EcoNews Vol. 47, No. 4 - AugSep2017

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Coastal Cleanup Day • Saturday, September 16 Over 45 Years of Environmental News


Arcata, California

Vol. 47, No. 4

Aug/Sep 2017

 Published by the Northcoast Environmental Center Since 1971

States Stand for Climate Accord | Criticism of Cap and Trade | Klamath Dam Update Coho Confab | Bay Trail Construction | Clam Beach Contamination | Kin: Sharon Duggan

News From the Center Larry Glass, Executive Director and Bella Waters, Admin & Development Director We hope everyone is enjoying their summer and finding time to immerse themselves in one of our exceptional wild areas! Our big event of the summer is almost here, so don’t forget to purchase a ticket for our “you’ve got to be there” Summer Bar-B-Q party on August 27. All proceeds for the event will go straight to the NEC! This party is shaping up to have great food such as fresh caught tuna, Alaskan salmon, local bread, salad, desserts, jazzy swing music by Fred Neighbor & Junior, beer & wine fueled lawn games and quality mingle time. This party is held at a beautiful private residence so tickets are limited. Get your tickets early—this event always sells out! See the ad on the backpage for the link to buy tickets online. If there’s ever been a day to not miss in Humboldt, September 16 is that day! Here is why: • 38th Annual Coastal Cleanup Day. Sign up now to become a site captain, join a team of people cleaning up at your favorite beach, or join the NEC’s team to clean up South



415 I Street, Arcata, CA 95521 PO Box 4259, Arcata, CA 95518 707- 822-6918 EcoNews is the official bi-monthly publication of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC), a non-profit organization. Third class postage paid in Arcata. ISSN No. 0885-7237. EcoNews is mailed to our members and distributed free throughout the Northern California and Southern Oregon bioregion. The subscription rate is $50 per year.

The ideas and views expressed in EcoNews are not necessarily those of the NEC.

Clam Beach. Find more information on our website coastalcleanup. • North Country Fair. Happening the third weekend in September on the Arcata Plaza, the 44th annual North Country Fair is full of music, entertainment, informational booths and craft vendors. The NEC will have a booth with information, merchandise for sale, and our first annual Endangered Art Show! We will also be offering letter-writing materials at our booth with supplies available to write a letter or postcard to your elected representatives. Our goal is to send 1,000 letters to our elected representatives—either thanking them for their support of protecting national monuments or the EPA budget, or encouraging them to ensure adequate protections for clean water or public lands. Our Washington D.C. Legal Analyst Dan Sealy will be available to help answer questions and provide support. • Endangered Art Show. All are encouraged to submit art featuring a U.S. endangered species, to help us educate the community on the importance of protecting these species. Submitted art will be on display at our booth during the North Editor/Layout: Morgan Corviday Proofreaders: Karen Schatz, Midge Brown, Anne Maher, Madison Peters, Joanne McGarry. Authors: Jennifer Kalt, Delia Bense-Kang, Bella Waters, Emma Held, Tom Wheeler, Anne Maher, Morgan Corviday, Felice Pace, Catherine Gurin, Madison Peters, Molly Croll, Dana Stoltzman, Claire Roth, Jake Johnson, Richard Kreis, Carol Ralph, Rebekah Staub. Cover Photo: Team NEC at the annual Friends of the Dunes Sand Sculpture Festival promoting Sanctuary for All Species and the All Species Parade. Photo: Madison Peters.

NEC Staff

Executive Director: Larry Glass, Administrative & Development Director: Bella Waters, EcoNews Editor, Web Director: Morgan Corviday, MPA Outreach Coordinator: Delia Bense-Kang, Coastal Cleanup Coordinator: Madison Peters, Office Associate: Anne Maher,

Country Fair and afterward in our office. Copies of art will then be sent to Washington D.C. to make sure they see why the Endangered Species Act matters to us. Some of the art will be entered into a silent auction (details coming soon) so be sure to check it out! • All Species Parade. After being held on Sunday during the North Country Fair for many years, this festive tradition has been moved to Saturday! That’s right, Saturday! The parade’s theme this year is Sanctuary for All Species. Bring a costume, mask, make-up, sign, banner, or some other way to celebrate the diversity of life on our planet! This is a kid-friendly event, so bring the whole family! We are also encouraging organizations and groups to participate together and coordinate themed costumes. To participate in this year’s parade, meet in the Tri-Counties bank

NEC Board Of Directors President - Larry Glass, Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment, Vice-President - Dan Sealy, At-Large, Secretary - Jennifer Kalt, Humboldt Baykeeper, Treasurer - Chris Jenican Beresford, AtLarge, Gary Falxa, Calfornia Native Plant Society, CJ Ralph, Redwood Region Audubon Society, Richard Kreis, Sierra Club, North Group. Alicia Hamann, Friends of the Eel River, Briana Villalobos, Environmental Protection Information Center, Bob Morris, Trinity County Representative, At-Large,

Humboldt Baykeeper

Fiscally sponsored by the NEC Director: Jennifer Kalt, Bay Tours Coordinator: Jasmin Segura,

parking lot in Arcata at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16. NEC staff will be present to help organize, and at 1 p.m. Bandemonium will lead the parade around the Arcata Plaza! There will be costume and mask making workshops leading up to the parade to help you get ready (details on page 4) and a mixer after the North Country Fair on Saturday. More information will be on our website as it becomes available at

NEC Member Groups Humboldt Baykeeper

Sierra Club,North Group, Redwood Chapter

California Native Plant Society North Coast Chapter

Redwood Region Audubon Society

Friends of the Eel River

Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (SAFE)

Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)

NEC Affiliate Members Friends of Del Norte

Zero Waste Humboldt

Californians for Alternatives to Toxics

News from the Center

Continued from previous page Thanks to all who have responded to our spring fund appeal. Your support is needed more than ever to advocate and educate on the importance of clean water, clean air, public lands and protection of all species. If you haven’t had the chance to donate to the NEC you can do so anytime on our website, by sending in a check, calling with your credit card information, or stopping by our office. As you’ll see on the back page of this issue, our Technology Update Fundometer is rising! One gracious member has offered to provide a matching grant once we receive $5,000. Your funds will allow us to not only replace outdated computers, but purchase computers for our staff and interns who do not have a computer at their desk! The NEC office has become quite the hub this summer and with our limited functioning computers we added a new question during our intern interviews: “Do you have a laptop you can bring with you?” Please help so we can remove this question next year! All donations earmarked ‘tech update’ will go towards this project.

Volunteer Spotlight Name: Karen Lyle Schatz Program: EcoNews proofreader How long volunteering with NEC: I have been volunteering for NEC since about 1985—the first 25 years or so, as a team organizer for the Maple Creek School’s annual beach cleanup at the Mad River in Maple Creek. I retired from the school district in 2010, and offered to be a proofreader for EcoNews at that time. What inspired you to volunteer: I wanted to keep active in my word processing skills, and at the time EcoNews had enough typos that I felt they could use the help. It seemed to me that a lot of folks were willing to discount what they were reading as “inconvenient truth,” and typos in the articles made it too easy to pretend that the rest of the article was not reliable, and thus could be ignored. Words for future volunteers: Pitch in however you can, in any amount you can. Make your contribution fun for you to do, and helpful for those that you are doing it for. Anyone can do something useful, and every little bit helps out the overall situation. The more folks who are part of the solution, the faster the problems get smaller.

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

If you missed the last EcoNews issue, you might not know that the NEC has a chance to go solar! Solar panels and their installation labor has been donated by our local solar guru Roger, the goahead received from our landlord, and now the big challenge—we need to raise $2,400 to cover the City of Arcata solar permit, various electrical supplies and solar racks. We’ve received $330 so far. If each of our wonderful members would send in $5-10 or even more, earmarked for ‘solar’, we’d be on track to having our office completely solar by the fall. Please send in your check, call to pay by credit card or donate on our website at One of our long-term benefactors Carol Whitehurst passed away earlier this year. Carol not only considerately donated on a yearly basis, but was one of our lenders for remediation of our previous location. Her dedication and support of the NEC will continue on as she left a very generous gift to the NEC as part of her estate plan. This gift will allow the NEC to continue being the voice for environmental issues on the north coast. If this type of estate planning is of interest to you please call us at the NEC for more information, 707-822-6918.

Read Letter to the Editor on page 20 in this EcoNews edition. Write a Letter to the Editor! Letters should be 300 words or less, be relevant to EcoNews readers and material covered in EcoNews, and must include the writer’s address and phone number. Letters may be edited and shortened for space. The NEC reserves the right to reject any submitted material for any reason (e.g., size, content, writing style, etc.).

Send letters to

Field of wild flowers for Carol Whitehurst and the generous gift she left the NEC upon her departure from this world. Bouquets of gratefulness to our technology upgrade donors Felicia Oldfather, Robert McCreath, Gerald Dickinson, Robert Roberts, Larry Dunn, Alan Laurent, Ronald & Donna Thompson, Andrea Tuttle, Bruce Campbell, Michael Morris and Lisa Hoover. Bouquets of sunflowers to our solar project donors Kristen Diamond, Ronald & Donna Thompson, Sandra Hill, Ollie Weber, Margaret Zegart, Patrick Owen, Michael Morris and Bruce Campbell. Bouquet of dahlias to Felicia Oldfather for

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Coastal Cleanup Day All Species Parade Klamath River Renewal Corporation Coho Confab States Commit to Climate Action Cap and Trade “Big Oil” Handout Great Old Broads Visit BioBlitz / HSU vs. Pepsi Update Kin To The Earth: Dr. Lowell Diller Student Focus: HSU Groups Eye on Washington Zero Waste Humboldt Humboldt Baykeeper EPIC Sierra Club, North Group California Native Plant Society Creature Feature: New Flying Squirrel Kids’ Page: Celebrate All Species

Article submissions welcome! Full articles of 300-600 words may be submitted, preferably by email. Please pitch your idea to the editor prior to submitting a draft. Include your phone number and email with all submissions, to

her donation to our workstudy program. Welcome to our summer interns Erik Daniels (GIS), Erika Gonzalez Granadino (Special Projects), Sydney Long (Coastal Programs–Media), and Ciera Wilbur (Coastal Programs–Planning). Bouquet to Plaza for hosting NEC and supplying the wine during Arts Arcata. Bouquet of daisies to Brett Watson and Evan Wrye for volunteering their time and expertise to assist us with our computer upgrade project. Bouquet of Richardson Grove redwood sprigs to EPIC for filing a lawsuit against CalTrans to prevent the widening of highway 101 through Richardson Grove.


Coastal Cleanup Day Saturday, September 16

This year will mark the 38th anniversary of the Northcoast Environmental Center’s Coastal Cleanup Day (CCD). As many of our readers already know, Coastal Cleanup Day got its humble beginnings right here in Humboldt County as a program of the NEC in the late 1970s. With the help of the California Coastal Commission and the Ocean Conservancy it has since grown to be the largest volunteering event centered on the care of the environment in California and across the world. Last year, with the help of over 700 Humboldt County Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers, we removed more than seven tons of trash and recyclables from our beaches, rivers, bay and estuaries! Statewide, California picked up a total of 710,781 pounds and internationally over 18 million pounds of debris were picked up by almost 800,000 volunteers. This just goes to show what we can accomplish by working together to make our planet a cleaner and better place. This year the biggest focus of Coastal Cleanup Day is addressing the effects human pollution has on wildlife. With recent attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency, Endangered Species Act, and public lands (National Parks and Monuments), by the Trump Administration, it is now more important than ever to make our voices heard through actions such as CCD. The Northcoast Environmental Center will again organize cleanups at more than 60 sites throughout Humboldt County with hopes to double participation and clean up even more trash off our beaches.

