For Immediate Release, June 9, 2014
||Amaroq Weiss, Center for Biological Diversity, (707) 779-9613
Josh Laughlin, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463
Mike Petersen, The Lands Council, (509) 209-2406
John Mellgren, Western Environmental Law Center, (541) 525-5087
Petition Filed to Require Nonlethal Steps to Control Washington Wolves
Eight Groups Ask State Wildlife Agency to Make Key Parts of Wolf Plan Into State Law
OLYMPIA, Wash.- Eight conservation groups filed a petition late Friday requesting that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife enact rules that sharply limit the use of lethal control of wolves to respond to livestock depredations. Most prominently the petition asks the state to require livestock producers to exhaust nonlethal measures to prevent depredations before any lethal action can be taken. In 2012 the Department killed seven wolves in the Wedge Pack despite the fact that the livestock producer who had lost livestock had taken little action to protect his stock.
"The killing of the Wedge Pack in 2012 was a tragic waste of life that highlights the need for clear rules to limit the killing of wolves, which remain an endangered species in the state," said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer with the Center for Biological Diversity. "There are effective nonlethal measures proven to protect livestock that can, and should, be used before killing wolves is ever considered."
The groups filed a similar petition last summer. They withdrew it based on a promise from the Department to negotiate rules - in an advisory committee established to help implement Washington's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan - that would encourage the use of nonlethal measures by ranchers as well as produce standards for the Department to adhere to before itself resorting to lethal control of wolves. But livestock producer and sports-hunting groups on the committee refused to consider the petitioners' proposals, and the Department has indicated it plans to move forward and introduce its own far-less-protective lethal wolf-control rule.
The groups also argue that rules are needed to ensure adherence to Washington's wolf plan, which was crafted with input from a 17-member stakeholder group, more than 65,000 written comments from the public, and a peer review by 43 scientists and wolf managers. Despite the plan's formal adoption by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2011 as official state policy, Department officials and the Commission have publicly stated they view the plan as merely advisory and key provisions of the plan were ignored when the Wedge Pack was killed. The Commission also adopted a rule last summer that allows wolves to be killed under circumstances the wolf plan does not permit, and the Department has proposed additional changes and definitions of terms to allow even more wolf killing.
"The return of wolves is a boon for Washington," said Mike Petersen, executive director for The Lands Council. "Not only is it good for the forest and mountains of Washington that need the balance provided by top predators, but a fledgling tourist industry is developing around the viewing of this majestic creature."
Wolves were driven to extinction in Washington in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. They began to return from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia in the early 2000s, and their population has grown to 52 wolves today. Yet Washington's wolves are far from recovered and face ongoing threats. Last fall a wolf in Pasayten was killed by a deer hunter, and in April of this year, a reward was offered by state officials and conservation groups for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the illegal shooting of a wolf found dead in February in Stevens County.
The petition to increase protections for wolves was filed by groups representing tens of thousands of Washington residents, including the Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, Western Environmental Law Center, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, The Lands Council, Wildlands Network, Kettle Range Conservation Group and the Washington State Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Today's filing of the petition with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission starts the clock ticking on a 60-day statutory period within which the state must respond. If the petition is denied, groups intend to appeal for a final decision by Governor Inslee.
March 6, 2014
Confluence Project lets science students get outdoors
MOUNT SPOKANE STATE PARK – Cass Hansen's head just crested the top
of a snow pit that she and other Post Falls High School students dug
The snow depth was 161 centimeters, almost as tall as Hansen's height of 5 feet 3 inches.
through the first couple feet of snow was easy for the honors biology
students, but they soon hit layers of harder, crustier material.
Finch Arboretum creek to be restored for redband trout
A small creek that flows the length of John A. Finch Arboretum will soon become a better home for fish.
But that will require removing some structures built in an attempt to beautify the park.
city parks department and several other groups will restore portions of
Garden Springs Creek with the help of a $154,000 state Department of
The natural creek, fed by springs above Finch
Arboretum, flows through the city park, along a neighborhood, under two
freeways and over a small waterfall before meeting Latah Creek near the
11th Avenue Bridge.
