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Over 40 Years of Environmental News


Arcata, California

Vol. 44, No. 4 Aug/Sep 2014

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

State of Emergency RIghts, reason and resources in a worsening crisis

Coastal Cleanup Day Sept. 20 | 17th Coho Confab | Bay Explorations Tours Wildlife (Killing) Services | Oyster Farm Denied | Dire Diversions | Fair Goes Zero Waste

News From the Center Even as we face a host of environmental challenges—drought, habitat loss, resource depletion, pollution and sea level rise—we cannot say enough what it means to have such a strong support network and the help of so many inspiring, passionate and hardworking people. Only together can we meet the many complex challenges that are at our doorstep and integrate a culture that is truly sustainable and resilient. As donations continue to come in from our most recent fund appeal, I want to say to all who have given so far, “Thank You!” Each donation that comes in—whether it’s $5 or $500—greatly helps to sustain this work. A huge thank you as well to our growing team of environmental advocates, volunteers and staff! If you have never given before, or if it has been a while since you sent in a donation, please consider giving today and be part of the team that continues to educate and advocate on behalf of North Coast communities, human and wild.



1385 8th Street - Suite 226, 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 (NEC), a non-profit organization. Third class postage paid in Arcata. ISSN No. 0885-7237. EcoNews is mailed to our members and distributed free throughout the Northern California and Southern Oregon bioregion. The subscription rate is $35 per year.

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

Water: State of Emergency

The late-winter predictions of severely depleted summertime water supplies are now an increasingly grim reality for communities throughout California – drop by disappearing drop. Many of our region’s rivers are at or near record low flows, and many

Editor/Layout: Morgan Corviday Hollis, Advertising: Proofreaders: Karen Schatz and Midge Brown Authors: Sid Dominitz, Dan Ehresman, Sarah Marnick, Dan Sealy, Jennifer Kalt, Scott Greacen, Jennifer Savage, Rob DiPerna, Peter Gleick, Kevin Hoover, John Williams, Monte Merrick, Dana Stoltzman, Gary Graham Hughes, Felice Page Cover Photo: Eel River, July 2014 © Thomas B. Dunklin, Artist: Terry Torgerson

NEC Staff NEC Executive Director: Dan Ehresman, EcoNews Editor/Web Manager: Morgan Corviday, Coastal Programs Director: Jennifer Savage, Programs Assistant: Brandon Drucker, Coastal Education Staff: Justin Zakoren and Jasmin Segura

Dan Ehresman, Executive Director small municipal water supplies are on the verge of running out of water. In an unprecedented move designed to draw attention to the unsustainable draw-down of municipal supplies, the State Water Resources Control Board voted to authorize fines of up to $500/day for wasteful water use, such as excessive lawn watering, hosing down sidewalks and washing a car without a shut-off nozzle on the hose. The Board also issued a water diversion curtailment to junior water holders, including those on the north fork and main stem of the Eel River. Each day the list of cities and water districts enacting voluntary and mandatory restrictions of water use grows longer. Meanwhile, illegal water diversions continue to suck dry entire creeks at the expense of those living downstream (and in-stream). As municipal water supplies and rivers dry up, it is clear that water policy and practice must change if we are ever going to remedy our water woes over the long term. Unfortunately, policy makers are still

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

placing too much emphasis on the outdated modality of piping water from regions with more abundant supplies to areas growing beyond their means. Likewise, unpermitted straws in creeks, rivers and springs are draining the lifeblood of our region. As the Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick points out in this issue, doing nothing is no longer an acceptable option. We must take action now to put an end to wasteful water ways and work to improve efficiency of water use and accelerate efforts for reuse of stormwater and wastewater so that future generations can have access to this most vital of elements.

Trails—Getting a Move on

Thanks to the tireless advocacy of many community members, the stars are finally aligning for construction to begin on the Humboldt Bay Trail—or at least parts of it! The Bay Trail is now being developed as part of a collaborative effort between Humboldt County Public Works, Humboldt County Association of Governments, City of Eureka, City of Arcata, State Coastal Conservancy, Caltrans, North Coast Railroad Authority and numerous other organizations. Arcata is in line to begin construction later this summer on its Arcata City Trail...

NEC Member Groups Humboldt Baykeeper 707-268-0664

Sierra Club,North Group, Redwood Chapter

California Native Plant Society North Coast Chapter

Redwood Region Audubon Society,

Friends of the Eel River, 707-822-3342

Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (SAFE)

NEC Affiliate Members

Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), 707-822-7711

Friends of Del Norte

Mattole Restoration Council, (707) 629-3514

Zero Waste Humboldt

News from the Center

Continued from previous page ...which will extend from the skate park on Sunset down to Samoa Boulevard, eventually connecting to the Bay Trail. The City of Eureka appears to be next in line with several sections along the Bay, eventually connecting the Hikshari’ Trail to the Bay Trail—all in all a 6.3-mile trail along the Eureka waterfront! Humboldt County is heading up probably the most challenging segment between Eureka and Bracut. Even with this final Bay Trail section being at least three years from construction, so long as the momentum is maintained, we are soon going to have a pretty sweet connected trail system providing a host of benefits for residents and visitors alike! In other trail news, Arcata just completed the South Fork Janes Creek Trail—a multi-use, two mile loop trail which overlaps a section of the famed Arcata Ridge Trail. Special thanks to the Samuels family for donating the conservation easement upon which much of the trail sits to the City of Arcata. Also, the Redwood Coast Action Agency just completed a study exploring options for extending the Hammond Trail between Little River State Beach and Westhaven. Ongoing community support will be key in showing that this trail is a priority in Humboldt County. Here’s to Humboldt’s countywide trail system coming to fruition!

ReWilding California

We are still celebrating the news from early June when the California Fish and Game Commission voted to list the gray wolf under the state’s Endangered Species Act. Thanks to the Commissioners and to everyone who came out to the Fortuna hearing to be a voice for protecting this splendid and ecologically integral species. The decision could not have come at a better time given the exciting news that OR-7, the famed no-longer-lone wolf, has pups. It is amazing to think that within the next few decades wolves will be roaming the mountains and condors soaring the skies of Northern California so long as we all do our part to restore, protect and celebrate that which connects all life on our fragile yet resilient planet.

Fundraising Dinner Party

Join NEC staff and friends for a Fundraising Dinner in Sunny Brae on Sunday, August 17, 5pm. Tickets are $50/person. Join us for tasty treats, locally brewed beverages, lawn games, music and more. As an entrée, take your pick of fresh salmon or vegetarian lasagna. Space is limited so please RSVP now! To reserve your tickets, call the NEC headquarters at 707-822-6918 or email

Interested in our regional environmental history? DONATE to our EcoNews Archive project! Visit, specify the Archive!

Catch the NEC’s EcoNews Report

Every Thursday, 1:30pm on KHSU - 90.5FM Each show features interviews with experts on a variety of important environmental topics! Past shows are also archived on our website for listening online anytime!

Leave a North Coast Legacy Give a gift that will endure beyond your lifetime. Leave a lasting legacy by naming the Northcoast Environmental Center as a beneficiary of your will, trust, or other estate plans.

Your bequest will help us advocate for and educate about the North Coast and the KlamathSiskiyou bioregion for future generations. To learn more, call us at 707-822-6918. The NEC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, EIN 23-7122386.

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014

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Coastal Cleanup Day Solving California’s Water Problem Coastal Programs Update 17th Annual Coho Confab Wildlife Services’ Legacy of Killing Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Denied Eye on Washington Chile Rejects Patagonia Dam Kin to the Earth: Ted Halstead Zero Waste Humboldt Humboldt Baykeeper Friends of the Eel River EPIC Mattole Restoration Council Sierra Club, North Group California Native Plant Society Eco-Mania Creature Feature: Coho Salmon Kids’ Page: Wiggly Worms

Bouquets A bouquet of healthy redwood sprouts to the National Park Service and California State Parks rangers who caught poachers vandalizing and killing our ancient redwoods to sell burl wood. A bundle of beargrass accentuated by acorns to Sue Masten for your years standing up for rivers, fish and cultural resources on the Humboldt County Planning Commission. A wildflower bouquet and our heartfelt wellwishes to former NEC Board Member and longtime supporter, Susan Brinton. You are in our thoughts and prayers. A building better communities bouquet to Shane Brinton for your many years of advocacy on the Arcata City Council for environmental protection and a more sustainable future. A bountiful bouquet in memory of those who have left us. Richard Stanewick and Paula Yoon, the gifts you have given to our community throughout the years will continue to blossom for generations to come.


Get Ready for Coastal Cleanup Day 2014! Saturday, September 20 Saturday, Sept. 20 marks the 30th anniversary of California Coastal Cleanup Day—and for Humboldt County beach cleaneruppers, this will be our 35th year! Coastal Cleanup Day began as a local program of the NEC in the mid-1970s and has since grown into the largest volunteer event caring for the marine environment in California and across the world. Not only does Coastal Cleanup Day result in tangible, immediate betterment of the environment—last year over 600 volunteers collected trash at over 40 sites resulting in over four tons of garbage being removed from North Coast waterways—but the data collected provides a profile of the most littered items, the persistence of trash and statistics useful in trying to stem the flow of garbage at its source. The success of Coastal Cleanup Day is owed to the participation of our many long-standing site captains and volunteers, our energetic new volunteers that join us each year and the support of our many community partners including local, national, and international businesses and organizations. How to get involved: Be a site captain! Site captains are the main points of contact for the cleanup teams at each site and work with the NEC’s Cleanup Coordinator, recruiting teammates, gathering supplies, overseeing the successful cleanup of their site and reporting cleanup data back to the NEC. Check the NEC’s website at yournec. org for a list of available beaches. Join a team! Be part of the group cleaning up your favorite beach. All you need to do is show up and pick up. Sponsor Coastal Cleanup! This is a fantastic way to support local cleanup efforts and publicize your business or organization as a friend to the ocean. The NEC has a number of sponsorship packages available and all include your logo on county-wide posters and recognition at a special Ocean Night event following Coastal Cleanup Day. Spread the word! Passing info on to colleagues, friends, family, school teachers and civic minded groups. The more hands we have on deck, the more impact we can make!

Stand together to put a stop to trash! If a product can’t be reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.

After the cleanup all are welcome to stop by the NEC’s booth at the North Country Fair—and join us Sunday, Sept. 21 for the All Species Parade!

Aug/Sep 2014

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



Solving California’s Water Problems Peter Gleick

Reprinted with permission from “Pacific Institute Insights,” the staff blog on

For over 150 years, Californians have argued, litigated, yelled, and otherwise fought over water. California is a big state—we have redwood forests, desert regions, mountains, coasts, rich agricultural lands, amazing natural ecosystems. And overall, we have a pretty good amount of water. The problems with California’s water are that it is highly seasonal, highly variable, and poorly managed. Now, halfway through the second decade of the 21st century, we’ve hit the wall. California is in a drought—some call it the third year of a drought, but it could also be called the tenth dry year out of the last thirteen (see graph on page 7). Even if next year brings some relief, our water problems will remain. The problem is that even in wet years, California has passed the point of “peak water.” We have maxed out the renewable water available in our rivers—allocating to users more than nature provides even in a wet year. We are unsustainably overdrafting our groundwater—turning a renewable resource into a non-renewable resource—and we are plunging toward an economic, social, and political catastrophe in the groundwater basins of the Central Valley. We are past the point of “peak ecological water”—the point where our use of water now causes far more ecological harm than it provides benefit. Overall, on average, we use at least six million acre-feet a year more than we should. Everyone who works on California water issues knows these things. Everyone who works on California water knows that “business as usual” cannot continue. The arguments have always been on how to change our policies to bring our use into line with nature’s limits. In June, four studies were released by the Pacific Institute, Natural Resources Defense Council, and researchers from the University of

“Californians Don’t Waste” at the State Capitol building in Sacramento, July 10, 2014. Photo: Kevin Cortopassi, CC.

