California: They saved Jenner Headlands, 5,630 acres of coastal grasslands & redwood forest

“Coastal properties of this size in California are few and far between,” said Amy Chesnut, the acquisitions director and manager of the project for the Sonoma Land Trust. “It is biologically rich, and scenically and visually very important.”

The old ranch site, east of Highway 1 near the spot where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean, is adjacent to more than 13,000 acres of the Sonoma Coast State Park and other open space, creating an almost unbroken 30-mile stretch of preserved land from Bodega Head to Fort Ross. It includes 1,500 acres of coastal prairie, 3,100 acres of forest containing redwood and Douglas fir, and three spawning streams for steelhead trout.

Tualatin Riverkeepers greening parking lot stormwater flows

Text From:

Tualatin Riverkeepers is working with various partners to initiate a program to plant trees in parking lots for stormwater mitigation. The Tualatin River basin has more than 5000 acres in parking lots that cause runoff that erodes and pollutes streams. One of the goals of this project is to retrofit parking lots without losing parking capacity. Structural soils and linear tree wells designed by Maria Cahill of Green Girl Land Development Solutions a primary feature of the first two proposed project sites.

When it rains on asphalt or concrete, water runs off rather than soaking into the ground. This runoff carries pollutants from brake linings, tires, and automobile fluids, as well as other pollutants from the urban landscape. Nat Scholz at NOAA Fisheries has shown that copper from brake linings is very toxic to our native salmonids. Approximately 20% of impervious area in urban watersheds comes from parking lots.

Storm drains from parking lots are generally connected to a storm sewer system. In many areas, storm sewers dump into the nearest stream. Besides carrying pollutants to these streams, the runoff causes streams to rise quickly during storm events, eroding banks and stirring up sediments and legacy pollutants from the stream bed.

In many larger cities, including Portland, storm sewers connect to the sanitary sewers and go to a wastewater treatment plants. During storms, the combination of sewage and runoff is greater than the capacity of the system and a “combined sewer overflow” occurs, dumping into the nearest river. Text From:

USA: Conservationist analysis of Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (FJRA)

Analysis of S. 1470 (pdf – 35 pages)
Executive Summary – S. 1470 Analysis (pdf – 3 pages)

The Forest Jobs and Recreation Act (FJRA) [bill textmap] was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and assigned bill number S. 1470. 

A line-by-line analysis of S.1470 has been commissioned by the Last Best Place Wildlands Campaign – a coalition of conservation organizations and citizens dedicated to wildlands protection, Wilderness preservation, and the sound long-term management of our federal public lands legacy.

NOTE: In this analysis, actual language from S. 1470 is in Times font. Analysis and recommendations are indented and in Helvetica font.

The Last Best Place Wildlands Campaign is a coalition of conservation organizations and citizens dedicated to wildlands protection, Wilderness preservation, and the sound long-term management of our federal public lands legacy.  Our coalition includes small-business owners, scientists, educators and teachers, 4th and 5th generation Montanans, hikers and backpackers, hunters and anglers, wildlife viewers, outfitters and guides, veterans, retired Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management officials, ranchers and farmers, former loggers and mill workers, health care practitioners, craftspersons, and community leaders  – all stakeholders committed to America’s public wildlands legacy.

For more information, write: or call 406.396.0321. Click here to make a donation to support the Last Best Place Wildlands Campaign. Thank you.

Individual citizens can show their support by signing this petition.  Also, people are encouraged to submit comments to the US Senate’s Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests by December 31, 2009.

Colorado: EarthJustice on ski resort NOT expanding in roadless area

But is a Colorado senator trying to breathe new life into a bad idea? On November 5, 2009, something happened in Colorado that hasn’t happened in a long, long time: the U.S. Forest Service rejected a proposal to turn a natural area into ski runs and a magnet for private land development.  The natural area is Snodgrass Mountain, which includes inventoried roadless lands, beautiful aspen stands, raptor habitat, and open space. Snodgrass rises just north of Mount Crested Butte, the company town whose reason for being is the Crested Butte ski resort to the south.  (The old mining-turned-tourist town of Crested Butte is a few miles further down the road.) 

The resort has had its eye on Snodgrass for years.  And for just as long, local conservationists have been trying to protect America’s public lands on Snodgrass from being turned into a site for clearcut runs and lift towers.  Snodgrass is beloved as open space on the edge of development, as a place to hike, mountain bike and ride horses, and as wildlife habitat. At the center of the battle is the Forest Service, which owns and manages the land, and has, for years, rarely seen a ski area expansion it couldn’t approve.

