Monday, February 22, 2010

Dueling Klamath presentations on tap at E-Law Conference

The Environmental Law Conference which will take place from February 25th through February 28th at the University of Oregon in Eugene is arguably the West Coast's premier annual environmental event. Environmental activists and lawyers from throughout the region and around the world apply or are recruited to offer presentations which focus on major global and regional environmental issues as well as strategies and actions (especially lawsuits) to address those issues. Therefore it comes as no surprise that both "sides" in the developing Klamath Debate will be making presentations. Here are the descriptions of Klamath-related sessions from the conference brochure:

 On Friday Morning ~

Klamath Basin: Dam Removal and Basinwide Restoration
      This panel, including long-time grassroots and tribal communities,
will address the challenges and opportunities for basinwide restoration
in the 10 million acre Klamath Basin. From National Wildlife
refuges to tribal water rights, panelists will express their concerns
regarding existing Klamath settlement negotiations and agreements,
address controversies, and offer a more prudent path toward realistic
restoration and Klamath dam removal.
     Bob Hunter, Staff Attorney, WaterWatch of Oregon
     Scott Graecen, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)
     Alexandra Borack, Conservation Advocate, Friends of the River
     Allie Hostler, Communications Coordinator, Hoopa Valley Tribe Fisheries Department

And On Saturday Morning ~

The Klamath Settlement: Why It Makes Sense
      The Klamath River was once home to the nation’s third largest salmon runs, fish which still feed many Native American peoples andcoastal communities.  The two recently approved Klamath Basin Settlement Agreements present an exceptional opportunity to favorably resolve some of the most contentious water conflicts in the West, as well as take down four obsolete hydropower dams in order to restore depressed salmon runs back to the Klamath. This Klamath stakeholder panel will discuss why those Agreements deserve support.
     Troy Fletcher, Tribal Member, Yurok Tribe of California
     Mike Bechick, Senior Fisheries Biologist, Yurok Tribe Natural Resources Department
     Chuck Bonham, California State Director, Trout Unlimited
     Frankie Joe Meyer, Yurok Tribal Elder
     Glen Spain, NW Regional Director and General Counsel, PCFFA

It is a sign of the times that those who once articulated a single vision for Klamath river, marsh  and refuge restoration at this very conference now present separately. The two groups of presenters have very different visions for the Klamath River Basin. Those radically different visions are the central triumph of the Bush Administration’s Klamath policy. Bush’s Interior Department used the promise of dam removal to shatter the coalition of Klamath River Basin tribes, environmentalists and fishermen and to defeat the water reform program that coalition once shared.  Obama’s Interior Department has continued in the same vein. It remains to be seen whether the Obama White House and Congress will continue down this road.

These two presentations will give those who attend them a preview of arguments which soon will be taking place in Washington, DC.

This weekend’s E-Law Conference in Eugene has a wealth of other workshops and presentations. Here are a few KlamBlog finds particularly interesting ~

Water is Life! – Indigenous Water Protection and Indigenous Law: Case Studies from Montana Tribal Water Rights Negotiations and British Columbia
      In the United States and Canada, Indigenous nations are protecting
and honoring their sacred water resources. In Montana’s Columbia
River headwaters, the Confederated Salish-Kootenai Tribes of the
Flathead Nation are working on treaty-protected senior reserved water
rights negotiations toward a historic peaceful and equitable water
apportionment. In British Columbia, First Nations are using their
Indigenous environmental laws to address resource development and
environmental challenges affecting their waters and lands, and proposing
new forms of joint environmental decision-making with the state.
     Harold Shepherd, Executive Director, Center for Water Advocacy
     Dawn Winalski, Attorney
     Josh Paterson, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
     Walter Parker, Sr Arctic Official, Walter Parker & Assoc, Ctr for Water Advocacy
     Carol Dubay, Elder, Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Nation

