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Over 40 Years of Environmental News


Arcata, California

Vol. 44, No. 6 Dec 2014/Jan 2015

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

Climate Action Now From the North Coast to New York, the People - and the science have spoken.

2014 Year in Review | Marine Protected Areas | Polar Bear Behind Bars | UN Climate Report Mendocino Community Rights | Humboldt Bans GMOs | Naomi Klein | Coho Recovery Plan

News From the Center Winter, Water, Celebrations After a long, dry spell, rain has returned to the North Coast— bringing much needed water to our rivers and providing relief for this fall’s salmon run. While grateful for what we have received, the rainfall so far has been just a drop in the bucket in terms of alleviating drought and replenishing water supplies. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, the vast majority of California is still classified as being in a severe drought and reservoirs throughout the state are still declining. On top of it all, weather predictions for the months ahead are not too hopeful. Even as we celebrate the rain, we must stay focused on efforts to achieve a more reverential relationship with water. That is to say, we need to treat water as the essential, finite resource that it is and put an end to wasteful ways that seem to presume an infinite supply of Earth’s most vital substance.



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 Bondage

Water was a major theme in the November 4 midterm elections with Proposition 1—California’s Water Bond—front and center on the ballot. Several months ago we reported our worry that the bond was moving in line with favoring

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, Kimberly Baker, Felice Pace, Colin Fiske, Elaine Wienreb, Peter Galvin, Larry Goldberg, Natalie Vaughn, Ben Price, Margaret Gainer, Veronica Yates, Morgan Corviday. Cover Photo: Courtesy of the Center for Biological Diversity. 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 population centers and desert-based agriculture in Southern California at the expense of Northern California’s rivers and residents. In looking at election results by county, it seems that most voters within what would be the State of Jefferson have the same concern. Although the majority of the voting populace in Northern California voted against the bond, the rest of the state (with the exception of Calaveras and Inyo County residents) decided otherwise with more than ample votes to pass the Proposition. Although there will be some tangible benefits with funding specifically earmarked for watershed protection and restoration projects, the approved bond prioritizes funding for “storage projects” over water conservation, efficiency and access to safe drinking water for disadvantaged communities. Whether the bond will fund controversial surface dams and reservoirs remains to be seen— though it is likely that there are some big fights ahead. Regardless of the projects that are able to move forward, one thing is clear: the bond will not likely solve California’s deep-

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,

seated water woes any time soon. As such, it is even more imperative that we engage on a regional scale toward conservation action, stand together against the outdated era of dams and diversion, and keep on working towards a water-wise future for all.

Local Election Elation, National Electile Dysfunction

In terms of local, proconservation representatives and initiatives, the relatively scant crowd of Humboldt County voters who managed to turn out to the polls made a good show of it. Community advocate and general go-getter Natalie Arroyo resoundingly defeated tea-party-inclined incumbent Chet Albin in Eureka’s 5th Ward—an outcome that will help provide much-needed balance to a previously one-sided city council. NEC friends Sofia Pereira, Mark Wheetley, and Paul Pitino were the victors in the Arcata City Council race. Supported by a smorgasbord of family farmers and anti-GMO activists, Humboldt County voters gave the thumbs up to Measure P— prohibiting the growing of transgenic crops. Props to Collin Fiske and the rest of Pro-P campaign for a great job rallying the masses!

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 The North Coast also faired fairly well with the election of Mike McGuire to represent the 2nd California Senate District and Jim Wood to represent the 2nd California Assembly District. Jim will be standing in for Humboldt’s own termed-out assemblymember (and former NEC director) Wesley Chesbro. Many thanks to Wes for his leadership on key conservation issues and for always being an upstanding voice for our region! And in one of the few conservation-minded victories at the federal level, we are of course extremely pleased to see the unquestioned re-election of US Congressman Jared Huffman. We offer our support and wish him luck in the years ahead. With the exception of California’s North Coast and a few other isolated areas, many key election victories throughout the rest of the United States went to climate change deniers drooling at the thought of pushing through even more fossil fuel extraction projects to line the corporate/political coffers (Check out the Eye on Washington on page 8 for more national election analysis). No doubt there is a huge amount of work ahead if we are ever going to achieve a meaningful change in our national political leadership and steer us away from impending climate disaster.

Collaborating to Combat Trespass Grows

In addition to our work addressing the environmental impacts of marijuana operations at the policy level, the NEC is working as part of a community coalition formed to clean up grow sites on public lands in northwestern California. As part of the Northern California Reclamation Coalition we are working with several other organizations throughout the state: High Sierra Volunteer Trail Crew, Integral Ecology Research Center, the Watershed Research and Training Center, Trinity County Resource Conservation District, and Redwood Community Action Agency. Over the past several months, NEC staff

Miles of piping being removed from a trespass grow site. Photo: Dan Ehresman.

joined up with other members of this dedicated crew remediating trespass marijuana grow-sites on public land. The environmental impact of these sites is severe: dammed up creeks diverted through countless miles of black poly pipe; swaths of trees and shrubs hacked to the ground; erosionprone hillsides pockmarked with trenches; and extremely toxic pesticides dumped throughout the area—killing off wildlife and polluting water. There are hundreds of known sites out there and it is going to take a concerted effort with the help of agencies, organizations, and other individuals to clean up our public lands and prevent the establishment of new operations in the first place. We believe that community action is key to not only clean up the sites, but to call attention to the issue and move the conversation to how we can solve this very complex and pervasive problem.

Mixer and Movie Night

Join the NEC and Backcountry Press for an end-of-year mixer and movie night at the Arcata Playhouse on Thursday, December 11. Join us for the premiere Humboldt County showing of Wrenched—a documentary exploring how Edward Abbey’s anarchistic spirit and riotous novels influenced the environmental movement of the 1970s and ‘80s. Mixer starts at 6:30 p.m., movie at 7:30 p.m. followed by a discussion.

Join our Monthly Giving Team

A recurring monthly gift, no matter how large or small, helps us better plan and budget over time— to do more for our communities and environment. To learn more, call us at 707-822-6918.

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!

Be a part of our growing team of site captains and volunteers! Visit our website for more information EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015 and a list of available sites.

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2014 Year in Review UN Climate Change Report Polar Bear Behind Bars Marine Protected Areas GMO Salmon Banned in CA Eye on Washington Mendocino Community Rights Bill GMOs Banned in Humboldt Marijuana—Polls to the Hills Kin to the Earth: Naomi Klein 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: By-the-Wind Sailors Kids’ Page: Fruits vs. Veggies

Bouquets A bouquet befitting a leading man to Sid Dominitz for all you do and for being you. A bountiful bouquet to Wes Chesbro for your many years of work in support of our region’s watersheds and communities – human and wild. A bouquet of healing herbs to Chris Beresford and Jasmin Segura—although we are so glad the two of you are getting much needed downtime, we miss you both and wish you a speedy recovery!

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Year in Review

2014 has indeed been a big year for the NEC— and looking at where we were one year ago compared to where we are today, it is pretty inspiring. Thanks to ever-increasing levels of engagement from individuals, organizations, and businesses, and with support from the California Coastal Commission, Humboldt Area Foundation, Resources Legacy Fund, and numerous partners, we have been able to leverage limited financial resources to more effectively protect and celebrate our treasured North Coast. We are forever grateful. Thank you! Throughout the year, our growing team has provided environmental education to hundreds of youth in our region’s schools; engaged over 1,000 community members in cleaning up our waterways and coast; rallied for intact ecosystems, healthy communities, and climate action in our neighborhoods, media and halls of government; and we’ve celebrated all species and the biosphere upon which we depend through art, music and direct action. The year has shown the immense power of working together—and together we can create the change we need to see us through the many challenges we are facing.

Engaging Youth Through Placebased Environmental Education

In just over six months, the NEC’s educational programs have blossomed thanks to the Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail grants program and support from individuals like you—not to mention the amazing work of our MC (Master of Curriculum) Justin Zakoren. Since April, Justin has delivered the NEC’s Clean Beaches, Healthy Communities

NEC staff, interns and volunteers. Top Row from left: Justin Zakoren, Madison Peters, Cherry Sripan. Middle Row: Meredith Garrett, Sydney Stewart, Brandon Drucker, Morgan Corviday. Bottom Row: Jennifer Savage, Dan Ehresman.

curriculum to nearly 400 students in seven summer camps and twelve classrooms throughout Humboldt County. In looking at thank you cards from the kids he teaches and the pictures from the sessions of their awed expressions, it is clear that the work is promoting transformative change. A huge thanks is in order as well to Tibora Girczyc-Blum and SCRAP Humboldt for the passion and endless hours in creating our first (Re) debris Coho salmon sculpture made of marine debris gathered at local beaches. The aluminum and plastic-scaled fish has been swimming around schools of the human variety to help illustrate the connection between the choices we make and the impact on the world around us. In the years ahead, we will continue to provide quality environmental education throughout the region. Your contributions help keep North Coast youth informed and engaged in caring for our bioregion and our planet.

Coastal Programs and MPA Outreach

This year brought an expansion of the NEC’s media reach. We began co-hosting KHUM 104.7 FM’s “Coastal Currents,” airing each Wednesday at noon, and posting to Lost Coast Outpost with “Your Week in Ocean.” Additionally, the NEC’s marine protected area outreach and education reached new heights (see page 6). A whalethemed thank you to our Coastal Programs Director Jennifer Savage for your media savvy and for every day diving into issues and events important to North Coast beaches, rivers, bay and ocean.

Photo lower left: Justin Zakoren uses the NEC’s newly revised watershed model to teach students about how water moves though the landscape. Clockwise, facing page: (Re)Debris salmon sculpture made from collected beach trash; Salmon take to the streets for free rivers in the All Species Parade; Office assistant Brandon Drucker enjoying a beautiful day on Humboldt Bay.

Taking Action for Clean Beaches and Trash-free Seas

This year we celebrated the 35th year of the NEC’s Adopt-a-Beach and Coastal Cleanup program, and the 30th anniversary of our collaboration with the California Coastal Commission for Coastal Cleanup Day. Over 900 volunteers scoured beaches, sloughs and rivers and removed more than 6 tons of trash. This huge effort honestly would not be possible without the generosity of our members, sponsors, and committed volunteers. We thank you! We also send a huge thanks to Brandon Drucker and Jennifer Savage for stepping up big-time and doing such a splendid job coordinating such a kick-butt day of action!

Marching with All Species for Free Rivers and Climate Action

Thanks to those who took part in the All Species Parade, marched in solidarity with the People’s Climate March, and co-created the UnDam the Klamath street theater performance! A big shout out to James Hildebrandt for his artistic and theatrical expertise and enthusiasm, to Gregg Moore and Bandemonium for help with the storyline and the great tunes which set the stage, to Tibora and SCRAP Humboldt for their great space, resources, and creative energy, to Madison Peters and all who did such beautiful artwork, to Jack Nounnan for spreading the love of renewable energy, and of course to all the folks who stepped up the day of the parade to take part in grand street theater with a powerful message.

Supporting Humboldt Baykeeper

Safeguarding Wild Places and Working Lands

Large-scale marijuana operations and other intensive land use activities are a continuing threat both on public and private lands throughout our region. With your support, the NEC will continue to work with organizations, agencies, and individuals to prevent threats to forests, waterways and wildlife by leading trespass grow cleanup and prevention efforts, taking a stand for responsible land use, and seeking other strategies to bring life back into balance after decades of neglect. Given that legalization may be proposed in 2016, the year ahead promises to be critical to reign in an industry before it’s too late. We need your help to stand up to mega-grows and other moneyed interests.

Protecting Watersheds, Promoting Sustainable Communities and Safeguarding Scenic Views

Despite the efforts of a property-rightsdominated County Planning Commission, the NEC continues to fight for sustainable development and protection of farms, forests, and watersheds through Humboldt County’s General Plan Update and other initiatives. We also know how to roll up our sleeves to take the necessary action to protect scenic views—both through policy and in getting the appropriate permits to remove fallen billboards. Despite the ups and downs of local politics, one thing is certain: we need your help to keep the pressure on local decision makers so that environmental protection and sustainable community design remains at the forefront of this region’s land-use decisions.

One of the NEC’s central functions is to support our region’s hard-working organizations. No doubt that Humboldt Baykeeper ranks at the top and we are proud to act as their fiscal sponsor so they can continue to safeguard Humboldt Bay through education, citizen science and enforcement of laws to fight pollution. Jen Kalt, who became director of Humboldt Baykeeper in January, continues her role as one of the most respected advocates on our team. Thanks to her devotion, Baykeeper continues to be the go-to organization for all things Humboldt Bay. In April we welcomed the splendid Jasmin Segura as Bay Explorations Coordinator – although the bay tour season is wrapped up for the year, they will be offering some great tours come spring.

Bon Voyage to Brandon!

Well, with all the great and amazing successes, we also have big news that we have pretty mixed feelings about. After several years of exemplary service in so many different capacities, we are losing one of our own to the wide world beyond (well, to the SF Bay Area at least). Brandon Drucker joined the NEC at the height of Coastal Cleanup craziness in September, 2012. He has proven himself to be a critical part of the team, and he has provided a much welcome and cheerful balance to the ofttimes heavy atmosphere that comes with being around even a few jaded enviros. Brandon, until you make your way back to these haunts, we will miss you! We wish you luck on the grand journey that is ahead!

crew—Cherry Sripan, Madison Peters, Sydney Stewart and our Eye on Washington intern Meredith Garrett; and to our dynamic administrative duo, Anita Gilbride-Read and Chris Beresford. Thanks again to the NEC board who all help so much to guide this ship of changemakers: Larry Glass, Bob Morris, Chris Beresford, Jen Kalt, CJ Ralph, Richard Kreis, Scott Greacen, Dan Sealy, and our newest members Gary Falxa and Keytra Meyer!

