Over 40 Years of Environmental News
Vol. 45, No. 3
Published by the Northcoast Environmental Center Since 1971
RISING TIDE Taking Action for a Living planet
Flood the System | Big Trees Good for Climate | Regulating Problem Pot | Water-Wise Home Guide Humboldt Diary: A Nuclear Tale | Students Hungry for Change | Are Green Plastics Green?
News From the Center Geoengineering is truly one of the biggest threats to our species. To be clear, I am not talking about chemtrails or the work of some secretive arm of the United Nations. I am referring to the alteration of our planet as a result of humanity’s collective enterprise: our ceaseless utilization of fossil fuels; depletion of oncefertile agricultural land; deforestation; and the dewatering and pollution of streams and aquifers. The biggest threat to life on our planet is not some shadowy, fantastical “them,” it is us. As grim as this may come off, I write this with hope: for it is connection with one another and our passion for a living planet that will save us if anything will. The last few months we’ve spent considerable time in meetings, typing in front of glowing screens and pondering humanity’s penchant for destruction. We’ve also tried to balance these sometimes necessary activities with exploring wild wonder, joining together in celebration of life on this planet, and taking hands-on action to safeguard our coast. For, as it is said, action is the antidote
1385 8th Street - Suite 226, Arcata, CA 95521 PO Box 4259, Arcata, CA 95518 707- 822-6918, Fax 707-822-6980 www.yournec.org 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.
to despair and we continue to be grateful to live and work with so many informed, artistic, passionate, pro-active people.
Even so, the clock is ticking.
NOAA recently reported that for the first time since tracking of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere began (and likely the first time in Editor/Layout: Morgan Corviday email@example.com Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Proofreaders: Karen Schatz and Midge Brown Authors: Sid Dominitz, Dan Ehresman, Sarah Marnick, Dan Sealy, Jennifer Kalt, Scott Greacen, Jennifer Savage, Felice Pace, Kimberly Baker, Sarah Lazarre, Dan Zimmerman, Rob DiPerna, Sarah Lazarre, Jerry Dinzes, Ken Burton, Julie Layshock. Cover Photo: Oil rig off the Santa Barbara coast at sunset. Photo by Glenn Beltz, Flickr CC. Inset: Seattle sHellNo! kayactivists raise thier paddles in protest. Photo: John S. Lewis, Backbone Campaign, Flickr CC. Artist: Terry Torgerson
NEC Staff NEC Executive Director: Dan Ehresman, email@example.com EcoNews Editor: Morgan Corviday, firstname.lastname@example.org Coastal Programs Director: Jennifer Savage, email@example.com Programs Assistant: Madison Peters, firstname.lastname@example.org Membership Associate: Sydney Stewart, email@example.com
Dan Ehresman, Executive Director over one million years), our planet has surpassed greenhouse gas concentrations of 400 parts per million. Being well above the established “safe” level of 350 ppm, we are experiencing extreme weather patterns that are impacting life on land and at sea. Fluctuations in the ocean’s temperatures are shaking up the marine food web and the “warm blob” in the Pacific is projected to exacerbate ongoing drought conditions throughout the Western United States. At a regional scale, water supplies are at concerning levels and fisheries experts are warning of rising disease rates in out-migrating juvenile salmon on the Klamath River—a bad sign for the coming fall when salmon return to spawn. Despite these warnings and despite the far-too-common occurrence of polluted waterways and massive oil spills—such as the recent catastrophe near Southern California’s Refugio State Beach— fossil fuel pipelines continue to be installed and fracking continues
NEC Board Of Directors President - Larry Glass, Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment, firstname.lastname@example.org Vice-President - Dan Sealy, At-Large, email@example.com Secretary - Jennifer Kalt, Humboldt Baykeeper, firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer - Chris Jenican Beresford, AtLarge, email@example.com Gary Falxa, Calfornia Native Plant Society, firstname.lastname@example.org CJ Ralph, Redwood Region Audubon Society, email@example.com Richard Kreis, Sierra Club, North Group. firstname.lastname@example.org Scott Greacen, Friends of the Eel River, email@example.com Bob Morris, Trinity County Representative, At-Large, firstname.lastname@example.org Keytra Meyer, At-Large, email@example.com
Fiscally sponsored by the NEC Director: Jennifer Kalt, firstname.lastname@example.org Bay Explorations Staff: Jasmin Segura, email@example.com
unchecked. Moreover, industrial agriculture (such as mega-almond operations in the Central Valley and mega-marijuana grows in the Emerald Triangle), is sucking dry our water supplies and laying waste to forests and farmland. These activities are undermining our chance at a safe and secure future. Fortunately, there are many who are taking a stand. Up in Seattle, kayaks, canoes and other seaworthy vessels floated out en masse to protest Shell’s plan to drill in the Arctic this summer. In Oregon, concerned citizens are gearing up to battle a fracked natural gas pipeline which threatens to cut a swath hundreds of miles long, impacting waterways, forests and homes. In California, tribes and other citizen groups are taking action against projects that threaten North Coast rivers such as Governor Brown’s Twin-Tunnels and the proposed Shasta Dam raise. Activists are also increasing pressure for a ban on fracking in California and fighting corporate bottledwater operations that are depleting threatened aquifers. We are heartened by all who are doing their part for a better future— and it is going to take each one of us engaging at the level we can to offset the damage done.
NEC Member Groups Humboldt Baykeeper
Sierra Club,North Group, Redwood Chapter www.redwood.sierraclub.org/north/
California Native Plant Society North Coast Chapter www.northcoastcnps.org
Redwood Region Audubon Society www.rras.org, firstname.lastname@example.org
Friends of the Eel River www.eelriver.org, email@example.com 707-822-3342
Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (SAFE) www.safealt.org
NEC Affiliate Members
Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC)
www.wildcalifornia.org, firstname.lastname@example.org 707-822-7711
Friends of Del Norte www.fodn.org
Mattole Restoration Council www.mattole.org, email@example.com (707) 629-3514
Zero Waste Humboldt
Birders Raise Funds for the NEC and Redwood Region Audubon
We are very grateful to everyone who took part in the First Annual Tim McKay Birdathon— from those who went in search of feathered friends to the many generous donors. Thank you! Birders new to the field and expert alike explored some beautiful places, encountered an incredible diversity of birds and together we raised over $3,000 to support the ongoing work of the NEC and Redwood Region Audubon Society! Kudos to the birders: Rob Fowler, Daryl Coldren, Tony Kurz, Casey Ryan, Bill Rodstrom, Laurie Lawrence, Cedric Dualde, Gary Friedrichsen, Dan Ehresman, Emily Sinkhorn, Bob Morris, Gayle Garman, Gary Falxa, Dan Sealy, Elias Elias, Tristan McKee, Brad Elvert, David Fix, Sean McAllister, Gary Bloomfield and everyone else who made it out (reports are still coming in). Special thanks to Gary Friedrichsen for inspiring the rekindling of this annual event! We are already excited to be planning the next Birdathon for around the same time next year!
We are still compiling the Birdathon results, and will have the full list of contributors in our next EcoNews. For those who pledged, or even if you didn’t, it’s not too late to contribute!
‘Tis the Giving Season
At the beginning of each summer and winter, we appeal to our friends to send in a contribution to help protect the special places and communities of our North Coast. We are extremely thankful for all who have been so supportive through the years, and for those who are standing with us today. Given the significant issues we are grappling with (mega-grows, dewatering of streams, and the backdrop of severe drought), we need your help! As you read through this issue, please consider doubling down your contribution to the Northcoast Environmental Center this season—and double your impact in confronting these significant threats while working to build a more vibrant and ecologically connected future. Send in the form on the back of this issue or donate online!
Sean McAllister, Tristan McKee, David Fix and Elias Elias search for birds at the North Jetty. Photo: Gary Bloomﬁeld.
3 3 4 4 6 7 9 9 10 10 11 12 13 14 15 17 18 20 21 22
sHell No and the Coming Flood Past Time to Deal with Pot Impacts Large Trees Important for Climate Westside Salvage a Catastrophe Home Water Conservation Systems Shore Lines Warm Blob brings Purple Snails Eye on Washington HSU Students Hungry for Change Humboldt Diary—A Nuclear Tale Kin to the Earth: Goldman Prize Zero Waste Humboldt Humboldt Baykeeper Friends of the Eel River EPIC Sierra Club, North Group California Native Plant Society Eco-Mania Creature Feature: Marbled Murrelet Kids’ Page: Leeches
Japan Tsunami Marine Debris Call or email the NEC to register in advance, or for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-822-6918.
Humboldt County: SAMOA BEACH
Del Norte County: POINT ST. GEORGE BEACH
SATURDAY @ 10:00 AM June 13, 2015
SUNDAY @ 11:00 AM June 14, 2015
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
www.yournec.org/econews-report EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
A clean and green bouquet to the City of Arcata for passing a polystyrene ban that will help keep the North Coast more debris-free! An abundantly aqueous bouquet to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors for standing in support of of water for fish on the Klamath and Trinity Rivers! Ginormous, eco-loving bouquets to our two amazing staffers, Justin Zakoren and Cherry Sripan, who are setting off on their own postgraduation adventures! Justin has done an immense job compiling coastal environmental curriculum and inspiring over 500 elementary school students in our region. His passion for education and connecting youth with our surrounding world will be missed locally. Cherry brought an impressive amount of energy and organization to the diversity of tasks that came her way. We will greatly miss her enthusiasm to create change along with her stories that impart wisdom beyond her years. Wishing you both adventures fulfilling and grand in the days ahead!
CORRECTION! In the print version of the Apr/May EcoNews an article by Greg King was errantly attributed to the Smith River Alliance. Greg King is the Executive Director of the Siskiyou Land Conservancy.
