Warbler

tree sitter and Willits farmer Warbler in the path of Caltrans’ plans

“Warbler’s” tree sit in the path of the Caltrans Willits Bypass is over four weeks strong, and this week activists sat down in front of heavy equipment, effectively stopping Caltrans crews from fencing off the area.  Caltrans is ignoring the fact that as of Feb. 1, the Migratory Bird Act is in effect, prohibiting removal of vegetation without first surveying for birds or nests. Yellow-breasted warblers, a migratory songbird from Central America has been spotted by activists and is known to nest in the area.  The stand-off Monday was repeated on Tuesday, and wildlife officials showed up on the scene. But for now, Warbler in her tree and the activists on the ground are doing the work of the regulatory agencies and the courts by preventing work from starting.

You can see a photo of Warbler on our (new) Facebook page.  Please like us on Facebook!
 There is a one-month celebration for Warbler on Thurs., Feb. 28 at the tree sit!  See details on www.savelittlelakevalley.org/

The $210 million Willits Bypass project proposes to put a four-lane freeway the size of Interstate 5 around the small town of Willits, draining major wetlands and decimating a mature oak woodland in the process. The oaks are nesting habitat for migratory birds coming through northern California.  Riparian vegetation along salmon-bearing streams would be removed, and Caltrans says they will “relocate” the fish during the multi-year construction, hurting coho salmon recovery efforts.  The wetland draining and fill proposal requires the largest wetlands fill permit in Northern California in the last 50 years.

Federal lead agency Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) requires no net loss of “functioning, self-sustaining” wetlands. Caltrans bought 2,000 acres of agricultural land in the valley but has no experience in wetland enhancement. Its mitigation plan is mired in discord over grazing rights. Caltrans’ claim that cattle grazing should count as wetland enhancement  has been debunked by ACE studies. In an unusual alliance, the Farm Bureau has joined environmental groups in a lawsuit.
This is the same illogic and disregard for the environment and regulations that Caltrans has shown in their continued push for the highway project through the old growth redwoods of Richardson Grove in Humboldt County.
Defend the wetlands! Defend the oaks! Stop the Willits By-pass and investigate Caltarns malfeasance here and in Richardson Grove!
Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters (BACH) is helping with media and other outreach work in this campaign.  Please support BACH so we can continue to do that! You can donate securely on our website http://HeadwatersPreserve.org or send a check made out to the Ecology Center/BACH at 2530 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702.
Federal lead agency Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) requires no net loss of “functioning, self-sustaining” wetlands. Caltrans bought 2,000 acres of agricultural land in the valley but has no experience in wetland enhancement. Its mitigation plan is mired in discord over grazing rights. Caltrans’ claim that cattle grazing should count as wetland enhancement  has been debunked by ACE studies. In an unusual alliance, the Farm Bureau has joined environmental groups in a lawsuit.
 

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