The Year Ahead

We are proud to work with so many committed individuals, businesses, and organizations towards a more resilient future for all of our planet’s communities. We need your help to continue to take action on environmental issues that matter most on the North Coast!

NEC Crew Kudos

Huge props to those behind the scenes of the NEC: to our EcoNews crew—Morgan Corviday, Sid Dominitz, Terry Torgerson, Midge Brown, and Karen Schatz; to our ever-reliable EcoNews Report engineer Fred McLaughlin; to our fairly new office

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EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015


UN Climate Report: A Dire Warning to International Community Larry Goldberg

Global climate change is set to inflict “severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts” on people and the natural world unless carbon emissions are cut sharply and rapidly, according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC ) in it’s most important assessment of global warming to date, published on November 9. The report also makes clear that carbon emissions, primarily from burning coal, oil and gas, are currently rising to record levels, not falling. According to the stark report, climate change has already increased the risk of extreme weather, severe heatwaves, and drought and warns of worse to come—including food shortages and violent conflicts. The report also found, however, that ways to avoid dangerous global warming are both available and affordable. The report comes at a critical time for international action on climate change, with the deadline for a global deal just over a year away. The 21st Conference of Parties—the UN’s annual international climate change conference (COP 21) will be held in Paris in 2015 and promises to be a major event with speculation that a climate agreement will finally be adopted by major parties, unlike the disappointing meeting in Warsaw, Poland in 2013 and previously in Durbin, South Africa. While the 2014 COP 20 conference in Lima, Peru in early December is actually next in the annual series and a principle opportunity to negotiate before (presumeably) definitative commitments are made next year, more attention and publicity is being given to the Paris meeting. This past September, 120 national leaders also met at the UN Climate Summit in New York, while hundreds of thousands of marchers around the world demanded action. (See article at right). “Science has spoken. There is no ambiguity in the message,” said UN Secretary General Ban Kimoon. “Leaders must act. Time is not on our side.” He said that quick, decisive action would build a better and sustainable future, while inaction would be costly. Ban further urged capital markets to: “… reduce your investments in the coal and fossil fuelbased economy and move to renewable energy.” The IPCC report is the work of thousands of scientists and was agreed after negotiations by the world’s governments. It is the first IPCC report since 2007 to bring together all aspects of tackling climate change and, for the first time, states that: 1) it is economically affordable; 2) that carbon emissions will ultimately have to fall to zero; and 3) that global poverty can only be reduced by halting global warming. The report states that global warming is “unequivocal”, that humanity’s role in causing it is “clear” and that many effects will last for hundreds to thousands of years... Continued on page 11


Polar Bear Behind Bars:

Representing the North Coast at the People’s Climate March Peter Galvin

Co-Founder and Director of Programs, Center for Biological Diversity Shelter Cove, CA

In late September, I was lucky enough to be able to travel from the North Coast to New York City to attend the “People’s Climate March.” The goal was to make a strong showing before world leaders who were gathered in the city to discuss global warming action at the United Nations climate summit. Protesters from across the country gathered to press President Barack Obama and other leaders for specific, binding commitments to make the ambitious cuts to carbon pollution we need to preserve a livable planet. By late morning, more than 40 city blocks were completely filled with marchers. We later found out that there had been almost 400,000 of us in the march. I’ve never seen so many people in one place, let alone at a protest march. It was a beautiful Sunday, the weather was perfect, and determination and joy for protecting our precious planet filled the air. We marched through almost the entire Manhattan Island, and it took several hours for all the marchers to finish the route. There were incredible floats, gigantic carbon bubbles, and beautiful and crazy costumes. I was not planning to wear the Frostpaw polar bear costume that became famous at the March, but our awesome

and brave volunteer polar bear began sweating so profusely that he eventually asked if someone else could wear the costume. I agreed to the assignment, put on the Frostpaw outfit and marched the last half of the march in the costume. It was sweltering hot, and the temperature inside the costume was unbearable (pun intended). But people sure do love seeing and hugging our polar bear, and the joy of that contact and feedback kept me going despite the heat and profuse sweat that had me lose several pounds in one day! The diversity of participants in the march was truly inspiring. The main organizers of the event did an amazing job on outreach and logistics— especially to the great people at who put so much energy into organizing the march. The next day was the more confrontational “Flood Wall Street” event. The idea of this event was to bring attention to the role of big banks, major energy companies and hedge funds in our climate change/climate chaos crisis. Since most of NYC will be flooded if climate change and sea-level rise get worse and it was near the anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a flood-themed protest seemed like the perfect way to help people understand the connection between Wall Street greed and climate chaos. There were about 3,000 marchers. We met at Continued on page 19 Battery Park in early...

Peter Galvin, dressed as Frostpaw the polar bear, stands for climate action in front of a blockade of police officers during the Flood Wall Street protest, September 22, 2014. Photo: Courtesy of the Center for Biological Diversity.



Two Years In: What’s Happening with North Coast Marine Protected Areas? Jennifer Savage, Coastal Programs Director Picture your favorite North Coast beach. Breathtaking, right? The seastacks, tidepools, reefs and kelp forests that make up much of the stunning view also serve as homes to fish, marine mammals, seabirds and other wildlife locals and tourists alike have grown to love. Some of these—rockfish and crab, for example—also provide sustenance and form the foundation of our fishing industry.

Better protection

It was this appreciation of the ocean and what it provides that motivated a bipartisan California legislature to pass an ambitious and visionary law known as the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) back in 1999. Based on land conservation successes using informed and proactive planning, the MLPA called for well-designed marine protected areas to preserve fish breeding grounds and habitats necessary for wildlife to thrive. Conservationists, fishermen, scientists, educators, scuba divers, bird enthusiasts and tribal representatives all worked together to plan marine protected areas based on scientific principles and local knowledge. In 2012, California became the first state in the nation to adopt a network of science-based marine protected areas (MPAs)—designed by the coastal stakeholders themselves—along its coast. December 19 marks the two-year anniversary of the North Coast’s 20 new or modified areas (19 MPAs and one marine recreational management area), covering approximately 137 square miles or about 13 percent of the range between the Oregon border and Alder Creek marine protected areas. The date also marks the completion of the statewide network.

Double Cone Rock State Marine Conservation Area. Photo: © Kip Evans Photography/Ocean Conservancy

These marine protected areas safeguard underwater habitats and allow the sea life inhabiting these special places a greater chance to thrive. Species that have declined in size and number now have a chance to recover. The MPA network is a major investment in the future of both California’s ocean wildlife and the state’s coastal, tourism-based economy. Intertidal life at Reading Rock State Marine Conservation Area. Photo: Jennifer Savage.

Diving deeper

Around the world, studies continually show that MPAs result in larger, more prolific fish with stronger offspring and greater biodiversity overall. MPAs also provide additional education, research and recreational opportunities for educators, scientists and the public at large. In each region, funding for baseline monitoring projects both inside and outside MPAs has been made available through California’s Ocean Protection Council. Ocean Science Trust, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Sea Grant jointly oversee the program.

EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015

Tribal expertise incorporated into studies

Eleven projects received funding on the North Coast, including one focusing on “Traditional Ecological Knowledge of Keystone Marine Species and Ecosystems”—the first time such an undertaking has occurred. Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is the cumulative body of scientific knowledge, passed through cultural transmission by indigenous peoples over many generations. Project leads include Megan Rocha representing Smith River Rancheria, Hawk Rosales and Priscilla Hunter representing InterTribal Sinkyone Wilderness Council, Rachel Sundberg representing CherAe Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria, Tancy Moore representing Trinidad Rancheria, Thomas Torma representing the Wiyot Tribe and Shaunna McCovey of Point 97, an organization focusing on technology solutions and program engagement strategies that improve coastal management practices.

How MPAs affect fishermen

Point 97 is also involved in another project analyzing socio-economic data to provide an analysis of what effect establishing MPAs has on the fishing community between the Oregon border and Alder Creek. Cheryl Chen and Charles Steinbeck are working with Humboldt State University professors Steve Hackett, Laurie Richmond and Lucia Ordóñez-Gauger to... Continued on page 8


Reflections on Wilderness Conference

Natalie Vaughn In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, a conference was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 15-19, 2014. It was the first National Wilderness Conference in 25 years. I had an incredible experience being part of a multi-generational group of about a thousand people from around the U.S., who also valued wilderness. There were many ideas and inspirations shared at the conference. The conference consisted of large seminars with keynote speakers and smaller seminars to choose from in the categories of: Civic Engagement, Education, Experience, History, Science, and Stewardship. Within these latter seminars I attended a youth panel (ages 18-25) that spoke about perspectives on wilderness and ideas for how to get other youth engaged. I also attended a seminar on present challenges and what wilderness stewardship will entail for the next 50 years, a Wilderness photography skill session with a professional BLM photographer, and a seminar on wilderness and climate change, and more. The main theme I got out of the conference was that everyone there valued wilderness in some way. Getting people to enjoy and value wilderness—for any of a variety of reasons—is the key to protecting and increasing wilderness designations for the future. The speakers at the conference were very powerful and, after attending the conference, I felt very motivated and empowered to be an effective wilderness advocate. I believe the conference was a sparkplug for encouraging new actions across all generations. It gave me hope and a positive outlook to see so many people who were passionate about wilderness who will return home to spread the word in their hometowns, agencies, and beyond.

Shore Lines: Coastal Programs Update Jennifer Savage, Coastal Programs Director When I first moved to Humboldt, my little family and I explored our new home daily. We’d run around Redwood Park for an hour, hike through the forest if we had two. Weekends might launch us north toward the lagoons or south to Bull Creek Flats. As our roots grew deeper, however, what was once novel became familiar and we sought out new places less frequently.

Embrace our Place

Regardless of where you live on the North Coast, you’re near something beautiful. If you live in Eureka or McKinleyville, in an hour, you can skip down to the Hikshari’ or Hammond trails. In Arcata, you have the Community Forest. Trinidad, Trinidad Head. Elsewhere, you probably only need to step outside the front door. And in a half day, even in the winter, you can kayak Humboldt Bay or the lagoons, take a hike in Prairie Creek or wander down a trail off Avenue of the Giants. The waves loom large most days in the winter, so beachgoers must use extra caution, but plenty of chances to enjoy the coastal wildness safely await: the Patrick’s Point rim trail, College Cove

and the Elk Head Trail, beaches inside Humboldt Bay, various King’s Range wilderness trails that offer the view without the danger, South Beach up in Crescent City. Research first, so you make sure you truly are avoiding places where you might get swept out to sea, but don’t let winter deter you from reveling in the coastal wonder of where we live. Experiencing nature is one of the best ways to remember the importance of protecting it, and here at the NEC, we work to protect nature so we can all experience it. One of my New Year’s Resolutions is going to be to go somewhere new along the North Coast at least once per month—and to visit the places I already love more frequently. I hope to see you there.

What’s Going On?

Each week brings ways to keep up on ocean happenings. Tune into Coastal Currents on KHUM 104.7 FM each Wednesday at noon. (Listen online at Read “Your Week in Ocean” on the Lost Coast Outpost (www.lostcoastoutpost. com). Monthly updates can be heard the fourth Thursday of each month on The EcoNews Report at 1 p.m. on KHSU (, archives at

Right: Natalie Vaughan is a recent graduate from Humboldt State University with a degree in Environmental Planning and former NEC intern who now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Protecting the environment and photography are her two passions in life and she hopes to pursue a career that combines the two. In her free time she likes to hike, hoop dance, travel, and read. You can see more of her photography on her website

Robert Berg, D.D.S.

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




GMO Salmon Banned in California

Elaine Weinreb California has passed a law forbidding the cultivation of genetically modified (transgenic) salmon within the state for the next five years. The law, AB 504, was passed by both houses of the legislature, and signed into law by Gov. Brown on September 19. It was initiated by Assemblymember Wesley Chesbro. The new law basically applies to fish hatcheries, since existing law already forbids such cultivation in ocean waters that are controlled by the state. Existing law also forbids cultivation of non-native fish, and any salmonid species other than king salmon, coho salmon, and steelhead trout. Research facilities are allowed to continue studying transgenic fish, as long as they are contained within a closed system that prevents the escape of such fish into the wild. However, the purpose of the research cannot be the commercial cultivation of such fish. The state of Washington has already passed a similar law. Genetically modified Atlantic salmon, which are a different genus from Pacific salmon, have been developed by a Massachusetts-based company called AquAdvantage. All salmon naturally contain a growth hormone, but in nature, the growth hormone stops functioning during the winter months.

By adding a gene from the ocean pout, an unrelated fish that can survive in arctic waters, AquAdvantage produced a salmon in which the growth hormone never turns off. As a result, the modified salmon grow to maturity faster, become larger than natives, and could out-compete them. Ecologists have noted studies in which farmed salmon have escaped from their pens and been found in large numbers far from home. Some scientists have expressed fears that if genetically modified salmon got into the environment, native salmon populations could become extinct in 40 generations. This fear has been dismissed by biotech scientists, who say that the modified fish are all genetically sterile, and will thus be unable to breed if they did escape into the environment. Biologist William Muir, a Purdue University professor, told the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee that the transgene would probably be “purged by natural selection.” The FDA is still evaluating the safety of these organisms. AB 504 was sponsored and supported by the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman’s Associations, CalTrout, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Ocean Conservancy, the Sierra Club, the Northcoast Environmental Center, and a number of Native American tribes.

An AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon compared to a natural Atlantic salmon.

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Continued from page 6

South Cape Mendocino State Marine Preserve. Photo: © Kip Evans Photography/Ocean Conservancy.

