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July 2006

Conservation Connection July 2006

Conservation Connection - July 2006
NOTE: All links have been removed from this archived newsletter. For more information on any topics mentioned, please use our website Search bar above.


In this issue:

  • Hurrah for wildlife
  • Mad River
  • Mitch on collaboration
  • No on I-933
  • Wildlife at the Burke

Wildlife Bridges

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 Conservation Northwest.

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.


Mad River in the Wenatchee National Forest

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."


Mitch Friedman, 2006, founder and director, Conservation Northwest, Bellingham, Washington


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."


No on I-933









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 initiative, Measure 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 Walla Walla.

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.


Williamson sapsucker - copyright Paul Bannick

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.



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