Protesters Vow to ‘Flood the System’ for Climate and Planetary Justice
Past Time to Deal with Impacts of Pot
Dan Ehresman Over the last five or so years, we at the NEC— including our member organizations and others in our community—have been trying to wrap our minds around how to address the runaway industry in our hills that is sucking streams dry and laying waste to acres upon acres of forest. Kayaktavists protesting Shell Oil arctic rigs in Elliott Bay , Seattle, WA on May 16, 2015. Photo: John S. Lewis, Campaign Backbone, Flickr CC. In a certain sense, it was more straightforward when we were fighting a handful Sarah Lazarre, Common Dreams of corporations clearcutting This article was originally published online at ancient redwoods. Now, thousands CommonDreams.org. Four acre plot of people hope to strike it rich From the tar sands of Alberta to the Port of by scraping away hillsides for in 2010 Seattle to the communities in the blast zone of oil plantations of a particular sticky trains, organizers across North America are calling green herb. Some cultivators are for a “wave of resistance” this fall to “shut down environmentally conscious, but the economic and political systems threatening they are substantially outgunned by our survival.” those who are not—and conditions Under the banner of “Flood the System,” the are getting exponentially worse with announcement was unveiled Wednesday by Rising each passing day. Tide North America, part of an international A lot can happen in five years. climate justice network. The mass actions, slated for Anyone with a computer can now September and November, are timed to lead up to the download Google Earth Pro for United Nations COP21 climate negotiations slated free—opening up the potential for Rising Tide North America calls to take place in Paris spending countless hours poring in November and for mass actions this fall ‘to over high-resolution satellite shut down the economic and December. imagery. It doesn’t take long for political systems threatening Organizers say the signifi cance of the “green our survival’ Same four acres in 2014, they are targeting to take hold, especially when the international gathering in order to highlight cleared for over 10,000 rush” comparing current conditions to exactly what is not working. “[T]he UN Framework sq. ft. of greenhouses years past. Fly over mega-grow Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process hot spots such as Whitethorn, has been co-opted by elite interests and... any Paris Alderpoint, Maple Creek and outcomes will be insufficient to meaningfully address Trinity Pines and you may begin to the climate crisis and ensure justice for the majority of wish you’d instead spent the hours the world’s people,” declares a press statement. watching a bad Hollywood movie. But the real target goes far beyond any one event or Many of the sites actually look body. “We need to wash away the root causes of climate as if they are straight out of a Mad change—capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy and Max flick—decimated landscapes colonialism,” reads the group’s call-to-action. “These blotted with plastic protrusions, systems enable the domination of people and Earth. skeletons of trees heaped around and They place gains for the elite before the well being of a renegade army’s worth of soupedour communities.” Continued on page 16 up trucks on snaking, rutted-out roads. The explosion in the hills is nothing short of extreme, and there is no shortage of blame to go around for letting it get so out of hand. It’s easy to get lost in the despair of exploring our contemporary gold rush this technology allows observers to easily compare the size and extent of operations today in relation to the thresholds being proposed locally and in Sacramento. There are currently five bills that are the frontrunners of proposed legislation regulating cannabis in California: AB 26 (Jones-Sawyer), AB 34 (Bonta), AB For more information, call the NEC at 707-822-6918 266 (Cooley), AB 243 (Wood), SB 643 (McGuire)— the latter two are... Continued on page 5
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Old, Large Trees Important for the Climate
Dan Zimmerman As climate disruption accelerates it becomes imperative that we all work together to cut emissions while removing carbon from the atmosphere, sequestering it long term. Yet we have only three options, and only one that truly works— our forests, nature’s greatest carbon storage bank. The other forms of sequestration currently available are the oceans and geoengineering. Unfortunately, the oceans can no longer handle large amounts of carbon without becoming dangerously acidic, and geoengineering is both environmentally dangerous and prohibitively costly. For these reasons, our forests are our last hope. If left to grow, these same forests would provide habitat for endangered species, clean our water and provide unpolluted oxygen. It’s a no-brainer, yes? Not if you ask the timber industry. They claim that clearcutting a forest every 40 years is a solution to global warming instead of a crime against humanity, a claim that shapes regulatory policy. An industry website explains the rationale this way: “When trees are harvested and manufactured into products, this carbon remains stored for the life of the wood product... One of the best ways to address climate change is to use more wood, as it is the most abundant, biodegradable and renewable material on our planet!” This absurd concept is a bold-faced lie. Very little carbon from a forest ends up in a finished wood product. Most of a young tree’s carbon is found in the leaves, branches, stump, roots and soil, all of which is left behind, releasing much of its carbon shortly after harvest. Only about half of what makes it to the mill will become lumber while the rest is mill waste. Of that which does become lumber, roughly 90 percent will be in use for less than 40 years, and only one percent in use for 100 years—a time period that is still not to be considered long term sequestration. The timber industry also claims a young forest takes in the lion’s share of carbon and not as much as it matures. This too is a lie. As a tree matures it adds ever greater amounts of carbon to its structure. The following quote from recent research highlights this fact; “Large, old trees do not act simply as senescent carbon reservoirs but actively fi x large amounts of carbon compared to smaller Continued on page 9 trees; at the extreme...
Kimberly Baker, EPIC The Westside project on the Klamath National Forest is a proposed catastrophe in some of the most wild and rugged country of California. The massive post-fire timber sale spans seventy-five watersheds and would be detrimental to salmon, wildlife, old growth forests, soils, rivers and entire ecosystems. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), released in March, proposes 11,700 acres of larger units and 650 miles of roadside logging. It includes 22 miles of road construction, stream crossings and over 150 new landing locations. The vast majority of the area is within Late Successional Reserves and nearly half is within Riparian Reserves—which include steep and unstable hillsides.
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.
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EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
Old growth redwoods in Stout Grove, Jedediah Redwoods State Park. Photo: Steve Dunleavy, Flickr.com CC.
Westside Clearcut Would be Catastrophe
The waters of the Wild and Scenic Klamath, Salmon and Scott Rivers were once prime salmon habitat, providing cold, clean water refuge. Today, all of the 802 miles of rivers and streams in the Westside project are listed as impaired under the Clean Water Act and are already choked with sediment from last summers wildfires and suppression efforts. High water temperature is causing a proliferation of gill rot disease, a major threat to juvenile and adult salmon. The Forest Service admits that Westside would increase water temperature, sedimentation and landslide risk. www.yournec.org
Rare and endemic species that have evolved with fire are threatened by the proposed clearcutting. Seventy northern spotted owls would likely be adversely affected and thousands of acres of Critical Habitat would be removed or degraded. The Caroline Creek bald eagle nest area would be decimated and other nesting and winter roosting sites, which have been active for several decades, could be harmed. Habitat around four northern goshawk nests would be removed causing a high risk to survival. All of these birds show a strong fidelity to their nest sites. Habitat connectivity in two of the four primary wildlife corridors in Klamath National Forest would be heavily impacted. Treatments would diminish connectivity in fourteen watersheds and would completely remove connectivity in three others. Fur bearing and terrestrial species like the Pacific fisher, American marten and the gray wolf depend on a well-connected landscape for strong genetics, food, dispersal and survival. The Siskiyou Mountains, Del Norte and Scott Bar salamanders are endemic to the KlamathSiskiyou Mountains. The Westside project would affect known salamander sites and surveys for new sites will not be conducted. Harming distinct isolated populations could have a significant effect on continued existence of these extremely rare salamanders. Continued on page 8
Continued from page 3 ... sponsored by our North Coast representatives. Of the five bills, AB 34 and AB 266 are perhaps the most heated. Growers and other cannabis proponents support AB 34, while law enforcement and advocates for local control stand behind AB 266. While we support many elements in each of the bills, we are particularly concerned that AB 34 is off track on the scale of grows it promotes. AB 34 designates “small” operations as up to 10,000 square feet or 99 mature plants—both indoor and outdoor—and does not propose to limit the number of licenses in this tier. The “medium” tier will allow operations up to 30,000 square feet (299 plants) in size. AB 34 also proposes a limited number of licenses under the “large outdoor” tier for operations over 30,001 square feet (500 plant cap). For a point of reference, two full size NBA basketball courts are just under 10,000 square feet—enough room to grow up to 1,000 pounds of processed bud. Even at $1,000/pound, that equals a one million dollar a year operation. Not limiting the number of “small” grows (up to 10,000 square feet) provides financial incentive that will inevitably lead to even more conversion of forestland and residences into commercial-scale cannabis operations. California watersheds are already at a breaking point and our communities are suffering. Local governments need to step up to start remedying a disastrous situation—NOW. Unfortunately, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors continues to defer to a marijuana industry group, California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH), to write its own rules. The last six drafts are very concerning, because they effectively legitimize ongoing destructive operations. They also throw the door wide open for commercial-scale production on parcels over five acres throughout the County. Regulatory agencies cannot keep up with environmental impacts on the ground as it is, and current proposals lack mechanisms to ensure the necessary funding for enforcement to protect sensitive salmon streams and get a handle on the black market forces that are bringing dangerous elements into our communities. This is a critical time to urge our elected representatives to take the reins from the industry and draft a meaningful ordinance that will bring responsible cultivators into a taxed, regulated structure while taking the most egregious violators to task. Join us in taking a stand for bringing this industry out of the shadows while protecting what is near and dear to us: healthy salmon runs, intact forests and safe, vibrant communities.
Global Carbon Levels Surpass 400 ppm for First Time Ever for Entire Month Sarah Lazarre, Common Dreams
spring of 2012,” explained Tans. “In 2013 the record at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory first crossed the 400 ppm threshold.” Marking yet another grim milestone for an However, Tans said that reaching 400 ever-warming planet, the National Oceanic and ppm across the planet for an entire month is a Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed on “significant milestone.” A tweet released by NOAA Wednesday that, for the first time in recorded history, on Wednesday shows that this development is global levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere consistent with rising levels over recent years. averaged more than 400 parts per million (ppm) for Zooming to a wider historical lens shows an an entire month—in March 2015. even more dramatic increase. During pre-industrial “This marks the fact that humans burning times, CO2 levels were at 280 ppm. Scientists have fossil fuels have caused warned that, in order to global carbon dioxide Reaching 400 ppm across the achieve safe levels, CO2 (CO2) concentrations to be brought down to planet for an entire month is a must rise more than 120 parts a maximum of 350ppm— per million since prethe number from which the “significant milestone.” industrial times,” said environmental organization Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global 350.org derives its name. Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, in a Bill Snape, senior counsel to the Center for press statement. “Half of that rise has occurred Biological Diversity, told Common Dreams, “The since 1980.” fact that we are now firmly over 400 ppm for first This is not the first time the benchmark of 400 time in human history indicates to me that we ought ppm has been reached. “We first reported 400 ppm to be moving with much more urgency to fix the when all of our Arctic sites reached that value in the underlying problem.” This article was originally published online at CommonDreams.org.
On April 24, 2015, local amateur photographer and nature enthusiast Dustin Jackson caught these shots of a breaching humpback whale near the mouth of the Klamath River. Originally posted on Facebook, printed with permission. Carol Ann Conners 707-725-3400 654 Main Street, Fortuna email@example.com CA License #0E79262
381 Bayside Road, Arcata, CA 95521
The Water-Wise Home: A New Guide to Home Water Conservation Systems See ad for Water-Wise workshop on the back page!
The average American family uses approximately 400 gallons of water a day—that’s triple what families use in the United Kingdom — at a time when water is becoming increasingly precious around the world and its cost is skyrocketing. While much of our nation is experiencing one of the most severe droughts on record, The Water-Wise Home teaches homeowners how to lower their water bills, save water through conservation techniques and systems, and create water-wise landscapes. This book couldn’t come at a better time.
The Water-Wise Home concisely explains the urgent state of the water crisis and its effect on our groundwater, reservoirs, and natural wetlands. With detailed, illustrated instructions for home conservation projects such as a laundry-tolandscape system, a roofwater catchment, composting toilets, and a branched drain system for household greywater reuse, Water-Wise teaches homeowners how to actively become part of the solution to our national watershortage dilemma. Intended for the average DIYer, these projects, all of which have been tested in different settings, can be implemented with just a few tools and basic construction skills. The author, activist and environmental scientist Laura Allen, is a founding member of Greywater Action (www.greywateraction.org), a collaborative group of educators, designers, builders and artists who educate and empower people to build sustainable water culture and infrastructure. She has spent a decade exploring low-tech, urban and sustainable water solutions. Originally from Humboldt, she now lives in Los Angeles, where she leads classes and workshops on urban ecological sanitation technologies.
“Rock Stars” of Woody Shrubs Featured in A Field Guide to Manzanitas It’s no secret California is renowned for spectacular plant life; three of nine national parks in the state are named after plants. Redwood and giant sequoia are possibly the two most charismatic plants in California. However, a lesser known, but prolific group defines the flora of the state above all others: manzanitas. The “little apple” can be found in nearly every corner of California, and commonly from central Oregon and Baja California—unlike redwoods and giant sequoias, which are restricted to the northern coast and Sierra Nevada foothills respectively. Across western North America, 67 manzanita species survive in nearly every environment imaginable, including the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Pacific Ocean coastal bluffs, temperate rainforests, arid mountains of Southern California and even the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. Co-author Michael Kauffmann explains: “Manzanita’s preferred habitat is what botanists call ‘suboptimal,’ prefering harsh environments that other plants struggle to survive on. These sites have nutrient poor soils, which can include serpentines, dunes, volcanics and sandstones, among others.” The bottom line is manzanitas thrive within the Mediterranean-type climate offered in California, southern Oregon and northern Baja California. Continued on page 19 Hoary manzanita, Arctostaphylos canescens. Photo: Michael Kauffman.
