Who We Are
The Conservation Congress (CC) is a grassroots 501 (c) 3 nonprofit conservation organization incorporated in the state of California in 2004. We work to protect National Forest lands and native wildlife in northern California.The Conservation Congress is part of Voices for Public Lands (VPL), an informal coalition of public lands conservation groups united by a commitment to the values enumerated in VPL's Declaration of Principles for Public Lands.
What We Do
The Conservation Congress is democracy in action. We hold federal and state agencies accountable to environmental laws and regulations. We participate in forest and wildlife management planning processes from initial commenting through project implementation.
We comment on proposed federal projects on National Forest lands and state wildlife management plans with biologically based comments to address environmental deficiencies that would harm habitat and wildlife.
We utilize the administrative objections process to challenge timber sales at the Forest Service level but when administrative objections fail and the project decision is unlawful, we litigate in court.
We advocate for rare and imperiled species, especially those listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Northern Spotted Owl is an indicator species for other species dependent on old growth forests. Whatever happens to the Owl will ultimately affect these other species, such as Northern Goshawk, Marbled Murrelet, Pacific Fisher and American Marten.
All of these species are listed as threatened or sensitive and the Owl is proposed for uplisting to endangered status. The primary reason these species are threatened is due to logging of their habitat by the Forest Service which has developed an unholy alliance with private timber industry.
Instead of providing the habitat these species need to recover healthy populations, the Forest Service continues to log their habitat. The only one to benefit from this arrangement is private timber interests who are making money off our public lands at the expense of our imperiled wildlife.
What We Believe
As the courts have recognized, conservation groups serve as “Citizen Attorney Generals.” We watchdog the government to ensure federal environmental laws are upheld. The Conservation Congress works on National Forest lands administered by the U.S. Forest Service.
This agency is under the Department of Agriculture which is itself a problem because forests are viewed as crops of trees rather than ecological forest systems that provide clean air and water, habitat for wildlife, and sanctuary from urban life.
We believe these public lands that are owned by the American people and paid for with taxpayer dollars should have a strong public voice. Therefore, Conservation Congress especially provides a voice for the voiceless – the wildlife, trees, water and the interconnected ecosystems that cannot speak for themselves.
Public lands such as National Forests provide the last best wildlife habitat in the United States. If wildlife can’t live there then little else is available to them. Most private lands are developed for commercial purposes and private timber lands are not managed sustainably.
The timber industry manages its lands to produce the greatest economic value for the company and therefore they provide little if any wildlife habitat for imperiled species. If America is to sustain its wildlife heritage then public lands must be protected to provide the habitat that wildlife need.