Empowering the Next Generation of Wildlife Warriors
      Robert and Bindi Irwin are all about empowering kids by providing
them with the knowledge and confidence to make a difference in
their world. It is a simple and powerful message. The partnerships
and programs Robert and Bindi are involved with aim to educate
children about conservation, and the things they can do to improve
the world around them.
     Bindi has been the star of several Animal Planet television programs,
including Bindi the Jungle Girl, The Crocodile Hunter and The
Wiggles. She has also recorded a children’s environmental hip-hop
album and will be starring in the upcoming movie Free Willy 4: Escape
from Pirate’s Cove. Robert, a chip off of the old block, has inherited
Steve’s natural curiosity about wildlife and his love and respect for
animals big and small.
     Blessed with her father’s innate connection to wildlife and a quiet
confidence, Bindi forges ahead in her father’s absence to champion
the message of nature conservation. Bindi knows kids will drive the
changes required to save our environment and consistently make a
positive impact. She knows the issues are bigger than just wildlife
    In addition to being fun, this interactive session with Robert and
Bindi will educate children about conservation and how they can
make a difference. Tickets to this event are free, but must be reserved
through registration.

Roads & Clean Water: New Tools for an Old Problem
     Forest and rangeland roads have been identified as sources of dirty
water, chronic erosion, and catastrophic landslides, which can pollute
drinking water supplies and wipe out aquatic species. Panelists will
discuss current policy efforts to address this widespread problem on
western forestlands and the latest legal strategies for addressing water
quality impacts under the Clean Water Act, National Forest Management
Act, and other environmental statutes.
     Chris Frissell, Director of Science and Conservation, Pacific Rivers Council
     Sue Gunn, Restoration Campaign Director, Wildlands CPR
     Paul Kampmeier, Staff Attorney, Washington Forest Law Center
     Scott Jerger, Attorney, Field Jerger LLP

The Rebirth of Environmentalism: Lessons in
Effectiveness from the Grassroots

     The vigorous use of litigation by new grassroots environmental groups
has led to a remarkable increase in forest and endangered species protection
in the US over the past twenty years. In The Rebirth of Environmentalism,
author Douglas Bevington examines the accomplishments of
these grassroots groups, their contentious relationship to the national
environmental organizations, and their lessons to help the environmental
movement become more effective. He will be joined by activists
from three grassroots campaigns profiled in this book.
      Douglas Bevington, author, The Rebirth of Environmentalism
      Karen Pickett, Director, Bay Area Coalition for Headwaters
      Dr. Chad Hanson, Director, John Muir Project
     Brendan Cummings, Public Lands Director, Center for Biological Diversity

The Myth of Catastrophic Wildfire: Discovering the Ecological
Importance of High Intensity Forest Fires
     Misled by the myth that dead trees should be rare in healthy forests, many
believe that only low-intensity fires, which have little effect on forest
structure, are ecologically beneficial, but areas of high-intensity fire are
somehow unnatural or damaging. Recently, ecologists have come to understand
that high-intensity fire was a natural part of historic fire regimes and
creates some of the most important and biodiverse forest habitat in the
western U.S. Panelists will discuss the new paradigm in forest/fire ecology.
      Dr. Chad Hanson, Director, John Muir Project
      Dr. Dennis Odion, Researcher, University of California-Santa Barbara

Collaborative Intrusions on Indigenous Domains
      The panel will deliberate upon human values, ethics, market driven
standards applied to active management systems; the effects of surrogate
collaborative powers imposed through international, national, state,
and tribal agencies using manifest destiny, eminent domain, austerity
programming and Public Trust Doctrine to achieve preemptive cartelization
of sovereign indigenous natural assets and allocated resources.
      William Blair, Auditor Directorate, Infraspect, Environmental Sciences & Community
      Chief Fred Sitting Up, Na’ca Woitancan Okalaciciye
      Dave Bald Eagle, Na’ca Woitancan Okalaciciye
      Benny Mills, Washo indigenous elder, court spokesman
      Art George, Director, indigenous education and outreach, Tahoe Foundation
     Agnes Pilgram, Prayer Person, International Council of 13 Indigenous Grandmothers
      Calvin Hec cota, Natural man, Touch the Earth Environmental School
      Emerson Elk, Na’ca Woitancan Okalaciciye
      Dewayne Good Face, Traditional Government
      Joe Brown Thunder, retired pastor

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