...evaluate fisheries including Dungeness crab, urchin and nearshore rockfish. One of the tools used is “heat maps,” geographic identification of favored fishing grounds. This information was first gathered by Point 97 (then known as EcoTrust) during the MPA design phase to assist stakeholders in placing MPAs. Working with CPFV and commercial fishermen, Hackett, Richmond and colleagues are building on that initial baseline by collecting data in the field to note any initial changes since the MPAs went into effect and ultimately provide information useful for future adaptive management. A unique component of the “North Coast: Baseline Characterization of Human Uses and the Socioeconomic Dimensions of MPAs” project is the formation of an advisory panel made up of area fishermen. “We were adamant we would do this differently,” Richmond explained. They brought key representatives from different fisheries and ports together, showed them the survey they’d prepared and asked for feedback on how to make it better. Members of the panel also review survey drafts and assist in the field, making sure Richmond’s assistants are asking the right people the right questions. “Instead of us presenting them with questions,” she said, “we asked them what they think is important.” Along with ensuring the fishing community is well represented, Hackett and Richmond emphasized the importance of cumulative and historical factors including perception of existing and prior fisheries management through regulation, and the varying levels of trust between fishermen and regulatory agencies. The ultimate result will be a “data rich” report profiling the fisheries and the fishing communities built up around them that will be useful for all sorts of planning, both MPA-related and beyond.

Rocky intertidal

The very academic title, “Baseline Characterization of Rocky Intertidal Ecosystems,” might obscure one of the aspects of the project Joe Tyburczy of California Sea Grant Extension likes Continued on page 19 best: “working in...

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EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015

Marine Protected Areas


Eye on

the extension of clean water protections to smaller tributaries and wetlands. In our region on the North Coast, results showed entrenched partisan constituents with Democrat, Rep. Jared Huffman winning a whopping 71% of the vote while nearby Republican Reps, Doug LaMalfa and Tom McClintock received over 60% of the vote. All three of these California congressmen currently sit on the House Natural Resources Committee. Just over the border, in Oregon, Democrat Senator Jeff Merkley was reelected in what was seen as a tight race.


The Swing to the Right

This November, the national political pendulum swung back to favor Republican representatives. This swing is not an atypical part of American history, but only time will tell if the pendulum swings back in 2 years or if this vote represents a bigger ideological shift with more lasting results. In the U.S. Senate, every committee will be chaired by a Republican. Some of those likely chairs—like oil company-friendly Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and proud climate change denier James Inhofe of Oklahoma— have a record of limiting or removing protections provided by environmental laws such as the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. Look for a re-birth of the still-smouldering 1980’s Sagebrush Rebellion to take federal lands and give them to states for development.

Keystone a Clue to Next Two Years

Before all the votes were counted on election night, congressional winners were already voicing a commitment to passing legislation requiring the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring Canadian tar-sands oil to Texas refineries where it will in all likelihood be exported. With a Republican majority in both the House and Senate, the next Congress will be able to stop any filibuster to halt the pipeline construction legislation. Congress could also target the EPA and reverse recent changes such as removing recent air quality controls on coal-fired plants and stopping

Lame Duck Congress

Many voters already consider the current Congress to be a do-nothing “Lame Duck,” and it is highly unlikely that the session of Congress through the end of the year (the so-called Lame Duck session) will be any more pro-active as Republicans are likely to wait for their new members to join their ranks in January before taking any action. New committee leadership will be determined then as well, which will determine what legislation will be considered for the next two years. Democrats maintained all four Senate seats in California and Oregon, but they will be in the Senate minority in the new year.

Grass Roots Efforts

Oddly, in spite of a conservative electorate mood, states passed measures by popular vote that are considered liberal such as raising the minimum wage, reproductive rights and legalization of marijuana. Support for such measures could signal an opportunity for conservationists to work successfully at a grass roots level locally and regionally to protect resources.

More Eye on Washington online! Read Vandalism on Public Lands Steals From Future Generations at

Dan Sealy, NEC Legislative Analyst

Mendocino Passes First Rights-Based Fracking Ban in California

Ben Price, National Organizing Director, Community Environmental Defense Fund Press Release: On November 4, Mendocino County residents adopted the first-in-the-state Community Bill of Rights law banning fracking by a vote of 67 percent. The initiative was brought forward by residents in partnership with San Francisco-based Global Exchange. California’s unending shortage of water and its location—situated above major earthquake faults— make fracking of significant concern to residents. The fracking process requires millions of gallons of water, and fracking and frack wastewater injections wells, used to store the toxic wastewater produced from fracking, have been tied to earthquakes in Ohio and Oklahoma. It has also been linked to the contamination of drinking water. And, while many claim that shale gas is a “cleaner” fuel than coal or oil, studies are finding that fracking is a major global warming polluter. Mendocino County residents contacted Global Exchange for assistance to ban fracking and protect themselves and local ecosystems. The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) provided support as well, both in the drafting of the Community Bill of Rights citizens’ initiative, and in providing education through CELDF’s Democracy School training held in Mendocino for residents last spring. The Mendocino County Community Bill of Rights Fracking and Water Use Initiative, on the ballot as Measure S, establishes the rights of the people of Mendocino County to a healthy environment, including clean air and water, and the rights of ecosystems to exist and flourish. The measure also secures the rights of residents to local self-governance. Fracking is banned as a violation of those rights. The extraction or sale of local water for use in fracking anywhere in the state is also banned, along with the dumping of toxic frack waste. Further, the measure bans the transfer of Continued on page 19 offshore fracking oil...

Invest in the Future Join our Monthly Giving Program For more information, call the NEC at 707-822-6918 9



Measure P Passes: What Does it Mean for Humboldt?

Colin Fiske On November 4, Humboldt County voters resoundingly approved Measure P, the Humboldt County Genetic Contamination Prevention Ordinance. Measure P prohibits the “propagation, cultivation, raising or growing” of GMOs in the county. But what will this mean in practical terms? What changes are in store for Humboldt County? The general consensus is that relatively few local farmers have been growing GMOs in recent years. Of those who have, most if not all have been growing GMO silage corn for the local dairy industry. Measure P takes effect immediately, making it unlawful to plant new GMO crops now. It does include a grace period allowing farmers until January, 2016 to remove any GMO crops already in the ground. However, it is unlikely that any local silage corn remained unharvested as of Election Day. Measure P’s supporters know that local farmers are generally community-minded and expect that even those who opposed passage of

the ordinance will respect the will of Humboldt County voters by not planting GMOs. Other counties and cities which have enacted similar ordinances in years past—including Mendocino, Trinity, Marin and Santa Cruz counties and the City of Arcata—have not had any need for enforcement, as no one has attempted to violate them. To help with a smooth transition here in Humboldt, silage corn variety trials were conducted this year in the Arcata bottoms to identify good non-GMO alternatives for farmers currently growing GMO corn. Results are expected to be released soon. As was said so often during the campaign, Measure P offers farmers the opportunity to market their products as grown in a GMO-free region. This message fits perfectly with existing local marketing efforts. We hope that this marketing advantage, along with the extra layer of protection Measure

P provides for locally developed crop varieties and products, will be a catalyst for more agricultural innovation and entrepreneurship. For example, Measure P provides a leg up for anyone interested in taking advantage of the great opportunities for organic seed production in Humboldt. New ideas and plans spurred by the success of Measure P are already swirling in local farming circles. Finally, many of Measure P’s effects will be seen not in what happens in Humboldt County in the coming years, but in what doesn’t happen. We won’t, for example, see toxic herbicides broadcast across monocultures of field crops or pastures, because herbicide-resistant crops and grasses won’t be grown here. And the impact extends beyond crops, too. While it can’t establish an impenetrable barrier at the county line, Measure P will make it much less likely that genetically engineered trees, grasses, fishes and other organisms become established in our local forests, prairies, streams and rivers. These effects, while perhaps less obvious, may end up being just as important for the long-term health and sustainability of our county.

Marijuana–From the Polls to the Hills Dan Ehresman While the midterm elections were a loss for many of the more conservation-minded candidates throughout the U.S., huge strides were made towards marijuana legalization. Residents in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, D.C. chose to hit the polls rather than their bongs and voted to legalize recreational weed. Following on the heels of Washington state and Colorado, the movement to do away with pot prohibition is gaining considerable momentum. Advocates believe that the stage is now set for voters to finally “legalize it” in California in 2016. So, what will this mean for North Coast communities and watersheds that have taken a beating from the ongoing green rush? Fearing that California’s eventual ballot initiative may otherwise favor industrial-scale grows in the Central Valley, North Coast growers and medical marijuana practitioners are organizing to promote ordinances in Humboldt, Trinity, and Mendocino counties that support smaller-scale operations as

EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015

part of an endeavor to influence marijuana policy in the golden state. We applaud the efforts of many marijuana advocates who are stepping up to bring producers out of the shadows, and into a well-regulated and taxed system. We are encouraged to hear strong voices within the cannabis cultivation community speaking out about environmental impacts at the hands of black-market operations and the need to bring people into compliance with environmental regulations. If crafted right, the ordinances could provide the tools necessary to address environmental damage and promote a local industry that is ecologically, socially, and economically sustainable. However, there is strong pressure to go the other direction by allowing even more, bigger marijuana grows without first addressing existing environmental damage. Despite many who are advocating for responsible marijuana policy change, there is a vocal contingent of industry representatives who are pushing for even more mega-grows in Humboldt County. Continued on page 19


Kin to the Earth: Naomi Klein “When its full economic and moral implications are understood, [climate change] is the most powerful weapon progressives have ever had in the fight for equality and social justice,” Klein states. This is our big chance, she argues, to change everything. “Climate change,” she adds, is “not an ‘issue’ for you to add to the list of things to worry about it. It is a civilizational wake up call.”

Climate change isn’t just a disaster. It’s also our best chance to demand— and build—a better world. Change or be changed. Naomi Klein. Photo: Troy Page/t r u t h o u t, Flickr. com CC.

Morgan Corviday We’ve been hearing about the perils of climate change for decades now. The first alarms began to ring about greenhouse gases back in the 1980s; more recently, protests and marches for climate action have been growing in frequency and number. Official climate reports reveal stark data and dire warnings (see page 5). But still, the politics and policies don’t really seem to change much. Fossil fuel extraction continues unabated. Carbon is still being added to our atmosphere at staggering rates. Is it just that the climate deniers have too much political power? No, says author Naomi Klein. The fundamental problem is our economic system itself—capitalism. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate, Klein’s new book published in September, is described in a New York Times review as bringing together “the science, psychology, geopolitics, economics, ethics and activism that shape the climate question. The result is the most momentous and contentious environmental book since Silent Spring.” Klein’s earlier works No Logo (2000) and The Shock Doctrine (2007) led to her being called “the most visible and influential figure on the American left.” (Klein is, however, actually Canadian, born of American parents who fled to Canada as war resisters during the Vietnam War). In This Changes Everything, Klein shines a harsh light on the effects of global capitalism and consumerism on our planetary support systems, but in a manner that also illuminates a path forward. In this, perhaps humanity’s greatest crisis, she sees an opportunity for society to address the “unfinished business of liberation.” “If treated as a true planetary emergency,” she writes, climate change could become “a galvanizing force for humanity, leaving us all not just safer from extreme weather, but with societies that are safer and fairer in all kinds of other ways as well.”


Klein also criticizes mainstream environmental groups for redirecting attention away from the big, systemic changes that are needed and instead focusing on minor—even frivolous—lifestyle changes that have not made a significant impact on carbon emissions. “[W]e have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things conflict with deregulated capitalism…our economic system and our planetary system are now at war. Or, more accurately, our economy is at war with many forms of life on Earth, including human life. What the climate needs to avoid collapse is a contraction in humanity’s use of resources; what our economic model demands to avoid collapse is unfettered expansion. Only one of these sets of rules can be changed, and it’s not the laws of nature.”

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Climate Report

Continued from page 5 ...even if the planet’s rising temperature is halted. The report concludes that the effects are already being felt—“In recent decades, changes in climate have caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans.” Bill McKibben, founder of public climate action advocacy group, said: “For scientists, conservative by nature, to use ‘serious, pervasive, and irreversible’ to describe the effects of climate falls just short of announcing that climate change will produce a zombie apocalypse.” Breaking the power of the fossil fuel industry would not be easy, McKibben said. “But, thanks to the IPCC, no one will ever be able to say they weren’t warned.” To add fuel to this climate debate, in a historic climate change deal, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on November 12 that both countries will curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades. Under the agreement, the United States would cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26-28 percent before the year 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and will also aim to get 20% of its energy from zero-carbon emission sources by the same year. The announcement marks the first time China has agreed to peak its carbon emissions, according to the White House. Xi is calling for “an energy revolution” that would include broad economic reforms addressing air pollution. According to President Obama, “As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change.” These agreements, while historic, are not binding, however, and it will be up to the respective governments of the U.S. and China to follow through with legislation to make good on their leaders’ promises. On a local level, a new program called CivicSpark has begun on the Northcoast. Offered through the Local Government Commission with support from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, CivicSpark will offer technical assistance and support to local governments to begin climate action planning efforts. Utilizing four Americorps workers (all college graduates with specialized skills) and supervised by local environmental activist Larry Goldberg, this program will be a three-year effort that will service local jurisdictions throughout the North State from the Bay Area north and Sacramento north. The CivicSpark team will help local governments, tribal governments, special districts and other local jurisdictions work on Climate Action planning, public education on climate change and other topics directly related to mitigation and adaptation strategies for climate change throughout Northern California. For more information about CivicSpark, please contact Larry Goldberg at:







Redwood Region Audubon Society Every Saturday: Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. These are our famous rain-or-shine, docentled 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. Saturday, December 6: eBird Site Survey–Shay Park. Join Rob Fowler (707-839-3493) to survey Shay Park in Arcata for up to 3 hours, counting every species present. For more info on the eBird Site Survey, visit Survey. Even though it says “survey,” this is basically a birding trip. Meet at 8:00 a.m. at the parking lot at the east end of Foster Avenue. Waterproof shoes or boots are recommended, as we typically walk through a grassy field off-trail and up and down stairs. With 25 to 40 species tallied on each survey, this is a great trip to learn how to identify many of the local songbirds. Sunday, December 14: 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 (707-822-3613) for more information.

