EcoNews Oct/Nov 2012

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Over 40 Years of Environmental News

Arcata, California

Vol. 42, No. 5 Oct/Nov 2012

Published by the Northcoast Environmental Center Since 1971

Conservation Votes at Risk | Sea Levels Rising | Treasure in the Trash Zero Waste Humboldt | Coastal Cleanup Wrapup | Remembering John Sawyer



1385 8th Street - Suite 215, Arcata, CA 95521 PO Box 4259, Arcata, CA 95518 707- 822-6918, Fax 707-822-6980 EcoNews is the official bi-monthly publication of the Northcoast Environmental Center, 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/ Southern Oregon bioregion. The subscription rate is $35 per year.

Editor/Layout: Morgan Corviday, Advertising: Proofreaders: Karen Schatz, Midge Brown Writers: Sid Dominitz, Morgan Corviday, Dan Ehresman, Sarah Marnick, Dan Sealy, Jennifer Kalt, Spring Garrett, Margaret Gainer, Brandon Drucker, Michael Kauffman, Darren MIreau, Haven Livingston, Michael Best. Artist: Terry Torgerson Cover Photo: Band photo courtesy of Sour Mash Hug Band. Photo collage by Morgan Corviday.

NEC’s Mission

To promote understanding of the relations between people and the biosphere and to conserve, protect and celebrate terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems of northern California and southern Oregon.

NEC Board Of Directors

Safe Alternatives for our Forest EnvironmentLarry Glass, President, At-Large, Trinity County Rep. - Bob Morris, Vice-President, At-Large - Chris Jenican Beresford, Treasurer, California Native Plant Society - Jennifer Kalt, Secretary, Humboldt Baykeeper - Executive Director Redwood Region Audubon Society CJ Ralph, Sierra Club North Group, - Richard Kries, At-Large - Scott Greacen

NEC Programs Manager: Dan Ehresman,

Member Groups

North Group/Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club, Redwood Region Audubon Society, North Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Humboldt Baykeeper, Safe Alternatives for Our Forest Environment.

Affiliate Groups

Environmental Protection Information Center, Friends of Del Norte, Mattole Restoration Council

NEC Sponsored Groups

Healthy Humboldt Coalition, Green Wheels

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

Every issue of EcoNews is printed on recycled paper with soy-based inks. Please, Recycle!

News From the Center

As we witness the transition of the seasons and harvest, hopefully we can remember to take a moment’s pause and give thanks for the abundance in our lives. With this in mind, and with Local Food Month coming to a close, we give thanks to the farmers who are out daily working with the land—for the food at our markets and on our tables. We also would like to express our gratitude to the hundreds of participants who made Coastal Cleanup Day and the All Species Parade such successful events. To the students, artists, civil servants, musicians, volunteers, laborers, agencies, and businesses who lent a hand to make our corner of the world a little more beautiful and a little more healthy: Thank You!! The word “harvest,” to many here on the North Coast, likely means not only means food, but also the region’s number one cash crop. But over the last few years, the negative impacts have become increasingly obvious and severe. River flows are decreasing during times when fish need them most; with water diversions clearly playing a significant role. Another major concern recently

came to light in a UC Davis study that reveals extreme damage to wildlife and public lands from powerful pesticides used in largescale marijuana operations. With increased awareness of these threats to watersheds, wildlife, and the safety of our region’s residents, communities are calling for a change. To get involved in the discussion, come to a symposium organized to tackle the environmental challenges of marijuana agriculture in the age of prohibition. The symposium will be held on Friday, October 12, 1-5 pm at BSS Native Forum Room 162 at HSU. More information can be found on our website at Another big challenge facing our region is the current reliance on imported fossil fuels to meet our energy demands. With the likelihood that the costs fossil fuels will only keep rising, and in light of the recent Bear River Ridge wind farm debate, community members are increasingly engaging on energy issues on the North Coast. RePower Humboldt (aka RESCO) is a strategic planning process led by the Redwood Coast Energy Authority and the Schatz

Energy Research Center. The goal is to provide a community-based vision for a sustainable energy future. You can review and weigh in on the draft plan at http://www.redwoodenergy. org/programs/repower. Stay tuned for upcoming workshops that will delve into the specific topics of biomass, solar, wind, wave, and hydro-power. Tied directly to the region’s energy future, along with so many other critical issues, is Humboldt County’s General Plan Update. Despite continued attempts by real estate and developer interests to “can the Plan,” the Board of Supervisors has again declared that it will continue to move forward. Of course the proof of this will, as they say, be in the pudding. In October, after a nearly two-month stall out, the Supes are scheduled to review the Telecommunications, Infrastructure, Transportation and Economic elements of the Plan. In November, if all goes well, they will be deliberating on Open Space, Water Resources, and Energy. If you haven’t already expressed to your Supervisor the importance of bringing our General Plan up to date, now would be great time to do it!

Catch the NEC’s EcoNews Report

Every Thursday, 1:30pm on KHSU - 90.5FM Join us each Thursday for our half-hour radio show, the EcoNews Report!

Each show features interviews with experts on a variety of important environmental topics! EcoNews Report hosts include: Dan Ehresman (NEC), Jen Kalt (Humboldt Baykeeper), Scott Greacen (Friends of the Eel River), Gary Graham Hughes (EPIC), and Kirk Cohune and David Narum (Greenway Partners). Past shows are also archived on our website for listening online anytime!

NEC Supports Potential Coastal National Monument Expansion

The NEC supports H.R. 4969 (Thompson), the California Coastal National Monument Expansion, which would incorporate 2200 acres including the Point ArenaStornetta Public Lands and other public lands on the southern Mendocino coast into the existing California Coastal National Monument. The California Coastal National Monument was created by President Clinton in 2000 to protect the offshore rocks and islands. H.R. 4069 would establish the first land-based connection to the California Coastal National Monument. The Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands are economically and ecologically important. They include more than ten miles of coastline with natural bridges, tide pools, waterfalls, sinkholes, and blowholes. The region is home to abundant bird and wildlife, including endangered

mountain beaver, rare Bishop pines, and the southernmost shore pine forest. The proposed designation would protect critical salmon and steelhead habitat at the mouth of the Garcia River. And it would provide opportunities for hiking, fishing, bird watching, nature photography, and whale watching along a section of coastline that is dominated by private lands. Public open space is critical to the recreation and tourism economy, which supports nearly 5,000 jobs earning over $114 million annually in Mendocino County and over 900,000 jobs earning $30 billion annually throughout California. Send letters of support for H.R. 4969 (Thompson), the California Coastal National Monument Expansion, to: Congressman Mike Thompson 231 Cannon Building Washington D.C. 20515-0501


Letters to the Editor Editor—

Regarding the Eco-Mania article “Fruit Kills” (Aug-Sept Eco News). Cedar waxwings crashing into windows is not funny and the cartoon was offensive. Each year tens of millions of birds die due to window strikes. The American Bird Conservancy has had a recent victory concerning bird friendly windows: According to The Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP) collisions with windows is a leading cause of death for migrating birds. Birds face an array of threats including domestic cats that kill more than 500 million birds a year in the US alone, according to the American Bird Conservancy. Tens of millions more die from collisions with communication towers, pesticides and habitat destruction. I was not amused by including the deaths of millions of birds in Eco-Mania’s “A Merry Melange of Salient Sillies.” —Elaine Charkowski Fort Bragg, CA Editor’s Note: The news-bits in Eco-Mania (a longrunning feature in EcoNews written by former EcoNews editor Sid Dominitz) are a selection of interesting curiosities, but are not always “funny” or “merry”. Beginning this issue, we have changed the title a bit to not expressly imply amusement.


The Heat is On, What are We Doing About It? Answer is, of course, NOTHING! Your attempt to place the blame on the Petroleum Industry is as pathetic as the Democrats trying to blame the Corporations for the total corruption of their party, and the even worse, the massive public debt, much of which can be traced to unchecked government spending and Public Employee Unions. As environmentalists must all know, the main problem facing our planet is Population Growth.

Bouquets Endless gratitude to all the committed volunteers and sponsors who helped make this year’s Coastal Cleanup such a success!


Oct/Nov 2012

NOWHERE have I ever seen a major environmental group address this. Illegal Immigration, where the Dems buy electoral votes, and the Bureaucracy needs more bodies to pay off its obligations, ignores our Nations well being, and, in the process, wipes out EVERY environmental success EVER, via the massive influx of 3rd World Poor. Secondly, is our Welfare Policy, where we actually PAY people who could not care for a hamster, to reproduce. Not just once, twice, but as many a times as they wish, mainly because each new addition fattens the welfare check, a check (including healthcare, foodstamps and Section 8), which is greater than a low income job would pay. All this in spite of the amazingly easy access to birth control. Until these issues are clearly viewed as major contributors to the problem, and as long as people like yourselves dare blame the petroleum industry for actually supplying gas to this rapidly expanding population, the Answer to your question will remain the same. NOTHING but a bunch of useless libtwaddle that has the audacity to pretend that its little victories in any way make up for its massive case of selective vision. China, the emerging new world power, is, not coincidentally, the first to acknowledge this, overcome its libtwaddle population, and institute a rational, one child policy for its nation. Get real or cut the crap. —Joshua Kinch CORRECTION: In our Aug/Sept. issue of EcoNews, we published a Letter to the Editor, but regrettably did not include the authors name. The author of the letter was Christie L. Fairchild, of Rockport, WA. Thank you, Christie, for writing us!

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Conservation Votes at Risk Sea Level Rise around the Bay Rail Crossing Removal at Bridge Creek Hurdygurdy Acreage now Protected Finding Treasure in the Trash Reducing Our Way to Zero Waste Salamander Affects Carbon Cycle Legislative Watch Kin to the Earth: John Sawyer Green Wheels Coastal Cleanup Day All Species Parade & All Species Ball Humboldt Baykeeper Friends of the Eel River EPIC Mattole Restoration Council Sierra Club, North Group Redwood Region Audubon California Plant Native Society Good News Eco-Mania Creature Feature: Pacific Tree Frog Kids’ Page: What is a Waterbear?

We want to hear from you! Send your letters to: NEC Editor, PO Box 4259, Arcata 95518, or Please keep letters to under 300 words, and include your full name, town, email address and phone number (email and phone numbers will not be published). Thank you!

A hearty howl and peep from All Species to Leslie Howabauten and Allison Reed for helping us find, and express, our inner creature! A big drum roll to Gregg Moore and Bandamonium for providing the rhythm for all lifeforms at the glorious procession of the species! A huge thank you to Wes Chesbro and Jared Huffman for their work supporting healthier forests and watersheds. We appreciate your efforts!