October 23, 2013
by BREANNA ROY & KREM.com
October 23, 2013 at 6:26 AM
The Lands Council's Green Sleeves project aims to make a difference for offenders and for the environment
read full story
KREM 2's Breanna Roy reports on our Green Sleeves project.
October 8, 2013
Editorial: Spokane stormwater gardens may help both river, city
A $30,000 contract with the Lands Council may help the city of
Spokane siphon off some of the potential $350 million cost of separating
and treating stormwater runoff.
It's a pittance, but if successful could be one of several steps the city hopes will whack $100 million off that treatment bill.
read full article
October 3, 2013
Shadle-area stormwater gardens will filter runoff
The city is contracting with the Lands Council on a pilot stormwater management project in the Shadle area.
are pretty excited about this," said Mike Peterson, executive director
of the Lands Council. It's the first time the council, a local
nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the quality of life and
the environment in the Inland Northwest has contracted with the city.
read full article
September 24, 2013 Press Release
CITY, THE LANDS COUNCIL PARTNER ON STORMWATER
PILOT PROJECT IN SHADLE PARK AREA
full press release here
Ski expansion at standstill
Appeals court calls for environmental study of Mt. Spokane
A state appeals court has halted a major expansion at Mt. Spokane Ski
and Snowboard Park, saying that the Washington State Parks and
Recreation Commission erred by not requiring a detailed study of how a
new chairlift and runs would impact old-growth forest, meadows
Tuesday's ruling was hailed by The Lands Council,
which appealed an earlier court ruling on the issue. The Spokane-based
environmental group opposes the nonprofit ski area's expansion into 279
acres on the mountain's northwest face, which is recognized as having
one of the largest unbroken tracts of subalpine habitat left in
"A major decision to turn what was a de facto
natural area into a ski area expansion in a state park, said Mike
Petersen, The Lands Council's executive director.
environmental impact statement required by the Washington Court of
Appeals will take at least two years, Petersen predicted.
"This really sets them back," he said. "We think it just might put an end to it."
from the state Parks and Recreation Commission were not available for
comment Tuesday afternoon. In a 2011 interview, however, a commission
spokeswoman described the ski resort expansion as "the classic paradox for the commission, which has a dual mission of providing recreation and
protecting the resource for future generations.
Mt. Spokane's general manager, had not read the ruling but said the
resort's expansion has been on hold, pending the court's decision.
Spokane State Park encompasses about 14,000 acres. The ski resort has
leased about 2,300 acres from the state since the 1950s, including the
1,450-acre alpine ski resort.
Five years ago, Mt. Spokane
submitted plans for developing the remaining 850 acres. The resort later
pared down its plans, intending to develop 279 acres and leave the
remaining acreage in a natural state.
Mt. Spokane's expansion
plan calls for a new chairlift and seven ski runs on the mountain's northwest side. Proponents say it would give Mt. Spokane's operators
access to deeper snows on the north-facing slopes, helping the resort
extend its season and compete with other ski resorts in the region.
ski area is operated by Mt. Spokane 2000, which would be required to
pay for any improvements. Mt. Spokane 2000 is headed by Jim Meyer, the
husband of Betsy Cowles, who is chairwoman of the company that owns
In May 2011, the Parks and Recreation
commission voted to give the 279 acres a land-use designation compatible
with recreation, allowing the expansion effort to progress. However,
the ski resort was required to prepare an environmental impact statement
when it submitted a detailed development proposal.
Council challenged the commission's decision, saying an environmental
impact statement was required before the commission approved the ski
The Washington State Court of Appeals agreed.
Tuesday's ruling said that state law requires decision-makers to "be apprised of the environmental consequences before the project picks up
momentum, not after."
The ruling also cited the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife's concerns about the ski area expansion.
Department officials said the old-growth area provides important
habitat for elk, moose and rare forest carnivores, including lynx
The Lands Council also wants Mt. Spokane to thrive, Petersen said. But he thinks that resort operators could improve Mt. Spokane's draw through investments in the existing operation, such as renovating the lodge, installing faster chair lifts and developing new runs.
