smith_riverThanks to Caltrans intransigence, the threats to the old growth redwoods in Richardson Grove in Humboldt County are back on the horizon, along with more backward-thinking projects in redwoods and wild country in the Smith River area, on the far north coast. These renewed threats add to Caltrans’ poor performance in Mendocino County in Willits and the extreme damage heavy equipment has been wreacking on the wetlands and forests there.

The new developments:

1) Richardson Grove:

Caltrans has posted new documents in response to the April 2012 court order issued when EPIC and the Center for Biological Diversity prevailed in federal court and halted the Richardson Grove highway “realignment” project that we and our allies had been opposing, with their lawsuit in April 2012. The Federal Judge ruled that Caltrans  had “arbitrarily and capriciously tried to justify the project with false data.” (their measurements of the trees and their mapping.)It does not appear that they are following the court order with substantive changes to their plan, and Gary Hughes of EPIC commented that “We can immediately recognize on several fronts how Caltrans is still failing to abide by the law and provide adequate environmental review for this project that they are proposing in an extremely rare and sensitive environment,”
The documents are posted on the CALTRANS website at:
http://www.dot.ca.gov/dist1/d1projects/richardson_grove/

The public comment period on these documents closes on October 21, 2013 unless we can convince Caltrans to extend the close date.  Our allies at EPIC are in process of analyzing the documents in order to help us formulate public comment, and we will send out that Action Alert when it is ready.
Written comments may be submitted to Caltrans, Attn:  Environmental Management, P.O. Box 3700, Eureka, CA 95502 by October 21, 2013.

It is also important to email Caltrans and ask for an extension of the comment period.  You can email them at: http://vog.ac.todnull@tnemevorpmievorgnosdrahcir

2) The Wild Smith River

The Smith River in far north coastal California  is not only deep within the ancient redwoods, but is the last undamed free flowing river in the state. The stellar legal team from EPIC and CBD has just filed suit to stop a Caltrans highway project that has been in the wings, in line with Richardson Grove and the Willits Bypass. The 197/199 highway widening project  along the Smith River corridor is their latest  assault on our North Coast environment.  Please see the Press Release at:
http://www.wildcalifornia.org/blog/lawsuit-filed-to-protect-wild-and-scenic-smith-river-from-destructive-caltrans-highway-widening-project/

3) The brave and stalwart folks of Save Our Little Lake Valley and Earth First! continue their opposition to the Caltrans Bypass.  A mass demonstration is planned on October 12, 2013.  All are invited; details will follow.  See more info at http://www.headwaterspreserve.org and  http://www.savelittlelakevalley.org. To see a thorough and well-researched analysis of how Caltrans gets away with it, see:
http://www.savelittlelakevalley.org/how-caltrans-has-sold-the-willits-bypass/

Caltrans is bound and determined to make Highway 101 STAA (large Interstate trucks) accessible from Grants Pass, Oregon to the Bay Area. We, and our friends in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte Counties are bound and determined to keep another big interstate ala I-5 off California’s fragile coast.

Support our work on these campaigns and more! A little goes a long way! Click on https://treesfoundation.org/donations/donate-33

Come visit our booth at the Indigenous Peoples’ Day powwow and Market Sat., Oct. 5, 10-6 at Civic Center Park! Our booth is on the Farmers’ Market side.

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