California, Santa Barbara. These studies analyze four solutions to California’s water problems that are proven to work, widely available, and cost effective. Taken together, they have the potential to expand existing supply or cut current demand by a total of between 11 and 14 million acre-feet a year—a vast amount of water. Implementing these strategies will take time and effort and money—they require incremental actions on the part of all Californians, from homeowners and residents to industry to water utilities to state and federal agencies. But these four strategies, and others not evaluated here, are central to any permanent solution for California’s water problems. What a thought. We have within our hands, the ability to end California’s water wars and move to a sustainable system that supports our growing population, a strong agricultural sector, and a healthy environment. Here, in a nutshell, is what these studies propose:

We must expand current efforts to improve the efficiency of water use in homes and industries. In particular, while we often see calls for voluntary cutbacks and changes in behavior during drought, far more effective are permanent improvements in efficiency. The state has already made progress in this area, but our urban water use remains too high and much more potential exists to continue to replace inefficient appliances, reduce waste and leaks, and fundamentally change the nature of our outdoor landscape away from waterintensive lawns and gardens to low water-use plants and gardens. We must expand current efforts to improve the efficiency of water use in the agricultural sector, by accelerating the shift to better irrigation technologies and practices. The goal here is to grow more food and fiber with less water. Some innovative farmers have already moved in this direction but far more can be done. Continued on page 7

Invest in the Future Join our Monthly Giving Program

Map of current drought conditions, July 15, 2014. National Drought Mitigation Center

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014

For more information, call the NEC at 707-822-6918


Shore Lines: Coastal Programs Update Jennifer Savage, Coastal Programs Director The NEC Coastal Programs staff has been making the most of spring and summer event opportunities, from participating in the annual Redwood Environmental Education Fair to winning the “Staff Pick” at this year’s Friends of The NEC’s N E Sea Monster. the Dunes’ Sand Sculpture Fest with our marine debris-themed “N E Sea Monster.” Highlights include a May standing-room-only Ocean Night showing of DamNation in collaboration with Friends of the Eel River and Cal Trout, Coastal Education Specialist Justin Zakoren sharing the watershed model interactive display at both Redwood Coast Montessori’s Ocean Discovery Night and Trinidad School’s Ocean Day, tabling at the Sustainable Living Fair and the Oyster Festival.

(Re)Design Sea Creature

The NEC is partnering with SCRAP’s Tibora Gyrzyc-Blum to build a Washed Ashore-inspired marine debris sculpture. Washed Ashore is an educational project based in Bandon, OR, that creates amazing sea creatures made from gathered beach trash. Our creature will also be used to educate our community about the harms of plastics and other pollution to sea life. A series of creature

. WANTED Hiking.

building workshops began in July at SCRAP Humboldt’s (Re) Workshop. Be part of the art! See flyer (right), and visit www. for more information.

Ocean Night - Aug.7

Join the NEC, Humboldt Baykeeper and Surfrider Humboldt for the North Coast premiere of Angel Azul, a new film that explores the artistic journey of Jason deCaires Taylor. Taylor’s innovative art creates artificial coral reefs from statues cast from live models. Experts provide facts about the perilous situation coral reefs currently face and solutions necessary to save them. For more information on the film and Ocean Night, visit

Leading the way

The NEC serves as a regional lead for both the Ocean Communicators Alliance (a statewide partnering of ocean professionals and organizations) and the MPA County Collaborative (one of five regional partnerships between ocean users).

Tune in!

In addition to KHSU 90.5 FM’s The EcoNews Report (Thurdays at 1:30 p.m.), NEC Coastal Programs news can be found weekly on the Lost Coast Outpost’s “Your Week in Ocean” and KHUM 104.7 FM’s Coastal Currents (Wednesdays at noon). Recent topics include the deluge of seal and sea lion pups at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, the pulse of Japanese tsunami skiffs washing ashore, ocean acidification, marine protected areas (MPAs), beach cleanups and more!

Coastal Cleanup Day

Planning for Coastal Cleanup Day is underway! If you know a business that would like to sponsor Coastal Cleanup Day, email Coastal Programs Director Jennifer Savage at Want to volunteer or be a team captain? Email Brandon Drucker at Ocean Night in September (date to be determined) will be a rallying event for Coastal Cleanup Day and the October Ocean Night will be a big thank-you-volunteers-and-sponsors party! We hope you will join us! For more information about Coastal Cleanup Day, see page 3.

SCRAP Humboldt’s Tibora Gyrzyc-Blum and NEC intern Alyssa Young sort and clean trash gathered from Humboldt Bay and local beaches for the upcoming NEC marine debris creature.



Wild Rivers Country

52 hikes in the Illinois, Chetco and A family dog named Nyxo was intentionally and fatally poisoned near Smithon February river3, the town of Blue Lake in Humboldt County, California 2014. Anyone with information about this crime should contact the watersheds Humboldt County Sherriff’s Office. Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office: 707-445-7251 st Or Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip Line: 707-268-2539

Available August 1 from independent bookstores and

$20,000 REWARD

For info leading to the arrest and conviction in illegal poisoning


Aug/Sep 2014


17th Annual Coho Confab

Implementing Recovery Strategies for Coho Salmon Photo: © Thomas Dunklin

August 22-24 at Rock Creek Ranch on the South Fork of the Smith River Dana Stoltzman, Salmonid Restoration Federation The 17th Annual Coho Confab is a fisheries restoration symposium exploring coho salmon restoration techniques and strategies for the recovery of wild coho salmon populations in North Coast watersheds. Salmonid Restoration Federation and Trees Foundation host this exciting educational event at Rock Creek Ranch on the South Fork of the Smith River. The event is also sponsored by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Coho Confab will open with a Friday evening community dinner and orientation presentations. Justin Garwood, Aquatic Specialist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, will give a talk titled “The Historic and Current Spatial Structure of Coho Salmon Populations in Northern California.” Will Harling, Executive Director of the Mid-Klamath Watershed Council, will present “Creating Coho Off-Channel Rearing Habitat in the Middle Klamath Sub-basin: Results and Lessons Learned (2010-2014)”, and Grant Werschkull of the Smith River Alliance will present on obstacles and opportunities for recovery in the Smith River watershed. The weekend will include field tours and workshops focused on pioneering restoration techniques. Saturday morning field tours include “Fish Passage Projects in Smith River Tributaries: Vortex Weir Fishways, Roughened Channels, and Stream Simulation” presented by Mike Love and Associates. Engineer Travis James of GHD, Inc. and foresters with Green Diamond will also tour instream large woody debris projects and fish passage projects in Rowdy Creek and Dominie

Creek. Geologist Rocco Fiori and Sarah Beesley from the Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program will lead a full-day tour titled “Reconnecting Stream & Floodplain Habitats in Lower Klamath Tributaries.” Saturday afternoon will include a Juvenile Salmonid Identification workshop in the Lower Smith River with Jesse Nolan and Jolyon Walkley of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Saturday will also feature an open forum on the release of the final Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast Coho (SONCC) Recovery Plan and implementation strategies on the Smith River, facilitated by Julie Weeder, SONCC Coho Recovery Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries. This long summer day will culminate with a traditional salmon feast prepared by Yurok restoration tribal members, a lively campfire, a starlit concert with river troubadour Joanne Rand and film shorts with Thomas Dunklin including the Wild and Scenic Smith River video. Sunday morning field tours include “Strawberry Creek Wetland Restoration: Coho, Beaver, and Invasive Vegetation” with fish passage engineer Mike Love and veteran restorationist Mitch Farro of Pacific Coast Fish, Wildlife and Wetlands Restoration Association; Lathrop Leonard of the National Park Service will lead “Watershed Restoration: Integrating Multi-disciplinary Restoration Priorities at the Landscape Scale” in Mill Creek; and HSU graduate fisheries student Marisa Parish will lead a tour of beaver sites and salmon population monitoring sites on the main stem of the Smith River. To learn more about the Confab or to register, please visit

BRANT ELECTRIC Calif. License #406330


(707)822-3256 EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014


California Water

Continued from page 4

The next step is a discussion about what policies and approaches can accelerate implementation of these four strategies: the best ones will be flexible combinations of markets, education, and regulatory and financial incentives and disincentives, but policy makers and the public must agree on them. Whatever we do, the current drought is clear evidence that doing nothing is no longer an acceptable option.

We currently throw away millions of acre-feet of useable treated wastewater. We must accelerate efforts to reuse water for irrigation, landscapes, industrial uses, and recharge groundwater; and in the long-run, encourage some direct potable reuse, as has been proven possible elsewhere around the world. We must expand efforts to capture and reuse Read the original article online at stormwater and rainwater in our homes and cities, solving-californias-water-problems for resource links and more information. as a new source of supply. Stormwater capture and use can expand local supplies, reduce water Peter Gleick is president and cofounder of the Pacific pollution, and save energy. Institute in Oakland, California. The Pacific Institute All together, these four options can provide new is one of the world’s leading nonprofit research supplies and demand reductions of 11 to 14 million groups on sustainable and equitable management acre-feet per year, more water than used by California of natural resources. cities in their entirety today. These new studies don’t rule out other possible solutions as well. We didn’t look at controversial ideas like changing crop patterns, fallowing marginal lands, seeking large-scale water diversions from distant rivers, or building new dams or desalination plants. But the great potential, and limited opposition, to the four solutions in our new studies argue for quick efforts to move forward on them. or building new dams or desalination plants. But the great potential, and limited opposition, to the four solutions in our new studies argue for quick efforts California runoff as a percent of May 1st average, since 2002. to move forward on them.


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the Mid Klamath Watershed Council

Celebrating community and the changing seasons for 41 years! A on the

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Be a part of our growing team of site captains and volunteers! marinedebris/adoptabeach

It is critical that we all conserve water, regardless of where we are!

September 20 & 21

Adopt -aBeach

Visit our website for more information and a list of available sites.

Residents in many watersheds are already running out of domestic water and in need of emergency supplies. Water rationing will soon be implemented on some community systems, fish diseases are at an all-time high, and the hottest and driest is yet to come.

Parades • Food • Crafts • Music!

Aug/Sep 2014


“Obstinate” Wildlife Of Oysters, Seals, and the Supreme Court Agency Leaves a Legacy of Killing

Monte Merrick, Bird Ally X In June, a coalition of environmental organizations, including the Center for Biological Diversity and Project Coyote, filed a letter with the Boards of Supervisors of Humboldt and Mendocino counties demanding an end to their agreements with Wildlife Services (WS), a division within the United States Department of Agriculture exclusively concerned with ‘animal damage control,’ citing violations of the California Environmental Quality Act. This division has been killing wild animals and sometimes domestic animals, primarily at the behest of the livestock industry, for the last 100 years. Last year, WS reported 4.4 million animals killed, half of them native species. In the early years of its killing legacy, the agency, then known as the Bureau of Biological Survey, made no attempt to conceal its goal of predator eradication. Gray wolves were relentlessly hunted until there were no more across most of the continental United States. Wolves were not their only target. Grizzly bears, prairie dogs, black-footed ferrets, eagles, mountain lions, bobcats, wolverines, lynx—each of these animals, for various reasons, were declared pests and attempts to exterminate them persisted. Traps, poisons, and bullets were systematically deployed across most of the west. WS trappers and hunters sought and killed every individual of target species they might find. Shortly after gray wolves were nearly extirpated from the U.S., coyotes became the most heavily targeted predator. Poisoned bait was spread across millions of acres. In a telling example of the indiscriminate nature of WS methods, when magpies ate the poisoned bait before coyotes could get to it (with fatal results), WS began a program of poisoning the inquisitive birds before laying out the poison for Coyotes. Since 2000, WS has killed over a million coyotes, using methods that have been lambasted by scientists, policy makers, and compassionate citizens since the 1920s—aerial gunning, traps, poisons, and the cruel practice of “denning,” in which noxious gases are used on active dens, suffocating or burning the young pups within. Continued on page 19

impact. The Drakes Bay estuary, which serves as an Dan Sealy important nursery area to harbor seals who haul on In June, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it the protected sandy shores, was a case in point. The turned down an appeal by the owner of Drakes Bay California Coastal Commission served letters to Oyster Company, a commercial oyster farm located Mr. Lunny stating he was in violation of his permits in Drakes Bay Estero inside Point Reyes National and was harming harbor seals, eelgrass and the Seashore. The farm’s owner, Mr. Kevin Lunny, had environment of Drakes Estero. The decision by the sued the Department of the Interior in an attempt Supreme Court would seem to be the final answer. to prevent closure of the farm as ordered. Mr. “The court made the right decision in upholding Lunny had bought the lease for the oyster farm the long-anticipated oyster lease expiration that with full knowledge that the lease would expire in just a few years and would not be renewed. In the early 1970’s, as developers were buying up the farms and forests on Pt. Reyes in Marin County to build large, expensive homes, supporters of the new Pt. Reyes National Seashore were elated when Congress saved not only the wild coastline, and some of the historic farms, but also set aside a true wilderness area within a short drive of San Francisco. The wilderness was also to include the first marine wilderness, Drake’s Bay, in the system of protected public lands. One section of the wilderness, however, had a “non-conforming” use: a The Point Reyes headlands. Photo: Miguel.v, Wikimedia CC. commercial oyster farm. protects Drakes Estero, the wild ecological heart of The National Park Service bought the oyster Point Reyes National Seashore,” said Amy Trainer, farm, and allowed the owners to continue for executive director of the Environmental Action another 40 years before vacating the operation Committee of West Marin. in Drakes Bay. Removal of the commercial oyster As oceanographer and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle business—with the motorized boats that tend and elegantly put it in an op-ed in Huffington Post: harvest the oysters—was the last hurdle before the “For years, the oyster company’s leasing deal wilderness designation could proceed. Mr. Lunny has been honored by people of the country despite knew he was purchasing a business that would growing awareness of the immense benefits derived terminate, but rather than cease operations as from protecting natural areas. Drakes Bay Oyster ordered, he chose to fight. Thus began a battle of Company knew the limited terms of use when scientists against scientists, local businesses and they bought the business seven years ago from the high end restaurants against local conservationists, original owner. It is time for the new owners to and, of course, lawyers against lawyers. honor this historic marine wilderness designation, After years of lawsuits and injunctions, Mr. and stop seeking special favors in order to derive Lunny appealed his case to the US Supreme Court. financial gain at the expense of a national treasure.” After reviewing the request, the Supreme Court While local residents on both sides are ready announced on June 30 the court would not hear for the wounds to heal and the Department of the the appeal, leaving the lower court’s decision interior has extended relocation and employment to deny the oyster farm standing. In addition assistance to the approximately 30 workers of the to the basic premise that motorized boats and oyster business, Mr. Lunny has vowed to continue commercial harvesting of resources are not allowed his defiance. He has said he will appeal to Senator in a designated wilderness area, the National Park Feinstein for a legislative fix since the courts have Service also evaluated the environmental impacts, consistently disagreed with his legal arguments. In present and future. The question was not whether the meantime, wilderness is waiting. there was or would be impact, but how much

Robert Berg, D.D.S.