Sunday, December 21: Southern Humboldt Community Park. Jay Sooter (707-444-8001) and/ or John Gaffin lead this monthly easy 2- to 3-hour walk. All ages and experience levels are encouraged to participate and revel in the beauty of the park and its avian inhabitants. 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 9:00 a.m., parking by the kiosk near the farmhouse in the main entrance. Sunday, December 21: Eureka Waterfront. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the foot of W. Del Norte St., Eureka, where we will scope for birds from the public dock until everyone assembles. We will then drive to the base of the Hikshari’ Trail at Truesdale St. and bird along the trail to the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. Leader: Ralph Bucher (707-499-1247;

December Program

Saturday, January 10: Winter Rarities. This trip will start in Arcata and end near Ferndale. It will focus on looking for rarities found during the Arcata and Centerville CBCs, while also enjoying all the species we could expect to see along the way. Rob Fowler (707839-3493; will lead. Meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Arcata Marsh South G Street parking lot. Bring a lunch and expect to end around 3 p.m. or later. Dress warmly; heavy rain cancels. Most years, we see 90-100 species and sometimes find our own rarity! Sunday, January 11: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. See December 14. Saturday, January 17: eBird Site Survey--Shay Park. See December 6. Sunday, January 18: Southern Humboldt Community Park. See December 21, but meeting time changes to 9:30 a.m. Sunday, January 18: Eureka Waterfront. See December 21.

January Program

Friday, December 12 TH

Friday, January 9 TH

Christmas Bird Count Brush-up & Potluck

California Condors in the Pacific Northwest: A Return to the Heart of the Range

Despising diving duck ID? Winter dowitchers gotcha' down? Gulls making you groan? Need to spiff up ID with your winter sparrow species? Join us for our annual winter potluck and Christmas Bird Count brush-up. Rob Fowler, RRAS field trip coordinator and main “fowlerope” of Fowlerope Birding Tours, will review confusing and difficult identifications often encountered during the CBC season. Bring a dish to share; RRAS will provide drinks, plates, and utensils. The potluck starts at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7:30 p.m.

Chris West, senior wildlife biologist for the Yurok Tribe, will discuss the biology of condors and their history in the region. He will also describe their cultural significance to regional native peoples and what led the Yurok Tribe to get involved in recovery efforts. After spending 6 years assessing habitat, the Tribe has elicited current condor habitat conditions in our area. West will describe the progress of preparation work toward condor recovery here in the Pacific Northwest and the next steps to take that will hopefully lead to once again seeing the shadows of these giant birds gracing our northern forests.

Programs start at 7:30

p.m. (potluck at 6:30 for December)

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 — Susan Penn.…..................707-443-9660 NEC Representative — C.J. Ralph.......... 707-822-2015 Nominating – Jim Clark …....................... 707-445-8311 Programs — Jared Wolfe...........................262-443-6866 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.

New Members

Redwood Region Audubon Society welcomes the following new members and subscribers:

Canton, OH – David Gill Arcata – Lena Ashley, Breken Davis, Richard Day, Marsha Eagles, Susan Holt, James Lowe, Jared Wolfe Bayside – Sam Gregerson Blue Lake – Ellsworth Pence Crescent City – Bobby Price Eureka – Margaret Augustine, Ed Cook, Susan Hesse, Kara Lynn Klarner, Linda Miles, John Morrison, Stephen Nielson, Donald Podratz, Linda Sullivan, Kathleen Timm, Cathy Vicory Fortuna – Jack Guccione, Naomi Mayo, Carol Slack, David Stockton Garberville – Kurt Volckmar Gasquet – Jeanne Clement McKinleyville – John Brimlow, Matthew McConnell, Cyndi Mills, Susan Daniel, Anne Weiss Redway – Jeanette Dwyer Salyer – Gloria Fulton Smith River – Rochelle Odom Trinidad – Mark Pringle, Joyce Rodgers Whitethorn – Tobe Halton We look forward to seeing you on field trips and at our monthly programs.

RRAS Thanks Its Volunteers

About 20 people attended the 4th annual RRAS volunteer appreciation event on October 24 at the Humboldt Area Foundation. Because the gathering was so close to Halloween, attendees were urged to unleash their inner child by donning a hat or coming in costume. Invitees included RRAS board members and committee chairs, field trip leaders, Sandpiper contributors, monthly speakers, and helpers at special events. Everyone enjoyed eating, drinking, and chatting. Thanks to Sue Leskiw for inviting and tracking volunteers and making or buying the food and drink. Our appreciation to everyone who helped set up or clean up, particularly Tom Leskiw, Cindy Moyer, Syn-dee Noel, Susan Penn, and Liz Swingdler.

Change in Committee Chairs I would like to thank Lew and Judie Norton for their many years on the membership committee. We will miss their presence at board meetings and especially Lew’s ability to get information and answers from National Audubon. They are both helping Susan Penn learn the ropes as the new chair. Thanks, Lew and Judie, for doing a great job and Susan for taking charge of the committee.I also want to thank Jill Demers and CJ Ralph for handling the program committee after Ken Burton’s departure. Jared Wolfe is the new chair and is doing a great job finding speakers to entertain and enlighten us. Thanks Jill, CJ, and Jared!

Education Committee Report

RRAS is excited to embark on 2 different educational programs and partnerships in the coming year. One will be Audubon Adventures, a national environmental education program that provides classroom kits and online resource materials correlated to Common Core Language Arts and the Next Generation Science Standards for grades 3-5. The materials provide loads of wonderful information and activities. Our chapter will sponsor 4 classrooms during the 2014-15 school year by purchasing kits for every student and providing conservation stewardship-themed visits. Visit to learn more. We are also partnering with Eureka High School on the maintenance and interpretation of the Helen Clarke Collection of mounted birds, also known as the “Bird Room,” located on the campus. Retired marine biology teacher, Dennis Cahill approached our chapter and principal Rick Jordan with the idea of collaborating on re-establishing the Bird Room as a resource for Humboldt County students. We will coordinate docents, which will entail assisting with updating and maintaining the collection and providing guides for visiting classes. We plan to soon host a few prearranged class visits to the Bird Room. For more information or to help with these great projects, please contact Education Committee chair Denise Seeger at or (707) 444-2399.

President’s Column By Hal Genger

On a beautiful Sunday morning in September, the RRAS board members—Hal Genger, Susan Penn, Denise Seeger, Harriet Hill, Ralph Bucher, Joe Ceriani, Adam Brown, Cindy Moyer, Syndee Noel, CJ Ralph, Jim Clark, Jill Demers, and Lew Norton—met at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge for our yearly retreat. Jill Demers was the facilitator and led us seamlessly through the whole process. Thank you, Jill! After brainstorming and prioritizing, we chose 4 general topics to discuss: Education/ Outreach, Funding, Conservation, and Activities. Each topic was addressed by creating a problem statement, deciding how to address the problem, deciding who is in charge of this item, and setting a time-frame. Regarding Education/Outreach, we discussed the RRAS website and the need to fix outdated information to make the site easier to navigate and keep current. Susan Penn will lead the committee to achieve these goals. Thank you, Susan! A short-term fix will be done and then a website redesign to better fit our needs for the long term. We also considered what we want our education program to look like. We set a goal to use Audubon Adventures programs in classes in 3 schools. Denise Seeger chairs this committee. Thank you, Denise! Board members will also visit classrooms and lead field trips. We are especially interested in having students view the bird collection at Eureka High School and are working out the logistics. While discussions on “conservation” and “activities” were vibrant, funding deserves attention here. We considered: “What does a healthy fund development program look like?” The answer, of course, is to balance our 2014/2015 budget. We receive some money from National Audubon and need to augment that with donations to cover expenses for such items as room rental and refreshments for monthly programs, storage unit rental, P.O. box, awards and scholarships, field trip expenses and insurance, Sandpiper publication, postage, etc. (Land purchases were also considered but are a larger ticket item.) To do this, we need to raise $6,100. One successful method we will continue to use will be a year-end appeal mailer requesting donations that will go out near the end of November. Please consider a donation to keep our many programs running. We are also planning to do a bird-a-thon fundraiser in partnership with the NEC in honor of Tim McKay. Gary Friedrichsen is leading this committee. Thank you, Gary! The bird-athon will likely happen around the first week of May (probably on any day between May 2 and 9). We hope all birders coerce their friends to give donations for all the birds they can find on their day.

Bird Winter Storytelling

As autumn gives way to early winter, cold and rainy weather can prompt us to spend more time indoors. Our homes are often filled with family, both the one we were born into and close friends we’ve made along the way. For thousands of years, winter has been the preferred time for storytelling. For the Tohono O’odham (formerly known as the Papago), December was the favored month to tell the creation story—specifically, the 4 longest nights of the year that bracket the solstice. Many First Nations’ peoples restrict their storytelling about animals to the winter months—when many animals are either hibernating or have migrated south—believing that it’s disrespectful to speak about animals and other natural powers so directly when they are close by. Regardless of your beliefs, winter strikes me as an appropriate time to share stories about birds: those seen or heard, narrowly missed, or dream birds— shockers that we aspire to find. On September 30, 2014, Scott Terrill found what remains a Humboldt dream bird for all but 3 people: a Chimney Swift. John Luther had spotted this species at Table Bluff on May 16, 1998, but until Scott’s sighting, Chimney Swift had never been either collected as a specimen, photographed, or seen by a subsequent party (Doc Harris’s criteria for a first county record). Scott obtained diagnostic photos, and thanks to a timely phone call, the bird was later seen by Rob Fowler. I’m not surprised that Scott was the first to document a Chimney Swift in Humboldt. For one thing, during his many years birding, he’s seen about 20 Chimney Swifts in California. Also, a number of years ago, John Sterling shared a story with me that I’ve never forgotten, as it contained a number of compelling elements: happenstance, serendipity, and the possibilities that arise when 2 über-skilled birders look to the skies. The story goes like this: Sterling was in the Bay Area one day, at the Alviso Marina parking lot near San Jose. He looked up to spot

a flying Chimney Swift. Not that he would ever need a refresher to remember what they look and sound like (plus, he’d seen dozens of them the day before in Washington, DC). He ran toward the bird to get a better look at it and found himself in a parking lot. Although John knew Scott, he had no idea that Scott worked in the building he’d approached or that he was simultaneously studying the bird from his secondstory office window. Scott made his way to a deck outside his office, where he was surprised to see John. Scott yelled “Hi” to John, who looked up through his binoculars, recognized him and yelled “Chimney Swift,” while pointing at the bird. Scott responded, “Yup”!

There’s another story about Chimney Swifts I’d like to share. As recently as 1943 ornithologists had no idea where this species spent the winter months. Occasional sightings led scientists to believe that it was likely somewhere in Central or South America, but definite proof eluded them. Then in 1943 an explorer in the remote northeastern region of Peru chanced upon members of a tribe wearing necklaces made of aluminum rings. On closer examination, he recognized that the rings were bird leg bands. These particular bands had been placed on 13 Chimney Swifts while they were in North America: Tennessee (8) and Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Connecticut, and Ontario (1 each). It was believed that members of the tribe caught the swifts while they roosted in a hollow tree. Sometimes the story of how we learn things is as amazing as the knowledge itself. For further reading on the recovery of these bands from Chimney Swifts in Peru, see: MigrantOnline/V015/V015037-038.pdf and http:// pdf

Northwest California Christmas Bird Counts Every year, RRAS sponsors 5 CBCs, which will occur from December 14, 2014, to January 4, 2015. This is the 115th national count and takes place throughout the Western Hemisphere and in Antarctica. To get on a team or form your own, contact one of the compilers listed for each count.

Del Norte County: Sunday, December 14. Count circle: includes Crescent City, Smith River, Fort Dick, Lake Earl, Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park/ Redwood National Park, and the western portion of the Smith River National Recreation Area. Compiler(s): Alan Barron (707-465-8904, and/or Gary Lester (707-839-3373).

Arcata: Saturday, December 20. Count circle: centered on Arcata, stretching north to McKinleyville south of Murray Road, west to Samoa and Manila, east to Bayside up to the Baywood Golf Course, and south including Freshwater and to Eureka along the waterfront to the Elk River. Compiler: Daryl Coldren (916-3848089; Willow Creek: Saturday, December 27 (weather permitting). Count circle: centered on Willow Creek, includes Horse Mountain, portions of the South Fork & Main Stem of the Trinity River, Salyer, and the southern Hoopa Valley. Compiler: Gary Lester (see Del Norte).

Tall Trees: Friday, January 2. Count circle: from Big Lagoon to Orick and Lyons Ranch. Compiler: Ken Burton (707-499-1146;

Centerville Beach to King Salmon: Sunday, January 4. Count circle: centered on Loleta, divided into sectors of 1) Fields Landing, King Salmon, and College of the Redwoods; 2) Table Bluff; 3) Loleta; 4) Fortuna; 5) Ferndale; 6) Centerville Rd; 7) Port Kenyon Rd; 8) Grizzly Bluff Rd; 9) South Spit; 10) Centerville Beach; 11) Elk River Valley; 12) Humboldt Hill; and 13) Salt River. Compiler: Gary Lester (see Del Norte).

