Newsletter Archive

April 30, 2007

Dear CalUWild members, supporters, and friends —

Earlier this month I took part in a two-day symposium on wilderness and wilderness values at San Francisco State University. It had the somewhat unfortunate title of “Redefining Wilderness,” leading many people to fear that it was an attack on the 1964 Wilderness Act itself. However, what the organizers had hoped for was an effort to broaden the community of people for whom wilderness is important. With that in mind, the speakers and panelists came from a wide spectrum of backgrounds: land managers, wilderness trip leaders, Native Americans, academics (both biology and social science), therapists, activists, mountain bikers, attorneys, and others. It was enlightening to see the variety of approaches to wilderness.

The good news is that there was no wholesale attack on the Wilderness Act or on the basic concept and need for wilderness. The bad news, though, is that many people don’t seem to have a clear concept of what wilderness actually is. There weren’t quite as many definitions as attendees, but it came pretty close. The problem is that you can’t have a meaningful discussion about something if you have too broad a range of focus. And unfortunately, people said that they found wilderness everywhere from cracks in the sidewalk and backyards to isolated landscapes and mountaintops.

The other stumbling block, expressed several times, is that wilderness is somehow “anti-people” or that people are “factored out” of wilderness. It became apparent, though, that this idea comes from a basic lack misunderstanding of language: that the fact that Wilderness is an area “not populated by people” does not mean that people are excluded, but rather that permanent structures and roads are prohibited. The unfortunate thing is that these ideas are being passed along to students, who incorporate them into their thinking, making our task as advocates for wilderness that much more difficult.

But it’s good to know where you stand, and CalUWild will be adjusting its message to take some of these ideas into account as we continue our outreach efforts.

Speaking of definitions and language, the administration recently published its draft designations for two “National Interest Electric Transmission Corridors.” These covered the Southwest and Mid-Atlantic states. My dictionary defines “corridor” as “a belt of land between two other areas”—in other words, longer than wide. The shaded area on this map represents the corridor for the Southwest. Click on it and see what you think. You have to wonder what the point was in having a comment period when you see such a perversion of the English language. Unfortunately, it’s typical these days.

Fortunately, though, the courts continue to rule against some of the administration’s worst excesses. Last month, the Ninth Circuit Court in San Francisco ruled that the U.S. Forest Service could not eliminate protections for endangered species and for public comment (itself an endangered species these days) when drafting National Forest management plans. Congratulations to the Western Environmental Law Center and the plaintiffs in the case!

We all have to keep up our efforts. Thanks for your help!

Best wishes,

1. Red Rock Wilderness Bill Introduced
In House and Senate
Letters Needed: “Thank Yous” and Requests for Cosponsorship
2. Backcountry Volunteers Service Trips

3. Carrizo Plain Management Plan
Comments Needed

4. Job Announcement
Defenders of Wildlife
California Representative


1. Red Rock Wilderness Bill Introduced
In House and Senate
Letters Needed: “Thank Yous” and Requests for Cosponsorship

As it has been in every Congress since 1989, America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act was introduced this month in Congress. The bill numbers are:

H.R.1919 in the House
S.1170 in the Senate

We had an extremely successful pre-introduction cosponsor campaign, and here in California, there are only a few representatives who were previous cosponsors who aren’t on the bill this time.

Here is the complete list of cosponsors, previous cosponsors, and representatives we’d still like to see on the bill.

Thompson (D-01)
Woolsey (D-06)
Miller (D-07)
Lee (D-09)
Tauscher (D-10)
McNerney (D-11)
Lantos (D-12)
Stark (D-13)
Eshoo (D-14)
Honda (D-15)
Lofgren (D-16)
Farr (D-17)
Capps (D-23)
Sherman (D-27)
Berman (D-28)
Schiff (D-29)
Waxman (D-30)
Becerra (D-31)
Solis (D-32)
Roybal-Allard (D-34)
Waters (D-35)
Millender-McDonald (D-37)
Napolitano (D-38)
Sanchez (D-39)
Sanchez (D-47)
Filner (D-51)
Davis (D-53)

Cosponsors in the 109th:
Matsui (D-05)
Watson (D-33)
Harman (D-36)

Other hopeful possibilities:
Dennis Cardoza (D-18)
Jim Costa (D-20)
Mary Bono (R-45)

In the Senate, Barbara Boxer is a cosponsor, while Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not.

Please call or write your representatives and senators either thanking them or asking them to sign on.


2. Backcountry Volunteers Service Trips

We’ve mentioned Utah Backcountry Volunteers before. Their latest list of service trips for 2007 came out recently, so we’re including it here. Service trips are a great way to help protect the land, and quite different from writing letters! Before signing up for a trip, check for space availability.

