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Over 40 Years of Environmental News


Arcata, California

Vol. 45, No. 6

Dec 2015/Jan 2016

NEWS Published by the Northcoast Environmental Center Since 1971

Climate Change marches on The Return of Dr. Loon | Few Limits on Pot Rules | Restoring Headwaters Climate Conference | Beach Beautification Project Origins | Remembering Wendell Woods

News From the Center To our Members and Supporters,

After six very productive years, the Northcoast Environmental Center is wishing Dan Ehresman the very best as he moves to the next chapter of his career. The Board accepted Dan’s resignation in November but we know he will continue to engage in conservation and communitybuilding in the North Coast. At the same time, the Board will continue the important work of educating the public on important issues and fighting to save our environment. We look forward to engaging our members and community in the work to increase wilderness and outdoor recreation, conserve our marine environment, protect endangered species, move to sustainable energy and strengthen the best management of our national forests, rivers, parks and preserves. Fruitful conservation work requires an informed and motivated public and we look forward to accomplishing that work with your help. From the Executive Committee of the NEC Board of Directors: Larry Glass, President Dan Sealy, Vice President Chris Beresford, Treasurer Jen Kalt, Secretary



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.

Message from Dan Ehresman

It is with mixed emotions that I have decided to leave my position at the Northcoast Environmental Center. My last day with the Center was Thursday, November 12. Although I am excited about embarking on the next chapter of my life, there is a lot that I will miss. It has been immensely rewarding to work as part of an organization with a rich history that continues to fill an important role in our region. I am extremely grateful to the many people who have provided such strong support during my time here and I am very proud of the progress we have made together over the last several years! I am also proud of the staff that will continue on at the NEC and I trust the commitment from the Board to carry the organization forward. I take pride in our many accomplishments throughout the six years that I’ve been with the NEC: we’ve been a critical voice on land use issues on the North Coast (from the never-ending GPU to the crazy, complex beast that is weed), we are on the way to having our entire 44+ years of EcoNews digitized so that members of the public will be able to explore the rich eco-history of

Editor/Layout: Morgan Corviday Advertising: Proofreaders: Karen Schatz and Midge Brown Authors: Dan Sealy, Jennifer Kalt, Sarah Marnick, Joe Abbott, Dave LaFever, Dr. Loon, Delia Bense-Kang, Ali Freedlund, Margaret Gainer, Tom Wheeler, Felice Pace, Nat Parry, Adam Spencer, Anne Maher, Jared Zystro, Sandra Jerabek Cover Photo: People’s Climate March in Arcata, November 29, 2015. Photo: Sho Drake.

NEC Staff EcoNews Editor: Morgan Corviday, MPA Outreach Coordinator Delia Bense-Kang, Coastal Cleanup Coordinator: Madison Peters, Membership Associate: Sydney Stewart, Office Associate: Anne Maher,

our region, we maintained a strong environmental education program that engaged hundreds of kids in caring for our biosphere, we’ve continued to get the word out on important environmental news through EcoNews and EcoNews Report, we’ve provided jobs and learning opportunities for many students through our internship and work study programs, we’ve been instrumental in helping to keep our beaches and waterways clean through Coastal Cleanup and Adopt-a-Beach, and we’ve had some pretty great parties and parades with friends old and new. While my paid position with the NEC may be coming to a close, I plan to stay in this region and I will continue to engage on critical conservation and community-based issues. We have a lot of work ahead and I am

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

Humboldt Baykeeper

Fiscally sponsored by the NEC Director: Jennifer Kalt, Bay Explorations Staff: Jasmin Segura,

g ratef ul to live in an area where folks care immensely. Thank you all again for your help along the way! Sincerely, Dan Ehresman P.S. For those who wish to stay in touch, please make sure you have my personal email address:

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)

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

NEC Affiliate Members Friends of Del Norte

Mattole Restoration Council, (707) 629-3514

Zero Waste Humboldt


Letters to the Editor Editor: Nancy Bailey is misremembering Smokey Bear’s message from her childhood. Back then, it was actually, “Remember... only YOU can prevent forest fires” (italics mine). It wasn’t until 2001 that “forest fires” was replaced by “wildfires.” I noticed the change and assumed it reflected a maturation of our attitude towards fire, in recognition of the importance of fire in maintaining healthy ecosystems and the acceptance at least of controlled fire. I even was finally beginning to gain some respect for Smokey and his “handlers.” Imagine my dismay when, in the course of background research for this letter, I learned that the real motivation behind the change in wording was to stamp out fire in all ecosystems, not just forests, following the catastrophic 2000 fire season. Fire suppression has had disastrous consequences in grasslands, too. Maybe, as Ms. Bailey suggests, official attitudes have shifted more recently, but Smokey’s message hasn’t. One of the reasons Smokey Bear and his message were created in the first place was that, during World War II, we didn’t have the resources to fight forest fires, so the government came up with the Smokey Bear ad campaign to stop fires at their source. The Japanese tried to capitalize on the situation by igniting forest fires in the western U.S. using fire balloons launched into the jet stream. The effort failed, perhaps because there wasn’t much fuel buildup back then; imagine what it might accomplish today! I find it truly ironic that Smokey and his message caused far more damage than the Japanese could have in their wildest dreams. Ken Burton

Dear NEC, I had the great honor to be an Eco-News intern under Sid in the late 90s and early 00s. He was a tough editor and under his mentorship I became a better writer. My favorite time of the month was “paste up” when everyone was involved with the EcoNews would come in for a 5-6 hour session of putting the paper together. I took a guilty pleasure in pouring over the content trying to find a spelling error or other mistake. It would mean that Sid had missed something and he’d have to go on the computer and reprint the whole thing! Paste up could be tedious and grueling and everyone asked Sid why he wouldn’t switch to a computer based layout like every other publication in the country. He never really said why but I think it was in part the collaboration and bonding that took place when everyone had to work together to put that final paper together before deadline. I have great memories of those days and of Sid. I learned a lot from him! Sincerely, Andrew Freeman Editor: I wrote a piece that appeared in EcoNews’ last issue for Sid Dominitz. The “obituary” was not meant to be a history so much as requiem for Sid. It was edited, which is fine. I was just a little miffed at the statement that I “wrote the grant” and Sid and Tim started the Adopt-a Beach program. Tim and Sid believed the Beach Beautification Project (BBC) could function after the grant ended without a steward so we came up with the Adopt-a-Beach idea. I was skeptical we would succeed without a steward, a paid one. We all worked to get volunteers and I believe Sid was the first, taking on College Cove. From the beginning of the project I worked at finding volunteers until I left for Wisconsin, and in the grant

application we had a system to use volunteers—and we did. The only thing that is different is the name: Beach Beautification Project vs Adopt-a-Beach. Sorry to be picky here; it’s just that I came up with the idea, Ann and I grant-funded it, and I worked it for around one and one-half years, the last year as crew leader. Tim and Sid were great guys and deserve more credit than I ever will as stewards of environmental policies and for their work at the NEC. But as I wrote in the attachment, I hatched this baby and watched and parented its fledgling year and a half. My contribution was neither secondary nor insignificant, and Ann and I are proud of it. Incidentally, two things: the name of the project, BBC, was Tim’s contribution to the grant. Also NEC won the C league Arcata city softball that year and Tim had the trophy in NEC’s window. I played on the team that year but also played A and B leagues in Eureka. The NEC trophy meant most to us. I’m not certain but Wesley Chesboro (sp?) may also have played with us. I don’t care about a retraction but read the attachment, please, to get a picture and forgive the pickiness here. Keep up the good work at NEC. Joe Abbott

Joe Abbott’s full piece about the Beach Beautification Project is reprinted on page 7. Thank you, Joe, for sharing your memories of this important part of NEC history with us! Letters to the Editor are welcomed! Letters should be 200 words or less, should be relevant to material covered in EcoNews, and must include the writer’s address and phone number. Letters may be edited and shortened for space. The NEC reserves the right to reject any submitted material for any reason (e.g. size, content, etc.). Send to

Catch the NEC’s EcoNews Report

Every Thursday, 1:30pm on KHSU - 90.5FM Rotating hosts talk with a variety of experts and guests on a range of topics Past shows are archived on our website for download or streaming

In This Issue 3 4 4 5 6 7 7 9 11 13 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 21 22

Few Limits on Marijuana Rules The Story Begins: Dr. Loon Returns Restoring Headwaters Forest Arcata People’s Climate March Climate Conference Negotiations Beach Beautification Project Smith River Mining Withdrawals Eye on Washington Kin to the Earth: Wendell Wood Variety Testing for Better Crops Humboldt Baykeeper Friends of the Eel River EPIC Mattole Restoration Council Sierra Club, North Group California Native Plant Society Zero Waste Humboldt Creature Feature: The Opah Kids’ Page: Jellyfish

Bouquets A bouquet of azalea blossoms for outgoing board member, Keytra Meyer in thanks for all her work for the NEC, especially for leading us in strategic planning and organizational improvements. To out-going Executive Director, Dan Ehresman, for the six years he dedicated to the work of the Northcoast Environmental Center. Dan successfully raised the NEC’s profile during his tenure, as well as providing guidance for student interns, staff, and volunteers. Thank you, Dan, for all the energy you put into the NEC these past six years! To the “Beachcomber Ladies”— owners Melissa, Alice, and Jackie—in Trinidad and Bayside, for 13 years of saying “No” to single-serve take out cups. EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015


Commercial Marijuana Cultivation Rules Set Few Limits Jennifer Kalt, NEC Board Secretary On October 9, Governor Jerry Brown signed into law three bills—SB643, AB266, and AB243— that form a long-overdue statewide framework to regulate commercial medical marijuana cultivation and distribution. The framework creates a process by which counties and cities can issue local permits to create regulations more restrictive than the state’s—or they can ban cultivation entirely. The deadline for adopting local rules governing permits is March 1, although Assemblymember Jim Wood plans to change that date as soon as possible. Despite the proposed change, Humboldt County is rushing to put a cultivation ordinance in place as fast as it can to meet that March 1 deadline. As reported in the Oct/Nov issue of EcoNews, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted on September 15 to take the lead on developing a cultivation ordinance for parcels over five acres, a process that was spearheaded by industry lobbyists late last year. On October 30, Humboldt County staff released its draft ordinance for review by public and the Planning Commission, which will submit its recommendations to the Board of Supervisors for another series of public hearings. General support for the draft ordinance was expressed in letters from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt

Commercial outdoor marijuana cultivation area in square feet and permit types by parcel size as recommended by the County Planning Commission on Nov. 18: Parcel Size <1 acre <5 acres 5-10 acres 10-30 acres 30-320 acres 321+ acres

Ministerial Permits Up to 100 sq. ft. Up to 200 sq. ft. Up to 3,000 sq. ft. Up to 5,000 sq. ft. Up to 10,000 sq. ft. Up to 20,000 sq. ft.

Special Permits 5,001-10,000 sq. ft. 10,001-20,000 sq. ft. -

Ministerial Permit: requires compliance with a set of general standards. Special Permit: requires site-specific assessment; public hearing not required. Conditional Use Permit: requires site-specific assessment; public hearing required.

County Farm Bureau, Buckeye Conservancy, and many environmental organizations and individuals who recognize the need to bring this industry into compliance with state and local regulations designed to protect the environment and public safety. However, after seven public hearings on the ordinance, it has become clear that the majority of Humboldt County Planning Commissioners want to open the doors for expansion of the Green Rush. While we appreciate the Planning Commission’s recommendations for limits on water trucking and a one-year window for permit applications, many other votes will result in very few limitations on the industry, including:

Photo: Colleen Elliott, CC


Conditional Use Permits >100 sq. ft. >200 sq. ft. >3,000 sq. ft. >10,000 sq. ft. >20,000 sq. ft. >20,000 sq. ft.

• No limit on the number of new grows that would be permitted; • No limit on the number of permits overall; • No limits on the number of permits per parcel; • No limits on indoor cultivation relying on diesel and gas generators; • No limit on the amount of Timber Production Zone (TPZ) or agricultural land that can be converted to marijuana cultivation; • Large increases in the size of cultivation areas proposed in the draft ordinance (see above). Back-to-the-landers representing HUMMAP, the Humboldt Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, have argued eloquently for sun-grown, organic grow sites under 3,000 square feet to ensure the quality and competitiveness of the “Humboldt brand,” but the Planning Commission voted against including such a concept, stating it’s better left to the County Agricultural Commissioner and third-party certification. As we go to print, County staff is incorporating the Planning Commission recommendations into the draft ordinance for the Planning Commission’s final review on December 1. Staff will also need to revise the Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND), the environmental analysis which claims that all impacts to water quality, protected species such Continued on page 9 as coho and Chinook...

