Conservation Connection July 2006
Conservation Connection - July 2006
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In this issue:
- Hurrah for wildlife
- Mad River
- Mitch on collaboration
- No on I-933
- Wildlife at the Burke
Conservation Northwest is helping keep the wildlife
of the Cascades connected: Artist's rendition of the I-90 overpass
proposed near Keechelus.
Bridge to the Future
Animals in the Interstate 90 corridor, as well as people concerned
about safety and wildlife, are wild about the Department of Transportation's
recently selected design for the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project.
The chosen design incorporates improved or expanded crossings at 18
locations, so animals will now have a fair chance to cross the freeway.
The design also includes two sets of wildlife overpasses: at Easton
Hill and the rock knob by the Keechelus Dam. The proposal comes on the
heels of a year's hard work, advocating for wildlife and generating
public comment, by the I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition and its more
than 40 supporting organizations, including coalition administrator
The recommended I-90 design presents a real victory for Northwest wildlife.
It reflects the dedication the public has shown to conservation in the
Central Cascades and makes the I-90 Project an international example
for restoring waterways and linking wildlife.
The Mad River area in the Wenatchee National Forest.
Photo: Mark Lawler
Glad About the Mad
A federal court in Seattle last month ordered a halt to construction of a single-track motorcycle trail system within the Mad River area, which is a proposed addition to the Glacier Peak Wilderness. The area is the largest unprotected roadless area in the Wenatchee National Forest, comprised of the contiguous Entiat, Rock Creek, Chelan, and Myrtle Lake Roadless Areas. Though the US Forest Service has recognized for many years the Mad River's potential for wilderness designation, it has also been slowly expanding off-road vehicle use, mainly motorcycles, in this area much used by hikers.
In the ruling the judge cited concerns about impacts to plants and animals, noting that the Forest Service violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to thoroughly analyze cumulative impacts of an interconnected system of projects. The court called the Forest Service consideration of impacts on wildlife "inadequate" and stressed that NEPA does not contemplate "a 'build-first, study later' approach to resource management."
Founder and director of Conservation Northwest, Mitch Friedman
Photo: Amy Sinisterra
The Bottom Line
Conservation Northwest's Executive Director Mitch Friedman was invited
in April to speak at the the annual convention of the American Forest
Resource Council, a lobby group representing 100 companies in the logging
and forestry industry. Below are excerpts from his speech given in Stevenson,
Washington, in which he talked about battle scars between conservationists
and industry and stressed the need to go beyond battles to working together.
Here, he describes the "bottom lines" for both sides. Says Mitch:
"I know your bottom line: In providing needed wood products and jobs,
your companies have to be profitable in a financial climate rocked by
regulation, globalization, and other factors.
"On my side, the bottom line is preserving the systems and fabric of
life across our region and planet in a climate clouded by greenhouse
gases....I believe that our federal landscape should provide a sufficient
network of reserves to sustain even the most demanding wildlife species,
and that lands outside of those reserves should be a model of forest
practices sustainable for stands, soils, and stream life, as well as
for local rural communities."
Irresponsible Initiative Would Hurt Washington
One of the newest initiatives on the block for Washington state, Initiative 933, is bad news for both lands and people, though it purports to put private property rights first. So what would I-933 do? It creates a "pay or waive" system that could force taxpayers to pay millions of dollars to stop irresponsible development and could exempt certain people from the law. If passed, it would place additional unfair burdens on Washington taxpayers for years to come.
Oregon is just beginning to see the damaging effects of a very similar
37, passed two years ago. New development creates huge costs on
local taxpayers for new roads, parks, and schools, and I-933 would make
it harder to ensure that developers, and not local taxpayers, cover
the costs of these expenses. Irresponsible development could also decrease
neighboring homes' property values, or worsen traffic if it rolls back
rules that regulate growth. I-933 could make it much harder for a farmer
to keep farming, threatening farms and farmers from Whatcom County to
Volunteer now to help the "No on I-933" campaign, or write a letter to your
local newspaper to let others know about the downfalls of this "takings"
initiative. There are 933 questions that I-933 leaves unanswered; check
them all out at No on I-933.
The Williamson's sapsucker, a woodpecker, seeks out mature
and old-growth larch forests, and is found in eastern Washington.
Photo: copyright Paul Bannick
Wildlife in Photos, at the Burke
Through the end of the year, the Burke
Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle is hosting "Wildlife
Photographer of the Year," an exhibit of winning images from the world's
most prestigious nature photography contest. Conservation Northwest
is a partner organization for this exhibit, which presents new images
from around the globe and attracts 20,000 entries a year from 60 countries
in categories as varied as Animal Behavior to Wild Places.
Seattle photographer and Conservation Northwest development director, Paul
Bannick, was a presenter at the exhibit opening. And there's more in
store: Bannick is presenting his collection of truly outstanding bird
photographs in partnership with Conservation Northwest at two upcoming
events. He will be speaking at the Seattle REI on September 12th on
"Birds of Diverse Forests," including burned forests; and again at the
Burke on September 13th on "Owls and Woodpeckers of the Pacific Northwest."
He will also be featured in Pacific Northwest magazine (July
30) in an interview authored by William Dietrich, as well as in the
September issue of Sunset magazine.