So it was a pleasant surprise when GMUG National Forest Supervisor Charlie Richmond said “thanks, but no thanks” to the resort’s expansion.  Supervisor Richmond found the proposal to develop Snodgrass was not in the public interest, since it lacked community support, would spur development of ranchland, and would build lift towers and log in a roadless area and lynx habitat.

California: Musician from Metalica donates 300 additional acres to Marin County

Metallica frontman James Hetfield is donating 330 acres overlooking California’s Lucas Valley for preservation as farmland. The Marin County Board of Supervisors unanimously accepted the donation Tuesday. It follows Hetfield’s earlier gift to the county of more than 400 acres for open space. Both plots of land are around Hetfield’s home. Hetfield’s land use consultant, Scott Hochstrasser, says the donations reflect the singer’s desire to maintain privacy and preserve open space.

Meanwhile, county officials say they are close to a deal with Hetfield that would reroute a hiking trail that crosses his property. The project is expected to cost the county more than $200,000. Hetfield recently constructed a fence to block use of the trail.

Information from: Marin Independent Journal,


Brazil: When the destroyers begin to realize they must undestroy

“Nobody wants to have problems with the environment. And we have a cast of farmers who want to solve their problems and sleep soundly at night,” Bertinatto Copetti says.

Darci Eichelt cleared and plowed as much land as he could when he first arrived in Lucas do Rio Verde in central Mato Grosso state more than 20 years ago. Now, a sea of soybeans covers his 6,000 acres, as in all the surrounding farms in Lucas. Eichelt says people like him are proud of being pioneers who built a tiny outpost in the middle of an oven-hot mosaic of savannas and forests. Today, Lucas is a far different place, one that’s a lot like Iowa. The town is filled with mom-and-pop stores, grain silos and a dealership selling John Deere and Casey tractors. The fields beyond are plowed with cash crops as far as the eye can see. It’s one of the most prosperous farm towns in a big, booming country. It’s also the epicenter of what could be an environmental revolution. On a recent day, Eichelt walks to the edge of his farm, toward a clump of trees. They are trees he is now planting, where he could be growing soybeans. In fact, Eichelt is setting aside one-third of his farm for native vegetation. “Can you imagine all this in 10 years? It’s going to be beautiful. All these trees growing, and fruits and seeds will turn into a very attractive place for birds,” he says.

Defend the forest via the web thanks to Google and Forest Policy Research

Stay tuned to this Forest Policy Research Website to learn how to become part of a global online forest defense movement. Here’s a hint as to what’s in store:

Google’s philanthropic arm,, has launched a new way to monitor deforestation. The tool was demonstrated at the Copenhagen talks yesterday, which will enable online, global-scale observation and measurement of changes in the earth’s forests. The hope is that the tool will prove itself to be a way to eventually end deforestation. It seems impossible, but Google Earth has enabled other feats that might have been thought impossible too.

From discovering fringing coral reefs to helping Amazonian tribes stop deforestation on their land, Google Earth has been a boon for environmentalism.

Now, the new tool will, with luck and diligent use, help to stop the destruction of the world’s forests.

Google’s blog notes, “According to the Stern Review, protecting the world’s standing forests is a highly cost-effective way to cut carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. The United Nations has proposed a framework known as REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) that would provide financial incentives to rainforest nations to protect their forests, in an effort to make forests worth “more alive than dead.”

Implementing a global REDD system will require that each nation have the ability to accurately monitor and report the state of their forests over time, in a manner that is independently verifiable. However, many of these tropical nations of the world lack the technological resources to do this, so we’re working with scientists, governments and non-profits to change this.”

California: Sign up for the Pacific Southwest California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee

The Pacific Southwest California Recreation Resource Advisory Committee advises both the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management about fees charged for recreation on federal lands in the state. Its recommendations do not supersede the agencies’ decision authority, but the panel helps assess public opinion.

Eight vacancies are expected on the 11-member panel in July 2010, including specific positions that represent different areas of both motorized and non-motorized recreation, such as snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, backpacking and horseback riding. Other seats are reserved for environmental groups, guides, tourism agencies and Indian tribes. Each seat has a three-year term.

The deadline to apply has been extended to Jan. 9. Individuals may apply or be nominated. For information, including a nomination packet, contact Michael Ayers at (916) 978- 4644 or visit the Forest Service Web site.