Mendocino Redwood Company’s Bad Logging Practices

Here are some recent local actions against MRC’s dead-end logging practices that have been challenged by Mendocino County residents who voted Yes on Measure V, which declares the intentional leaving of dead standing trees a public nuisance because of fire danger. Despite the 62 percent vote in favor of Measure V, MRC has continued to leave dead standing trees through intentionally poisoning unwanted tan oaks and leaving them to die slowly, standing up. MRC has not committed to phasing out the poisonous hack-and-squirt practice. The company owns timberland in the Little Lake Valley watershed and sold roughly 900,000 cubic yards of toxic fill dirt from an old mill site north of Willits to Caltrans who used it to bury wetlands in creating the highway bypass project.

Protesters Block Mendocino Redwood Company Logging Trucks at Mill Site

 7.20.16

mendecino-forest-defenders
Ukiah, CA- Calling for an end to Mendocino Redwood Company’s dead-end logging practices, twenty five protesters held signs and used large banners to blockade both entrances to MRC’s logging deck in Ukiah, CA. Six logging trucks stacked with redwood poles were stopped for over an hour. Protesters are demanding an end to Hack and Squirt, a practice which MRC continues to use in the face of measure V’s overwhelming voter mandate in mendocino county. MRC company officials met protesters at the second gate blockade, and made statements defending the herbicide practice, ignoring the will of the people.
mrc-take-your-poison-and-runThe issue stems from the application of toxic herbicides on forests, killing so-called non-marketable hardwoods that are then left standing in place. Supervisors certified Measure V on July 12, just prior to the elapse of the required 30-day waiting period following the publishing of the official tally, thus clearing the way for the Measure to become law on July 22.

While Measure V focuses solely on the fire dangers posed by millions of dead standing trees in the fifth year of California’s drought, many people are equally concerned about the health and safety hazards of the herbicides themselves. However, local authority to regulate herbicides was usurped in the early 1990s by the State of California after a ballot initiative banning aerial spraying passed by Mendocino County voters was overturned by the Legislature. Public opinion finally forced cessation of the practice.

we-demand-healthy-forestsSpeakers at the protest underscored the severe health hazards of herbicide use to the environment, as well as the workers and residents, from chemicals such as Imazypr, Glyphosate (brand name Roundup) and Trichlopyr (Garlon). Polly Girvin, legal aide for the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians, will document the devastating health effects on Latino workers who are among the most vulnerable to exploitation and who often suffer from chemical contamination associated with birth defects, which have been found to occur with higher frequency than in other populations. Those workers also have little recourse against wage theft and other labor violations.

Linda Perkins and Bill Heil addressed threats posed to the watershed by poisonous herbicides. The two well-known forest activists from Albion have long questioned Mendocino Redwood Co.’s (MRC) right to retain its profitable “certified sustainable” label, despite using herbicides.

“MRC makes money by using poisons, instead of cutting down and removing the trees. The Company claims manual removal would cost too much”, said Perkins. “Regardless of how they are killed, environmentalists oppose the whole-sale decimation of the tan oaks”, she emphasized, describing them as “nurse trees playing an important role in protecting the soil and encouraging biodiversity, which creates a healthier forest, rather than mono-cropping redwoods like tree farms.”

Bob Simpson, former CEO of MRC’s predecessor, Louisiana Pacific, recently stunned the public with his pro-Measure V statements before the vote, claiming tan oaks are “the most important trees in the forest” and decrying their mass annihilation. MRC had said they would phase out poisons, but instead, are actually applying more concentrated chemicals over a wider area. MRC, while not the sole timber company operating in the County, is the most egregious user of herbicides based on acreage, dousing thousands of acres of forestlands in 2016 alone.

greenwash-is-hogwashResidents urged the Supervisors to be proactive in enforcing Measure V and holding the Company accountable for exacerbating the fire danger by continuing to create more dead standing trees, in the face of a clear voter mandate to stop. They also demand a Resolution for Full Disclosure to ensure that herbicide users notify the public before application. Currently, the contractor is only required to report information after herbicides have already been applied.

The message was carried from the County Seat directly to Mendocino Redwood Company at its mill site on North Sate St. where a protest was held under the banner of: “Let Our Forests Heal”. Activists call on MRC to stop poisoning Mendocino forests and workers and to adopt restorative forest practices.