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EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
Shore Lines: Coastal Programs Update Jennifer Savage, Coastal Programs Director In early May, the Obama administration announced conditional approval to allow Royal Dutch Shell to start drilling for oil off the Alaskan coast this summer, a move the New York Times rightly referred to as “a major victory for the petroleum industry and a devastating blow to environmentalists.” While certainly a wrenching disappointment to those who’ve fought to keep Shell out of the Arctic, the real potential for devastation lies within the risk to the wildlife within the Chukchi Sea. The area is one of the most important late-summer refuges, home to half of all U.S. polar bears and is an important habitat for many at-risk animals, including endangered humpback whales.
In addition to the immediate destruction an oil spill would cause—and given the industry’s track record, the question sadly is not “if?” but “when?”— the White House’s move illustrates why stopping, or even slowing, climate change remains seemingly impossible. As Bill McKibben writes, also in the Times, “A quarter century ago, scientists warned that if we kept burning fossil fuel at current rates we’d melt the Arctic. The fossil fuel industry (and most everyone else in power) ignored those warnings, and what do you know: The Arctic is melting, to the extent that people now are planning to race yachts through the Northwest Passage.”
From the Arctic to Arcata
In an effort to bring home the very real impact climate change will have locally, the NEC coordinated with the City of Arcata Environmental Services Department to develop and install interpretive signage around Arcata Bay. Interpretive signage showing anticipated 2050 and 2100 Bay levels have been installed at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary near the South G Street wastewater treatment plant and the Marsh’s South I Street parking lot. The signs also include information about how to minimize our individual and cumulative carbon footprint. The signs are part of the NEC’s “Clean Beaches, Healthy Communities” program, which uses in-class presentations, hands-on activities and cleanup events to teach youth and the general public about issues affecting the California coast. The sea level rise sign project was funded through the California Coastal Commission’s Whale Tail grant program and the State Coastal Conservancy. The signs were designed by graphic artist Leslie Scopes Anderson with additional graphics provided by artist Gary Bloomfield. This project could not have been completed without the support of the Friends of the Arcata Marsh and the regional sea-level rise modeling projections from Jeff Anderson of Northern Hydrology and Engineering.
Sea level rise sign recently installed at the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo: City of Arcata.
The impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems include not only sea level rise, but increased ocean temperatures, altered weather patterns, changes in ocean currents and ocean
Keep in Touch
Follow along on marine and coastal issues through Coastal Currents Wednesdays at noon on KHUM 104.7 FM, at the Lost Coast Outpost (www.lostcoastoutpost.com) with “Your Week in Ocean,” and on the ocean-themed episodes of The EcoNews Report—usually the last Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. on KHSU 90.5 FM. The EcoNews Report airs each Thursday with rotating hosts and covers a variety of subjects.
acidification, further stressing a marine environment already suffering from overfishing, habitat loss and land-based sources of pollution. On the positive side, scientists increasingly recognize the usefulness of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in maintaining and restoring ecosystem resilience. California is the only state in the nation with an MPA network along its entirety. The North Coast, a region running from the Oregon border to Alder Creek, just north of Point Arena, contains 20 MPAs. Coastal residents and visitors are noticing new interpretive signage at harbors and elsewhere, detailing the benefits and locations of these special, protected places. The NEC continues to lead area outreach efforts and work closely with the California Marine Sanctuary Foundation on the design and locations for these signs.
New Watershed Model
Thanks to a Coastal Commission Whale Tail grant, the NEC was able to partner with Eureka artist Matthew Oliveri on creating an updated watershed model. Our original model is still impressive and wellused, but changing environmental threats suggested a modern version was in order. We look forward to unveiling the new model this summer.
Gearing up for Coastal Cleanup Day 2015
We’ve already placed our order for Coastal Cleanup Day 2015! September 19 seems far away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about sponsoring this critical event—which originated here on the North Coast—or gathering a team to clean up at one of over 70 sites. Coastal Programs Coordinator Madison Peters can be reached at madison@yournec. org for more information on how to get involved.
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Continued from page 4 Over eighteen meadows would be bulldozed to create landings that would accommodate logging equipment. These wildflower mountain meadows may contain Western bumblebees and the Franklin’s bumblebee, which is in eminent danger of becoming extinct and is endemic to the heart of the Klamath Siskiyou bioregion.
These forests are rejuvenated through fire. The soil and hillsides are already sprouting with new life. The proposed activities would irreparably harm thousands of acres of fragile post-fire forest floor. Rare fungi, mosses and lichens would be harmed. Nonnative invasive plants are expected to spread throughout watersheds. Westside is in the heart of the KlamathSiskiyou bioregion, which is world renowned for its incredible biological diversity, Wild and Scenic Rivers, roadless areas and carbon dense forests. These fire areas are culturally significant and within Karuk Ancestral Territory. Hundreds and thousands of old-growth trees are at risk and the severe ecological damage from the proposed project would change this landscape for centuries. Our national forest is crawling with timber planners as the agency continues to plan what will be an ill-conceived catastrophe. Maps and information are available on the Klamath National Forest website and at www.wildcalifornia.org, which also includes timber sale monitoring instructions. The Final EIS and Decision are expected in early summer.
Field Guide to Manzanitas: California, North America, & Mexico
n Made ildt o b Hum
Explore the “rock stars” of woody shrub diveristy in California
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EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
Purple Snails Ride ‘Warm Blob’ to Local Shores Jennifer Savage
This article originally appeared as a post on Lost Coast Outpost.
Continuing a year-plus-long trend, normally distant sea creatures continue to show up on Humboldt’s shores. Most notably, the discovery in April by Twitter-chronicler-of-Humboldtmarine-life-fish-biologist @MSidKelly of Janthina janthina, aka the common purple snail. But they are anything but common here—they’re normally found in the warmer waters of tropical and temperate seas, far from shore. They are very cool creatures that survive by creating “bubble rafts,” trapping air pockets and clinging together to maintain position on the ocean surface. National Marine Fisheries Services Researcher and HSU fish professor Eric P. Bjorkstedt, Ph.D, noted the odd sighting could very well be part of a larger trend. “They’re normally offshore critters,” he said. “We get some snails, but these are much different.” The appearance of the Janthina is also consistent with the increased ocean temperatures offshore, Bjorkstedt continued, and is the latest in a list of warmer-water species seen near the North Coast. In January, he said, researchers noted Mola mola (the heaviest known bony fish in the world, by the way) off Trinidad, and they’ve also found a type of warm water krill and copepods whose habitat is typically much farther south—whereas the cold water krill normally seen in these parts have been “nearly absent.” The shift in type of species available as forage food is a factor in theories possibly explaining the massive die-off of Cassin’s auklets, blue-footed seabirds washing up dead by the thousands from Central California to British Columbia. The reasoning is, there’s either not the right krill or it’s less abundant, Bjorkstedt explained. A National Geographic report quotes Bill Sydeman, a senior scientist at California’s Farallon Institute, as saying he believes “the most likely scenario is that the deaths are related to a massive blob of warm water that heated the North Pacific
last year and contributed to California’s drought and to 2014 being the hottest year on record.” Changes in wind patterns led to an anomaly of water—this “warm blob”—averaging about 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal. The blob has followed the typical currents and arrived here last fall. “At the same time, a very fickle El Niño waffled out here, but still manifested in Southern California,” Bjorkstedt said—and is likely the reason such creatures as the Hopkin’s Rose nudibranch have made appearances in local tidepools. A California Academy of Sciences team also believes this far-flung Okenia rosacea bloom— along with a slew of other marine species spotted north of their typical ranges— may signal a much larger shift in ocean climate and a strong forthcoming El Niño: “While we are thrilled to see this beautiful bloom of normally rare nudibranchs, we are concerned about the long-term consequences of our changing coastal environment,” says Dr. Terry Gosliner, Academy Curator of Invertebrate Zoology and Geology. “…we can’t ignore that warming seas mean less food for sea birds, and adverse impacts for all marine ecosystems. California’s unique marine life can’t always adapt to so much instability.” For the North Coast, the warmer waters and lack of typical wind impacts the upwelling— when deep, cold water rises to the ocean’s surface—that local marine species depend on. “Without upwelling, there’s no cold water, which means fewer nutrients and lower productivity,” Bjorkstedt explained. “It’s not clear if we’ll have the ‘right’ species.” How much of this can be assigned to climate change? “You never want to attribute a single event to climate change,” Bjorkstedt noted. “But one prediction has been that when Arctic sea ice is reduced, this is the kind of change that would happen.” Given today’s earlier report, we had to ask— as a scientist, does Bjorkstedt believe in climate change? “Of course!” he said. “And, as a scientist, it doesn’t matter if I believe in it—it’s happening.”
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A study published in the April, 2015 issue of Condor on spotted owls in forests near Yosemite National Park after the Rim Fire adds to the “growing body of research that fire, even highseverity fire, is not a major threat to the persistence of California spotted owls in the Sierra Nevada.” The study also found that “in contrast to fire, multiple studies show that logging is detrimental to this declining subspecies. Postfire logging also apparently reduces site occupancy (by spotted owls).” In spite of this, rapid salvage logging is being pushed by some members of Congress even in late succession reserves where some trees survive fires. Representative McClintock, whose district includes the Rim fire area, pushed hard for quick salvage logging in the area—conservationists were only able to stop it within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park. Now McClintock is again pushing for more salvage logging without environmental review. He called a hearing on May 14, tellingly titled “Litigation and Increased Planning’s Impact on Our Nation’s Overgrown, Fire-Prone National Forests”—suggesting that the problems in our forests are due to lawsuits brought by conservation organizations (when the government does not do what it is required by law to do), and by too much planning (as opposed to Congressional meddling). Conservation organizations and, on the other hand, support science-based planning rather than quick-to-the-chainsaw reactions to fires. Clearly, burned trees should be logged in some situations, but McClintock’s work seems to point toward directing the U.S. Forest Service to default to logging at all costs, in spite of negative impacts to endangered species, increased soil erosion and watershed destruction. This one will require watching.
Washington Fishy Concern The 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Act has been recognized as being very effective at increasing saltwater fish populations after overfishing crashes by setting timelines and goals for populations to achieve sustainable fishing levels. As Linwood Pendleton, a senior scholar at Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions wrote: “Thanks to the ambitious fisheries rebuilding goals in the Magnuson-Stevens Act, we have turned the corner in new fisheries management. For the first time, overfishing has been eliminated in 90 percent of the nation’s fish stocks, the number of stocks known to be overfished has declined and 37 stocks have been rebuilt since 2000.” However, some recreational fishing industry representatives including Johnny Morris, founder and CEO of Bass Pro Shops, and Scott Deal, president of Maverick Boats, didn’t like how slowly things were progressing so they co-chaired a committee to write a report to push Congress to change the Act. Not surprisingly, the bill passed the House Natural Resources Committee and will go to the House floor for a vote. Also not surprisingly, the vote was not of the much-coveted “bipartisan” nature. Our local Representative Huffman voted against the changes (along with every other Democratic member of the committee), but neighboring Representative LaMalfa voted for the bill along with all his Republican colleagues. Not all recreational fishermen or fishing groups support loosening the goals. The American Fly Fishing Trade Association wrote: “Changing any of the Act’s provisions now, just as so many of our nation’s marine resources are on the cusp of recovery, is unwarranted and threatens to send us back to the days of overfishing when opportunity was severely limited because of a lack of healthy fish populations.” The bill is not likely to move beyond the House.
R I V E R
Where There is Fire, There is Someone Who Wants to Log
Northwest Forest Plan Changes?