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

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014


Kicking Butt for a Cleaner Arcata Jay McCubbrey of Tobacco Free Humboldt reports that on March 22, 2014, youth from both the Arcata and Eureka High School Friday Night Live clubs conducted a tobacco litter cleanup on and around the Arcata Plaza for Kick Butts Day. Kick Butts Day is a national event to increase public awareness about toxic tobacco litter and the negative impacts of the tobacco industry. A total of 1,950 butts were collected from the Plaza and surrounding streets and sidewalks, including 460 along 9th Street. This shows a dramatic decrease in the number of cigarette butts being introduced into our environment since the City of Arcata adopted policies to create a smokefree downtown. Last July, the day the smokefree downtown policy took effect, volunteers recovered 4,200 cigarette butts along the same one-block section of 9th Street. Trash from streets ends up in storm drains, which carry it to streams, into Humboldt Bay, and eventually, the ocean. Not only are cigarette butts made of long-lived plastic, the tobacco remains are toxic. One cigarette butt soaked in a liter of water killed half of the fish exposed in a study in a laboratory setting. Another study found that cigarette butts can be a point source for heavy metal contamination in water for at least a month. Since 1989, volunteers have removed nearly 6.5 million cigarette butts from California beaches and waterways as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup Day in September. This represents 39.5% of trash items collected—by far the most prevalent item found. Tobacco Free Humboldt works to reduce tobacco litter and exposure to secondhand smoke. Tobacco Free Humboldt is a project of the Humboldt County Public Health Branch— Department of Health and Human Services. Thank you to the volunteers! And thank you to the Arcata City Council for protecting our health and our environment! Mediterranean food truck and catering service.

Eye on

Washington A Little Honey with your Spoiled Milk? As Congress moves into the final months of this session, their work will center on passing appropriations for the 2015 budget and large omnibus bills to cover several departments and agencies. These omnibus bills become opportunities to add sections—good and bad— of bills that have stalled in either the House or Senate (add-ons are referred to as “riders.”) The conference committee meetings between the House and Senate result in the give-and-take compromises that are considered necessary for a bill’s passage before being sent to the President for signature. Think of mixing honey with spoiled milk to make it more palatable. With luck, some riders may include good conservation actions and policy (the honey!), such as designating new wilderness areas or making it easier for agencies to protect rare species and ecosystems—something Congress has not been prone to do in the last several years. But equally if not more likely is the opportunity for special interests to get that foul-tasting spoiled milk down our gullets. Here are some of the spoiled milk bills conservationists are concerned about as riders: Doc Hastings promised a slow roll-out of changes to the Endangered Species Act and he began with what conservation organizations across the nation call Four Bad Bills. H.R. 4315, H.R. 4316, H.R. 4317, and H.R. 4318. Together, these bills could: 1) Require the government to provide locational data for endangered species—a poacher’s dream, 2) Require federal agencies not only to use all data available from federal, state, local and tribal sources, as they are already required to do, but to deem all that data “the BEST scientific and commercial data,” essentially falling into

a trap of trying to make and defend decisions to list or de-list species with garbage data. 3) Put a severe dampening effect on citizens and organizations who try to enforce the endangered species act through litigation— the last resource citizens have when agencies fail and species disappear. The Northcoast Environmental Center joined the Klamath Forest Alliance, EPIC and dozens of national and local conservation organizations to oppose the Bad Bills. The so-called Sportsman’s Heritage Act, (actually a combination of several bills in the House and Senate) would set a new legal standard by which all federal lands, except National Parks, are open to hunting, fishing and trapping unless the agency goes through lengthy and expensive processes to close any part of lands to these activities. Hunting and fishing are already allowed on a vast majority of federal lands. The real, eventual goal by some of the groups who support the bill is access—all access by all means (such as off-road vehicles) to all public lands including wilderness and sensitive species conservation areas. The Sportsman’s Heritage Act is step one toward that goal. This bill would also result in much greater opportunities for hunting and off-road vehicle groups to sue the federal government.

Happy Birthday Yosemite National Park

150 years ago, President Lincoln signed a bill to create what would become Yosemite National Park. Senator Feinstein has authored the ‘‘Yosemite National Park Boundary Expansion Act of 2013,’’a bill to add over 1,500 acres to the park by purchasing from willing sellers. About half of the land is owned by a nonprofit organization that will be forced to sell to the highest bidder if not added to the park. The bill is co-sponsored by Senator Boxer and has broad bi-partisan support both in congress and the communities around Yosemite. However, Yosemite is located in Congressman McClintocks’s 4th Congressional District and without his support the bill has little chance of passing. Unfortunately he has decided to block the bill through a catch-22 maneuver regarding planning. This bill is one to watch. Dan Sealy, NEC Legislative Analyst

707-326-9803 Locally owned, locally sourced, locally loved!


Aug/Sep 2014


Chilean Government Rejects Massive Dam Project Gary Graham Hughes In the face of transnational economic pressures, the tide is changing in how the values of healthy river ecosystems are perceived and prioritized by human society. In the United States, a growing movement is afloat demanding the removal of dams on rivers across the country, following the dam-building spree of the last century. In the far reaches of South America, a powerful and authentic grassroots movement has recently achieved a historic advance in the protection of the world’s rivers. A conflictive tension has existed for decades between extractive river resource development, such as large-scale hydroelectric projects and the related mega-dam and transmission line infrastructure, and the irreplaceable ecological and economic values of free flowing healthy river ecosystems. Globally, the dam-building industry continues to set its sights on the planet’s few remaining wild rivers, with some disastrous recent construction and looming threats on nearly every continent. However, in early June 2014, the highest authority of the Chilean government (a committee of cabinet level ministers) revoked the environmental permits that had been granted in 2011 for the construction of five dams on the Baker and Pascua Rivers in Chile’s Patagonia (the HidroAysén project). The decision to reject the permits for construction fulfilled a campaign promise by the government of Michelle Bachelet, who recently returned to the Chilean presidency after the four-year term of President Sebastian Piñera. A broad coalition of Chilean and international organizations under the banner of Patagonia Sin Represas coalesced opposition to mega-dam development on the wild rivers in the south of Chile to such a degree that the issue was key to winning the election. Protecting rivers in Patagonia is an issue of national identity in Chile. In May of 2011, the

Piñera government had approved the permits for the construction of the five dams, but the design and environmental review of the approximately 2,000 kilometers of transmission lines that would be necessary to carry the proposed 2,750 MW of energy to urban and mining centers in the north had still not been submitted. The irregularities in the review process supervised by both the Piñera and the previous Bachelet administration were well known to Activists gathered at the Río Baker in Patagonia, Chile to celebrate the International Day of Action the public, and the Against Dams and For Rivers on March 13, 2011. Photo: International Rivers, CC. approval of permits for the HidroAysén project was seen as a perversion of the injustice left over from 17 years of military dictatorship under the Pinochet regime. Upon approval of the HidroAysén project, the Chilean public poured into the street en masse to let the Piñera government know that the people did not agree. Unprecedented street marches focused on a nationally celebrated environmental issue put an exclamation mark on the multi-faceted vision for integrated ecosystem protection and economic development strategies that has underpinned Patagonia Sin Represas since its inception in 2007. A diversified and truly sustainable alternative energy future is fundamental to that vision. The victory in Chile to protect rivers in Patagonia is certainly a historic watermark in the international river defender movement, and is a success story that will be studied carefully by environmental justice campaigns around the world.


New World Water “Community not Corporations”


778 18th Street, Arcata

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014



Kin to the Earth:

Ted Halstead

Kevin Hoover costume jewelry,” Halstead recalled. crabs pass under the bridge in one hour at low And there was more: a bowling ball and tide during the summer months,” Halstead said. As a boy, Ted Halstead loved to play along the pins, a parachute, a semi-truck bumper, sex toys, “Juvenile smelt, herring and anchovies can be Mississippi River in rural Minnesota. Sometimes an envelope with $1,000 cash, dirty diapers, a seen in large numbers swimming through the eel he just contemplated the scenery and wildlife. didgeridoo, Jack LaLane-brand weights, a player grass under the bridge. One will see sponges of “I grew up really enjoying nature,” he said. piano and a walk-in safe. several varieties and oysters. The bat rays that live “I would sit on the dock and look at all the fish.” Halstead took After military service, responsibility where others a few years of travel and didn’t, collected the debris adventure and with his and took it to the waste life before him, young transfer station. Ted yearned to settle in The material ranges from a place where he could disgusting to downright surround himself with horrible in its impact. natural splendor, perhaps “Once, when driving more varied than where by, I noticed a cooler he came from. of methamphetamine “I wanted a place with chemicals floating next to mountains and ocean, shore,” Halstead said. “It where I could go to school,” was very common to find he said. “I settled on Eureka.” 50-gallon garbage cans of Here, Halstead found marijuana shake going in the natural connection and out with the tide.” he had craved, and love Sometimes, tires on too—he met and married rims or computer monitors Pamela, a schoolteacher at were floating in the water. Fortuna High School. Unfortunately, support On reaching the halffrom government and law century mark, Halstead enforcement hasn’t been undertook another lifesufficient to either prevent changing search. destructive dumping or “I was in search of a capture suspects. Halstead comfortable bike ride that is disappointed with the would allow me to get daily Ted Halstead poses with dumped debris at Lipscom Slough, February 10, 2011. Photo: Kevin Hoover, originally published lack of enforcement, exercise and provide me in the Arcata Eye. but for the past two with a feeling of getting decades, has soldiered on, tirelessly collecting in the bay swim up the slough with the tide to eat away from the stresses of daily life,” he said. That and ferrying loads of debris from the slough to mollusks and crustaceans.” was when he discovered Liscom Slough on the proper disposal sites. Unfortunately, the sensitive slough has become Arcata Bottom. He has received wide recognition and some popular with humans who care little for its aesthetic The vast Bottoms landscape offers views assistance from NGOs for his efforts. Humboldt or environmental values. To them, it’s a dump, as of migratory waterfowl above and aquatic life Baykeeper and Humboldt Bay Oyster Company Halstead learned one jarring day when he looked below. Liscom Slough serves as drainage for the have partnered with him for cleanup projects. The off the bridge that crosses the slough. ag lands and as habitat for a number of species City of Arcata helps with disposal. “There below was a mass of auto parts in the Humboldt Bay ecosystem. Upper reaches “If you’re looking for a wonderful place to of every description, bags of animal parts provide food and shelter to amphibians and kayak, bird watch, paint, bike, run or walk, Liscom too numerous to mention, pay phones and birds, while the downstream estuary teems with Slough will not disappoint,” Halstead promises. “It newspaper vending machines, along with a aquatic organisms. is a beautiful place that is worthy of a better fate.” variety of everything from ammunition to “I have observed as many as 1,500 juvenile N E E D T O U N W I N D ? Find great deals in our collections of crafting materials. 6th & H Sts Arcata • 826-2545 • Mon-Fri 10am-5:30pm Sat 10am-5pm


