(Footage by Malakai, lifelong Willits resident.)
On Feb. 25th, the vigilance and determination of Little Lake Valley and Warbler tree sit defenders stopped CalTrans. Check out the video below after this brief summary.
Big Orange had sent forth an excavator trailed by a bobcat t-post driver to attempt to stake a roughly two-mile area for a so-called Environmentally Sensitive Area (ESA) fence, which would essentially demarcate the construction area of the project. The stakes were to extend from a meadow adjacent to DripWorks on East Hill Rd. to the very southern end of the proposed highway route, near The Warbler’s tree sit along Highway 101, where CalTrans also plans to install a gate restricting automobile access to the area.
CalTrans’ apparent plan, in conjunction with installing the ESA fence, is to cordone off The Warbler from her supporters on the ground, who furnish her with food and other supplies, as part of an effort to starve her out of the tree.
Meanwhile, the Migratory Bird Act prohibits removal of trees with certain bird species’ nesting habitat from February 1st through September. There is absolutely no evidence that CalTrans has completed its requirements under the Migratory Bird Act, in spite of their public statements to the contrary.
CalTrans was halted after the discovery of bird nests in the area they had just bulldozed. As opponents of the CalTrans Bypass sat down and blocked CalTrans’ machinery, Department of Fish and Game biologists were dispatched to study the bird nests as part of a survey of the area. CalTrans packed up and left soon thereafter.
Prior to that, CalTrans’ hired biologist from SHN Engineering in Willits arrived on the scene and accused the opposition of fabricating the nests, also destroying one of the nests that birds were in the process of building.