The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have initiated public “listening sessions” to explore revamping the Clinton-era Northwest Forest Plan (NWFP)—developed to save spotted owl habitat in old-growth and late succession forests while allowing logging in the Pacific Northwest. The NWFP is a large, three-state landscape level plan... Continued on page 19
Continued from page 4
...a single big tree can add the same amount of carbon to the forest within a year as is contained in an entire mid-sized tree.” This point has also been stressed by Andrea Tuttle, former head of CDF, who recently stated; “Forests are a huge carbon-storage bank, and represent our largest opportunity to remove carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere. When forests are lost to development, fire or degradation, they become a major source of emissions” . The key word is degradation. Forest degradation refers to the loss of biomass in forests through timber extraction—particularly clearcuts—and other activities which don’t result in conversion to other land uses. The IPCC has concluded that it would be impossible to solve climate disruption without addressing emissions from degradation, and the only way to address those emissions is by keeping our forests alive and not turned into perpetual carbon emitting tree plantations on short-term rotations. The forests of western North America hold an important key to our survival in their ability to sequester carbon and store it far into the future. An old growth redwood tree alone can store roughly 2,000,000 pounds of atmospheric carbon and keep it locked up for over 2,000 years. On the other hand, a young redwood tree ready for short rotation harvest contains approximately 25,000 pounds of carbon. If that tree is cut down, over half of that carbon will enter the atmosphere in a short period of time and 90 percent of the rest over the next 40 years. At the same time, the regrowing forest is then ready for harvest and the cycle of cut and emit begins again, with the sequestration potential once again returned to zero. We have a choice to make. We can continue with business as usual, and kiss this planet goodbye, or we can start looking for real solutions to climate disruption. If we do decide to save this planet it will mean a major shift in building practices, using alternative materials like stone or hay-bales for construction, or even log homes. There are millions of acres of cut over land in need of thinning where the smaller trees could be used for log homes and the larger trees left to sequester ever more carbon. But whatever we do it has to be done fast, as every day brings us closer to a climate disaster that the human race has never had to face, and is unprepared to cope with.
R E A D S
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HSU Students Hungry for Change Jerry Dinzes, President of the Associated Students of Humboldt State The world is changing, and so with it our educational institutions change to reflect emerging ideologies and practices. These changes are frequently prompted by students seeking to fuse their environmental and social teachings within the structure of their respective universities. Humboldt State University is the California State University’s most remote campus, and boasts a wide gamut of environmental and natural resource related majors nestled among the redwood groves of the north coast. Students enter these programs with the intention of improving the world and becoming stewards of natural environments. Not willing to wait until graduation to apply new found knowledge, they continually challenging Humboldt State’s administration to take actions that lighten the campus footprint. Food issues stand out as a common rallying point for the students. Concerns expressed by student movements range from how university food is grown and procured, to the waste stream that is created by packaging and the disposal of food. In the academic year 2014-15 students actively participated with the good folks at the Real Food Challenge, and founded campus programs such as Meatless Mondays and the Fruit Tree Alliance. The Real Food Challenge is a student-led movement that blossomed right out of a Michael Pollan book—intending to redirect $1 billion in university food purchases away from industrial farms and junk food towards more ecologically and socially sound food choices. This movement has spread to campuses across the US, and calls for 20 percent Real Food purchases by 2020. There are four categories of Real Food: local and community based, fair, ecologically sound, and humane. Student leaders have worked with campus dining services and combed through hundreds of invoices identifying each line item as Real Food or not. Though campus dining services currently provides a host of locally sourced goods, they continue to move the bar higher and respond to the student voice. (More information can be found at: www. Continued on page 16 realfoodchallenge.org).
Bob Rowen’s Humboldt Diary: a Nuclear Precautionary Tale
Dan Sealy In the 1960s and 1970s, Humboldt County and the nation was fed the marketing lines of how safe and advanced nuclear energy was. Humboldt was on the cutting edge of the atomic future. Behind those feel-good corporate messages was an employee who became troubled by what he saw and heard where he worked—the PG&E Humboldt Bay Power Plant south of Eureka at King Salmon. Definition of a hero: “One who shows great courage.” Perhaps to some, Bob Rowen fills that definition. He repeatedly stuck his neck out to protect others and the environment. When he saw safety concerns, he didn’t just collect his paycheck and go home. He risked his job and the security of his family to bring issues and potential problems to his employer’s attention. Rowen’s new book, A Humboldt Diary: A True Story of Betrayal of the Public Trust, tells his story in expanded diary form. The book includes direct records of his testimony at meetings and hearings during his term at the plant and during his whistleblower efforts. Rowen’s Diary gives Humboldt a rare glimpse into a culture of secrecy around nuclear energy that most citizens cannot access. This deeply personal account of his years at the nuclear plant was published in January of this year. Rowen’s Diary presents readers with
disturbing revelations that nearby residents were not privy to before the plant was closed in 1976. The plant was placed on a geologically active fault area. Minor movement could cause shut-downs. Rowen relates the classic “fox guarding the henhouse” duality: an agency established to promote nuclear energy while also overseeing and regulating the industry. For example, Rowen describes a farcical monitoring of radioactive vegetation using rabbits—a project which had to be abandoned due to glaring and predictable design problems. Perhaps the most disturbing account of reckless disregard for public safety is described in chapter IX, “The Air Sampler at the School.” The 250 ft. high stack for the PG&E nuclear plant pumped out clear, seemingly-harmless gasses that moved over the Humboldt Hill community and South Bay Elementary School, approximately 400 yards downwind. The stack was built so high in an attempt to divert gasses which might include Cesium 137 and Strontium 90, two common and dangerous radioactive by-products of nuclear fission. PG&E set up an array of 36 monitoring stations from Fickle Hill in Arcata, south to Fortuna, and five continuous air-monitoring stations—including one near the school. When “mysterious hot radioactive particles” were discovered outside the plant grounds, the... Continued on page 19
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(707)822-3256 EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
Kin to the Earth: Goldman Prize Winners The Goldman Prize, at $175,000, is the largest award for grassroots environmentalists. The 2015 Prizes went to six models of courage who made significant efforts to protect the natural world, often at great personal risk.
The winners, one from each of six continental regions, are: Marilyn Baptiste (Canada), who led her community in defeating one of the largest proposed gold and copper mines in British Columbia that would have destroyed the source of livelihood for the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation. Phyllis Omido (Kenya), who after learning that her own breast milk was making her baby sick, led her community in shutting down the smelter that was a source of dangerous chemicals. Howard Wood (Scotland), for spearheading the creation of Scotland’s first communitydeveloped Marine Protected Area, which gave citizens a voice in a debate dominated by the commercial fishing industry. Jean Wiener (Haiti), for helping his community in establishing—like Howard Wood—his nation’s first Marine Protected Area, allowing Haitians to sustainably manage fisheries and mangrove forests. Myint Zaw (Myanmar), who—despite the government’s restriction on email and social media—launched a mass movement that was able to stop construction of a dam on the treasured Irrawaddy River. Berta Caceras (Honduras), who rallied the indigenous Lenca people in a campaign that successfully pressured the world’s largest dambuilder to pull out of the Agua Zarca Dam project.
The 2015 Goldman Prize winners, clockwise from left: Myint Zaw (Asia/Myanmar), Jean Wiener (Islands and Island Nations/ Haiti), Howard Wood (Europe/ Scotland), Marilyn Baptiste (North America/Canada), Berta Cáceras (South and Central America/ Honduras), and Phyllis Omido (Africa/Kenya).
12th Annual Children’s Issue
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. June leaders: 6th: Brad Elvert; 13th: Chet Ogan; 20th: Elias Elias; 27th: Samantha Bacon. Saturday, June 6: Horse Mountain. We will be birding high-elevation Humboldt County from Horse Mtn. to Grouse Mtn. on Forest Service Route 1 during this annual ﬁeld trip. Target species will include Mountain Quail, Sooty Grouse, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Whiteheaded Woodpecker, Dusky and Hammond’s Flycatcher, Townsend’s Solitaire, Green-tailed Towhee, Thick-billed Fox Sparrow, and more. Maybe we’ll even luck into a Northern Goshawk! Meet at 7:00 a.m. near Espresso 101 off Giuntoli Road. Rob Fowler will lead (707-616-9841; email@example.com). Bring a lunch. We will ﬁnish around early afternoon. Sunday, June 14: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This is a wonderful 2- to 3-hour trip for people wanting to learn the birds of the Humboldt Bay area. It takes a leisurely pace with emphasis on enjoying the birds!
Redwood Region Audubon Society www.rras.org FIELD TRIPS
Beginners are more than welcome. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center at 9:00 a.m. Call Jude Power or David Fix (707-822-3613 ) for more information. Saturday, June 20: Southern Humboldt Community Park. Tom Leskiw will join Jay Sooter (707-444-8001 ) and/or John Gafﬁn lead this monthly walk. All ages and experience levels are encouraged to participate and revel in the beauty of the park and its avian inhabitants on this easy 2- to 3-hour walk. Binoculars are not provided, and dogs are not allowed; ﬁeld guides are usually available, but please provide your own if possible. Steady rain cancels. Meet at 9:00 a.m., parking by the kiosk near the farmhouse in the main entrance. Please note the day change. Sunday, June 21: Eureka Waterfront. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the foot of W. Del Norte St. where we will scope for birds off the public dock until everyone assembles. We will then drive to the base of the Hikshari’ Trail at Truesdale St. and bird along the trail to the Elk River Wildlife Area. Leader: Ralph Bucher (707-499-1247); firstname.lastname@example.org).
the Lost Creek Group Campground over the years, and again we will be staying at Group Camp Site #4. This time of year is ideal for observing nesting birds. Members of Wintu, Redwood Region, Altacal, and Redbud Audubon Societies are invited. Campers can arrive at the campsite any time on Friday afternoon or later. Day trippers should meet at the Redding Civic Auditorium (Convention Center) at 8:00 a.m. Saturday morning to car pool. We will bird Manzanita Lake and vicinity Saturday morning. The rest of the itinerary is open and will depend on the interests of participants. Day trippers for Sunday, June 28, will meet at the campsite at 9:00 a.m. Lost Creek has primitive facilities: pit toilets and no electricity, but potable water is available. Contact Bill Oliver (530-941-7741; e-mail email@example.com) for other particulars. Sunday, July 12: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. See June 14. Saturday, July 18: Southern Humboldt Community Park. See June 20.
Friday-Sunday, June 26-28: Lassen National Park campout. We have enjoyed the birding and camping at
June Program: Friday, June 12
July Program: Friday, July 10
Why Birds Matter:
Ecology of Common Ravens and Nest Predation on Snowy Plovers
© Gary Bloomﬁeld
Join us for this presentation by Matt Lau on a common bird species in Humboldt County and beyond. The Common Raven is a native species whose population has skyrocketed in the past half century. They are synanthropic generalists, meaning they thrive considerably well near human-disturbed habitats. Locally, the Common Raven has been implicated as the primary nest predator of the Western Snowy Plover and has had detrimental effects on population recovery rangewide. Lau will discuss the ecology of Common Ravens, evidence of nest predation, their effects on the local Snowy Plover population, and his master’s thesis work exploring the distribution and abundance of ravens throughout plover habitats.
The Role of Ecosystem Services, Economics, and Ethics in Bird Conservation Dr. Matt Johnson, professor of wildlife management at Humboldt State University, specializes in the habitat ecology of wild birds. Birds are valuable intrinsically and instrumentally. Their values include for recreation, aesthetics, and for delivering ecosystem services that help sustain and fulﬁll human life. Ecosystem services are increasingly promoted as the best hope for making conservation attractive and mainstream worldwide. In theory, if ornithologists, conservationists, and economists can help individuals and institutions recognize the value of birds, this will increase investments in bird conservation while fostering human well-being. Dr. Johnson will review ways ecologists quantify the value of biodiversity, highlighting several examples involving birds. He will also show how policies for other public ecosystem services relate to birds and recommend future work to advance policies for the conservation of birds.