"It's close to Spokane and it's a great family area," he said of the ski hill.
September 17, 2013
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mike Petersen, Executive Director
The Lands Council
THE LANDS COUNCIL WINS LAWSUIT TO
PROTECT OLD GROWTH FOREST IN MT. SPOKANE STATE PARK
The Lands Council has won a court
action that challenged the re-classification of part of Mt. Spokane State Park
to allow a ski area expansion. We are pleased that the appellate court judges
agreed with our concerns that Washington State Parks Commission failed to
follow the law by allowing a ski area expansion in Mt. Spokane State Park. At stake is the largest old growth stand in
Spokane County, which the Commission had said could be opened up to ski area
The Washington State Court of Appeals said that "...the Commission's failure to prepare an EIS for the 2011 classification
decision violated the terms of SEPA and its rules and was contrary to governing
case law. We affirm the trial court's ruling that the Lands Council had
standing under SEPA to bring this action. We hold that SEPA required the
Commission to prepare an EIS for its May 2011 classification decision and,
accordingly, we reverse the trial court's summary judgment order dismissing the
Land Council's claims under SEPA."
Their decision is the first step in permanently
protecting the magnificent old growth on the west side of Mt. Spokane - which
is our largest state park. As the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
wrote in a letter opposing the expansion; "The native old growth forest habitat on the northern aspect of Mount
Spokane is an extremely unique forest ecosystem for the region with a high
value for wildlife and species diversity.
The northern aspect is the very feature that makes this forest type
unique from all other forest areas within Mount Spokane State Park. Considering its size, its unfragmented
condition, along with its stage of forest succession structure and complexity,
a similar forest cannot be found anywhere else in the Spokane County regional
area, nor replicated. " The Lands Council found that some of the trees in the proposed lift line were over 200
Mike Petersen of the Lands
Council said "We hope that the Parks Commission now steps back and
questions the plans that the ski area concessionairre has for this park. We hope to work with the Parks Commission and
the concessionairre to improve the existing ski area, and have our own vision
that would bring more visitors and still protect the most important old growth forest
in Spokane County."
This vision can be found on
the Save Mt. Spokane website: www.savemtspokane.org
Press Release - August 28, 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Lands Council and Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund Form Two-Year Green Sleeves Alliance!
Mike Petersen (509) 838-4912 firstname.lastname@example.org, www.landscouncil.org
Sharon Smith (509) 326-8683 email@example.com, www.smith-barbieri.com
The Lands Council is pleased to announce an alliance with the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, A Charitable Foundation, for our Green Sleeves project. The Smith-Barbieri Foundation funding enables Green Sleeves to launch and comes with a two-year commitment.
Green Sleeves is a new collaboration between The Lands Council and Geiger Corrections Center that involves Spokane County Detention Services Work Crews and jail-alternative sentencing options. The project also includes educational opportunities for offenders at Geiger Corrections Center with a curriculum focused specifically on employable skills. This program is endorsed by Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, Detention Services Director John
McGrath, and Lieutenant Joanne Lake.
"A core mission of the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund is to reduce poverty in the Inland Northwest," said Sharon Smith, a Foundation Trustee.
"We especially seek new projects that provide our vulnerable citizens access to tools and resources to achieve sustainable well-being and Green Sleeves fits the bill. That it makes positive environmental impacts in our community and includes development of an on-site nursery for even more offender activities and education is icing on the cake.
Executive Director of The Lands Council, Mike Petersen, says, "Thanks to the Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund, Geiger work crews can begin helping with restoration work and maintenance of native trees and shrubs on local watersheds this October. We are so happy to increase opportunities for jail-alternative sentencing. There is currently a strong push for solutions targeting stormwater management in our community. The Lands Council has been contracted by the city to apply our unique approach, called "low impact development" or "green infrastructure" in Spokane's Shadle neighborhood. Many solutions are as simple as curbside cuts that lead to bioswales containing native plants. We look forward to the help these work crews will provide on this exciting new project as well.