Tom Leskiw

Bird Conservation Is More Than Preservation

by Jim Clark Bird habitat conservation, aka “bird conservation,” is more than just habitat preservation. In addition to conserving and preserving physical habitat, long-term bird conservation requires that we consider public education, interpretation, and participation. Without broad public knowledge of the importance of habitat conservation, there can be no support for it, and without public support, there can be no political will for bird habitat conservation. The best way to introduce the public to the importance of habitat conservation is through outdoor recreation. The key is to entice members of the public to the experience of combined recreation and interpretation by providing an attractive and accessible venue. This opportunity currently exists at Clam Beach County Park (CBCP) in the wetlands formed on Patrick Creek by beavers.The recent failed attempt to install a 90-foot railcar bridge through the Patrick Creek wetlands near the north parking area of CBCP drew attention to the Snowy Plover’s conflict with vehicles. It was no surprise that the California Coastal Commission’s requirements made it infeasible.Although

there was significant public objection to providing motor vehicle access to the beach, I heard little about the possible harm to the wetland created by beaver activities over the past few years. Unfortunately, the wetland has already been damaged by our own Environmental Services Division’s Parks and Trails by the creation of a trail of pallets that is essentially a linear sacrifice zone through the wetlands. In addition to damaging the wetlands, the pallets do not meet the standards currently expected for a newly constructed public access trail. I doubt that a permit for such a trail would be granted if applied for. Aside from the environmental and regulatory issues, it’s an embarrassment to Humboldt County. It appears that the wetland has been treated as merely an obstacle to beach access. The CBCP wetland could be a feature attraction. An elevated walkway over or adjacent to the wetland could provide wildlife viewing and beach access, while avoiding damage to the wetland.Bird habitat conservation alone is a valid reason to prevent damage to the CBCP wetland, but a trail that provides access to wildlife

viewing and interpretation would provide added benefits to Humboldt County residents and visitors. Easy access to the wetland from Highway 101 both underscores the need for protection and the opportunity for nature-based tourism.Whether a trail only provides access for wildlife viewing and interpretation or also includes access to the wave slope needs to be determined through the required public and agency notification process, as does the status of the existing substandard trail. We know it takes a long time to get things done whenever government is involved, so let’s start on this now.

Field Notes

By Daryl Coldren


September 1 to October 31, 2014

Field Notes is a compilation of bird-sighting reports for Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties. Sources include the RRAS Bird Box (707-822-LOON), the online northwestern California birding and information exchange (, eBird ( content/klamathsiskiyou), and reports submitted directly to the compiler. Reports may be submitted to any of the sources mentioned above or to Daryl Coldren, (916) 3848089, FOS = first of season; FOS* = there were subsequent reports, but only FOS listed here; HBNWR = Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge; HSU = Humboldt State University; MOb = many observers; SHCP = Southern Humboldt Community Park Harlequin Duck: 1, Trinidad, 17 Sep (KB, JP); 1, Gold Bluffs Beach, 27 Oct (CR) • Yellow-billed Loon: 1, North Jetty, 29 Oct (BE) • Black-vented Shearwater: 4, Elk Head, 17 Oct (RF); 2, North Spit-Bay St, 22 Oct (KS); 3, Fleener Creek Overlook, 24 Oct (BE) • Brown Booby: 1, Trinidad-Pilot Rock, 4-20 Oct (SL, DC, JH) • Northern Goshawk: 1, Forest Service Rte 1, 9 Sep (RF) • Roughlegged Hawk: 1, Loleta Bottoms, 30 Sep (TL) • Prairie Falcon: 1, Eel River Estuary Preserve, 27 Oct (AL, SB, BE) • White-faced Ibis: 1, Lake Tolowa, 29 Sep (LB); 20, Arcata Marsh, 14 Oct (SH, MH); 22 (fly-over), Table Bluff, 14 Oct (BE) • Black-necked Stilt: 1, Eel River downstream of SHCP, 21 Sep (AC); 1, Lake Tolowa, 29 Sep (LB) • American Golden-Plover: 3, Crab Park, 29 Sep (TK, JH); 1, Centerville Wetlands, 29 Sep-4 Oct (BE, MOb); 2, Loleta Bottoms, 4 Oct (RF, DF, MOb); 3, Lake Tolowa, 14 Oct (LB); 1, Arcata Bottoms-V St Loop, 17 Oct (TM) • Pacific Golden-Plover: 1, Jacoby Creek Mouth, 6 Sep (RF, MOb); 1, Mad River County Park, 7 Sep (JH, BH); 2-3, Crab Park, 8-29 Sep (CO, TK, CR, MOb); 16, Cannibal Island Rd, 4 Oct (RF, AL, MOb) • Rock Sandpiper: 1 (FOS), North Spit, 24 Oct (EF, JH, MOb) • Solitary Sandpiper: 1, School Rd Trail-McKinleyville, 29 Aug-5 Sep (BE, KS); 1, Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary, 9 Sep (SS) • Red Knot: 1, Cock Robin Island, 6 Sep (RF, MOb); 3, Jacoby Creek Mouth, 12 Sep (DF, JP, KB) • Buff-breasted Sandpiper: 2, Smith River Bottoms, 1-2 Sep (LB) • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper: 1, Ocean Ranch, 22 Sep (BE); 1, Lake Tolowa, 17 Oct (LB); 1, Arcata Bottoms-Foster Ave, 20 Oct (KS) • Stilt Sandpiper: 1, Eel River Estuary, 6 Sep (RF, TL, BE, MOb) • Semipalmated Sandpiper: 1, Arcata Marsh, 5 Sep (AR, CH); 1, Jacoby Creek, 6 Sep (JH) • Ruff: 1, Lake Tolowa, 6 Sep (LB, TK, MOb); 1, Arcata Marsh, 19-21 Sep (TK, MOb); 1, Lake Tolowa, 25 Sep (LB) • Wilson’s Phalarope: 1, Arcata Marsh, 14 Sep (AL) • Laughing Gull: 1, Elk River Mouth,

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Eureka, HUM, © Brad Elvert

Blackpoll Warbler Arcata, HUM, © Elizabeth Feucht

20 Sep (MC) • Black Tern: 1, Eel River Estuary, 6-8 Sep (RF, BE, MOb); 1, Arcata Marsh, 8-10 Sep (AP, SH, MH); 1, Lake Tolowa, 12 Sep (AB, MOb) • American White Pelican: 1, Lake Tolowa, 25 Aug-31 Oct (LB, MOb) • Sandhill Crane: 1, Centerville Wetlands, 9 Oct (BE, EF); 1, Alexandre Dairy, 24 Oct (LB) • Burrowing Owl: 1, South Spit, 17 Sep (fide CB); 2, Bear River Ridge, 27 Sep (BE); 1, Eel River Estuary Preserve, 22 Oct (SB); 1, McKinleyville Vista Pt, 31 Oct (GL, CR) • Black Swift: 16, Eureka, 4 Sep (BE, SM, LL) • Chimney Swift: 1, Arcata Bottoms, 30 Sep (ST, RF) • White-winged Dove: 1, Arcata-Zehndner Ave, 18-22 Oct (GB, MOb) • Rubythroated Hummingbird: 1 juv. female (2nd Humboldt record), Eureka, 4-10 Sep (BE, RF, DC, MOb) • Lewis’s Woodpecker: 4, Horse Mt Clearcut, 22 Sep (TM, MOb) • White-headed Woodpecker: 1, Water Dog Lakes and Trail, 6 Sep (AM, BH) • Yellow-bellied Sapsucker: 1, Salmon Creek Rd, 18-26 Oct (TL, JS, MOb) • Red-naped Sapsucker: 1, North Spit-Cypress Patch, 5 Oct (TK, CR, RF) • Say’s Phoebe: 1, Mill Creek Acquisition, 8 Sep (TK, CR); 1, McKinleyville Bottoms, 9-12 Sep (KS, MOb); 2, Grove’s Prairie, 15 Sep (GB); 1, Orick, 29 Sep (KSc); 1, Arcata Marsh, 4 Oct (MC); 1, Mattole Rd-Bear River, 4 Oct (BB); 1, Ferndale Bottoms-Pt Kenyon Rd, 4 Oct (EF); 1, Garberville Airport, 15-17 Sep (OH); 1, SHCP, 19 Oct (TL, JS) • Ash-throated Flycatcher: 1, Cooper Gulch, 1 Sep (SB) • Tropical Kingbird: 1, Ferndale Bottoms, 28 Sep (JP, DF); 3, North Spit-Samoa Dunes, 4 Oct (EC); 1-2, Centerville Rd, 4-24 Oct (BE, SS, BB, MOb); 1, Ferndale Bottoms-Waddington Rd, 21 Oct (TL); 1, Manila Park, 22 Oct (CB); 2, Coast Guard Station, 31 Oct (EC) • Loggerhead Shrike: 1 (returning for 2nd year in this location), Quinn Rd-Loleta, 27 Sep-4 Oct (GC, AL) • Philadelphia Vireo: 1, McKinleyville, 5 Sep (KS) • Red-eyed Vireo: 1, Crannell Rd, 15 Sep (KI) • Blue-gray Gnatcatcher: 1, Salt River-Ferndale Bottoms, 5 Sep (KS); 1, Mad River Fish Hatchery, 7 Oct (RF, BB) • Northern Mockingbird: 1, Arcata Marsh, 21 Sep (JH); 1, Ferndale, 28 Sep (LL, GF); 1, V St Loop, 30 Oct (LL) • Northern Waterthrush: 2, HBNWR, 4-19 Sep (TM, AL, MOb); 1, Manila Community Park, 5 Sep (EC); 1, School Rd Trail, 5-30 Sep (TK, CR, KS); 1-2, Arcata Marsh, 10 Sep-20 Oct (GZ, RF, DF, MOb); 1, Bayshore Mall, 20 Sep (TK, CR); 1, Trinidad, 17 Oct (GK) • Black-and-white Warbler: 1, Cooper Gulch, 2-5 Sep (CO, TL, MOb); 1 Terwer Valley, 20 Sep (LB); 1, School Rd Trail, 23 Sep (DF) • Tennessee Warbler: 1, Blue Lake Cottonwoods, 9 Sep (PL); 1, School Rd Trail, 20 Sep (MC); 1, Cooper Gulch, 21 Sep (CB); 1, Arcata Marsh, 22 Sep (RF, MOb); 1, Arcata-Zehdner Ave, 27 Sep (GB); 1, Sunny Brae, 28-30 Oct (AR, JH) • American Redstart: 1, adult male, Redwood Creek MouthOxbow Patch, 1 Sep (TK, CR); 1, Hiller Park, 8 Sep (AL); 1, hybrid male, Big Lagoon, 16 Sep (TK); 1, School Rd

Trail, 20-21 Sep (KB); 1, female, Arcata Marsh, 22-26 Sep (AL, CB, MOb) • Hooded Warbler: 1, Bayside, 8 Oct (JP, RF, MOb) • Magnolia Warbler: 1, Cooper Gulch, 8-15 Sep (TL, MOb) • Chestnut-sided Warbler: 1, Cooper Gulch, 8-9 Sep (RF, MOb): 1, School Rd Trail, 20-21 Sep (RF); 1, Jacoby Creek, 21 Sep (TK, CR); 1, Cooper Gulch, 27 Sep (TL) • Blackpoll Warbler: 1, School Rd Trail, 1415 Sep (MC, RF, AL, CR); 1, Crannell Rd, 15 Sep (KI); 2, HSU, 23-27 Oct (JH, BE, EF, MOb); 1, Shay Park, 31 Oct (TM) • Palm Warbler: 1 (FOS*), Table Bluff, 27 Sep (SM) • Northern Parula: 1, Terwer Valley, 19 Sep (LB); 1, Blue Lake, 13 Oct (PL) • Prairie Warbler: 1, Pacific Shores, 8-9 Sep (LB, TK, CR, AB); 1, Salt River, 27 Sep-2 Oct (TK, JH, MOb) • Ovenbird: 1, Horse Pasture Patch, 5-6 Oct (TK, CR, MOb) • Chestnut-collared Longspur: 1, Lake Tolowa, 17 Oct (LB) • Lapland Longspur: 1 (FOS), South Spit, 3 Oct (BE); 1, Centerville Wetlands, 4 Oct (TK, MOb); 1, Lanphere Rd, 9 Oct (AM); 1-2, V St Loop, 10-29 Oct (CR, RF, JH, MOb); 2, Lake Tolowa, 17 Oct (LB); 1, Eel River Estuary Preserve, 27 Oct (AL, SB) • American Tree Sparrow: 1, V St Loop, 29-31 Oct (JH, MOb) • Clay-colored Sparrow: 1, Cannibal Island Rd, 30 Sep (TL); 2, V St Loop, 18-22 Oct (RF, MOb); 2, Lanphere Rd, 24-26 Oct (EF); 1, McKinleyville, 25-26 Oct (CD); 1, Arcata, 26 Oct (JP, DF); 3, Blue Lake, 26 Oct (PL); 1, Davison Rd, 29 Oct (CR) • Vesper Sparrow: 1, Pacific Shores, 6-9 Sep (TK, CR); 1, Fickle Hill Rd, 11 Sep (CR, MOb); 1, Lanphere Rd, 30 Sep (RF); 1, V St Loop, 30 Sep (JH); 1, Centerville Wetlands, 4 Oct (CD); 1, V St Loop, 29 Oct (CO); 1, Davison Rd, 29 Oct (CR) • Swamp Sparrow: 1, V St Loop, 18-19 Oct (KI); 1, Arcata-Heather Lane, 31 Oct (TM) • Rose-breasted Grosbeak: 1 female, Hiller Park, 11 Sep (KS) • Blue Grosbeak: 1 female, Arcata Marsh, 19 Sep (RF) • Painted Bunting: 1, Arcata Bottoms-Moxon Rd, 31 Oct (CD) • Dickcissel: 1, Crescent City, 25-26 Sep (SkL, TK, GB, MOb); 1, Mad River Fish Hatchery, 29 Sep-5 Oct (NC, JH, EF, RF, MOb) • Summer Tanager: 1 adult male, Cooper Gulch, 1-3 Sep (CO, SB, TL, MOb) • Bobolink: 1-2, School Rd Trail, 7 Sep (RF, MOb); 1, Arcata Oxidation Ponds, 7 Sep (DF, AL); 2, School Rd Trail, 13 Sep (KS) • Orchard Oriole: 1 adult male, Ferndale, 9& 26 Oct (OH) • Tricolored Blackbird: 1, Arcata Bottoms, 15 Sep-23 Oct (AL, SB, BE, EF, MOb) • Yellow-headed Blackbird: 1-3, Arcata Bottoms, 13 Sep-16 Oct (EF, AL, CR, TK, CD, MOb) • Lawrence’s Goldfinch: 1, Blue Lake, 18 Sep (PL); 1, Arcata, 22-23 Sep (TM); 1, V St Loop, 16 Oct (CD, PM).