Aug/Sep 2014






Redwood Region Audubon Society Every Saturday: Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. These are our famous rain-or-shine, docent-led field trips at the Marsh. Bring your binocular(s) and have a great morning birding! Meet in the parking lot at the end of South I Street (Klopp Lake) in Arcata at 8:30 a.m. Trips end around 11 a.m. August leaders: 2nd: Jude Power; 9th : TBA; 16th: Rob Fowler; 23rd: TBA; 24th: TBA; 30th: Carol Wilson. Sunday, August 10: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This is a wonderful 2- to 3-hour trip for people wanting to learn the birds of the Humboldt Bay area. It takes a leisurely pace with emphasis on enjoying the birds! Beginners are more than welcome. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. Call Jude Power or David Fix (707-8223613) for more information. Sunday, August 17: Southern Humboldt Community Park. Jay Sooter (707-444-8001) and/ or John Gaffin will lead this monthly walk. All ages and experience levels are encouraged to participate


and revel in the beauty of the park and its avian inhabitants on this easy 2- to 3-hour walk. Binoculars are not provided, and dogs are not allowed; field guides are usually available, but please provide your own if possible. Steady rain cancels. Meet at 8:00 a.m., parking by the kiosk near the farmhouse in the main entrance. Sunday, August 17: Hikshari’ Trail, Eureka. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the foot of W. Del Norte St., where we will scope for birds off the public dock until everyone assembles. We will then drive to the base of the Hikshari’ Trail at Truesdale Street and bird along the trail to the Elk River Wildlife Area. Leader: Ralph Bucher (707-499-1247;

Saturday, August 23: eBird Site Survey–Shay Park. Join Rob Fowler (707-616-9841) as we survey the extent of Shay Park in Arcata for 1 to 3 hours and count every species present. For more info on the eBird Site Survey, visit ebird/about/eBird_Site_Survey. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the Shay Park parking lot located at the east end of

August Program

F r i d ay , A u g u s t 8


Eagles in Your Home

If you’re lucky when you look to the skies over Humboldt Bay, you may get a glimpse of “Mr. and Mrs. HBE [Humboldt Bay Eagles],” the American Bald Eagle pair that have made our bay area their home for nearly a decade. A remote camera system, or “net cam,” that streams live video through the internet ( html), provides an intimate view of the daily activities of this eagle pair as they raise their chicks high in a treetop nest overlooking the bay. Since 2013, the HBE nest cam has streamed to more than 2.5 million viewers online and has been featured on NBC Nightly News and other national and local news outlets. Last year a worldwide audience watched live as Mr. and Mrs. HBE successfully raised 2 female eaglets, Kyle and Stormy. This year our famous eagle parents were at it again, raising a male and a female eaglet, named Mist and Angel. Local wildlife biologists Sandra Hunt-von Arb and Jim Campbell-Spickler share their experiences of helping to bring the HBE nest cam to the community and also look to the future with educational outreach and citizen science opportunities.

Foster Avenue. Waterproof shoes are recommended as we typically walk through a grassy field off-trail. Saturday, September 13: eBird Site Survey–Shay Park. See August 23. Sunday, September 14: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. See August 10. Sunday, September 21: Southern Humboldt Community Park. See August 17. Meet time changes to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, September 21: Hikshari’ Trail, Eureka. See August 17. Pelagic Trip. No Humboldt County pelagic trips are scheduled for this fall. There will be a fall pelagic in Mendocino County out of Fort Bragg, led by Jon Dunn and Rob Fowler, probably late September. Contact Rob Fowler ( for more information when it comes available.

September Program

F r i d ay , S e p t e m b e r 1 2 T H The Humboldt Marten The Humboldt marten (Martes caurina humboldtensis) is a cat-sized mammalian carnivore of the weasel family (Mustelidae) that was historically distributed throughout coastal forests from the California-Oregon border south to Sonoma County. This unique subspecies was considered potentially extinct as recently as 1996 and is currently known from a single population of <100 individuals. Keith Slauson, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and science coordinator for the Humboldt Marten Conservation Group, will focus on research on the natural history of this unique north coast carnivore since its rediscovery and highlight the conservation challenges and opportunities for restoring this carnivore to its former range.

Programs start at 7:30 p.m. at Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, Arcata Bring a mug to enjoy shade-grown coffee, and come fragrance free.


OFFICERS President— Hal Genger …………............ 707-499-0887 Vice President — ........ Vacant.......................................... Secretary—Adam Brown............................. 707-826-0319 Treasurer—Syn-dee Noel............................. 707-442-8862 DIRECTORS AT LARGE Ralph Bucher …........................................ 707-443-6944 Joe Ceriani …............................................ 707-476-9127 Jill Demers ……………………………… 707-667-6163 Harriet Hill………………………………. 707-267-4055 Cindy Moyer.....................................…..… 707-822-1806 Chet Ogan …............................................… 707-442-9353 Susan Penn..................................…......…. 707-443-9660 C.J. Ralph ............................................….. 707-822-2015 OTHER CHAPTER LEADERS Conservation — Jim Clark ...............…... 707-445-8311 Eductn/Scholarships — Denise Seeger ....707-444-2399 eBird Liaison — Rob Fowler …………... 707-839-3493 Field Notes — Daryl Coldren...........…..... 916-384-8089 Field Trips— Rob Fowler ……….......….. 707-839-3493 Finance— Syn-dee Noel .............................707-442-8862 Historian — John Hewston ...................... 707-822-5288 Membership — Lew & Judie Norton....... 707-445-1791 NEC Representative — C.J. Ralph.......... 707-822-2015 Nominating – Jim Clark …....................... 707-445-8311 Programs — C.J. Ralph & Jill Demers .......(see above) Publications — C.J. Ralph..................….. 707-822-2015 Publicity — Harriet Hill............................ 707-267-4055 Sandpiper (Editor): Jan Andersen …...… 707-616-3888 Sandpiper (Layout): Gary Bloomfield ......707-362-1226 Volunteer Coordinator — Susan Penn.…707-443-9660 Website Gatekeeper— Sue Leskiw……...707-442-5444 Lake Earl Branch — Sue Calla................ 707-465-6191 RRAS Web Page...........................……..... Arcata Bird Alert .........707-822-LOON (707-822-5666) The Sandpiper is published six times each year by Redwood Region Audubon Society P.O. Box 1054, Eureka, CA 95502.

Looking to Volunteer?

RRAS is looking for someone to serve as a Hospitality host for our monthly Friday night meetings. This person would be in charge of (with a budget, of course ) providing coffee, tea, and refreshments. Be quite possibly the most popular person in the room for an evening! RRAS member meetings occur the second Friday of every month. If needed, coffee-making instructions will be provided. It’s easy! It’s fun! It’s also essential. For more information, contact C.J. Ralph (707-822-2015) or Jill Demers (707-667-6163).

New Members

Redwood Region Audubon Society welcomes the following new members and subscribers: Arcata – Gillian Black, Barbara Reisman, Carol Vander Meer Eureka – Dr. Daniel Barton, Amelia Citro, Douglas Correia, Susan Halpin, Michael Holland, Julie Olsen, Vivien Richards, Mike Samuelson, Audrey Sandberg, K. Smith, Library of College of the Redwoods McKinleyville – Kent Barnes Myers Flat – Catharine Juliana Petrolia – Marilyn McCormick Trinidad – Nancy Hogan, Gail Kenny, Dell Sokol

We look forward to seeing you on field trips and at our monthly programs.


By Hal Genger

I hope everyone is having a great summer and spending some time outdoors. RRAS has been active this summer, although activity in some areas has slowed down due to summer holidays. For example, RRAS is interested in doing some docent work with the large bird collection at Eureka High School, making the collection available to a larger group of K-12 students. This activity was instigated a few months ago, by Dennis Cahill, a retired teacher from Eureka High, but has been put on hold until the school opens again in September. We look forward to getting the conversation started again. Check out our bird sign! RRAS also received some signs from National Audubon that designate “Important Bird Areas.” The City of Eureka has placed one on the boardwalk at the foot of E Street. This region offers views of seabirds in the channel as well as shorebirds on the mudflats. The significance of this spot is that across the channel you can see the cypress trees with its egret and heron roost on Gunther Island. RRAS was formed in 1967 over a successful effort to protect this grove of trees. The Samoa Bridge was originally planned to go directly through this roosting and nesting area. Other areas are also being considered to place signs. A California Coastal permit has been requested for viewing platforms along the Hikshari’ Trail at Hilfiker and along the “Cappy” McKinney trail. Jay Sooter and Eureka Rotary have been working to provide funds for building the viewing platforms along the Elk River. The conservation committee continues to work on problems encountered on abandoned or operational illegal marijuana cultivation. RRAS’s position on recreational use of marijuana is neutral, but its position on illegal grows is not. Fortunately, the state of California banned the use of d-CON, which has detrimental effects on predatory mammals and birds, but the cost of cleaning up these sites still has to be reconciled. Active illegal marijuana cultivation sites are often associated with illegal wells and stream diversions that are even more problematic in drought years like this one. We support the use of nesting boxes for Barn Owls and Western Screech Owls, which will help decrease the amount of rodents by more natural controls. We have several nesting box plans and are researching sources of wood and nest-building volunteers to make these a cheap, viable option to toxins. Keep this in mind as a future volunteer project!

Bird Walk Participants

photo by Sue Leskiw

RRAS Bird Walk for Arcata Camp By Sue Leskiw Nearly 20 children, ages 8 to 12, spent the first day of their weeklong Wildlife Biology Camp visiting the Arcata Marsh. On July 7, RRAS volunteers Louise BaconOgden, Tom Leskiw, Chet Ogan, and George Ziminsky led a morning bird walk. After lunch, Friends of Arcata Marsh volunteers led a trek to Butcher’s Slough to collect oysters, clams, crabs, algae, and other aquatic critters to study back at the Interpretive Center. Sue Leskiw recruited the volunteers, pulled together lunch for them, and took photos. This is the 7th year that the 2 organizations have collaborated to host a day during the Arcata Recreation Department’s Natural Resources Science Camp, which also will go to Sequoia Park Zoo, Humboldt Bay NWR, and the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center.

Keep Up-to-Date Through RRAS Listserve Be reminded about field trips and programs and learn about upcoming meetings, public hearings, and symposia of interest to RRAS members and other concerned nature lovers. Subscribe in 1 of 2 ways: through a Web page link at com/group/rras or by e-mail to rras-subscribe@ Postings should have complete information. This listserv is not for posting bird sightings.