Conservation Votes at Risk, Vigilance Needed Dan Sealy

an agency or bureaucrat does something counter to conservation law. Other conservationists, like Rumor has it, this election season, that there is myself, see lawsuits as a last resort and prefer to an effort afoot to steal the votes of conservationists elect representatives who write and protect the in the North Coast region. As in other parts of the conservation laws, without which, there could nation, the conservation vote would be stolen by be no lawsuits. I find this to be a more proactive cynicism, pessimism and lack of motivation or approach, but (honesty alert!), I am an optimist. inspiration. In other words, we would take our own My current choice of home (Washington, D.C.) voting rights away. may seem antithetical to conservation, especially I understand why some voters may feel cynical since I lived in beautiful northern California for 20 about elections and politicians. I have watched years—a place I still consider home. But good work people I helped elect turn around and vote or act in can and does happen here in D.C. Very destructive ways that seemed counter to why I voted for them. work can happen here, too. The same Congress It is easy to feel let down or betrayed. Perhaps as that responded to the ecological devastation of a result, some active conservationists prefer not the 1960’s by creating the Clean Air Act, Clean to worry about who is making the laws, but would Water Act, Endangered Species Act, Marine rather rely on an ability to sue the government when Mammal Protection Act, National Environmental Policy Act and other important environmental laws we take for granted, can undermine or take away all of those laws. Destructive legislation can happen if conservationists allow their own indifference to take their voting rights away. Electing conservationists to protect our environment at all levels of government from local to national requires work—and votes. In my current role as Legislative Analyst for the Northcoast Environmental Center, I attend hearings in the House and Senate and too often watch elected representatives pander to wealthy special interest groups like Big Oil and land exploiters—trying to undermine our ecological protection by shoving environmental laws aside. We see common themes: Environmentalists are “radicals” (haven’t they seen Betty White on the Wilderness Society ads?) and wilderness takes away jobs (have they never been to a recreation gear store to buy a tent or hiking boots or a café at the gateway to a wilderness trail?) Jobs and a strong economy are very important, but standing for a strong economy and standing up for environmental protection are not mutually exclusive. This year I have President Teddy Roosevelt and conservationist John Muir, Glacier Point, Yorepeatedly watched as the House passed semite Valley, California, 1906. Photo: Underwood & Underwood.


anti-conservation laws and sent them to the Senate. Fortunately, most were stopped by the Senate or by a the threat of a presidential veto. From local supervisors up to state legislators, congressional candidates and president, there are elected gatekeepers who voice a clear and unwavering support for conservation—holding the line against moves to attack our environmental laws or to replace career scientists and conservationists with industry exploiters. From local supervisors up to state legislators, congressional candidates and president, there are people on your ballot who have a track record for being those environmental gatekeepers. Their jobs, however, depend on your vote. Don’t throw that vote away. The human and ecological health of the nation for future generations is on the ballot. Washington, D.C. is a nice place to live when you send good people here. Many national and state parks are closer than you might think. Designated wilderness and the Appalachian Trail are only an hour’s drive away! D.C. has taken care of conservationists since President Teddy Roosevelt rode his horse through Rock Creek Park and walked the grounds of the White House to birdwatch. Interestingly, almost exactly 100 years ago when he was running for another term as the Progressive Party candidate, Roosevelt made this statement that is as important today as it was then: “There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country.” (Progressive National Convention, Chicago, IL, August 6, 1912) It is your job, as a voter, to make sure the issue of conservation cannot be ignored. Don’t let anyone take away your voting rights—and don’t take them for granted. Help elect your best and brightest to be the new gatekeepers for future generations. Dan Sealy is the NEC’s Legislative Analyst—our eyes and ears in Washington, D.C.

Make sure you know where and how to vote! Help your friends, neighbors and relatives register if they are not registered already. Humboldt residents can find more information on candidates and where to vote here: ...working with clients to improve the social, economic and environmental performance of their organizations and projects.


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Rising Seas Pose Risks Around Humboldt Bay

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• 240 miles of roads, including 58 miles of highway (particularly State Routes 101 and 255) • Eureka and Arcata wastewater treatment plants • Humboldt Bay power plant and electricity transmission lines • Municipal water and sewer pipelines • $1.4 billion in property replacement value will be located within the 100-year floodplain • 102 miles of shoreline around the bay and sloughs, California Flood Risk: earthen Sea Level Rise much of which is made up of unengineered Arcata South Quadrangle dikes built in the late 19th Century 124°7’30"W

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Jennifer Kalt is Policy Director at Humboldt Baykeeper.

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What else is at risk in Humboldt County?

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Winter’s “king” high tides in mid-November and December will provide a glimpse of what the future may be like around Humboldt Bay area if predicted rates of sea level rise become reality. Thousands of acres of former tidal wetlands currently at or below sea level around Humboldt Bay—including most of Manila, Samoa, Fairhaven, some residential and commercial areas of Eureka and Arcata, and many agricultural lands near the bay— are at risk of increased flooding in the coming years. Sea level is projected to rise 18 inches along the California coast by 2050, with a 55-inch rise predicted by 2100. In some coastal areas of California, sea level rise is already bringing increased flooding, erosion, and salt-water intrusion into groundwater. Larger and larger areas will be vulnerable to flooding during major storms as sea level rises, as well as in the rare but catastrophic event of a major tsunami. In 2009, an analysis by the Pacific Institute (http://www. estimated that critical infrastructure, coastal wetlands, and many billions in coastal properties face steadily increasing flood risks if no actions are taken. Compounding sea level rise locally is the recent discovery by geologists that the Humboldt Bay area is sinking due to the movement of the three tectonic plates that meet off the coast of Cape Mendocino—a process called subsidence. Ongoing research conducted by Cascadia Geosciences ( and the Humboldt Bay Vertical Reference Group suggests that due to tectonic activity, land subsidence is approximately 2.5 mm/year on the North Spit. The rate of subsidence is higher in the South Bay, while the coast at Crescent City is uplifting at a rate similar to current sea level rise. Studies are ongoing, but preliminary data suggest that the Humboldt Bay area could see a two-fold effect—rising sea levels in addition to a subsiding coastline. Tide gages on Humboldt Bay’s North Spit, for example, have recorded an average rate of sea level rise of 4.72 mm annually over the past 33 years— more than twice the average rate of sea level rise found on California’s coastline during the same period (according to California’s 2010 Sea-Level Rise Interim Guidance Document).

A 100-year-flood (calculated to be the level of flood water expected to be equaled or exceeded every 100 years on average) is used as a standard for planning, insurance, and environmental analysis. People, infrastructure, and property around Humboldt Bay are already located in areas vulnerable to flooding from a 100-year event. Sea level rise will cause more frequent—and more damaging—floods to those already at risk, and will increase the size of coastal floodplains, placing new areas at risk to flooding. High-water already reaches the top of most levees and overtops some during the highest tides of the year. This is compounded by wind and wave action from a typical winter storm, such as in 2003, when Mad River Slough levees were breached, flooding hundreds of acres of pasture. With sea level rise, such events are sure to happen more and more frequently. It’s not just property and farmland at risk: coastal wetlands, including the remaining native salt marshes, will be drowned if they are not able to migrate inland to higher ground as sea level rises. This will result in loss of a unique ecosystem that provides habitat for a variety of plants, birds, fishes, and insects. The good news is that with good planning, Humboldt County has a very high potential for wetlands to migrate inland rather than being completely inundated. Planning for future wetlands is critical to ecosystem health and could help reduce wave action that erodes and weakens levees. Such planning will require difficult decisions. Although a number of state agencies are providing guidance, most of these decisions will rest with regional and local governing entities and will need to be implemented through local land use plans such as the cities’ and county’s Local Coastal Programs, all of which are in need of updating. The longer we wait to plan for sea level rise, the more likely we will see short-sighted responses to property damage. Poorly-planned or emergency measures are likely to increase coastal armoring that only sends the problem somewhere else. With nearly 8,000 people expected to be living in the 100year floodplain around Humboldt Bay by the time sea level increases 55 inches, the time to prepare for rising seas is now.

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California Flood Risk: Sea Level Rise, Arcata South Quadrangle. Created by the Pacific Institute, Oakland, California, 2009. The light blue indicates the current 100-year flood plain. The dark blue indicates the predicted 55-inch sea level rise scenario.


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Sea Level Rise Scenario Coastal Base Flood + 1.4 meters (55 inches) Landward Limit of Erosion High Hazard Zone in 2100 Coastal Zone Boundary

This information is being made available for informational purposes only. Users of this information agree by their use to hold blameless the State of California, and its respective officers, employees, agents, contractors, and subcontractors for any liability associated with its use in any form. This work shall not be used to assess actual coastal hazards, insurance requirements, or property values and specifically shall not be used in lieu of Flood Insurance Studies and Flood Insurance Rate Maps issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Created by the Pacific Institute, Oakland, California, 2009. Project funded by the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research Program, CalTrans, and the California Ocean Protection Council



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Grid coordinates: UTM Zone 10N meters NAD83 GCS degrees

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Data Sources: US Geological Survey, Department of Commerce (DOC), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service (NOS), Coastal ServicesCenter (CSC), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Phillip WIlliams and Associates, Inc. (PWA), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), California Coastal Commission, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Imagery from ESRI and i-cubed.

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Rail Crossing at Bridge Creek to be Removed Darren Mireau The North Coast Rail Authority’s (NCRA) commitment to improvement of fish passage along their lines was put to the test this summer, after an assessment of the railroad crossing on Bridge Creek indicated the removal of the crossing was necessary to allow for fish passage upstream. In 2011, CalTrout completed an assessment of fish passage barriers along the 133-mile section of the North Western Pacific Railroad (NWPRR) line as it hugs Outlet Creek and the Eel River from Willets to Fortuna. The assessment prioritized several fish passage barrier sites for the essential next step—implementing projects to remove the barriers and allow salmon and steelhead to return to their ancestral spawning grounds. The railroad crossing at Bridge Creek was ranked as the secondhighest priority site due to the severity of the migration barrier and the large amount of potential upstream spawning and rearing habitat that the barrier blocks. Bridge Creek was historically a coho salmon and steelhead-bearing stream, and continues to yield precious cold water during the hot summer months—enough to once again support coho and steelhead. The two square mile watershed, which flows into the mainstem Eel River near Holmes Flat, along the stretch of river adjacent the Avenue of the Giants, has approximately 1.6 miles of potential fish-bearing habitat upstream of the crossing, but the five-foot drop at the railroad crossing’s culvert outlet is too high for fish to jump into. The railroad crossing over Bridge Creek is comprised of an earthen dam, a large span that required in excess of 40,000 cubic yards of fill. The best solution to restoring fish passage is to remove this fill, along with the accompanying railroad crossing. Barrier removal is a type of project routinely conducted with federal and state grant funds (your tax dollars at work!). However, reconstruction of a railroad crossing is out of bounds for those grant funds, so the NCRA had to agree to another (among the many) disruption of their railroad line that would have to be fixed at their expense if Continued on page 8 railroad service were ever

Smith River Alliance Gains Hurdygurdy Acreage

The Smith River is one of California’s crown jewels. The water quality is exceptional and it supports renowned populations of salmon and trout. In 1990, Congress established the 460+ square mile Smith River NRA because the watershed represented one of the last intact vestiges of a wild river. The watershed contains the diverse conifer forests of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, unique botanical communities, and ancient redwoods along the river’s lower reaches. Photo: Thomas Dunklin. **This is an abridged version. To read the complete article, visit www.**

Haven Livingston In August, the Smith River Alliance (SRA) acquired the last major inholding within the Smith River National Recreation Area (NRA), known as the Hurdygurdy Creek property. It fills in a huge gap within the NRA. When all of the land is conveyed to the Forest Service, it will unify the watershed of California’s last remaining river that runs free flowing from source to sea under public ownership. “We have transferred 1,200 acres of land to the NRA, and plan to convey the rest over the next three years,” said Grant Werschkull, Executive Director of SRA. “The project is now ranked sixth in the nation on the Forest Service priority list. The significance of Hurdygurdy Creek for salmon and steelhead spawning and rearing and the opportunity to support landscape-scale management consistent with the Smith River NRA Act made this project a top priority.” The Hurdygurdy Creek property is comprised of 5,360 acres located in the very heart of the Smith River NRA. The land was owned for over sixty years by a family-run timber company based in Washington, the Agnew Company. The tract encompasses parts of Little Jones Creek, the Siskiyou Fork, both tributaries of the Middle Fork Smith and approximately 4,400 acres of Hurdygurdy Creek, which drains into the South Fork Smith. Hurdygurdy Creek is one of the best producing salmon and steelhead streams within the NRA. This stream provides over 12 impressive miles of quality habitat. Spawning surveys have recorded over 300 redds (steelhead and salmon nests) in one year.