“MRC masquerades as a sustainable business but it’s just an image, not the reality”, said longtime lay forestry expert, Bill Heil. “Their brand of greenwash is hogwash”.

  • Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians
  • Save Our Little Lake Valley
  • Redwood Nation Earth First!
  • Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
  • Mendocino Environmental Center
  • Mendocino Forest Defence Campaign

Lock-Down Blockade Against Mendocino Redwood Company

6.22.16

savelake2

Comptche, CA-Activists today blocked trucks and vehicles transporting logging crews, in a protest against Mendocino Redwood Company (MRC). The company uses a practice known as “Hack’n’Squirt” to kill hardwoods on their forest holdings.

Protesters called for a “lock’n’block” protest at noon at the gates of MRC Timber Harvest Plan #1-14-148 MEN, nicknamed “Half Way to Hell,” near the tiny town of Comptche, in the heart of southern Mendocino County.

On June 7, a two-thirds majority of voters in Mendocino County passed Measure V, declaring the practice of leaving of dead standing trees a public nuisance. Despite the overwhelming voter mandate, MRC continues the practice of dousing the forest with the chemical Imazypr, leaving thousands of tan oaks and other hardwoods dead but standing, exacerbating an already critically high fire danger by adding dry fuels to the forest during the fifth year of drought in California.

“We locked down today because MRC is continuing to hack and squirt after the people went to the ballot box and told them to stop. When the normal civil channels don’t work, that’s when you get civil disobedience and non-violent direct action,” said longtime County resident, Lara Anderson. “We’re putting our bodies on the line to stop this dangerous practice and to expose the MRC’s dead-end brand of forestry,” she said.

savelake3

A large crowd of supporters carried signs with messages like “Poison is Bad Forestry”, “Fisher Family – Go Back to the Gap.” A large banner expressed the groups’ central demand, reading: “MRC Stop Hack’n’Squirt Now!”

Long-time forest activist Linda Perkins of Albion explained, “The ‘Half Way to Hell’ plan is 580 acres of total decimation. They are taking it down to the nub.” The plan includes three silvicultural prescriptions designated Group Selection, Transition and Variable Retention, all “forms of Even Age management leading to more tanoak growth, more poisoning and more dead, standing trees,” said Perkins.

“MRC is converting the forest to monoculture tree plantations, claiming restoration, but they’re actually doing the opposite, taking too much too fast, reducing diversity. This is bad for the earth as we know it. They should heed the will of the people or have their FSC [Forest Stewardship Council] Sustainable Certification revoked,” she concluded.

savelake1

The plan also includes an unknown acreage of previously hacked and squirted hardwoods, which will become dead standing trees. The Company refuses to disclose to the public the locations where it is applying the poisons. Currently, the contractor is only required to report the use of chemicals to the Agriculture Department within thirty days after use. The Mendocino County Ag Commissioner has warned about breathing smoke from burning materials treated with Imazapyr.  The Initiative was heavily backed by local volunteer firefighters.

Measure V is awaiting certification after the required thirty-day period following the election. Proponents are bracing for an expected lawsuit by MRC challenging the law.

savelake4

Save Our Little Lake Valley

Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

Earth First! Mendocino

Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters

500-Mile Spirit Run to Arrive in Willits Friday, June 24th

13417003_800317830069246_3663619667265768254_o

500-Mile Spirit Run to Arrive in Willits Friday, June 24th

Willits, CA. Save Our Little Lake Valley (SOLLV) is honored to host the American Indian Movement (AIM) 2016 California Spirit Run for the third year in a row as they complete the final leg of this inspirational annual event. The 500-mile Marathon Running Team is a multi-cultural group dedicated to following and preserving the spiritual tradition of running practiced by early Native American messengers.

The Spirit Run comes to Willits to honor the ancestral Pomo villages in Little Lake Valley bulldozed by Caltrans during freeway construction, destroying thirty two village sites. Some 5,000 Pomo people once populated Little Lake Valley, sustaining themselves for thousands of years. Caltrans refuses to return the artifacts it has found to the Tribes and has so far offered no protection for village sites during the ongoing wetlands “creation” and planting. An historic Tribal lawsuit is now underway to ensure greater state-wide protections for wetlands and ancestral cultural sites in the future.