Oct/Nov 2015


A Tale of Two Forests:

Restoring Forests on the North Coast Dave LaFever, BLM Ecologist Hiking along a former logging road, long ago decommissioned and regenerating in young trees and shrubs, I trudge my way up to the ridge dividing Salmon Creek and the Little South Fork Elk River. A young, dense forest surrounds me as I stand on a hot, open road in the late heat of summer. Sweat forms on my brow as I approach the core of the Headwaters old-growth, protected close to sixteen years ago thanks to the many activists who so dearly love this place. I leave the sun-filled and hot second-growth behind and enter an entirely different world – dark and quiet, cool and serene, the old-growth that provides solace to all who enter. The sweat on my brow begins to cool. The Headwaters Forest Reserve, like many of our North Coast parks and protected areas, is a tale of two forests. Majestic and towering old-growth, decadent and dripping with mosses and lichen, contrasts sharply with surrounding second-growth stands, uniform and very dense. Our management reflects this dichotomy as well: we conserve the habitat-rich old-growth, home to iconic species of the Pacific Northwest, and work to restore the formerly-logged areas in the direction of the old-growth that we love so deeply. At the time Headwaters was established in 1999, 60% of the area had been logged. In some areas, forests were only beginning to regrow from clear-cut harvests of the 1980s and 1990s. Inheriting unnatural second-growth forests dominated by Douglas-fir, the BLM began restoration thinning in 2004. The goals of restoration were to accelerate forest development towards old-growth conditions and restore a more natural species mix to these areas (cutting Douglas-fir and leaving behind redwood and other, less common species). From 2004 to 2013, we thinned 1,600 acres... Continued on page 10

The Story Begins Dr. Loon returns after a five-year break. This is the first of several excerpts from The Price of a Life: Shells, Gold, Carbon Notes and Weed in the Humboldt Bay / Six Rivers Region.

Dr. Loon My story begins several decades ago, with a question: How shall we live? The institutions that were supposed to help with the answers—family, school, community—had failed a generation. They were told: Duck and cover. Cut your hair, get a job. Step forward when your number’s called. So they left all that, and came up with the best answers they could, often in remote places like Humboldt County. Then they had a hundred more questions, foremost among them: What are we going to use for money? No one imagined that the answer might be a plant. Four economies have regulated human affairs in this region, represented by shells, gold dollars, carbon notes, and now weed. Each has a story to tell. Each has a lesson for an uncertain future. Because now, in addition to resource depletion and rural depression—the failure of carbon economics—we face the prospect of even greater uncertainty in everything from the climate to global finance. And now, with that greater urgency, we have to ask again, How shall we live? Our answer, including what we use for money, will have to see us through the changes that lie ahead. They arrived in the late 60’s and early 70’s. They were ridiculed and feared, called long-hairs, hippies, freaks, environmentalists. Their principal

offense was bringing to the rural counties of northern California an alternative set of values. And a plant that appeared to represent those values: Marijuana. Mary Jane. Pot. Boo. Muggles. Weed. It was like their flag. Then it was like their money. That’s when law enforcement got serious. The “war on drugs” had been used for decades to keep certain segments of the population in their place. The fact that these newcomers were mostly young white people, children of the middle class—some of them were even from here—didn’t seem to trouble the authorities. The methods were the same: guns, imprisonment, fines, and the usual forms of harassment—depriving you, if not of your life and liberty, of your driver’s license, your car, your livelihood, your home if you have one, your vote, even the custody of your children. The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) was only the most notorious of these efforts, and the most overtly military in its costumes and methods. But the soldiers of the pulp economy also arrived as social workers and building inspectors, sometimes in the uniforms of BLM, USFS, or in the plain clothes of more sinister government agencies. The battles were over housing and permits, land use and forests— and always about the cultivation, sale, and use of marijuana—but the war itself was about values. Instead of weakening it, this assault made the weed economy stronger. Forced to defend itself, it found ways to define itself through resistance. Not all of its actions were successful or wise. The new people struggled to dissociate themselves from the carbon dollar, but they’d grown up on the pulp fictions of pulp culture and sometimes embraced things as consumers. They believed technology would redeem them, shopped the Whole Earth Catalog, bought anything with the word “organic” on it, like children in a new green supermarket. But the weed economy was also kindred to the shell exchange, and... Continued on page 8

Invest in the Future Join our Monthly Giving Program For more information, call the NEC at 707-822-6918 EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015


Humboldt Took to the Streets Marching for the Climate November 29, 2015

Over 2000 cities around the world marched this weekend to send a unified message to our world leaders that the people of the Earth demand strong climate action policy. The World Climate Summit— called COP21—is taking currently place in Paris. This is a large gathering of political leaders and business persons who will be determining a plan of action to combat global climate change. Many of us are aware of runaway climate—a so called “tipping point” whereby humans will no longer have any control of decelerating carbon emissions—but few can grasp the global and social implications of such a catastrophe. Arguably, COP21 offers the last chance at combatting climate change on the level needed and with the swiftness necessary to save us from reaching that tipping point. On Sunday, November 29th, Humboldt activists and community members joined the Global People’s Climate Movement and marched the streets of Arcata from HSU LIbrary Circle to the Arcata Plaza. The march was organized by volunteer activists, and it aimed to form strong community ties. Humboldt Community Rights, Transition Humboldt, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Climate Crisis HSU, Sustainability Coalition HSU, and several community members came to share their projects and ideas; this open dialogue allowed the community to align their goals with one another. Those involved plan to communicate further about combatting climate change locally and constructing a self-resilient community.

Photos: Sho Drake.

on Mining Wild Smith Adam Spencer Smith River Alliance Ever since fresh intentions to strip mine the headwaters of the North Fork Smith River and other Wild and Scenic streams were made public in late 2012, there has been a tremendous amount of support to protect the marquee streams of the Wild Rivers Coast. This year, 2015, has proven to be the year to harvest those seeds of support.

The U.S. EPA has documented that hardrock mining which includes strip mining is one of the largest sources of toxic pollution in the USA.

In late June, the Obama Administration (via the Bureau of Land Management) issued a two-year ban on future mining claims across 100,000-acres of southwest Oregon that have been targeted for nickel, cobalt, chromium and other valuable metals. The existing mining claims that kick-started opposition efforts are held by Red Flat Nickel Corporation near Baldface Creek, a major tributary of the North Fork Smith and in the Red Flat area of Hunter Creek and Pistol River east of Gold Beach. These claims will remain in place but would have to go through a rigorous validation process including proving the deposits’ profitability before moving forward. The two-year ban—known as segregation—is intended to maintain the status quo while BLM completes environmental analysis for a five-year mineral withdrawal from the targeted areas. The five-year withdrawal is also meant to maintain the status quo while Congress considers legislation for a permanent withdrawal of the threatened areas. Mineral withdrawals are one mechanism of protecting public land from mining projects that would otherwise be approved or advanced under the 1872 Mining Law, an antiquated law that allows companies, including foreign-owned corporations like Red Flat, to pay zero royalty dollars to the taxpayer—despite taking millions of dollars worth of minerals from the public commons and leaving a legacy of devastating pollution. The law also does not include any environmental provisions or requirements for mine reclamation or cleanup. Continued on next page


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


Two-year Ban

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Oct/Nov 2015


International Community Attempts to Negotiate with Nature in Paris

Hurricane Patricia, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, as viewed from the International Space Station. Photo: Scott Kelly/NASA)

Nat Parry

This article was originally publishd online at, reprinted under Creative Commons license.

With more than 40,000 negotiators from 196 governments descending on Paris this week to negotiate a comprehensive accord to tackle climate change, it is hard to imagine that they could possibly reach an agreement that will satisfy everybody. The interests that each country brings to the table are so complex and diverse – especially when it comes to the touchy subjects of climate reparations and ensuring effective enforcement mechanisms for any sort of “binding” deal on how to actually reduce carbon emissions to safe levels – it is inconceivable that everyone (or anyone) will feel content at the end of these marathon negotiations in two weeks. This is likely why the executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, a Costa Rican diplomat named Christiana Figueres, has for months been lowering expectations for the outcome of the summit. While the goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) has long been deemed necessary to avoid the most serious effects of climate change – a future of drowned cities, desertifying croplands, and collapsing ecosystems – Figueres acknowledges that the negotiations, based on the declared “intended nationally determined contributions”(INDCs) of each country at the table, will probably not result in reaching that 2-degree goal.

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015

“I’ve already warned people in the press,” she said this summer. “If anyone comes to Paris and has a eureka moment—‘Oh, my God, the INDCs do not take us to two degrees!’—I will chop the head off whoever publishes that. Because I’ve been saying this for a year and a half.” As Politico explains it, rather than reaching 2-degree goal, “What would be a success for Figueres, the UN and many of the countries taking part is setting in motion a process starting in 2020 that ups greenhouse gas cuts over time. Figueres calls it ‘the start of a long journey.’” "The 40,000 negotiators engaging in two weeks of discussions and horse-trading in the French capital are not really negotiating with each other, but with Mother Nature." While it is true that taking the first step of this “long journey” is obviously necessary—and long overdue—in order to begin the process of mitigating climate change, and in that sense it is worth maintaining some optimism and positive thinking, what is less clear is whether nature will be as patient and understanding. What the international community seems to be forgetting is that the environment is governed by natural laws and if the science is correct regarding global warming, we cannot continue to postpone meaningful action on tackling climate change. Indeed, it is clear that the effects of climate change are already taking hold in major ways and are only expected to get worse, with large parts of the planet potentially rendered uninhabitable, according to the world’s leading climate scientists. Continued on page 20

Smith Mining

Continued from previous page A permanent withdrawal could come through legislation. The Southwestern Oregon Watershed and Salmon Protection Act of 2015 was introduced earlier this year by Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden and by Congressmen Jared Huffman and Peter DeFazio. Senator Mike McGuire introduced a Senate Joint Resolution (SJR-3) urging Congress and the President to permanently safeguard the unprotected portions of the North Fork Smith River in Oregon, in June successfully passing both the senate and assembly. The Smith River watershed in California was withdrawn from mineral entry in 1990 with the creation of the Smith River National Recreation Area, which came on the heels of a nickel mining effort mine near the small hamlet of Gasquet on the Middle Fork Smith River. “There’s nothing like a strip mine to galvanize support,” said Grant Werschkull of the Smith River Alliance. And in the case of the Smith River and these spectacular streams of the Wild Rivers Coast —there is a national constituency willing to work for protection.” BLM received an amazing 36,000 comments in favor of the proposed mineral withdrawal. During public comment meetings in Gold Beach and Grants Pass this September, more than two hundred wild river supporters attended each meeting and spoke against the mining projects. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife sent Michael vanHattem to the Grants Pass public meeting to explain the agency’s opposition to any strip mining in the Smith River watershed, calling it one of two “irreplaceable” watersheds in California in respect to salmonid population resiliency and biodiversity. His remarks inspired a resounding ovation from the crowd. In Del Norte, there has been unanimous opposition to the strip mining proposals and support for the mineral withdrawal. The Board of Supervisors unanimously opposed Red Flat’s application to use surface water for test drilling in the North Fork Smith watershed, saying that the project would cause “significant adverse environmental impacts” in the watershed possibly impacting the major drinking water source for county residents. “It is with this in mind the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors adamantly opposes this application or any application that would result in future strip mining in the Smith River watershed,” the Board’s July 2014 letter states. The Board of Supervisors, the Crescent City Council, the Gasquet and Big Rock Community Service Districts, Redwood National Park, and the Crescent City-Del Norte Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Bureau all submitted letters in support of the proposed mineral withdrawal in September. Visit for more information.


The Beach Beautification Project: How Adopt-a-Beach Began Jon Abbott

The following was sent to us in part as an ode to Sid Dominitz for the Oct/Nov issue of EcoNews, published here in the interest of providing a more detailed history of the origins of what has now become the Adopt-a-Beach and Coastal Cleanup Day programs, and a glimpse of early environmentalism on the North Coast.

To explain my part in the Adopt-a-Beach Program, believed to be the genesis of the largest single day volunteer effort in the United States, it’s necessary to understand that I am of Humboldt County. Although born and raised in Eureka, I’ve lived these past 35 years elsewhere, from Seattle to Madison, Wisconsin, and back to California-Salinas, then Alaska, back to Davis, Santa Cruz, and these past 25 years in Chico. Yet if asked where’s home, I say Humboldt County. I hunted, fished, and played ball, worked in two lumber mills, the Public Guardian’s Office, Humboldt State University Foundation, and the Public Health Department. I also worked in the hills, Panther Gap to be specific, in the early days of the green trade.

Those were merely jobs to me; another place, the Northcoast Environmental Center, germinated a seed planted long before and changed my perception of my place in the world. In part it began in biology class circa 1968, when a College of the Redwoods instructor mentioned the word “environmentalism,” explaining it would be a significant scientific field in the future and would increase awareness of natural systems and human influence on them. Although not a particularly astute student I nevertheless made note, and shortly after had occasion to mull the concept of human influence on wild places, albeit in a seemingly trifling manner. At seventeen years old with no place to get drunk, four friends and I parked on a dirt road beyond Cutten. As usual, we threw our beer empty bottles on the roadside, sometimes breaking them, sometimes not. The rest of the garbage went the same way. Then an older close friend decided he’d seen enough to “kick the ass of the next guy who littered.” The thought startled me; I wasn’t particularly worried about the ass-kicking but it was the notion—the first time a peer was concerned with litter. And he was (is) a friend whose words are worthy of consideration. But really, who cared if you threw your shit around? That I remember that moment indicates the idea had some impact on me. Little by little, I became aware of litter. The stuff was, in those days, everywhere, and until then I’d hardly noticed. These days it’s difficult to imagine oblivion when confronted by the crap people leave lying about. It disgusts most of us. When one visits places in other countries (the Yucatan Peninsula comes to mind) one is overwhelmed by the volume of litter, but in the ‘60s, despite national “litterbug” campaigns, to a teenager the stuff Continued on page 7 seemed a...