Get Rid of Trash, not Wildlife

Coordinating such a large event requires an immense amount of staff time and community coordination. Therefore, in addition to seeking site captains and volunteers, we’re also seeking financial sponsorships to cover coordination costs. Contact Madison Peters at coastalcleanup@ for details on sponsorship benefits and options to fit your budget. For more information on how you can get involved, see page 19 in this issue.

For more details, visit, email or call us at 707-822-6918.

Celebrating All Species Since 1979 Anne Maher and Morgan Corviday

Saturday, September 16

The NEC’s All Species Parade is a fun family-friendly event at the annual North Country Fair in which people of all ages dress as their favorite animal, plant or other creature and march and dance around the Arcata Plaza. The parade is deeply rooted in the history of the annual North Country Fair, a grassroots community festival that has celebrated the change of seasons, interconnectedness, and creativity since 1974. While many have participated in the All Species Parade over the years, few know its origins. Some digging will reveal that the Parade first made an appearance at the North Country Fair in 1979. It was around that time that Keith Lampe, known as Ponderosa Pine to his friends, was traveling throughout the northwest with his partner Olive Tree to promote multispecies events throughout California. Pondorosa, who died in 2014, was an environmental activist who worked vehemently against redwood logging and species-ism (a term he coined to describe human-centered behavior). He used music and dance throughout his life to promote protection Meet behind Tri-Counties bank for all species, and had already coordinated an All Species at 12:30pm to get ready for the parade! Parade in San Francisco the year before in 1978. After arriving in Arcata, Ponderosa stopped by the NEC If you have any fabric, faux fur, Join us for a costume/mask making workshop! to encourage such an event here. The idea took root and on cardboard, paints, elastic or other Supplies provided, just bring your ideas! Sunday, September 23, 1979 the NEC costume-making supplies that Friday, Sept. 8, 6-9pm co-sponsored Arcata’s first “Multiyou’d like to donate, please contact Species Day Parade”, followed at the Sanctuary, 1301 J St, Arcata by a “Multi-Species Ball”. A flyer advertising this first parade explained, “What is Ball following the Parade, but perhaps, with enough Multi-Species Day? More than a parade, more than a costume support, we could bring the event back in the future. As with many traditions, it requires a collective ball. A time to celebrate the ties between all the species. A time memory to remember their beginnings and the root to celebrate the planet.” of their meaning. It takes community members like Totem, mask and costume making workshops preceded the you to keep the spirit alive. Particularly at a time when events, and a tent of miscellaneous supplies was also available threats to biodiversity are on the rise and protections at the North Country Fair for attendees to put together an are being cut by the current administration, we need impromptu costume. to show our support and stand together to celebrate all Over the years, the All Species Parade has become a species and recognize the ties that bring us together. well loved tradition at the Fair. As former NEC Director As an old parade flyer notes, “For years, everything Tim McKay wrote regarding the Parade, “It does seem to centered around man and what he/she wanted; where sort of perpetuate itself. People enjoy doing it.” to live, what to eat, and which creatures should live, For many years the Parade was followed by a speciesif anywhere. Now, hopefully, people can change this.” themed costume Ball hosted by the NEC. Participants The theme for the All Species Parade this year recall dancing and parading from the plaza to the Ball is Sanctuary for All Species. Watch for painted (then held at the former Arcata Community Center on umbrellas in the Parade symbolizing places that D St.) to continue the celebration throughout the night provide sanctuary for plants and animals, such as with food, drink, music and festivities. In more recent years, the NEC has unfortunately National Parks, Monuments, and Forests, and Marine not been unable to host a Protected Areas! Take refuge under the umbrellas from threats such as the Plastic Bag Monster! On September 16, bring your family, friends and neighbors and share in the revelry of this community event that has continued for 38 years, and will continue for many more! We look forward to seeing YOU in the All Species Parade!

On the Arcata Plaza


Join us for a FREE costume and mask making workshop to get ready for the Parade on Sept. 8, 6-8 p.m. at the Sanctuary in Arcata!

Klamath River Renewal Corporation Committed to River Restoration Molly Croll

California Wilderness Coalition

The long awaited process of Klamath dam removal is underway. The Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) was established in 2016 to restore the Klamath River by taking ownership of four PacifiCorp dams and managing the decommissioning process for these facilities. In its first year, KRRC’s twelve Board members (appointed by Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) signatories) have built its legal, technical, and operational teams; established governance, financial, and risk management systems; secured long-term funding; commenced the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and state water quality permitting processes; and begun fleshing out the dam decommissioning details. In addition, KRRC has been working to acquaint itself with local community members and stakeholders to understand their relationship to the river and perspective on the project. But KRRC’s work is just beginning. KRRC plans to initiate dam removal in 2020. Before then, FERC and other agencies will have to approve the project. To support these regulatory processes over the next year, KRRC has begun preliminary field work, met with regulators, prepared additional technical information, environmental data, and planning documents, and continues its local outreach. Other preparations include procuring construction services to perform dam removal and efforts to support local job creation. KRRC’s Executive Director, Mark Bransom, who came on board in June of this year, brings personal passion and commitment to the endeavor along with a heavy dose of pragmatism. “The 2016 Agreement charged KRRC with performing the largest dam removal project in the nation’s history. The task is big and complicated and of course we will face challenges. But the rewards—a healthy Klamath River and region—will be more than worth the effort.” After years of negotiations and collaboration between diverse stakeholders in the Klamath Basin, including tribes, fishers, conservationists, farmers, and government, KRRC is taking real steps forward toward restoring the Klamath River. The benefits of Continued on page 20 dam decommissioning,


The Klamath in Weitchpec, CA. Photo: Klamath River Renewal Corporation.

20th Annual Coho Confab in the Mattole Dana Stolzman

Salmonid Restoration Federation

Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) is coordinating the 20th Annual Coho Confab that will take place August 24-26 in the beautiful Mattole River valley in Humboldt County. The Coho Confab is a field symposium to learn about watershed restoration and techniques to restore and recover coho salmon populations. The Confab provides an ideal opportunity to network with other fishcentric people and to participate in field tours that highlight innovative salmon restoration practices. This year, SRF is collaborating with several groups to produce this educational event including Sanctuary Forest, Mattole Restoration Council, and Mattole Salmon Group. This event is generously funded by California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Restoration Grant Program. The Coho Confab will open Thursday evening, August 24, with a community dinner and inspiring keynote presentations from Carlos Garza of NOAA Fisheries who will address prospects for recovery and restoration of coho salmon in California. Sungnome Madrone, Executive Director of the Mattole Salmon Group, will present on landowner stewardship

incentives. Tasha McKee, Program Director of Sanctuary Forest, and Elijah Portugal of Redwood Community Action Agency will give a presentation on what we can learn from beaver structures and apply towards salmon restoration planning. Friday will start off with concurrent morning tours including a Mattole estuary tour featuring heliwood placement, terrace margin treatments, offchannel slough restoration, and riparian planting and bioengineering techniques. There will also be a Prosper ridge prairie tour to showcase grassland reclamation and fuels reduction in King Range coastal prairie systems. After the morning tours, we will all corral up at the historic Mattole Grange for afternoon concurrent workshops including Coho Recovery Planning from state, ESU (Evolutionary Significant Unit), and watershed level with coho recovery coordinator from the Southern Oregon Northern California Coast ESU, Julie Weeder, Geneticist Carlos Garza, and Sungnome Madrone. Since the Coho Recovery team is no longer meeting in person, this is a great opportunity to convene and brainstorm about recovery strategies that are effective, cost-efficient and applicable in the Mattole and other Northern California coastal regions. Continued on page 20

Aug/Sep 2017


Paris Climate Accord: States Commit to Take Action

Cap and Trade a ‘Handout to Big Oil,’ Green Groups Say

“Governor Brown’s latest climate package perpetuates the myth that business as usual in the fossil fuel industry can go on with only a few small adjustments, and everything will be fine.” —Stephen Kretzmann, Oil Change International

Claire Roth In 2015, 195 countries agreed to the Paris Climate Agreement, also known as the Paris Climate Accord, marking a historic milestone within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. On Sept. 3, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the accord and added the United States to the list of countries stepping up for the planet. According to the New York Times, the Paris Climate Agreement involves a pledge made by each involved country that includes an outline of how each country intends to keep greenhouse gas emissions in check and combat the oftentimes irreversible effects of climate change. On June 1, 2017, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would abandon the Paris Climate Agreement, joining Nicaragua and Syria as the only countries to reject the vital agreement. Standing up to the failed leadership oozing from the White House, however, are individual American states and cities that know that pushing for and maintaining climate change legislation is a matter of planetary life or death. California, New York, and Washington are three of the states that are standing up to President Trump’s dismissal of the Paris Climate Agreement and climate change science in general. According to the Los Angeles Times, California, New York, and Washington came together to create the U.S. Climate Alliance, pledging to uphold the Paris Climate Agreement. The alliance involves both Democrats and Republicans and reaches out to other states to set forth a plan to remain in compliance with the carbon emissions cuts outlined by the Paris Climate Agreement, independently of guidance from President Trump. According to E&E News, the Alliance is working to lower carbon emissions by 26 to 28 percent below levels from 2005 by the year 2025. Another effort led by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is focused on guiding cities toward the same goal of compliance, boasting a list of 150 cities so far. According to the Los Angeles Times, there are estimations that 70 to 80 percent of cuts to carbon emissions stem from local and state levels. An organization called We Are Still In, consisting of city and state governments, higher education institutions, and powerful corporations such as Google and Apple, has also vowed to maintain the standards of the Paris Continued on page 19 Climate Agreement.

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

Gov. Brown should be “listening to the voices of the many people in California who actually have to live with the fossil fuel industry in their backyard,” argued Oil Change International executive director Stephen Kretzmann. Photo: Joe Brusky, Flickr CC.

Jake Johnson

Originally published at

[Editor’s note: AB 398, Gov. Brown’s controversial cap-and-trade bill that would extend California’s carbon trading program through 2030, was passed by the California Senate on July 17, while this issue of EcoNews was in production. This Common Dreams article was written prior to its passage.] California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is adamant that his newly unveiled package of legislation aimed at extending his state’s existing cap-and-trade program through 2030 is an essential step forward in the fight against climate change, but prominent green groups are characterizing the plan as yet another massive giveaway to large polluters. Masada Disenhouse,’s U.S. organizing coordinator, argued in a statement on Friday that “Big Oil’s fingerprints [are] all over” Brown’s plan, part of which has been endorsed by the California Chamber of Commerce, a business advocacy group. The legislative package, Disenhouse argued, “doesn’t do enough to protect vulnerable communities or to achieve California’s ambitious targets for reducing carbon pollution.” “We need to extend California’s climate law, but we also need to protect the ability of local air

districts to regulate pollution in their backyards— not give refineries and other fossil fuel infrastructure a free pass to pollute,” Disenhouse added, concluding that “legislators should come up with a stronger plan, while continuing to support bold legislation like SB 100 which would commit California to 100 percent clean energy by 2045.” Since President Donald Trump decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord—a move that has been denounced as “stupid and reckless” by environmentalists— California, in partnership with several other states, has taken on a significant role in pushing back against the White House and moving forward with action to mitigate the effects of climate change. (See article at left for more information.) As Common Dreams [previously] reported, Governor Brown recently met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to finalize an agreement aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Despite his recent depiction as a climate leader, however, Brown has long come under fire from environmental groups for his refusal to address significant issues like fracking, which founder Bill McKibben has called his Continued on page 20 “environmental blind spot.”


Great Old Broads Visit Redwoods

Broads doing a yoga “tree pose” on a fallen redwood log. Photo: Dan Sealy.