Bird Walk Leaders

photo by Sue Leskiw

Bad Weather Can Be Good for Birding

Looks like bad weather. Yes it does, And I believe it’s gonna rain. —Paul Cotton, “Bad Weather”

photo by LeRoy Cyr

May 9, 2014. The day before Gene Lodes, Cindy Moyer, and I were slated to lead an International Migratory Bird Day walk in Orleans was another day spent dodging pesky spring storm cells. It’s got to clear some day... As Gene and I ascended the grade east of Blue Lake, it began to pour. “We’re not slated to meet up with Cindy until four,” I said. “That means we’ve got the entire day to bird the Willow Creek area. This looks like one of those days where the coastal slope stays relatively dry, compared to the mountains. What do you say we turn around and linger for awhile to bird the Blue Lake area?” “Sounds like a plan,” replied Gene. As the morning wore on, the storm began to clear, so we headed east again. We spent the majority of the day scouring the Willow Creek area for migrants, but turned up no major surprises. That afternoon, we picked up Cindy and headed for Orleans. The weather forecast for Saturday, so promising several days ago, now called for rain. I first led Migratory Bird Day walks in Orleans about 18 years ago. Of course, birds are the focus of the event, but the chance to experience the warmth of spring—so different from the cool, humid coast—is also what draws me to inland Humboldt County. So in those years where my co-leaders and I have to don rain gear and don’t get that little jolt of heat that assures us summer is on the way... well, we miss it. Following Friday night’s community potluck and bird presentation, Gene and I retired to our cabin at Sandy Bar Ranch and Cindy to hers. All that night, rain drummed on the corrugated fiberglass roof that sheltered the back deck. I wasn’t looking forward to a rainy bird walk, but consoled myself with the thought that bad weather can make for good birding. Remember the absence of spring storms last year? And how that may have contributed to our inability to turn up Gray Flycatcher during our search of the Willow Creek-to-Orleans area? Then, as if on cue, the rain stopped at 7:30 as we met the walk participants over continental breakfast at the Panamnik Building in Orleans. Our group carpooled to the parking area near Camp Creek and began to walk the road toward the Klamath River. Last year’s wildfire had opened up the view, which aided our brief glimpse of a Caspian Tern as it flew downriver. With my binoculars,

I studied four distant specks flying just below the cloud ceiling, concentrating on the two lead birds. Eventually, the two specks resolved into Canada Geese. As the two trailing birds neared us, I was shocked to realize that they were Sandhill Cranes! Our group shouted and whooped as the birds flew directly overhead, with several longtime Orleans residents uttering in disbelief, “I’ve never seen those here before.” We paused at a grove of willows, where I spied a hummingbird... a male Calliope! Then, on the far side of the willow grove, a female-type hummingbird appeared with a striking pale breast and underparts... and flanks that lacked cinnamon color. I studied several other field marks before concluding that it was a Black-chinned Hummingbird! Slowly our group made its way to a bluff overlooking the Klamath River. A Western-type Grebe floated languidly downstream, repeatedly diving for fish. Eventually we were able to study the bird—the first Clark’s Grebe to be reported within the boundaries of Six Rivers National Forest. A number of other birds were enjoyed by our group that day, but to come away with five species worthy of being reported to the Arcata Bird Box was off the charts. It was re-impressed upon me how storms that occur during the height of spring or fall migration are a boon for birders. My imagination conjures up an image from IMBD 2014: a burgeoning, black cumulonimbus—rainbearing—cloud swirling above the mouth of Camp Creek. There’s a hole in the cloud; one by one, six birds burst from it, spiraling into view. The combination of condensation nuclei and water vapor + migrating birds + our presence—13 adults and two enthusiastic children peering through binoculars and scopes—has created a synergy. Of course, these birds would have graced the skies over Orleans whether we were there to see them or not. However, our presence was crucial to the event... for us. For by being there, we took the pulse of the world’s renewal: one that occurs each and every spring, and in doing so, realized that we are a part of it.

- Tom Leskiw

photo © David Price

A Hawaiian Bird in Arcata? By David S. Price

Perhaps not. But what do you think this bird really is? It is yellow like a goldfinch, but obviously it is a typical, except for its yellow coloration, House Finch, if an unusual one. House Finches (Haemorhous mexicanus) are native to western Mexico and United States but are now found throughout the eastern states as well. They are common urban birds in Humboldt County and elsewhere in California, often being the most prominent and “bossy” at garden seed feeders. The vast majority of males are rosy red on the head and upper body parts and females plain streaky brown. Often they’re confused with the similar Purple Finches. Every now and then you’ll find a male that is brilliant yellow where it “should” be red, and these birds make for spectacular visitors to the garden. House Finches’ coloration is due to the presence of carotenoid pigments in the feathers—red is mostly from astaxanthin and adonirubin pigments and yellows from zeaxanthin (that will be in the exam!). Individuals that are yellow have a greater proportion of zeaxanthin than the others. It is widely thought that the differences in plumage are due to dietary differences between individuals or populations, although this has not been well established. The proportion of red and yellow individuals varies widely between and among populations but most birds, like those in Humboldt County, are red. Other populations, such as the ones introduced in the Hawaiian Islands, have a greater proportion of yellow birds. Over the last couple of weeks, a yellow male and his mate have been apparently nesting)in the palm tree visible from the front room of our house at the base of Fickle Hill and visiting our garden feeder. They have kept us well entertained, partly because a “normal” red male and his mate are also nesting in the same palm, a little higher and on the other side. The 2 males carry on their fighting with spectacular aerobatics, and the yellow male is obviously winning because he’s really roughed-up the left side of the red male’s face.

Field Notes

By Daryl Coldren


May 1 to June 30, 2014 Field Notes is a compilation of bird-sighting reports for Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity counties. Sources include the RRAS Bird Box (707-822LOON), the online northwestern California birding and information exchange (nwcalbird@, eBird ( klamathsiskiyou), and reports submitted directly to the compiler. Reports may be submitted to any of the sources mentioned above or to Daryl Coldren: (916) 384-8089; HBNWR = Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge; HO = Hold Over from previous period; MOb = Many Observers

30 May (BE); 6, Centerville Wetlands, 1 Jun (CH) • Sandhill Crane: 2 flying overhead, Orleans, 10 May (TL, GLo, CM, MOb) • Northern Goshawk: 1, Eel Rock Rd, 23 May (JG) • Pacific Golden-Plover: 1, Centerville Beach, 4 May (ML); 1, South Spit,12 Jun (EF) • Red Knot: 1-2, Arcata Marsh, 2-11 May (AL, MOb) • Wilson’s Phalarope: 1, Loleta Pond, 13 May (TL) • South Polar Skua: 4, Repositioning Cruise-offshore Humboldt, 13-24 May (PLe, MOb) • Scripp’s Murrelet: 2, 60 km W of Cape Mendocino, 24 May (PLe) • Black-legged Kittiwake: 1, South Spit, 18 May (AL) • Glaucous Gull: 1, Crab Park, 2 May (LB, TL) • Royal Tern: 1 (HO), Humboldt Bay entrance, 2 May (MOb) • Flammulated Owl: 3, Groves Prairie, 30 May (KO, AW) • Black Swift: Several reports of 1-2, Blue Lake, HBNWR, Arcata, Humboldt Hill, 6-25 May (PLo, CO, RF, DC, KO, GB, AL) • White-throated Swift: 3 (new location), Willow Creek-Hwy 299 bridge over Trinity River, 31 May (EF) • Black-chinned Hummingbird: 1, Orleans, 10 May (TL, GLo, CM, MOb) • Calliope Hummingbird: 1, Orleans, 10 May (TL, GLo, CM, MOb) • Willow Flycatcher: 1, Mad River Fish Hatchery, 19 May (KS) • Gray Flycatcher: 1, Forest Service Route 1, 25 May (DC, MOb) • Rock Wren: 1, Horse Mountain, 12-17 Jun (RF, MOb) • Northern Mockingbird: 1, South Spit, 16 May (BJS, MS); 1, Fortuna Middle School, 5 Jun (IG) • California Thrasher: 3, King Range, 22 Jun (AW) • Rose-breasted Grosbeak: 1, Jacoby Creek, 4 Jun (RS) • Black-and-white Warbler: 1, TrinidadStagecoach Rd, 22 May (KI)

tailed Towhee: 1, McKinleyville, 26 May (GLe, LL) • Baltimore Oriole: 1 (adult male), Ferndale Bottoms-Point Kenyon Rd, 18-19 May (OH) • Lawrence’s Goldfinch: 1, Southern Humboldt Community Park, 18-22 May (JG, TL, JS, MOb). Del Norte County Murphy’s Petrel: 1, Repositioning Cruise-offshore Del Norte, 22 May (PLe, MOb) • Hawaiian Petrel: 1, Repositioning Cruise-offshore Del Norte, 25 May (PLe, MOb) • White-faced Ibis: 1, Smith River Bottoms-Alexandre Dairy, 1-7 May (LB) • Red Knot: 7, Lake Tolowa, 7 May (TK, CR) • Laughing Gull: 1 (adult; 4th record for county), Crescent City Harbor, 8 May (LB) • Mountain Bluebird: 2, Gasquet-Orleans Rd-Del Norte side, 11 May (TK).

Cited Observers Gary Bloomfield, Lucas Brug, Camden Bruner, Daryl Coldren, Brad Elvert, Elizabeth Feucht, David Fix, Andrew Ford, Rob Fowler, John Gaffin, Ian Gledhill, Owen Head, Cheryl Henke, Ken Irwin, Tony Kurz, Alexandra Lamb, Matt Lau, Paul Lehman (PLe), Tom Leskiw, Gary Lester (GLe), Lauren Lester, Gene Lodes GLo), Paul Lohse (PLo), Cindy Moyer, Brian O’Donnell, Chet Ogan, Kurt Ongman, Casey Ryan, Keith Slauson, Jay Sooter, BJ Stacey, Michaeleen Stacey, Rebecca Stamos, Andrew Wiegardt.

White-faced Ibis Arcata Bottoms., HUM, © Rob Fowler

Humboldt County Greater White-fronted Goose: 1, Centerville Wetlands, 8 May (OH) • Clark’s Grebe: 1, OrleansKlamath River, 10 May (TL, MOb) • Laysan Albatross: 1, 75 km W of Eel River mouth, 24 May (PLe, MOb) • Murphy’s Petrel: 3, Repositioning Cruise-offshore Humboldt, 22-24 May (PLe, MOb) • Hawaiian Petrel: 15, Repositioning Cruiseoffshore Humboldt, 8-24 May (PLe, MOb) • Cook’s Petrel: 7, Repositioning Cruise-offshore Humboldt, 8-24 May (PLe, MOb) • White-faced Ibis: 2, Arcata Bottoms-Moxon Rd Dairy, 1-8 May (AF, KO, MOb); 1, Loleta Pond, 1-2 May (LB, TL); 1, Centerville Wetlands, 8 May (OH); 1, Arcata Marsh, 25 May (AL); ~65 (season high count), Jacoby Creek Bottoms, 25 May (DF); 24, Arcata Marsh, 29 May (TL); 24, Mattole River Mouth, 29 May (BO); 37, Arcata Marsh, 30 May (RF); 24, Ocean Ranch,

Chestnut-sided Warbler Arcata., HUM, © Rob Fowler

Chestnut-sided Warbler: 1, Arcata-Shay Park, 7 Jun (RF, MOb) • Northern Parula: 1, Blue Lake cottonwoods, 21 May (KS, KI, KO); 1, Orick/ base of Bald Hills Rd, 25 May-1 Jun (GL, CB) • Rufous-crowned Sparrow: 1-4, Alder Point-Cain Rock, 10 May-28 Jun (BE, CR, TK, MOb) • Green-

House Wren nest Horse Mountain, HUM; © Gary Bloomfield

North Country Fair Leads the Way with Zero Waste Maggie Gainer For the third year, the annual North Country Fair will demostrate progress toward becoming a Zero Waste event. While resource conservation and recycling have been core values of the Fair since its beginnings in the 70’s, those principles are being expanded upon and updated to incorporate Zero Waste thinking into more aspects of Fair decisions and operations. ZWH has worked closely with Fair director Matthew Cook and the Fair board, the Same Old People, for the last two years to develop Zero Waste strategies and more rigorous waste monitoring and measurement that can serve as a model for other local events. Some apects of Fair operations have changed to accomodate better waste prevention and management policies, and much depends on the cooperation and assistance of vendors, organizations and community partners to succeed over time. Requiring vendors to comply with a Zero Waste policy to participate in the Fair is an important part of the process. The systems for recovering discarded materials for recycling and composting are established and successful at the Fair. This year, with assistance from ZWH, more effort will be focused on advance communication, training, and technical assistance for vendors to prevent waste generation in the first place. Material from the Fair that is reused, recycled, composted, and disposed will be monitored, measured and documented and the

• Banning the sale or distribution of single-use plastic water bottles. • Developing convenient alternatives of refillable cups/ bottles and water coolers and hydrations stations on the Plaza at the Fair. • Banning single-use foodware that is not compostable or recyclable by the Fair systems. Zero Waste Humboldt (ZWH) and a Fair board subcommittee will determine which utensils, napkins, food and beverage containers will be acceptable for vendors to use, and ZWH will provide training. • Discouraging the use of cup lids, stir sticks, and straws by only providing to them upon request. • Discouraging the use of single-use plastic bags. ZWH will recommend better alternatives to vendors. • Encouraging all vendors and participants to use and sell products made from recycled content that are reusable, recyclable, or compostable. • Loaning containers to food vendors to capture their booth food prep waste at the Fair for composting.

Fair will report to the public each year on its waste reduction progress. Research repeatedly indicates that the single most influential factor in reducing the amount landfilled and maintaining quality control for recycling and composting at large outdoor events is a well-trained crew of monitors. The ZWH crew staffs each waste station at the

Contact Zero Waste Humboldt

Fair, and the number of our cheerful, helpful volunteers grows each year. Trainings will again be offered prior to the Fair for those interested in participating. To join the ZWH crew, email Bring a friend! Also mark your calenders for a workshop for community event organizers to be held on Wednesday, November 5, 4:30pm at the Humboldt Area Foundation.