The Hurdygurdy purchase reduces fragmentation within the Smith River NRA. Habitat fragmentation is a common problem for wildland managers, interfering with not only ecosystem processes like fire but also management programs designed to improve forest health. For example, this purchase allows the Forest Service to incorporate the property into their planning for fuels and forest restoration projects. In addition to providing jobs, stand improvement and restoration projects increase the forest’s natural fire resiliency and will lead to older forests. Older forests are less dense, more fire resilient, and provide critical habitat for rare species such as spotted owls and coho salmon. Without protection, the land could have been sold off and subdivided for recreational, second-home development, thereby fragmenting the NRA—and handicapping landscape-scale management and restoration. As a regional leader in building partnerships with local, state, federal and private groups and agencies, SRA has played a key role in every significant conservation undertaking over the past 30 years. For information on how you can contribute on-line to the Hurdygurdy Creek campaign and learn more about the watershed and SRA’s projects, please visit SRA’s website at Haven Livingston is a freelance writer and former employee of Smith River Alliance.

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Finding Treasure in the Trash Spring Garrett

“Reducing” Our Way to Zero Waste

Do you see hidden value in plastic caps, Margaret Gainer cereal bags, and used twist-ties? Do you save Zero Waste Humboldt is a new organization things that would usually go to the landfill? advocating for a reprioritization of public Are they piling up somewhere in a drawer or policies and business practices with regard to cupboard? Do you wish there was someone waste: Reduce- first, Reuse-second, and Recycle/ who could use these materials again? SCRAP Compost- third. The current primary focus of local Humboldt is here to help! waste management systems is on landfill diversion Last fall three local residents (Patti Johnson, to comply with state regulations. With success Tibora Bea Girczyc-Blum and Spring Garrett) measured by the amount of material diverted from began a journey to make a creative reuse center landfills, there is no incentive to conserve natural a reality here in Humboldt. They saw the need resources and prevent waste at the source. For for instigating a large scale effort to reduce the example, it takes 4.3 grams of wood, 4.1 grams of amount of trash going to the landfill, and a SCRAP Humboldt’s first swap meet April 1, 2012, at the Coastal petroleum, and 1.8 grams of chemicals to produce desire to provide a resource for cheap supplies Nature Center. Photo: Tibora Bea Girczyc-Blum. one paper coffee cup. Our current recycling and for teachers, students, and artists. doesn’t have a large, well lit, FREE space to gather composting efforts concentrate on keeping that cup According to the Humboldt Waste Management all the goodies diverted from landfills from local out of the landfill, not on preventing its production Authority (HWMA), Humboldt County produces manufacturers, or from your overflowing shelves in the first place. 570,000 lbs. of garbage a day (not including and drawers. (If you know of one, please let them “Zero Waste” is not a new catch-phrase materials in recycling bins). With a population of know!) For now they will be doing special events for recycling. It is a comprehensive approach roughly 134,000, that equates to about 4.25 pounds that work toward a permanent home in the future. including many strategies to reduce waste, with a of garbage per person per day—or 4,800 truck trips There are two major events coming this fall primary emphasis on waste prevention. Only after averaging 200 miles each one-way per year. SCRAP where you can donate your materials and/or get all upfront design strategies and planning for waste Humboldt hopes to ignite an interest among inexpensive materials. prevention have been exhausted—in products, community members to think before they toss, and SCRAP Humboldt kicks off this fall with A packaging, building construction, events, and bring awareness to the idea that a discarded item HARVEST OF CREATIVITY, Swap Your Stash processes—should reuse, repair, recycling, and could have a new life as a new object. Reusing more plus Clothing and Costume Exchange. This event composting then be employed. items—diverting them from the waste stream—will takes place on Saturday, October 6 from 10 a.m. to 2 Zero Waste is a never-ending quest to improve reduce the staggering number of pounds of waste p.m. at the D Street Neighborhood Center on 1301 waste reduction systems. Joanne McGarry, a per person per day, and the number of trucks D Street in Arcata. To see the kinds of donations new community member, challenged Arcatans hauling garbage down the highway. being accepted, Continued on page 19 to improve the current waste reduction methods Johnson, Girczyc-Blum and Garrett’s grand at the fairs and festivals vision is to have a physical site where diverted held on the Arcata Plaza. materials and supplies could be sold to anyone It was in this spirit that who wanted unusual or inexpensive art materials. several community groups The center would also be a place to teach classes came together in August to on how to reuse common throw-away items like discuss how to reduce the clothing, plastic containers and lids, binders, old waste generated at the North books, records and other odds and ends. The third Country Fair in September. component of their dream is to house a gallery of A leap of faith commitment artworks and crafts by reuse artists. was made to implement a Intead of reinventing the wheel, why not reuse pilot program to recover the a good idea? Having seen other reuse centers in North Country Fair's food action in other cities, the founders of SCRAP waste and compostables Humboldt got their ducks in a row, applied, and at the Fair's six stations happily became a project of SCRAP USA. on the Plaza. SCRAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization The project team based in Portland, Oregon. Their mission is to inspire was fortunate to have the creative reuse and environmentally sustainable cooperation of Fair Manager behavior by providing educational programs and Matthew Cook and the affordable materials to the community. Their support of the Same Old model allows for flexibility in how to accomplish Members of Arcata High’s Green Club flex their composting muscles at the North Country Fair. Rowan McClelland-Bishop (left) and Abigail Black. Photo: Margaret Gainer. the mission. At this point SCRAP Humboldt Continued on page 19 Missaiya’s

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Blue Dolphin Alliance 888-694-2537


Godwit Days Offering Fall “Mini-Festival” October 13-14

The Godwit Day Spring Migration Birding Festival is expanding to offer a mini-Fall Migration Birding Festival this October. Join experienced leaders the weekend of October 13-14 on any of 10 trips selected to cover a range of the area’s best birding locations! Held at the end of the peak period for rare migrant birding, the Fall Preview is aimed at giving registrants a taste of Humboldt and Del Norte counties during this season with high potential for rare bird sightings. There will be a maximum of 10 registrants on most of the trips. On Saturday, you can take a trip on the open ocean looking for seabirds, travel north between the North Spit and Elk Head in search of vagrant warblers, visit the Arcata Marsh to view shorebirds, travel to the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge in Loleta and points south, or spend the day looking for raptors and grassland species on Bear River Ridge between Rio Dell and Ferndale. On Sunday, carpool to Lake Earl and other Del Norte bird-rich spots, travel south between the North Spit and Ferndale in search of vagrant warblers, visit the Arcata Marsh to view shorebirds, do a sea-watch from bluffs between Elk Head and Table Bluff, or look for lingering migrants between Centerville and Petrolia. The Fall Preview is a birding “e-event,” a paperless festival (online or phone registration). Participants meet leaders at convenient locations to form carpools, rather than having trips start from a central location. To register or to get more information on trip times, leaders, geographical areas, and expected species, visit www.godwitdays. org and click on the link in the right-hand “Special Events” column.

Salamanders Found to Impact Forest Carbon Cycle **This is an abridged version. To read the complete article, visit www.**

Michael Best The Ensatina salamander (Ensatina eschscholtzii), is the most common terrestrial salamander in California, and is one of several that occur in California’s vast coastal forests. Salamanders fill a critical ecological role via their consumption of leaf litter invertebrates. A study of a similarly abundant salamander species in Eastern U.S. forests (Plethodon cinereus) demonstrated that predation of leaf litter invertebrates resulted in an increase of the amount of leaf litter remaining on the forest floor—representing not only an increase in long term storage of energy and materials left on the forest floor for future growth and productivity, but also a decrease in CO2 released from the forest floor via litter break down. My thesis work at Humboldt State University demonstrates similar impacts of Ensatina on the arthropod and leaf litter ecosystem in mixed hardwood-conifer forests of Northwestern California. Ensatina’s selective removal of prime decomposer arthropods influences an increase in leaf litter retention and carbon sequestration in forests of Northern Coastal California. The selective removal of large, abundant, and competitive arthropod shredders (beetles, Entomobryidae springtails, larvae) opens up primary resources (fungal and bacterial colonies) for tiny arthropod grazers (Orabatidae mites, barklice) allowing them to increase in density. The increased densities of tiny arthropod grazers is critical to the health of the forest as they are the first link in the terrestrial food web—consuming fungi and bacteria, assimilating the energy into their animal biomass and up the trophic hierarchy from there.

My study involved construction of salamander housing units directly into the forest floor in an undisturbed forest near Ettersburg, Photo: brian.gratwick, CC BY 2.0, California in the fall of 2007. One half of the 12-1.5 square meter plots each contained one adult male Ensatina salamander. The control plots contained no salamanders. Each plot was equipped 3 grams of fresh dry leaf litter collected from the site to assess the change in litter (carbon) over the course of the experiment. Leaf litter invertebrate samples were collected from each plot before initiating the experiment and then after each subsequent month for four months through the rainy season. This experiment was replicated in 2008 with the onset of seasonal rainfall in that year. Leaf litter invertebrate samples from the experiment yielded 14,401 individual invertebrates from 38 families in 2007. Samples from 2008 yielded 32,721 individual invertebrates from 48 families. There were more than twice as many invertebrates sampled in the second year (2008) as there were in the first (2007) however the proportions of invertebrates in each functional group were virtually identical. Within the first two months of experimentation in 2007, Ensatina salamanders had a direct impact on ten invertebrate taxa. Consistent with the decrease in density of leaf litter invertebrates in 2007 was a 13% decrease in leaf litter breakdown (increased litter retention) over the course of the four month experiment. Full text PDF version of Michael Best’s Masters Thesis is available here:

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Oct/Nov 2012



Legislative Watch

Continued from page 5 be restored along this section of the line.

The NCRA has been supportive of the initial fish barrier assessment from the start, even sending their consulting engineer along on some of the field surveys. But when the specific site treatment (removal of the Bridge Creek crossing) was proposed as a result of the assessment, NCRA’s fish-friendliness was put to the test. They were presented with two arguments: first, that any eventual remediation at the site to allow rail service would be accompanied by a federal agency requirement (under the Endangered Species Act) to provide unimpeded fish passage, and second, the site currently represents a potential hazard due to unsafe conditions below the steep and activelyfailing fill prism. In other words, the existing crossing would need to be removed anyway if rail service were to ever be restored. Therefore, at the July 11 NCRA Meeting, the Board agreed it was in their best interest to allow CalTrout’s project to proceed, accomplishing at least half their task by removing the barrier. The next hurdle to clear on the way to restoring salmon and steelhead access into Bridge Creek— for the first time in many decades—is to secure the grant funding. CalTrout should be notified in early 2013 whether they will receive Fish and Game grant funds for the project.