Dan Sealy In July, Great Old Broads for Wilderness came from Maine, the Chesapeake Bay region, Washington State, Idaho, the Rockies and all over California to experience and learn about the amazing, unique bioregion of Northwestern California and our treasured public lands. The Great Old Broads for Wilderness is an elder-led grassroots conservation group founded in 1989 in Utah to address the fact that “an important voice was missing from the environmental movement: the older woman— impassioned, experienced, not afraid to speak out, and definitely not needing roads,” as their history states. It has since grown to include chapters, also known as “Broadbands,” all over the country. Over two weeks, two separate groups totaling over 80 women (and a few men) explored the redwood forests, went river rafting, and put hands on tools to help clear portions of the historic Kelsey Trail in Del Norte County, all while camping on the beautiful South Fork of the Smith River. They attended evening sessions to learn about the history and science of the region, and true to the Great Old Broad’s tradition, they also wrote letters to members of Congress to urge them to protect these lands for all future generations. The Broads’ spirit of fun was exhibited when a bear carefully pilfered wine and cherries one morning in camp before breakfast, as well as their willingness to dive into the unknown as they adventured in ancient forests, on the emerald Smith River, and encountered large amounts of poison oak along trails. If you would like to learn more about the Great Old Broads for Wilderness and their emerging efforts to establish a “Broadband” here in Northwest California, contact Lauren Berutich at, or visit

Eureka Council Votes to Support Climate Accord Catherine Gurin 350 Humboldt

On July 18, the Eureka City Council voted to further Paris Climate Agreement goals by reducing local greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging leadership on climate at state and national levels. According to Council member Natalie Arroyo, the Council asked City staff to prepare a resolution in support of the Agreement after receiving numerous requests from the public. Four of the five members of the council voted “yes,” including Natalie Arroyo, Heidi Messner, Kim Bergel, and Austin Allison. In the resolution, the City backed California’s greenhouse gas emission reduction efforts and urged Representative Huffman and Senators Feinstein and Harris to continue working for a “responsible, proactive national energy policy.” The City also committed to reducing local greenhouse gas emissions through the use of renewable energy, the deployment of energy efficient fleet vehicles, and conservation improvements at the waste water treatment plant and other city-owned properties. According to Council member Allison, plans for reducing the City’s carbon footprint can be found in the updated General Plan, and a proposal to “optup” all city electricity accounts to the Redwood Coast Energy Authority’s 100% renewable RePower+ rate will be considered by the Eureka Energy Commission in August. For more information on state and municipality committments to support climate action, see page 6.

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Aug/Sep 2017


Snapshot Cal Coast BioBlitz

Negative Low Tide Reveals Intertidal Treasures Delia Bense-Kang wild shapes and colors, often with feathery gills and Snapshot Cal Coast is a monumental statewide horns on their backs. They are carnivores whose effort to document coastal biodiversity, focusing on diet consists of algae, sponges, anemones, corals, intertidal zones and marine protected areas using a barnacles, and even other nudibranchs. series of grassroots, smartphone powered, BioBlitzes. Another noteworthy find was a giant California This was the second year the Marine Protected Area sea cucumber (Parastichopus californicus). This Collaborative Network and California Academy of creature could be mistaken for a sea dragon, with its Sciences partnered to host the series of BioBlitzes, spiny red body and mouth surrounded by retractable with a time window of June 23 through July 2. tentacles. This species can get up to almost two feet A BioBlitz is an intensive one-place, one-time, in length, two inches in width and can move up to 13 study of biodiversity in a specific location. Through feet per day! these events, people of all backgrounds and skill Some other more common species observed levels can generate valuable citizen science data while included giant enjoying green anemones nature and (Anthopleura h e l p i n g xanthogrammica), to protect hermit crabs valuable ( P a g u r u s resources. h i r s u t i u s c u l u s), The goals of gumboot chitons the annual (Cryptochiton Snapshot stelleri), and Pacific Cal Coast purple sea urchins BioBlitz (Strongylocentrotus series are to purpuratus). help us better “I liked how understand this event brought c o a s t a l together marine habitats and s c i e n t i s t s , f luctuations e n v i r o n m e ntal in species educators, students ranges, build and novices to share awareness of A giant California sea cucumber. Photo: Joe Tybrczy. their finds like a biodiversity, treasure hunt and learn something about each other and help better manage our marine protected areas. and about the plants and animals that live there,” This series of BioBlitzes is powered by smartphones stated attendee Bill Rodstrom. “From my experience, using the iNaturalist app. The app allows you to record the more we know about a place and the more what you see in nature, share your observations meaningful connection that we experience with it, online, get help identifying what you have seen, meet the more we will want to explore and protect that other naturalists, and learn about the natural world place as much as possible.” around you. Special thanks to Carol Vander Meer, Suzie On Sunday June 25, the Trinidad Land Trust, Fortner and Joe Tyburczy for helping organize and Friends of the Dunes, Humboldt MPA Collaborative make this event a success! and Northcoast Environmental Center hosted a rocky intertidal BioBlitz at Baker Beach, taking advantage of the rare negative two-foot low tide. Participants trekked down to the beach at dawn and spent the morning carefully crawling around the intertidal rocks in search of any and all living things. In just two hours, the team recorded over 117 observations and 70 species. The extreme low tide allowed for areas normally underwater to be explored, and revealed a few intertidal treasures. Perhaps most exciting was the sighting of several nudibranchs! Their scientific name nudibranchia, means ‘naked gills,’ and describes their shell-less jelly body. Nudibranchs come in

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

HSU Students Win Battle Against Pepsi

Anne Maher In the Spring 2017 semester at HSU, student outcry led to several town hall meetings and debate over the university’s pouring rights with PepsiCo. Pouring rights contracts are held by most universities. The contract with HSU granted Pepsi 80 percent of the shelf space on campus and free advertising at various events. In return HSU received approximately $50,000 in student scholarships and other benefits that attributed to around three percent of the Athletics budget. The contract ensured that the university imported thousands of singleuse bottles every year from around the country— leading to significant fossil fuel, plastic waste, and health impacts. This issue was covered in the last EcoNews edition, ending on the note that the final decision on whether to re-sign the contract was being left up to President Rossbacher. Immediately after EcoNews went to print, it was announced that the university chose to not re-sign. HSU Administration commented that they felt they could not continue with the contract after all of the resistance that had occurred over the past months, including after the spring semester had ended. HSU Dining, after conducting research into the possibility of ending the connection with Pepsi, found good evidence that Pepsi was not good for business, and that the university’s dining department could make more money without the pouring rights in place. As a result, HSU will be internalizing the contract. It has been reported that there are plans to make a connection between Athletics and Dining, where Dining will reimburse Athletics with the extra funds they will be making with the contract out of the way. As a result, no student scholarships will be lost. The victory at HSU comes at a time when there are not many wins to be had. In this case, a small group of students fought until they overturned a multi-billion-dollar corporation and persuaded a university-level decision. It stands as a pleasant reminder that resistance, even at the smallest level, can be heard, and can make lasting impacts.

Pure Water Spas Serving Humboldt since 1986

3750 Broadway, Eureka * 707.444.8001 *


Construction Underway for Humboldt Bay Trail North

Arcata Bay (North Humboldt Bay)

Morgan Corviday

Have you noticed construction next to the highway along the 101 highway corridor south of Arcata? Construction of Arcata’s portion of the long-awaited Humboldt Bay Trail has begun! This section of the trail, called Humboldt Bay Trail North, continues from where the Arcata City Trail leaves off near Samoa Blvd., south through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and then follows the North Coast Railroad Authority’s right-of-way along the highway. The Bay Trail North section will end around Bracut, but eventually the completed trail will provide a 13-mile non-motorized route for pedestrians and cyclists from Arcata to Eureka. It will also provide more coastal access to Humboldt Bay. “It will add social benefits, economic benefits, and environmental benefits,” states Arcata Mayor Susan Ornelas. “People will be able to be out and fall in love with the bay and want to care for it more. So it’s really an asset to our community.” Supporters of a trail around Humboldt Bay have been working for 20 years to see their dream realized. There have been many hurdles along the way, even though the trail proposal has consistently benefited from wide community support. In addition to funding from Caltrans, the California Coastal Conservancy and Arcata’s Measure G, funding is also being addressed by a grassroots effort. The Humboldt Bay Trail Fund, managed by the Humboldt Area Foundation, has raised $128,000 to date, largely from individual donations. Eureka Natural Foods kicked off the fund with a $20,000 donation. Rick Littlefield, the owner of Eureka Natural Foods, says of the trail, “It [will be] good for everybody. Arcata is going to love it and Eureka is going to love it.” A total of $300,000 is sought for the fund, the purpose of which is to “provide support for maintenance and development of a multi-purpose trail around the bay for walking, running, biking and wheeling.” The City of Arcata awarded local business McCullough Construction the contract for the project, but was then sued by Mercer Fraser on grounds that they deserved the contract. A temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction were subsequently denied by the courts, so construction is now underway. If all goes as planned, the Bay Trail North section is anticipated to be completed by the end of the year. If you would like to contribute to the Humboldt Bay Trail Fund, go to


Excerpt from a map of trail projects around Humboldt Bay. The pink-dotted line is the portion of the Humboldt Bay Trail North currently under construction. Map:

Visualize Your Ad Here

Carol Ann Conners 707-725-3400 654 Main Street, Fortuna CA License #0E79262

call 822-6918 or email

The 44th Annual

The Same Old People Present:


• On the Arcata Plaza

Saturday 1 pm: All Species Parade

• 10 am - 6 pm • Free!! • Zero Waste • Bring your own Beer cup • No Dogs

Sunday 1 pm: Samba Parade

Aug/Sep 2017


Invest in the Future

Become a Member, Donate, Volunteer, or join our Monthly Giving Program

The NEC Digs the Sand Sculpture Festival! Once again, the NEC staff and friends spent a Saturday in July digging in the sand as part of Friends of the Dunes’ annual Sand Sculpture Festival! Our team had a great time in the sun, creating a sculpture reflecting the theme for this year’s All Species Parade: Sanctuary for All Species. Our efforts were rewarded with the “Dedicated Diggers” award! More photos of our sculpture are available on our website!

Birdathon a Success! The Third Annual Tim McKay Birdathon in May exceeded our expectations! Thanks to all the fantastic birders and their supporters. Four teams and one individual raised $7,338, which will be split equally between the NEC and the Redwood Region Audubon Society! This year’s teams and the dollars they raised are as follows: 1) Wandering Talliers (Bill Rodstrom, Laurie Lawrence and Ken Burton): $1,990.91 2) NEC Team (Gary Falxa and Bob Morris): $1,164.35 3) Once Bittern Twice Sora Team (CJ Ralph, Gary Bloomfield, David Price and David Schumaker): $1,886.45 4) Loner (Gary and Jan Friedrichsen): $2,167.50 5) Tony Hacking Spirit-Keepers (Tom Leskiw, Greg Chapman and Gene Lodes): $129.15 Thanks again and keep your calendars open for next year’s event!

Photo: © Rob Fowler.