Programs start 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.
Bills moving through State Capitol could help California birds survive the challenges of global warming
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...........................……..... www.rras.org 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
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REDWOOD REGION AUDUBON SOCIETY P.O. BOX 1054,EUREKA, CA 95502
Elizabeth Schroer, Six Rivers Montessori, Red-tailed Hawk Finn Murphy, Union Street Charter, Peregrine Falcon
By Hal Genger
Welcome to the June/July issue of The Sandpiper. We call this issue the children’s issue because it is mainly dedicated to encouraging and supporting our young artists and authors. We hope you enjoy their work as much as we do! Tom and Sue Leskiw dedicate their time and energy to organizing these different children’s programs. They present them to the public, coordinate the judging, help give the awards, and finally put the information together for this edition. Thank you, Tom and Sue! I look forward to seeing you on one of our many field trips or the general meetings mentioned in this issue or at the conservation committee meeting on the second Wednesday at noon at the Golden Harvest Café in Arcata. Everyone have a great summer.
With the threat to birds and people from global warming becoming more apparent every day, Audubon California is supporting a broad swath of bills in the state’s 2015 legislative session addressing the dangers of climate change. Recent Audubon research shows that global warming caused by carbon pollution will threaten 170 California bird species in the coming decades. Birds at risk include iconic species such as the Brown Pelican, Golden Eagle, Allen’s Hummingbird, and Yellow-billed Magpie. While air pollution in the form of greenhouse gas emissions is the leading cause of these changes in the environment, air pollution also poses an immediate threat to public health, as well as the health of our birds and environment. The California State Senate leadership, led by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, in February announced a broad package of climate change proposals intended to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. The 2 most prominent bills in this package include Senate Bill 32, which would expand California’s current climate pollution reduction target to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050; and Senate Bill 350, which calls for a 50% reduction in petroleum use in cars and trucks, a 50% increase in energy efficiency in buildings, and a goal of 50% of state utilities’ power coming from renewable energy, all by 2030. Other important bills in this legislative session seek to help birds and habitat meet the challenges of a changing environment. For example, Assembly Bill 498 would establish state policy calling to preserve the most important wildlife corridors. Assembly Bill 1482 would create a Strategic Growth Council that will oversee climate adaptation for critical habitat. Audubon California is co-sponsoring both of these bills.
By Jim Clark
High (and Dry) Sierra Valley Birding
On May 7 Donna and I spent the day birding Sierra Valley. Starting out on Marble Hot Springs Road, we were soon confronted by more species at one time than we could observe, much less record. After stopping at the Steel Bridge and reviewing and recording what we saw, we drove on to the Feather River Land Trust’s Maddalena Ranch Preserve and the remainder of our route around Sierra Valley. As good as the birding was, there was an ominous weirdness to the day. The weather was more like April than May and the river flow more like late summer. Even though water levels were low, recent rains had kept things green. Snow on the highest surrounding peaks was thin and sparse. Without serious and unusual rain, it’s going to be a long dry summer in the Sierra. Science indicates that the current severe drought is not necessarily caused by climate change, but the current conditions closely match the climate change predictions of 10 years ago. Another drought is in the town of Portola. This one started in 2008 with the recession, and what dried up was the spending by those with second homes there when the mortgage market imploded. What do a town’s economic
woes have to do with conservation and birds? Potentially a lot because unless camping independently, birders bring bucks when they stay, dine, buy gas, and hire local guides. As birders, we can choose to participate in sustainable tourism simply by planning our trips to have positive effects and a low carbon footprint: 1.
2. 3. 4. 5.
Plan your birding route to be fuel efficient by considering not only mileage but where you will be to see species at the right time of day. Avoid backtracking. Avoid the temptation to chase down 1 or 2 species unless you are fairly certain of seeing them. Stay, dine, and refuel as close to your birding location as practical. Consider birding where you stay. We picked up 4 species on the river walk in Portola. Engage the locals. Don’t be afraid to ask why there are so many vacant store fronts in town, and express appreciation to refuge or preserve employees and volunteers. People appreciate interest and concern being shown about their home territory. Contribute to a local conservation organization, such as the Feather River Land Trust.
STUDENT BIRD ART CONTEST RESULTS
Lorenzo Amaro, Fuente Nueva Charter, Snowy Plover
Marius Renzullo, Fuente Nueva Charter, Bald Eagle
Some 515 local K-12 students entered the 12th Annual Student Bird Art Contest held in association with the 20th Annual Godwit Days Spring Migration Bird Festival in mid-April. RRAS and Friends of the Arcata Marsh cosponsored the competition. A downloadable booklet with photos of all the winning art, plus group pictures of winners who attended the awards ceremony, is posted at www.rras. org/docs/BirdArtContest.pdf. The winners were: Kindergarten 1st Place: Malachi Brown, Alder Grove Charter, Bald Eagle 2nd Place: Rory Harling, Forks of Salmon Elementary, Hummingbird 3rd Place: Keira Wiley, Green Point School, Steller’s Jay Grade 1 1st Place: Lorenzo Amaro, Fuente Nueva Charter, Snowy Plover 2nd Place: Ozera Stroven, Mistwood Educational Center, Bald Eagle 3rd Place: Bela Randles, Studio School/Union Street Charter, Red-breasted Nuthatch Grade 2 1st Place: Ruby Soto, Junction Elementary, Whitetailed Kite 1st Place: Saanvi Virnave, Fuente Nueva Charter, Snowy Plovers 2nd Place: Solana Mendole-Nickole, Fuente Nueva Charter, American Avocet 2nd Place: Shekina McCullough, Forks of Salmon Elementary, Anna’s Hummingbird 3rd Place: Kaelyn Gray, Fuente Nueva Charter, Red-breasted Nuthatch Grade 3 1st Place: Marius Renzullo, Fuente Nueva Charter, Bald Eagle 2nd Place: Meguire Bartosz, Fuente Nueva Charter, Snowy Plover 2nd Place: Cadence Tyler, Fuente Nueva Charter, Common Yellowthroat 3rd Place: Rafaela Ford, Coastal Grove Charter, Black Oystercatcher 3rd Place: Vanessa King, Orleans Elementary, American Avocet Grade 4 1st Place: Jordan Brown, Alder Grove Charter, Cinnamon Teal 1st Place: Elizabeth Schroer, Six Rivers Montessori,
Meguire Bartosz, Fuente Nueva Charter, Snowy Plovers
Red-tailed Hawk 2nd Place: Rogue Russell, Studio School/Union Street Charter, Red-tailed Hawk 2nd Place: Cove Bavin, Fuente Nueva Charter, Bald Eagle 3rd Place: Teryn Madison, Orleans Elementary, Western Tanager 3rd Place: Mireya Luna Garcia, Fortuna Youth Arts, Northern Flicker Grades 5 & 6 1st Place: Richard Elam, Morris Elementary, Belted Kingfisher 1st Place: Finn Murphy, Union Street Charter, Peregrine Falcon 2nd Place: Mackenzie Whightsil, Mattole Valley Charter, Steller’s Jay 2nd Place: Roselyn Soto, Junction Elementary, Brown Pelican 3rd Place: Emma Foley, Hydesville Elementary, Northern Flicker 3rd Place: Owen Harling, Forks of Salmon Elementary, Great Blue Heron Grades 7 through 12 1st Place: Tori McConnell, Alder Grove Charter, Marbled Godwits in Flight 2nd Place : Patrick Woldruff, Zoe Barnum High School, American Robin 3rd Place: Kailey Fuerstenberg, Mattole Valley Charter, Barn Owl Best Depiction of Bird in Habitat Awards Nate Hatter, Grade 2, Trinity Valley Elementary, Northern Flicker; Owen Donofiro, Grade 3, Orleans Elementary, Great Egret; Elisha Green, Grade 4, Kneeland School, American Kestrel; Ian Letts, Grade 5, Six Rivers Montessori, Marsh Wren; Slate Delsman, Grade 6, Jacoby Creek Elementary, Snowy Plovers Honorable Mentions Kindergarten: Joe Jackson, Orleans Elementary, Pileated Woodpecker • Grade 1: Hailey McConaughy, Arcata Christian, Goldfinch; and Christopher Mellon, Orleans Elementary, Bald Eagle • Grade 2: Hannah McCullough, Trinity Valley Elementary, California Quail • Grade 3: Oliver Bagnell, Fuente Nueva Charter, Chestnutbacked Chickadee; and Frida King, Fuente Nueva Charter, Great Blue Heron • Grade 4: Nora Murphy, Fuente Nueva Charter, Great Egret; and Genevieve Stubblefield, Fuente Nueva Charter, Snowy Plover • Grade 5: Meadow Jennings, Six Rivers Montessori, Peregrine Falcon; and Egor Tokarev, Studio School/ South Bay Elementary, Black-crowned NightHeron • Grade 6: Xavier Dozois, Mattole Valley Charter, Bald Eagle; and Nick Hillman, Junction Elementary, Pileated Woodpecker • Grade 7: Lauren House, Studio School, Cinnamon Teal • Grade 10: Matthew Bohne, Studio School/Zoe Barnum High School, Black-crowned Night-Heron
10th Annual Nature Writing Contest By Tom Leskiw, Contest Organizer
Again, a submission record was set, with 44 entries received. The poems and prose were divided into 2 divisions for judging: 4th through 7th grade (junior division) and 8th through 12th grade (senior division). Senior Division: 1st Place: Maddie Frye,* 8th Grade, Stanwood A. Murphy Elementary; 2nd Place: Brandon Silva, 12th Grade, East High; 3rd Place: Cheyenne Ballinger, 8th Grade, Fortuna Middle School. Honorable Mentions: Melissa Jones, 12th Grade, East High; Cecil Smith, 8th Grade, Stanwood A. Murphy Elementary; Jeshelle Roybal, 8th Grade, Stanwood A. Murphy Elementary. Junior Division: 1st Place: Cheyanna Deaton,** 4th Grade, Kneeland School; 2nd Place: Owen Harling, 5th Grade, Forks of the Salmon Elementary; 3rd Place: Elsie Swiderski, 7th Grade, Crescent Elk Middle School. Honorable Mentions: Rori Arndt, 7th Grade, Cuddeback Elementary; Elizabeth Odell, 7th Grade, Freshwater School; Maggie Odell, 4th Grade, Freshwater School; Kyle Chao, 7th Grade, Fortuna Middle School. The two 1stplace winners appear below. All winning submissions can be viewed (and downloaded) at www.rras.org/docs/NatureWritingContest.pdf. *We all Sing, Some better than others. I, Myself have a voice, but I would not compare, my own with the voice of a songbird. The Songbird’s voice is shrill and exciting. It sings to me about the willow trees where her young shall hatch. The Songbird sings to me about the river which, where she met her mate. Oh, How they danced and sang near those willow trees, where her younglings shall give life. Her voice, so sweet to me, while i lay in the grass. As i listen to her story, I imagine it all, I see the trees! then I hear a shout. The shout comes from my mother, bringing me back to reality. As I see my storymaker flying, through the trees. I see her without a doubt. Her song is always singing, her love is always showing. The songbird in my dreams. - Maddie Frye