You still have time to make this year’s vacation an unforgettable and fulfilling experience! Spend a week in Utah’s spectacular outdoors this Spring lending your muscle to make a difference on the ground where you’re enthusiasm and support is needed most. Trips are filling up!

2007 Service Trips
May 13-19, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Russian olive & tamarisk removal
(6 spaces open)
June 10-16, Manti-LaSal NF, 12-Mile Canyon, Twin Lake, ORV damage control
(9 spaces open)
June 24-30, Manti-LaSal NF, Dark Canyon Wilderness, trail & campsite work
(7 spaces open)
September 9-15, Grand Staircase-Escalante NM, Paria River, ORV damage control
(6 spaces open)
September 23-29, Monticello BLM, Beef Basin, archaeology protection
(6 spaces open)
October 14-20, Capitol Reef NP, trail work & vegetation removal
(8 spaces open)

Registration is easy. Send your tax-deductible $175 trip fee to the below address and you’re all set. Check out trip details at or call Dave at (435) 785-8955 for more information. See you in the backcountry!

For more information, contact:

Utah Backcountry Volunteers
P.O. Box 526197
Salt Lake City, UT 84152
(435) 785-8955

3. Carrizo Plain Management Plan
Comments Needed

In 2001, Pres. Bill Clinton designated the Carrizo Plain in California a national monument. Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Plain is the largest substantially intact remnant of the San Joaquin Valley ecosystem. The BLM began drafting a management plan for the monument in 2002, but it was only an environmental assessment (EA), which does not go into the same level of detail as a full-blown environmental impact statement (EIS).

The agency has decided to start over, and is beginning the scoping process again. Comments are due June 12. If you submitted comments in 2002, the agency says they will be included in the latest planning round. But it might be a good idea to re-submit your comments or ask the BLM to incorporate your previous comments.

BLM is holding a public meeting May 5 at the Monument to discuss the scoping and planning process.

May 5, 2007 at the California Valley Community Services District building on Soda Lake Road. The center is located approximately three miles south of Highway 58 adjacent to the California Valley Fire Station 42. This meeting is being held in conjunction with a Carrizo Monument Advisory Committee meeting. The planning effort will be discussed (with time for public scoping input) from 10 a.m. to noon. Lunch will be available for $8. The MAC meeting will then continue from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. focusing on other agenda topics related to the national monument

The Wilderness Society has prepared the following list of talking points for scoping comments.



The Monument is a special and fragile place–that’s why it was given special status and why its management should be special too:
1 The Carrizo Plain National Monument is a unique, diverse and spectacular landscape. It is a singular place of national and worldwide significance.

2 Its species, communities and ecosystems are extremely rare and imperiled. The very future of its extraordinary plants and animals, unique ecosystems and other outstanding features could very well depend on the decisions made in the RMP.

3 Because of its significance, designation as a National Monument and inclusion in the National Landscape Conservation System, the BLM should manage the Carrizo Plain National Monument differently than other BLM lands. The BLM should prioritize resource preservation.

4 The Natural Area Plan and the preferred alternative in the February 2004 draft of the Environmental Assessment provided a solid foundation for future management. The BLM should build upon these recommendations.

The valuable and fragile evidence of pre-historic and historic peoples should be protected:
5 Painted Rock and other archaeological and historic sites within the Monument preserve an important span of history. The BLM should ensure that it manages the Monument to provide for their preservation and restoration.

The road system on the ground should support transportation needs around the Monument, but must also support protection of the Monument’s natural values:
6 The natural splendor of the Monument is best protected by limiting the number of roads. The BLM should limit the roads in the Monument to those that support the mission of protecting the Monument’s values.

7 The BLM should consider the road network and fencing across the Monument in the context of the connectivity of the landscape.

8 The BLM should consider removing fences which inhibit the movement of pronghorn.

9 The BLM should consider closing and rehabilitating redundant roads, roads that serve no visitor or administrative purpose, and roads in sensitive resources areas.

10 There are a number of locations where off-road vehicle use is occurring contrary to the Monument proclamation and the current management plan. The BLM should document off-road vehicle use, analyze its impacts and develop a plan to address the impacts including signage, law enforcement and restoration.

Grazing/invasive species need to be managed to protect the natural environment:
11 The BLM should analyze the impacts of livestock grazing to plant and animal species and ecosystems. The BLM should permit livestock grazing only if it can be demonstrated to benefit native species and ecosystems.