For more information, call the NEC at 707-822-6918 or email EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017


Kin to the Earth: Tom Wheeler California’s forest practice rules—often described as the most protective in the nation— largely stem from one woman: Sharon Duggan. Sharon is a one-woman force-of-nature, a potent combination of caring and cunning. For 35 years, Sharon has provided legal muscle to help individuals and grassroots organizations challenge the status quo and preserve our North Coast. She is a true Kin to the Earth. Sharon started practicing environmental law in 1982. A Humboldt native and graduate of the McGeorge School of Law at the University of the Pacific, Sharon took inspiration for her work from her roots. She remembered what the landscape was once like: rivers with fish, big trees, and a vibrant, locally-based timber industry that was the lifeblood for the small towns in which she lived. And she saw the change that occurred when Big Timber started taking over the local timber companies. Relatively fresh out of law school, Sharon took on her first forestry case, the storied EPIC v. Johnson, in 1983. Georgia-Pacific had filed a timber harvest plan to clearcut old-growth redwoods in Little Jackass Creek near what is now the Sinkyone Wilderness State Park along the Mendocino Coast. On behalf of EPIC (the Environmental Protection Information Center), Sharon challenged the state’s approval of the logging plan, arguing that the state did not consider the cumulative effects of the logging. The case may have seemed like a long shot to some— environmentalists up against the good ol’ boys in local court—but that didn’t stop Sharon. With a thoughtful yet tough prosecution of her case, Sharon won. The lawsuit helped generate enthusiasm for the protection of the Sinkyone, eventually leading to its preservation in perpetuity. This scenario—a long shot case that was won because of hard work—has repeated itself throughout the rest of Sharon’s career. In court, Sharon is a ruthless litigator. She is diligent in her preparation, often tasked with the needle-in-the-haystack work of reviewing banker-boxes of documents to find a smoking gun. She is creative in her writing, massaging the narrative of a case to appeal to a certain judge or to catch favorable political winds. And she is dogged, pressing every angle and avenue she can find in pursuit of justice. To opposing counsel, Sharon must seem like a pit bull. But to her friends and clients, she is a saint. She has been a mentor to many. Rob DiPerna, Forest and Wildlife Advocate at EPIC, counts himself as a disciple of Sharon’s. “Sharon Duggan is a master strategist and staunch supporter of the rights of public engagement and enforcement in environmental decision-making,” said Rob. “I have


Sharon Duggan

Sharon Duggan speaks at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference in March 2011, where she received the Kerry Rydberg Award for Excellence In Public Interest Environmental Litigation. Photo courtesy of Sharon Duggan.

been so very blessed to count Sharon as a friend, colleague, and my primary mentor as I have grown into my professional capacity over the years.” Phil Gregory, co-counsel for Richardson Grove, says of Sharon, “Sharon constantly inspires me not merely to save our planet but to do everything I can to preserve our natural resources as our sacred heritage. Sharon has made a fundamental impact in my life both as the role model of a true environmental attorney and as a loving, compassionate soul.” Phil adds, “Go Giants!” Rachel Doughty, Attorney at GreenFire Law, also counts Sharon as a mentor. “Sharon is a tireless advocate for the places and people she cares about. She has been a tremendous mentor to me. There is one thing she is terrible at: retirement. She continues to dedicate herself to the future of our children and to mentor the next generation of attorneys, even while maintaining a docket protecting the wild spaces

that are so loved and such a part of our identity as Californians.” Despite her threats at retirement, Sharon has not slowed down. Sharon continues to work as counsel to EPIC, most recently back in court in EPIC’s challenge to Caltran’s proposed widening of Richardson Grove at the expense of old-growth redwoods. Sharon is a board member at Our Children’s Trust, developing innovative legal doctrines to take on climate change. And she provides limitless advice to the attorneys, young and old, who call her out of the blue to pick her brain. Outside of her legal work, Sharon is a passionate advocate for Palestine, women’s rights, and a liberal democracy. She is a longtime volunteer with Redwoods Monastery in Whitethorn and is often found there on weekends, putting in hard labor to help the people and place that she loves. Sharon is buoyed by her longtime partner, Anne.

Aug/Sep 2017






Redwood Region Audubon Society Every Saturday: Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. These are our famous rain-or-shine, docent-led field trips at the Marsh. Bring your binocular(s) and have a great morning birding! Meet in the parking lot at the end of South I Street (Klopp Lake) in Arcata at 8:30 a.m. Trips end around 11 a.m. August 5: Alexa DeJoannis; August 12: Cindy Moyer; August 19: Jude Power; August 26: Carol Wilson.

For some of our more far-reaching trips we would like to suggest donating gas money to drivers on field trips. A good rule of thumb is $5 per ½-hour drive time to field trip destination. Sunday, August 13: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This is a wonderful 2- to 3-hour trip for people wanting to learn the birds of the Humboldt Bay area. It takes a leisurely pace with emphasis on enjoying the birds! Beginners are more than welcome. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center at 9 a.m. Call Jude Power (707-822-3613) for more information.


Saturday, August 26. Southern Humboldt Community Park. Redwood Region Audubon Society will hold its monthly bird walk at the Southern Humboldt Community Park in Garberville, led by Tom Leskiw (different guest guides per month). All ages and experience levels are encouraged to participate and revel in the beauty of the park and its avian inhabitants on this easy 2- to 3-hour walk. Binoculars are not provided (but often shared!) Organic coffee and cookies are often provided. Water and a hat with a brim recommended. Bring a snack if you like. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Tooby Park on Sprowl Creek Rd. If you arrive late, we will be heading west past the farmhouse, the barn and the horse stable. No dogs please. Saturday, September 9: Willow Creek. See August 12.

Sunday, September 10: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. See August 13.

Saturday, August 19: Willow Creek. Meet at Studio 299 (75 The Terrace, Willow Creek) starting at 9 a.m. We will depart promptly at 9:30 for our destination; carpooling available. Walks generally run 2-3 hours. All ages, abilities and interest levels welcome! For more information, please contact Melissa Dougherty at 530-859-1874 or email Elk River Spit, Eureka. Photo by Gary Bloom�ield

Saturday, September 16. Southern Humboldt Community Park. See August 26. Kyle Keegan will guest lead. Same start time. Sunday, September 17: Crescent City. Local resident, Ken Burton (707-499-1146;, will lead a half-day trip along the waterfront focusing on seabirds, gulls, and shorebirds. Lunch optional. Meet at the northernmost parking lot on Pebble Beach Dr. (opposite Castle Rock; coordinates: 41.770155, -124.237950) at 8 a.m. Sunday, September 17: Eureka Waterfront. Meet at 9 a.m. at the foot of W. Del Norte St., where we will scope for birds off the public dock until everyone assembles. We will then drive to the base of the Hikshari’ Trail at Truesdale Street and bird along the trail to the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. Leader: Ralph Bucher (707-4991247; Saturday, September 23: North Jetty to Fairhaven. Join Rob Fowler (707-616-9841); migratoriusfwlr@ on a ½-day trip out to the north spit of Humboldt Bay. We will start early at the north jetty looking for seabirds and rocky shorebirds and then will hit the various willow patches from the cypress patch to the “Horse Pasture” in Fairhaven, looking for fall migrant landbirds. Meet at 7 a.m. at the South G St parking lot at the Arcata Marsh for carpooling arrangements. Scopes are recommended for seawatching off the jetty. We will end around noon.

September Programs Please join us when our monthly programs resume in September! Regular Monthly Program: September 8, The program starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Rd., Arcata. Bring a mug to enjoy shade-grown coffee, and please come fragrance-free.

This month we also have a special program on Saturday, September 16 when the RRAS Board meets in Del Norte County, followed by a field trip led by Ken Burton on Sunday (see above). Craig Strong, a seabird biologist who has been studying the abundance and distribution of marbled murrelets for the past 25 years, will present details of his findings on the species’ populations in Oregon and California, as well as life history, behavior, and plumages of the small seabird. Since 2000, Strong has participated in the NW Forest Plan, which uses murrelet populations as an indicator of late successional forest health.

Details will be posted at


OFFICERS President— Hal Genger …………........... 707-499-0887 Vice President— Ken Burton............... 707-499-1146 Secretary — Sierra Huffman............ ....707-298-8608 Treasurer—Gary Friedrichsen............. 707-822-6543 DIRECTORS AT LARGE Ralph Bucher.............................................707-443-6944 Jill Demers..................................................707-667-6163 Harriet Hill.................................................707-267-4055 Syn-dee Noel..............................................707-442-8862 Chet Ogan....................................................707-442-9353 Susan Penn.................................................707-273-5200 C.J. Ralph......................................................707-822-2015 Denise Seeger.............................................707-444-2399 OTHER CHAPTER LEADERS Conservation — Jim Clark .............…... 707-445-8311 Eductn/Schlrshps — Denise Seeger ..707-444-2399 eBird Liaison — Rob Fowler ………..... 707-839-3493 Facebook — Cindy Moyer…………..…… 707-822-1886 — Rob Fowler ……………..…. 707-839-3493 Field Trips— Rob Fowler ………......….. 707-839-3493 Historian — John Hewston .................. 707-822-5288 Membership — Susan Penn.…..............707-273-5200 NEC Representative — C.J. Ralph........ 707-822-2015 Nominations — Hal Genger.................. 707-499-0887 — CJ Ralph....................... 707-822-2015 Programs — Ken Burton .......................707-499-1146 Publications — C.J. Ralph...................... 707-822-2015 Publicity — Harriet Hill......................... 707-267-4055 Sandpiper (Ed.)—Alexa DeJoannis..… 202-288-5174 Sandpiper (Layout)- Gary Bloomfield ..707-362-1226 Volunteer Coordinator- Susan Penn.....707-273-5200 Website — Susan Penn............................707-273-5200 Lake Earl Branch — Sue Calla............... 707-465-6191 RRAS Web Page...........................…....…..... Arcata Bird Alert ......................................707-822-5666 The Sandpiper is published six times each year by Redwood Region Audubon Society P.O. Box 1054, Eureka, CA 95502.

Thinking of Joining the National Audubon Society? If so, please use the coupon below. By sending in your membership on this form, rather than replying to solicitations from National Audubon, $20 is sent directly to RRAS. This is how NAS rewards local chapters for recruiting national members. (Otherwise, the RRAS dues share per new member is only a couple of dollars.) Thank you.

Chapter Membership Application

Yes, I’d like to join.

Please enroll me as a member of the National Audubon Society and of my local chapter. Please send AUDUBON magazine and my membership card to the address below. My check for $20 is enclosed. (Introductory offer)

NAME_______________________________________________ ADDRESS___________________________________________ CITY _____________________________________________ STATE_________ZIP_________________________________ email _____________________________________________ Local Chapter Code: C24 Please make checks to the National Audubon Society. Send this application and your check to:

National Audubon Society P.O. Box 422250 Palm Coast, FL 32142-2250 ----------LOCAL CHAPTER----------


President’s Column

By Hal Genger

The summer is almost over and it is time to start a new series of tasks. My garden has provided me with fresh vegetables and will continue for a while yet, but September is a good time to plant more native species in my yard that will be watered by the fall rains and look great next spring. The same is true for the newly re-opened portion of the waterfront trail behind the Bayshore Mall in Eureka (currently known as Parcel 4)! We’ll put out a call for volunteers when we have a firm date for native vegetation restoration work, perhaps over the coming winter or spring. This September we will also restart our general meetings again on the second Friday of the month; I hope to see you there! This is the time of year when the nomination committee starts diligently looking for candidates for the next election. Upcoming open positions will be the president, vice president, secretary, and a director or two. Please let me (or any Board member) know if you are interested in any of these positions. If you would like to learn more about RRAS leadership, feel free to attend a Board meeting on the third Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Northcoast Environmental Center Office, 1385 Eighth Street, Arcata. You service would be greatly appreciated.

Conservation issues are ongoing; we have national problems like the possible reduction in the number and size of marine sanctuaries or other wild places, and the reduction in the EPA’s abilities to complete its mission. Local items include unregulated marijuana grows, appropriate routing alternatives for the “Last Chance Grade” portion of Highway 101 south of Crescent City, bird-friendly areas, etc. Please contact Jim Clark, or better yet attend the conservation committee meetings held the second Thursday of the month at noon at Rita’s Margaritas and Mexican Grill, 1111 Fifth Street, Eureka, to help with conservation issues. Lastly, I want to thank those of you who took part in our Third Annual Birdathon in May. It takes a lot of time and energy to seek donations, figure out a route to find birds (even in the snow, like Ken Burton’s team contended with on Horse Mountain,) and then collect the donations. Thank you all for your efforts! I also want to thank all who donated money to the Birdathon. We raised $7,285.86! This major fundraiser allows NEC and RRAS to carry on their missions to protect the environment and your donations will be well spent in this regard. Thank you!