**Peace and Skeletons A stream rolls by, a snake slithers past. Everything is quiet except for birds. Green grass grows With patches of flowers. A berry patch grows nearby. A skeleton sits by An old, dead tree. A flower has grown On her head. She wears a satin dress. A butterfly flies past. Eggs hatch. A soft pit-pat On the grass – Just a Mourning Dove Chasing the wind. A soft song splits The silence. A cicada’s song Is a tune that I know. In your heart, You can hear it. Each one of us Has our own song. In our hearts. The wind whistles Through the trees. Another song. - Cheyanna Deaton
By Daryl Coldren
S U M M A RY O F N O R T H W E S T E R N C A L I F O R N I A B I R D R E P O R T S
March 1 to April 30, 2015 Field Notes is a compilation of bird-sighting reports for Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity counties. Sources include the RRAS Bird Box (707-822-LOON), the online northwestern California birding and information exchange (firstname.lastname@example.org), eBird (http://ebird.org/content/klamathsiskiyou), and reports submitted directly to the compiler. Reports may be submitted to any of the sources mentioned above or to Daryl Coldren: (916) 384-8089; QuiAvisPetit@aol. com. FOS = First Of Season; HO = Hold Over from previous period; MOb = Many Observers; NC = Not Confirmed by another party/not photographed; NWR = National Wildlife Refuge; UO = Unknown Observer Harlequin Duck: 2, Patrick’s Point State Park, 8 Mar (CB) • Long-tailed Duck: 1-2, Trinidad, 13-14 Mar (CD, MOb) • Murphy’s Petrel: 18+, Vizcaino Knoll, 27 Apr (BS, NH, MF) • Short-tailed Shearwater: 2, North Jetty, 9 Mar (RF) • Fork-tailed Storm-petrel: 3, Vizcaino Knoll, 27 Apr (BS, NH, MF) • Brown Booby: 1, Trinidad-Elk Head, 14 Mar (EF, EE) • American White Pelican: 1, Ocean Ranch/Humboldt Bay NWR, HO-15 Apr (MOb) • Golden Eagle: 1, Alexandre Dairy-Lower Lake Rd, HO-28 Mar (AB, MOb) • White-faced Ibis: 1, Ferndale Bottoms, 17-18 Apr (BE, EF, MOb); 1, Arcata, 20 Apr (PB) • Pacific Golden-Plover: 1, South Spit, 17 Apr (ML); 15, Centerville Beach, 25 Apr (MC, DK-B)
Apr (AB) • Calliope Hummingbird: 1, Friday Ridge Rd, 26 Mar (LK) • Prairie Falcon: 1, Ferndale Bottoms, 6 Mar (SM) • Say’s Phoebe: 1, Willow Creek-Big Rock River Access, 6 Mar (BE, EF); 1, Blue Lake, 15-18 Mar (AL, EE, ML); 1, Ocean Ranch, 12 Mar (SB) • Tropical Kingbird: 1, Ferndale Wastewater Treatment Plant, HO-30 Apr (SM, MOb); 1, Humboldt Bay NWRSalmon Creek Unit, HO-16 Mar (MOb) • Rock Wren: 1, Alderpoint Rd-Rock Wren Rocks, HO-4 Mar (AL, MOb) • California Thrasher: 3, Shelter Cove, 3 Apr (EE) • Sage Thrasher: 1, Arcata Marsh, 19-22 Apr (GZ, MOb) • Northern Mockingbird: 1, Arcata-D St, HO-23 Mar (RF, MOb) • Lapland Longspur: 2, Ferndale Bottoms, 1 Mar (AL); 2, Bear River Ridge, 16 Mar (CO) • Chestnut-collared Longspur: 2, Bear River Ridge, HO-5 Apr (BE, RF, EE, MOb) • Northern
Tropical Kingbird, Port Kenyon Rd., Ferndale Bottoms, HUM, © Rob Fowler
Harris’s Sparrow Arcata, HUM, © Gary Bloomfield
Thanks to everyone who submitted sightings! Special thanks as always to Rob Fowler for help navigating reports and quality control. Samantha Bacon, Alan Barron, Pat Bitton, Gary Bloomfield, Lucas Brug, Camden Bruner, Ken Burton, Mark Colwell, Cédric Duhalde, Elias Elias, Brad Elvert, Elizabeth Feucht, David Fix, Rob Fowler, Mike Fung, Matt Hansor, Nathan Hentze, Logan Kahle, Deven Kammerichs-Berke, Cindy Kuttner, Alexandra Lamb, Matt Lau, Sky Lloyd, Gary Lester, Lauren Lester, Tom Leskiw, Sean McAllister, Chet Ogan, Brian Self, George Ziminsky. Teryn Madison, Orleans Elementary, Western Tanager
Waterthrush: 1, Arcata Marsh, HO-11 Apr (AL, MOb); 1, Ferndale Bottoms-Coffee Creek RD, 19 Apr (KB) • Palm Warbler: many reports of 1-3 individuals, Arcata Marsh, Arcata Bottoms, Ferndale Bottoms, Humboldt Bay NWR, Eureka, McKinleyville, HO-26 Apr (MOb) • Swamp Sparrow: 1-2, Arcata Marsh, HO-16 Apr (MOb) ; 1-2, Humboldt Bay NWR-Salmon Creek Unit, HO-7 Apr (MOb) • Harris’s Sparrow: 1, Arcata-Zehndner Ave, HO-30 Apr (GB, MOb) • Hooded Oriole: 2, Arcata-Wilson St, 5-30 Apr (AL, RF, MOb); 2, Arcata-Shay Park, 18 Apr (RF, MOb) • Common Grackle: 1, Crescent City Harbor, 19 Mar (MH) • Brambling: 1, Sunny Brae, 12 Mar (CK). Rock Sandpipere, North Jetty, HUM © Brad Elvert
• Rock Sandpiper: 1-4, North Jetty, HO-18 Apr (MOb) • Solitary Sandpiper: 1, Smith River Bottoms, 17-18 Apr (LB, SL); 1, Orick, 28 Apr (AB) • Glaucous Gull: 1, Ferndale Bottoms, 16 Mar (CO); 1, Clam Beach, 15 Mar (CO) • Cattle Egret: 2, Alexandre Dairy-Lower Lake Rd, HO-12 Apr (AB, MOb) • Sandhill Crane: 1, Alexandre Dairy-Lower Lake Rd, HO-28 Mar (AB, MOb); 2 (fly-overs), McKinleyville, 26 Apr (GL, LL) • Long-eared Owl: 1, Arcata Bottoms-Mad River Slough Wildlife Area, HO 12 Mar (MOb) • White-throated Swift: 1-7, Blue Lake Cottonwoods, 9 Mar-27 Apr (MOb); 1, Orick, 28 Apr (AB); 2, Klamath Bridge, 28
Ozera Stroven, Mistwood Educational Center, Bald Eagle
Sage Thrasher, Arcata Oxidation Ponds, Arcata, HUM, © Elizabeth Feucht
Kailey Fuerstenberg, Mattole Valley Charter, Barn Owl
Are Green Plastics Really ‘Green’? Green Plastic Terminology
Julie Layshock, PhD HSU Chemistry Lecturer ZWH Board Member Bioplastic, biodegradable, plant-based, recyclable, and compostable are popular terms on single use plastic products and packaging. While these green marketing words sound good, clarity is needed to understand the flood of new plastic products. Often used interchangeably and in combination with each other, these terms have very different meanings. “Bioplastic” and “plantbased” indicate the source materials used to make the plastics. “Biodegradable,” “recyclable,” and “compostable” describe possible options after use.
Plant-based, Bio-based, or Bioplastic:
Plant-based, Bio-based, or Bioplastic identifies particular details about the production of the plastic. Bio- or plant- prefixes mean that a certain percentage of the chemicals (or chemical feedstock) used to make the plastic were derived from renewable resources like corn, sugarcane, soy, bacteria, or cellulose. The percentages can vary from a few percent to 100 percent. Often, renewables are used to generate identical polymers compared to those derived from petroleum, the traditional and main source of plastic polymers. In other words, with a biobased label, the plastic that hits the market can be chemically and/or physically indistinguishable from petroleum-derived plastic. Even though there are new and novel bio-based plastic polymers, and they are chemically different, the important thing to remember is that bio-based plastics may or may not be better for the environment than petroleum plastic.
Several authoritative bodies set guidelines for green plastics. In the US, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) both provide definitions for biodegradable plastics. According to the FTC, in order to label plastic as biodegradable, there must be scientific evidence that the plastic completely breaks down into its elements in a reasonable amount of time. The definition provided by ASTM is a bit tighter. It defines biodegradation as degradation of the chemical structure of the plastic by naturally-occurring microorganisms. Important specifics missing from established guidelines are the time frame (days to thousands of years), conditions (aerobic, anaerobic, ambient temperatures or 50
EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
Some or all of the plastic was derived from a renewable resource (corn and cellulose being most common).
Bio-based plastics can have identical chemical and physical properties to petroleum-based plastics.
Some microbe, somewhere, is capable of degrading the plastic into smaller pieces.
By definition, virtually everything is biodegradable. Time scale and conditions are the important considerations.
According to ASTM, biodegradable to carbon dioxide and water in an aerobic industrial composting facility within 180 days.
Compostable does not mean that the plastic will breakdown in your backyard composter, in the roadside ditch, floating at sea, or in a landfill.
Possible to segregate by resin type (#1-7), transport to a manufacturer to chip, wash, melt, and reform into a new product such as a park bench or plastic siding.
Some plastic resins (#1-7) never get recycled. According to the US EPA ~9% of plastic produced each year is recycled. Due to Humboldt’s isolated location, recycling rates are expected to be lower than the national average.
The table above summarizes the plastics industry’s marketing terms to appeal to environmentally conscientious consumers.
to 60°C), and location (beach, backyard, landfill, or industrial composter). Nearly everything will eventually degrade and can theoretically be eaten by microbes. In the case of plastics, it could take thousands of years if left in the environment. Therefore, the term biodegradable is so loose that it can mean anything.
A slightly more transparent designation for plastics is compostable. Composting is the process by which biodegradation occurs. Like any process, there are conditions that must be met and these conditions are not found in your backyard compost pile. The ASTM D6400 specification defines compostable for plastics as mineralization to carbon dioxide and water in 180 days or less in an industrial aerobic composting facility. In such a facility, the temperature, air content, moisture, acidity, and carbon/nitrogen ratio are tightly controlled through industrial processes. It is under these precise conditions that compostable plastics are biodegraded. There is a certifying body called Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI, www.bpiworld.com) that reviews products and will grant the use of BPI’s compostable logo on the product if it meets ASTM D6400. For products without a certified BPI logo, the word compostable is unsubstantiated. Products that are compostable have different chemistries than traditional plastics and cannot be recycled, even though they may be inaccurately labeled as such. Finally, even though a plastic is compostable, it does not mean that it will become a soil nutrient.
