Category Archive: State Lands

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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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Navy Training Exercises in Olympic Forest 260 Days a Year, 16 Hours per Day Given the “Go Ahead” over Local Protests

U.S. Forest Service Proposes to Issue a Permit to Navy for Military War Games in Olympic National Forest – Finds There Will Be “No Significant Impact” on Wildlife

The U.S. Forest Service will issue a permit to the U.S. Navy to allow electronic training exercises in the Olympic National Forest, according to their draft decision notice. We have until mid-January to raise objections turn these planes away from our forests and marine waters. OFCO and the West Coast Action Alliance are analyzing data from OFCO’s Freedom of Information Act request on the impact decision report issued by the U.S. Forest Service. The report found that there would be NO significant impact on wildlife and communities from the Growler jets strafing through our area, destroying wildlife and quiet. National security must also include protecting our natural resources—our national parks! We need your support for the campaign! Information from the U.S. Forest Service can be found here. Become informed and reach out to your elected officials to express your objections.

Help with learning about the problems and formulating your comments and objections can be found through the West Coast Action Alliance portal.

Learn about Emmy-award-winning sound ecologist Gordon Hempton’s campaign to make the Olympic National Park a quiet sanctuary. Watch the video on his page about the natural soundscape we hope to protect.

Become a Quieteer! Follow the National Parks Conservation Association’s campaign and legal challenge. Watch the brief video on their page, to hear what’s at stake.

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Important Dabob Bay Natural Area Expansion Meeting and Hearing – HEARING RESCHEDULED to OCT. 25, SAME TIME & LOCATION AS BELOW

by Peter Bahls, Executive Director
Northwest Watershed Institute

Friends of Tarboo–Dabob Bay,

Great news! Peter Goldmark, outgoing Commissioner of Public Lands, is interested in protecting more high-priority conservation lands around Dabob Bay as part of his legacy! The Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) is now considering expanding the proposed boundaries of the Dabob Bay and Devils Lake Natural Areas (as shown on the map below). This will not happen without a strong show of support from the community. Please mark your calendars for two important meetings in the Quilcene High School multi-purpose room to learn more about the proposal and voice your support. DNR has started the public outreach process but please spread the word!

Public informational meeting on Wednesday, September 28, 6 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m.

Public hearing on proposed site boundaries on Thursday, October 13, 6 p.m. to approximately 8 p.m.

Preliminary info on the conservation proposal:
The proposal would expand the existing Devils Lake Natural Resource Conservation Area (NRCA) by 415 acres and the Dabob Bay Natural Area by 4,345 acres (of new NRCA). The expanded boundary is not regulatory in any way, but simply allows DNR to apply for grants and purchase lands from willing landowners within the boundary. Within the boundary, DNR can also transfer state timber lands from timber management to permanent natural area protection. Included within the proposed boundary are high priority conservation lands such as:

•  One mile of pristine, forested, steep shoreline along the west side of Quilcene Bay, below Devils Lake

•  Steep, forested slopes along the east side of Dabob Bay, south of the existing Natural Area boundary

•  Thorndyke Bay, one of the least-developed salt marsh estuaries remaining in Hood Canal and Straits region

•  Older forests, including a globally imperiled forest plant community, once common in Puget Sound, but now known to occur in good condition in only eight locations, including the Devils Lake and Dabob proposed additions

•  A broad wildlife corridor of conservation land connecting Dabob Bay and Thorndyke Bay

Lands purchased and protected as NRCAs allow for low-impact public use that is compatible with habitat and ecosystem conservation.

DNR has time-tested processes in place, called Intergrant Exchange and Trust Land Transfer, that allow them to transfer state lands within the boundary from timber management to natural area protection without loss of Forest Board lands or the tax revenue they provide to the county.

dabob-map

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Good Guys Win

by John Fabianhood-canal-640

The official end of the state conservation easement appeal process ended on 9/2 when the State Court of Appeals declared the case closed after HOOD Canal Sand and Gravel did not file an appeal to the State Supreme Court. Here is the DNR press release that was issued:

 

Agreement to protect Hood Canal affirmed: Court rulings in favor of easement stand after gravel firm drops appeal
News Date: SEPTEMBER 7, 2016

More than 4,800 acres of pristine Hood Canal tidelands and bedlands will be protected for the future after a Jefferson County gravel firm dropped its appeal of a conservation easement granted the U.S. Navy by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Hood Canal Sand & Gravel appealed a May 2015 ruling in Jefferson County Superior Court that DNR “had the authority to grant the easement to the United States Navy” and the easement “was not arbitrary, capricious or unlawful.”

That decision was affirmed by a three-member panel of the Washington State Court of Appeals in July. Hood Canal Sand & Gravel did not appeal that decision to the Washington State Supreme Court by the Aug. 26 deadline, according to court documents filed last week.

“The people of Washington benefit from this agreement, both environmentally and economically,” said Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark. “The courts’ affirmations ensure our agreement will provide a legacy of protection for a vital marine ecosystem and of certainty for the Navy’s national security operations.”

A federal lawsuit challenging the easement was dismissed in September of last year.

In July 2014, the Navy paid DNR $720,000 for a 50-year restrictive easement on 4,804 tidelands and bedlands in Hood Canal.

As steward of more than 2.6 million acres of state-owned aquatic lands, DNR ensures that the people of Washington benefit from the use of aquatic lands while also ensuring environmental protection of the state’s aquatic resources.

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Olympic Experimental State Forest Final EIS Finally Issued

On August 4, the Department of Natural Resources issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Olympic Experimental State Forest (OESF) HCP (Habitat Conservation Plan) Planning Unit forest land plan; the memorandum is below. For more information, please click here.

OESF-FEIS