Updates from Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge by Denise Seeger

Salmon Creek Unit open on Sundays only through August Due to habitat restoration construction, the Salmon Creek Unit (including the Shorebird Loop Trail and Visitor Center) will only be open on Sundays through August. On Mondays through Saturdays, large dump trucks will be using the entrance road and hiking trail while moving soil as part of the Living Coastline Project to restore tidal salt marsh habitat on Humboldt Bay. For further information,

New Members RRAS welcomes the following new members and subscribers:

visit Humboldt_Bay_Shoreline/index.html Please join us for a free, family-fun event, Grandparents and Grandkids Day: Wonderful Wetlands! on Sunday, August 20 from 1 to 4 p.m. Gather up your friends and family and bring a picnic (and your rubber boots!) out to the refuge for the afternoon. Explore the wetland habitats of southern Humboldt Bay through fun, hands-on science activities, and arts and crafts. Everyone is welcome. Take the Hookton Road Exit (#696) off Highway 101 and meet at the Richard J. Guadagno Headquarters and Visitor Center, 1020 Ranch Road in Loleta. For more information and special accommodation call (707) 733-5406 or visit bay/

New National Members Arcata - Debra Burstiner, Emma McCallum-Spalaris, Paul Tuzzolino Belmont - Michael Academia Blue Lake - Greta Box Burnt Ranch - Tom Weisend Eureka - Susan Hesse Fortuna - Buch Cornelius, Carolyn Eldridge Garberville - Herb Schwartz Orleans - Francis Lambert Smith River - Edris Edgar Renewing Local Members Rise Ann Borges, David Dickinson, Michele Driscoll, Jeff Jacobsen, David Jensen, Kate McClain, Diane Ryerson, Philip & Beth Schafer, Deanna Thrift

We look forward to seeing you on field trips and at our monthly programs. Virginia Rail at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge May 10, 2017, by Gary Bloomfield

Parcel 4 Gets a New Name

by Alexa DeJoannis The RRAS board of directors voted this week on a new name, “Wigi Wetlands”, for the parcel of City of Eureka land on which the chapter holds a conservation easement. The City has agreed to adopt the new name on interpretative signs. Wigi Wetlands is the shoreline area behind the Bayshore Mall, which is a mixture of fresh and salt water marsh, vegetated with willow scrub, saltgrass, sedges, and other water-loving species.

The RRAS’ conservation easement on the property allows the chapter a say in how the parcel is used. The City has extended the Eureka Bayshore Trail through the parcel, and in concert with RRAS and other agencies, is restoring the property as a park and wildlife habitat. The area’s history includes a lumber mill and was originally occupied and used by Wiyot people. “Wigi” is a Wiyot word for Humboldt Bay.

Local Author Prepares New Bird-Finding Book The author of RRAS’s Common Birds of Northwest California and RRAS’s vice president, Ken Burton, is working on another book, a bird-finding guide to Humboldt County. RRAS has received a $750 grant from the Humboldt Area Foundation’s Gerald O. & Susan Hansen Family Fund to offset some of the cost of

Author Ken Burton

printing. Ken is working with Leslie Scopes Anderson, his collaborator on Common Birds, on the new book, which RRAS aims to have available by Godwit Days, 2018. Ken is a well-known and respected birder and member of the birding community in Humboldt County. He was selected as the May 2017 eBird Birder of the Month (based on submitting a certain number of checklists to the citizen science birding database), from which website the following is reproduced. “I’m currently working on a birding guide to Humboldt County, based largely on eBird. It will offer 25 driving and walking routes linking eBird hotspots together and calling out noteworthy species along the way based mostly on eBird reports. Some people say that eBird has made birding guides obsolete, but I believe that a birding guide based on eBird can only be good for eBird. We’ll see, I guess! I work as a wildlife biologist for the Yurok Tribe in California and am currently managing a new bird inventory project associated with prairie fragments, using point counts. I hope to be able to contribute our data to eBird at some point; there’s precious little information out there on the birdlife of the lower Klamath River.” Second Edition of Common Birds of Northwest California

Dream Birds 2017

by Tom Leskiw

For many birders, their quest to locate unusual birds is linked with a desire to tease out patterns relative to time and place. Predicting the occurrence of noteworthy birds can take the form of a game when these predictions are collated and archived. In 1988, Gary Lester queried ten of Humboldt County’s most active birders for their predictions on the next five additions to the County’s checklist. I repeated this process in 2002. The results of these two polls are at, as is an undated poll John Sterling took at: http://www. intro.html For “Team 2002,” Jan Andersen, Ron LeValley, John Sterling, and Matt Wachs are all batting .800 (4 of their 5 predictions have come true). I queried a cross-section of HumCo birders; here are the predictions from those who responded. Gary Bloomfield: Reddish Egret, Tricolored Heron, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Gray-cheeked Thrush, Grace’s Warbler Ken Burton: Eurasian Dotterel, Bristle-thighed Curlew, White-rumped Sandpiper, Red-legged Kittiwake, Great Shearwater Lizzie Feucht: White-rumped Sandpiper, Marsh Sandpiper, Black-tailed Gull, Fork-tailed Flycatcher, Dusky Warbler

Aleutian Cackling Goose Population Adapted from a USFWS memorandum by Todd A. Sanders

Aleutian cackling geese (Branta hutchinsii leucopareia) were federally listed as endangered in 1967, downgraded to threatened status in 1990, and removed from protection under the Endangered Species Act in 2001. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to monitor the population’s numbers because of the past listing as endangered, its status as a game bird, and because population expansion has resulted in crop damage complaints. The large majority of Aleutian geese winters primarily in the San Joaquin Valley and Sacramento River Delta areas of central California (San Joaquin Valley region), and stages in the Humboldt Bay and Crescent City areas in spring before making the transoceanic flight to breeding areas in the western Aleutian Islands in Alaska. The birds need to store energy for the long flight, egg-laying, and other breeding activities in the next few months. Their best source for energy is their spring feeding grounds where they add a lot of fat. Counting breeding birds on their islands is not a good idea both because of the difficulty of reaching the islands and because human presence there would be disruptive. Therefore, biologists count geese in the winter. At first, they could count every bird when the population was small and concentrated in a few local areas (1975–1998). However, as the population has grown and distribution expanded, biologists began to use mark/ resight methods of estimating population abundance (1996–present). Annually, a sample of geese are marked with a plastic neckband (each with a highly visible unique alphanumeric code) during

November–December in the San Joaquin Valley area and these bands are subsequently resighted during January– March in California and Oregon. Biologists estimate the total number of birds using a ratio of marked to unmarked animals. Due to the increasing population, this ratio has been 1-2% in recent years. The estimated number of Aleutian Canada geese in winter 2017 was 168,548 (95% confidence interval = 128,671–208,424). Abundance of this population has generally increased from 790 in 1975 (see graph). The recovery of this population is considered a success. Geese are so numerous that their grazing has become a significant loss to agricultural crops, and they are included in our harvestable waterfowl list to control their numbers. Read more about the causes for Aleutian goose population decline at map/ESA_success_stories/AK/AK_story1/index.html or find out about Aleutian geese in the Humboldt Bay area at wildlife_and_habitat/AleutianCacklingGeese.html Many people contribute to Aleutian goose monitoring efforts, including personnel from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Game, and The Nature Conservancy, as well as volunteers.

Rob Fowler: Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Dusky Warbler, Painted Redstart, Grace’s Warbler, Ross’s Gull Tom Leskiw: Baikal Teal, White-rumped Sandpiper, Dusky Warbler, Dusky Thrush, Redwing Gary Lester: Wood Stork, Great Knot, Spotted Redshank, Eurasian Hoopoe, Siberian Accentor Lauren Lester: Ross’s Gull, Upland Sandpiper, Red-headed Woodpecker, Scott’s Oriole, Whitewinged Crossbill Deven Kammerichs-Berke: Great Knot, Dusky Warbler, Bluethroat, Bristle-thighed Curlew, Ross’s Gull Jude Power: Baikal Teal, White-rumped Sandpiper, Ridgway’s Rail, Red-billed Tropicbird, Baird’s Sparrow With fall migration just around the corner, it will be fun to see whose prediction will be the first to “bear fruit.”

Abundance of Aleutian Canada geese from direct counts (1975–1998, open circles) and estimation using mark/resight methods (1996–2017, closed circles with 95% confidence intervals). The two surveys overlapped for 3 years (1996–1998).

Ocean Night

Associated Students:

Working for AS—or sitting in on one of their committees—is one of the best ways to not only stay up to date on campus related issues, but change policy. Students can write resolutions that educate the campus and express student opinions on a variety of issues, and can represent the student body in many other ways.


Climate Crisis HSU:

Climate Crisis HSU promotes climate issues on campus and in the local community.

Epic club:

Green Campus:

Formerly known as Power Save, Green Campus is a group dedicated to reducing energy on campus. Students can apply for a paid position or work with the club to change energy policy on campus and educate students on the topic.

latino outdoors:

Latino Outdoors Humboldt Chapter plans outdoor excursions in a safe space in order to help diversify outdoor recreation and environmentalism. Ideal if you are looking for some people to get outside with, while also promoting important values on campus.

Natural Resources Club:

Natural Resources Club spends every weekend outside volunteering for... Continued on page 19

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

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EPIC Club works with the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC) on its upcoming issues and volunteering opportunities. If you are looking to make connections in the community through campus or learn about non-profits, EPIC Club is a good choice.

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CCAT is the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology. They host volunteer Fridays every week, where you can work in their community garden or around the CCAT house. They also offer classes every semester, and regularly hire for different positions.

Have you heard about the NEC’s newest program? Adopt-A-Block is a great way to get involved with your local community and help keep our streets and watersheds free of pollution. Look for this sticker around town to identify participating businesses or individuals. Check out the NEC’s website for more details on how to get involved with Adopt-A-Block!


Anne Maher This August brings another academic year for the students at Humboldt State University (HSU), and plenty of opportunities to get involved with issues you care about. If you are new to HSU or are interested in getting involved with a new environmental clubs or green group, look no further! Here are some groups you may want to look into:

August 11 - Featuring Dulce and The Weekend Sailor September 8 - Films to be determined. Mark your calendars now!


Welcome back Students!

Join the NEC, Humboldt Surfrider, and Humboldt Baykeeper for Ocean Night! Ocean Night is a monthly, all-ages event featuring an environmental film focused on coastal and water issues as well as a surf flick. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the movie begins at 7 p.m. at the Arcata Theatre Lounge, 1036 G St, Arcata. Hope to see you there!

Adopt-A-Beach with the NEC! You Can Help Keep Our Beaches Clean Year-round!

The Northcoast Environmental Center is seeking individuals and groups that would like to adopt a local beach or watershed through our Adopt-A-Beach program to help keep the beaches clean all year round! Adopt-A-Beach allows you to adopt a local beach and host quarterly cleanups throughout the year with friends, businesses or organizations. It’s easy! Just pick a beach, sign up with the NEC, gather some friends and get out there! Check out the NEC’s website at for more details on how to get involved with Adopt-A-Beach, or email The NEC has adopted South Clam Beach. Our next cleanup will be on Coastal Cleanup Day— Saturday, September 16, from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. This is a great opportunity for those who do not wish to coordinate a site themselves or who just want to help pick up some marine debris! The NEC team will be present to help you fill out the Coastal Cleanup Day liability form and provide cleanup equipment to help you get started. We hope to see you there!


