Geos Institute provided extensive science comments submitted to the Klamath National Forest on behalf of 15 conservation organizations concerned about massive post-fire logging in spotted owl habitat and adjacent to roadless areas in the world-class Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion.
Protecting 220,000 Acres in the world-class Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion
For over a decade, Geos Institute has played a lead science role documenting the world-class biodiversity of this 10-million acre region in southwest Oregon, northern California. Recently our science publications recognized it as a critical climate refuge for rare plants and wildlife to weather the coming climate change storm, if protected from unsustainable land use.
The biodiversity hotspot within the larger Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion is the ~quarter-million acre south Kalmiopsis area that borders northern California’s Smith River National Recreation Area and contains the highest concentration of rare plants of any of Oregon’s 1400 watersheds. Pristine headwaters support Oregon’s best remaining salmon runs and highest water quality. Just to the west, lie Oregon’s only ancient redwoods. Unfortunately, industrial scale nickel mining operations are proposed in the area that, if developed, would degrade the headwaters of the North Fork of the Smith River, which flows into the popular Smith River National Recreation Area, the headwaters of the Illinois River, which is a salmon stronghold, and important salmon spawning areas along Oregon's coast.
Geos Institute has been a central participant in a campaign to secure permanent protection for the Kalmiopsis area for the past two years. Our partners, Oregon Wild, American Rivers, KS Wild, and other local organizations, are bringing to bear their organizing experience and the Geos Institute is leveraging our scientific expertise in a multiyear campaign to meet our shared conservation goals to permanently protect this biodiversity hotspot.
Congressman Jared Huffman (CA) is drafting legislation to protection wilderness and wild and scenic rivers within the northern California portion of the world-class Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion. Geos Institute recently commented on the draft requesting changes to the fire management section based on best available science:
- Fire-Mediated Biodiversity Needs to be Recognized as Integral to the Ecological Integrity of the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion
- Provisions Related to “Uncharacteristic Fire” Are Unclear and Need to be based on the Characteristic Fire Regime of the Region
- Protections Should be added to Late-Successional Reserves (and Forests) Before and After Natural Disturbances
- Further Limitations on the Use of Fuel Breaks Along Roads and Plantations Are Needed
- Multiparty Monitoring Requires Funding and Scientific Guidance
On October 14, 2016 Senator Jeff Merkely held a public hearing on the proposed expansion of the approximately 62,000 acres Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which includes the Pilot Rock area. It was designated by President Clinton in 2000 as the nation's first monument to biodiversity and contains extraordinary plant and animal diversity. The region is considered a unique biological crossroads for wildlife and plants dispersing across the Cascades, Siskiyous, and Coast Range. It is the nation's only monument to biodiversity.
Scientists, including Geos Institute, have been calling for expansion of the monument to enable wildlife migrations facing unprecedented climate change and development in the surroundings.
- Read comments in support of expansion submitted to President Obama by Geos Institute Chief Scientist and Forest Legacies Program Director Dominick DellaSala Ph.D.
- Ashland Daily Tidings coverage of the hearing
Geos Institute submits testimony to the Senate to protect globally important Southwest Oregon watersheds
The U.S. Senate held a hearing on Sept. 22 in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that included legislation introduced by Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to permanently protect some of the nation's most outstanding landscapes and rivers from destructive mining. Geos Institute's Chief Scientist, Dr. Dominick DellaSala, submitted testimony in support of this much needed legislation.