Darren Mireau is CalTrout’s North Coast Area Manager.

Superbowl of Politics

For those who are interested in politics and government, it is like the World Series or Superbowl these days in Washington, D.C. News and excitement create a buzz around dinner tables, workplaces and classrooms. Although most of those involved in the political scene were gone during the summer recess, the city is more enlivened as people return. All communities around the nation, including the residents of the North Coast, share this involvement and interest, as they consider national, state and local level representatives. The big news for this time—before the elections, and then before the new Congressional Year—is the federal budget and riders on bills that conservationists are interested in. Appropriators will probably look for opportunities to include parts of bills that did not move through the process earlier in the year, including suggested changes regarding wilderness, off road vehicles, marine debris removal, and endangered species. Many conservation organizations are poised to engage in support of efforts to keep items out of the last legislation of the year. Congressman Thompson is introducing a bill to add acres to the Point Arena–Stornetta National Monument in Mendocino County, which is administered by the Bureau of Land Management. This is a first introduction for this bill, and no immediate action is expected. The bill provides additional protection for many important coastal acres and is supported by NEC. NEC will be watching to see how this, and other relevant legislation, progresses.

Marine Debris Removal & Study

A bill authored by Rep. Farr (CA-District 17) and supported by NEC, to re-authorize funding for the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act finally passed the House on August 1, only to be held up in the Senate even though it had broad bipartisan support. An anonymous senator placed a hold on the legislation, but hopefully it will be released and move forward. The importance of this re-authorization, which provides funding for projects across the country, has been heightened as the debris from the tsunami in Japan continues to wash closer to shore, affecting fishing and beaches.

The “Farm Bill”

As was reported earlier this year, the House version of the Department of Agriculture’s budget, or the “Farm Bill,” became a political football that suddenly included unrelated provisions that could hurt some conservation efforts. The budget bill, which typically determines a variety of things from the budget for food stamps to which, if any, agricultural products receive subsidies or targeted research, has not been acted upon for a variety of reasons. Congress’s lack of direction on agriculture has begun to show economic impact and there is renewed pressure to “do something,” but there seems to be less interest in attaching anti-conservation riders—for now.

Saving Mendocino’s Coastline

In September, Congressman Thompson introduced HR 4969, the “California Coastal National Monument Expansion” a bill to add 2200 acres to the Point Arena-Stornetta National Monument in Mendocino County. This is the first introduction for this bill, and no immediate action is expected. The bill provides additional protection for many important coastal acres and is supported by NEC. NEC thanks Representative Thompson and will watching to see how the bill progresses under our new Congressional representative after the elections. The President also has the authority to add these acres to the National Monument if Congress does not act.

Plans for Nuclear Waste Progress

The Blue Ribbon Committee presented plans for long-term storage of nuclear waste to the House earlier this year, and in September the same plan was presented at hearings in the Senate. This new report is significant because its intent is to solve the longstanding problem of using the best methods to store existing and new nuclear waste in the United States. There is no current facility in the US which can accept new nuclear waste for long-term storage. The significant change in the method of identifying final locations is the idea that communities will actually want to bid on storage sites, or the government may provide incentives.

Dan Sealy is the NEC’s Legislative Analyst—our eyes and ears in Washington, D.C.

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Oct/Nov 2012


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Kin to the Earth: Michael Kauffman

John Sawyer’s spirit was contagious, and he always brightened my day, greeting me for a lunch date with a long, sincere, chuckle and a smile. We would sit in the living room and chat, discussing a recent issue of Backpacker Magazine, or the latest developments in the world of conifers— and eventually make our way to the car for lunch at the Sushi Spot in downtown Arcata. Edamame, Klamath Rolls, and a pot of tea would stimulate several hours of conversations swirling with conifers, flowering plants, places, sustainability, and biodiversity across the Klamath Mountains. As we talked, we delved into Klamath facts, theories, and hypotheses, all the while reminiscing about wilderness trips across the range. For Sawyer, transKlamath adventures had been occurring for a long time. He knew and loved the landscape. John joined the faculty at Humboldt State University in 1966, where he became Professor of Botany and soon a nationally recognized authority on plant ecology, conifers, and the vegetation and flora of California, especially of the Klamath Region. He was particularly proud of his cadre of graduate students (over 50 of them!), many of whom now occupy professorships and responsible positions in state and federal agencies and the conservation movement around the country. John’s friendship and rigorous, theory-driven exploration of ecological ideas with his students and colleagues created personal and professional bonds that will last beyond a lifetime. Sawyer never shied away from taking students into the field for hands-on experiences. He insisted that everyone needed such adventures to learn about the natural world in a proper way. His class field trips included thousand-mile bus rides to the Mojave Desert or shorter jaunts to trek students across, over, and around the ridges, canyons and mountain tops of the Klamath. All the while they were searching for plant species and piecing together patterns in the vegetation. At the end of an era for pioneers, Sawyer and his colleagues were pioneering the understanding of large-scale landscape patterns in vegetation. While he saw the Western landscape broadly,

he especially loved the Klamath Mountains and helped to define its flora. His countless hours of field research, extending well beyond his formal retirement, resulted in over forty scientific

John Sawyer stands next to a large sugar pine in Sugar Creek Research Natural Area in the Russian Wilderness.. Photo: Michael Kauffman.

publications and three books—”Trees and Shrubs of California, Northwest California: A Natural History,” and “A Manual of California Vegetation,” which was adopted as the state standard for vegetation classification. This love of native plants led to him being active in the Save the Redwoods League and the Ecological Society of America. John was President of the California Native Plant Society (CNPS), and a founding member and first president of the North Coast Chapter of CNPS. I think what most excited me about John was his love of wild places. When he spoke of ideal

wilderness, he did so with a twinkle in his eye and a giddy-up in his voice. Over the years I knew him he revealed many of the favorite places he adventured in search of plants and patterns—but the one that came up most often was the Russian Wilderness. G. Ledyard Stebbins first made him aware of the rare conifers around Russian Peak and asked John to journey there to help establish a better understanding of the area for the Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants of California organized by CNPS. In the late ‘60s and early ‘70s he, along with numerous colleagues and students, trekked through this country to inventory the plants (especially the conifers!). In Sugar Creek Canyon they found 400 species of vascular plants, and in one roughly drawn square mile around Little Duck Lake he and Dale Thornburg discovered 17 species of conifers. They affectionately called this The Miracle Mile to celebrate the amazing diversity here. This work and the new understandings his research established ultimately led to the area’s preservation as the Russian Wilderness in 1984—something he was undeniably proud of. John was one of the strongest people I know, indefatigable in the face of his long term illness. No matter how sapped of energy through years of treatment, he never stopped laughing, learning, and sharing. Recently, his doctors told him that his options were exhausted and that his life could be prolonged somewhat, but the quality of it (most expressly his ability to walk and get around on his own) could not. He declined quickly in the summer of 2012 and died comfortably, at home with the people he loved nearby—under a canopy of redwoods. John influenced many of us as botanists, ecologists, biogeographers, and lovers of nature. But most importantly he was a model for the strength of the human spirit and the unalterable enjoyment of life through its ups and downs. His spirit and essence will always live on in our hearts and minds as well as in the wild places he so dearly loved. I thank Jane Cole, Jim Smith, Todd KeelerWolf, Michael Mesler and Allison Poklemba for their contributions to this story. Michael Kauffman is an educator, plant explorer and author of the recently released “Conifer Country”.

Robert Berg, D.D.S.

212 J Street Eureka, CA 95501 707-445-0784


Oct/Nov 2012


They’ll Take You There, Saturdays & Sundays Oona Smith You already know about all the public transit choices we Humboltians have Monday through Friday, right? You know of all the beautiful, quaint, academic, commercial, and practical places the bus can get you to—for as little as $1.75—right? (But city bus fares are even cheaper, seniors pay reduced fares, and for HSU students it’s GRATIS.1 Students, take a free ride! You’d be a pay-at-the-pump fool not to.) Your choices for bus trips are just getting better! We’ve got new intercity bus service coming on Saturdays and Sundays. We coastal dwellers certainly know what it’s like to long for that mythical summer weather. And perhaps the mountain dwellers want a foggy respite from their long days of full-blast sun and heat. So what better season to begin new Saturday service between Willow Creek and Arcata? This summer, Redwood Transit System (RTS) started running the Willow Creek-Arcata bus line (or “schedule” in savvy bus parlance) on Saturdays. The bus stops in Willow Creek, Valley West (Arcata), and at the Arcata Transit Center. You have four buses to choose from, eastbound and westbound, on Saturdays. From Willow Creek, the first bus heads west at 6:25 a.m.; the last one departs at 6:45

p.m. From the Arcata Transit Center, the first and last eastbound departures are, respectively, 8:20 a.m. and 5:40 p.m. Plus, the Willow Creek-Arcata line has seven runs Monday through Friday. But you knew that. What you may not know (!) is that, starting on November 4, your bus choices are expanding to Saturdays and Sundays. Come fall, you will be able to ride the RTS Mainline route, from Scotia to Trinidad, seven days a week. So why not take the bus to a new or favorite fall event? Say “No” to generating more greenhouse gases and “Yes!” to an economical bus ride to the Intertribal Elders Gathering, Craftsman’s Days or the Mushroom Fair in Eureka; to Blessing of the Fleet in Trinidad; or to a Thanksgiving Day Walk at the Arcata Marsh. In December, take your low-emission, no-parkingrequired bus ride to the Al Gray Memorial Electric Lighted Parade in Fortuna, the Christmas Convoy Truckers Parade in Eureka, or the Electric Lighted Parade in Fortuna. More details on Sunday service, including a schedule, will be posted soon on the RTS website, The website places at your fingertips a transit trip planner, schedules, fares, and other information. But you already knew that, right?

Yes, students do pay for free rides through a student fee, but don’t get all technical on me. It’s still a mobile deal.

Historic Arcata Bottom Bike Tour Sunday, October 14th 2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Does it feel the summertime has rushed past you? No need to fret - the fall is the best time for bicycling on the North Coast, and Green Wheels has a historic ride planned for us all to fall back in time. The Humboldt Bay area and the Arcata Bottom have a rich history – the convergence of many cultures, dramatic land use and agricultural changes, and shifting transportation modes. Ever wonder how the ‘Mad River Slough’ got its name? Have you pondered the history of the line of old barns out along Samoa Boulevard? Come discover these mysteries and more as Green Wheels and renowned local historians invite you on a bicycle and history tour of the Arcata Bottom on Sunday, October 14, 2012. We will start the ride at 2pm from the NEC/Green Wheels office in the Greenway Building at 8th and N Streets in Arcata. As we pedal our way to


Oct/Nov 2012

multiple sites along the route, we will meet local experts to learn about the incredible history of the landscape and people of the Arcata Bottom. This will be a fun guided group ride suitable for all people interested in biking and learning about the history of their community. Families are welcome and encouraged! Bring your helmet and some water to safely enjoy the flat, ~10 mile route throughout the Arcata Bottom. Come ride back in time with Green Wheels to rediscover your community’s history with an eye towards the past and wheels toward the future.

Learn more on our facebook page!