Be a part of our growing team of site captains and volunteers helping to keep our coast clean! Visit our website for more information and a list of available sites. 707-822-6918


Eye on

Washington Dan Sealy, NEC Legislative Analyst Typically this column covers conservation-linked legislation working its way through Congress to the President’s desk. The fight to undermine America’s important conservation legacy is now being led by new agency heads who have fought for decades against the agencies they now lead. As the media is distracted by the politics of personality, agency heads are successfully dismantling regulations through orders as well as advising Congress directly on what laws need to be passed in order to make changes permanent. The pace is fast and furious and will not get better this summer and autumn as we build toward the 2018 budget process. Here are some areas to stay updated on:

Getting to Know Secretary of the Interior Zinke

The former governor and Congressman from Montana literally rode to work on a (tax-payer owned) horse his first day of work as President Trump’s appointee. He won some accolade by invoking words of conservationists Teddy Roosevelt and John Muir in his introductory statement. Even conservationminded Interior employees this reporter has spoken with who have met Zinke say he is generally a great guy personally. But praise ends there by employees and many conservation organizations as his actions reveal his Reagan-era, Sagebrush Rebellion roots. Zinke has not filled the important roles of Directors of the National Park Service (NPS) or US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS.) Acting NPS Director Mike Reynolds, who rose up through the ranks with an emphasis on natural resources management, was recently exonerated from trivial accusations by the Trump administration of lying about the low numbers of attendees at the Trump Inauguration. The event is held on the National Mall and is managed by the NPS. Meanwhile, Zinke is quietly opening the door to a greater— and crass— commercialization of our National Parks. Look for bold advertisements resembling professional sports stadiums more than publicly owned national treasures.


What you can do: There is broad, bi-partisan support for public lands and the employees who protect them. Write to Sec. Zinke and ask him to fully fund our National Parks and Monuments and all our public lands in the 2018 budget. That is his duty as temporary steward of the resources entrusted to him. Write to: Honorable Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Interior Department of the Interior 1849 C Street, N.W. Washington, D.C., 20240 The USFWS is currently led by career biologist Jim Kurth, a man who might rather be back protecting whooping cranes as he once did rather than working on Trump’s anti-conservation agenda. Kurth’s boss, Sec. Zinke, has pushed the USFWS to delist the Yellowstone population of grizzly bears in spite of disagreement within the agency regarding the recovery of the iconic Yellowstone species. The motive? Possibly to make his neighboring state governor of Wyoming happy by making trophy-hunting of grizzlies legal. The delisting has been challenged in court and results of the challenge may be available by the date this is published.

Western Governors vs. ESA

The Western Governors’ Association (WGA) met in Zinke’s home state in July, and drafted an Initiative to Congress to “reform” the Endangered Species Act to the point it would lose its original intent and power. Though the WGA encouraged increased funding for the agency, that increase was targeted for work focusing on delisting, rather than protections. “While the Initiative has closely examined the ESA, the effort goes well beyond consideration of the Act alone,” the WGA stated in its recommendations. “The Western Governors’ Association resolution is another cynical attack on the Endangered Species Act that will be used by congressional Republicans to justify gutting this landmark conservation law,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. Fortunately California’s Governor Brown agrees, stating, “Republicans in Congress like Rob Bishop and John Barrasso aren’t interested in improving the Act—they want to see it disappear forever.”

What you can do:

Congress is poised to act on the WGA’s recommendation—stop them! Write to your Congressional Delegation and Governor Brown and thank them for their support of better funding for the agencies and staff that protect our public resources including parks, refuges and threatened species. Tell them THIS western state, California, disagrees with the Western Governor’s Association’s recommendations.

Congressman Jared Huffman: 1406 Longworth House Office Bldg Washington, D.C. 20515 Phone: 202-225-5161 Senator Diane Feinstein 331 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Phone: 202-224-3841 Senator Kamala Harris 112 Hart Senate Office Building Washington, D.C. 20510 Phone: 202-224-3553 Governor Jerry Brown c/o State Capitol, Suite 1173 Sacramento, CA 95814

Omnibus Budget Bill Look for upcoming news about how a deeply divided Congress will pass the 2018 budget. The Republicans generally do not want to shut down the government and the minority party, the Democrats, will use that to either crush the President and Republican sponsored budget or to make it more palatable through riders and amendments. Some in Washington predict the budget bill could be voluminous in earmarks both good and bad to buy support from members of Congress.

A Litte Good News While in Washington, D.C. this spring, I had the opportunity to sit and talk privately with several federal employees from the Department of State to the Department of the Interior. They reported that many—if not most—career employees are professionally committed to the basic standards of science and are quietly continuing their jobs, working with scientists in the U.S. and around the globe to fulfill commitments of the Paris Climate Accord and other treaties that recognize climate change and other scientific studies that inform national policy. Though it is difficult to work as part of a knownothing administration, their commitment is to the people and to good policy based on good science. Be proud of them.

Aug/Sep 2017


Compostable Plastics? Not a Solution

The idea of compostable plastics is currently nothing more than ‘green happy talk.’

Emma Held, Project Manager According to the Plastics Better Alternatives Now (BAN) List (researched and published by Surfrider, 5 Gyres and Upstream) single-use plastic food wrappers and containers account for 31.14 percent of plastic pollution in the environment— with no established recovery system. Single-use plastics became popular through the decades for their convenience and ease of use. Our reliance on them contributes to litter, takes space in the landfill, and worst of all, is part of a pervasive wasteful lifestyle with ever-lasting environmental impacts. Single use plastics are being referred to as the ‘new cigarettes’ in society because we are only beginning to understand the environmental and human health problems they cause. Many environmental and health activists are now advocating for the chemical content and environmental impact of such items to be printed for all to see on their labels and packaging— just like cigarettes. Once a plastic container has been manufactured, it will remain on the Earth virtually forever; it cannot break down, and less than 14 percent of plastic packaging is actually recycled. Manufacturers have begun exploring different avenues for creating packaging that is better for the environment— namely by introducing biodegradable additives

to petroleum based plastic products to render them “biodegradable” or “compostable”. This is not a real solution, however, because many of these products cannot break down without a high heat industrial composting facility—something that is not readily available here in Humboldt County and most parts of the U.S. The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) published a report outlining their opposition to biodegradable additives in petroleumbased products; the following is extracted from their report: “To beneficially complete the natural biological cycle, biodegradation should occur in a managed and controlled environment, such as an industrial composting operation, and the material must biodegrade in a manner that is non-toxic and harmless to human health and the environment in order to be considered compostable. Petroleum-based plastics made with the currently available biodegradability additives do not break down in such a manner; to date, these additives have not enabled any plastics to become fully compostable.” This means that ‘compostable’ plastics do not decompose and return nutrients to the environment as part of a closed loop system—they still release toxins. Furthermore, packaging that is marketed as biodegradable or compostable cannot be recycled if the infrastructure to compost them properly is lacking. Therefore, the idea of compostable plastics

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EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

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is currently nothing more than ‘green happy talk.’ Zero Waste Humboldt conducted a food packaging analysis for the North Coast Co-op Prepared Foods Section to determine the best packaging with the least environmental impact— both petroleum-based and bio-based. Our research concluded that all forms of single-use packaging will end up in the landfill, due in part to our lack of a local recycling industry and large composting facility in our region. Therefore, composting and recycling do not absolve us of our responsibility to prevent wasteful single use plastics. Our best solution is to adopt new personal shopping habits, commit to new purchasing policies at the workplace, and local government polices that are aimed at reducing plastics in our waste stream. It’s all about prevention and systems for reuse. If you are interested in plastics and helping with public education, Zero Waste Humboldt is always looking for volunteers! Get involved!

Contact Zero Waste Humboldt

Join the Zero Waste Effort at the North Country Fair

With the North Country Fair (NCF) just around the corner, Zero Waste Humboldt would like to recognize efforts made by NCF to reduce waste throughout the weekend. From public bike parking (located behind Pacific Outfitters) to waste diversion reduction stations, to pre-approved vendor materials, the North Country Fair is one of our greatest local models for a Zero Waste event. NCF encourages festival-goers to bike to the event, bring their own pint-sized cup for beer and also bring a fork for all the delicious food! To join the Zero Waste Crew at the North Country Fair, email

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Clam Beach Named Most Polluted in State

Jennifer Kalt, Director Last month, Heal the Bay’s annual Beach Report Card named Clam Beach the most polluted beach in California due to bacteria levels measured at the mouth of Strawberry Creek. Clam Beach has made the Top Ten “Beach Bummers” list for four years running, but this is the first time it’s been Number One. And this year, Luffenholtz Beach in Trinidad was the eighth most polluted in the state. Heal the Bay gathers data on bacteria levels and assigns letter grades to 416 beaches in California. In 2016-17, 96 percent of beaches received A or B grades during the summer. However, during rainy weather, nearly 50 percent of beaches received C to F grades. People often ask, “How can Clam Beach be more polluted than beaches in urban areas in Southern California?” The short answer is that more rain means more bacteria in runoff. Humboldt County certainly gets more rain, particularly between April 1 and October 31, when bacteria levels are monitored. A good rule is to avoid contact with water for 72 hours after a major rain. Though parents typically attribute children’s stomach upsets to the flu, exposure to bacteria polluted waterways can cause flu-like symptoms. A pediatric study in Wisconsin found that emergency room visits for gastrointestinal illnesses were correlated with rainfall. And a threeyear study of 650 surfers in San Diego found increases in illness after surfing during rainy weather. Clam Beach water quality has been getting worse during both dry and wet weather. The reasons for this increase in bacteria levels remains a mystery, although there’s no shortage of hypotheses. Some point to septic systems, while others suggest livestock or pets. The only way to pinpoint the sources is to do more intensive sampling. In 2014, Baykeeper embarked on a study to identify the sources, whether human, cattle, dog, bird, or none of the above. In 2015, we formed a partnership with the Regional Water Board and Humboldt County Public Health Lab to identify the sources using a genetic analysis that will identify the primary sources of bacteria in our waterways. Starting with Little River, which drains to Moonstone Beach, and Janes Creek, which drains to Humboldt Bay near commercial oyster beds, we sampled during wet and dry weather throughout 2016. Later this month, we expect to have the first results showing how much of the bacteria


are from human sources. The oyster industry has known about the problem for decades, since regular testing is required for food safety. A lot more is known about bacteria levels in the bay than in its tributaries. Only one in 1,500 samples taken during dry weather were above the levels allowed for shellfish consumption. When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency designated six local streams and five local beaches as “impaired” by bacteria, Humboldt Bay was not given that designation. From the oyster studies, it is known that the problems lie in the bay’s tributaries, which flush polluted runoff into the bay with every rainstorm. The problem appears to be worse in streams with lots of pavement and smaller riparian buffer zones. To check the latest bacteria levels at Clam Beach, Luffenholtz Beach, Trinidad State Beach, and Moonstone Beach, visit the Waterkeeper Swim Guide ( To read more about water quality at beaches in California, download the Beach Report Card 2017 at

In Other Bay-related News:

• After being told (again) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would reject the plan to dump marina spoils onto Samoa Beach, the City of Eureka announced its intent to take the spoils to the alreadypermitted disposal site three miles offshore. The City hopes to dredge its marina in September. • The California Transportation Commission ordered the North Coast Rail Authority to prepare a shutdown plan for the Humboldt and Mendocino sections of the rail line by October due to financial insolvency. • The U.S. EPA awarded two Brownsfield grants to local agencies. The City of Arcata was awarded $300,000, some of which will be used for testing the dioxin site at Little Lake Industries on South I Street. Another $200,000 went to the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District for debris cleanup at the former pulp mill in Samoa.

To stay informed, visit our website at, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @HumBaykeeper. You can sign up for e-newsletters by emailing us at

Aug/Sep 2017




EPIC Defense of Richardson Grove



ep c



The Environmental Protection Information Center



Lawsuit Challenges Widening Highway Through Ancient California Redwoods Tom Wheeler EPIC is back in court to defend the ancient redwoods against Caltran’s ill-conceived plan to widen Highway 101 through Richardson Grove State Park. The lawsuit, filed on Friday, June 23, in Humboldt County Superior Court, challenges the transportation agency’s latest approval of the controversial project. Three previous legal challenges blocked construction and forced Caltrans to rescind all project approvals in 2014. Caltrans quietly reapproved the project last month, purportedly to improve highway access for oversized commercial trucks. Richardson Grove State Park, where tourists often first encounter large redwoods when heading north on Highway 101, is home to one of the last protected stands of accessible old-growth redwood trees in the world and is a jewel of the state park system. The park also contains essential habitat for threatened and endangered species such as the northern spotted owl, and its creeks support runs of imperiled salmon and steelhead.

