Man Climbs 70 100 Foot Tower, Locks Down to Save Wetlands, Willits Bypass Update 6-21-13
Marking the date of a federal lawsuit by several environmental groups
suing Caltrans and the Army Corps of Engineers in regards to
environmental law violations in regards to the Construction of a
$300,000,000 Highway 101 bypass around the town of Willits. A man has
climbed and taken refuge in the top of a 100 foot wick drain
installation machine shutting down the installation of wick-drains
designed to drain the wetlands which environmental groups believe will
also drain the headwaters of the Federally Protected Wild and Scenic Eel
river, California's third largest river which in recent years has seen
a comeback of the Wild Chinook Salmon Runs and population.
On Thursday, a local
freelance journalist and blogger, Will Parrish, climbed halfway up the
100-foot tower of one of two wick-drain installers, halting the big
machine's work for the day, according to protesters and Caltrans
attempted to use a lift to remove Parrish, but backed off when they saw
that he'd attached himself to the machine using a "sleeping dragon" -- a
cable protected by a metal pipe, Frisbie said."Will is still up there," said Jamie Chevalier, spokeswoman for Redwood Nation Earth First.
Wednesday, CHP officers arrested five people after protesters blocked
the wick-installation machines for several hours. Work on several other
areas of the project was not affected, Frisbie said."It's slowing it down, but not stopping the work," he said.
have been about 30 arrests related to the bypass protests since April,
protesters said. Protests have cost the state $100,000 for paying
workers sidelined by the protests, $160,000 for building a temporary
access road to remove tree sitters and about $935,000 for law
enforcement to remove tree sitters, Frisbie said.Most recently,protesters have focused on the drains.
55,000 80-foot vertical drains are being installed in an area north of
Willits, where seasonal wetlands and migrating salmon are threatened according to environmental groups.