12 The BLM should consider phasing out the remaining long-term grazing leases and replacing them with annual free use permits if grazing is used as a resource management tool.

13 To control exotic plant species, the BLM should analyze and consider the use of prescribed fire in conjunction with or as an alternative to livestock grazing and other methods.

14 The BLM should develop fire management policies and prescriptions for the Monument which provide for the use of naturally occurring fire to restore and maintain the Monument’s species and ecosystems.

Oil and gas drilling can impact the natural landscape, plants and animals:
15 The BLM needs to address the potential impacts of oil and gas drilling on split estate lands.

Only responsible hunting and firearm use should be permitted:
16 Hunting is one of many ways that visitors use and enjoy the monument. However, the BLM should consider the impacts of non-game hunting to the Monument’s ecosystems and to threatened and endangered species found on the Carrizo Plain including the San Joaquin kit fox and the San Joaquin antelope squirrel. The BLM should consider limiting hunting to game species in season.

17 The BLM should consider prohibiting the use of lead bullets, because lead poisoning from those bullets can kill the California condor, an endangered species, golden eagles, and other raptors.

18 Target shooting can result in the accumulation of litter, soil contamination by lead and wildfires. It can also impact the safety and experience of visitors. The BLM should maintain its current policy of directing target shooters to facilities outside the Monument.

Now is the time to develop a smart approach to managing visitors to the Monument:
19 Visitor use is expected to increase and the BLM should identify ways to accommodate current and future visitor use in a way which will prevent or lessen the potential impacts of visitor use.

Please submit your comments before June 12 to:

Ms. Johna Hurl, Manager
Carrizo Plain National Monument
BLM Bakersfield Field Office
3801 Pegasus Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93308

We don’t have an email address available for submitting comments. For further information, please call the Monument at 661-391-6000.

4. Job Announcement
Defenders of Wildlife
California Representative

California Representative
Supervisor: Director, California Program

This professional-level position is responsible for representing Defenders of Wildlife’s legislative and administrative interests before state and federal government agencies, Congress, the State Legislature, and the media. It also involves a wide variety of responsibilities promoting and expanding the program and operations of the California Program Office.

The position will involve working in areas involving governmental affairs, habitat conservation, media, fund raising and legal affairs. Must possess excellent communication, research, and writing/editing skills. The position will be responsible for starting up specific campaigns on a number of water, habitat and species issues. Must be extremely well-organized and capable of juggling many different projects and tasks.

Assignments are results- or goal-oriented, requiring substantial discretion on the part of the position in determining how to meet the assigned goal (e.g., putting together a new conservation campaign or producing a research report).


1. Expand and promote habitat conservation program including research, development of strategy and oversight of new campaigns involving wetlands protection, transportation, and land use planning.
2. Expand and promote a water program including research, development of strategy and oversight of new campaigns involving water transfer, groundwater development and water quality.
3. Implement strategies, campaigns, programs, projects, work plans, budgets, publications, educational materials and reports for each assigned program area.
4. Establish and maintain effective working relationships with members of the State Legislature, Congress, legislative staff, state and federal agency personnel, biologists, scientists and staff of leading NGOs.
5. Represent Defenders in coalitions, public meetings, hearings, press events, conferences, national forums, and in general communications with public officials, the media, members, the donor community and the public.
6. Identify, inform and mobilize citizen activists, including Defenders’ members and supporters, in areas of particular importance.
7. Assist all Defenders departments with tasks relating to education, development, publications and media coverage.
8. Other duties as assigned by supervisor.


1. Degree in Law with an emphasis on Natural Resources, Land Use Planning, Biology, or related field.
2. At least 2 years of advocacy experience involving natural resource and land use planning issues.
3. Experience working with wildlife/habitat conservation issues, water policy, and knowledge of state and federal resource agencies, laws, and policies dealing with the use and conservation of natural resources.
4. Political experience and judgment, including an understanding of lobbying and grassroots organizing.
5. Experience developing, implementing and managing advocacy campaigns.
6. Strong writing, media and communications skills.
7. Ability to conduct research, analyze information, and produce work-products in a consistent, efficient and timely manner.
8. Other relevant experience with public policy, grassroots organizing, communications, editing, and/or development.
9. Ability to handle efficiently and effectively many projects and topics at one time.

Interested applicants, please reference California Representative and send resume, cover letter, and salary history (must be included to be considered) to; Fax to (202) 682-1331 or mail to:

Attn: HR
Defenders of Wildlife
1130 – 17th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036-4604

It is the policy of Defenders of Wildlife to provide equal employment opportunity to all qualified individuals without regard to their race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other characteristic protected by law, in all personnel actions.