News from the Northwest

(bumped — Use this as a local news open thread. What’s going on in your neck of the woods? – promoted by On The Bus)

Also posted at Truth & Progress

The Copper Salmon Wilderness

Oregon’s 4th district congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Ron Wyden have introduced bills to create the 13,700-acre Copper Salmon Wilderness in southwestern Oregon.


This one’s for you, LoE:

“Now that the Republicans no longer control the Congress, there’s a possibility of doing a meritorious wilderness bill,” DeFazio said Monday. He said former Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., who was the gatekeeper for wilderness bills before he lost re-election last year, “hated wilderness with a passion.”

The proposal is enthusiastically supported by virtually every local official, the local chamber of commerce, Governor Kulongoski, and hunting and fishing groups. And for good reason. The area is home to one of the most productive salmon spawning grounds in North America. Its loss would be yet another blow to both the commercial and sport fisheries.

Friends of Elk River presents the case:

What would the Copper Salmon Wilderness protect?

  • the headwaters of the Elk, Sixes and South Fork Coquille Rivers
  • eighteen miles of streams used for spawning and rearing by Coho salmon and coastal cutthroat trout, both listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), as well as Chinook salmon, steelhead, resident rainbow trout and lampreys
  • critical habitat for spotted owls and marbled murrelets, both listed under the ESA
  • one of the last large stands of old-growth Port-Orford-cedar that remains free of the deadly Phytophthora lateralis root disease
  • a wildlife corridor extending from the Grassy Knob Wilderness near the coast to the Wild Rogue Wilderness, the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and south through the Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion to the Yolla Bolly Wilderness

In effect, the adjacent 17,200-acre Grassy Knob Wilderness is being doubled. Click on the map above to expand it and see the location.

The bills are not yet available at THOMAS. When they are, Wyden’s will be S. 2034 and DeFazio’s H.R. 3513.

Presumably, the bill has a head start in the Senate, as Wyden is the chairman of the  Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Here’s the problem: Except for locals, no one has ever heard of the place. It needs some buzz. Please consider urging your representatives to support these bills.

Backyard exotica

This story is not from the Onion.

When we think of fascinating and bizarre forms of life we tend to think of Madagascar or maybe Indonesia.

Few stop to consider that an elusive 3-foot long, pink, spitting earthworm lives in the Palouse prairie. This is quite literally my back yard. There could well be some on my own farmland. It is Dirk Kempthorne’s back yard too, not that he cares.

Four conservation groups are going to court to try to get him to obey the law, contrary to administration habit.

from ewire:

The Center for Biological Diversity, Palouse Prairie Foundation, Palouse Audubon Society, and Friends of the Clearwater yesterday took the first step in a lawsuit to protect the giant Palouse earthworm (Driloleirus americanus) – a three-foot long, spitting worm that is native to parts of Idaho and Washington – under the Endangered Species Act. The worm was once common but has been seen only a handful of times in the past 30 years.

The groups filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in August 2006 to list the giant Palouse earthworm as an endangered species. The Fish and Wildlife Service has failed to respond to the petition, despite the fact that federal law mandated a 90-day finding by November 2006 and a 12-month finding by August 2007. Today the groups filed a formal 60-day notice of intent to sue the Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to respond to the petition.

Like everyone who lives here, with the exception of a very few lucky field researchers, I have never seen the creature. It is said to smell of lilacs.

Inslee won’t give up on polar bears

Jay Inslee (WA-01) calls again for polar bears to be classified as endangered. He knows very well what a flagship is for.

Referring to the reports on the bear’s future that we have all seen in the last few days, Inslee says:

Polar bears are some of the most magnificent creatures on earth. They also may be the canary in the coal mine.
These reports should be a wake-up call to members of Congress and the administration who are dragging their feet on aggressive proposals to tackle climate change.


Skip to comment form

    • melvin on September 11, 2007 at 22:22

    I have not yet spoken to my friends down in OR-04. Wherever you are, if you stick your head out the window you may be able to hear them popping the champagne.

    • melvin on September 11, 2007 at 23:07

    too. Considering his situation, maybe he’ll keep his mouth shut for once. Arrests, like elections, have consequences.

    • pfiore8 on September 12, 2007 at 01:20

    much less a 3 foot SPITTING worm… what must that be like, to be spat upon by a worm and what would the substance be like

    holy moly…

    what wonderous creatures we share this planet with

    and melvin… big big smooch for hopeFUL news…

    your essays always look smashing, btw… this will be my next thing… putting together something pretty…

    • Robyn on September 12, 2007 at 03:36

    …if one can locate where the Tualatin River feeds into the Willamette.


    San Francisco 
    Gavin Newsom Cleaning House

    San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom requested resignation letters from all his appointed department heads, senior staff and commissioners.

    Newsom wrote:  Your letter should make clear that your offer of resignation will become operative only upon my acceptance of the resignation.  In the coming months I will be deciding whether or not to accept your offer of resignation. 

    Apparently he is doing this to get rid of a few targeted individuals but is trying to avoid the publicity of firing them outright.

    “Easing somebody out is much easier when everybody submits a letter of resignation. Then you’re not firing them. You’re just not reappointing them” said Barbara O’Connor, a professor of political communication at Cal State Sacramento.

    UC – Berkeley to axe tree sitters

    The University is seeking a court order to remove a half-dozen tree-sitting protesters.  The protesters have been living in 7 tree houses in an oak grove above Memorial Stadium.  The University plans to remove part of the grove to build an atheletic center for football and other varsity sports. 

    The California Oak Foundation, city of Berkeley and a neighborhood group have sued to stop the project on public safety grounds because the stadium straddles the Hayward Fault.

    Home-Grown Up in Smoke

    This is becoming very common…

    Firefighters battling a blaze at a home in the Oakland hills this morning discovered a marijuana-growing operation, authorities said.

    The two-story home at 4969 Stoneridge Court was being renovated so the entire second floor could be used to grow pot, fire Capt. Melinda Drayton said. Firefighters found more than 50 plants when they arrived at the home, which was otherwise unoccupied, around 3 a.m.

  2. They apparently did a big park survey to catalouge the inhabitants and I just found out that the  there is something called anAllegheny rat  that was 16 inches long from nose to tail.

    Here is the story.

  3. Here is a blurb about them.

  4. write essays in the voice of life ……
    we need this…
    we need to to not be distracted by Iraq and the rest of the human insanity and become aware of the erosion of the very web of life….

    • melvin on September 12, 2007 at 19:02

    Copper Salmon Wilderness Act

  5. I’m a salmon biologist now working in Olympia, Washington.  Some of the scientists I work with are helping with the research behind the removal of Marmot Dam on the Sandy River, Oregon.  A great thing to celebrate this fall!

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