Testing Yields Crops Suited for North Coast

Jared Zystro In the fall of 2014 local farmer John LaBoyteux and I had sent commercial bakers samples of ten different wheat varieties we had grown. The results were in. Some of the varieties made bread that was too flat, or too pale. However, a few stood out, including ‘Canus’, an old Canadian wheat with hard, red seeds, and tall enough to compete with weeds. Unfortunately, it was also susceptible to becoming infected with strip rust, a problematic disease for wheat in our damp climate. The search for the perfect variety would continue with new trials. Finding the right varieties is critical for success in Humboldt , especially for crops not typically grown here, like wheat and quinoa. But why bother with trials? Don’t seed companies and universities already research and report the best varieties? While agriculture is a major part of our local economy, it is a miscrocosm compared to the state or the country. Our climate is unlike many of the major agricultural regions. Therefore, neither seed companies or universities are likely to have results relevant to us. To address this issue, Organic Seed Alliance (OSA), a non-profit focused on ensuring farmers have access to the seeds they need, partnering with local farmers to find the best varieties for our area. In addition to wheat, we’ve been testing quinoa, silage corn, sweet corn, and other crops. Quinoa is a crop that has become more and more important in Humboldt County. A relative of beets and spinach, quinoa produces edible seeds with high levels of protein. It requires cool summers to produce good yields, and unlike almost anywhere else in the U.S., the coast of Humboldt County has summers that are cool enough to successfully produce quinoa. Continued on page 10

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Oct/Nov 2015


Dr. Loon

Continued from page 4 exchange, and recognized it as the ancestor of its own valuations. It honored the great cycles, the seasons, and it worked and prayed for the return of the salmon. It said that wealth comes from the Earth, and that we belong to it, not the other way around. Resistance required that they act on these beliefs, by practicing reciprocity, by sharing, and by caring for people and places. Besides creating new social forms, this “alternative” community developed effective technologies for low-impact living, for resisting further damage to forests and rivers, and for restoring what was left. The newly developing social and environmental ethic represented a way of giving back, and of fighting back, protecting what remained. It was a rural culture based on life, on growing things —not just marijuana. The weed economy was here before anybody thought to grow it for money. At the end of the seventies and into the eighties, as law enforcement escalated the economic lifestyle wars into a fullscale assault, their efforts instead drove up prices, created a brand, and opened a market that made it possible for the weed economy to more firmly establish itself. Weed money financed a resistance that ended the helicopter and gun show, and reduced at least a fraction of the prohibition industry’s power and arrogance. Beyond resistance, through legal battles and direct action, the weed economy also waged a counter-offensive against the forces that were heedlessly turning trees into money and rivers into mud. The marijuana wars and the forest wars were just different fronts in a struggle that was essentially cultural and economic. Now that the crusade against marijuana is winding down, it may be that the more serious threat to the weed economy—the real war—is just beginning. The Price of a Life (pdf ) can be downloaded from

The book will be printed locally, funded by fifty $50 pledges which will get you a signed copy and make several more copies available at cost through local bookstores, clinics, and grow shops. Address questions, comments, pledges to

Keystone Denied but the Fight’s Not Over

Dan Sealy On November 5, President Obama finally denied TransCanada’s permit for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from Canada across the U.S. to the Gulf Coast, on grounds that to combat climate change we needed to “keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them.” But does denial of one pipeline matter? Climate change is a complex, long-term environmental issue with no simple finish line. However, Keystone represented a line in the sand that environmentalists, tribes and landowners along the proposed path drew to stop the carbon road of no return. Leave this dirtiest of oil in the ground. Climate change as an environmental concern and Keystone XL in particular has in recent years sparked the same sorts of rallies and passion as did the first Earth Day in 1970. Just as Earth Day protests spawned the creation of new community

organizations like the Northcoast Environmental Center, the collaborative voices against Keystone have done the same—with thousands of people getting arrested for taking a stand. The threat of this pipeline spawned new groups to work in their communities to divest from non-sustainable fuels and to boost alternative energy sources. This is why it matters. Today the public is much better educated about those alternatives. People are engaging in intellectual efforts and research to make them even stronger. The struggle to deny Keystone has brought new energy to conservation organizations fighting the pipeline such as Bill McKibben’s 350. org, Tarsands Action and others in the U.S. and Canada. Now is the time to celebrate; thank those who have been bold leaders and then gather our new friends and get back into the fight. It’s not over yet.

Spring Release for Marine Protected Area Videos

Delia Bense-Kang The Humboldt Marine Protected Area Collaborative is creating a series of short, interview-based videos that will tell unique stories of our relationship with the North Coast’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the ocean. The video will be shot and produced under the direction of filmmaker and Humboldt State University (HSU) Professor of Film, David Scheerer. Using a combination of HSU student filmmakers and paid crew, the collaborative will shoot original footage in a variety of locations to focus on telling short stories that explore students’ perceptions of what makes a healthy ocean and the roles marine protected areas play. Interviews will include local fishermen, tribal elders, researchers and community members involved in the creation and management of MPAs. The actual production of the video is also an excellent outreach tool. On October 27, for example, a group of Trinidad students and families took a field trip to the natural playground of Houda Point (Camel Rock) to

film footage for the film series. The negative low tide at the time provided an opportunity to enter caves otherwise underwater and climb rocks that would normally be offshore. The kids were enchanted by everything from tiny sea snails to surfers, or as one girl referred to them, “seal people.” The videos are tentatively scheduled to be released late Spring of 2016.



Find great, inexpensive books to relax with by the river 6th & H Streets Arcata • 826-2545 Open Mon-Fri 10am-6pm • Sat 10am-5pm

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015


Eye on

directly from this program. Many of the communities receiving grants are in urban centers and areas of economic hardship. Administered by the National Park Service, the program has been a boon across the country—and to our region in particular. Since the program began, just under $13 million funded projects ranging from the purchase of additional lands for state parks, to boat ramps and fishing ramps in local communities. Statewide, California has received $287,719,583 to fund 1,542 projects approved by local, state and federal agencies. The Forest Legacy Program (FLP) is an example of conservation achieved through the LWCF. A local example is the Eel River Conservation Area which received money to acquire conservation easements on private forest lands with willing landowners.

Washington Dan Sealy, NEC Legislative Analyst As the new Speaker of the House, Representative Ryan from Wisconsin takes up the gavel in the U.S. House and takes charge of the legislative agenda. Congress’ remaining work to determine agency budgets (appropriations) is converging with the usual drama of using legislation to drive the national conversation relating to issues for the elections next year rather than to enact policies and laws. That convergence is leading to the usual backroom deals with a threat of bad environmental riders and little time for conservation organizations to speak up. Here is what is going on right now:

Using Public Money from Oil and Gas Leases to Protect Public Lands and Water Though gas leases on public lands including the off-shore wells are of great concern within the conservation community, the emerging environmental movement was able to extract some minimal benefits from a brilliant program. The 1965 Land & Water Conservation fund (LWCF) provided more than $16.7 billion to acquire new federal recreation lands and was granted to State and local governments. However, as of this writing, the program was allowed to expire by Congress. The program uses money collected from gas and oil leases to fund projects identified by the public and government to increase recreation and protection for our public lands and waters. Whether you are a hiker, biker, surfer, soccer player or angler, you probably have benefited

Here is the breakdown by county: HUMBOLDT: $7,223,882.46 for 31 projects DEL NORTE: $4,474,365.45 for 9 projects TRINITY: $29,540.90 for one project MENDOCINO: $1,040,520.48 for 10 projects This program is in limbo right now because of a debate that goes back to the Sagebrush Rebellion-era of President Reagan and Interior Secretary, James Watt: states vs. federal government. Though almost every county in the nation has received grant money, there has been a shift from using the money to purchase lands for federal uses like National Parks, to projects identified by states. Representative Bishop of Utah, the leader in re-writing the legislation, has indicated he supports reauthorization but only if it shifts more funds to states to use. Bishop has also supported legislation to return federal public lands—such as Bureau of Land Management or Forest Service lands—to states or private use. Hopefully Congress will resolve their philosophical differences soon so the funds can be used for the need to provide for outdoor recreation. Continued on next page


Continued from page 3 ...salmon, fisher, and southern torrent salamander, traffic, noise, etc. will be mitigated to “less than significant.” However, what mitigations will remain after the Planning Commission review is unclear until their recommendations are finalized on December 3. With an estimated 19,000 parcels eligible for cultivation, and very few limits on expansion of new and existing grows, the environmental review has been cast into question. It remains to be seen how this ordinance will put the brakes on an industry that has taken advantage of the region’s infamous lack of enforcement. Impacts from illegal water diversion, irresponsible grading, and clearing of forests for grow sites have expanded exponentially in recent years. Salmon streams are particularly hard hit from the combined impacts of drought, decades of harmful logging practices, and unchecked marijuana operations. The cumulative effects from all of these impacts threaten our once-great salmon runs, which are teetering on the brink of extinction. Allowing unlimited new grows without meaningful limits would be unconscionable. The Board of Supervisors will need to make major changes for the ordinance and its MND to withstand the inevitable legal challenges. Stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to voice your views on the need to protect salmon streams, wildlife habitat, timberland, and farmland while providing reasonable paths to legitimacy as the end of marijuana prohibition looms on the horizon.

Sign up for NEC action alerts at For more info, visit com/2124/Medical-Marijuana-LandUse-Ordinance

Japan Tsunami Marine Debris Call or email the NEC to register in advance, or for more information: or 707-822-6918.

Monitoring 9

Humboldt County: SAMOA BEACH


SATURDAY @ 10:00 AM January 2, 2015

SUNDAY @ 10:00 AM January 3, 2015


Beach Cleanups Oct/Nov 2015


Crop Testing


This is important because recent increases in international demand for quinoa have resulted in increaded exports, prices and shortages in the mountainous regions of South America where it is traditionally grown. Blake Richard of Wild Rose Farm has been growing an increasing amount of quinoa for the past decade,improving the genetics of his own ‘Rainbow’ quinoa through seed-saving. He approached OSA last year to help him develop new varieties, and testing continues, as well as increasing seed to make the best new varieties more widely available. Silage corn is an important local crop despite being just a small part of the dairy cow diet. Local production has some challenges. In addition to there being few varieties that are able to mature in cool coastal Humboldt County, the major corn breeding companies have for the past decade or more focused on varieties released with genetically engineered (GE) traits. OSA has been conducting silage corn trials in 2014 and 2015 with local farmers Paul Guintoli and Andy Titus to provide coastal dairy farmers with better information about silage corn variety choices. OSA is also working with local vegetable farmers. This year, OSA partnered with the College of the Redwoods and farmer John LaBoyetaux to conduct trials of 143 kinds of sweet corn. In 2012 and 2013, OSA worked with local farmer Eddie Tanner to conduct trials of green beans, cucumbers, carrots, and broccoli. One of the standout green beans was an old variety that hadn’t been sold commercially for decades. It yielded incredibly well, had the best flavor, and resisted the molds that affected some beans in our cool damp climate. Local seed producer Bill Reynolds began producing seed of this green bean. He rechristened it ‘OSU Blues’ and it is now being sold nationally. Finding and developing the best varieties for our area is a key part of strengthening our local agricultural systems, and everyone can play a part. Complete trial results are available from www. If you are interested in conducting your own trials, download our guide to conducting variety trials. Contact for more information.

...or approximately 21 percent of the Headwaters Forest Reserve. In 2014, we began a second round of thinning with an added goal of introducing more spatial complexity to mimic conditions found in old-growth forests within Headwaters. We created a mosaic of tree density across second-growth stands by building off recent restoration work completed in Redwood National and State Parks, and research completed in partnership with Humboldt State University published in 2013 (“Modeling Young Stand Development towards the Old-growth Reference Condition in Evergreen Mixed-Conifer Stands at Headwaters Forest Reserve, California”). This study helped us understand the conditions in old-growth stands and allowed us to model trajectories towards old-growth under various restoration scenarios. Old-growth redwood forests are structurally diverse, with a range of tree sizes, reiterated tree

Continued from page 7

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015

Continued from 4

trunks, high tree and stand biomass, and complex canopies. Headwaters old-growth is characterized by a mixture of redwood (50-70 percent of overstory trees) and Douglas-fir trees (30-47 percent) with a density of 70-80 trees per acre. Unthinned secondgrowth stands, on the other hand, are dominated by Douglas-fir (60-80 percent) with a density over 1,000 trees per acre. Forest modeling showed that a single thinning scenario, while significantly reducing the density of trees (from 1,200 to 250 trees per acre) and restoring a more natural mix of redwood and Douglas-fir trees, was not sufficient to restore the old-growth reference condition in a 300-year timeframe. A scenario of two rounds of thinning was needed to further reduce stand density (to fewer than 250 trees per acre), promote and sustain growth among overstory trees, allow for snag recruitment, and to create a multilayered, uneven-aged, complex forest. The scenario of two rounds of thinning set the second-growth on a more direct trajectory towards the old-growth reference condition, which illustrates the need for multiple rounds of thinning when restoring our north coast forests. Standing among these ancient trees, a thousand years old perhaps, I am humbled by how long it takes to restore these forests. As I take one last look up into the stratosphere of the canopy before heading back into the glaring light of the second-growth, I wonder at the role of restoration in creating the beauty that I see before me. I think about the long time that it will take for our forest to be what it once was and I think about the surprising results of our study: that if we do nothing, our young secondgrowth forests will take a very long time to develop the majesty of our old-growth forests, if ever. I wonder how long species like the northern spotted owl and the marbled murrelet have to wait for forests to be restored. I am struck by a final thought before I descend down the old logging road, “Do we wait and see or do we try, try to help make the world whole again?” The BLM is now amending its Headwaters Resource Management Plan to allow the agency to continue restoring the Headwaters Forest Reserve.