The “Richardson Grove Operational Improvement Project” would cut into and pave over the roots of more than 100 of Richardson Grove’s ancient redwoods, including trees over 1,000 years old and up to 18 feet in diameter and 300 feet tall. Caltrans has pursued this project solely to benefit passage for oversized commercial trucks. “Ancient redwood trees are an irreplaceable treasure, taking hundreds of years of growth to achieve their awe-inspiring size,” said Tom Wheeler, Executive Director at EPIC. “You better have a darn good reason to deliberately harm these ancient giants. Caltrans doesn’t.” Caltrans states that the road widening is necessary to allow large overlength trucks through the grove. But certain overlength trucks—moving vans and cattle trucks—are already permitted to go through the grove. A 2010 study by the California Highway Patrol that found that overlength trucks already make it through without compromising safety. Caltrans has also refused to consider other

alternatives that do not require the cutting of ancient redwood roots, such as a stoplight, a signal system, or only permitting truck traffic at low use periods of the day, such as at night. “It is irresponsible for Caltrans to continue to waste taxpayer money on this project when the stakes are so high and the need is so low,” concluded Wheeler. Also joining EPIC in court are fellow conservation groups, the Center for Biological Diversity, Californians for Alternatives to Toxics, and the Friends of Del Norte, as well as longtime local residents Bess Bair, Trisha Lee Lotus, Jeffrey Hedin, and David Spreen. The suit challenges Caltrans’ violations of the California Environmental Quality Act, and inadequate evaluation of environmental impacts, a misleading conclusion that the project would have no significant impact on the environment, and a flawed determination that none of the proposed highway alterations would threaten the stability of any old-growth redwoods.

For more info visit A trail through the ancient redwoods in Richardson Grove State park. Photo by EPIC staff.

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

Traffic safely winds through the heart of Richardson Grove State Park. Photo by Juan Pazos.



Climate Change Affects Ocean Ecology Richard Kreis John Muir’s oft-quoted observation, “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe,” was his interpretation of the “unity of nature” argument of Muir’s mentor, naturalist Alexander von Humboldt. We should not be surprised, then, to discover that abrupt climate change affects more than weather patterns and sea level height. Rapid warming of the earth from human causes (fossil-fuel use, agricultural practices, etc.)—about which one climate scientist quipped that there is now higher certainty [of human-caused warming] than there is that smoking causes cancer—is having profound effects on ocean ecology. Jellyfish are clogging cooling-water intakes to nuclear power plants. Other animals and plants that make up the planktonic soup that is at the base of most food chains are struggling to survive in increasingly acidic oceans. Algal blooms in arctic waters formerly protected by ice sheets are producing anoxic “dead zones” similar to those at the Mississippi River Delta. Corals like those on the Great Barrier Reef are turning white as the stress of warming water causes them to expel the colorful algae they contain. The oceans might be seen as doing us a favor by absorbing much of the extra heat reflected back to earth by the ever-increasing concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere, and by absorbing a significant part of the carbon dioxide gas that we have only recently begun to regard as pollution. The ocean acting as a buffer in this way opens a wider window of time to allow us to get our act together to reduce the impacts of our industriousness. But, this period of grace is not without its costs. Scientific journals are chock-ablock with reports on newly identified associations between rapid changes in the climate and increasing stresses on oceanic life.

Ocean Acidification

Carbon dioxide absorbed by the oceans combines with oxygen to produce carbonic acid, the same club soda invented by Joseph Priestley in 1767 that we use today to make mixed drinks and Coca-Cola. The problem with soda water in the ocean is that it combines with calcium to become calcium carbonate. Calcium combined in this way is less available to zooplankton to make their shells. Then, when calcium carbonate combines to make calcium bicarbonate (which it likes to do), calcium becomes even less available to the oysters and other shellfish, including


Copepods from Ernst Haeckel’s Kunstformen der Natur. Illustration from Wikipedia, CC.

the copepods (see illustration) so vital to food chains.

Coral Bleaching

Scientists attending a recent conference on the corals of the Great Barrier Reef were reported to be crying as they shared their latest observations. Vast areas of corals are turning white (“bleaching”) as they respond to the stress caused by rapid warming of the shallow waters where they live. Coral polyps are actually animals that feed by filtering the water, but they obtain most of their nutrients from the colorful zooxanthellae that live within them in an endosymbiotic relationship. As a survival tactic, the polyps can expel the algae in order to reduce stress. Without the nutrients provided by the algae, however, the corals begin to starve. Corals can recover from episodes of stress and restore their algal relationships; but with prolonged stress, corals without nutrients from their algae will eventually die of starvation. Global warming means more than worrying about where we will live after our coastal cities have flooded, or how we will eat after the desertification of our farm lands. It is not just about us. All life is tied up in a web of great complexity, and we are only beginning to appreciate the dynamics of life


One need not be a Sierra Club member to participate in these outings. Please join us! Sunday, Aug. 13—North Group Prairie Creek Ossagon to Parkway (mile marker 130.54). We descend by the Ossagon Trail to the beach, where we may pause to explore about the impressive rocks before heading south to meet West Ridge Trail. Now turning inland, we begin a long ascent to the ridge, from which the brief Zig-Zig#2 Trail connects us back to the Parkway, where we will have shuttled vehicles for the return to Ossagon. Bring water, lunch, hiking footwear. Class M-6-B Carpools 9am Rays Valley West.10:15 am Trailhead Newton B. Drury (mm130.54) leader Melinda 707-668-4275 or mgroomster@gmail. com. Rain/wind cancels. Wednesday, Sept. 6—North Group Redwood National Park Emerald Ridge Loop Hike. We descend by Emerald Ridge Trail through lush forest to Redwood Creek, along which we proceed by gravel bars, with several creek crossings, to the Tall Trees area. Back on trail, we will stroll the tall Trees Loop before returning by the main trail (a climb of 700’) to our cars. Bring water, lunch, sun protection and footwear for trail, loose rock, and water. Class M-5-A. Carpools 9am Ray’s Valley West. 10:30 am Tall Trees Trailhead (Obtain pass at Kuchel Visitor Center, hwy101 south of Orick) leader Melinda 707-668-4275 or mgroomster@gmail. com. Reservation only. Saturday, Sept. 16—North Group Lacks Creek/Pine Ridge Prairies Hike. Come and explore this nearby Bureau of Land Management area off Highway 299, on new and old trails created by BLM, Humboldt Trails Council, and Redwood Coast Mountain Bike Association. We will see a mix of oak savannas, old-growth conifers, and regenerating hardwood-covered slopes. Humboldt Bay and ocean views a possibility. Bring lunch and water, and dress for an early fall day at 3,600 feet elevation. Medium difficulty, about 5 miles, less than 1,000 feet elevation gain/loss. Carpools: Meet 9 a.m. Ray’s Market in Valley West. Leader Ned,, 707-825-3652 message phone. Heavy rain cancels.

Please Join Us!

The North Group’s Executive Committee meets on the second Tuesday of each month in the first floor conference room at the Adorni Center on the waterfront in Eureka. The meeting, which covers regular business and conservation issues, begins at 6:45 p.m. Members and non-members with environmental concerns are encouraged to attend. When a new person comes to us with an environmental issue or concern, we often place them first or early on the agenda.

Aug/Sep 2017



Time to Plan... To Plant! Carol Ralph Be ready for new plants from our Fall Native Plant Sale on Saturday, September 23! Get your garden or yard ready for fall planting. Plan your new beds, new paths, and new groupings. Decide where plants should be tall and where short. Look at the big picture, and apply artistic sense. Figure out where the shade is, where the sun is, where the wind blows, where the moisture is, and where the soil is richest. You need to know what you are offering your plants. To preview your palette, visit native plants in their natural habitats. You will see natural, pleasing combinations. You will see what species look like in full bloom and at full size. Many plants don’t look their best in September in a pot. If you have seen them in the wild, you will know their potential and where to plant them. Our sale offers a broad selection: thousands of plants of more than 100 species, and always something new. This fall we will have two species of milkweeds, abundant Seaside Daisy, and monkeyflowers red, yellow, and orange. Our eight species in the saxifrage family are a challenge to distinguish, but each has a distinctive, dainty flower. Their various evergreen textures will fill different shady spots in your landscape. Partner nurseries will have plants there too: Beresford Bulbs, Lost Foods Native Plant Nursery, and Samara Restoration Nursery. If you don’t want to wait until September, or if

Fall Native Plant Sale Saturday, S eptember 23

10 a.m.-3 p.m.

at the Kokte Ranch at 2182 Old Arcata Rd., Bayside. There will be a members-only pre-sale from 9-10 a.m. (You can join on the spot.) For further information, call 707-826-0259 or go to

Field Trips & Plant Walks

Saturday, August 5, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.—Orchids in the Dunes. Orchids are a very diverse group, including quite dainty species. Join Carol Ralph to learn about five species of orchid that live in the Lanphere Dunes. Four might be blooming. Walk 1-2 miles, partly on soft sand. Meet at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) to carpool to the protected site. Cosponsored by CNPS and Friends of the Dunes. RSVP 707-444-1397. Saturday, August 12—Point St. George Day Hike. Beaches, rocky cliffs, windy bluffs, coastal prairie. We will walk trails and beaches with optional off-trail forays in the prairies to explore this diverse flora. Bring lunch and water; dress for the weather, especially wind. Meet at 8:30 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or arrange another place. Return very late afternoon or evening. Tell Carol you are coming: 707-822-2015 or

you want to see many of our plants in their full glory of summer, come to the nursery on a Wednesday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., when we will be working at regular volunteer days. You can buy plants while we work. Maybe you’ll want to help!

South Fork Trinity Trail Day Hike

These photos are from the South Fork Trinity Trail. Carol Ralph led a field trip to this location on May 20, 2017.

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

Beginners and experts, non-members and members, are all welcome at our programs and on our outings. Almost all of our events are free. All of our events are made possible by volunteer effort. For more information about North Coast CNPS and our events, please visit our website:

Friday-Sunday, September 1-3—Chapter camp at Mattole Camp and Retreat. A lodge with a big kitchen, cabins with bunks, a fire ring for campfires, space for tents, and a piece of the Mattole River are ours for two days. On Saturday a day hike on the Lost Coast Trail from the mouth of the Mattole is a likely option. You’ll get details when you tell Carol you are thinking of coming: 707-822-2015 or

Evening Programs

At the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Rd., near 7th and Union, Arcata. Refreshments at 7 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 13, 7:30 p.m.—“The Future of Plant Diversity in a Warmer, Drier West” with Dr. Susan Harrison, Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at University of California, Davis. Years of research on plots in Lake County, California (at the McLaughlin Natural Reserve) and in southern Oregon have provided clear snapshots of how decreases in winter moisture and increased periods of warmer temperatures are affecting native plant communities. Even within the adaptive plant communities in serpentinite environments, long thought to be less susceptible, climate change is impacting germination and growth patterns. Hear about the findings of UC Davis research teams and what we can expect in plant diversity trends within our bioregion.