YOU Make the Difference for Clean Waterways! On September 15, 2012, the global community came together for an international day of action in honor of our watersheds and coast. On this day over half-a-million people from around the globe removed 9,184,428 pounds of trash from 20,776 miles of shoreline—that’s over 4,500 tons of trash that will no longer pollute our world’s waterways. The outcome of such a coordinated event demonstrates the role that each and every one of us can play in promoting a healthier planet—it also demonstrates the power of working together. Here locally, the final tally from this year’s Coastal Cleanup is in! At least 844 volunteers of all ages covered over 60 miles throughout Humboldt County and removed over 13,000 pounds of trash (and 400 pounds of recycling) from our beaches and waterways! This is a tremendous benefit to the health and safety of all North Coast community members, human and wild. Moreover, the data gathered by our Coastal Cleanup volunteers gives important insight into types and concentration of trash at each of the sites and will assist with future cleanup efforts and refuse reduction programs. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the amazing site captains, sponsors, and the hundreds of participants throughout the region.

Whats next? The Northcoast Environmental Center, in coordination with the California Coastal Commission, will be tracking debris generated from the catastrophic tsunami in Japan as it washes up on our shoreline. Given that Northern California is poised to receive the first of the tsunami debris in the state, it is our hope that the NEC’s Tsunami Debris Monitoring and Cleanup Program will give counties to the south advance notice of any debris that may be coming their way. To report any possible tsunami debris or to volunteer for future events, contact the NEC at 707-822-6918, or

A Huge Thank You to all of the committed site captains and triumphant teams!

For a complete list of teams, locations, and more cleanup photos, please visit our website:

Awards Most Unusual item award goes to Pam Halstead’s Fortuna Creeks Program Team for reporting their find of “witchcraft items.” Most Ironic item award goes to Lucia Boyer’s Eureka High team for reporting their find of a cookie fortune that reads, “Don’t have bad manners.” Most Entertaining item award goes to Brenda Harper’s Co-op Crew for reporting their find of a “big booby holder.” Most Innappropriate item award is actually (appropriately enough) a three-way tie between: Dale Unea’s Samoa Peninsula Fire Department crew, Vanessa Vasquez’s Baykeeper crew, and Jacob Pound’s Mad River Alliance crew. If you really want to know more, you’ll have to ask them about it! And a big thank you to our sponsors: Humboldt Waste Management Authority, PG&E, City of Eureka, Recology, North Group Sierra Club, Humboldt Baykeeper, Les Schwab Tire Center, Arcata Garbage Company, North Coast Journal, Lost Coast Communications, Bicoastal Media, KHSU, GHD, Humboldt Sanitation, Bureau of Land Management, Danco, Greenway Partners, Los Bagels, North Coast Coop, Wildberries, Times-Standard, Arcata Eye, Visual Concepts, Big Pete’s Pizza, and Pierson Building Center.

Music and dance to keep the spirit of bioversity alive! After day of action to clean our coast, species of all kinds celebrated at the North Country Fair. Creatures great and small—from giant fire ants and armadillos, to pink ponies, fox pups, beavers, birds, and butterflies—gathered in the streets to celebrate the diversity of life in the All-Species Parade! Humboldt County’s first All-Species Parade took place at the North Country Fair in 1979. Inspired by gentle nudgings from journalist Ponderosa Pine— who helped organize an All-Species Parade in San Francisco the year before—and co-conspirator Olive Tree, Humboldt County’s first march of the species was a success and became a regular feature at the Fair. As Tim McKay wrote of the parade years later in a commemorative North Country Fair publication, “… [the parade] does seem to sort of perpetuate itself [and] the animals do show up.” Tim also expressed his hope that the NEC would some day put more time and energy into the parade and get more of the theater groups involved.

This year, with grand results, the NEC teamed up with Leslie Howabauten of local arts collective Synapsis to organize the eclectic procession. A series of mask-making workshops for the public and in schools prior to the parade helped generate some species spirit. The day of the event was truly a collaborative spectacle, with participants from the Kinetic Sculpture Lab, Arcata Playhouse, Del Arte, and the community at large. Giant puppets, stiltwalkers, costumed revelers, musicians, and a handful of kinetic sculptures reveled about to the rhythm of Greg Moore’s Bandemonium. A huge thanks to all for making what was perhaps the largest All Species Parade yet such a success. We hope that the energy will continue to build for next year, when the North Country Fair will celebrate its 40th anniversary!!

And coming up! For more photos of the All Species Parade, visit all-species-parade2012


at the

Arcata Playhouse

For details, please visit:

For more parade photos, please visit:

Statewide Plastic Bag Ban Fails Again In the final day of the legislative session, the State Senate failed again to act on legislation to ban single-use plastic bags statewide. The flimsy bags used at checkout counters are light and can be blown easily by the wind. They often find their way to the beach and ocean, where sea turtles, birds, and other marine life swallow them. Humboldt Waste Management Authority’s Programs Manager, Brent Whitener, said, “We are saddened to see Assembly Bill 298, the statewide ban on single-use bags, die in the Senate Appropriations Committee. It met its fate along with other pro-environmental legislation during eleventh hour bargaining, seemingly with the film plastic industry claiming job loss and other economic impacts.” Humboldt Waste Management Authority will continue working toward local bag bans. In June, the HWMA Board directed staff to conduct the required environmental review for local bag bans. The environmental review is expected to move forward this fall, after which local jurisdictions will be able to proceed by adopting bag ban ordinances. In the past two years, over 50 cities and counties in the state have voted to ban single-use plastic bags. When all of these ordinances go into effect, almost one-third of Californians will live in bag-free communities. Several local grocers, including Ray’s McKinleyville and several Murphy’s Market locations, have chosen to eliminate plastic bags in the past few months.

A plastic bag litters a street in San Francisco. Photo: Heal the Bay, via Flickr Creative Commons


Invasive Kelp Alert The tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011 has raised new concerns about invasive, non-native species that can survive on floating debris. In June, a 65-foot-long floating dock from Japan that washed up in central Oregon brought at least 30 species with it, including Undaria pinnatifida, North Pacific star fish, and Japanese shore crabs. Because much of this debris may land on remote parts of our coastline, it is especially critical that beachgoers, boaters, and fishermen learn how to recognize potentially damaging non-native species. Your help is needed to report new sightings of the fast-growing, invasive Asian kelp, Undaria pinnatifida. Uncontrolled, it could have profound effects on native species, as well as Humboldt Bay's oyster industry. It can become a pest on boat hulls, moorings, ropes, fishing gear, docks, and aquaculture structures. First reported from the LALong Beach Harbor in 2000, it has since spread as far north as San Francisco Bay. Native to Japan, China, and Korea, it spreads by hitchhiking on boats, anchors, floats, and aquaculture gear.

What you can do:

• Learn to identify the invasive kelp, Undaria pinnatifida (a.k.a. wakame) • Look for this kelp while enjoying our waterways • Regularly inspect and remove fouling from boats, especially before cruising to a new location Early detection can help prevent further spread of this invasive kelp. If you believe you have found Undaria, please take a photograph and upload it at www.Undaria.nisbase. org. Remove the kelp (if you can do so safely) and store in a plastic bag until its identity can be confirmed. Do not dispose of it in the water. If you have questions, contact Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's Marine Invasions Research Lab at (415) 435-7128 or

A mature specimen of Undaria pinnatifida (a.k.a.wakame). Photo: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

Oct/Nov 2012


Watershed Residents Must Come Together to Save Coho

Similarly, the future of the Sprowel Creek In discussions about the Humboldt County watershed has recently become a looming question. General Plan Update, there have been many issues About 7,000 acres in the upper watershed have raised about the the need to protect fisheries and fish been broken into patent parcels by the Barnum habitat—especially cold, clean water—but the truth timber interests. This leverages market values by is that the future of our watersheds and fisheries securing, if not development rights, then the ability will be determined less by county rules and state to sell the land piecemeal without compliance with agencies than by the actions of people who live and the Subdivision Map Act, and planning for things work in the watersheds. The fate of coho salmon in like road systems and water supplies. the South Fork of the Eel River brings the future of Southern Humboldt watersheds into particularly compelling focus. The surviving population of coho, or silver, salmon in the South Fork Eel River is an irreplaceable part of the region’s biological heritage. In the 1940s, annual returns of adult coho salmon to the Southern Humboldt and Northern Mendocino portions of the South Fork Eel alone (ie the Benbow Reach) ranged from 10,000 to 25,000 fish. These days, the entire South Fork population of adult coho probably numbers between 2000 and 3000 adults in a good year. The Department of Fish and Game (DFG) reported about eleven hundred redds (salmon nests) from the from the upper South Fork last year. The fish born from those redds, and the Returning adult male coho, sparring in Mill Creek. Photo: Thomas Dunklin. few dozens persisting in watersheds Stream flows and other key conditions in like Redwood Creek west of Redway and Sprowel Sprowel Creek and its tributaries are already Creek west of Garberville, probably make up the dangerously poor in the dry season. In its present most viable population left in California. They condition, the Sprowel Creek watershed now sees are very likely the last real hope to restore viable, as many as 25 adult coho return in some years. productive coho runs in the Eel watershed and the Further unplanned and unmitigated development neighboring Mattole River. in the watershed is likely to substantially reduce the In the draft Recovery Plan for Southern Oregonpotential for coho recovery not only in the Sprowel Northern California Coast (SONCC) Coho, Creek watershed but for the South Fork coho published by the National Marine Fisheries Service population as a whole. in early 2012, the federal wildlife agency made the That both Humboldt county and land case that the South Fork Eel run is essential to support developers might become liable for prohibited runs in watersheds—Humboldt Bay tributaries, for “take” of listed species is just one of the serious example—that could not by themselves support runs consequences likely to result. The Eel should be large enough to be viable over the long run. a stronghold for salmonids that can help restore While noting that coho counts at Benbow have regional populations, but if current trends continue, declined sharply from historic levels, DFG’s Scott we will lose these species in the Eel and across the Downie has suggested the trajectory of South Fork region in our children’s lifetimes. Eel River coho may be determined by what happens Salmon are harmed by increased sediment in Southern Humboldt over the next decade. loads, increased water temperatures, and lower Redwood Creek, for example, still has coho, and flows, factors that dramatically increased in our many residents who care deeply for the land. It also watersheds due to the logging and roadbuilding has what might be optimistically described as an boom of the 20th century. Those impacts led to enormous opportunity to encourage water storage the designation of nearly all North Coast rivers, and end dry-season diversions.


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including the Eel and its tributaries, as impaired and threatened under Section 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act. While these legacy impacts have begun to heal, their persistence means we must take great care to limit today’s and tomorrow’s impacts if we are to successfully restore our watersheds and the fisheries that depend upon them. The county must act to ensure that such development occurs only with enforceable provisions governing the key factors that drive the most significant impacts. These include minimum parcel sizes; water supply and storage; road system design, construction, and maintenance; oversight of grading impacts; and cumulative effects analysis and mitigation. Though such reasonable protections for watersheds in new developments are crucial to allow coho survival, they almost certainly won’t be enough to secure recovery. We have to build on the protection and restoration work of the past decades by coming together as road associations and neighborhoods to reduce sediment, curtail pollution, and above all store water and end dry-season diversions. Scott Greacen is Executive Director of Friends of the Eel River.