Refillable Revolution

Joining this summer’s “Refillable Revolution” of many fairs and festivals across the U.S., the North Country Fair and Zero Waste Humboldt are also implementing a pilot program of sales of limited edition refillable/reusable souvenir pint cups from Kleen Kanteen. Through the simple, thoughtful act of purchasing a reusable cup, Fair attendees will be doing their part to minimize the Fair’s environmental impact. This year when you attend the North Country Fair, September 20 and 21, please join this communitywide effort to reduce waste and conserve natural resources. Join the Zero Waste spirit and buy your reuseable souvenir cup at the Fair!

Actual so the examuvenir print desi g ple pictu red heren may vary from .

These are some important steps to successfully integrate Zero Waste principles into Fair planning and operations:

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EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014


Bay Explorations Tours for 2014

Jennifer Kalt, Director Interested in exploring Humboldt Bay while paddling a kayak or from the leisurely deck of a motorized boat? Humboldt Baykeeper has partnered with the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center and the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District to offer monthly bilingual tours covering a variety of topics on Humboldt Bay. Thanks to a California Coastal Conservancy grant, our docents and bilingual guides lead tours in English and Spanish. Humboldt Baykeeper is offering three different types of free natural history tours this summer:

• Tours aboard the Humboldt Bay Harbor District’s patrol boat are scheduled for Saturdays, August 16 and September 13. • Kayak/canoe tours with the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center are scheduled for Thursdays, August 28 and September 25. No paddling experience necessary! • Walking tours of Eureka’s Hikshari’ Trail along the waterfront and Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary are being scheduled for August and September. Bay Explorations tours are fun, informative excursions on and along Humboldt Bay led by knowledgeable volunteer docents trained in ecology and history of the bay and its inhabitants. Getting out on the Bay and the Coastal Trail are great ways to spend a morning with family or friends, not to mention the best opportunity to see first-hand the waves and wildlife that make this place special. The first Bay Explorations canoe and kayak tour of the summer. Photo: Natalie Arroyo.

For more info or to reserve your spot on a tour, call 786-3754 or email Jasmin Segura at tours@ Additional tour dates will be posted at and on the Humboldt Baykeeper Facebook page. To sign up for announcements via email, contact us at

On July 13, ten people swam 4.5 miles from the Coast Guard station to Woodley Island for the Critter Crawl—a benefit for the North Coast Marine Mammal Center. Photo by J. Kalt.

Celebrate Swimmable California Waters!

Humboldt Baykeeper works to protect Humboldt Bay and adjacent coastal waters so that they are clean and safe for surfing, paddling, swimming, fishing, wading, and other forms of frolicking. This July, we joined California Coastkeeper Alliance, our statewide network of California Waterkeeper organizations, to celebrate all of California’s healthy waters and the regulations that protect them. Last year, the California Legislature passed a resolution to officially commemorate July 25 as “Swimmable California Day,” recognizing Californians’ right to waters that are clean and safe for swimming. We’ve been celebrating the entire month of July, but every day is a chance to swim, surf, standup paddle, kayak, dive, canoe, float, fish, and frolic in the local waters that we love so much. Join us! • There’s still time to enter the Swimmable California PHOTO CONTEST!


Submit your photos by July 31 showing how you enjoy California waters for a chance to win REI gift cards. Upload photos on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #SwimmableCA. For more info, visit • Download the Waterkeeper Swim Guide smartphone app ( to see whether your local swimming areas are clean and healthy for swimming, and to report pollution. • Donate to Humboldt Baykeeper so we can keep your waters safe!

Join us for

Coastal Currents every Wednesday at noon on KHUM, 104.3 and 104.7

Aug/Sep 2014



of the Eel River

Rights vs. Reason in Severe Drought Conditions Scott Greacen, Executive Director Responding to one of the most severe and persistent droughts in the history of California, state agencies are now moving to shut down water diversions that harm fisheries and wildlife, using a mixture of unusual and unprecedented measures. The State Water Board is issuing “curtailment notices” to registered water rights holders in many areas. Both the State Water Board and the Department of Fish and Wildlife have been given new staff to go after unregistered diversions associated with marijuana cultivation. Both agencies now have new powers to issue steep fines to punish scofflaws and polluters. The fundamental authority and responsibility of the state to regulate water diversions, especially to protect fisheries, has also been reaffirmed in a ringing ruling from the state Court of Appeals. For the first time in a generation, the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB, or just “the State Water Board”) has determined that water supplies in parts of the Sacramento, most of the upper Russian River, and most of the Eel River watershed are “insufficient to meet the needs of senior water rights holders,” and ordered everyone in those areas with post-1914 water rights to immediately stop diverting. There are narrow exceptions for hydroelectric diversions that return water to the same stream and diversions that are the sole source of water for human health and safety, but even in those cases, diverters must contact the SWRCB to avoid potential legal sanctions. The State Board may fine illegal diverters up to $1000 per day of violation; if it issues a Cease and Desist Order, failure to follow its instructions could yield fines of up to $10,000 per day. While these formal notices apply only to people who have registered their water diversions and rights, the logic they express has broad implications for all water users, particularly for tributaries like the South Fork of the Eel—which apparently was not subject to a curtailment order because so few water rights are recorded in the South Fork. However, the South Fork is at least as thickly settled, and hosts even more marijuana growing operations of every dimension, than the Eel’s other tributaries. Whether the thousands of actual diversions in the South Fork are registered or not, the legal right of people to use surface water depends fundamentally on whether such use is reasonable under the circumstances. As the California Court of Appeals

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014

has just reaffirmed, the question whether a given use is reasonable is for the State Water Board to decide (more on this below). The curtailment notices issued to date make it clear that any diversion from surface waters this summer would be unreasonable, and is thus inherently illegal, whether properly reported and registered or not. Because the drought is so

Extremely low water conditions on the Eel River above Dos Rios looking up the middle fork, with green algae, July 2014. Photo: © Thomas B. Dunklin,

severe and demands so far outstrip supply, many tributary streams will dry up altogether. The greatest challenge is how to limit the already substantial harm to fisheries, which have taken the first and by far the largest reductions of any “users.” A recent decision by the California Court of Appeals, Light v SWRCB, upheld the State Water Board’s regulation of wine grape growers’ diversions from the Russian River watershed to spray grape buds to protect them from early spring frosts. The decision is a powerful affirmation of the water board’s authority to regulate water diversions to maintain water quality, particularly to protect stream flows for fish and wildlife.

Water rights, particularly riparian rights, are usufructory: they are rights to use water, not to own it, subject themselves to other rights. As the Light court states clearly, there can be no property right in an unreasonable use of water. The restatement of state water law is useful, but also significant. The ruling extinguishes theories advanced by the Farm Bureau and Pacific Legal Foundation that would treat water rights as a species of absolute property right, and not incidentally define as an unconstitutional taking of property any attempt to regulate water diversions to protect public trust values. If upheld, such a doctrine would give senior water rights holders, which is to say Big Ag, even greater leverage over California water policy than they already hold. Experts estimate there could be as many as five gallons of ‘paper water’ claimed across California for every gallon of water actually available. Wildlife agencies and the public would be left to pay exorbitant ransoms for the return of our water to its stream. Meanwhile, on the North Coast, the SWB and DFW have turned to the growing problem of unreported water diversions associated with largescale marijuana cultivation, with a new mandate from the Assembly and new tools to persuade those who would prefer to ignore water laws. The most important of these tools is DFW’s announcement that, for the duration of the present drought emergency, people who self-certify that they meet the basic conditions for installing water storage tanks can get the required five-year permit without the normal inspections. Dana Stolzman of the Salmonid Restoration Federation, who helped convince the agencies to approve the program, put it well: “There is no better time to register your water storage than now.” But the agencies’ new tools are not carrots alone. As noted above, the SWRCB now has the power to fine diverters who ignore curtailment orders. Where it finds diversions associated with cultivation of controlled substances, DFW now has the power to fine directly as well. The new law distinguishes between trespass grows and those conducted on private land with the owner’s knowledge, but the potential $8,000 per day fine for illegal diversions on private land is not much lower than the $10,000 per day potential fine in trespass cases. In both circumstances, the fines for serious pollution are more than twice that for diversions alone. Communities that, until now, have charted their own course on water use are going to need to report and coordinate their water use.


The Environmental Protection Information Center

Buyer Beware: is FSC the Gold Standard for Sustainable Forestry?

By Rob DiPerna

destination of Strawberry Rock near Trinidad have resulted in direct action and protests. In many parts of the world, the Forest Currently Campbell Global is seeking FSC Stewardship Council (FSC) certification certification for the two properties it manages functions very well, providing a sustainability in Mendocino County, the Usal Redwood framework for forestry that is above and Forest held in trust by the Redwood Forest beyond the country’s environmental laws, Foundation International, and timberlands regulations and standards. However, the owned by Hawthorne Timber Company. FSC standard that is being put in place for While separate, these certification efforts by Northern California’s forests is cause for Campbell Global raise significant questions concern. Is the FSC the gold standard for for FSC in evaluating the environmental, sustainable forestry or has it evolved into a economic and social commitments that large umbrella that allows more and more Campbell is offering up in exchange for FSC companies to reap the benefits of a sustainable certification on the properties it manages. label without improving their methods? Sustainability in industrial forestry While the industry-driven Sustainable operations, environmentally, socially, and Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification remains economically, continues to be elusive, even for a bogus option for forest landowners, more companies such as HRC that have demonstrated and more industrial timber operators are the greatest commitment to achieving these FSC Certified Green Diamond clearcuts, Maple Creek watershed looking west seeking certification by the Forest Stewardship to Big Lagoon. goals. Certification of Green Diamond, and Council (FSC), which leads to questions about the potential certification of the Campbell Globalthe legitimacy of the FSC certification’s value, short logging rotations. Certification of Green managed properties leaves substantial questions the vigor of the certification standards, and the Diamond has led many in the local conservation regarding the value of the certification itself, and integrity of the label itself to assure consumers that community and elsewhere to wonder about the overall real-time effects on-the-ground in wood products are being sustainably produced. the value and validity of FSC certification. terms of improving forest management practices. The FSC certification program entails an audit Social issues continue to haunt both HRC FSC offers opportunity for members of the process to determine whether or not a forest and Green Diamond. For HRC, logging in the general public to weigh in and express concerns. landowner meets the certification standards for heavily-impaired Elk River watershed continues FSC is currently conducting its annual audit of the Pacific Northwest. The three major tenants to be a point of social and environmental tension. Humboldt Redwood Company. The deadline that support FSC certification are environmental Additionally, recent logging plans in the North Fork for comments on the HRC audit is August 18th. sustainability, economic sustainability, and social of the Mattole River watershed have caused alarm Comments on the HRC annual audit can be sent to: engagement and interaction. However in 2012, FSC for both community members and forest activists Comments on modified its Pacific Coast certification standards. alike. For Green Diamond, logging plans in the the Campbell/Hawthorne certification evaluation The change in standards now allows for even-aged McKay Tract, as well as near the popular hiking can be submitted until August 14th. Comments management (i.e. clearcutting). This change in can be send to: standards appears to be designed to bring more industrial timber operators under the FSC umbrella. In Humboldt County, the Humboldt Redwood Great News for Gray Wolves! Company (HRC) was the first to seek and On June 4th the CA Fish & Game Commission achieve certification under the FSC umbrella and granted protections to wolves under the has been the bench-mark of sustainable forest California Endangered Species Act. Lone management for the last several years. HRC has wolf “OR-7,” who famously made the 4,000demonstrated a firm commitment to sustainable mile trek between Oregon and California, is forest management by employing only unevenmaking news again. He recently found a mate aged management systems (e.g. selection harvest) and by instituting an old growth retention policy. and the two are raising pups in the Rogue In 2012, Green Diamond Resource Company Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon! (formerly Simpson Timber Company) also became It is likely that the new pack will travel into FSC-certified despite great social controversy. California and protections under the law will Unlike HRC, Green Diamond exhibited little help ensure their future safety. willingness to change its forest operations This label is supposed to assure consumers that wood For more info visit practices, which rely heavily on clearcutting and products are being sustainably produced.



