We are certainly living during interesting times. Apart from the usual mishaps of our human condition there are some really encouraging events that have transpired since our last newsletter.
Deeper in the newsletter there’s a shout out related to Suction Dredge Mining Reform Bill that Umpqua Watersheds has supported for the past five years. It is not a perfect solution to the continued problem of damage to our environment by resource extraction industries but it is a very positive and productive. Although I was a key instigator in this effort I have to give credit where credit is due. Umpqua Watersheds focus on the Spring Chinook run of the Upper South Umpqua River far outdates the initiation of the effort to address suction dredge mining in our region. Thanks to the committed conservation minded fishermen in our organization we were prepared to react when sensitive fish runs were being threatened by gold miners. Thanks team UW!
As President of UW I continue to commit time and energy to the NW Fire Science Consortium and seeking to address fire ecology in our region. Our forests are fire adapted systems that have been radically interrupted by clear cut logging. When once we had complex multi-tiered fuel structures in our forest we are now having to deal with the legacy of monoculture even- aged fuel structures dominating the landscape. There are laws and social issues to address if fire is going to once again safely grace our regional landscapes. One major issue is the impact of smoke. There are laws governing the amount of smoke allowable in the atmosphere to protect public health. Other efforts seek to address the monumental task of fixing what we have broken without doing further damage. Many people look at the forest plantations as a great way to manage the wood products industry. It the farthest thing from the truth. Most plantations are nothing but fuel traps and ecological deserts. Very little can live there and the impact on our natural water reserves is devastating. The fire consortium is made up of academic, corporate and environmental interests looking for answers and staying on top of the latest science discoveries.
Ok. Ok. I’ve been remiss with the Board and the Staff here at UW. We’ve been chomping at the bit to tell the world of our wonderful good fortune. The onus of having to move our office has been hanging over our proverbial heads for some time. We all know moving is a major hassle right? As of this month Umpqua Watersheds has been the recipient of a huge contribution by one of our supporters. The owner of our office building has long been a UW believer. He has decided to donate the office building and its assets to Umpqua Watersheds. This takes UW’s efforts to a whole new level and we cannot express the level of gratitude we all feel as a result of this substantial contribution. A special shout out goes to Executive Director Kasey Hovik and Outreach Coordinator Alan Bunce for taking the process on and guiding it to a successful completion.
Of course with a building comes responsibilities. There’s work to be done and we need your support. Major modifications and some repairs are needed to bring the building up to its highest potential. Please consider sending a donation to UW specifically for that purpose. We’ve all considered ourselves people of place. With downtown property now owned by us.