Forest and Species Issues Making News in Northern California

Mattole Forests

The intrepid Mattole Forest Defenders are organizing an action training camp in the Lost Coast area for mid-March. Stay tuned for more details as local activists gear up for the logging season.  Contact, or us at

In the same neighborhood, another hard-working group of local residents in the Mattole River Valley—the Lost Coast Leagueis in the midst of challenging Humboldt Redwood Company’s (HRC) heavy use of herbicides and their THPs (Timber Harvest Plans) filed in ” legacy forests” via a different avenue. That route is a formal challenge to the “certified as sustainably logged” label that HRC gets to put on its lumber when it goes to the retail market at places like your neighborhood Home Depot.

Although LCL’s challenges were found to be valid claims, the certifiers so far seem to be satisfied with simply giving the timber company a light slap on the wrist and urging them to do better in the future. The certifiers are telling HRC to develop a Vegetative Management Plan that could, we hope, phase out herbicides in the forest, and a survey of their Mattole holdings for “High Conservation Value Forests, ” an ill-defined term at best, but references old growth trees, habitat for endangered species, etc. Without real changes with deadlines and checks on the table, it is much too little, so LCL’s challenge continues. This is an arduous, but possibly precedent-setting process–we will give a fuller report when the dust settles

Green Diamond Timber Co.

On a somewhat parallel track, Humboldt’s Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) is challenging the sustainable certification designation given Green Diamond, who has been clearcutting their way to oblivion on their holdings in northern Humboldt.

Green Diamond has also been much protested by Climate Crisis Humboldt and Northcoast Earth First! in the Trinidad area, including a gathering in late January at Strawberry Rock.  

The corporation is being sued by EPIC and the Center for Biological Diversity for their decimation by clearcut logging of endangered Humboldt martens. Green Diamond is one of the largest timber operators in the marten’s range, and holds a key piece of land between the main surviving population and Redwood National and State Parks, which are key to their survival. Fewer than 200 individuals of this species remain in California.  In a suit filed Jan. 31, the groups seek to curtail the main threat to this dwindling population–clear-cutting.

Some good news for rivers, trees and species!!

Scott Dam,138′ tall barrier to steelhead, chinook, lamprey and other  species

Dams on the mighty Eel River that flows through Mendocino, Humboldt, Trinity and Lake Counties have been under challenge for decades by groups like champions Friends of the Eel River, who have waged a legal and public education campaign to remove dams that block  or inhibit fish passage. Good news arrived recently in that utility giant PG&E withdrew its application to relicense the Potter Valley Project, that encompasses the Scott Dam on the upper mainstream Eel River. This is far from over, but it is good news for flowing rivers and the species that inhabit them. Let the fish swim and spawn!


Good News for the Gray Wolves in California’s Wildlands

In January, a state court upheld protection for gray wolves under the Calif. Endangered Species Act. The ruling rejected a challenge from the conservative Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of the Calif. Cattleman’s Association and Farm Bureau Federation. Howl for the wolves!

Holding Steady in Richardson Grove

On Nov. 26, 2018, a federal judge in San Francisco heard arguments–once again–by proponents of stopping the potentially disastrous highway widening through the old growth redwoods of Richardson Grove in southern Humboldt County, and Caltrans, who is revving the engines of their machinery. We are still awaiting a finding by Judge Alsup. See our report from the day in court here.


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