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Natural History of Red Tree Voles in Oregon – Discovering Wildlife Lecture Series

June 1, 2015

A great lecture on the natural history of the red tree vole with some great wildlife cam footage of the red tree vole foraging.

Comments on the Quartz Integrated Project are due Sept 26!

September 19, 2014
QPTreetopViewUnit4

Treetop View from Unit 4 of Quartz Project

 The Quartz Integrated Project is an 8,331 acre project area, located 22 miles southeast of the town of Cottage Grove – about a one hour drive away from Eugene. It is on publically owned US Forest service land, managed by the Cottage Grove Ranger District of the Umpqua National Forest. This project area is in the Sharps Creek Watershed, which drains into the Dorena Reservoir. It is a well trafficked area for recreation, hiking, water sports, and other outdoor activities.

The preferred alternative of the USFS seeks to commercially thin 1,026 acres of forest. Some of these units are younger stands of 60-80 year old trees. However, as well as being intact and recovering ecosystems, many of the units contain stands aged 100 years or older. Many of these older stands contain old growth remnant trees.

Besides being valuable unto themselves, these remnant old growth areas are a prime habitat for the red tree vole – a Survey & Manage species,

Enterance to an active red tree vole nest, documented in Unit 20

Entrance to an active red tree vole nest in Unit 20

under the Northwest Forest Plan. According to the Quartz Project EA, only 13 trees were climbed to search for red tree voles. We believe there are many, many more occupied red tree vole habitat areas in the Quartz Project area. As of Sept 19, NEST has found and documented more than 30 red tree vole nests, within the Quartz Integrated Project. None of these areas have received protection under the preferred alternative (Alternative 2).

NEST urges supporters to submit comments regarding the Quartz Integrated Project. The area is located very near to Eugene – an easy location to visit, if people are interested in making a short trip. Of the three proposed alternatives, Alternative 1 – No Action – is our preferred alternative. We also ask that folks request that the area be thoroughly surveyed for red tree voles (a rare species that receives required habitat protection, under the USFS’ own survey & manage guidelines) and that citizen nest survey data – found by experienced NEST volunteer surveyors – be accepted.

To read the USFS’s Environmental Assessment (released August 2014) regarding the Quartz Project, please review this document.

To read the USFS’s Scoping Document (released Novemnber 2013) regarding the Quartz Project, please review this document.

Please send all comments (postmarked by the Sept 26, 2014 deadline) regarding the Quartz Integrated Project to:

Joseph Linn, District Ranger

Cottage Grove Ranger District

78405 Cedar Park Road

Cottage Grove, OR 97424

NEST finds 17 red tree vole nests in unit 40 of the Green Mountain timber sale!

July 31, 2014

Deadbranchcavity NEST has found 17 red tree vole nests in unit 40 of the Green Mountain project (timber sale).  3 of these nests were nests that the contract climbers didn’t find in their trees (or the tree vole recolonized the tree after they had climbed it because they had only found “inactive” nests in the tree and we found fresh green resin ducts and cuttings).  Pictured above is a nest in a huge old growth remnant tree that the ground surveyors and contract climbers missed.unit40colorcirclesNbuffers This is the map of unit 40. There are 17 circles representing 17 RTV nests located by NEST volunteers.   Each circle represents a 150′ radius around the tree, a minimum average tree length radius around the tree.  The red circles are trees we believe to definitely contain active red tree vole nests.  The yellow circles are inactives, and the pink are trees that could be labeled either way depending on the biologists subjective judgment of whether or not the resin ducts in those particular nests are “green” enough to be labeled active. There are potentially two buffers: one containing 15 or 11 nests, and another buffer containing 1 nest.  There could be one big buffer compromising the whole unit, but if they want to maximize timber output and follow the bare minimum of the management guidelines then they would draw 2.  Following the management guidelines the everything behind the black lines should be buffered from any ground disturbing activity.  The only discrepancy would be the 4 nests inactive nests in the southwest corner of the unit.  They wouldn’t have to be included in a buffer because, technically, they are too far from an active tree vole nest (according to the management guidelines any inactive that is 100m from an active nest is to be included in the habitat buffer).  If the biologist is not looking to protect these 4 inactives, then the brown line diverging from the black line would indicate the buffer zone.   The buffer with one nest tree will most likely have its buffer drawn outside of the unit (and across the road) in a forest that looks like it must have been thinned, if that forest is still considered “suitable habitat”.  If not then they would have to completely buffer out unit 40.  At any rate, it looks like even given the situation of the minimum amount of buffers provided for, there is about a 15 to18 acre reduction in unit 40, which is about 25 acres. IMGP0414Also of interest in unit 40 is the spotted owl seen in the photo.  He/she spent two days with the NEST surveyors in unit 40, basically hanging out while we climbed trees. Still to come is the results for unit 41, about a 10 acre unit.  We have already found 4 red tree vole nests, 3 of which are active.

Thank you!

June 4, 2014

ImageBig thanks to everyone who organized, volunteered, donated, or attended the May 31st NEST benefit!

It was a great fundraising success and most excellent party.