The Lands Council focuses efforts on areas where streamside vegetation has been lacking for years on public and private lands. This work occurs on the Hangman and Little Spokane watersheds, Deep Creek, and Coulee Creek, which all feed into the Spokane River.
Educational sessions for in-house offenders at Geiger will consist
of a lecture and hands-on learning at the on-site native plant nursery. This education can empower the offenders with skills and knowledge required to manage their native plant nursery, provide them with basic and employable knowledge and skills, and increase environmental stewardship. Participants who successfully complete the educational component of Green Sleeves will be prepared to work for local landscaping firms.
The Smith-Barbieri Progressive Fund aims to build upon our region's strong foundation to ensure those in need have every opportunity to succeed.
The Lands Council is a leading environmental non-profit organization based in Spokane, WA, working since 1983 to preserve and revitalize Inland Northwest forests, water, and wildlife. For more information, visit www. landscouncil.org.
May 16, 2013
Lands Council, STCU, students team up on watershed restoration
May 16, 2013
Coeur d'Alene Press
Lands Council grant gives students more opportunities with Project Sustain
Mt. Spokane ski expansion hits hurdle
Timber cut permit nixed; reversal downplayed
Environmental groups to sue feds over caribou habitat
January 31, 2013
Spokesman-Review Posted by Rich
Organizers take lessons from last year's reforesting event
October 15, 2012
by Chelsea Bannach, The Spokesman-Review
Ski area expansion plan in final stage
October 14, 2012 in Outdoors
Living with lead
Many children risk exposure from home surfaces such as door frames, windowsills
Unusual alliance allows beaver relocation
- Moving animal helps water tables
August 23, 2012, by Jim Camden
Snowmobiler-commissioned study disputes caribou impact
PRIEST LAKE, Idaho
Protecting habitat for woodland caribou has cost
North Idaho's economy $26 million, with winter tourism in the resort
area of Priest Lake taking the biggest hit, according to a study
commissioned by the Idaho State Snowmobile Association.
Idaho once had Beaver Airborne Mission
June 7, 2012 Spokesman Review - Outdoors blog
Posted by Rich
WILDLIFE The Lands Council based
in Spokane is getting more press about its efforts to reintroduce
beavers in select areas to restore watersheds naturally.
Returning farmland to a state of nature
Lands Council workers, student volunteers and others join forces to help restore Coulee, Deep creek watersheds
May 29, 2012 - Mike Prager
- The Spokesman-Review
Amanda Parrish and Joe Cannon have been tramping across acres of stream
bank this spring planting trees and shrubs in a major watershed
restoration along Coulee and Deep creeks in northwest Spokane County.
June, 2012 issue, The Atlantic
Leave It to Beavers
In the 1820s,
Can they help us adapt to climate change?
one of the
largest corporations on Earth tried to kill every beaver in the Pacific
Northwest. Britain's Hudson's Bay Company, threatened by the United
States' westward expansion, sent trappers sweeping down the Columbia
River watershed to exterminate all the beavers they found and harvest
their valuable pelts.
Collaboration offers suggestions for Panhandle Forests
May 10, 2012 - Becky Kramer, The Spokesman Review
four decades, truckloads of logs rolling out of the woods were Bob
Boeh's primary interest in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests.
surprise since his employer, Idaho Forest Group, depends on federal
timber sales to help keep five sawmills churning out 2-by-4s.
New ponderosas adorn former YMCA site
March 22, 2012 - The Spokesman Review - in City
Grove of trees also honors the late Susie Stephens:
Nancy MacKerrow holds a picture of her daughter, Susie Stephens, in
front of 10 newly planted ponderosa pine trees on Wednesday on the site
of the former YMCA building, during a gathering in Riverfront Park.
Beaver relocation effort garners bipartisan support
The Spokesman Review - by Jim Camden - March 1, 2012
OLYMPIA Beavers making a nuisance of themselves in Western Washington
could be relocated to areas in Eastern Washington that need their help
in damming streams, but the furry critters from Eastern Washington...