EarthFix Northwest Environmental News

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wrapped up his weekend tour of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon on Sunday. Among others, he met with a pro-monument group of conservationists, landowners and local elected officials, and with Oregon Gov. Kate Brown.

Zinke’s visit is part of a review ordered by President Trump, to evaluate 27 national monuments declared or expanded by previous presidents since 1996. Zinke hiked trails and met with a range of stakeholder groups, including ranchers, timber interests and snowmobilers.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke toured the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument in southern Oregon Saturday. He’s gathering information as part of President Trump’s order to review monuments designated by previous administrations.

Zinke hiked trails and held closed-door meetings with stakeholder groups, including ranchers and snowmobilers. At a mid-afternoon press conference, Zinke said it’s important to him to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke will be in Oregon to review the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument this weekend.

The Interior Department confirmed the visit Friday.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown is scheduled to meet with Zinke during his visit Sunday.

Zinke’s review is in accordance with President Donald Trump’s executive order to review the status and size of national monuments across the country.

President Obama invoked the Antiquities Act to expand the monument in southern Oregon by nearly 50,000 acres during his final days in office.

Oregon’s attorney general is threatening to sue the Trump administration if it tries to change the boundaries of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The Department of Interior is currently reviewing the status and size of national monuments across the country.

In his final days in office, President Obama invoked the Antiquities Act to expand Southern Oregon’s Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument by nearly 50,000 acres. The region is considered a bio-diversity hotspot in the West.

The U.S. House passed legislation this week that would provide a land base for two Western Oregon tribes.

The Oregon Tribal Fairness Action (H.R. 1306) would provide 17,500 acres of federal land to the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians. Another 15,000 acres would be held in trust for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians. Neither tribe currently has a land base.

 

The Ana Fire burning near Summer Lake, Oregon, is winding down.

Officials say the fire, which began on July 8, is now 75 percent contained as of Thursday morning. According to the Bureau of Land Management, the Ana Fire is one of 119 active wildfires burning 1.1 million acres across the country.

Strong, gusty winds and low humidity are of concern for the 316 personnel still battling the blaze. A red flag warning has been issued for the area south of the fire.

At its peak, the Ana Fire was burning 6,000 acres.

A Disappointing Legislative Session For Oregon Environmentalists

Jul 13, 2017
Cassandra Profita / EarthFix

Paige Spence spread a few sheets of paper across her desk at the Oregon Conservation Network, listing out her organization’s goals for the recently adjourned 2017 legislature.

She made a mark for everything that passed, and drew an “X” by everything that didn’t. The first page has losses, but also a few wins. The next one doesn’t.

“Yeah, here’s where the X’s come in,” Spence said. “I think there’s a lot of real disappointments on this page.”

Editor’s note: Research, tenacious advocates and $16 billion have lifted Columbia salmon from the brink of extinction. But the Northwest has yet to figure out a sustainable long-term plan to save the fish that provide spiritual sustenance for tribes, food for the table, and hundreds of millions of dollars in business and ecological benefits. This is part of a special series of reports exploring whether salmon can ultimately survive.

This is a guest post by Claire Schoen, a producer, documentary filmmaker, and the creator of a new podcast called Stepping Up.

Grannies and kids, evangelicals and clowns, they are figuring out new ways to act – and act out – about the biggest crisis of our times.

A preliminary investigation indicates the Ana Fire burning near Summer Lake, Oregon, was sparked by a group of people shooting tannerite exploding targets on private property, the Herald and News reports

Fire officials and law enforcement held a meeting Tuesday night for residents affected by the fire, which has since destroyed a cabin and an outbuilding.

How Is Pollution Connected To Race And Inequality? | Terrestrial

Jul 11, 2017

This the fifth episode of Ashley Ahearn's new podcast, terrestrial: exploring the choices we make in a world we have changed.

Wildfires burning in Oregon and Washington Monday are not as serious as fires in other parts of the West. Still, the Ana Fire in Oregon and the Dry Creek Fire in Washington are slowing traffic and prompting some pre-evacuation notices.

Drivers on the main route between Bend and Lakeview should expect delays of up to two hours, but Oregon Highway 31 has reopened to traffic. Hundreds of firefighters are in the area battling the Ana wildfire, which is burning largely out of control over more than 3000 acres of grass, sage brush, and juniper.

Oregon’s Sitka Center for Art and Ecology expanded this week, with the acquisition of a Lincoln County property called Grass Mountain.

The Sitka Center, located near the town of Otis, has offered artist residencies and workshops in bookbinding, fiber arts and more since 1970. Director Ben Shockey says that the original campus is currently operating at full capacity, hosting up to 20 artists-in-residence and serving about 1,000 workshop participants each year.

A new bill in Congress would make sure Washington's four lower Snake River dams stay standing. It’s push back against a recent court order to find “a new approach” to protect threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead.

That approach could include removing or altering the dams.

That's not something Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington, thinks would be good for the Northwest. Newhouse introduced the legislation, along with four other Northwest representatives.

Oregon state lawmakers want to use $100 million in state bonds to help keep the Elliott State Forest in public hands.

Oregon legislators released their list Monday of projects to bond in the next two years. Money for the Elliott State Forest is the most controversial item.

The 82,500-acre Southern Oregon forest is supposed to be used to raise money for education, but revenue from timber harvests has dropped in recent years. State leaders had planned to sell the forest to a private timber company and a partnering Native-American tribe. But environmentalists objected.

The deadline to reach a decision on a controversial oil terminal planned for Vancouver has been pushed back again. The Washington state Energy Facility Site Evaluation Council, or EFSEC, filed an extension that will give it until Aug. 31 to make a recommendation to Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

The extension is the sixth time the state energy board has pushed the deadline for a recommendation.

An oil train bill was pulled from the Oregon House floor and returned to committee Friday over concerns about language that would make secret railroad spill contingency plans and financial responsibility documents.

The House voted 31-26 to return the bill to the Joint Committee On Ways and Means.

Counting Mountain Goats on Mount St. Helens

Jun 30, 2017

Prior to the eruption of Mount St. Helens, few people realized there were mountain goats living in the area. While that population was likely wiped out by the blast, anecdotal sightings of these high-climbing, sure-footed animals began to crop up in the 1990s. Over the years, U.S. Forest Service biologist Mitch Wainwright heard more reports of mountain goat sightings, prompting him to put together the first official mountain goat survey in 2014.

A lot can happen in seven years. Just ask Jim Thayer, who spent nearly that long searching for the perfect hiking route from Portland to the Oregon Coast. Thayer, an avid hiker, wanted an accessible trail through the Coastal Range that avoided highways and stayed on public land. After years of trekking through forests and creeks, he’s finally found it.

The secret to Thayer’s coastal trail? What he calls the “Blue Gate Rule.” Many logging roads along the route have blue gates, meaning they’re open to the public for recreational use.

Many Oregonians dream of throwing their belongings in a backpack, getting off the grid and hitting the trail. But what if you love the wilderness but don’t want to carry a heavy pack to experience it? For Monica Drost, the answer was simple: Llamas.

“We couldn’t carry the heavy packs that we needed to carry anymore,” says Drost about her and her hiking friends. So we researched about llamas carrying all our gear.

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