Aug/Sep 2014


Restoration More Complex than Rocket Science John Williams, MRC Board of Directors

Lagoons, like rivers, are subject to major change during floods, so the lagoon in 1871 most likely was different than before 1862, or after 1888. Restoration is not rocket science; it’s harder What about restoring the forests, so badly than rocket science. Rocket science is complicated, abused by tractor logging in the 1950s and 60s? but the physics involved are well known, and Here again, the natural condition is unclear; the objectives are clear. Restoration involves humans have been setting fires since the late stages sciences such as ecology of the last ice age, and fires that are less developed than affect the composition and physics, and arguably more distributions of forests and difficult; ecosystems are grasslands. There is good complex and non-linear, with evidence that much of the fir some strongly and many forest cut in the logging boom, weakly interacting parts, especially on the south facing and are subject to constant slopes, was established after change and to stochastic the Anglo settlement, when influences from outside the burning by Native Americans system. Predicting how diminished. Currently, the ecosystems will respond is scarcity of fire is allowing notoriously difficult. the fir forest to expand Beyond that, the into former woodlands objectives of restoration are and meadows. not always clear. The implied Because we don’t know objective of restoration is what natural conditions were, to restore some previous the objectives of restoration condition, but that begs the are largely up to us. Most of question, which previous us want the lagoon to be good condition? We could say habitat for young salmon on natural conditions, but their way to the ocean, and Mattole River Upstream from A.W.Way County Park, circa 1930. Photo courtesy of Mattole Valley Historical Society. we don’t know the natural are trying to make it so, but condition of the Mattole basin, and even lack a bark gone, but it is not uncommon to see logs some may think we are giving too little attention to clear idea of what we mean by “natural.” Humans 150 feet long and 4 feet in diameter at the little birds. We are less clear about the forest; some of are relative newcomers to the area, but were here end where the top is broken off. One I measured us think that extensive fir forest indicates recovery, modifying the landscape (especially by burning) was 210 feet long and 3½ feet at the little end, and some of us think that the forest is taking over before the climate and sea level stabilized at the without the bark.” what should be grasslands or oak woodlands, and end of the last ice age. Were these humans part of What happened that winter in the Mattole basin reducing the dry season flow in streams. Practical the natural condition? If not, natural conditions is unknown, but with weeks of rain, conditions and aesthetic factors also influence our thinking. have not existed since the ice age, and if so, when must have been ripe for debris flows that carry Ranchers naturally favor grass, and loggers did conditions become unnatural? trees, soil and rock into the river, wreaking major favor forests. Trees may block views, provide To anchor this discussion, consider the Mattole channel change and increasing the flow of sediment habitat, shade and windbreaks, and increase the River lagoon. We have a good map of the lagoon in and large wood to the lagoon. hazard from fire. 1871, from careful work by the U.S. Coast Survey. “The 1861-62 storm period was by far The upshot for restoration is that our It is tempting to think that this shows the natural the wettest ever recorded in northwestern objectives as well as our methods deserve careful condition of the lagoon, but 1871 was only a decade California. Over 1,270 mm of rain fell at Fort consideration and questioning, and learning after the flood of record for the state, in the winter Gaston between November 24 and December 8, should always be one of the objectives. Restoration of 1861-62. Information on the effects of the flood 1861, and the January 8-11 storm produced an is always experimental, whether we want it to be on North Coast rivers is scant, but the observations additional 305 mm of precipitation. Rainfall or not, and we should try to make our restoration of wood on the beaches near Crescent City by records were not available for the 1867, 1879, projects as informative as we can. William Brewer, a scientist with the first geological 1881, and 1888 floods. The Eureka Humboldt survey of California, give a strong hint: Times reported that over 787 mm [31 inches] of To learn more about our projects, “The floods of two years ago brought down rain fell at the Upper Mattole station during the or to make a donation to support MRC, an immense amount of driftwood from all the storm of January 27-31, 1888” (Harden, 1995, please visit rivers along the coast, and it was cast up along USGS Prof Paper 1454-D).

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014

this part of the coast in quantities that stagger belief. It looked to me as if I saw enough in ten miles along the shore to make a million cords of wood. It is thrown up in great piles, often half a mile long, and the size of some of these trees is tremendous. I had the curiosity to measure over twenty. These were worn by the water and their


NORTH GROUP REDWOOD CHAPTER Livestock Grazing Continues to Degrade Wilderness Areas

nor the regional water quality boards enforce those laws. Forest Service staff often do not even visit some grazing allotments for months or even years. Felice Pace So it is not surprising that Native American tribes, During this 50th anniversary year of the environmental groups and the Forest Service’s Wilderness Act, we celebrate the enduring legacy own monitoring have documented bacterial and that has been preserved. We should also take stock nutrient pollution in streams draining wilderness of the limits on what we have accomplished and where grazing occurs. determine how to get the rest of the job done. As the grazing chair for the Redwood Chapter The North Coast and Klamath Mountains of the Sierra Club and the North Group’s water contain outstanding wilderness areas chairperson, it is my duty to work to end the characterized by diverse Old Growth forests, subdegradation of water quality, habitat and other alpine meadows and numerous glacier-formed wilderness values which result from poorly lakes. From mid-July through mid-October, managed wilderness grazing. I have gone with however, significant portions of most wilderness Forest Service and North Coast Water Board areas are grazed by cattle. Livestock grazing members into wilderness to view the damage was “grandfathered in” when the Wilderness done by unmanaged grazing and challenged those Act became law. Along with over-aggressive officials to require the regular herding which is fire suppression actions, grazing is the #1 factor necessary to keep cattle from trampling springs, degrading wilderness values, including water streambanks and wetlands. quality. That is true in Northwest California and Confronting responsible federal and state across the West. officials with documentation of the damage poorly While livestock grazing in wilderness is legal, managed livestock grazing visits on our public the manner in which grazing is (mis)managed in lands, and challenging those officials to require wilderness is often not legal. Rather than herd the owners to rotate cattle among pastures and their cattle, most grazing permit holders these keep them out of wetlands, is also my mission as days turn them out in July and don’t come back coordinator of the Project to Reform Public Land until time to remove them in October. Unlike elk, Grazing in Northern California. The Project, which graze but move continually, unmanaged which is sponsored by EPIC, the Klamath Forest cattle find preferred locations and remain there; Alliance and Montana-based Wilderness Watch, consequently springs are trampled, wetlands uses volunteers to go onto public land grazing fouled and riparian areas degraded. allotments and gather photos like those on this Because grazing in wilderness is virtually page—photos which show the trampled springs unmanaged, impacts to water quality often and other damage which are ubiquitous where violate the Clean Water Act and other laws. cattle graze on our public land. Unfortunately, neither Forest Service managers If you do encounter grazing damage in wilderness, please take a photo or two to strengthen efforts right here in Northern California to require better management of wilderness grazing. It is unlikely in the current political climate that efforts to ban livestock grazing in wilderness will succeed. We can, however, insist that public land grazing be properly managed. Please help the effort. Mail your photos of cattlecaused wilderness degradation to my attention, North Group, Redwood Chapter, P.O. Box 238, Arcata, CA 95518. Be sure to also describe where the photos were taken and, if you have them, include GPS coordinates for photo locations. And if you’d like to get more involved in grazing reform, A trampled spring in Marble Mountain Wilderness. Photo: Felice Pace. call Felice at 707-954-6588.



The North Group offers the following hike in September. All our hikes are open to the public. Contact hike leaders for more information: Sun. Sept 21 North Group Prairie Creek State Park Hike: Zig-Zag#2 to Ossagon. From lush riparian creek side, climb to high, open forest on West Ridge, to eventually hear and glimpse the ocean far below. Descend steeply to Coastal Trail south of Ossagon Rocks. Optional pause here to explore before return by Ossagon Trail to Parkway mile 132.74, where we may shuttle some vehicles before our start. Bring lunch, liquids, layers. No dogs. Carpools meet at 8:30 a.m. at SW corner of the Arcata Community Sports Center (101/Samoa exit), and 9:30 a.m. at the Newton B Drury Parkway mile 130.54. Leader is Melinda 668-4275 Rain cancels.

Bill Knight Memorial Service

North Group members and supporters are invited to attend a memorial service for former Outings Chair Bill Knight, who passed away in late April. The event will be held on Sunday, August 17 starting at 10 a.m. at Friends of the Dunes Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, 220 Stamps Lane, off Samoa Boulevard (Route 255) in Manila. Brunch will be served. Please join with his family and friends to share memories of Bill. RSVP required to Liz Knight at (707) 448-6596 or

Aug/Sep 2014


NORTHCOAST CHAPTER 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 another presenter will share a brief, handson demonstration and discussion of some botanical topic. September 10, Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. “Pyrodiversity and its Importance to the Northern California Flora” Dr. Jeff Kane, HSU Fire Ecologist. The floral diversity of northern California is partially due to the pyrodiversity of the region. In most cases, plants are not simply adapted to fire but require specific fire characteristics to persist on the landscape. This talk will present regional examples of native plants and their different strategies to persist in fire-prone ecosystems. Through understanding the importance of fire to plant biodiversity, the talk will then address some of the current and future issues in northern California.

Field Trips & Plant Walks August 23, Saturday. Oregon Fireweed Rare Plant Treasure Hunt at Grouse Creek to locate an historic occurrence of Epilobium oreganum, the Oregon Fireweed, rare plant listed 1B.2. Drive and hike along Forest Service roads near Grouse Creek, a tributary to the South Fork Trinity. First and last recorded in 1888 by two botanists, E. R. Drew and V. K. Chestnut, who rode on horseback from Eureka to Hyampom and noted it growing along brooks near Grouse Creek. They assigned a new name, Epilobium exaltatum, which is now considered a synonym for E. oreganum. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School to carpool. Bring lunch, water, boots, and protection from the sun. Return late afternoon. Please contact John McRae at 707-441-3513 or at September 6, Saturday. Big Lagoon Day Hike. Even in a dry year the wetlands of the bog and the lagoon edge should have fresh, green things to look at, including the rare bog Club Moss. We will probably explore the spruce forest, the sandy spit, and the ocean bluff as well. This will be off-trail tramping around, not great distances. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School or 9:30 a.m. at Big Lagoon School. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Wet feet are a real possibility. Please tell Carol you are coming: 822-2015,

Mark your calendars now

for the Fall Native Plant Sale! Saturday, October 4

Get native shrubs, trees, perennials, bulbs, grasses and ferns—suitable for a wide variety of natural and human habitats. Buy only one plant or fill up your pickup. Experienced growers, gardeners and botanists will be on hand to assist you in choosing plants to meet your gardening/landscaping needs and to help answer your questions. We have reference books available for use and educational materials on hand to further assist gardeners who want to incorporate native plants into their landscapes. Bring the beauty of Humboldt’s forests, meadows and dunes to your garden as well as other California native species! All proceeds benefit the North Coast Chapter. For more information, or to volunteer to help with the sales, contact Chris Beresford 707-826-0259 or Anna Bernard 707 825-6991.

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For more details and later additions, visit:


Is Your Garden Pollinator Friend ly?

Jennifer Kalt Would you like to see more hummingbirds, butterflies, bumblebees, and other pollinators in your garden? Not only are they a joy to observe— many native bees, bee-flies, and other insects can improve fruit set in your garden and orchard, while others will help keep plant-eating insects under control. These tips can help make your garden more attractive to pollinators:

• Use a variety of plants that bloom from early spring into late fall and winter. Visit local nurseries to see which plants bloom when you have gaps. • Include plants native to your region. Natives are adapted to your local climate, soil and native pollinators. Night-blooming flowers will attract moths and bats. • Avoid modern hybrid flowers, especially those with “doubled” flowers. They often lack the

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014

pollen, nectar, and fragrance that attract pollinators. • Eliminate pesticides. Using non-toxic pest control is the best way to protect pollinators. Many pesticides are especially dangerous for bees. • Include larval host plants in your landscape. If you want colorful butterflies, grow plants for their caterpillars. They WILL eat them, so place them where unsightly leaf damage can be tolerated. • Spare that limb! Dead limbs and spent flowering stalks provide essential nesting sites for native bees. You can also provide nest sites by drilling holes of varying diameter about 3 to 5 inches deep in a piece of scrap lumber mounted to a post or under eaves. • Learn to identify pollinators. Get some guidebooks and learn to recognize the pollinators in your neighborhood. A great resource is Insects of the Pacific Northwest by Pete and Judy Haggard.

For more tips on pollinator-friendly gardening, visit: gardening.shtml.