Cited Observers: Samantha Bacon, Alan Barron, Gary Bloomfield, Bob Brown, Lucas Brug, Camden Bruner, Ken Burton, Daryl Coldren, Mark Colwell, Ann Constantino, Greg Chapman, Eric Culbertson, Nevin Cullen, Cédric Duhalde, Brad Elvert, Elizabeth Feucht, David Fix, Rob Fowler, Gary Friedrichsen, Michael Harris, Stan Harris, Owen Head, Cheryl Henke, Brendan Higgins, Jared Hughey, Ken Irwin, Gail Kenny, Tony Kurz, Steve Ladwig, Alexandra Lamb, Laurie Lawrence, Gary Lester, Tom Leskiw, Sky Lloyd (SkL), Paul Lohse, Sean McAllister, Tristan McKee, Peter Metropoulos, Annie Myer, Chet Ogan, Alan Petersen, Jude Power, Alexander Robinson, Casey Ryan, Kristin Schmidt (KSc), Keith Slauson, Jay Sooter, Steve Stump, Scott Terrill, George Ziminsky. Thanks to all who have submitted their sightings! Special thanks to Rob Fowler for compilation assistance.

The Dirty Truth about Diapers Margaret Gainer One of the first and most challenging environmental impact decisions you make as a new parent is how to diaper your baby. Your baby will go through about 6 to 12 diapers a day ~ or about 9,000 diaper changes by the time he/ she is potty-trained. New parents often receive an initial supply of free disposable diapers at the hospital where their baby is born and never investigate other diaper options. This is such a common practice (and effective marketing scheme of Proctor & Gamble and KimberlyClarke, manufacturers of disposable diapers) that now there are generations of families who have never tried cloth diapers. Zero Waste Humboldt’s focus is to increase public awareness and promote habits that prevent waste. ZWH targets all single-use products and packaging, and seeks convenient alternatives for our daily lives. Because of their negative environmental impacts, disposable baby diapers are high on the list. A disposable diaper takes more than 100 years to decompose in a modern landfill. A local diaper service with 60-plus clients generally processes 4,125 diapers per week—preventing 214,500 diapers per year from entering the landfill. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that over 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped in U.S. landfills each year, accounting for more than

3.5 million tons of waste. (“Environmental Impacts of Disposable Diapers,”, 2010) As with all single use products and packaging, disposable diapers have multiple significant impacts on the environment: the natural resources and energy consumed to manufacture plastic and pulp-layered disposable diapers, their packaging and the fuel required to transport them. The Good Human, a website for discussion of environmental issues, points out that we lose more than 200,000 trees annually to the manufacture of disposable baby diapers in the U.S. alone. It takes 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil every year to make diapers. The “bottom” line is that disposable diapers use 20 times more raw materials, two times more water and three times more energy to make than cloth diapers. Therefore, even if we were able to compost or recycle single-use diapers locally, natural resources and energy consumed are still significant. Methane gas from landfills and incinerator air emissions are also major causes of destruction to the ozone layer and global warming. So, if you’re a new parent, what do you do? The good news is that it’s much easier to use cloth diapers now than it was even a decade ago. There are many new designs for washable diapers, diaper inserts, diaper covers, different sizes, shapes, and containers for soiled diapers. Snaps, Velcro tabs, and fitted diaper covers have replaced the old pins. Commercial diaper services also typically have more energy efficient washing and drying equipment (using much less water than you would use washing at home) and schedule their pick ups

Contact Zero Waste Humboldt

A stylish hybrid diaper (part-disposable, part-washable) consisting of an outer cloth cover with velcro fasteners, a snap-in waterproof liner, and an absorbent compostable insert. Photo: majorbonnet, CC.

and deliveries to minimize mileage. Currently, however, there’s only one service in Humboldt County, Baby’s Best Diaper Service, recently purchased by Clair Miller. Another common strategy for families who plan a variety of child-rearing activities together to save money and build community is to handle diaper washing and drying cooperatively. Similar to play groups and childcare coops, families take turns or compensate a parent who works at home. An option for parents who wash diapers at home is to plan for a full load of diapers-only once or twice a week. It’s not always easy to stick to your environmental convictions. Many childcare centers require disposable diapers. Cloth diapers can be too impractical for hours of travel by plane or bus. But even when parents must compromise to use disposable baby diapers sometimes, by using washable cloth diapers as much as possible, they have kept thousands of diapers per child from landfill disposal.

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EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015


Campaign Against Billboard Blight Gains Ground

Jennifer Kalt, Director The decades-old battle to protect Humboldt County’s scenic beauty has made some notable gains in recent months. On October 6, in a surprise move, the Board of Supervisors voted to scrap a proposed ban on electronic and animated billboards as part of their review of the County’s General Plan Update (now in its 14th year). This action resulted in tremendous public outcry including a well-publicized petition drive. The pressure convinced the Board to reconsider, and on November 3, the Supervisors voted unanimously to reinstate the ban of digital and electronic billboards. Thanks to Michele McKeegan, Jean Gladstone, and Joel Mielke of Keep Eureka Beautiful and the hundreds of people who heeded their call to action, no new digital billboards will sprout in unincorporated areas of the County. Unfortunately, the ban does not apply to the ten or so that have been built in the last decade and it doesn’t stop the potential proliferation of additional static billboards from our landscape. There is still more work to be done to protect our rural and scenic areas. The Board will take up these issues, including whether to designate Scenic Highways, again on December 15 at 1:30 p.m.

“I think that I shall never see a billboard lovely as a tree. Perhaps, unless the billboards fall, I’ll never see a tree at all.” Ogden Nash

A welcome surprise was the removal of two billboards from the scenic area along Humboldt Bay on Highway 255 between Arcata and Manila. Some years ago Caltrans bought the property with these two billboards for wetland mitigation purposes and recently Caltrans chose not to renew the leases, forcing CBS Outdoor to remove these two billboards for good. Recent controversy drawing attention to the billboards around Humboldt Bay has helped encourage Caltrans to do the right thing in this case. Humboldt Baykeeper will continue to advocate for removal of billboards from scenic coastal areas along the bay, particularly those that remain on public lands in spite of objections by the landowners. To stay up-to-date on our billboard blight campaign and other efforts to protect scenic beauty, coastal resources, and clean water, send an email to or visit our website, “like” us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.

Thanks for a Successful Season of Bay Explorations Baykeeper sponsored a tour of Humboldt Bay aboard Humboldt Baykeeper is profoundly grateful to the Madaket for Pam Halstead’s Fortuna High our Bay Explorations team for another successful School A.P. Environmental Science class. Students season! Our dedicated volunteer docents Rich learned about the abundant and rich bay ecosystem Ridenhour, Susan Penn, Bob Rasmussen, and Tim and the economic and environmental importance Clohessy led free, natural history tours of the bay of Humboldt Bay. and the Hikshari’ Trail in Eureka’s Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary, getting nearly 100 residents and visitors out enjoying and learning about Humboldt Bay. Many thanks to the California Coastal Conservancy for funding the program; the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District and skippers Alan Bobillot and Tim Petrusha; the HSU Aquatic Center and the captain and crew of the Madaket; Jen Savage, NEC Coastal Programs Director; and Jasmin Segura, Bay Explorations Coordinator and bilingual guide. Stay tuned for our next tour season beginning in April 2015! Also, thanks to a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, Fortuna High School A.P. Environmental Science class. Photo: Pamela Halstead.


This brightly-lit electronic billboard went up on tribal land near Loleta last month—an example of the types of signs that are now banned in unincorporated areas of the county.

King Tide Photo Initiative: January 20 On January 20, Humboldt Baykeeper volunteers and staff will photo-document the highest tides of the year, also known as King Tides, around Humboldt Bay. The highest tide of the 2014-15 winter is predicted to reach 8.36’ at the North Spit tide gage—and could be higher depending on rainfall, atmospheric pressure, and wind. Above-average high tides will also occur on Dec. 22 (8.21’) and Feb. 18 (8.06’). By capturing images of these extreme high tides, scientists and planners hope to gain insight into how rising sea levels will impact coastal areas in the future. The King Tides Photo Initiative is a great opportunity for Citizen Scientists to contribute to a long-term dataset, while helping inform residents and decision-makers about the need to plan for the coming changes to our natural and built environments. To volunteer to help us document this year’s King Tide, email us at For more information about King Tide monitoring and sea level rise, visit our website at (go to the Sea Level Rise page on the upper left). For more info on shoreline vulnerability, inundation maps, and related issues, visit the Humboldt Bay Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning Project website at www.




of the Eel River

Coho Recovery Plan Addresses Marijuana-Related Impacts Current Abuses Compounding Legacy Effects to Confound Recovery

Scott Greacen, Executive Director A long-anticipated federal recovery plan for coho salmon in northwestern California and southwestern Oregon was released in its final form this September (see below). The plan says the continuing decline of the South Fork Eel River’s population of coho must be reversed, and the watershed’s runs recovered, to meet the Endangered Species Act’s goal of protecting the regional population from extinction. It calls for greater protection and restoration of coho habitat throughout the watershed, and for change in the trajectory of rising impacts associated with the Green Rush of marijuana cultivation. The plan’s sobering assessments arguably understate the need for action, in part because it does not reflect the impacts of recent historic drought. The recovery plan acknowledges the history of cumulative impacts, from overfishing and the draining of the Eel River estuary, to the great logging and roadbuilding boom of the mid-20th Century, which drove silver salmon in the Eel River to the brink of extinction. Healing from these impacts has only begun. The plan made headlines, however, for its candor in stating that today it is the cumulative impacts of sediment discharges and water diversions related to large-scale marijuana cultivation that rank among the most urgent problems which must be solved if the South Fork Eel’s coho are to be given even the chance to recover. The document provides essential context for some of the most important decisions facing Humboldt County and the region, regarding not only alwayscontentious issues like water diversions, land use and development, but regulation of an industry that has evolved under legal prohibition. As Julie Weeder, NMFS’ Coho Recovery Coordinator, explained in an interview on KHSU’s EcoNews Report (November 6, 2014, federal recovery plans serve as road maps to recovery, detailing and prioritizing actions that need to be taken, and goals which must be met, before a species can be “delisted” when no longer at risk of extinction. The recovery plan was developed by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), aka “NOAA Fisheries,” the federal agency charged with protection of anadromous (sea-run) fish under the Endangered Species Act. It covers coho runs from Oregon’s Rogue River south to the Eel River, under the ungainly label of the Southern Oregon – Northern California Coast (SONCC) Evolutionarily Significant Unit (ESU).

EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015

However, Recovery Plans are not enforceable; they don’t require anyone to do anything. Rather, they are meant to guide decisions about what recovery actions are most urgent, what critical impacts most important to reduce and mitigate. How we manage land and water use, in the South Fork Eel River and across the region, will be critical in determining whether these incredible, resilient fish—the product millions of years

Extinction Risk by Population in SONCC Coho ESU Of the forty populations in the Southern Oregon-Northern California Coast Coho Evolutionarily Significant Unit with enough habitat to be independent, only seven are at less than a high risk of extinction. Adapted from the Final SONCC Coho Recovery Plan (NMFS 2014) by FOER.

of coevolution with these rugged rivers—will continue to exist in our grandchildren’s lifetimes. The South Fork is described in the plan as having once been “the largest producer of coho salmon in the Eel River basin, and perhaps one of the largest producers in all of California,” with average spawner counts estimated from 15,000 -17,000 fish annually at Benbow Dam in the 1930s. In the best recent years with great ocean conditions, the South Fork has seen more than two thousand adults return, but has on the whole likely continued to decline even from a 1991 estimate of 1,320 spawners across the watershed. It could certainly be worse. At least the South Fork’s population still appears above the roughly 464 estimated as the depensation threshold—the point beyond which a run will suffer impacts from scarcity, as fish find habitat but not mates. And it remains, despite its decline, “the largest and most stable in the Interior Eel River diversity stratum,” one of the key populations designated as “core” to the ESU as a whole. But it needs to be a great deal better before we can afford to be optimistic about South Fork coho salmon. The plan states “to contribute to stratum and ESU viability, the South Fork Eel River core population should have at least 9,300 spawners.” The last record we have of that many coho adults in the South Fork Eel River was the roughly 13,000 counted at Benbow Dam in 1963. Unfortunately, the next December’s disastrous flood not only hammered that year’s coho cohort, but reshaped the river, filling channels with sediment that poured off a heavily logged and roaded landscape. Even as those legacy impacts linger, the recovery plan calls out sediment generated by roads and other clearings as still a problem today. The plan links many of these sources of excessive sediment with unreported, unmanaged water diversions— consequences of the failure to effectively regulate large-scale marijuana production. As practical questions, we know how to avoid and abate sediment-bleeding land uses, and how to store water during winter flows to minimize summer diversions. What remains is to insure this knowledge is used to reduce impacts on our watersheds. Local regulations for marijuana cultivation are likely to offer the best opportunity to structure rules and incentives to most effectively secure watershed protection—and coho recovery—in the South Fork Eel River and across the region.