Similar to the other green terms, the recyclable term is complicated. Recyclable means that the plastic goes through a long process of collection, separation by resin code (#1-7), chipping or shredding, washing, and melting. The reformed plastic is almost never the same product. Plastic bottles get recycled into park benches and fleece jackets but not back into plastic bottles. There are issues with recycling plastic. First, it is hard to tell if a plastic is recyclable. The chasing arrows symbol adopted by the US Plastics Trade www.yournec.org
Association (SPI) in 1988 was never intended to mean that plastics #1-7 are actually recyclable. The chasing arrows symbol stamped on the bottoms of plastic was simply selected to indicate the resin (or polymer) type. Not all plastics are well suited for re-melting and reforming due to their chemical structure. Secondly, it is impossible to know whether the plastic tossed into the bin will be recycled. The plastics that can be recycled seldom are recycled for any of the following reasons: 1) it may be cheaper to make a product from virgin materials, 2) there might not be a market (supply and demand arguments), 3) it may be more cost effective to landfill it, and 4) contaminants often ruin the melt yielding brittle and unusable plastic products. Basically, plastic is difficult to recycle and it can be cost-prohibitive. The result is a national recycling average of around nine percent of yearly plastic production. A 2011 waste characterization study conducted for the Humboldt Waste Management Authority reported 12.5 percent of Humboldt County’s waste is plastic. What can a responsible consumer do to crack the green plastic marketing code? Since the plastics industry is ever-growing and highly adaptive, even the most informed consumer is scrambling to keep up. The question Zero Waste Humboldt urges us to ask is: “What are the alternatives to single use plastics that I can adopt in my daily life?” A solution: bring your own reusable glass, ceramic, or metal cup, mug, and to-go container. Keep cutlery and dishes in your office, in your bike bag, etc. If you are caught hungry or thirsty without your reusable food/beverage container and have to purchase a plastic product, then keep it, wash it, and re-use it many times. Especially in California’s remote, rural Redwood Coast where industrial compost facilities and recycled plastics manufacturers are scarce or far away, a shift from single use plastics to reusable food and beverage containers is essential.
Choose to Reuse!
Contact Zero Waste Humboldt email@example.com 12
Learn to Row
with Humboldt Bay Rowing Association
June 6 is National Learn to Row Day, and the Humboldt Bay Rowing Association invites the public to participate in this free event that will introduce them to the joys of rowing. After a quick introduction to technique, participants will row on Humboldt Bay in an Olympic-style, 8-oared racing shell. Space is limited and pre-registration is required. Adults and youth age 11 and up are welcome. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a parent. Visit www.hbra.org to register online for Learn to Row Day. The Humboldt Bay Rowing Association boathouse is on the Eureka Waterfront near the Samoa Bridge.
The 14th annual National Learn to Row Day is sponsored by USRowing and Concept2. Locally, the Humboldt Bay Rowing Association has teamed up with Humboldt Baykeeper for the first “Row for Clean Water” event on Humboldt Bay. Our goal is to encourage people to get out on the water to appreciate Humboldt Bay and work with us to protect clean water, which is essential to rowers everywhere. For more info on summer camps for juniors ages 11-18, please visit www.hbra.org or contact head coach Scott Gibson at 707-845-4752 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rowing under a rising full moon. Photo courtesty of the Humboldt Bay Rowing Association.
Bay-Centric Art Exhibits Celebrate Upcoming 25th Arcata Oyster Festival
Through June 22, the Arcata Main Street Oyster Festival presents an art exhibit at the Plaza Grill in Arcata in celebration of Humboldt Bay featuring artist Cynthia Hooper and her work, “A Negotiable Utopia: The Humboldt Bay Project,” along with Aldaron Laird’s show, “Aldaron’s Walkabout: A Photographic Exploration of Humboldt Bay.” Cynthia Hooper’s short documentary video projects focus on the extraordinary complexity one can encounter in familiar and everyday environments. This exhibit includes videos and essays about Humboldt Bay’s natural resource economy, its restoration and conservation initiatives,
Explore Humboldt Bay/ Explora la Bahía Interested in exploring Humboldt Bay while paddling a kayak or from the deck of a motor boat? Baykeeper has partnered with the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center and the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District to offer tours covering a variety of topics on Humboldt Bay. Thanks to a grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, our staff and docents lead tours in Spanish and English. Boat tours are for ages 8 and older. Space is limited and reservations are required. Upcoming motor boat tours with the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District are scheduled for 9:30 to 11 a.m. on these dates: Friday, July 17 Saturday, August 15 Saturday, September 26 Saturday, October 10 Stay tuned for additional tours, including kayaking on Elk River and hikes along Eureka’s Hikshari’ Trail. Bay Explorations tours are fun, informative excursions on and along Humboldt Bay led by knowledgeable volunteer docents trained in ecology and history of the bay and its inhabitants. Getting out on the Bay and the Coastal Trail are great ways to spend a morning with family or friends, not to mention the best opportunity to see first-hand the waves and wildlife that make this place special. Check our website at www. humboldtbaykeeper.org, call 707-825-1020, or email email@example.com for more info or to reserve your Bay Tour. Se habla español.
and its water and transportation infrastructure. Aldaron Laird, an environmental planner and photographer, spent 130 days walking, kayaking, exploring, and mapping 102 miles of Humboldt Bay shoreline. His photos portray vistas from his walkabout as part of a study examining sea level rise and its impacts on Humboldt Bay. This special exhibit is presented in conjunction with Arcata Bay’s Oyster Festival on Saturday June 20. Don’t miss the annual celebration of Humboldt Bay oysters with restaurateurs, volunteers, merchants, and visitors indulging in local food, drink, music, and art. www.yournec.org
of the Eel River
Regional Water Board Proposes Rules to Protect Water Quality from Impacts Associated with Marijuana Cultivation Scott Greacen, Executive Director environmental law. For example, Department The framework establishes a set of ‘standard conditions’—best management practices—that of Fish and Wildlife staff , responsible for writing A substantial crowd was on hand May 7 at would apply to all grows with more than six permits for any alteration of a stream or its bed Eureka’s Wharfinger Building as the North Coast plants. Existing operations would be sorted into under section 1600 of the Fish and Game Code, Regional Water Quality Control Board (generally three tiers. Tier 1 sites are defined as those that have estimated their North Coast offi ce could write known as the Regional Water Board) held a public don’t divert water from surface sources from May 50 such permits annually—if they did nothing workshop at its board meeting to discuss a draft 15 to October 15, are smaller than 2000 square else. A rough estimate suggests there are at least framework for regulating water quality impacts feet, are sited on slopes less than 35 percent, 5000 marijuana grows visible on Google Earth in associated with cultivation of marijuana and and are more than 200 feet from a watercourse. Humboldt County alone. similar crops. The proposal will be open for public These are sites where following comment through June 8, the standard conditions 2015. If adopted by the Board, should yield minimal impact as early as its August meeting, on water quality. the new program could go Tier 2 sites, which don’t into effect as soon as the fall meet one or more of the Tier of this year. 1 standards, are where existing The proposed program operations could cause impacts is framed as a waiver of the to water quality without at least general requirement that some changes to the site. Tier 2 polluters obtain a permit operations would be required before discharging anything to create and follow a ‘water that would impair the resource protection plan.’ Tier beneficial uses of California’s 3 sites would be those where surface waters. Though application of the standard incomplete, it represents by far the most serious effort yet conditions would not suffice to undertaken by any California prevent current impacts to water state agency to regulate the quality; where some cleanup, marijuana industry and its restoration, or remediation increasing environmental must be done. For these sites, impacts. Indeed, the draft Jennifer Kalt, Director of Humboldt Baykeeper, speaking to the Regional Water Control Board at the May 7 a ‘cleanup and restoration meeting at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka. Photo: Mark Lovelace. rules strike us as thoughtful plan’ would be required. All and realistic—a good step in the right direction. Actually getting the attention, much less the sites would have to pay registration fees, follow That’s not to say that the proposal would not conscientious compliance, of many marijuana the standard conditions, and would be subject benefit from additional improvements, including growers would appear to require not just passing to fines, penalties, or even property liens if they an emphasis on the need to create incentives to new rules atop the existing ones already being failed to comply. drive cleanups at watershed scales; discouraging ignored, but having someone with a badge show Growers’ organizations have indicated a additional increases in the number or growth in up in their driveway. The Board’s desire to lead willingness to work within the new framework, the size of the mega-grows often associated with with outreach and education shows good faith though they seem to think that the 2000 square the most severe environmental harms; and barring on its part, but may also reflect a dearth of bitter feet limit in Tier 1 is much too low. Our suggestion: the use of water-hauling trucks that merely relocate experience in these instransigent fields. if growers want permits for larger commercial unsustainable water diversions, while damaging The suggestion that the Regional Board could operations, we should consider granting them— road systems and amplifying their already seek to license several thousand grow operations but only in watersheds where all Tier 2 and 3 sites severe sediment discharges. in Humboldt County as soon as possible, as I are addressed, or on designated agricultural and Even with such amendments, however, the heard from one member of the board itself, seems industrial lands. fundamental problem confronting the Regional in this context not only vastly ambitious and Other improvements we’d like to see in the Board is the same one facing all agencies seeking hopelessly unrealistic, but also badly misplaced. final draft would include a blanket ban on the use to control the booming marijuana industry: a lack Because the majority of current grows across the of water trucks; disincentives for Tier 2 and Tier of enforcement resources. Across the board, we region won’t qualify for the board’s low-impact 3 site owners who willfully fail to comply with the hear that current staffing and budgets would need template, evaluating the risks and mitigation needs new rules; and a requirement that Tier 1 grows to increase by an order of magnitude to provide for of particular parcels will require staff time and be associated with a homestead that existed even basic oversight of the industry under existing attention be invested in site-specific analysis. before, say, 2014.
EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
The Environmental Protection Information Center Photo: USDA
Protecting Biodiversity, Protecting Forests
Rob DiPerna Northwestern California is home to some of the richest and most biodiverse forests in the world. Prior to European settlement, Northwest California’s forests were in-tact and expansive, providing essential habitat for a plethora of unique and amazing flora and fauna. From the iconic Marbled Murrelet and Northern Spotted Owl, to the cuteand-fuzzy Pacific Fisher and Humboldt Marten, to the gigantic ferns and elegant trilliums, the redwood region and the larger Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion provide a unique climate and thus unique forest conditions that allow for a cornucopia of native flora and fauna Photo: USFWS to survive and thrive. Over the last 150 of years of European settlement and intensive land management techniques, much of the redwood region and the larger Klamath-Siskiyou bioregion’s forests have been logged, converted, or otherwise depleted. The landscape we encounter today is markedly different, both for humans, and the species that depend upon the forest. Protecting Northwest California’s native wildlife is a key component to protecting our remaining intact forests, as well as restoring our depleted forests to a healthier state that would allow native species to survive and thrive. Protecting species diversity is a cornerstone of EPIC’s efforts to protect and restore Northwest California’s forests. Here are some of the highlights from the last year of EPIC’s efforts to protect biodiversity, and protect, maintain, and restore our native forests:
Gray Wolf The gray wolf has voluntarily reintroduced itself to California. In light of the return of the wolf, EPIC and allies submitted a petition to list to the wolf as endangered under the California Endangered Species Act (CESA). Additionally, EPIC staff participated in a multi-stakeholder working group that drafted a wolf management plan for California in conjunction with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. On June 4, 2014, the Fish and Game Commission voted to list the Gray Wolf as endangered in California. The listing of the Gray Wolf in California is important not only to protect
the species from hunters and ranchers, but also for returning apex carnivores to our landscape, which can have multiple ecological and even social benefits.
The Humboldt Marten, a cat-sized, weasel-like mesocarnivore, once thought to be extinct, has been extirpated from nearly 95 percent of its historic range in coastal California. Remnant populations of the marten are estimated to number as many as 100 individuals, but a more accurate estimate indicates that there may be just 40 of these forest creatures remaining in the wild in California. In 2010, EPIC and allies submitted a petition to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the marten as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act. Despite acknowledging the perilously low population numbers, and the likely isolation of the remaining population of martens, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the marten in a determination rendered in April 2015. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reasoned that while the population was perilously small, that the Service could not conclude that the species was at-risk of extinction, therefore determining that the listing was not warranted. EPIC is currently evaluating avenues to challenge the Service’s negative finding on our petition to list the Humboldt Marten.
