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Endangered Species Act Lawsuit Advances

PRESS RELEASE

Contact Information:
Friends of Gualala River
Charles Ivor, President
(707) 337-0147
cfifish@mac.com or info@gualalariver.org

For Immediate Release, March 22, 2021

Endangered Species Act Lawsuit Advances

The Endangered Species Act [ESA] lawsuit filed by Friends of Gualala River [FoGR] and the Center for Biological Diversity [CBD] against Gualala Redwoods Timber [GRT] was given approval to move forward last Thursday.

Northern Spotted Owl; photo by Ron LeValley

GRT had moved to dismiss the ESA lawsuit, filed in federal court in September 2020, pending the outcome of FoGR’s appeal of Dogwood III in the State Appellate Court. The State Appellate Court recently ruled in favor of GRT and Cal Fire, upholding the trial court’s decision. As a result of this decision, GRT will withdraw its motion to dismiss, and the federal ESA lawsuit will proceed.

An injunction to halt logging of Dogwood’s 342 acres, located throughout miles of the Gualala River floodplain, has been in place while the appeal worked its way through the state court system. Through the federal court lawsuit FoGR and CBD seek to again enjoin GRT’s logging to prevent harm to four federally-listed threatened and endangered species that will be harmed or killed if GRT is allowed to log Dogwood.

California Red-legged frog, by Roberta Chan
California Red-legged frog, photo by Roberta Chan

FoGR President Charles Ivor stated that GRT attempted to have the judge dismiss the ESA case. “GRT’s attorneys notified the attorney for FoGR and CBD on December 31, 2020 threatening to hold us financially liable for GRT’s legal fees if we would not voluntarily dismiss the lawsuit,” said Ivor. “FoGR’s board unanimously agreed that we would not be bullied by GRT or its attorneys. FoGR is going to continue to do everything legally possible to protect the Gualala River watershed and the extraordinary animals whose lives depend on it,” adds Ivor.

Ivor further explained that the largest and oldest redwoods remaining in the Gualala River watershed grow in the river’s floodplain adjacent to the river. Dogwood comprises miles of floodplain stretching from a unit next to the Gualala Point Regional Park Campground, known to many locals as the Magical Forest, and continuing along the south fork of the river past Annapolis Road. The logging operation would involve tractors dragging large felled redwoods through the sensitive floodplain.

Adult Steelhead, by Peter Baye
Adult Steelhead, photo by Peter Baye

The ESA lawsuit is now in the discovery phase which includes collecting scientific evidence to support the case to protect the threatened and endangered species: Northern Spotted Owl, California Red-Legged Frog, Steelhead and Coho salmon.

Jeanne Jackson, who serves as FoGR treasurer and co-chair of the ESA fundraising campaign – We Speak for the River – said, “FoGR needs to raise an additional $47,000 to reach its goal to fund this major effort. We’re grateful to everyone who has contributed to the campaign, the support has been tremendous and FoGR has raised $128,000 to date. The Center for Biological Diversity has been an outstanding partner in this effort and supported it with much-needed resources.”

Visit FoGR’s website at GualalaRiver.org to make a donation or learn more about FoGR’s efforts.

Adult coho salmon
Adult coho salmon; photo by NOAA Fisheries

 

Friends of Gualala River is a local, citizen’s nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of the Gualala River, its watershed, and the species that rely on it.


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Friends of Gualala River
P.O. Box 1543
Gualala, CA 95445

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