DEIS on a harvest level that implements the Conservation Alternative; and
  • Convene a high-level working group to identify sustainable sources of revenue for essential services (emergency, fire, police, health, schools, et al.) for Trustees and timber communities that may be impacted by conservation measures.

The documents submitted by the Coalition are linked below. WEC is preparing a summary of the package; we will link to it when it is finalized.

OFCO also submitted a separate comment asking that the State take a “hard look” at the impacts of Navy training activities expansion along with those of forestry practices. See OFCO’s comment here.

The work isn’t done; we will be building support for the Conservation Alternative as the Commissioner of Public Lands and the Board of Natural Resources consider the comments.

Marbled Murrelet Survival Project Coalition Comment Package (PDF)
Long-Term Conservation Strategy Draft Environmental Impact Statement Comments

Sustainable Harvest Calculation DEIS Comments (PDF)

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Military Training Impacts on Marbled Murrelets – The State Must Analyze All Impacts

New OFCO board member Karen Sullivan, retired U.S. Fish and Wildlife marine biologist, is assisting OFCO with its work to save the Marbled Murrelets in our area. Sullivan wrote two important documents for OFCO: the OFCO objection to the U.S. Forest Service permit to allow the Navy to conduct war games over the national forest; AND the comments on the Navy Whidbey Island Growler Fleet Expansion recently submitted. OFCO has asked the Washington State Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to revise and issue a new Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on its Long-Term Conservation Strategy to save the Marbled Murrelets. In our view, the State must include the impacts from Navy military training activities on the murrelets, or risk undoing any conservation efforts under its forestry practices.

As of now, the state’s analysis ignores completely the impacts from these activities, even though the state denied the Navy a permit to conduct its activities on state lands. We hope they will reconsider this source of impacts, and change plans managing state lands to protect the Marbled Murrelet further. This issue will unfold over this spring. Stay tuned for action alerts and updates as we go. Citizen pressure will help protect the species!

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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 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.