The Environmental Protection Information Center

ep c

Carnage on the Klamath National Forest View of the 2013 & 2014 North Fork Salmon River Fires

The Klamath National Forest has proposed and is currently implementing numerous logging operations which will have disastrous results for our forests. The agency is now planning the Westside Project, which proposes over 43,883 acres of post-fire logging in some of the most ecologically valuable habitats and watersheds in Northern California.

Kimberly Baker Over 200,000 acres of fire burned beautifully on the Klamath National Forest this summer. Three-quarters burnt at low to very low severity, according to Burned Area Emergency Reports. The ecological and financial costs of firefighting were extreme. Bulldozers cleared over 154 miles of ridgelines to bare earth, some covered with slash chest-high. Burnouts intentionally set killed acres of forest stands. All told, firefighting measures on the Klamath National Forest cost $167,800,000.

Bulldozer line covered with slash constructed during 2014 Whites Fire. Russian Wildnerness in background.

Post-fire logging is even more devastating to our watersheds—eliminating valuable wildlife habitat, fragmenting the landscape, damaging natural recovery, causing erosion, striping future soil nutrients, removing shade that provides cool microclimates and removing biological legacies and complex forest structure. Post-fire areas are full of life and because of myopic management they are one of the most rare ecosystems in our watersheds. Bulldozer line from the Whites 2014 Fire in the North Fork Salmon River watershed. All photos this page: Kimberly Baker.

Wildfire is sensationalized in the media but the effects of fire suppression are rarely examined or documented. This leaves the public unaware of the risks, costs, and impacts of firefighting. Bulldozing fire lines wreaks havoc on our national forests. Fire lines increase habitat fragmentation for many species dependent on forest cover. For instance, many of the dozer lines put in place this summer went through Northern spotted owl nest areas. As seen from this summer, old fire lines can increase fire behavior. By leaving dead vegetation to cover bare soil, brush species grow into the slash creating thick, impenetrable and highly flammable fuel loads. Fire lines also spread noxious weeds, one of the biggest threats to our national forests. Lastly, they create long-term visual impacts and can be seen from Wilderness Areas, Wild and Scenic Rivers and throughout the backcountry.


Post fire logging from the 2013 Salmon River Complex Fire, in the North Fork of Salmon River watershed.

Please take action through to help stop this carnage on the Klamath.

Wet weather post fire logging from the 2013 Salmon River Complex Fire, in the North Fork Salmon River watershed.

The Wild and Scenic North Fork Salmon River, one of the most outstanding rivers for salmon in the west, will be hit particularly hard. The Klamath National Forest is now logging in the 2013 Salmon Complex Fire area and is currently proposing 7,600 acres more in the 2014 Whites Fire footprint within Late Successional (old forest) and Riparian (streamside) Reserves and the Wild and Scenic River corridor. To add to these cumulative impacts on the North Fork Salmon, the agency is also planning the Jess timber sale, which targets oldgrowth trees and proposes to remove vast amounts of forest canopy. The agency has a long record of destructive fire suppression activities and failing to follow mitigations put in place to protect streams and wildlife during post-fire projects. This includes logging steep erodible hillsides in wet weather, not retaining appropriate amounts of large standing trees or on the ground and streamside cutting. Let’s learn from the past, create strategic fire plans and allow for natural recovery.



Grasshopper Fire Lookout Back on Duty Veronica Yates Rain was softly pattering against the windows in the top story of the Grasshopper Fire Lookout Tower. As a Californian, I couldn’t have been happier to see water falling from the sky—but as a new fire lookout staff, another concern was distracting me completely. Why haven’t we replaced the lightning stool yet? I wondered, frantically. The Mattole Restoration Council (MRC) has recently begun staffing and restoring the Grasshopper Fire Lookout Tower, located in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This version of the lookout tower was built in 1958, and has been unstaffed—due to lack of funding—for the last four years. The quality of the tower’s interior has been noticeably degrading: the floors covered in broken, rotting tiles, the walls seething in spots of mold and patches of rust, wood bare counters leaving splinters in a passing hand. The project, funded by PG&E in September, has replaced floors, lighting fixtures, furniture and window trim, repainted the interior walls and exterior catwalk, installed tile in the kitchen and a new shower in the bathroom, and upgraded the electrical and water systems. In the space above the massive windows, the new lookouts may now gaze at oil-painted murals to help gain perspective on the grandiose landscape surrounding them. Aside from construction and physical tower upgrades, the project also funds a Lookout

EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015

Tower staff. In late September, Mattole residents (partly associated with the MRC and Honeydew Volunteer Fire Company) gathered for one of two days of training with longtime Grasshopper lookout Beth Neumeyer. Beth recalled some of her experiences over the duration of her 21 years staffing Grasshopper Lookout and explained the basic protocol for reporting “smokes” to Fortuna Fire Dispatch. “This is your range of responsibility,” she explained, gesturing at the fire finder. My first day began a week later. As I arrived, the sun was just beginning to caress the green sloped ridges, the golden misty prairies, and the white, thick fog blanket that shrouded the South Fork of the Eel River to the east. I reluctantly tore my eyes from the mesmerizing scene and began the first day on duty—scanning the beautiful intricacies of the surrounding 15 miles for any sign of smoke. Though informative and productive, Beth’s stories during the training had left me feeling like the odds of me seeing smokes and/or lightning conditions were pretty slim. The heroes of Humboldt County’s Fire Departments and CALFIRE seem to be doing a great job on their own, after all. Besides, if I did see a smoke, how was I supposed to translate what my eyes were seeing into a 2-dimensional pinprick on the map? Hours into my first day on the job, a small grey column appeared to the southeast. Contrary to my previous concerns and anxieties, the smoke was blatantly apparent. Grey curls of vapor swirled up, rising above Kerr Peak before mixing with the atmosphere. While fog moves quickly and evaporates rapidly around a consistent elevation in light wisps and fingers, this was a tight, small, unmoving column. Panic struck. I placed the smoke within the sights of the fire finder and tried to quickly yet accurately gauge the distance. I breathlessly called in the smoke report, shaking while I waited silently for a response. Fifteen minutes later the crews were dispatched—engines, air attack vessels, ground crews. It turns out that my estimate of 17 miles out was a little off, and I had spotted a smoke over 20 miles away in Northern Mendocino County. After leaving Mendocino County Fire Department on the scene, the pilot of the spotter plane went out of their way to pass the tower, buzzing a wing just overhead as I cheered and waved from the tower catwalk. A flash lit the tower. I spun to look towards the west, the apparent direction of the light. Unblinking, I held my breath and listened, watched. Within minutes, my eyes moved quickly to another flash of light, to the northwest, where

I saw one, two, three, four, five bolts strike down in a fragmented zap of electricity. My mind raced, and any knowledge of fundamental physics fled my thoughts entirely. Why did everything surrounding me suddenly seem conductive? I sat on the nonlightning approved stool for the next two hours, listening to the intermittent thunder without seeing another flash. The tower is grounded via four massive metal cables that run into the ground: I had been safe all along. And the new custom-built lightning stool is finished, too! As we all know, the threat of fires and lightning strikes are incredibly real and not to be taken lightly. With this project, CALFIRE, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, PG&E, Mattole Restoration Council, and Honeydew Volunteer Fire Company are collaborating to restore and improve conditions of a valuable fire safety resource for Humboldt County. Left: The Fire Finder has been around for decades and is still used by Lookouts to pinpoint locations of smokes today. Below: A view of the four-story Grasshopper Lookout Tower from outside on a starlit night.


NORTH GROUP REDWOOD CHAPTER Restoring Natural Wildfire Felice Pace As with many North Coast residents, fires burning on the Klamath National Forest dominated my consciousness this summer. Worry about friends living near the flames, some under evacuation orders, was my prime concern. I was not concerned about the forest. Having walked and studied all the large fires which burned in the Klamath Mountains since 1987, I was confident that the natural wildfire would be beneficial—a mosaic of some hot and mostly cool burns which scientists tell us has been the pattern in these mountains since the retreat of the glaciers. As the cost of fighting the fires rose, however, so did my concern. Fire maps available on InciWeb and reports on the community Facebook page established to share fire information indicated that Forest Service fire managers were constructing many miles of fire line with bulldozers. That meant they were also conducting large burn-outs. Experience walking and studying past fires had taught me that natural wildfire does little damage to Klamath Mountain forests or their watersheds and are typically beneficial. Discretionary fire suppression actions ordered by fire managers, however, often produce significant watershed degradation and large swaths of 100% dead trees. Furthermore, soil and watershed damaging fire lines and burn-outs have never effectively controlled, much less put out, large fires burning in these mountains. Only the coming of fall rain and snow in the high country puts out the truly

The industrial fire fighting complex— like modern warfare replete with corporate contractors—was developed with the goal of suppressing every wildfire by 10 a.m. on the following day. We now understand, however, that fire is a natural process in most forest ecosystems; forests in the western U.S. must burn if they are to function properly as ecosystems. Forest Service managers are talking the new talk; we must, they say, restore fire to national forest ecosystems. But while they talk the talk, Forest Service managers have trouble walking the walk. The primary tools they have on hand—militaryindustrial fire suppression and timber sales— are incompatible with restoring fire as a natural ecosystem process in our forests. What they are doing now is akin to placing new wine in old wine skins and the results are not good. Some local organizations and tribes are working to change that reality. More on that in a future report. Before the fires were out, Forest Service timber crews were at work marking sites for salvage logging. This part of the forest, salvage logging Unit 535, burned beautifully and, if left alone, would develop into an open Old Growth stand.

large fires that burn in the exceedingly rugged Klamath Mountain backcountry. Then came the blowup: two days of strong canyon winds which drove the flames of wildfire and burn-out into the faces of firefighters who quickly withdrew. As the size of the Happy Camp Fires doubled in the short span of two days, my concern grew for humans and for the forest. Perhaps it was different this time; perhaps this time I would find miles of devastation from wind-driven natural wildfire. As soon as sustained rain put the fires out, I was into the wilderness and driving dirt roads studying the fires and the actions fire managers took in hopes of suppressing them. I found miles of black, particularly on the lower Scott River. But I also learned from locals that most large swaths of black and dead vegetation were the result of panicked back-fires lit by firefighters at the bottom of long, forested slopes. Even the winddriven natural wildfire did not produce that sort of devastation. In fact, the fast-moving flames spared or thinned most of the forest; even tree plantations which usually are 100% killed when a fire Fired in panic from the bottom of the slope, the Forest Service back-fire in the midcomes through were thinned by ground contrasts sharply with the natural wildfire mosaic in the foreground. Thompkins Creek Watershed, Klamath National Forest. Photo: Felice Pace. these fast-moving flames.


Economic Perspectives on Climate Change and Clean Energy

On Tuesday, December 9, Sierra Club North Group will offer a pizza party and presentation featuring Steven C. Hackett, Chairman of the Department of Economics at Humboldt State University. Limiting the harms from global climate change is one of the world’s most challenging commonpool resource dillemas. Steve will provide economic perspectives on the benefits and costs of greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation to climate change, the economics of renewable energy and energy efficiency, and mitgation policies such as cap-and-trade and carbon taxes.

Meeting details

When: Tuesday, December 9, starting at 6:30 p.m. Where: Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, 921 Waterfront Drive, Eureka Notes: Open to the public and free of charge. Pizza will be served. Contact: Richard Kreis,



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. December 10th, 2014—Native Plant Show and Tell. Join us for an informal evening sharing photos, artifacts, readings, or food relating to native plants and their habitats. Short presentations will include Stephanie Klein sharing rare plant discoveries at work, Michael Kauffmann exploring Nevada’s Pine Forest Range as well as Jane Cipra and Donna Wildearth sharing summer adventures. Test your native plant knowledge in the “Carol & Jenny’s Winter Plant Challenge”—where you will be challenged to match the plant skeleton with the photo of the blooming plant. More coming soon! Check our website. January 14th, 2015—Delving into the Cryptic Lives of Gall Wasps with Dr. John DeMartini. Wasps of the family Cynipidae form galls on a variety of plants, particularly Rosaceae (rose) and Fagaceae (oaks) in northern California. Presentation will illustrate the interesting natural history of the wasp’s relationship to native plants by illustrating life cycles, galls sites, and predatory interactions.

The North Coast Chapter’s Fall Plant Sale at the Bayside Grange was another great success, thanks to all the dedicated volunteers and growers. At our sales you can get a wide variety of native shrubs, trees, perennials, bulbs, grasses and ferns - suitable for many natural and human habitats. The next native plant sale will be in May. To learn about growing native plants, visit Photo by Gura Lashlee.

Conservation, Restoration, Plant Science, Gardening, Art, Music and More!