Railroad Agency’s Appeal Rejected A state appeals court summarily dismissed the North Coast Railroad Authority’s (NCRA) claim that lawsuits filed by Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics should be moved to a “neutral” county. That leaves the suits in Marin Superior Court, where Judge Faye D’Opal had rejected the argument that she and Marin County are biased against the NCRA. The NCRA previously failed to convince a federal court that the state court has no power to review the agency’s state-funded actions under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The NCRA is running out of excuses. We are asking they disclose and address the environmental impacts of re-opening the line through the unstable Eel River Canyon.


Celebrate EPIC’s 35th Anniversary w


Delhi Dublin!

Friday F riday November 2, 2012 Mateel Community Center, Redway, Ca

145 G Street, Suite A, Arcata, CA 95521

Andrew Orahoske

California, his relatives back in Oregon have been successful in forming new packs and producing another promising generation of new pups. The future of wolves in California depends on these pups in Oregon, and their attempts to make a living in sometimes hostile landscapes. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has announced intentions to strip away the protections of the federal Endangered Species Act from gray wolves. Based on this distinct fear of losing federal protections, EPIC joined with several conservation allies in petitioning to add the gray wolf to the list of protected species under the California Endangered Species Act. In a very positive move, the California Department of Fish and Game recommended that the gray wolf be granted a closer look, and we expect the California Fish and Game Commission to heed this recommendation. As of this writing,

The Environmental Protection Information Center

Howling for More Wolves in California

As autumn weather sweeps through the hills, bringing rain to the coast and the first wisps of snow to the high country, I find myself wondering and listening for the howl of more wolves returning to their ancestral homelands in California. The first wild wolf in the state in over 80 years, a lone male named “Journey” or “OR7” by supporters and biologists, still roams the wild country near Lassen National Park and adjacent national forests. After nearly a year of residency, Journey appears intent on staying, jaunting over hundreds of miles and getting a good handle on the lay of the land. As several forest fires burned over the summer, Journey’s explorations took him right to the edge of the fire lines, presumably drawn by the presence of deer and elk escaping the flames. While Journey has staked out territory in

(707) 822.7711

A future of wolves in California depends on the adventurous nature of pups like this one. Photo: USFWS.

wolves may well enjoy an interim protected status under state law. In the meantime, listen closely as the fall winds gust; the wild howlings of this majestic predator may be closer than you think.

EPIC Campaign to Rein in Caltrans Extends Beyond Richardson Grove








The recently launched Rein in Caltrans campaign at EPIC has gathered speed and momentum over the past months. The visionary advocacy that EPIC initiated with a broad coalition of allies and partners at Richardson Grove State Park has continued to expand in relevance and scope. The successful effort to challenge the Caltrans proposal to further develop Hwy 101 at Richardson Grove has expanded beyond the initial

Gary Graham Hughes issues of responsible state parks management and the real transportation needs of Southern Humboldt and Northern Mendocino communities. Though revelations over the summer have confirmed the serious mis-management of our treasured State Parks that EPIC has been working to reveal for years, EPIC is not narrowly focused on State Parks when it comes to advocating for major changes in the management regimes of our state agencies. The effort at Richardson Grove has given birth to a new level of EPIC advocacy to protect our State Parks, and it has expanded to include a series of legal efforts to halt unnecessary and expensive Caltrans highway construction projects that are putting rare resources at risk, as well as ignoring the real needs of our rural communities. For instance, the Smith River is one of the biological gems of Del Norte County. The tight winding curves of Highway 197/199 seem to take vehicles out beyond the grasp of gravity, hugging the cliffs above the clear, sparking waters of the wild river. Unbeknownst to many residents in Northwest California, Caltrans is proposing a highway widening project for Hwy 197/199 that would increase large truck access to the North Coast, and that threatens the waters of the Smith as well as endangers

ancient redwoods protected along the river canyon. EPIC is taking a lead role in generating public participation as the documentation for this project is recirculated, with comments due by Nov. 5. Stay tuned to for news and alerts! The Smith River and Richardson Grove are not the only valuable natural areas where EPIC is ready to take action to reform Caltrans. At the other end of our bioregion, EPIC has partnered with the Willits Environmental Center, the Sierra Club, and the capable and innovative legal staff at the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) to challenge the $200 million Willits Bypass—a project that Caltrans is planning to develop in the environmentally sensitive wetlands and economically productive agricultural lands in the head waters of the Eel River in Mendocino County. The start of work on this project is imminent, and a motion for preliminary injunction was filed in early September, with a hearing scheduled for Oct 12 in the federal court in San Francisco. As EPIC carries forth with our work to Rein in Caltrans, we will be reaching out to our membership and community to request your participation and support. Stay tuned to our website for news and alerts to support EPIC and to help Rein in Caltrans.

Oct/Nov 2012


The objectives and purpose of the Mattole Restoration Council are the protection and restoration of natural systems in the Mattole River Watershed and their maintenance at sustainable levels of health and productivity, especially in regards to forests, fisheries, soil, and other native plant and animal communities.


Youth Education a Key Component of Environmental Stewardship Since the early 1980s the Mattole Restoration Council (MRC) has been working to ensure that all residents of the Mattole watershed are aware of the challenges facing the local environment. This effort has taken many forms, including newsletters, publications, guest speakers, workshops, and conversations with neighbors. There is one activity that has remained constant while undergoing constant evolution: youth education. Watershed restoration is a long term effort. Critical to that effort is ensuring that the next generation is aware of the needs and limits of the landscape they are growing up in. The work that we do today is greatly enhanced when the generations after us maintain the effort and protect our investment. In fact, some might argue that our work today is for nothing if we fail to educate our children about the fragile ecosystem that we live in. In the early years youth education was an opportunistic pursuit. MRC and the Mattole Salmon Group worked in complement to one another, bringing restoration lessons to the classrooms or students into the field whenever possible, which was not as often as everyone—teachers, students, parents, and restorationists—hoped.

Mattole Restoration Council Youth Education Raffle 1st prize: $500 gift card to Pierson Building Center

2nd prize: Husqvarna Multi-tool

More prizes TBA! Tickets $10 each Drawing to be held on November 9th at the Mattole Restoration Roundtable Need not be present to win! To purchase tickets or for more information please contact Hezekiah Allen at 707-629-3514 or EcoNews

Oct/Nov 2012

In the last decade MRC has largely taken the lead on youth education. With grants from several state agencies and private foundations the program took on new life. Every student in the watershed—from grade K-12— enjoyed a lesson or field trip once a week. The curriculum was diversified and came to include cutting edge topics— like mycoremediation, local medicinal plants and tincture making, climate change, and sudden oak death. There is also a strong focus on field activities and restoration mainstays like river and beach cleanups, invasive species management, Students have a great time learning about invasive species by getting in the field and learning about sediment, water pulling scotch broom. quality and turbidity monitoring, and learning and constant. Accordingly, the funding stream about and caring for our watersheds flora at the must be equally consistent. We will solve this native plant nursery. challenge by working together, and we would like Though the program is very popular and highly to expand the conversation to include all of our effective, it is increasingly difficult to sustain. Recent regional partners. If you have ideas, suggestions, years have been marked by economic downturns or support you can lend to this cause, please let us and budget cuts. Irrationally, these cuts often focus know. Contact Hezekiah Allen at 707 629 3514 or on education and the environment. This year the youth environmental education program started Hezekiah Allen is Executive Director of the Mattole the year with less than half of what was needed to Restoration Council. make it through the year. Now we are faced with a challenge: how do we continue this program without the strong support we had been receiving from state and federal agencies? In our effort to rise to that challenge we are employing many strategies. First among those is collaboration; by spreading the responsibility for youth education between several partners including the Mattole Salmon Group, Sanctuary Forest, BLM, local parentteacher associations and booster clubs we have managed to build some security for the current school year. However, we are still faced with the ongoing challenge. Education is not like other projects. It is not a one- Students learn about web worms, a common but little understood feature of time expenditure. The work is ongoing the Mattole watershed.



Events and Updates ~ North Group, Redwood Chapter

OUTINGS & MEETINGS The regular meeting of the North Group takes place on the second Tuesday of each month at Eureka’s Adorni Center beginning at 7 p.m. The June 12 meeting will be preceded by a special presentation, pizza and refreshments beginning at 6 p.m. Science Fair Award recipient Paloma Herrara-Thomas (7th grade) will share her winning project (more on her project below). The following outings are offered to members and the general public during August and September: Sun. Oct 14 - North Group, Skunk Cabbage Trail, Redwood National Park. Enjoy an old growth spruce forest along this trail before lunch on Gold Bluffs Beach. Bring water, lunch and sturdy shoes. No dogs. Class M-9-A. Carpool: Meet 10 a.m. McKinleyville Safeway parking lot or 10:45 a.m. Skunk Cabbage trailhead (west of Hwy. 101 two miles north of Orick). Leader Bill 707-839-5971. Rain cancels. Sun. Nov. 4 - North Group, Hidden Beach Section Coastal Trail, Redwood National Park. Hike the Coastal Trail from False Klamath Cove south to the Klamath Overlook Area, and return by the same route. The trail features spruce-alder woodlands clinging to rugged bluffs, intermittent views to rocks and coastline below, a pocket beach, and a chorus of nearby but unseen sea lions. Bring lunch, water, layered clothing, and hiking footwear. No dogs. Class M-8-A .Carpools:meet 9:00 a.m. PST Arcata Safeway parking lot or 10:30 a.m. PST Lagoon Creek parking area (west of Hwy. 101 one mile north of Trees of Mystery). Leader Melinda 707-668-4275 or Rain cancels.

Will Ag Pollution Finally be Regulated?

This year the Clean Water Act (CWA) is 40 years old. One would think that a law 40 years old would, at this point, be fully implemented. But that is not the case with the Clean Water Act. In fact, regulators nation-wide are only now getting around to regulating agricultural pollution. That would not be happening either if it were not for environmental lawsuits which forced states and the federal government to begin regulating non-point pollution. Non-point pollution includes logging, agriculture and urban run-off. Here on the North Coast environmental groups began filing lawsuits 20 years ago to force regulation of non-point pollution. Now the North Coast Water Quality Control Board is finally getting around to implementing clean water regulations on agricultural operations here.