For more information, visit:


Kin to the Earth: by Sandra Jerabek with thanks to Oregon Wild, Crater Lake Oral History Project, Tolowa Dunes Stewards, and Kathy Wood We lost our dear friend Wendell Wood last August, a true champion for the wild. At age 66, he appeared overflowing with health and enthusiasm until his last moment, which was hiking in old growth redwoods. He was doing what he loved most. Without a whisper of warning, he was gone.

Starting the Northcoast Environmental Center Wendell Wood was a dedicated environmental advocate, committed naturalist, and gifted teacher. Though most known for his decades with Oregon Wild, Wendell helped to form or support dozens of conservation groups in Oregon and California —co-founding Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC), Friends of Del Norte, and more recently Tolowa Dunes Stewards. Wendell helped organize and staff the NEC while he was a student at HSU, considering these activities with the NEC as the beginning of his active involvement with saving the planet. With the Friends of Del Norte, Wendell was a very early advocate (in 1973) for the protection of Blue Creek, a tributary to the Klamath River which to this day provides one of its only cold water refuges and nearly pristine spawning grounds for salmon.

Every Person Can Make a Huge Difference After HSU, Wendell began one of the most effective conservation careers in Oregon history. It is possible that he saved more old growth forests and established more wilderness areas, than any other single person in that state. Wendell and his wife Kathy moved to Oregon in 1976 after he accepted a job as a high school biology teacher. However Wendell soon succumbed to the pull of activism. He joined the board and staff of the Oregon Wilderness Coalition in 1981 (which became Oregon Natural Resources Council, or ONRC, and is now Oregon Wild). During the 1980s, clear-cutting public forests was advancing at such a rapid pace that author William L. Sullivan reported hiking on trails, shown on his then recently purchased U.S. Forest Service map, that had suddenly disappeared without a trace under “an impenetrable mess of slash and stumps.” (Stranded, Sullivan was forced to spend the night camping on a new gravel logging road.) As early as 1981 Wendell began the campaign of systematically appealing illegal timber harvest plans on federal lands throughout Oregon, thus igniting what later were called the “Spotted Owl Wars.” Wendell at one point filed over 100 appeals


Wendell Wood

in a single day. His group got kicked out of their free University of Oregon office space as they became “too controversial.” In 1991 Wendell published the 318 page “A Walking Guide to Oregon’s Ancient Forests,” which he and his wife produced as they spent every weekend for two years locating the best remaining old growth stands—many of them still unprotected and in peril. Too many cases, as he wrote in the book, are “still a race against time.” Eventually Wendell’s group and others won Endangered Species Act listing for the Northern spotted owl. Appeals brought federal timber sales to a halt, forcing President Clinton to convene stakeholders in 1993 and craft the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994, which sharply reduced logging on federal lands in the Pacific Northwest and northern California. “I feel like there will always be somebody else out there who will be willing to negotiate, [that] they’ll be willing to give things up,” Wendell explained later as part of a Crater Lake oral history project. “What I think is harder is to say ‘no.’ ONRC has been asked why we are so confrontational, [and] the answer is ‘I don’t wish to be confrontational, I just don’t know anybody else that is willing to do it.’” Upon relocating to Klamath Falls in 1993, Wendell took up the cause of the region’s forgotten, water-starved and farmed National Wildlife Refuges and endangered endemic fish species – playing a central role in ESA listings for the short-nosed and Lost River suckers. Time and again in Wendell’s career at Oregon Wild he would voluntarily forego paychecks to ensure there were resources to hire other staff to carry out yet more conservation work. Some of these young people have gone on to do great things.

Wendell’s “Retirement” to Del Norte County About 15 years ago, Wendell “retired” to Del Norte. He told me that he did so because our county and northernmost Humboldt are among the “last best wild places.” He became

Wendell Woods on a Tolowa Dunes Biodiversity Hike, 2012.

well known as a captivating trip leader willing to freely share his deep knowledge of the landscape and its species. Leading birding trips from his cabin adjacent to Klamath Marsh as well as mushroom and wildflower identification hikes across Oregon and northern California. Wendell’s love for the natural world was a gift he passed on to many thousands. Oregon State University professor Dr. Paul Hammond has described our Lake Earl dunes as “one of the richest hotspots for biodiversity of both plants and animals found along the West Coast of the United States.” Wendell however was the one who quietly set about fully documenting this lushness of species: identifying and photographing nearly 500 vascular plant and 400 mushroom/fungi species, and 395 marine invertebrate species. Wendell also won a ban on ATVs and dirt bikes, and worked with EPIC to end cattle grazing, in Tolowa Dunes State Park, while getting volunteers to remove miles of old barbed wire cattle fencing. Where these former ranching day remnants tangled hazardously, Roosevelt elk now graze. Indeed it is his wife Kathy Wood who equally deserves our undying gratitude for supporting their family, and giving all of us the gift of Wendell Wood. We will miss you and remember you Wendell—forever. And we are grateful for the countless places that you stood up for.

Oct/Nov 2015






Redwood Region Audubon Society FIELD TRIPS

Saturday, December 12: Riverside Ranch/Salt River Restoration Project. Visit this exciting, newly restored but still-developing wetland that is otherwise only accessible by boat at this time. We will meet at the Ferndale Fairgrounds at 8 a.m. and carpool from there, returning by noon. Dress warmly and be prepared to walk a few miles on an easy gravel road. Please register in advance for this trip, because the number of participants may be restricted. The focus will be on waterfowl, shorebirds, and winter raptors. Call Sean McAllister at (707) 496-8790 for more information and to register. Sunday, December 13: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This is a wonderful 2- to 3-hour trip for people wanting to learn the birds of the Humboldt Bay area. It takes a leisurely pace with emphasis on enjoying the birds! Beginners are more than welcome. Meet at the

Refuge Visitor Center at 9 a.m. Call Jude Power or David Fix (707-822-3613) for more information. Saturday, December 19: Southern Humboldt Community Park. Jay Sooter (707-444-8001) and/or John Gaffin will lead this monthly walk. All ages and experience levels are encouraged to participate and revel in the beauty of the park and its avian inhabitants on this easy 2- to 3-hour walk. Binoculars are not provided, and dogs are not allowed; field guides are usually available, but please bring your own if possible. Steady rain cancels. Meet at 9:30 a.m., parking in Tooby Park, about 100 ft from the main entrance to the SHCP. Sunday, December 20: Eureka Waterfront. Meet at 9 a.m. at the foot of W. Del Norte St., where we will scope for birds off the public dock until everyone assembles. We will then drive to the base of the Hikshari’ Trail at Truesdale Street and bird along the trail to the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. Leader: Ralph Bucher (707-499-1247; Saturday, January 9: Winter Rarities. We will start in Arcata and end in the Ferndale area, concentrating on looking for rarities that were found on the Arcata and

December Program: Friday, Dec 11

Christmas Bird Count Primer & Potluck In preparation for one of our biggest and most adventurous annual birding events, local birder/biologist Sean McAllister will share some of the history and past highlights of our 5 local CBCs. He will also review some of the identification challenges that may be encountered during the counts. This will be a good opportunity to meet the coordinators and sign up to participate in your favorite counts. The potluck (optional) starts at 6:30 p.m. Bring a dish to share; RRAS will provide drinks, plates, and utensils. Program starts at 7:30 p.m. at the SIX RIVERS MASONIC LODGE, 251 Bayside Road, Arcata.

Centerville CBCs while also enjoying all the species we could expect to see along the way. Most years we see around 90 to 100 species total and even sometimes find our own rarity! Rob Fowler (707-839-3493; migratoriusfwlr@ will lead. We will meet at 7:30 a.m. at the Arcata Marsh G Street parking lot. Bring a lunch and expect to end around 4 p. m. Dress warm; heavy rain cancels. Sunday, January 10: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. See December 13. Saturday, January 16: Southern Humboldt Community Park. See December 19 (same meeting time). Sunday, January 17: Eureka Waterfront. See December 20.

RRAS’s Annual Banquet and Art Auction

will be held February 27, 2016, at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge in Arcata. Geoff Hill will be guest speaker. This is a popular and fun event, and you don’t want to miss it. Look for details in the next issue of The Sandpiper.

January Program: Friday, Jan 8

The Fantastic Birds of New Guinea New Guinea is renowned for a dizzying diversity of endemic birds. From the mesmerizing breeding displays of the birds of paradise to the stunning stature of cassowaries, the birds of New Guinea have long fascinated bird watchers and scientists alike. David Price, a renowned herpetologist and bird watcher who has described several new taxa from New Guinea, will rely on his decades of experience living and studying in New Guinea to give us an exciting account of that country’s birds. The program starts at 7:30 p.m. at EUREKA HIGH SCHOOL LECTURE HALL at the corner of Humboldt and K Streets. Bring a mug to enjoy shade-grown coffee, and please come fragrance-free.

© David Price

Every Saturday: Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. These are our famous rain-or-shine docent-led field trips at the Marsh. Bring your binocular(s) and have a great morning birding! Meet in the parking lot at the end of South I Street (Klopp Lake) in Arcata at 8:30 a.m. Trips end around 11 a.m. Dec. 5: Joe Ceriani; Dec. 12: Larry Karsteadt; Dec. 19: Tristan McKee; Dec. 26: Ken Burton.


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 — Ralph Bucher......707-443-6944 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.

Thinking of Joining the National Audubon Society?

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

Chapter Membership Application

Yes, I’d like to join.

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

NAME_______________________________ ADDRESS___________________________ CITY ______________________________ STATE____________ZIP______________ email ______________________________ Local Chapter Code: C24 C1ZC240Z Please make checks to the National Audubon Society. Send this application and your check to:

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

--------------LOCAL CHAPTER-------------


President’s Column

By Hal Genger

Welcome to the issue of The Sandpiper that ends one year and begins the next! Here are some of the results of our yearly board retreat. Ken Burton and Cindy Moyer joined Rob Fowler on the Field Trips Committee to more equitably distribute Rob’s responsibilities. Thank you, Rob, for all your work, and thank you, Ken and Cindy, for joining the committee. They will maintain the recurring trips, add special trips, and maintain a list of longdistance destinations, diversity being the goal. Please let them know if you have any suggestions or would like to lead a trip. Those of you who attended our general meetings at Eureka High School got to see part of the incredible bird collection housed at the school. RRAS is involved with creating docent activities with the collection, updating the name tags, and helping with preservation. We are working in conjunction with Tamar Danufsky, the wildlife bird curator at Humboldt State University, and are applying for grant monies to improve the cabinets and keep the specimens in good shape. We want to do something significant for bird habitat. This is an important concept in our local urban and rural regions. RRAS has divided its interest in this arena into 2 categories: site-specific regions and general stewardship. Our focus is on 3 site-specific locations. One is Parcel 4 behind the Eureka Mall, which is on hold while the City of Eureka resolves the homeless situation and removes the concrete structures. The second is the Bayland property just east of Highway 101 between Old Arcata Road and Bayside Cutoff. RRAS is currently forming a working relationship with Arcata Rotary and the City of Arcata to make some of this property more bird friendly and accessible to the public. Third, we are

also interested in protecting the cottonwoods along the Mad River near Blue Lake and are forming a group of interested parties to develop a long-term plan. RRAS is also interested in other possible land acquisitions to improve bird habitat. Please let us know if you have any ideas. RRAS plans to promote general stewardship by scheduling a general meeting on bird-friendly yards and organizing garden tours of bird-friendly yards. We are also collecting information on techniques to develop bird-friendly yards and cat-free areas or entire yards. When completed, these will be available for local schools and the general public at RRAS functions. Happy New Year everyone!

Winter Raptor Surveys

Please join us for the 9th consecutive season of winter raptor counts in Loleta and Ferndale! Once a month, we run a standardized 27-mile route and count all vultures, raptors, and shrikes observed within a 1-kmwide transect. Surveys typically run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. No experience or expertise is necessary. For more information, call Ken Burton at 707-499-1146.

Conservation Committee Meeting Day Change Beginning December 10, 2015, the Conservation Committee will meet on the second Thursday of the month at noon at the Golden Harvest Restaurant in Arcata. This change of the meeting day from the second Wednesday was the result of request and a poll. Thursday won, but it was a tie between Arcata and Eureka, so the location will remain the same for the time-being.