Everyone, not just members, will find interesting, fun, and important things to do, and lots of native-plant nerds and conservation-minded people to talk with. There will be a photo contest, songfest, music jam, and botanical art display. Something for everyone! Workshop topics for Tuesday and Wednesday include fire and native plants, pathogens and pests, lichens and bryophytes, renewable energy, horticulture in conservation, and translocation. Session topics for short presentations Thursday through Saturday include “Native Plants Are the ‘New Normal’ in Landscaping,” “Grass ID: You Can Totally Do This! An Introduction to Grass Identification,” “Living Wild: Habitat-Friendly Food from Native Plants,” “Seed Banking California Native Plants in Support of Conservation,” “Atmospheric Nitrogen Deposition,” “CEQA”, “Edible and Medicinal Plants of California,” “Garden Allies: Conservation Biological Control for Farm and Garden,” “Introduction to Soil Morphology and Hydric Soils,” “The California Phenology Project,” “Propagation Techniques for Local Restoration.” Michael Soulé, the “father of conservation biology,” will also be speaking.

EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015


Polar Bear

Marine Protected Areas

Mendocino Community Rights

...morning, with a great view of the Statue of Liberty. There were speeches by writers and activists, including a great talk by author Naomi Klein (see page 11). At the end of the speeches, friends helped me change into our incredibly lifelike Frostpaw polar bear costume, and we marched toward the New York Stock Exchange building. We made it as far as the corner of Wall Street and Broadway, and all 3,000 protesters and probably as many police massed at that intersection. The protesters sat down in the street. We chanted, sang songs and got to know our fellow protesters for the next several hours. At nightfall, the police ordered us to disperse. By then there we down to about 600 or 700 hundred people, and 102 of us refused to disperse and were arrested in an act of civil disobedience. I was arrested in the polar bear costume. Images of the arrest were instantly broadcast worldwide, but we didn’t know the extent of it until after we got out of jail. We were all brought to jail and kept there for about 8 hours and eventually released. I believe our protest helped deliver a key message: If President Obama and other world leaders don’t act soon to make ambitious cuts to the carbon pollution that’s warming our planet, we’ll see more devastating heat waves, rising seas, and killer storms. Whether the actions will help change the world or not, I know for sure these actions changed my life for the better. It was an amazing event and one of the highlights of my life to be able to attend and to try to help represent my community.

...the public’s favorite area—tidepools.” In addition to Tyburczy, the rocky intertidal project is led by Sean Craig of Humboldt State University, Peter Raimondi of University of California, Santa Cruz, Andrew Kinziger of Humboldt State University, Rosa Laucci of Smith River Rancheria, Ivano Aiello of Moss Landing Marine Laboratories and Brian Tissot of Humboldt State University. Over the course of the year, researchers and students have been characterizing this exceptionally diverse habitat, noting the diversity of algae and invertebrates, such as sea stars, abalone and other species, contained within. The timing has been especially fortuitous, Tyburczy said, as the sampling has coincided with the sea star wasting disease that’s been affecting the West Coast. “Sea stars are a major predator of mussels, he explained, “so mussel beds may change a lot—may increase—as the sea stars die off.” Hopefully sea stars will rebound, Tyburczy finished, noting, “Santa Cruz is seeing that happen.” The study is taking place throughout the region at 10 sites. An exciting new component is ability to do high resolution 3D scans of the intertidal area, which is useful to figure out which types of habitats are most important and also in capturing seasonality, Tyburczy said. For a complete list of projects and more information, visit and

...or waste through the County. Global Exchange’s Community Rights Director and organizer for the ballot effort, Shannon Biggs, stated, “It is a huge win. With the passage of Measure S, residents in Mendocino County made history as the first California community to adopt a Community Bill of Rights, placing their rights above corporate interests. Residents see enactment of this ordinance as the first step in asserting their right to local self-government, and a rejection of the idea that their community will be a sacrifice zone for corporate profits. This is just a beginning for the community rights movement in California.” CELDF’s Ben Price offered congratulations to the people of Mendocino County, and to the organizers of the effort, stating, “With this vote, the people of Mendocino are challenging a legal structure that protects a corporate “right” to frack above the rights of communities to not be fracked.” Mendocino County joins more than 150 communities across the U.S. that have adopted CELDF-drafted Community Bills of Rights to secure their unalienable rights to clean air and water, the rights of nature to exist and thrive, and the rights of communities to local self-governance. CELDF has assisted these communities to ban shale gas drilling and fracking, factory farming, and water privatization, and eliminate corporate “rights” when they violate community and nature’s rights. This includes assisting the first communities in the U.S. to establish Rights of Nature in law, as well as the first communities to elevate the rights of communities above the “rights” of corporations.

Continued from page 5

View the full article at

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Continued from page 10 Specifically, they are seeking unconditional approval for operations up to 20,000 sq. ft.—nearly half an acre—regardless of the zoning. In particular, they want to legitimize all existing operations and pave the way for more giant greenhouses on the region’s forestlands—a move that would come at the expense of fish, rivers, and intact forests. While some marijuana cultivators grow responsibly, many operations are currently causing significant damage to waterways through forest fragmentation, illegal water diversions and unpermitted, erosion-inducing grading practices. It would be a travesty to give a green light to more grows during a time when many of our region’s salmon populations are at a tipping point. We need to repair our watersheds and bring motivated cultivators into a well-regulated system—only then can we begin discussions about increasing the number and size of marijuana operations in our fragile corner of the world.

Volunteer it feels good


Continued from page 9

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GOODBYE CHICKENS: A truck driver in Idaho held 37,000 pounds of frozen chicken for ransom but left them to rot at a truck stop when he was refused the money. Meanwhile in Fresno, intruders killed more than 900 chickens—some of them bludgeoned with a golf club—after they broke into a commercial facility.

A merry melange: salient or silly.

HORNY: Vietnam is the world’s largest consumer of rhinoceros horn, with South Africa, Mozambique and Czecholslovakia close behind. But the government’s publicity campaign is getting through: rhino horn has no medicinal value, and it is illegal to buy, sell or transport it.

VIRAL TOYS: Giantmicrobes, which makes plush toys based on viruses, has sold out of its entire Ebola stock: the small Ebola doll for $9.95, the Ebola petri dish for $14.95 and the gigantic Ebola doll for $29. 95. The Connecticut-based company, which says it makes gag gifts that also have educational value, calls the Ebola virus the “T. Rex of microbes.” Over 4,500 people have died in West Africa in the latest outbreak. GIGANTIC SKEETER: A spider the size of a small dog has been found in the South American rainforest. The South American Goliath Birdeater has two-inch fangs full of venom, and its feet “have hardened tips and claws that produce a very distinct, clicking sound, not unlike that of a horse’s hooves hitting the ground,” said an entomologist at Harvard University.

FOOTBALL KILLS: The new billion-dollar stadium of football’s Minnesota Vikings may kill thousands of birds which winter at the nearby Mississippi River. At issue is the type of glass which the birds are less likely to see in the largely glass exterior of the new stadium. Using bird-friendly glass costs less than a tenth of one percent of the stadium’s overall price— and so far more than 50,000 fans agree.

PICK-UP FOR PENGUINS: Anti-depressants are gulped by Humboldt penguins suffering from winter blues common in England. The dozen penguins are from the wild coasts of Peru and Chile, but England’s almost daily downpours and high winds left them “thoroughly fed-up and miserable, much like the rest of us,” a spokesman for the Sea Life Sanctuary said.

PRANK GOES SOUR: A late-night fraternity “prank” was deadly for two pink flamingos and left a Mississippi freshman facing felony charges of grand larceny, animal cruelty and trespassing. He was on a scavenger hunt, sneaked into a local zoo and stole a female flamingo. By the time he released the bird, it had to be euthanized because of internal injuries. A male flamingo who was its mate also died while trying to protect her.

HE’S A GOOD OLD BOY: Jeffrey, the only pet camel in England, enjoys beer so much he is brought leftover ale from the local pub in Suttonon-the-Forest in Yorkshire. He was purchased as a surprise birthday present for a boy named Tom seven years ago, but now Tom has grown up and moved away. Tom’s parents want to downsize, but need somewhere large enough to accommodate their 11-foot pet. TOO HEAVY TO HOP: An extinct giant kangaroo that lived in the Australian outback 100.000 years ago was too heavy to hop, scientists have claimed. The creature was nine feet tall and believed to have weighed up to 550 pounds—three times the size of the largest present-day kangaroos.

A LOT OF PIE: A pumpkin grown in the Napa Valley has been declared the heaviest ever cultivated in North America, and now the giant gourd has been flown to New York where it will be featured in a botanical garden. The pumpkin weighed in at 2,058 pounds. CHEERS, SENOR: An African grey parrot named Nigel spoke English with a clipped British accent when he disappeared four years ago. He came back after all this time, but now he speaks Spanish.

EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015


By-the-Wind Sailors Velella velella

direction as they catch the wind. In the southern hemisphere, the direction of the sails are reversed. Many experts contend that this year’s mass strandings are probably not out-of-the ordinary, citing similar occurrences in years past. Others speculate that changes in climate, ocean chemistry, and ecology may be driving extreme “blooms” of velellas along with jellyfish. Fertilizer runoff into the marine environment leads to exploding populations of algae—the primary food source for velellas and jellies. Additionally, select fish species that would normally prey upon Cnidaria have been over-harvested throughout much of the velella’s range. These factors in combination with warming seas and more variable weather patterns could be blowing velellas higher north and further ashore in increasing numbers. Whatever the nature of their appearance, the stranded Velella velellas offer a rarely seen glimpse into the vast unknowns of the open ocean. If observed, poked, and prodded in the wild, please wash your hands thoroughly before touching the eyes or face. These mysterious cobalt creatures are not thought to possess a sting powerful enough to pierce humans, but residual toxins could potentially irritate those with sensitive skin. Left: A recently beached Vellela vellela, still moist enough to retain its color and shape. Below: Dessicated vellelas strewn across a local beach. Photos: Brandon Drucker.

Brandon Drucker This summer, North Coast beachcombers marveled in the miraculous, gelatinous presence of the Velella velella. These creatures washed up en masse beginning in mid-July, with sightings covering the entire western coastline from Washington state to southern California. Velella velella—also known as by-the-wind sailors, purple sails, blue sails, litte sails, or sea rafts—are members of the phylum Cnidaria, which also includes jellyfish and coral. Somewhat similar to a jellyfish, these animals are bizarrely beautiful in appearance. The velella’s body is a brilliant translucent blue “float” with tiny tentacles dangling below. The ovular form is crossed diagonally by an erect, triangular sail. Velellas still in contact with water maintain a plump and blue shape up to four inches in length, while those that have been washed above the reach of the waves transform into a desiccated plasticlike disc. Dried velellas so much resemble trashed

cellophane that they were picked up by several volunteers on a recent beach cleanup! The velella is described as a pelagic colonial hydroid. In other words, these animals inhabit the surface of the open ocean linked together in enormous colonies of individual “polyps.” They feed primarily on plankton and small fish as they float along, stunning the creatures with their short tentacles before funneling them into a centrally-located mouth. Velellas born in the northeast Pacific Ocean drift northwest to southeast per the angle of their sail. Conversely, specimens found in the western Pacific Ocean have sails angled northeast to southwest, and thus move in that Missaiya’s

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the Kids’ Page: Is your vegetable

actually a fruit?

Did you know that a tomato is not a vegetable, but is

actually a fruit? You have probably heard that before, but did you know that a jalapeno pepper is also a fruit? What makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable a vegetable? Vegetables come from the root (carrot), stem (rhubarb), or the leaf (lettuce) of a plant. Fruits come from the flowers. Think of a pumpkin. First, you see a flower, then the petals fall off and there is a little pumpkin left behind that grows until it’s ripe enough to eat. As the seeds inside a pollinated flower start to grow, a fleshy part surrounding the seeds, called the ovary, thickens and grows into the fruit that we, and animals, eat. Some fruits have one seed inside, and others have several. Peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes, and beans are all fruits—when you cut them open, you can see the seeds inside. We group different types of animals into families, such as mammals, birds, amphibians, etc., and we do the same with fruits. Berries come from a single ovary, like tomatoes, kiwi, chili pepper, eggplant, and blueberries. A hesperidium is a berry that has a thick soft rind, like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit. A pepo is another kind of berry, one that has a hard rind, like melons and squash. An aggregate fruit happens when there are lots of ovaries in one flower that get fertilized, like a blackberry. Each little piece of a blackberry is a fruit and they all grow together. A multiple fruit is similar to an aggregate fruit. A multiple fruit happens when there is a cluster of flowers that gets fertilized and grows together in a mass, like a pineapple or mulberry. An accessory fruit is also called false fruit because it doesn’t come from the ovary, but rather the surrounding tissue of the flower. Apples grow from the hypanthium, which is right under the ovary, but is still part of the flower. Next time your parents tell you to eat your veggies, see if you can figure out if they really are veggies, or actually fruits!

Word Search M U I H T N A P Y H O L O T O

Above right: A baby pumpkin growing on the vine. The shriveled, brown part at the bottom of the pumpkin is the dried remains of the flower. Photo: Clayton O’Neill, CC. Left: A sliced red pepper shows all the seeds inside. Photo: Gabrielly Ludlow, CC.





by Sarah Marnick

EcoNews Dec2014/Jan2015















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Rounder is better, if you are a leatherback sea turtle. That’s the word from researchers who made the surprising discovery that longer, slender turtles are less efficient swimmers than their more rotund brethren. The researchers were measuring the forces that act on a swimming animal and the energy the animal must expend to move through water. Here at the NEC, where hardly anyone is plump, we often get surprising findings-mainly when we look at the checkbook. We actually are holding our own, but we do need help. That’s where you fit in, round-bodied or not. Give what you can, time or money. The general election showed that the forces of rampant, selfish development are prevalent here (as elsewhere), especially in the seats of power. We can--and must--stop them to prevent the erosion of our beautiful North Coast. So stay stout. Thank you.

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EcoNews - Vol 44, No 6 - Dec 2014/Jan 2015