Redwood Chapter Water Chair Daniel Myers and North Group Water Chair Felice Pace are serving—along with Riverkeepers, Farm Bureau Folks and others—on the Committee established by the North Coast Board to advise it on how to regulate agriculture. So far we are not thrilled with what the bureaucrats are proposing. Under pressure from agricultural bureaucrats, ranchers, irrigators and the Farm Bureau, North Coast Water Board staff drafted a regulatory program which would, in effect, exempt many agricultural operations from clean water regulation. Environmental folks on the advisory committee think that is a recipe for disaster for rivers and streams which continued to be degraded by pollution. According to the EPA, agricultural pollution is (along with urban stormwater) the #1 factor polluting our rivers and estuaries. That means we cannot clean up our rivers and restore beneficial uses like salmon and recreation unless we adequately regulate agricultural pollution. That is why the North Group will continue to insist that North Coast Water Board staff evaluate all agricultural operations to determine their potential to pollute and then tailor regulation appropriately to address those threats. You can weigh in for reasonable regulation of agricultural pollution on the North Coast. For more information and to get involved contact Felice Pace at

Encouraging tomorrow’s activists

This summer the North Group continued to support the development of future environmental activists. Contributions to Lucille Vinyard/Susie Van Kirk Environmental Education Fund – now in its 18th year – provided a camping experience for four deserving children within our membership area. Two 4th-grade girls – one from Crescent City and one from Redcrest – were sent to a 5-day “Towering Trees & Tidepools” overnight camp near Orick operated by the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI), while two 6th graders – a boy from Crescent City and a girl from Redcrest – attended OMSI’s 6-day Redwood Field Study session at Wolf Creek Education Center, Redwoods State and National Parks. Here are excerpts from essays the young people wrote about their experiences: “We went tidepooling, dissected a squid, hiked to a big redwood, tested the pH of water, played games, sat around the campfire, sang, danced, and told jokes”… “I kissed a banana slug and it made my lips go numb” … “The counselors and instructors seemed to have as much fun as the campers. Maybe I’ll be an instructor when I get older”… “My time spent at camp was totally awesome; the time to go home came way too soon! The camp was beautiful, the food was great, and the counselors were really nice and a lot of fun.”

Pictured above is Paloma Herrera-Thomas, a seventh-grader at Jacoby Creek School. Paloma was awarded a $50 prize from the North Group at the Humboldt County Science Fair in March for the best project dealing with environmental issues. The prize is yet another way the North Group is working to develop tomorrow’s environmental champions. The North Group plans to continue and hopes to expand our support for activities in which young people learn about and bond with the natural world. Researchers have discovered that most of today’s environmental activists had direct experiences in their youth bonding them with wild nature. Readers of EcoNews can support our work too by contributing to the North Group’s Vinyard-VanKirk Education Fund.

Why not get active with the North Group?

There are many ways readers of EcoNews can become more active with the North Group or stay up to date on North Group happenings. Here are just a few: • Membership Co-chair Sue Leskiw oversees an e-mail distribution group of people who included e-mail addresses on their Club renewal. If you would like to join this list serve to receive information on events of interest to North Group members (we promise to use it only occasionally and not share it with anyone), send a message to • The North Group Executive Committee is looking for new members. ExComm members carry on the work of the Group including work on conservation issues, developing outings, writing for our EcoNews page and Redwood Needles, tabling at community events, etc. Currently we are looking for a volunteer to coordinate our work on climate change issues as part of Sierra Club’s Resilient Habitats Campaign. If you want to consider joining the ExComm or volunteering in one of our ongoing projects come to an ExComm meeting at Eureka’s Adorni Center on the second Tuesday of each month beginning at 6:45 PM. • You can view the current issue of North Group News as well as listings of upcoming outings and meetings on the Chapter website at

Oct/Nov 2012


S andpiper



Redwood Region Audubon Society

Welcome to Redwood Region Audubon Society’s “Least Sandpiper.”

Its purpose is to highlight some of the articles that appear in our Sandpiper newsletter, which is now published exclusively online at Visit our website for complete information on the items below and more! Highlights Highlights of of the the October/November October/November 2012 2012 Sandpiper (posted at Sandpiper (posted at sandpiper/2012-October-November.pdf oror sandpiper/2012-October-November.pdf reached by clicking on “News” from the home reached by clicking on “News” from the home page “The Sandpiper” Sandpiper” by by date): page and and selecting selecting “The date): •

Our October 12 program features Mike and Leslie Anderson sharing marvelous photos Our October program features Mike and Leslie from trips to12Hungary and Kenya.

Th e second annual RRAS Volunteer Hungary and Kenya. Appreciation Event is set for Friday, The second annual RRAS Volunteer Appreciation November 2. Everyone who donated time Event is set for Friday, November 2. Everyone to our chapter during the past year will be who donated time to ourand chapter during with the past invited to eat, drink, be merry, a year will betwist. invited to eat, drink, and be merry, Halloween

7 7• 7•• 7

Anderson sharing marvelous photos from trips to

with a Halloween twist.

Details on our ourfivefive local Christmas Bird Details on local Christmas Bird Counts Counts will get you thinking about how you will get you thinking about how you want to want to participate this winter. participate this winter.

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• • Did Did you you know know that that the the Godwit Godwit Days Days 7 organization is sponsoring a “mini-festival” is sponsoring a “mini-festival” on 7 onorganization October up at www. October 13-14?13-14? Sign upSign at www.godwitdays. to enjoy low-cost, smallorg to enjoy low-cost, small-group field trips group field trips or even a pelagic voyage or even a pelagic voyage during fall migration. • during fall migration.


• 7 7 •

• • 7 7

Read first-person accounts of two September

Read ofShunk’s two events: fiarst-person RRAS pelagicaccounts trip and Steve September events: a RRAS pelagic trip and woodpecker workshop. Steve Shunk’s woodpecker workshop.

• •

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Get Get the the skinny skinny on on upcoming upcoming fi field trips, trips, plus plus fifield notes and columns by Tom Leskiw eld notes and columns by Tom Leskiw and and RRAS president Jim Clark. RRAS president Jim Clark. Our Facebook page page isis up up to to 60 Our new new Facebook likes. Visit us at likes. Visit us at RedwoodRegionAudubonSociety or RedwoodRegionAudubonSociety or through through our home page. our home page.

Prairie Warbler, Prairie Warbler, HumboldtBay Bay National Humboldt National Wildlife Refuge, Wildlife Refuge, 2012•09•16 2012•09•16 ©© Greg Chapman Greg Chapman

to viewthese—and these—and other—articles other—articles inintheir GoGo to totoview theirentirety. entirety.

HAPPENINGS News and Events from the North Coast Chapter 7 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.

EVENING PROGRAMS Second Wednesday evening, September through May. Refreshments at 7 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m. at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, near 7th and Union, Arcata. Botanical FAQ’s: At 7:15 p.m. Pete Haggard or some other presenter shares a brief, handson demonstration and discussion of some botanical topic. October 10, Wednesday, “Floral Jewels Among All that Rock at Lassen National Park.” Following five years of collecting field data in this “Bermuda Triangle of Vegetation Mapping,” Ken Stumpf and Chris Stumpf will present a stunning, colorful, and informative pictorial tour of the floristic features found in this confluence of the Sierra Nevada, the Cascades, and the Great Basin. Enjoy the show of both common and rare flowers and test your field botany skill in identifying them.


Oct/Nov 2012

November 14, Wednesday. “Discoveries and Fun with Local Fawn Lilies.” What rare fawn lilies (Erythronium) grow on Green Diamond land? Botanists Cheri Sanville and Bianca Hayashi explore their path of scientific discovery regarding this question and discuss what they learned upon close examination. December 12, Wednesday. Native Plant Show & Tell. An informal evening for anyone to share photos, artifacts, readings, or food relating to native plants and their habitats. Contributors will include Ned Forsyth showing many years of record shots of Mt. St. Helena, Jenny Hanson and Elaine Allison sharing botanical fun from Upper Klamath Lake, and others. If you would like to contribute, contact Dave Imper at or 444-2756.

FIELD TRIPS AND HIKES October 14, Sunday. Day hike. Save the day for being outside, at either Jacoby Creek Forest to see the old-growth western redcedars or Horse Linto to see fall colors of black-fruited dogwood. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata). Tell Carol 822-2015 you are coming.

Prairie Warbler at Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge, 20120916 © Greg Chapman

October 27, Saturday. Looking at Lichens Dayhike. Focus on lichens—small, native and often overlooked species—during a day of roadside stops and modest hiking with Tom Carlberg, hopefully in the oak woodlands and Douglas-fir forests in the Horse Mountain-Cold Spring area, or in the dune forest if mountain weather is poor. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School or arrange another place. Dress for the weather!! Bring lunch and water and (important) a hand lens if you have it. For information contact Carol 822-20215 or Tom 442-0530. November 3, Saturday. Berry Glen Trail Day Hike. Yuroks, gold seekers, and U.S. Presidents have walked this route which now connects Lady Bird Johnson Grove and Elk Meadow on Davison Rd. in Praire Creek Redwoods State Park. We’ll shuttle cars so we will walk this 3.5 mile link one-way. Bring lunch and water. Dress for the weather. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School or arrange another place. Please tell Carol 822-2015 you are coming.

Please watch for later additions on our Web site ( or sign up for e-mail announcements Northcoast_CNPS-subscribe@


Zero Waste

Continued from page 6 ...People Fair Board; and the expertise of recycling business development specialist Maureen Hart, and Steve Salzman of Greenway Partners for collection logistics. Dan Tangney of Arcata Main Street, loaned Oyster Festival containers and flagpoles. Arcata High School Green Club and Arcata Art Institute students sewed the station flags. Humboldt Waste Management Authority also provided containers. Zero Waste Humboldt recruited and trained volunteers, provided publicity for the effort and supervised the crews. While flags and clear signage are important, the most effective method for materials recovery is to have trained people stationed at the point where the materials are discarded. Thirty-five community members, ages 14 to 73, including Arcata High School Green Club and Humboldt State University WRRAP Program students, greeted the public, answered questions, and monitored quality at the six stations where fairgoers tossed their food waste, shishkabob sticks, paper plates, boats, cups, napkins and compostable plastic cups. The contaminants most difficult to keep out were the clear plastic cups that looked like the compostable cups, and plastic straws, cup lids, and utensils. Even though seven of the nine food vendors served compostable utensils, the regular plastic utensils of the two vendors would cause enough contamination that every effort was made to keep all utensils out. The public response was overwhelmingly positive and appreciative of this effort to separate these materials from disposal for composting. This pilot program recovered 780 pounds of compostables, filling a five cubic yard dumpster. The recovered materials were added to the food waste from HSU and transported to a large composting facility in Sonoma County. More importantly, this pilot program served as a learning model and assessment for planning future events on the Arcata Plaza. The hands-on experience of all aspects that affect waste generation and disposal before, during, and after the Fair will help Zero Waste Humboldt to work effectively with event planners and vendors in the coming months. To join us, email Margaret Gainer is Public Education Coordinator for Zero Waste Humboldt.

BRANT ELECTRIC Calif. License #406330




Good News New Zealand River Declared A Legal Person

As of this summer, New Zealand’s Whanganui River is legally a person, entitling it to the same rights as New Zealand citizens and, more recently, as corporations. The local indigenous community, the Whanganui Iwi, has worked towards the conservation of their spiritual home and the country’s third longest river for over a century. New Zealand follows the example of Ecuador, which in 2008 chose to be the first nation to recognize the legality of many of its natural features.


Continued from page 6 ...and for donation drop-off information, go to A brief list includes: fabric, art supplies, buttons, tins, paper, cardboard tubes, mosaics, yarn, etc. The clothing and costume exchange is put on by Humboldt State University’s Waste Reduction and Resource Awareness Program (WRRAP), partnered with the City of Arcata, and will run continuously throughout the day. The next event is the SCRAP Humboldt Pop-up Shop in the Jacoby Storehouse. The shop will be open for the month of November. It will be small in size but big in concept. Creative materials will be for sale, workshops and classes will be presented, and a gallery of inspiring reuse art will cap it all off. The three founders of SCRAP Humboldt are volunteering their time for these events and would love to have help from the community to make it all happen. If you are interested in donating materials, or would like to help with the swap or in the store contact SCRAP hopes you will look at everything you throw away (or recycle) with new eyes...the eyes of a creative reuser. By inspiring creativity and reducing our impact on the planet, SCRAP Humboldt is here to serve! Spring Garrett is Communications and Volunteer Coordinator for SCRAP Humboldt.