Be Careful What We Ask for But When We Get It, Insist on Enforcement of Its Meaning

By Jim Clark

The other night at a political social event, in a brief conversation with Patrick Higgins, Division 5 Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation & Conservation District (District) Commissioner, I heard about the difficulties he had when it was proposed that the Woodley Island Gerald O. Hansen Wildlife Area (GOHWA) be opened to public access. It appears that both wildlife and invasive nonnative vegetation have flourished since the preserve was established, so evaluation will be required before actual physical work can be approved. A similar situation occurred on Parcel 4, behind the Bayshore Mall, back when the homeless encampments could be counted on one hand. The City of Eureka requested permission from the California Coastal Commission (CCC) to prune native vegetation and remove some nonnative vegetation. Permission was denied on the basis that trimming native vegetation would have a negative effect on the natural characteristics of this coastal area. The result was that vegetation continued to provide seclusion for illegal camping, which likely resulted in far greater damage to the “natural characteristics” of the parcel than if vegetation had been controlled to discourage such camping. Most of us would agree that passage of the California Coastal Act (CCA) and creation of the CCC was a good thing. Likewise, we would probably agree that the CCC has sometimes been too wishy-washy or too rigid and short-sighted in its interpretation of the CCA. These are the

risks that come with all regulations. It is our duty as citizens, more so as members of a conservation organization, to do what we can to hold the CCC to make decisions that are consistent with the intent of the CCA, not just the words. This applies to all agencies at all levels that are responsible for enforcing environmental regulations. Meanwhile back at Woodley Island’s GOHWA, we have an opportunity for public wildlife viewing in a unique environment, provided it is done properly. Management of the GOHWA is the responsibility of the District and is part of the mitigation for development of the island. The CCC is correct in requiring compliance with the terms of the original agreement, but it is up to us to see that the original intent is carried out. How do we do that? We volunteer! What do we need to do? Look up original agreements, identify and count birds, attend meetings, meet with and write to elected representatives, comment on environmental documents, and more. Among the members of RRAS are many of us who have expertise in the disciplines required for environmental review and comment, even discounting those who might have a conflict of interest. This expertise is not limited to biologic science but includes political and social science, geography, accounting, writing skills, and the art of dealing with bureaucracy. We have the makings of a darn good environmental consulting organization within our ranks, no resume required. It’s sometimes hard work but often fun; the pay stinks, but the rewards are great. The RRAS Conservation Committee wants YOU!

The Christmas Bird Counts Once again, RRAS is sponsoring 5 local Christmas Bird Counts between December 19 and January 5. This is the 116th count, involving over 50,000 observers throughout the U.S. and the world, and is not only fun but also a classic example of citizen science. The data gathered have been used over the years by researchers and other interested parties to track winter bird populations in a consistent way.

Ways you can participate: • Give counters access to your property. • Keep a list of birds that you see in your yard on that day (be a “feeder watcher”). • Join a team to cover a territory near your home. (New birders are paired with veterans, so you don’t have to be an expert.)

New Members RRAS welcomes the following new member and subscriber:

Hydesville – Kate Rowe We look forward to seeing you on field trips and at our monthly programs.

All are welcome! Call the contacts listed below to participate at any level. If you don’t have a team, you will be assigned where needed and according to your skill level.

ARCATA – Saturday, December 19. The count circle is 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, south including Freshwater, and to Eureka (including Myrtletown and Cutten) along the waterfront to include Hikshari` Trail. Contact: Daryl Coldren QuiAvisPetit@aol. (916-384-8089; com). DEL NORTE – Sunday, December 20. The 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. Contact: Alan Barron (707-4658904; or Gary Lester (707-839-3373; garys.

CENTERVILLE BEACH TO KING SALMON – Sunday, January 3, 2016. The count circle is centered on Loleta, divided into geographic sectors of (1) Fields Landing, King Salmon, College of the Redwoods; (2) Table Bluff; (3) Loleta; (4) Fortuna; (5) Ferndale; (6) Centerville Road; (7) Port Kenyon Road; (8) Grizzly Bluff Road; (9) South Spit; (10) Centerville Beach; (11) Elk River Valley; (12) Humboldt Hill; and (13) Salt River. Contact: Sean McAllister (707-4968790; TALL TREES – Tuesday, January 5, 2016. The count circle extends from Big Lagoon to Orick and Lyons Ranch. Contact: Ken Burton (707-499-1146; shrikethree@

WILLOW CREEK – date to be determined (weather permitting). The count circle, centered on Willow Creek, includes Horse Mountain, portions of the South Fork and Main Stem of the Trinity River, the small community of Salyer, and the southern Hoopa Valley. Contact: Gary Lester (707-839-3373; To help counters prepare for identifying the birds they see, RRAS is sponsoring a brush-up session and potluck dinner on Friday, December 18. Look for the announcement under December Program.

Northern Shrike, Arcata Bottom, HUM, © Jared Hughey

Keep Up-to-Date Through RRAS

Listserve Be reminded about field trips and programs and learn about upcoming meetings, public hearings, and symposia of interest to RRAS members and other concerned nature lovers. Subscribe in 1 of 2 ways: through a Web page link at http:// group/rras or by e-mail to rras-subscribe@ .

Postings should have complete information. This listserv is not for posting bird sightings.

Field Notes

By Sean McAllister


September 1 to October 31, 2015 Field Notes is a compilation of select bird reports and news from the field, covering Humboldt, Del Norte, Trinity, western Siskiyou, and northern Mendocino counties. Reports are acquired from eBird (, the “North Western California Bird Box” (707-822- LOON), nwcalbird list server (, and those emailed directly to me ( For more details, these sources can be accessed directly. Note: Not all reports presented here have been vetted. What a Fall! September and October this year captured the heart of fall migration–and the hearts of ardent birders. It has been one of those outstanding falls, made possible by the combination of a stream of rarities (and megararities!) and by the staunch efforts of a vibrant birding community. Owing to the sheer number of noteworthy birds observed this period, we can’t present all of the details on this page. Go to for more detailed observations. MCAS = Mendocino Coast Audubon Society; MOb = Many Observers; ROC = rare on the coast Showcase

Great Shearwater, Off Fort Bragg, MEN, © Sean McAllister

Emperor Goose: 1, with 2 Greater White-fronted Geese, Smith River bottoms, 6-9 Oct (GA, MObs), the 1st regional record in 10 years • Arctic Loon: 1, Humboldt Bay entrance, 25-27 Sep (TM, SM, CO), likely the same bird that was reported last period on north Humboldt Bay near Samoa Bridge, would be only the 2nd confirmed record for the region; 1 (same?), Big Lagoon, 29 Sep-25 Oct (TM) • Great Shearwater: 1, MCAS Fort Bragg pelagic trip, 18 Oct (RF, TE, MOb), found only in Atlantic waters; participants were stunned and elated to see this species in a mixed raft of shearwaters about 12 mi offshore of Fort Bragg in Northern Mendocino county, 1st regional record and one of <20 for the state • Black-vented Shearwater: 1, 4 Oct, was seen from the North Jetty during a well-attended daylong BBQ/birding event; 6 Oct, a report came from the Mendocino coast of up to 100 per-minute flying north just offshore, 7 Oct, offshore between Humboldt and Del Norte counties, thousands streamed by. This species, which breeds off the coast of Baja, is rarely seen north of Sonoma County. With such big numbers, we can hope to spot it on our local Christmas Bird Counts • Brown Booby: 1, North Jetty, 16 Oct (TM, SB, BE, CD); 1, MCAS Fort Bragg pelagic trip, 18 Oct (MOb). Booby reports were already

First of Season Greater White-fronted Goose (first flock): 13 Sep (KB, EE, CO, BB) • Sooty Fox Sparrow: 4 Sep (WD) • Swamp Sparrow: 5 Oct (EF) • White-throated Sparrow: 2 Oct (CWe) Stragglers Olive-sided Flycatcher: 22 Sep (BE) • Swainson’s Thrush: 29 Oct (MOb)

Cerulean Warbler, Samoa, HUM, © Rob Fowler

on the rise before this El Niño year. Now it is reasonable to have during a sea watch or pelagic trip • Swainson’s Hawk: 1, Table Bluff, 1 Sep (TL); 1, Bear River Ridge, 26 Sep (RH) • Chimney Swift: 1, Arcata, 29-30 Sep (EE, MOb). One was seen entering and exiting a chimney with Vaux’s Swifts. It takes skill and focus to separate Chimney Swift from the very similar Vaux’s: Elias helped a group of other birders see the subtle differences in size, shape, and flight behavior. This might well have been the same bird that was observed elsewhere in Arcata back in July by TM. • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher: 1, Arcata bottoms, 29 Oct (KI, MOb) seen for a couple hours, Humboldt’s 10th record, bird made a delightful showing as it joined 2 Tropical Kingbirds in the Arcata Bottoms before being chased off by a kestrel. • Wood Thrush: 1, Sunnybrae, 28-31 Oct (EC, MOb), the 2nd regional record, found by EC from the porch of his apartment! The only other record, in 1984, was also in Sunnybrae • Cerulean Warbler: 1, Samoa, 10-12 Oct (TM, BE), generally considered the holy grail of warblers and certainly the subject of many birder fantasies, anxiety would give way to satisfaction when a horde of birders from here and there got to enjoy the region’s 3rd Cerulean during its 3-day stay • Prothonotary Warbler: 1, Arcata, 4 Oct (GB); 1, Arcata, 16 Oct (fide EE), although it didn’t stick around for others to enjoy, this bird showed up at GB’s feeder! • Worm-eating Warbler: 1, Cooper Gulch, 20-30 Oct (TM, MOb), only the 3rd regional record in the last 20 years, these warblers are notorious skulkers of low, dense vegetation; this one was decidedly more cooperative than the last one that spent the winter at Shay Park a few years ago • Dickcissel: 1, Alexandre Dairy, 6 -7 Oct (JS); 1, Arcata bottoms, 6-9 Oct (EE, CR).

Wood Thrush, Arcata, HUM, © Gary Bloomfield

Other Notes The Harlan’s Red-tailed Hawk has returned to the Bayside Cutoff area for the 13th year! • Ferruginous Hawk: One reportedly has returned for its 21st year! McKinleyville, 17 Sep (GL, LL) • 24 warbler species were observed during the period. Let It Snow! As this goes to the editors, 3 Snow Buntings have been observed in the region (details in the next issue), including 1 in the company of Snowy Plovers at Clam Beach! There have been a few reports of Snow Goose.

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Arcata Bottom, HUM, © Matt Lau

Thanks to all who submitted their reports–keep them coming! Roger Adamson, Glenn Anderson, Sandra Andersen, Don Bemont, Samantha Bacon, Alan Barron, Dave Bengston, Gary Bloomfield, Bob Brown, Heather Brown, Lucas Brug, Ken Burton, Greg Chapman, Eric Culbertson, Cedric Duhalde, Walter Duffy, Todd Easterla, Elias Elias, Brad Elvert, Gary Falxa, Elizabeth Feucht, David Fix, Rob Fowler, John Gaffin, Stan Harris, Karen Havlena, Rob Hewitt, Jared Hughey, Ken Irwin, Thomas Kallmeyer (TKa), Deven KammerichsBerke, Bob Keiffer, Gail Kenney, Trevor Kumec, Tony Kurz (TKz), Alexandra Lamb, Matt Lau, Tom Leskiw, Gary Lester, Lauren Lester, Ron LeValley, Paul Lohse, Annie Meyer, Curtis Marantz, Sean McAllister, Tristan McKee, Moe Morrissette, Richard Norton, Chet Ogan, Nora Papian, Donald Pendleton, Linda Pittman, Tom Quetchenbach, Alexandra Robinson, Paul Roush, Casey Ryan, Greg Schrott, Paul Senyszyn, Keith Slauson, John Sterling, Steve Stump, Don Sutherland, Linda Terrill, Scott Terrill, Dorothy Tobkin, Carol West, Liz West, Carol Wilson (CWi), Nora Winge.

Eye on Washington Continued from page 9

Congress may vote as soon as next week on H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015, which includes an alarming amendment with potential to limit the authorities of states, tribes, and natural resource agencies. The amendment, from Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Jerry McNerney, also provides a pathway for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to bypass important environmental laws including the Endangered Species Act and the Clean Water Act. In a statement to the press, Sierra Club Legislative Director Melinda Pierce said: “What started off as a productive bipartisan collaboration has imploded as the allies of fossil fuel corporations have hijacked energy legislation in the House. (H.R. 8) is a polluter grab bag giveaway” disguised as energy legislation. This reckless bill pushes dirty fuels, increases dangerous carbon pollution and fattens the wallets of oil and coal CEOs,” Pierce said.

