Nestle report and defending waterways

Dear Barker,

The Occupy Wall Street movement has tapped into Americans’ frustrations with the nation’s economic system. This is the system that put Mt. Hood in the crosshairs of the Palomar Pipeline for LNG imports/exports, that has Nestle proposing to take our water, and is moving the Forest Service to take action in our public forests that have no benefit except for the timber industry. For details see “Bark-Out” and “Bark Bites” in this month’s email.

Occupy Wall Street is activating the public and attempting to convert these frustrations into long-term solutions. It’s no easy task. We know because Bark is doing the same thing with the Restore Mt. Hood Campaign – mobilizing communities surrounding Mt. Hood to improve the 21-year-old Forest Plan that dictates management of our backyard forest. Bark’s Solutions Summit last week was a great first step. Water management professionals and concerned residents from all four Mt. Hood Counties shared their experiences and views of the future for our public watersheds from Fifteenmile Ck to Bull Run. Please click here to read a review of the Summit and to see presentations and photos from the event.

Alex P Brown, Executive Director

Bark-Out: Forest Service fixes logging roads, ignores others
Bark-About: A special post-logging monitoring hike
Giving Tree: Bark Meet-Up Nov 16th
Bark Bites: An economic perspective on Nestle
Howls and Growls: A battle between agencies endangers salmon

Tell the Forest Service to stop catering to the timber industry for road maintenance and decommissioning!

Last month, Bark discovered that the Forest Service used public dollars to upgrade and maintain roads that lead directly to the Jazz Timber Sale -- despite the fact that the Jazz Timber Sale does not even have an environmental assessment completed! The Forest Service spent over $16,000 to make Road 6311 accessible to logging trucks (not including the cost of future maintenance), whereas decommissioning the road would have cost $15,000-$30,000 and protected fish-bearing streams. This is just one of many roads leading to the Jazz Timber Sale that have been maintained or upgraded for this proposed sale. Shouldn’t road work for a proposed timber sale be postponed until the Forest Service has made an affirmative decision to move the project forward? Couldn’t that money have been spent fixing roads that lead to hiking trails?

We say the timber industry shouldn’t be the deciding factor in what roads are allowed to continually damage water quality and fish habitat in Mt. Hood and that quiet recreation and water quality are being set aside for the benefit of the timber industry. Join us in asking Mt. Hood's Forest Supervisor to prioritize water quality and fish habitat over logging projects in making decisions about roads in Mt. Hood!

A special hike to monitor the impacts of logging
Sunday, November 13th, 9am-5pm

This hands-on hike will be like no other Bark-About. Participants will be walking through the Wildcat Timber Sale to monitor how many snags, or standing dead trees, are left after logging. We will be dividing into teams and systematically surveying the area. Because this hike will be in a recently logged area, we will be walking through a lot of debris left over from logging surrounded by a field of standing dead trees. Please note that this hike is only for the sure footed with appropriate foot ware.

Please bring lunch, water, and sturdy boots. As it is hunting season we strongly encourage hikers to wear orange for visibility! The weather is very unpredictable this time of year, so please be prepared for various weather conditions. If you have access to a GPS unit or digital camera, please bring them along as they will be very helpful for the work of monitoring the retention of snags in logged units. Please contact if you can provide these resources.

Bark-Abouts are led on the second Sunday of every month and are free to the public. Click here for more information about this month’s hike.

Giving Tree
Sellwood-Moreland Meet Up with Bark’s Olivia Schmidt Wednesday, Nov. 16th, 5pm-7pm

In addition to our free Second Sunday Bark-Abouts, we want to be accessible to our supporters here in the city. Bark’s Community Organizer, Olivia Schmidt, will host a Meet-Up to discuss the pressing issues facing Mt. Hood. For details, please visit Bark’s events page.

Also, thanks to supporters like you, local businesses, and a fantastic volunteer corps, Bark’s 2011 Mt. Hood Solutions Summit was a huge success! A special thanks to the following volunteers who helped make Summit successful: Dave Becker, Brenna Bell, Eli Bird, Matthew Bristow, Don Brown, Martin Evans, Gambit, Matt Iverson, Courtney Johnson, Joy Keen, Cindy King, Candace Larson, Jenny Leis, Jim Lockhart, Zach Mallon, Daniela Molnar, Nina Narelle, Gradey Proctor, Katherine Schake, Scott Skiles, Jenn Struckholz!

And a big thanks to Hot Lips Pizza and Citizen Coffee for supporting the event!

Bark Bites
Nestle is not the solution to Cascade Locks’ slow economy

The long awaited report on the economic impacts of the proposed Nestle water bottling facility in Cascade Locks has been released and is now available on our website.

The study, conducted by Ecotrust, finds that Nestle’s plant would increase demands on public infrastructure by releasing large amounts of wastewater and requiring costly road improvements to facilitate the massive increase in truck traffic. It also indicates that locating this industrial development in the midst of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area could decrease tourism and quality of life through lost recreational appeal and diminished aesthetic value due to increases in noise pollution, air pollution, traffic, and greater risks of accidents from truck traffic.

Nestle’s proposed facility would create 25-30 permanent jobs located in Cascade Locks. Even if the jobs go to current residents, which Nestle will not commit to, what will the cost be to the community and the environment? Will it be at the expense of the recreation economy of the Columbia River Gorge? To the detriment of threatened fish habitat? Is the quality of life of local residents an acceptable risk for Nestle profits? Stay tuned as the Oregon Water Resource Department releases its preliminary decision on whether to let this project move forward this winter.

Howls and Growls
A howl for the National Marine Fisheries Service and a growl for the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management

Howls go to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) for using the best available science to protect threatened salmon from logging. In 2009, NMFS sent the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) a letter informing them that according to the latest science, the stream buffers that the agencies applied to their timber sales were “reasonably certain to adversely affect” threatened salmon by raising stream temperature. So here’s a howl to NMFS for utilizing the latest science and not giving the Forest Service and BLM the green light to damage fish-bearing streams. HHHHAAAAAOOOOOO!

Growls go to the Forest Service and BLM for ignoring the 2009 letter and moving forward with timber sales that disregarded NMFS’ direction to protect threatened salmon. Rather than utilizing the abovementioned letter from NMFS to fix five year’s worth of old Mt. Hood timber sales that hadn’t yet been logged, the Forest Service and BLM ignored the letter. According to the Endangered Species Act, a government agency has an ongoing obligation to protect threaten species, so ignoring the new science was illegal.

Extra growls to the Forest Service and BLM for deceiving the public. In early 2011 Bark noticed that new timber sales included larger buffers to salmon-bearing streams. When we asked the Forest Service why it was going about new timber sales in a different way it did not mention the NMFS letter or its obligation to fix its old logging projects, instead it implied that this was an arbitrary decision. So on October 13th Bark sued the Forest Service and BLM to protect threatened salmon. Here’s a growl to the Forest Service and BLM for illegally dismissing new science and allowing timber sales to adversely affect threatened salmon. GGGGGRRRRRRR!