American Indian Movement Spirit Run Arrives in Willits — Friday, June 26th!

1546193_530788300380201_2798054824080944420_nFor the second straight year, American Indian Movement spiritual marathon runners’ 500-mile relay marathon culminates with a celebration in Willits. The runners arrive at Evergreen Mall at 1 p.m. on Friday, June 26th, and continue on to Willits City Park for a song, prayer, rally, speeches, and sharing food. Their run culminates a week-long 500-mile relay marathon, celebrating a
spiritual tradition of messenger runners among First Nations people.

Click here to read Save Our Little Lake Valley’s online summary of the Spiritual Marathon’s arrival in Willits, complete with photos.

Spirit Runners' supporters making their way down Main St. last June 26th. The Spirit Runners are out ahead at this point.

Spirit Runners’ supporters making their way down Main St. last June 26th. The Spirit Runners are out ahead at this point.

Their message is that “All Life is Sacred.” They come to Willits specifically to support the protection of Native archeological sites, wetlands, and forests now under threat. Help us celebrate their achievement and hear about efforts to save remaining Pomo archaeological sites from the destruction from the Willits Bypass.

IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU BRING:
*    food and drinks to share
*    small folding tables, and blankets and chairs to sit on

Contact Lara with SOLLV: Let her know what you can bring so we can plan for the approximatley 50 Spirit Runners and a host of supporters from Willits, the American Indian Movement, folks from Coyote Valley and Round Valley, and more.  Lara’s address: laraanderson44[~at~]gmail.com

Coyote Valley Band Letter to Water Board Regarding CalTrans Herbicide Use

coyote-valley-tribe“Dear Mt. John,

We are writing to support the resolutions recently passed by both the City Council of Willits and Board of Supervisors of Mendocino County, urging your agencies not to allow the use of herbicides or pesticides in the Caltrans Willits Bypass mitigation lands… In view of these and other strong concerns, we call for a public and tribal review of the state and federal Mitigation and Monitoring Plan (MMPs) before further work proceeds.”  Read the full letter here.

Stop Herbicide Spraying in Little Lake Valley!

COME TO REGIONAL WATER BOARD, Thursday, June 18th

We need to show up in large numbers to urge the Water Board NOT to allow the use of herbicides in our wetlands. The Willits City Council and the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors have both adopted resolutions to this effect. Yet the Water Board staff may nonetheless rubber-stamp this Caltrans method for attempting to eradicate Himalayan blackberries.

The Caltrans plan probably involves using a mix of glyphosate (Round-up) and Imazapyr (used in hack & squirt) on about 60 acres over a three-year period. We (and the City and County elected officials) believe this plan would cause more harm than good, and there are better alternatives, including leaving the blackberries alone (they provide habitat and shade for salmon streams) or using goats and/or solarization to control them. Herbicides should NOT be an option!

For more information, see the County Board of Supervisors Resolution and the SOLLV letter to the Water Board.

Please come to the Regional Water Board meeting!

Carpool from the Evergreen Shopping Center leaving promptly at 7:15am. (The meeting starts at 8:30, at 5550 Skylane Blvd., off Airport Dr., in Santa Rosa; public comment period likely won’t start until about 9am.)

If you can’t be there in person, please send a comment to: matt.st.john@waterboards.ca.gov. (Send us a copy too.)

Important Court Decision on Highway Expansion in WI

For an overview of how CalTrans used essentially the same methods to justify the Willits Bypass, click here.  From 1,000 Friends of Wisconsin:

Last Friday, a federal district court ruled in favor of 1000 Friends of Wisconsin in a case they brought against both the US and Wisconsin departments of transportation. At issue was a proposed highway expansion and a set of bogus traffic projections used to justify it. The court said, in essence, that if the DOT is going to project a huge increase in traffic while population and actual traffic counts are dropping, they need to show how they came up with that.

This decision has huge implications. Together we’ve long battled the standard DOT approach of continual highway expansion justified through faulty projection methods. This decision is a really important pushback. Continue reading

Call to Pack the Hall – Tues., 5/5 at 1:30!

 

MRC land treated by "Hack and Squirt" -- photo by James Sibbett

MRC land treated by “Hack and Squirt” — photo by James Sibbett

It’s time to follow up on what we started at the last Board of Supervisors meeting! Your presence and comments are needed again this Tues, May 5 at Council Chambers on Low Gap Rd. in Ukiah. The Supervisors will be voting on two herbicide-related issues:

·       A discussion and possible adoption of a resolution opposing Caltrans’ use of pesticides [includes herbicides] in Little Lake Valley on Bypass mitigation lands

·       A discussion and possible direction approving and funding a group to study the matter of dead trees intentionally left standing on commercial timberlands.

Continue reading

Tooth Found at Archeological Survey Site in the Willits Bypass Construction Zone

For immediate release

Willits, CA— On Wednesday April 22, at an archaeological excavation in the Northern Interchange of Caltrans Willits Bypass, a tooth was discovered that the Caltrans contract archaeologist initially identified as human and Native American. Caltrans is building an over-sized highway bypass across ancestral Pomo lands and through scarce wetlands. Despite a request by the Coyote Valley tribal monitor to stop work, Caltrans’ archeologist continued work in the area until tribal representatives arrived the following day. With work still in progress on Thursday morning, Coyote Valley Tribal Representative Priscilla Hunter and Tribal Historian Eddie Knight insisted on a halt to excavation.

“Enough is enough”, said Hunter to the Caltrans archeologists assembled on the site, citing legally required procedures to “leave the artifact in place, stop work, call the coroner and wait for further identification”. On Friday, Caltrans lead in-house archeologist for the project communicated to the Tribes that the tooth had been determined by the coroner to be animal, not human. Phil Frisbee, Caltrans’ public relation agent, stated to the press that the tooth was not human; however, the Sheriff’s Department went on record on April 24 that the nature of the tooth had yet to be determined and was going to be sent to a laboratory in Chico or a forensic ondontologist or forensic anthropologist to make the official determination.

Not trusting Caltrans to have properly handled the tooth, Coyote Valley has requested from Caltrans documentation of the chain of custody of the tooth.

Forty-four previously unknown cultural sites and more than 1,000 artifacts have been discovered since Bypass construction in the valley began in January 2013. Tribal officials from Coyote Valley have documented blatant violations of the National Historic Preservation Act by Caltrans and repeated failures to stop work and consult when artifacts are found, in a pattern Hunter called “gross and willful negligence”.

Artifacts in Little Lake Valley are so plentiful that it has been described by the State Office of Historic Preservation as an Archeological District, yet Caltrans’ surveys prior to Environmental Impact Statement approval for the project, documented only one site, thought to be the ancient village of Yami.

Call to Pack the Hall — April 21st at 1 p.m.

Please come to the Noon Rally and Board of Supervisors’ meeting on Tues. April 21 at 1:00 pm on Low Gap Rd. in Ukiah to demand a halt to the dangerous forest practice of Hack’n’Squirt that increases fire danger and poses a threat to public health and safety and the environment on which it depends.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has set aside 90 minutes at their next meeting, Tuesday, April 21, to discuss the fire danger that results from the timber industry practice of “hack’n’squirt, intentionally adding over a million new standing dead hardwood trees in our forests every year. Although the County cannot regulate the use of the herbicides that cause the problem (that’s the State’s domain), it can regulate fire danger in the name of public health and safety. We have been assured there will be ample time for comment. Continue reading