Climate Accord

Coastal Cleanup Day

Silicon Valley CEOs such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk also spoke out in opposition of President Trump’s actions. Their words stand in stark contrast to President Trump’s claims that the Agreement would have cost the American people billions of dollars. The California tech industry instead states that the withdrawal has created new risks of immense job loss and damage to international trade. California Gov. Jerry Brown will represent his state’s fiery opposition to President Trump’s actions by hosting the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco in Sept. 2018. The international Summit will be historic, as California steps up to the plate to address plans of how to sustain the pledge of the Paris Climate Agreement under current national circumstances. Gov. Brown has also met with German and Chinese officials to discuss environmental legislation and establish cooperation on topics such as clean energy. During President George W. Bush’s presidency, California made significant and historical effort in reducing its impact on the global climate by passing AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This was during a time where national efforts to mitigate climate change were few and far in between. The present-day efforts by state and city alliances echo those of the past in times when federal climate change legislation fell short of what the planet requires. Through continuing to garner support at local and state levels, we may have the power to circumvent near-sighted presidents and policymakers.

How to get involved:

Continued from page 6

Continued from page 3

• Be a site captain! Site captains are the main

points of contact for the cleanup teams at each site and work with the NEC’s Cleanup Coordinator recruiting teammates, gathering supplies, overseeing the successful cleanup of their site, and reporting cleanup data back to the NEC. If you would like to be a captain, choose a cleanup site on our website and sign up with the form link! If there is already a captain for the site, have no fear, still sign up and we will put you in contact with them!

• Join a team! Choose the site you would like to

help clean up and sign up with the link! We will put you in contact with the site captain.

• Sponsor Coastal Cleanup!

This is a fantastic way to support local cleanup efforts and publicize your business or organization as a friend to the ocean. The NEC has a number of sponsorship packages available and all include your logo on countywide posters and recognition at a special Ocean Night event following Coastal Cleanup Day. Email to find the support level right for you.

• Spread the word! Pass info on to colleagues, friends, family, school teachers and civic minded groups. The more hands we have on deck, the more impact we can make!

• Stand together to put a stop to trash!

If a product can’t be reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.

Student Focus

Continued from page 12 ...various restoration projects, pulling invasives, and other similar events. A great way to get outside every weekend, learn about restoration, and meet a fun group of people.

Redwood chapter of environmental educators and interpreters: This is the perfect group

for someone looking to specialize in environmental interpretation. Get to know other people in your major and local opportunities.


The Waste-Reduction & Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP) plays an integral role in waste reduction on campus. It consists of five branches: Compost, the Reusable Office Supply Exchange (ROSE), Zero Waste, Education, and Take Back the Tap. They regularly hire paid positions, and are also constantly having events or looking for volunteers. There are many, many more environmental groups that can be discovered at your local HSU Clubs office or online. The local community also offers plenty of opportunities. Many non-profits, such as EPIC and SCRAP, regularly take volunteers and interns. Here at the NEC, we are seeking EcoNews Interns for the fall semester, and two other interns to assist with our other projects. A paid work study positon will also be opening up this coming semester! Get involved in a group that interests you today!

After the cleanup, join us for the All Species Parade at 1 p.m., and visit the NEC’s booth near the southwest corner of the Plaza at the North Country Fair!


Aug/Sep 2017



Coho Confab

...which have been studied extensively, are clear and substantial: dam removal will reopen 400 stream miles for salmon, steelhead, and lamprey and will improve water quality by restoring natural processes. These benefits will directly impact local tribal communities who depend on river fisheries for their health, livelihood, and cultural heritage, as well as all residents and visitors in the region who live near or engage in recreational activities along the river. Dam decommissioning will help the economy. The California and Oregon Public Utilities Commissions found that dam decommissioning was in the best interest of PacifiCorp’s customers compared to the costly dam upgrades required for dam relicensing. KRRC also expects to create a few hundred local jobs, as well as stimulate up to 1,400 regional jobs through its local activities and investment. Healthy salmon runs are expected to add an estimated 450 jobs in the commercial and recreational fishing industries in California and Oregon. River restoration will also help avoid the significant negative economic impacts of fisheries closures and collapse. Removing the four dams and the reservoirs behind them will change the landscape in the Klamath Basin. KRRC understands that there are real concerns and questions about how KRRC’s activities will affect water systems, properties, and recreation areas. Mr. Bransom had stated, “KRRC’s founding mission is to restore the river. But we also want to be a good neighbor and community member. We’re committed to working with local residents and governments to minimize any impacts while enhancing the project’s local benefits.” To that end, KRRC will be holding public meetings throughout the Basin, including the North Coast, later this fall. KRRC will announce these dates later this summer and hope stakeholders will attend to make their voices heard at these meetings. For more information on the KRRC’s work and to sign up to receive periodic updates visit: www. The times and dates of the upcoming public meetings will also be published on the KRRC website.

Additionally, there will be a workshop focused on stewardship tools for landowners including road improvements, water conservation planning, resources, and rehabilitation. This workshop will feature several resource professionals including Matt Clifford, JD, of Trout Unlimited who can address water conservation planning, Tom Leroy of Pacific Watershed Associates to address Best Management Practices, and Cassie Pinnel, Executive Director of the Mattole Restoration Council. This is a great opportunity for landowners to participate in a constructive dialogue about stewardship opportunities. On Friday night in Confab tradition, we will share a farm to table feast, have a lively campfire, and an impromptu talent show or cabaret in the Mattole tradition! The last day of the Confab will include two concurrent field tours including Beaver Dam Analogues and Groundwater Recharge Planning in the Mattole Headwaters with Tasha McKee, Water Project Director, and Elijah Portugal of RCAA’s Natural Resources Division, and a Lower Salt River Restoration tour in the Eel River estuary that will be co-led by fisheries biologist Ross Taylor, and Allen Renger of California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Registration fees cover field tours, workshops, meals, and camping. To register for the Confab or to view the full agenda please visit our website:

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EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017

Continued from page 5

Cap and Trade

Continued from page 6 The broader issue with Brown’s approach, Oil Change International executive director Stephen Kretzmann argued on Thursday, is that he is “banking on a market-based industryfriendly solution” to “the greatest market failure ever.” Instead of taking the path that is most amenable to business, Kretzmann said, Brown should be “listening to the voices of the many people in California who actually have to live with the fossil fuel industry in their backyard.” “Governor Brown’s latest climate package perpetuates the myth that business as usual in the fossil fuel industry can go on with only a few small adjustments, and everything will be fine,” Kretzmann concluded. “That view may fly in the petrodollar soaked halls in Sacramento, but climate science and the health and wellbeing of communities living next to industry have a different perspective.”


Letters to the Editor NEC, I do not know if you are aware of the FGC/DFW [California Fish and Game Commission/Department of Fish and Wildlife] hunting regulations for 20172018? It is really BAD news for our elk. First, the FGC/DFW is having a “general hunt” in September. Any biologist knows that September is the PEAK OF THE RUTTING SEASON! Why are the FGC/DFW doing this? I asked Joe Hobbs (DFW), this is his response: “September was chosen as the time frame to have the elk hunts because it is a good month to hunt elk, the weather is mild, access is good to locations, and the hunt success is good.” [Are there] any biological facts or scientific data to support a “general hunt” during the “peak of rutting season”? The FGC/DFW provide none. Second, the FGC/DFW is over-harvesting the bulls. In hunted herds, there are [about] 20 bulls for every 100 cows (in nature it is [about] 40 bulls for every 100 cows). We have four small herds of Roosevelt elk in Del Norte County, probably a total of 250 elk. By the end of 2017, the FGC/DFW will allow 21 bulls to be hunted (most of them during September—see above). This is not what I consider good stewardship of sustainable hunting. There is a wonderful article in the Animal Welfare Institutes magazine, “Sustainable Use and Surplus Animals: Sabotaging Natural Selection”. It tells us what we already know, in nature the strongest and healthiest animals live to breed; the weak and sick are considered depredation. As you see above, the FGC/DFW are in conflict with “natural selection” as they patronize the “trophy hunters”. What do trophy hunters do? They look for the strongest elk to kill. Completely opposite than nature. I think it is imperative that the 2017-2018 hunting season be cancelled, we can argue that the DFW is in violation for having no “elk management plan”. I don’t think any elk should be killed until there is a “plan”—a plan to save the strongest and healthiest elk. Phoebe Lenhart Supporters for Del Norte Roosevelt Elk

Volunteer it feels good


Humboldt’s flying squirrel (Glaucomys oregonensis). Photo: Barbogast, CC..

HUMBOLDT’S FLYING SQUIRREL Glaucomys oregonensis

Tom Wheeler Scientists recently announced a “new” mammal species that calls our redwood forests home: Humboldt’s flying squirrel (Glaucomys oregonensis). The squirrel, named after the famed naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, is now the third species of North American flying squirrel and the 45th in the world. It turned out that the squirrel was hiding in plain sight. Humboldt’s flying squirrel is a cryptic species, closely resembling in appearance another flying squirrel, the northern flying squirrel. There are slight differences—Humboldt’s flying squirrel is slightly darker and smaller—but because the two species had overlapping ranges, scientists had assumed that these differences were unimportant. But those small differences puzzled researchers. Curious to see if there was something more at play, biologists collected DNA samples from 185 squirrels—some from recently killed squirrels and others from old museum samples. The results surprised scientists. Looking at the nuclear genome, they saw a clear and distinct split—two branches on the family tree diverging. It is thought that the species diverged as a result of the last ice age. A northern population of squirrels became cut off from a southern population by glaciation. Isolated from each other, the two different populations diverged on separate ecological paths. Eventually, they became so different from each other that when the glaciers melted and the two populations came in contact again, they didn’t interbreed. (The fact that they don’t interbreed or “hybridize” shocked researchers, as the other two species of North American flying squirrels hybridize). Scientists are puzzled as to what is keeping these two species from breeding. Is it behavioral or are they so physically different that they can’t interbreed? Humboldt’s flying squirrel ranges the West Coast, from British Columbia in the north to the bottom of the Sierra Nevada forests. In its northern range, Humboldt’s flying squirrel shares its forests with its cousin, the northern flying squirrel. Although the two squirrels look alike and share the same forests, they do not interbreed. Humboldt’s flying squirrel generally prefers older forest types, where it can launch itself from high branches to soar to another tree. Using a membrane that runs from its front legs to its back as a sail and its poofy tail as a rudder, the flying squirrel can glide up to 100 meters in the air. The squirrels forage at night, looking for berries, nuts, fungi, carrion, and bird


eggs. They, in turn, are hunted by predators like the northern spotted owl, Pacific fisher, and the Humboldt marten. The flying squirrel’s “discovery” is a good example of the impact that cheap, highresolution genetic studies have had on the field of taxonomy. In some cases, genetic research has determined that there are less differences than we had previously thought— such as recent research that shows that coastal martens in Oregon and California are actually one subspecies and not two. In other cases, like this one, scientists can discern separate species from physically similar individuals with overlapping ranges. Expect more discoveries like Humboldt’s flying squirrel in the future as genetic tests become cheaper, faster, and easier to perform. New genetic studies also have regulatory implications. To the degree that a single species can be “split” into multiple species, the more likely it is that one of these new species is eligible for protection under the Endangered Species Act. Similarly, if two species can be “lumped” into one species, the protections afforded could diminish.



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Aug/Sep 2017


The Kids’ Page Celebrating All Species!

Did you know that humans are one out of more than a million types of species on earth? Labeling species is a way of organizing living things, like animals, insects, birds, and plants. A long time ago, scientists organized living things by how they looked. Scientists asked questions such as does the animal have fur, feathers, or scales? Is the plant small or

large? How many legs does the creature have? Does the animal live on land or in water? By answering these questions and organizing animals, plants, and insects into categories based on those answers, scientists can discover what makes them special and different than other species. Understanding the differences between species is an important part of protecting them from harm.

The All Species Parade (on Saturday, Sept. 16 at the North Country Fair) is a fun way to celebrate all of Earth’s amazing creatures! Bring a costume, mask, make-up, sign or banner to celebrate your favorite species. You could be a tree, butterfly, whale, bird, fish, or anything you like! Ask your parents to help you dress up for the Parade! We hope to see you there!

Draw your favorite species here!

by Rebekah Staub EcoNews Aug/Sep 2017


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