Each year, a special focus for the songs and prayers offered during the Spirit Run is chosen. For the past two years, the focus has been on the sacredness of water and importance of wetlands, a theme that resonated with efforts by local Tribes and SOLLV to protect the environmental and cultural heritage of Little Lake Valley during construction of the Willits bypass.

The special focus for 2016 is Freedom for Leonard Peltier. Towards this goal, Pit River Tribal Council Chair Mickey Gimmel Jr. has organized an public outreach campaign. Opportunities will be provide to express local support. Peltier, an AIM activist and defender of indigenous people and Mother Earth, is in failing health and likely to die in prison if not granted clemency. Support has come from many prestigious individuals and groups around the world, including Nelson MandelaRigoberta Menchú, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the U.N.

In past years, participants have gathered in one place before starting the Run. This year, to accommodate everyone’s needs and abilities, the format will be as follows: The Spirit Runner team and those joining them will meet at the Evergreen Shopping Center (south end of Willits)) at Bountiful Gardens at 2pm. and run north nonstop through town to the Willits City Park, aka Bud Snyder Park. Participants who prefer walking or need assistance, (strollers, walkers, wheelchairs, etc…) will meet at 2pm at the northwest corner of the Safeway parking lot near the 101 and Highway 20 intersection. Both groups will converge at the Willits City Park on East Commercial St. at approximately 2:30 pm.

The shared values of respecting and protecting Mother Earth have formed the basis for a growing friendship and deepening alliance between indigenous people and environmentalists. Everyone is invited to join the Run and gather under the trees for sharing, speaking, prayers and refreshments.

More information can be found at www.ca500milespiritrun.org  and www.saveourlittlelakevalley.org.

Save Our Little Lake Valley

 Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

Earth First!

Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters

 

 

New Video: Ceremony For Pomo Ancestor Sites Destroyed by CalTrans

Following is a terrific video by Maria Gilardin, summarizing much of what has led up to the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Round Valley Indian Tribes lawsuit against CalTrans.

Save Our Little Lake Valley is assisting the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians with fundraiser for their lawsuit.  Although they have an excellent pro-bono legal team, the cost of taking on an institution like CalTrans in federal court is nevertheless quite high.  After watching the video, please consider donating.



“An unnecessary freeway bypass cut through ancestral sites of Pomo Indians near Willits, CA. This is a summary of their resistance, ceremonies and appeals for help. All leading up to the filing of a lawsuit in Federal Court in October 2015.”

Sign On to Support California Indian Tribes v. Caltrans

fredshortculturalgenocide

Fred Short, Spiritual Leader with the American Indian Movement, takes part in a ceremony held on a former village site located on Willits Bypass Project Mitigation Lands, July 2015.  Photo by Steve Eberhard – The Willits News. 

From: Save Our Little Lake Valley (SOLLV)
In solidarity with Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians

January 8th, 2016

We are writing to share an opportunity to build alliances with Native communities. We are asking you or your organization to sign on to letters to state and federal agencies and, if possible, for your financial support of an important lawsuit.

You have probably heard of the collaboration between First Nations’ Idle No More and environmental and community groups that stopped the Keystone XL pipeline. Continue reading

Send Letters In Support of Coyote Valley Band of Pomo and Round Valley Indian Tribes

Pic2
Please send letters to the State Historic Preservation Office and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation asking them NOT TO SIGN the Programatic Agreement on the Willits Bypass Project.

The Coyote Valley, Round Valley and, indeed Sherwood Valley Indian Tribes, are all thoroughly disgusted with Caltrans’ treatment of both them and their cultural heritage. Coyote Valley and Round Valley have gone so far as to file a suit in federal court. It is unconscionable that the agencies tasked with historic preservation would sign an agreement that the local tribes vehemently oppose. 

There are two documents (The PA and the PRDMP) currently before the agencies (The State: SHPO and the Federal: ACHP) tasked with Historic Preservation.

Continue reading

Willits Bypass Timeline

Photo14


In January 2013, after community opposition to the CalTrans’ Willits Bypass became more visible and confrontational, some onlookers critcized the project’s opponents for failing to oppose the Bypass earlier on, when it was being deliberated by public agencies.  In reality, opposition to the Willits Bypass has persisted for more than 20 years. What follows is a timeline that emphasizes opposition to the project prior to January 2013, when direct action against the project kicked off, sparking new political and legal initiatives to oppose the project.  This timeline is adapted from this article. Continue reading