Nuclear Waste Piling Up

California had more bad news regarding nuclear waste disposal and storage. Residents near the decommissioned San Onofre nuclear power plant were upset when the California Coastal Commission unanimously voted to leave over three million tons of radioactive waste from the power plant in dry concrete storage vaults near

the Pacific Ocean. The Commission’s own report warned that “the proposed” storage … “could be required beyond 2051, possibly for many decades.” And the storage site “would eventually be exposed to coastal flooding and erosion hazards beyond its design capacity. “ Some residents attending the hearing were shouting at the commissioners as it approved Southern California Edison’s permit and residents are planning litigation to stop what they consider a permanent radioactive storage “dump” on the beach.

Climate Change in a Single Image

Lyell Glacier, the largest glacier in Yosemite National Park, was visited by John Muir in 1872. He was the first to understand the ice was, in fact, a glacier and used the glacier to describe to naysayers how the iconic valley and landscape had been created by glaciers. But that glacier has shrunk by 90% since Muir’s discovery and could be entirely gone in five years says park geologist, Greg Stock, in a report. On a geological expedition in 1883, Israel Russell took the top photo (of the two photos below) of the Lyell Glacier, when its total volume was measured at 1.2 million square meters. The second photo was taken in 2015 by Keenan Takahashi from the same spot. In that span, the glacier had receded from 1.2 million square meters to 270,426 square meters, losing 90 percent of its volume and 80 percent of its surface area.

Beach Cleanups

Continued from page 7 ...natural part of the landscape. It was essentially so ubiquitous as to be a natural and eventual component of human presence. Ignorance aside, I did stop throwing around beer bottles and most other trash, though as a teen I smoked and littered a box-worth of Marlboro filters every day. Cigarette filters weren’t considered litter yet. With time came inevitable wisdom, possibly, and I began to loathe the garbage and environmental degradation I was seeing. In-your-face piles of broken bottles and garbage left at beach accesses. Old appliances. Mattresses. Probably, individually, people were tossing less litter than in previous decades, but Humboldt County’s beauty attracted a population influx that increased litter—becoming an impediment to enjoyment. Humboldt County, my home, ws getting ruined. At that point I was living in a friend’s house at Manila (which is where the rich people would live if it were any place other than Humboldt County), and dodging broken bottles and trash in my bare feet as I ran four or five miles on the beach every morning before work. I began a slow burn. My girlfriend and I began carrying away beach litter we encountered, and it felt good to make an effort, though a small one. I became obsessed, like the boy in John Updike’s “A&P.” It’s fatal when you take a moral stand because it’s impossible to retreat from it. By 1977, I’d decided to propose a grant to clean Humboldt’s beaches. Now the idea seems absurd to think of finding funding to clean beaches, but sometimes youthful enthusiasm prevails. My girlfriend, now wife, Dr. Ann Morrissey, had experience as a grant writer, laying out the financial component of the grant for what can be considered a shoestring budget. Working together, we finished the application in one evening: I composing, she budgeting. The Beach Beautification Project proposal was conjured on a ‘50s-era manual Tower President typewriter with a worn-out ribbon. Still have it and haven’t used it since. I had approached Northercoast Environmental Center director Tim McKay with the concept of a grant-funded beach cleaning project. Tim was skeptical about success but said the Center would sponsor the project if I could Continued on page 20 find funding.

Forest Carbon Offsets Available for Purchase Offset your carbon footprint! Makes a great local gift! $10/metric ton Purchase local forest carbon offsets from the Arcata Community Forest to offset greenhouse gasses. Every metric ton purchased offsets carbon dioxide gasses equivalent to a round-trip flight between SFO and JFK airports.

Please contact the Environmental Services Department (707) 822-8184

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015


Humboldt Bay King Tides Photo Initiative 2015-16 another. King Tides tend to be more dramatic in the winter, especially when storms cause increased wind and waves along the coast. These high water events allow us to envision how flooding from rising sea level will increasingly impact our beaches, shoreline, neighborhoods, and lowlying infrastructure such as roads, water and sewer pipelines, electric and gas transmission lines, and sewage treatment plants. On December 24, Highway 101 along the shore of Humboldt Bay near a breach in the 100-year old railroad dike one of the highest tides south of Arcata. Photo by Nancy Stephenson, October 28, 2015. of 2015-16 is predicted at Jennifer Kalt, Director the North Spit tide gage at 11:03 a.m. (times vary Humboldt Baykeeper continues to spearhead depending on location by as much as one hour). the annual King Tides Photo Initiative, in which The tide is predicted to reach 8.1 feet, although volunteers photo-document the highest tides of actual high tide could be higher depending on the year around Humboldt Bay. King Tides are rainfall, atmospheric pressure, and wind. On extreme high tide events that occur when the October 28, the actual high tide was 8.85 feet— sun and moon’s gravitational forces magnify one nearly one foot higher than predicted due to

overnight precipitation and low atmospheric pressure. These images will help document flooding, erosion, and dike breaches that we are likely to face with increasing frequency as sea level continues to rise. The photos also help scientists and planners 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 impending changes to our natural and built environments. To volunteer to help us document this year’s King Tide, or to submit your photos, email us at For photo tips and to view the Humboldt Bay King Tides Photo Initiative album of past events, visit humboldtbaykingtides/. For more information about King Tides 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

Sea Level Rise Inundation Mapping Project – Humboldt Bay Jeff Anderson of Northern Hydrology & Engineering recently developed a series of inundation maps for the Humboldt Bay Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Assessment Project. The maps show areas vulnerable to existing and future sea levels that are currently protected from inundation due to the natural shoreline, dikes or berms, and railroad or road grades. Five scenarios were assessed: existing conditions and increments of 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, and 2 meters of sea level rise above Year 2000. Inundation maps were produced for each scenario for mean higher high water (MHHW), mean monthly


maximum water (MMMW), mean annual maximum water (MAMW), and 10-year and 100-year flood events. The maps are available online as downloadable kmz files which can be opened in Google Earth, and as shapefiles which can be imported into GIS software. For more info or to download the maps, visit www.humboldtbay. org/humboldt-bay-sea-level-riseadaptation-planning-project. Northeastern Eureka and Highway 101 with a half-meter of sea level rise, which is currently predicted for the year 2050. Map courtesy of Jeff Anderson, Northern Hydrology & Engineering.

Oct/Nov 2015



of the Eel River

Let’s Not Allow the Marijuana Industry to Write Its Own Rules

Scott Greacen, Executive Director Under a tight March 2016 timeline set by new California laws regulating medical marijuana, Humboldt County is scrambling at last to write locally appropriate rules for commercial cannabis cultivation. Among the most significant problems the new rules must address is protecting watersheds already overloaded by rapidly increasing pot-related impacts. Industry group California Cannabis Voice - Humboldt (CCVH) is arguing that we have to set loose rules to entice growers to participate in a legal industry. But loose rules won’t restrain people who are only in it for the money and are causing real harms. Loose rules won’t protect our watersheds and communities. And loose rules won’t satisfy our environmental laws, which reflect our society’s reasonable expectation that we will not needlessly wreck our rivers, nor drive native fish extinct. Recent exposure of global environmental crises related to the automobile (Volkswagen’s “clean” diesel engines) and oil (Exxon’s climate change denial) industries illustrate a principle famously expressed by Upton Sinclair, that “it is difficult to get a man to understand a thing, when his salary depends on his not understanding it”. Here in Humboldt, our own slice of global environmental crisis is the extinction, now underway, of species that have evolved over millions of years in the places we now call home. Coho salmon are just one of the most spectacular examples of the region’s living wealth whose future now hangs in the balance. Having hung on through overfishing, unregulated logging and draining of the estuary, coho in critical tributaries of the South Fork Eel like Sprowel Creek and Redwood Creek now face extirpation from a deadly combination of water diversions and increased erosion. Humans are taking too much water out of the creeks and pushing too much dirt around. The vast majority of the worst impacts are obviously tied to “medical” marijuana

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015

operations that have been rapidly increasing in number and size for years. The lesson I take here is that we need to build a regulatory system for marijuana that’s strong enough to secure, for example, the level of watershed protections required to allow coho

to recover in their former habitat. If we do not, we are just inviting people who we know cannot bring themselves even to acknowledge their own impacts, who face powerful incentives to ignore laws and rules, and who are immersed in a culture rife with rationalizations, to play their own version of VW’s diesel game: getting permits without actually changing the practices that are wrecking our watersheds. If we build a system of marijuana regulation that makes cheating easy, or even possible, we’ll get cheating. If we build a system that doesn’t include strong enforcement tools, we can be assured many will continue to flaunt even the simplest rules. This is why we must not merely “discourage” water trucking, but ban it. This is why we shouldn’t allow legal growers to use illegal, dangerous pesticides. This is why we need to set a realistic cap on the number of grows the county

will permit, restrict them to sizes that can be easily regulated, and ensure they are not done in unsuitable locations. This is why we should institute truly consequential fines for unpermitted commercial grows to immediately discourage any more cut and run grows. We have an historic chance at last to effectively address these festering problems. But we must choose to act. We have to demand that our decisionmakers don’t just defer to those with the most to gain. We would not let Exxon or Volkswagen write the rules they will follow. Nor do we allow the timber industry or the wine industry to declare they won’t follow watershed-protection rules because they’re too tough. If we did, we’d have very few rules indeed, and even fewer salmon. A final note: Because the county has to pass an ordinance quickly, there’s only time to do a Mitigated Negative Declaration, a brief environmental analysis appropriate where no potentially significant environmental impacts can be expected to occur as a result of the proposed program. If the ordinance does successfully prevent the significant impacts clearly associated with the industry today, that course is consistent with the requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA. But if the new rules are too weak, their enforcement mechanisms too uncertain, to truly prevent those impacts, CEQA requires more detailed analysis, effective mitigation, consideration of alternative policies and, among otherwise equal alternatives, choice of the most environmentally protective. For our part, Friends of the Eel River will not shirk our duty to seek effective protection for our watersheds and fish. This article has been edited for length.

Read the complete article here:





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Exposed: Post-fire Logging Harms Endangered Owl notice, it wrote, “Due to the Tom Wheeler severity and intensity of stand Private landowners, in replacing fire, [the] area can no particular Fruit Growers Supply longer be considered Suitable NSO Company, recently cut thousands Habitat.” As explained above, this of acres of northern spotted owl is a common misunderstanding. habitat, likely killing or harming the By regarding all burned forest protected owl in violation of both as non-habitat, it provided Fruit federal and state law. And they got Growers an easy way to avoid away with it. Here’s the story of how having to evaluate and state the a timber company likely violated potential impacts to spotted owls. the law and how no one caught it. Second, CAL FIRE dropped the Spotted owls utilize post-fire ball. It is CAL FIRE’s job to evaluate landscapes, including those that emergency notices and reject any burn at high-severity—that is the notice which may cause more than conclusion of numerous recent a minimal environmental impact. scientific papers. High-severity CAL FIRE obviously failed at this. areas, those marked by significant Third, it is unclear whether numbers of dead or dying trees, anyone else was paying attention. It provide excellent foraging grounds does not appear that the California Deforested landscape, post logging, within the Panther Project, on Klamath National Forest. Fire doesn’t for spotted owls. The surge of dead Department of Fish and Wildlife destroy forests, logging does. Photo by Kimberly Baker. wood and new shrub growth forms reviews emergency notices— ideal habitat for wood rats, deer mice, and other From surveys conducted by the U.S. Forest the Department only recently was able to hire spotted owl prey. The standing dead trees, or snags, Service, we know that individual owls were sufficient staff to even review ordinary THPs, let provide branches for owls to roost while scanning for harmed in violation of federal law by Fruit alone emergency notices. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife dinner. And because fires generally burn in a mixed Growers. After the fires but before most logging Service, the agency charged under federal law with severity pattern, with high-intensity burns close to had begun, a curious male northern spotted owl, the protection of the owl, does not review California areas that fire barely touched, there are often nearby identified as KL0283, responded to the hoot of timber harvest implementation. EPIC, I freely an owl surveyor; he had survived the fire and trees for the owls to roost. This is informally known admit, failed to put the pieces together until too late. was living amongst the dead trees. KL0283 was as the “bedroom/kitchen” model of habitat usage. But never again. EPIC is on a mission, proof that spotted owls utilize post-fire forests. This finding, that spotted owls utilize post-fire spurred by the likely death of KL0283, to reform Sadly, the Forest Service reports later surveys forests, is somewhat new. It also runs counter to post-fire logging on private land in California. attempting to locate KL0283 after logging failed generalized statements about spotted owl habitat, For more on the environmental impacts of postto yield any positive survey results. The Forest which has generally been associated with complex fire logging, please visit Service notes that logging reduced the owl’s mature forests. The Forest Practice Act was habitat far below minimum acceptable levels, and certainly written before this was well recognized. given the lack of nearby habitat, it was unlikely While most logging in California is accomplished that he had moved to somewhere better. KL0283 through a Timber Harvest Plan (THP), substantial is likely dead, killed by the impacts of logging. logging can evade the environmental review On a facial level, Fruit Growers followed provided by a THP. Under an “emergency notice,” the law—they filed emergency notices telling a timberland owner can clearcut an unlimited CAL FIRE that they were planning on logging number of acres by declaring an “emergency”—a and logged pursuant to those notices. However, broad loophole, which includes almost all conditions upon investigation, it appears that Fruit Growers that render a tree “damaged, dead or dying.” harmed northern spotted owls in violation In 2014, the Beaver Fire burned some 32,496 of both federal and state law. How was Fruit acres, including 13,400 acres of private timberlands Growers able to log spotted owl habitat without in Siskiyou County, much of which is owned by detection for so long? Turns out, it was pretty easy. Fruit Growers. Based on the available information, First, it is unclear whether Fruit Growers between 2014 and 2015, Fruit Growers filed knew it was violating the law. In each emergency 32 emergency notices with CAL FIRE totaling 8,644 acres. Other nearby landowners similarly Controlled burn on private land, adjacent to Klamath National filed emergency notices totaling 1,166 acres. For more info visit Forest. Photo by Nat Pennington