Wildlife Services

Continued from page 8 When funds to eradicate these animals became insufficient, WS began the practice of ‘cooperative agreements’ with ranchers, municipalities, states and counties to share the costs of extermination. So began a revenue stream for the agency that last year (FY 2013) brought them just over $116 million. California’s contribution amounted to $7 million. Two-thirds of California’s counties currently are engaged in cooperative agreements with WS. Although Marin County ended its contract, in favor of their Non-lethal Livestock Protection Plan (now in its fourteenth year of success), and Sonoma County did not renew its contract last year while it develops its own non-lethal program, sadly, both Humboldt and Mendocino counties still maintain contracts with the agency that Congressmember Pete DeFazio has called the “most opaque and obstinate” he’s had to deal with. Due to concerns relating to Wildlfe Services nationally, allegations of irresponsible trapping locally, and personal experience with WS agents, I started a petition to call attention to the situation, currently with over 120,000

signatures. Humane resolution of human/ wildlife conflicts is a primary part of the Bird Ally X/HWCC mission, a mission we meet every day of the year. Based on WS’ history of cruelty, excess, lack of transparency and accountability, Bird Ally X/Humboldt Wildlife Care Center also recently sent a letter to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, requesting an end to the county agreement with WS. The letter prompted a postponement in the renewal of the contract, to allow time for citizen participation and discussion of the issues involved. This is a hopeful first step. In most prior years, the contract was Wildlife Services killed 75,326 coyotes in fiscal year 2013. Photo: USFWS. renewed with no discussion at all. As EcoNews went to print, Jeff Dolf, Humboldt contract may have been made on the WS contract County’s Agricultural Commissioner, was at this meeting. Stay tuned for updates. scheduled to speak at the Board of Supervisors For more information and updates on this meeting on July 22, with an informational issue, visit presentation from the agency’s perspective. We hope serious consideration will be given by the To sign the online petition, visit: board to the development of non-lethal wildlife management alternatives. A decision on the

Recent Blue-Green Algae Blooms! Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, are simple plants found naturally in water and wet environments. Blue-green algae prefer warm, stagnant, nutrient-rich water and are found most often in ponds, lakes, and slow moving rivers. Some species of blue-green algae produce toxins, so skin contact and ingestion can be dangerous. Children and pets are particularly at risk of serious toxic effects from blue-green algae. Stay out of areas where it has formed.

sales • service • solutions Apple computers • Mac software & accessories • Apple authorized service Internet set-up • Network services •

A bloom is a build-up of algae that creates a green, blue-green, white, or brown coloring on the surface of the water, sometimes occurring as mats or scum. Although blooms can occur at any time of year, they occur most often in the warmer months between June and September.

381 Bayside Road, Arcata, CA 95521

To stay safe, always assume that a blue-green algal bloom has the potential to be toxic. Do not drink or swim in water with scum layers or blooms. For more information, see the California Department of Public Health brochure about bluegreen algae here:


Aug/Sep 2014



RARE BUT NOT EDIBLE: China will jail people for 10 years, or more, if they’re caught eating rare animals. “Eating rare wild animals is not only bad social conduct, but it also is a main reason why illegal hunting has not been stopped,” said a government spokesman. China lists 420 species are rare or endangered, including pandas, golden monkeys and Asian black bears. Many are hunted for black market medicinal concoctions.

A merry melange: salient or silly.

NO DRILLING: Amazingly, a British oil company has abandoned plans to drill for oil in Africa’s richest trove of natural beauty and biodiversity. The Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a World Heritage Site, and the Soco oil company has vowed not to drill without permission from UNESCO. Tens of thousands of local people depend on the lake for fish, and it is also home to thousands of hippopotamuses.

MASCOT MUNCHED OUT: The threebanded armadillo, the cute mascot of soccer’s World Cup, is being crowded out of its habitat by an invasive weed. The rubbervine weed (Cryptostegia madagascariensis), also known as devil’s claw, was imported from Madagascar as an ornamental plant. It has swept through the armadillo’s shrub-land home, killing native trees and smothering vast areas. As a result, the armadillo has declined by more than a third because its habitat has shrunk by 50 percent.

BASEBALL-SIZESTONES: A “supercell thunderstorm” produced hailstones up to four inches in diameter in New Mexico in June. A supercell, the most dangerous type of storm, features a large rotating updraft of air known as a mesocyclone and can produce torrential rain, hail, swirling winds and tornadoes.

DANISH DESTINATION: Will Denmark become the home for “animal sex” activity? That’s the concern of animal rights campaigners because there is no law in Denmark banning humans having sex with animals— unless there is torture involved.

XE RULES: Schools in Vancouver, Canada are doing away with the words he and she and instead using “xe,” the new gender-neutral word. The city’s school board approved the new policy allowing pupils to be referred to as xe, xem and xyr instead of he/she, him/her and his/hers. NEW ENGLAND REALITY: Vermont can boast of having the only long-term plan to prepare for climate change and becoming the first state to require that food containing genetically modified ingredients be labeled. As of July 1, 2016, all genetically modified food sold in Vermont must have the words “produced with genetic engineering” emblazoned on the packaging in a “clear and conspicuous” way. Vermont’s climate assessment predicts what will happen over the next century, using local weather data and warnings by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “From our historical records, we can tell that climate change is already happening,” scientist Gillianm Galford notes. “Spring now starts around seven days earlier than it did in 1970.”

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014

GOODBYE CARS, HELLO HOUSES: Venezuela will crush 10,000 cars and motorbikes to provide raw materials for housing construction, which is dealing with drastically reduced amounts of local steel. The steel could be used for rebar, which reinforces concrete, in the building of tens of thousands of housing units. Under late leader Hugo Chavez, authorities built more than 250,000 housing units for low-income families in 2012. That number was cut in half last year and may go even lower this year—all due to a lack of local steel. TUMBLING TUMBLEWEEDS: Giant balls of tumbleweed taller than people are causing problems across the West because of prolonged drought and high winds. The most common tumbleweed isn’t even native to the U.S. but an invader from Eurasia also known as Russian thistle. The alien hitched a ride in seed shipments to South Dakota in the 19th century, just in time to become a metaphor in cowboy movies for the desolation of ghost towns.

TONGUE-TWISTER: South American horned frogs have muscular tongues that stick to prey like adhesive tape, with a force so strong they can capture and haul in something weighing three times what the frog weighs, German researchers found. That allows the frogs to grab prey as large as rodents, snakes, other frogs, lizards and even small birds.

SHUT THAT DOG UP: A new gadget claims it can control a barking dog by conditioning. Hammacher Schlemmer is selling the ‘Bark Deterring Ultrasonic Collar’ for $39.95. When a dog barks while wearing the collar, a built-in microphone detects the sound and emits a harmless, high-pitched tone—inaudible to humans—that startles the animal into silence. The dog eventually associates its bark with the unpleasant sound, which conditions it to stay quiet. Woof.


Can we save endangered

Oncorhynchus kisutch

Coho spawning in Jacoby Creek. One of few adults that were able to spawn in tributaries this year due to lack of adequate rain. Photo: © Thomas B. Dunklin,

Scott Greacen, Friends of the Eel River Coho, or silver, salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are one of three species of salmonid that still survive in many of the North Coast’s more intact watersheds. Coho are generally smaller than their cousins the Chinook, or king, salmon (O. tshawytscha), but larger than steelhead, the seagoing form of rainbow trout (O. mykiss). Of the three, coho are almost certainly the most affected by impaired water quality, high temperatures, and dewatered streams. Unlike juvenile chinook, which head for the ocean the spring they hatch, coho and steelhead must spend a year in freshwater first. Coho prefer small, relatively low-gradient tributary streams with complex structure (instream fallen logs) for spawning and juvenile rearing, and good winter conditions are crucial for the survival of the fry. Intensive land-use changes, especially logging, mining, roadbuilding, intensive agriculture, and urban development, together with overfishing, drove some coho runs extinct and others to the brink of extinction. Surviving runs are listed under both the California and federal Endangered Species Acts. The National Marine Fisheries Service groups


silver salmon from Oregon’s Rogue River to the Mattole together as Southern Oregon/Northern California Coast (SONCC) coho. SONCC coho are listed as threatened—likely to become endangered in the next century. However, the best available science suggests these fish are already endangered—likely to become extinct in the next century. SONCC coho face threats not just from the present intense drought, but from declining stream flows, summertime water diversions and sediment impairment, and loss of critical food resources to the rising acidification of nearshore ocean waters. Though rivers like the magnificent Smith still support coho runs, the critical core of the California population of SONCC coho are the silvers that spawn in the South Fork of the Eel River. This population probably reached a few thousand adults before the drought hit, but that is a tiny fraction of the hundreds of thousands of coho the Eel held a century ago. The Eel also hosts the longest run of coho in California, a remnant that follows the mainstem Eel to the Outlet Creek drainage around Willits. Recovery of the South Fork population is critical to the recovery of runs in nearby watersheds like the

Mattole, where coho have nearly vanished, as well as Humboldt Bay, where productive but modest streams just can’t support the numbers needed to maintain genetic diversity. The current drought has surely been a disaster for coho. In the late winter of 2014, however, Eel River coho got a small miracle—February rains that allowed adult coho stuck in the lower river reach upriver spawning areas in the South Fork and Outlet Creek. Department of Fish and Wildlife surveys found coho redds–nests of cleaned and sorted gravel where coho hens lay their eggs–in essentially all of the previously known spawning streams in the Outlet Creek watershed. Unfortunately, in the same agency’s recent survey of large-scale marijuana growing operations across North Coast watersheds, it was the same Outlet Creek that came up with the greatest mismatch between available water supplies and the amount needed to support the observed weed crop. The National Marine Fisheries Service will publish a final Recovery Plan for SONCC coho this summer. A similar plan for coho south of the Mattole—the Central California Coast (CCC) coho—appears an expensive plan to prevent extinction, but without any strategy to recover runs whose habitat has been severely damaged. It remains to be seen whether the new SONCC Recovery Plan, and the efforts of all the groups and people pushing for our iconic fish, will be enough to turn the arc around for the last great runs of California coho.

Juvenile coho. Photo: Roger Tabor, USFWS.

Aug/Sep 2014


the Kids’ Page: Did you know

W i g gl y W o r m s

that earthworms are more than just slimy fishing bait? Worms are an important part of the soil ecosystem. There are many different species of earthworms. Some only grow to a quarter inch long, while others grow up to a foot and a half, and as big around as your arm! They are native to Europe, but can now be found in most parts of the world. It is estimated that there are between 250,000 to almost 2,000,000 earthworms per acre of land in North America. If you were to get all the earthworms in an acre and weigh them, it could weigh more than the all the animals on that same area of land. Earthworms are covered in mucus, which helps them move smoothly through the ground. They are made up of segments, and each segment has stiff hairs, which also helps them burrow into the ground. They have two different types of muscles, one type goes around the worm and the other runs lengthwise. It’s because of these muscles that when you pick up a fat, short worm it stretches out long and skinny. Earthworms aren’t girls or boys— they’re both! Two earthworms will join and swap male DNA (sperm). They have a fat band around their body, called a clitellum, where egg capsules are made. Awhile after the two worms separate, a small, golden balloon-shaped capsule or cocoon containing an egg and the other worm’s sperm is formed and left in the soil. After a period of time, baby earthworms emerge from the capsule. Earthworms are able to burrow as far down as 6-and-a-half feet into the ground! Their burrowing creates tunnels in the soil, which makes space for air and water. Earthworms have no lungs. Instead, they breathe through their skin, like an amphibian. They eat soil, which contains bits of dead leaves, roots, and animals (decaying organic matter). Organs inside the worm, called the crop and gizzard, grind the food into tiny pieces. Earthworm manure is very rich in nutrients and improves the quality of soil, which helps feed plants and trees. This is why people sometimes use worms to break down and compost human food waste—called vermiculture. Worms are also food themselves for many animals, fish, amphibians, birds, and rodents! by Sarah Marnick

Top: A large earthworm. Photo: Thomas Brown, CC. Center: Earthworm capsule. Photo: Christophe Quintin, CC.

EcoNews Aug/Sep 2014

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Seeing Double elbuoD gnieeS An Oklahoma Tea Party politician who lost a primary plans to contest the results because he claims his rival is actually dead—hanged on a 2011 trip to Ukraine—and is being represented by a body double. Congressional candidate Tim Murray said on his website that “it is widely known Rep. Frank D. Lucas is no longer alive and has been displayed by a look-alike.” In response, Lucas denied that he was killed and reported that he’s never been to Ukraine. Here at the NEC, this is the kind of bizarre byplay we expect from now until November. All of our local politicians are alive—although back in the past there was a candidate who died but still won the election. Despite frivolous claims like Murray’s, we believe the elections do matter, particularly in an area like ours where a handful of votes makes the difference between the winner and the person who came in a close second. So make sure you’re registered and come out to vote during the next election. Only 18% of those eligible made it to the polls in June. Choose candidates who have proved they have made the environment a key issue. Accept no look-alikes. Thank you.

EcoNews - Vol 44, No 4 - Aug/Sep 2014  

EcoNews is the official bi-monthly publication of the Northcoast Environmental Center, a non-profit advocacy and educational organization. T...

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