Oyster Powered Filter System Proposed for NYC’s Gowanus Canal The waterways directly surrounding New York City are not exactly known for their sparkling clarity, however a newly proposed filtering project could change that- a filtering project powered entirely by oysters. Oysters are known for their unique ability to filter toxins and suspended particles as part of their feeding process. Constructed in the Gowanus Canal, adjacent to Brooklyn, an underwater infrastructure of ropes and piles is intended to support a massive population of these mollusks. The oysters, which originally did live in the water’s surrounding pre-industrial NYC, would set a very innovative example to be noted for other urban waterways.

Solar Energy Production at All-Time High in California

Solar energy production has reached a new high in California following this summer’s pervasive heat. According to the California Independent System Operator, the state’s large-scale solar power plants have managed to produce a record-breaking 1.1 gigawatts (1.1 billion watts). This number, which does not include small-scale rooftop or personal generation, is about equivalent to two natural gas plants or one single nuclear reactor. Hopefully, solar energy production levels will continue to rise into the future as California law now calls for 33% of all electricity sold by 2020 originate from renewable sources.

Safer Roads for California Cyclists

A new safety bill passed through the state Assembly finally guarantees 3 more feet of breathing room for California cyclists. Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a similar bike safety bill last year, which was very frustrating to the cycling community considering that 20+ other states already have similar measures in effect. The new bill also specifies that drivers passing cyclists must “slow to a speed that is reasonable and prudent.”



Lorelei Lane, Arcata


Oct/Nov 2012



ELEPHANT POO: Nothing says “I love you” more than a greeting card made from pulped elephant feces. That’s why an Indian company hopes this unique format of romantic missive will take the market by storm. It plans to process 30 tons of dung a month to make a high-quality paper from the grass and leaf fibers that pass through the elephants’ system without being digested. “People always worry about the smell, but believe me the cards smell as sweet as any other Valentine’s Day cards on the market,” a spokesman said.

A collection of curiosities, wacky wisdom, and bizarre bits from around the world PUTIN, A FAILED LEADER OF CRANES: Dressed in white to imitate the birds, Russian President Vladimir Putin flew a motorized hang glider to lead young Siberian white cranes, who were raised in captivity, on their migration to Central Asia. It was a characteristic stunt for the animalloving president but was tarnished by reports that endangered chicks had died while scientists were setting up the trip. Only one crane followed Putin’s glider.

MYSTERY SOLVED: Trout have cells in their noses that act like miniature compasses to help them navigate, a German study has shown. The cells have iron-rich deposits of magnetic material called magnetite. Tests showed the cells were capable of detecting magnetic north as well as small changes in magnetic fields. Scientists have long suspected that migratory birds, fish and even cows and deer possess a magnetic sense.

CRUEL FLIGHT: In a weird notion of fun, a turtle was duct-taped to helium balloons and launched into the air. It finally became caught in a eucalyptus tree in Oceanside, California. Just as crews were about to rescue the turtle, the wind blew it out of the tree down to the ground. The turtle was unhurt. SNAKE CHECK-UP: British vets have performed the first heart ultrasound ever on a python. The huge snake, said to be Europe’s largest, required eight people to handle it while vets searched for its heart. They found the snake in good health.

QUAKE, TSUNAMI AND SUICIDE: Japanese women no longer are at the top of world life expectancy rankings because of the 2011 earthquake/tsunami combined with a rise in suicides. The government said the average female’s lifespan dropped by 0.4 years to 85.90 years. That put Japanese women behind Hong Kong for the top spot.

GIVING VOICE: Surgeons in Russia have successfully taken the first step in creating an entire synthetic voice box, transplanting an artificial piece of the larynx known as the cricoid in two patients, a 34-year-old woman and a 28-year-old man. The part was first seeded with stem cells from the patient’s own bone marrow. Once transplanted, it would grow its own layers of native surface cells— the idea of Harvard Bioscience in Massachusetts, whose spokesman said, “It’s the stuff of science fiction becoming medical reality.” Both patients were involved in car accidents; the woman couldn’t speak at all as a result, and the man could only speak through a voice simulator. After the surgery, both could speak and breathe properly.


Oct/Nov 2012

BIRD FUNERALS? When western scrub jays encounter a dead bird, they call out to one another and stop foraging. The jays often fly down to the dead body and gather around it, as if they were attending a funeral, scientists have discovered.

VERY RARE: One of every two million: that’s the odds of finding a lobster that is blue, not rust-colored. A blue lobster caught off Ocean City, Maryland, now named Toby, will be donated to the National Aquarium in Washington.

FLAMINGOS LOVE COMPANY: Mirrors are the answer to make lonely flamingos breed, according to a wild animal zoo in China. Zoo spokesman Zhang Lu said, “In the wild they live in large flocks. When they are separated, they become depressed and anxious, and they won’t breed.” But when the zoo added 45 feet of three-foot-high mirrors, the flamingos became more animated, ate more—and they finally hatched babies. Sid Dominitz has been involved with the NEC since the early days, and served as EcoNews editor from 19762005. EcoMania is illustrated by Terry Torgerson.


Creature Feature

Pacific Tree Frog

Pseudacris regilla

Brandon Drucker The commonly recognized “ribbit” sound heard in movies and on television is not actually representative of most frog species throughout the world, but it is of our frogs found in the North Coast bioregion. The classic ribbit belongs to the Pacific Tree frog, Pseudacris regilla (formerly Hyla regilla)—also known as the Pacific chorus frog. In addition to their Hollywood status, Pacific tree frogs are known for their striking appearance. On average, these frogs grow to about two inches in length, with females being slightly larger than males. Their skin is somewhat rough, but not “warty” as a toad’s would be. The frog pictured on the right, found in the Bald Hills area of Redwood National Park, exhibits a bright green, gold, cream, and brown mottled back. However, these little amphibians are also regularly found in pure green, mottled green, pure brown, and every variation in between. In addition, Pacific tree frogs also have the ability to purposely change their coloration. Though dramatic change typically occurs only seasonally, subtle shifts in lightness and darkness can occur within minutes. In fact, the only marking consistent for all Pacific tree frogs is the black or dark brown eye stripe that extends from the frog’s nose to shoulder. Ranging from the wetter areas of Baja California to midway up British Columbia, the Pacific tree frog is very widely distributed along the West Coast.


That being said, as an amphibian, these frogs will only thrive in moist areas within this range. They are especially partial to rocks and shrubby areas near to the wetlands, ponds, and slow-moving streams where they like to breed. The breeding season for the Pacific tree frog spans from early winter to spring, depending on local conditions. A Pacific tree frog found in the Bald Hills area of Redwood National Park. Photo: Brandon Drucker. When the timing is right, male frogs migrate to development may be accelerated to avoid a driedtheir home pond, stream, or lake and begin singing up pond or nutrient deficient conditions. their song—the aforementioned classic ribbit. The Adult frogs will feed on small insects and sound is made by closing its nostrils and pushing air arthropods, and are important to their native through its vocal chords into a sack of skin under ecosystems as a prey species. Noted by some its chin, creating a resonating chamber to magnify as a keystone species, Pacific tree frogs are an the sound. The male’s loud calls will bring females important source of calories for many larger from the surrounding area to the water, where the animals including herons, fish, giant water bugs, frogs pair up and mate. raccoons, and snakes. Females lay their eggs in clumps of up to 100, Despite the recent alarming worldwide collapse and usually take the effort to hide them among of many different amphibian species, most Pacific underwater vegetation. The lucky eggs that tree frog populations are believed to be stable. In avoid the hungry mouths of predators will hatch 2007, the Pacific tree frog was named the state into tadpoles within one to three weeks, largely amphibian of Washington, and remains a highly depending on water temperature. Tadpoles feed on valued species in Oregon and California. algae, diatoms, and detritus for about two months before their metamorphosis into a full-fledged tree Brandon Drucker is a Environmental Management frog is complete. If warmer temperatures prevail, and Protection and a new work-study student at NEC.

Oct/Nov 2012


the Kids’ Page:

What is a WATERBEAR?

Did you know that there are organisms that can suvive freezing or boiling? Organisms that thrive in extreme conditions are called extremophiles. One extremophile that has an amazing ability to survive several extremes is the Tardigrade, also known as the waterbear. The waterbear is a microscopic creature that kind of looks like a strange, puff y caterpillar. They are commonly found on mosses and lichens all over the world, but have been found on the highest mountain and in the deepest part of the ocean, in polar regions and on the equator. They breathe through their skin, like frogs and salamanders, and need moisture in order to live and reproduce. They feed on algae and small invertebrates. Waterbears are able to survive extreme hot and extreme cold conditions that would kill most other creatures. They can live through other extremes too, like being exposed to radiation that is 1,000 times higher than what would kill other organisms. They can live almost a decade without being exposed to water. Waterbears have even been to space! They were able to survive without air! How can they live through such extremes? They go into a state of cryptobiosis. The waterbear makes a hard cocoon-type capsule around its body when conditions become extreme. The capsule seals in moisture, and the waterbear hibernates inside the capsule until conditions are better. Then it sheds the capsule and goes back to its daily life of eating and living. Sea monkeys (brine shrimp) are another example of an organism that uses crytobiosis in order to avoid unfavorable conditions. The sea monkeys need water to live. When there is no water (inside the sea monkey packet), they are in the capsule. When you add water, they shed the capsule and you can watch them grow. You can watch a video clip about waterbears here: by Sarah Marnick

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Oct/Nov 2012

(Above) Photo of a microscpoic water bear from a colored scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Water bears are found throughout the world, including in extreme temperatures, such as hot springs, and extreme pressure, such as deep underwater. Photo: Science Photo Library.












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ostume the

A posthumous bath in liquid nitrogen may be the key to the world's first completely ecological burial. It involves recycling human bodies as fertilizer, said Swedish scientist Susanne Wiigh-Mäsak. First, you remove the approximately 70 percent of water from the corpse by freezing it to -18 degrees Celsius and then submerging it in liquid nitrogen. The body, now very brittle, is then treated to vibrations that reduce the corpse to a fine organic powder, both hygienic and odourless. It finally is laid in a biodegradable container made of cornstarch. “The remains are buried in a shallow grave and the living soil turns it into compost in about six to twelve months,” says Wiigh-Mäsak. Here at the NEC, where bodies are brittle for different reasons, we are not yet ready for any kind of burial. We have organized the annual Coastal Cleanup, which we originated back in the 1970s, and planned the All Species hoopla that commemorates the human connection to all other lifeforms. We also are pressuring the government to release water to restore flows in the lower Klamath River so that we can avoid a massive fish kill like the one a decade ago. Similarly, we have urged the Humboldt Board of Supervisors to get moving on the long-delayed General Plan Update and staked out positions on trails, port and trail development, GMOs, suction dredge mining, plastic bags, dam removal, clearcutting, bike lanes and a host of environmental issues. You can help, too. Volunteer, join the NEC, get involved. You're not ready to enter the nitrogen bath yet. Thank you.


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ctober 25, 2012



Northcoast Environmental Center

Kindred Spirits ° Sour Mash Hug Band ° Missing Link DJs



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