Oct/Nov 2015


Working Toward Ridge Resiliency

crown fire that is often catastrophic, resulting not only in high tree mortality, but also potentially the There is something soulfully expansive about loss of homes and structures. open vistas. More importantly, however, are The Lower Mattole Fire Safe Council, the multitude of life-enhancing benefits open sponsored by the Mattole Restoration Council, ridges offer: navigation direction (trails), fire began its second ridgeline fuels reduction and suppression access, and habitat for a suite of native prairie reclamation project on private lands in plants and animals. 2014—the Mill Creek Our watersheds were Road and Ridge Fuel historically adapted to Break Project. This periodic fire, whether ridgeline was identified via lightning strikes or for treatment based on indigenous burning. For historic photo analysis. decades, Smokey the On the ridgetops Bear’s caution against fire are intact native bunch has resulted in significantly grasses that will be increased fuel loads in our enhanced by the forests as well as a loss of treatments. The site was open prairie. Reclaiming once open grassland, open ridgelines is an but has been steadily important strategy for encroached by brush building resilience on the and young Douglasland from the impacts of fir. Also, the nearby fire and drought, while residential community providing access for and landowners were firefighting crews. supportive and showed There are several enthusiasm for the project. ridgelines in the Mattole Since August 2014, watershed that were local crews consisting historically clear of of sawyers, swampers vegetation that could and pile burners worked benefit from fuels various stints pushing reduction and prairie back the treeline to open reclamation treatments. up more prairie where Treatments include appropriate, limbing up removal of encroached older established trees Mill Creek ridgeline as an open prairie in 1942 (left), and heavily encroached by brush and young forest in 2014 (right). Photos brush and trees, and reducing fuels along courtesy of Mattole Restoration Council. disconnecting the forest road segments for safe edge from the grassland by reducing the brush Four years of extreme drought conditions evacuation for a total of 55 acres. layer, thinning the density of trees, and removing results in trees that are stressed from lack of Disposing of the resulting biomass is another the bottom branches of remaining older trees. water. Younger trees, in particular, are vigorous challenge. At least a dozen truckloads of firewood Reducing “ladder fuels” has been shown to reduce consumers of water. Pushing back the treeline were taken to people in the community last year the spread and intensity of wildfire. and reclaiming more prairie area along ridges can and more will be delivered this winter. Some Once mechanically treated, a forest edge is a offer more water to older trees, thereby helping fuels were chipped on site. But the majority was good location to begin a controlled or prescribed them survive drought and fire. The older a living piled for a later burn with either the landowner’s burn that creeps along the forest floor. These lowconifer is, the more naturally resistant to wildfire backhoe or our new skidsteer. Some were burned intensity intentional fires are the best treatment it becomes due to its thicker bark and higher last winter, and the rest will be burned this coming to build a forest’s resilience to the impacts from canopy. Younger Douglas-fir trees, however, are season with help from the Petrolia Volunteer wildfire, while simultaneously helping to nurture highly flammable, often torching completely. Fire Department. Many thanks to all who have and maintain biological diversity. When in close proximity, these flaming youngsters supported this project and to those who steward Ridgelines are a preferred location to contain a could ignite the forest canopy, becoming a crown the land in ways that reduce fuels while promoting fire: firefighters often scorch the area with a black fire. The addition of wind can cause a running diversity and resiliency for all of us. Ali Freedlund

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015

line so they can safely backburn to hold the spread of wildfire. When a ridgeline is identified for this purpose and is covered in vegetation, CAL FIRE will employ one or more dozers prior to sending in fire personnel. A dozer, in an emergency, can open up a ridgeline fast, but it also can cause ecological impacts.


NORTH GROUP REDWOOD CHAPTER Essential reading: What is really going on with western wildfires and how can humans adapt? Book Review by Felice Pace North Group Ex Comm Member, NG Water Chair, Redwood Chapter Grazing Chair There’s a new book out that westerners who value wildlife and wildlands will want to read. The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix marshals science from around the West and around the globe to challenge what one of the authors calls the fire suppression paradigm. Heavily promoted by the Forest Service and firefighting establishment, the fire suppression paradigm holds that fire suppression has been effective across the American West, therefore, we


One need not be a Sierra Club member to participate in these outings.

Please join us!

Saturday, December 5—North Group Sierra Club Arcata Community Forest-Redwood Park Hike. Join us for a cool, and perhaps dry, walk in the woods. No dogs. Bring water and lunch. Se habla poco Espanol. Meet 9 a.m. at Arcata Safeway parking lot, or Redwood Park Fourteenth Street parking area 9:15 a.m. Easy hike, five miles, less than 1,000 feet elevation change. Leader: Ned,, 825-3652. Saturday, January 2—North Group Sierra Club Ma-le’l Dunes Hike. Get away from it all, close to the town of Manila on Humboldt Bay. Expansive sand dunes, lush coastal forest, tidelands, the beach. No dogs. Bring water and lunch. Carpools by prior arrangement, or BLM trailhead off SR 255 and Young Lane at 9 a.m. Easy hike, five miles, less than 1,000 feet elevation change. Leader: Ned,, 825-3652.

Join Us!

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


can not allow fires to burn naturally in any forests or brushlands and must aggressively “manage” vegetation, including “thinning” public forests to protect them from unnaturally intense and destructive fires. The fire suppression paradigm makes sense on its face and many westerners, the vast majority of media and some environmental groups have bought into it completely. But, as Nature’s Phoenix points out in detail, science This large landslide is within a firefighter-ignited burnout in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. The natural does not support the wildfire never got here but the burnout’s landslide delivered a large amount of sediment to New paradigm. In fact, River, one of our best remaining salmon streams. most relevant studies Those who want to learn about the “ecological find that western fires are not getting larger or and biodiversity benefits” of everything from more intense. Mixed-severity fires, including megafires to low-intensity underburns, and from occasional large areas of high intensity fire, are chaparral fires to fires in old forests will want to not only natural but an essential part of western read The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity habitats. Most vegetation in the West evolved Fires: Nature’s Phoenix. Along the way you will with fire and certain plants and animals require also get an analysis of the social and political intense burns or a diverse fire mosaic that includes dimensions of western wildfires. all burn intensities. In Northwest California some locals have long known that large fires do not conform to Forest Service one-size-fits-all simplifications. Since 1987, activists with the Klamath Forest Alliance (KFA) have walked and studied most large fires that burned in the region. Time and again KFA activists documented the ineffectiveness of fire suppression in backcountry as well as the unnecessary watershed damage firefighting often causes. KFA’s fire reports, the latest of which are available on the organization’s web page (klamathforestalliance. org) document the waste and folly of attempting to control large fires in rugged western landscapes, particularly in backcountry. While most of Nature’s Phoenix focuses on science, editors Dominick DellaSala and Chad Hanson do not hesitate to highlight the policy implications the science suggests. The book’s final section makes the case against post-fire logging and suggests that astronomically escalating fire suppression costs can be substantially reduced by improved community protection coupled with ecological fire use, that is, allowing natural wildfires to burn when communities and essential infrastructure are not threatened.

Seeking Camper Project Coordinator

Oct/Nov 2015



Fall Plant Sale

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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.

Field Trips & Plant Walks

The North Coast CNPS chapter does not have any December or January field trips planned, but encourages the community to venture out during the winter months. Northern California provides an opportunity to observe new green life sprout as other green life is going dormant. Also, watch for walks sponsored by other organizations like Friends of the Arcata Marsh, Friends of the Dunes, Redwood Region Audubon Society, Sierra Club, etc. See you in the February!

Evening Programs At the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Rd., near 7th and Union, Arcata. Refreshments at 7:00 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m.

December 10, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Native Plant Show and Tell. Join us for an informal evening sharing stories, photos, artifacts, readings, or food relating to native plants and their habitats. If you would like to share something, contact Michael at or 707-407-7686. January 13, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Demystifying manzanitas (Arctostaphylos): Understanding the dynamics of California’s iconic, shrubby ‘rock star’. Dr. Michael Vaseyis, director of the San Francisco Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, will talk about his long-term passion for manzanitas (Arctostaphylos) and the backstory behind the creation of his book, “A Field Guide to Manzanitas,” which he coauthored with Michael Kauffmann. Using beautiful and informative figures, range maps, profiles of each 104 taxa, and images by free-lance photographer Jeff Bisbee, this book is intended for anyone with an interest in this fascinating genus. Mike will share his deep knowledge of how and why Arctostaphylos has become such a quintessential “rock star” of the California flora. The North Coast CNPS chapter helped finance this book and copies will be available for sale.

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015

Above: Shoppers and volunteers study the variety of shrubs and meadow plants for sale at the fall plant sale at our nursery, against a backdrop of wetland plants at the Jacoby Creek Land Trust’s Kokte Ranch in Bayside. Photo by Gura Lashlee. Below: CNPSers settle for lunch where sand dune meets salt marsh, studying Eureka from a new perspective. On this field trip (September 13) we saw both salt marsh and dune plants, including a good population of the rare Pink Sand Verbena and a very late flower of the rare Point Reyes Bird’s-beak. We also saw a great tide of invasive plants, including European beachgrass, Jubata (Pampas) grass, Denseflowered cordgrass, ice plant, and sea fig—bad news for the diverse salt marsh and dune plants we found. An active population of Blacktailed jackrabbits, although native, could be a challenge for both native and non-native plants here. Photo: Carol Ralph.

Elk River Field Trip


Zero Waste Certification Comes to Humboldt

2015-2016 ZWH Zero Waste Solutions Series ZWH presents a series of five evening events emphasizing solutions, featuring expert speakers and short videos on the following topics of importance to Redwood Coast local governments, businesses and the general public:

How Your Business Can Achieve Zero Waste Certification

Margaret Gainer Zero Waste Humboldt will host Cheri Chastain from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico and Josh Prigge of Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland on Thursday, January 21, 2016 at 6:00 p.m. to tell their inspiring stories of how they guided their companies toward achieving Zero Waste certification. This second event in the 2015-16 Zero Waste Solutions Series is sponsored by Lost Coast Brewing Company and Coast Central Credit Union. Event supporters, Monument Mountain Vineyards and Jonathan McCrone and Elizabeth Hans McCrone, are encouraging Humboldt’s breweries, wineries, and food and beverage businesses to attend these motivational presentations at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center on Waterfront Drive in Eureka. ZWH has invited featured speakers, Chastain and Prigge, to share with Humboldt County businesses what they need to know about the Zero Waste Scorecard and the process for achieving platinum, gold, and silver Zero Waste certification status. In addition to the national publicity their companies’ received for their Zero Waste accomplishment, Chastain and Prigge will discuss the benefits to their companies in sales, cost savings, employee morale, and early compliance

Thursday, January 21, 2016 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at HSU Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, Eureka Presenters: Cheri Chastain, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Josh Prigge, Fetzer Vineyards

Clearing Up the Confusion about Plastics and Single Use Packaging

Featured speakers Josh Prigge of Fetzer Vineyards in Hopland, and Cheri Chastain from the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company in Chico.

with the new California Climate Change laws. ZWH and other grassroots organizations dedicated to waste reduction have become concerned that the Zero Waste standards and methodology will soon turn to green marketing mush. Without adherence to Zero Waste standards, attention to metrics and measurement, and emphasis on waste prevention, the “Zero Waste” label is being inappropriately used. To clarify Zero Waste standards for businesses, the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council (USZWBC) created the first third-party Zero Waste Business Certification program for facilities that meet the Zero Waste International Alliance Zero Waste Principles. The USZWBC certification program is more comprehensive than landfill diversion recycling and focuses on the upstream policies and practices that successfully prevent waste in an organization. With the

Thursday, February 25, 2016 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., HSU Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, Eureka Presenter: Julie Layshock, Ph.D., Humboldt State University Chemistry Dept. Lecturer

Zero Waste Legislation—Recent and Pending

Friday, March 4, 2016 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. at HSU College Creek Great Hall Presenter: Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste

How to Reduce Waste at Fairs and Festivals

Friday, April 8, 2016 6:00 – 7:30 p.m., Humboldt Area Foundation, Bayside Presenter: Marialyce Pedersen, Senior Representative for Walt Disney Company’s Corporate Citizenship, Environment & Conservation Team

support of the Footprint Foundation, Zero Waste Humboldt has created a scholarship fund for Humboldt professionals and business facilities to achieve Zero Waste certification. Space will be limited for the Zero Waste Certification presentations. A $10 donation is requested at the door. To inquire about the Scholarship Fund for Zero Waste certification and to RSVP, email

