Klamath Siskiyou

Protecting 220,000 Acres in the world-class Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion

For over a decade, Geos Institute has played a lead science role documenting the world-class biodiversity of this 10-million acre region in southwest Oregon, northern California. Recently our science publications recognized it as a critical climate refuge for rare plants and wildlife to weather the coming climate change storm, if protected from unsustainable land use.

The biodiversity hotspot within the larger Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion is the ~quarter-million acre south Kalmiopsis area that borders northern California’s Smith River National Recreation Area and contains the highest concentration of rare plants of any of Oregon’s 1400 watersheds. Pristine headwaters support Oregon’s best remaining salmon runs and highest water quality. Just to the west, lie Oregon’s only ancient redwoods. Unfortunately, industrial scale nickel mining operations are proposed in the area that, if developed, would degrade the headwaters of the North Fork of the Smith River, which flows into the popular Smith River National Recreation Area, the headwaters of the Illinois River, which is a salmon stronghold, and important salmon spawning areas along Oregon’s coast.

Geos Institute has been a central participant in a campaign to secure permanent protection for the Kalmiopsis area for the past two years. Our partners, Oregon Wild, American Rivers, KS Wild, and other local organizations, are bringing to bear their organizing experience and the Geos Institute is leveraging our scientific expertise in a multiyear campaign to meet our shared conservation goals to permanently protect this biodiversity hotspot.

Comments on draft Northern California Conservation and Recreation Act (NCCRA)

Congressman Jared Huffman (CA) is drafting legislation to protection wilderness and wild and scenic rivers within the northern California portion of the world-class Klamath-Siskiyou ecoregion. Geos Institute recently commented on the draft requesting changes to the fire management section based on best available science: 

  1. Fire-Mediated Biodiversity Needs to be Recognized as Integral to the Ecological Integrity of the Klamath-Siskiyou Ecoregion
  2. Provisions Related to “Uncharacteristic Fire” Are Unclear and Need to be based on the Characteristic Fire Regime of the Region
  3. Protections Should be added to Late-Successional Reserves (and Forests) Before and After Natural Disturbances
  4. Further Limitations on the Use of Fuel Breaks Along Roads and Plantations Are Needed
  5. Multiparty Monitoring Requires Funding and Scientific Guidance

Read the full letter

 

 

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument Expansion Hearing

On October 14, 2016 Senator Jeff Merkely held a public hearing on the proposed expansion of the approximately 62,000 acres Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument, which includes the Pilot Rock area. It was designated by President Clinton in 2000 as the nation’s first monument to biodiversity and contains extraordinary plant and animal diversity. The region is considered a unique biological crossroads for wildlife and plants dispersing across the Cascades, Siskiyous, and Coast Range. It is the nation’s only monument to biodiversity.

Scientists, including Geos Institute, have been calling for expansion of the monument to enable wildlife migrations facing unprecedented climate change and development in the surroundings.

 

Geos Institute submits testimony to the Senate to protect globally important Southwest Oregon watersheds

The U.S. Senate held a hearing on Sept. 22 in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee that included legislation introduced by Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley to permanently protect some of the nation’s most outstanding landscapes and rivers from destructive mining. Geos Institute’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Dominick DellaSala, submitted testimony in support of this much needed legislation.

Read the full testimony here

Mystic Corridor Tour

From Crater Lake to the Coast

Join us for an online road tour down the Mystic Corridor, between Crater Lake National Park and the Pacific Coast, with its world-class recreation sites and scenic attractions.  This tour crosses the northern part of the Klamath-Siskiyou region on highways 62, 234, 99, and 199.

For each stop on this virtual tour, you will find:

  • a 2 to 3 minute video about the site and what you can do there    
  • driving directions and a map    
  • links to more information and resources

Explore the Klamath-Siskiyou

Breathtaking beauty and untouched serenity are only a small part of what makes the Klamath-Siskiyou region so unique.

Teeming with life, the Klamath-Siskiyou is ranked one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. From the Pacific coast, the rain-soaked coastal redwood forests give way to the rugged Klamath Mountains, which are bordered on the east by the arid foothills of the Rogue and Shasta Valleys. Wild salmon and steelhead spawn in the pristine Wild and Scenic Rivers, while the clear, cold streams provide fresh drinking water for our local communities.

The Klamath-Siskiyou region’s dense mountain forests and beautiful rivers provide a recreational wonderland for generations of families to enjoy and pass on.

The federally-protected Wilderness Areas, National Recreation Areas, National Forests, National Parks, and Wild and Scenic Rivers ensure that this national gem will remain for our future generations to treasure.

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A Wild American Forest

dvd thumbAcademy Award winner Susan Sarandon narrates the remarkable, inspiring story of how a rugged pocket of America’s Pacific Northwest has endured 150 years of logging, mining, and dam-building to remain one of the largest strongholds of old-growth forest in the nation. The beautiful, scenic Klamath-Siskiyou eco-region, straddling the border between California and Oregon, is a wonderland of biodiversity and one of the world’s most important temperate forest regions. The tallest trees on earth grow here, and the greatest concentration of wild and scenic rivers in the nation tumble through the steep terrain.  Filmed in more than a dozen wilderness areas and national monuments, A Wild American Forest showcases the Klamath-Siskiyou’s natural splendor and vividly illustrates why this area is recognized as a globally significant bioregion.

Like the rest of the Pacific Northwest, the Klamath-Siskiyou bears the impact of more than a century of resource extraction.  Yet a remarkable set of circumstances–including topography and a landmark court ruling preserving spotted owl habitat–has left the 20,000 square-mile eco-region with more than a third of its old-growth forest intact, a higher percentage than the Pacific Northwest overall. How this happened is explored in the film with the help of those who know it well, from scientists and foresters to an economist, Native Americans, and other local residents. But what will the future bring?  Only one-fourth of the area’s old-growth forest enjoys full legal protection, putting the rest of it at risk.  Salmon populations are on the brink of collapse here and elsewhere on the Pacific coast. A Wild American Forest reveals how creative solutions to these problems have been set in motion in the Klamath-Siskiyou, setting a precedent for the world.

Watch the first five minutes of A Wild American Forest

Emerald Waters – Wild Rivers At Risk

The Kalmiopsis region in southwest Oregon is home to wild rivers and rare beauty. It is one of the most biologically diverse landscapes on the West Coast. It is also threatened by industrial scale nickel mines. British investors are looking to turn the wild and pristine wildlands into a wasteland of haul roads, ore smelters, and mountain top removal. Grassroots conservation groups are building support to protect 90,000 acres of the Rough & Ready, Baldface, and Hunter Creek watersheds from mine development. Join the efforts today.

Watch the video depicting this rare and beautiful landscape.

Emerald Waters – Wild Rivers At Risk from KS Wild on Vimeo.

Old-growth Forests Hold Keys to Adapting to Climate Change

Scientists released new findings on the importance of mature and old-growth forests in preparing the Klamath-Siskiyou region of southwest Oregon and northern California for global climate disruptions. Published in the January edition of The Natural Areas Journal (Volume 32: 65-74) by the Natural Areas Association, the study calls on regional land managers to protect mature and old-growth forests as an insurance policy for fish and wildlife facing mounting climate change pressures from rising temperatures, declining snow levels, and reductions in fog along the coast.

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