Special thank you to the bands – Hang the Old Year and A Stick and A Stone, for fantastic performances and wonderful music.

 

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Also, thanks to Agrarian Ales and Oakshire Brewing for contributing delicious beverages to our cause!

Surveys begin the 2nd week of July, this year.

See you in the woods!

Sat May 31 – NEST Benefit Show & Post Apocalyptic Masquerade Party in Eugene, OR

May 26, 2014

You are invited to a Masquerade Benefit Party for NEST – featuring live music, a raffle, a vegan dinner bar, campfires, and more!

Benefit Flyer

Join us – May 31st in Eugene!

Saturday, May 31 in Eugene Oregon. Doors at 7pm.
@ 842 Almaden St. / Eug, OR
$10 donation. (No one turned away for lack of funds!)

Music from:

A Stick and A Stone – PDX meets Philly in heavy queer folk dirges. Dark. Thundering. Haunting.

Hang The Old Year – anarcho post-prog/rock from PDX. Heavy tunes for wimps and weirdos.

– local Eugene Musicians

Raffle: There will be a raffle for items donated by local artists, including Mothillius Brewing Cooperative, Activation Foods, Dandy’s Pantry, Hootenanny! Prints, and more. Tickets will be available for $1 each. All proceeds will go to benefit NEST’s 2014 summer survey camp.

Costumes are welcome! Please bring your own cup and bowl, if you can!

Many thanks to the bands, local artists, and Agrarian Ales for your generous contributions!

Red Tree Vole nest in a broken top douglas fir

July 29, 2013

Red Tree Vole nest in a broken top douglas fir

This nest is one of the 1st active nests found this season. It’s a huge two story home loaded with fresh green resin ducts and fresh cuttings.

The return of NEST season – seeking volunteers!

July 7, 2013

With midsummer upon us, the Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team (N.E.S.T.) is gearing up to head out to the woods very soon! And we need help from folks like you!

Tree-climbs, starry sleeps, old-growth hikes, organic flame-cooked dinners, campfires, This could be your treetop view...river baths, and more…

If you would like to join us, we have an immediate need for volunteers. NEST is seeking woodspeople to join us for summer surveys. NEST is looking for experienced climbers,  as well as non-experienced volunteers to fill support roles such as ground support, kitchen support, town support, and even musicians. No climbing experience? No problem! N.E.S.T. will provide exhaustive training for folks who have a desire to get up and out into the beautiful forest canopy.

Donations of gear or financial support are appreciated as always.

If you would like to join us throughout the summer, please feel email us! For more information please email nestcascadia@gmail.com or call in-town support at: 863-677-0797.

May the Forest be with you!

NEST survey season is starting soon!

March 9, 2013

Contact us to get involved as there are several timber sales that we will be visiting.  The 1st of which could be  Trapper  (read post below).  Photo is from the trapper timber sale back in 2006.

Trapper Timber Sale

March 9, 2013

Trapper: Zombie Timber Sale

Article | February 21, 2013 – 12:00am | By Camilla Mortensen

The Trapper Timber Sale in the Willamette National Forest just won’t go away, Josh Laughlin of Cascadia Wildlands says. “This is a like a low-grade horror movie where the zombie keeps coming back from the grave.”

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) is taking comments on the old-growth logging proposal’s latest iteration, which reduces the cutting from 149 acres to 44 acres and the proposed acres to be burned from 92 to 36, according to a press release from McKenzie River Ranger District.

The release says, “impacts to northern spotted owls will be significantly less than in the previous project.” Northern spotted owls are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, and Laughlin says the area of the planned logging is “a real hotbed for red tree voles and northern spotted owl activity.” Red tree voles are eaten by spotted owls.

Trapper, which originated in the late ’90s, was sold to Seneca-Jones Timber in 2003 and has been highly contentious ever since. Trapper is north of the HJ Andrews Experimental Forest, and in 2010 scientists working there wrote a letter saying the logging, which had been proposed as part of study designed to use timber harvest and fire to emulate natural disturbances, “will not yield stand-level lessons of high value for contemporary logging practices.”

In 2011, a judge ordered the USFS to “review the Trapper Project and determine impacts to the northern spotted owls and the learning value of the project, as well as to bring the project up to changing standards for environmental review,” the McKenzie River Ranger District says, and the new proposal is the result. The district says the USFS “is proposing to complete this portion of the project in order to respect the contractual commitments with the sale purchaser.”

Seneca, the purchaser, has been hotly protested by Eugene activists for its proposed logging of Trapper as well as its biomass burning plant in west Eugene.

Laughlin says of the new Trapper proposal, “We will once again tell the Forest Service that the old trees in the beloved McKenzie watershed are best left standing for the recreation, air and water they provide and the unique and imperiled species they house.”

Comments on the project are due March 11. To comment go to www.fs.usda.gov/Willamette and click “Trapper.”

Winter in Cascadia

February 18, 2013

DougFirinSnowOnce again, with winter upon the world, NEST is in our quiet season. Thanks, volunteers and supporters, for helping make a successful summer work season!

Please stay tuned here for updates about timber sales, information about events and benefits, and ways to get involved…