Contact Zero Waste Humboldt

Solutions for Small Business Located in the Greenway Building 8 th and N in Arcata

Call for an appointment




Oct/Nov 2015



Beach Cleanups

Yet, an uninhabitable planet is what we should expect if participants in Paris fail to reach an ambitious and binding agreement this month that puts science and nature ahead of politics and profits. In this sense, the 40,000 negotiators engaging in two weeks of discussions and horsetrading in the French capital are not really negotiating with each other, but with Mother Nature. And the fact is, there is no reason to think that Mother Nature is willing or able to wait for humanity to start drastically reducing its carbon output. As one analyst explains it, however, “emissions reductions are barely on the table at all” in Paris, with the talks essentially “rigged to ensure an agreement is reached regardless of how little action countries plan to take.” Because each submission for the reduction of carbon output is at the discretion of individual countries, “there is no objective standard it must meet or emissions reduction it must achieve.” The “Climate Action Tracker,” a scientific assessment service that tracks countries’ emission commitments, offers an independent assessment estimating that the current national submissions, if fully implemented, could bring warming down to 2.7 degrees by the end of the century. While this marks substantial progress from previous years, it is still only one third to half way to reaching the 2-degree benchmark that has been deemed necessary to avoid the worst effects of climate change. In other words, it’s as if a heavy smoker has been advised by his doctor to give up cigarettes but instead of quitting he simply makes a vague commitment to cut down a bit. This might seem like an improvement in the mind of the smoker, but the ultimate outcome remains the same: severe health problems and an early death. Of course, the 2-degree threshold that we are set to surpass under current emission targets will just usher in the “worst effects” of climate change—but consider how many effects we are already experiencing, having just broken the onedegree threshold earlier this year. As a UN report recently documented, “Weather-related disasters are becoming increasingly frequent, due largely to a sustained rise in the numbers of floods and storms.” Examining the past two decades of data, the landmark report “The Human Cost of WeatherRelated Disasters 1995-2015” found that flooding accounted for 47 percent of all weather-related disasters, affecting 2.3 billion people. Storms killed more than 242,000 people in the 20-year time period, with the vast majority of these deaths (89%) occurring in lower-income countries. Heatwaves and extreme cold were also particularly deadly, with high-income countries reporting that 76% of weather-related disaster deaths were due to extreme temperatures, mainly heatwaves.

The plan was to have a three person crew scour the entirety of Humboldt County’s accessible beaches. I wrote the grant with the intention of community outreach locating beach cleaning volunteers among juvenile offenders, schools, civic groups, and whomever we could convince. At the time there was no plan for the Adopt-a-Beach project to continue past grant funding, two years. Director McKay was surprised when the grant was accepted for $29,000, but I knew we would be successful. Judy (cannot recall her last name) would be crew leader while Sid Dominitz (recently deceased) and I were crew. We “rented” my ‘53 Chevy truck for mileage and filled it with gunny sacks.

Continued from page 6

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015

Continued from page 12

There was little planning other than to “do it.” Arriving at Dominitz’ Trinidad house that first morning, I honked the horn several times and Sid, coffee cup in hand, casually wandered out the door. Annoyed with the honking, he asked, “What is this, high school?” That set the tone for mornings we cleaned north of Arcata and stopped to pick up Sid. Seemed like he was always having a smoke or sitting on the john when we got there. He had perfect timing. Also comes to mind the morning when our crew had grown by several guys and Sid came outside with boxing gloves. Asked if anyone wanted to spar. I was game and went at it with Sid. He cleaned my clock. Seems Sid had Golden Glove experience as a youth in New York City. Pretty funny though I was furious at the time.Working side by side, I wound up loving the guy. His New York humor was cynical and infectious; he was clever and quick-witted company on even bitter cold and rainy mornings. In time our crew grew by a few more CETA workers. Unfortunately for them, the new guys rode in the back of my truck (under my homemade hippie canopy without windows). Winter was miserable back there and the way home smelled of garbage. We had occasional juvenile offenders working short-term and were supplemented by two workrelease crew from San Quentin prison. One asked me my angle for working so hard without pay equal to the effort, not understanding why we would clean up just because it was right. We also worked with several schools, girl and boy scouts, and groups beyond my recall. A girl scout council sent me a certificate for Environmentalist of the Year—an honor remains dear to me. The crew started at Prairie Creek and worked south each day at every accessible Humboldt County beach, to Shelter Cove. One lucky day: I found twenty bucks, a pair of newer tennis shoes my size, and a fishing pole along the sanded logs. Of course most of what we recovered was plastic, glass, and tires. And as mentioned, diapers.

Lots of disposable dirty diapers, particularly along the Clam Beach frontal road. We wondered what kind of scumbag leaves his child’s messy diapers to spoil the beach experience for others. At the end of every day we sorted, recycling what we could at the Arcata Recycling Center, recorded our tally of total weight and recyclables (over 25% for the year and a half I worked at NEC) and odd finds. The bulk went to the dump. I still possess the Czech fisherman’s hat I wore for weeks. We did a weekly dead bird count for the Point Reyes Bird Observatory as part of the effort and a dead marine mammal count for the Marine Mammal Center. We found and photographed a dead western grebe with its neck in a plastic sixpack band. Nice shot for the Econews front page. Fridays we did presentations for schools and civic clubs to solicit volunteers for beach cleaning events. I opened the presentations with background and discoveries, but Sid shined at convincing groups to take up arms against littered beaches. We discovered even stridently conservative groups opposed to gratuitous government spending shared our enthusiasm for clean shores, especially when they learned how fugal our efforts. We had taken over 21 tons of waste material and garbage (and accursed abandoned tires— toted over sand for several miles off Humboldt County beaches, all lugged on our backs to our parked truck. I never could ignore a beached tire though my erstwhile crew occasionally did). We were aware dirty beaches attracted more filth, and clean beaches stayed that way considerably longer. We knew the beaches would quickly revert to pre-cleanup messes. About this time I was leaving the crew to heading east with my girlfriend. With a half-year left before the grant would expire, Tim and Sid came up with the Adopt-a-Beach concept to keep the cleanup going. I was initially skeptical, but we commenced outreach while I was still working with the crew. I believe Sid volunteered to take on College Cove. Shortly after, I was gone. Sid took over as crew leader and gamely the remaining crew loaded trash bags into the trunk of his old Plymouth, a vehicle roughly as dependable as my Chevy pickup. He and Tim worked their magic which, as mentioned, became an NEC legacy: the largest single-day volunteer effort in the United States and probably the world. Ann and I are proud to have written the original grant and I’m proud to have worked it. I cared a great deal for Tim and Sid and I have enormous admiration for both. Our love for Humboldt County is unabated, of course, and my appreciation for the Northcoast Environmental Center is undiminished. It’s encouraging to see how far a bit of youthful idealism can go toward making the world a little better.


The Opah

Lampris guttatus

Anne Maher When envisioning the ocean’s ferocious fish predators, what often would come to mind is a sleek, fast body. The Opah does not match this description. Often called the Moonfish for its notably circular shape and vibrant color, this fish is a predator throughout the open ocean, though one wouldn’t guess it by looking at this large and humorous ocean dweller. Weighing over 100 pounds and reaching over six and a half feet in length, this striking fish preys in cold, deep waters of the mesopelagic ocean, typically from 150 to 1,300 feet. Though it is known as a mysterious, solitary animal, very little is known of its behavior, habits and biology. Squid and krill make up their general diet, and large sharks are their primary predator, aside from humans. The Opah has most recently become well known for research done this year by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, revealing that this creature is the only fish capable of whole-body endothermy; it retains heat to keep its body temperature above the temperature of its environment. In other words, it’s the only warm blooded fish in the world. While some fish have developed the ability to keep certain parts of the body warm, the Opah is the first to achieve entire body regulation at around

Southwest Fisheries Science Center biologist Nick Wegner holds captured opah. Photo: NOAA Fisheries West Coast,, CC..

five degrees above the water it swims in. To accomplish this unique talent, the Opah propels itself forward with its pectoral fins to produce body-warming heat. The heat is kept within its body by its specialty gills, which have an arrangement of blood vessels unlike any other fish to retain warmth through “countercurrent heat exchange.” This distinguishes it from other predators in deep, cool waters, who tend to swim slowly and ambush prey. Wholebody endothermy allows the Opah to migrate long distances, swim quickly, see better, and be a fast hunter. Unique appearance and taste has made the Opah increasingly popular in the fishing world for both trophies and food. Often caught unintentionally by commercial or recreational fisherman, NOAA research fisherman have reported catching more Opah in recent years, possibly due to changes in current conditions or a population increase. The exact population of the Opah is unknown. Despite its mystery, the Opah has continued to amaze its observers. Nicholas Wegner, biologist for NOAA and lead researcher behind the paper published on the Opah, stating, “Nature has a way of surprising us with clever strategies where you least expect them.”

from our back door...

ic integrity orgatonyour basket The North Coast Co-op is the only Certified Organic Retailer on the North Coast! Our knowledgeable employees handle all certified organic products in accordance with federal regulations from the delivery truck to your basket.

811 I St. in Arcata • (707) 822-5947 25 4th St. in Eureka • (707) 443-6027


Oct/Nov 2015


the Kids’ Page:


Did you know that jellyfish move by squirting water out

of their mouth? Did you know they use the same mouth (their anus) to get rid of waste? Jellyfish aren’t really fish at all. Fish are vertebrates (have a backbone), while jellyfish are invertebrates (do not have a backbone).

Jellyfish are a type of plankton. Sometimes they’re called jellys. Jellyfish are among some of the oldest living organisms on the planet, having been around for about 700 million years. They can be found living in every ocean from the very deep waters to the surface. You can find them washed up at the beach or in some freshwater lakes and ponds all around the world. There are over 1,000 species of jellyfish. The most common types are: box, comb, and medusa, with an umbrella-like body and tentacles flowing underneath the umbrella-like body. They can have tentacles up to 100 feet long! Their bodies are made up of 98% water and have no brain or heart.

Word Search D C S V G M Q H E C W R B O A E I K Y S A S J S M B D H D E A K A A M K S U L L O M S I B G P T T E M M C D B O T I N E L O X E O X E T I G V Y F E O A A V M N M T T T E Z A Y M Z I N V E R T E B R A T E L A V A E I D X T A T U I Y W L T A L M B U D D E C E K C W E O H K O V S F B O X L A P A J C I

Jellyfish feed on small invertebrates, fish, crabs, mollusks, diatoms, fish eggs, and some are even vegetarians. The vegetarian jellys float on their backs and grow algae on their bellies and that’s what they eat. When new jellyfish are born they come out several at a time and become very small polyps. They stick to rocks and look like very small sea anemones. They remain polyps for many months, up to years, and then they become ephyrae (small jellyfish). These little ephyrae look like little jellyfish umbrellas stacked on top of each other, like a skyscraper. Each adult jellyfish has a 3-6 month lifespan. Many things eat jellyfish, such as sea turtles and even humans. The jellyfish’s main defenses are called nematocysts. This is what’s responsible for the jellyfish sting you may have heard about. It feels like a burn, and can cause blisters. They are able to sting after they’re dead. If you are stung, vinegar, coke, urine, or just water splashed on the “bite” can help. Don’t rub the area because that could make more of the nematocysts to erupt. by Sarah Marnick



EcoNews Oct/Nov 2015



Above: A Medusa jellyfish. Photo: Sherwood 411, CC. Left, Jellyfish in the aquarium in Valencia, Spain. Photo: Stuart Chalmers, CC.


Help us continue to advocate, educate, and bring you

Northcoast Environmental Center

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Please check here if you would rather remain anonymous. The Northcoast Environmental Center is a 501(c)(3), not-for-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law. EIN 23-7122386.

Northwest California is without question one of the most beautiful and biologically unique places on earth. From the fogshrouded redwood forests of Humboldt County to the sunny oak woodlands and grasslands of Mendocino, and from the soaring peaks of the Trinity Alps Wilderness to the turquoise waters of the Wild & Scenic Smith River in Del Norte, our region is home to some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes. Visitors from around the globe come to fish the mountain streams, run the river rapids, hike the backcountry trails and find solitude in primeval redwood groves, all while staying overnight in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, and shopping at our local stores, which all benefit our local economy. Our mountains and rivers are also home to thousands of different plant and animal species, making this region among the most biologically diverse areas on the planet. We now have a remarkable opportunity to expand the protection and restoration of our incredible public lands and the recreation opportunities available on them. Please join us to ensure that the unique landscapes and natural treasures we cherish are passed on to future generations.

Write Congressman Huffman a Letter Please do your part to protect our public lands by writing a letter to Congressman Jared Huffman to encourage him to introduce legislation that protects, restores and promotes responsible recreation on our public lands in Northwest California.

Visit for instructions and more information. Important Note: We want to be sure Congressman Huffman sees your letter! As you’ll see in the instructions on the website, instead of mailing your letter to DC, email your letter to us so we can add it to all of the other support letters we’ve collected for this project. We will give them to our Congressman all at once to show him the support he has in the region.

Thank you!


EcoNews Vol. 45, No. 6 - Dec 2015/Jan 2016  

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

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