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environment | forest defense

NEST finds species to stop old growth timber sales

The Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team (NEST) will be conducting surveys for red tree vole nests—a small rodent which is the main food source of the endangered spotted owl—in the "Trapper" timber sale, a tract of old-growth forest in the McKenzie River watershed, the source of Eugene's drinking water.
Climber searching for nests
Climber searching for nests
The Northwest Ecosystem Survey Team (N.E.S.T.) is a group of forest defenders committed to protecting the habitat of rare species associated with old growth and late-successional forests. NEST enforces environmental protections built into the Northwest Forest Plan (NWP). In 2004, Bush and the timber industry conspired to end the protections provided by the Survey and Manage portion of the NWP. However, their conspiracy was short lived because in January, a U.S. District Court judge upheld Northwest Forest Plan rules that required on-the-ground inspections for various animal and plant species before logging can begin. This ruling halted more than 140 logging projects on public land in the Northwest -- about three-quarters of them in Oregon -- after concluding that the Bush administration illegally stopped checking for sensitive species before letting the cut proceed.

So starting this summer NEST will resume its citizen surveys for sensitive species. One of the species that we survey is the red tree vole. The red tree vole is a small arboreal rodent that lives in the tops of Douglas firs and feeds on its needles. It makes its nest from the discarded interior of the needle, which is called a resin duct. We document the presence of this animal by finding its nest and reporting it to the responsible agency (usually the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management). Put simply, under the Northwest Forest Plan, documented red tree vole sites get roughly 10 acres of protection. Our documentation of this species has led to the protection of hundreds of acres of old growth forest in about a dozen timber sales. Our surveys have also been instrumental in court cases resulting in federal injunctions.

N.E.S.T. Needs volunteers!

Nest will begin its activities starting in June and continue throughout summer. NEST needs volunteers of all kinds. Although previous climbing experience is great, it's not necessary as we can train you in less than a week to climb trees and locate nests. There are also other plants and animals on the ground that can be looked for as well. A typical NEST camp is composed of 5 to 10 persons. We spend about two weeks at each timber sale moving from unit to unit looking for the presence of protected species in the canopy and on the ground. Equipment and food is provided as we get donations from a variety of Eugene businesses. You will need to bring your own sleeping bag and whatever else you might need to make a two-week stay in the forest enjoyable. Besides locating protected species, we encounter all kinds of wildlife and get to see some of the most beautiful endangered ecosystems that Cascadia (the pacific northwest) has to offer.

If you are interested in volunteering for N.E.S.T or if you have any questions, please contact: Josh at  thombanjo@riseup.net or 541.688.2600

phone: phone: 541-688-2600