The Pacific Fisher is another forest-associated mesocarnivore that relies upon large, contigious, and structurally complex forest patches. In 2000, EPIC and several other conservation groups filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the Pacific Fisher as a threatened or endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act. After years of delay, and an overturned “warranted but precluded” finding, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a positive 12-month finding on the petition to list the fisher in April 2015, finding that the petitioned-action was warranted. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will now promulgate a final listing rule for the fisher, thus initiating ESA protections. This final listing rule is anticipated sometime in 2016. www.yournec.org
Northern Spotted Owl
The Northern Spotted Owl is a well-known, iconic keystone species that was at the heart of the so-called “timber wars” of the late 80’s and early 90’s. Historic and contemporary habitat loss, and the advent of the incursion of the non-native and aggressive barred owl into the range of the spotted owl have resulted in continuing and precipitous declines in owl populations, this despite over 25 years of conservation efforts under the federal Endangered Species Act. In light of the alarming state of the species, EPIC has taken a two-pronged approach to spotted owl conservation. Firstly, EPIC filed a petition with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to “reclassify” or “uplist” the Northern Spotted Owl from a threatened species to an endangered species under the ESA in 2012. After great delays, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rendered a positive initial finding on our petition in April 2015, finding that the petition, and other available evidence demonstrated that the action “may be warranted” and that the spotted owl may now in fact be endangered. EPIC also filed a petition with the California Fish and Game Commission, requesting that the spotted owl be listed as either threatened or endangered under the California Endangered Species Act in 2012. The Commission voted to accept EPIC’s petition in August 2013; the spotted owl formally became a candidate for listing under CESA in December 2013. The acceptance of our petition by the Commission triggered a 12-month status review period, in which the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is charged with preparing a status report for the spotted owl in California. However, the Department sought and received a six-month extension on the production of its status report in October 2014, with the new target date for submittal of the report to the Commission of June 26, 2015. However, the Department is now acknowledging that it intends to miss the June 26, 2015 deadline. EPIC is investigating alternate remedies to address the indefinite delay of the Department’s submittal of its status review for the spotted owl. Protecting Northwest California’s biodiversity is a key piece to protecting and restoring Northwest California’s forests. EPIC will continue to use tools such as the state and federal endangered species acts to promote species protection and recovery, and to promote better forest management.
For more info please visit: www.WildCalifornia.org Jun/Jul 2015
Flood the System
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As people from around the world mobilize and demand meaningful change at the talks in Paris, and highlight grassroots solutions, Flood the System will stage “We need to wash away direct actions across the root causes of climate North America. change: capitalism, white Sandy Nurse, supremacy, patriarchy and organizer with the colonialism.” New York City Rising Tide North America chapter of Rising Tide, told Common Dreams that the network is urging people to plan their own actions locally and coordinate regionally and continentally through spokescouncils—formed when affinity groups come together around a common purpose. Nurse said that, while actions are not yet public, “there are a lot of ideas. Groups might block oil trains, they might block fossil fuel destruction.” Organizers in the U.S. and Canada are having “initial conversations” with groups in Mexico about the coordinated actions. If past actions are any indication, Flood the System will make a big splash. Rising Tide Seattle is one of the organizations behind last week’s series of direct actions—by land and sea—to protest Shell Oil’s arctic drilling fleet in the Port of Seattle. Furthermore, many of those organizing Flood the System were involved in last year’s more than 400,000-strong People’s Climate March in New York City, followed by the “Flood Wall Street” demonstration and sit-in attended by thousands in the financial district of lower Manhattan—the hub of global capitalism. Organizers say Flood the System looks to other movements for inspiration, especially those “led by low-wage workers, immigrants, and communities responding to police brutality,” with many Rising Tide organizers directly involved in, or allying with, these various struggles.”
EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
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“There is a sense that there is so much happening right now that is powerful and empowering from the grassroots,” said Nurse. “People are expressing anger, taking to the streets, not fearful, and very activated in a way that has caught the imagination of the entire country and many places around the world.” “Communities on the front lines of fossil fuel extraction are fighting back,” said Ahmed Gaya, an organizer with Rising Tide Seattle, in a statement. “From Seattle, to Alberta, to Appalachia, people are organized in opposition to extraction, and taking action to uproot the systems driving the crisis.”
The Meatless Mondays campaign proposes that the largest dining venue on the HSU campus commit to not selling meat one day per week. Nearly 10 percent of the student body signed a petition in support of the concept and it has been officially endorsed by the Resident Hall Association and the Associated Students Council of HSU. Dozens of colleges have already implemented some form of Meatless Mondays. The reasoning a student gets behind this campaign can range from the humane treatment of animals to reducing the negative environmental impacts of livestock to improving the quality of health for our students. (More information can be found at: www. meatlessmonday.com). Yet another food-related movement that has sprouted at Humboldt State is the HSU Fruit Tree Alliance. The alliance is a collaborative effort by students and faculty to plant and care for fruit trees on the Humboldt State campus. The intention behind this effort is twofold. First, by nurturing the plants in our landscape we are able to overcome the nature disconnect between ourselves and the ecosystems on which we depend. The second motivation is student health. In addition to promoting lifestyles changes, the fruit trees are a step towards addressing campus food insecurity issues. As the many Humboldt State students who graduated this May take their new skills to other arenas of life, over 1,200 incoming students will be arriving at Humboldt State next August, eager to change the world… and with it our campus.
Jerry Dinzes is a recent HSU graduate in Environmental Planning and outgoing President of the Associated Students of Humboldt State University.
NORTH GROUP REDWOOD CHAPTER Help Protect Water Quality on National Forest Lands
Felice Pace, Water Resources Chair About 60 percent of North Coast and Klamath River Basin land is designated as national forests. These public lands were created by Congress from the public domain in the early 1900s. At that time there was great fear of a “timber famine” and the national forests were seen as a hedge against private forest liquidation. The national forests were also created to secure “favorable conditions of flow” in western rivers and streams. Back in the early 1900s Congress understood that preserving the forest “sponge” was the key to secure water supplies during the West’s annual summer drought. Today our national forest must comply with several environmental laws including the Clean Water Act (CWA). In California, CWA compliance is the job of Regional Water Boards. The North Coast Water Board is currently working on a new Clean Water Act permit for national forests in the region, which includes the California portion of the Klamath River Basin. The North Group is working to make sure the new regional CWA national forest permit adequately protects the clean and cool water which our national forests were created to protect. Unfortunately, national forest springs and streams are often fouled by poorly managed private livestock as soon as the water emerges from the earth. Salvage and green tree logging on landslide prone slopes and along streams also degrades water quality and damage the forests’ sponge-like water holding capacity. If you want to get involved in making sure national forests in our region are managed in a manner that protects water quality and secures “favorable conditions of flow” contact North Group Water Chairperson Felice Pace via e-mail to Unofelice@gmail.com. Include a phone number and times when Felice can reach you by phone.
Science Projects Recieve Awards
For the ninth year, North Group sponsored an award at the annual Humboldt County Science Fair held in mid-March. The projects were so competitive in 2015 that a second prize of $25 was given. The $50 first-place award went to “The Effect of the Amount of Precipitation in Klamath on the Temperature and pH of the Klamath River” by Allie Sanchez, a 7th-grader at Sunny Brae Middle School and member of the Yurok tribe. Allie’s project questioned whether drought was affecting the temperature and pH of the Klamath River. These two aspects of water quality are important for fish survival. She hypothesized that if decreased precipitation is related to water quality, then samples taken during drought years would have higher temperature and lower pH than those taken in non-drought years. She collected samples in January at the boat ramp on three dates and compared the results to data from the U.S. Geological Survey on those same dates in non-drought years. She found that average temperature of the Klamath was 12 degrees celsius in 2015 vs. seven to eight degrees celsius in non-drought years, while pH in 2015 was 6.8 vs. 8.4 in non-drought years. Allie noted that because healthy river temperatures for fish are between four and 14 degrees celsius, the summer heat would make the water temperature rise and pH become more acidic—and harmful to salmon. A $25 second-place prize was awarded to “Using Water Quality to Identify Pollution in Four North Coast Creeks” by Camden Nichols, a 6th-grader at Jacoby Creek School. Camden hypothesized that creeks or rivers close to a mill, factory, or pasture would have the most pollution. She took two rounds of samples during January in Jacoby Creek, Janes Creek, Widow White Creek, and Little River. After a rain, turbidity increased between two- and seven-fold in the water bodies. Temperature and pH did not vary significantly between the four streams.
Events The North Group offers the following hikes in September. All our hikes are open to the public. Contact hike leaders for more information: Sunday, June 7—North Group Titlow Hill 5’n’10 Six Rivers National Forest Hike. From Forest Road 1 we will hike to Road 5N10 on an old logging spur, then counterclockwise across Enquist Creek back to Road 1. We can then hike south to Cold Spring and return. Experience a wide range of landscapes. Bring lunch, and protection from the sun or other mountain weather. Moderate difficulty, 6.5 miles, less than 1,000 feet elevation loss/gain. Carpools: meet 9 a.m. Ray’s market in Valley West. Leader Ned, firstname.lastname@example.org, 825-3652. Heavy rain cancels. Sunday, July 12—North Group Lassics Botanical Area Six Rivers National Forest Hike. Join us for a scenic hike in this natural wonderland off Highway 36. See vernal pools, stark serpentine and peridotite barrens, and vegetation with character. Come take a long look at our vast North Coast backcountry. We will ascend distinctive Black Lassic and explore other nearby features. Bring lunch and extra water, and dress for the weather. Moderate difficulty, 6 miles, less than 1,000 feet elevation gain. Carpools: meet 8 a.m. Herrick Ave. Park’n’Ride in Eureka. By reservation only. Leader Ned, nedforsyth48@gmail. com, 825-3652. Bad weather cancels. Wednesday, June 17—North Group Prairie Creek State Park Friendship Ridge Hike. Loop includes old-growth forest, flowers, views, waterfalls, and likely elk. Some steep, rough, or soggy places. Bring food, water, hiking footwear. No dogs. Class M-8-A. Carpools 9 a.m. Valley West (Ray’s) Shopping Center, 10:30, a.m. Fern Canyon Trailhead (exit Hwy 101 at Davison Rd.) Leader Melinda 707-6684275. Steady rain or gusting winds cancel. Tuesday, July 14—North Group Del Norte Redwoods State Park Last Chance Coastal Trail. Join us for this easygoing ramble through lush old-growth upon a stretch of Redwood Highway replaced in the 1930’s by the present 101 route, itself soon to be abandoned for more stable inland terrain. As our way approaches coastal bluffs, we may glimpse waters below while we pause before returning as we came. Bring water and lunch. No dogs. Class M-8-A. Carpools 9 a.m. Valley West (Ray’s) Shopping Center, 10:30 a.m. Damnation Creek Trail Head (3.3 mi. north of Wilson Creek bridge, west side Hwy 101) leader Melinda 707-6684275. Steady rain or strong winds cancel.
NORTHCOAST CHAPTER Evening Programs are suspended for summer. Get outside to see and learn about wild plants! 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
June 6, Saturday. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Jacoby Creek Forest Redwood Ecology Hike. Jacoby Creek Forest at the end of Jacoby Creek Rd. is normally closed to the public. This is a rare opportunity to survey its trees and plants with dynamic City botanist Michael McDowall. Meet at 11 a.m. in the parking lot behind City Hall on 7th Street to carpool. Bring water and snack/lunch; wear sturdy hiking shoes; be prepared for a moderate hike with two stream crossings. Offered by the City of Arcata. The walk is limited to 25 people. To make a reservation call 707822-8184 or email email@example.com. June 6, Saturday. 9 a.m. Haypress Meadow Wildflower Hike (& optional backpack overnight). Explore meadows of the western Marble Mountains. This is an all day hike with the option to backpack and camp overnight. Meet at the Panamnik Building in Orleans (same building as the Post Office, 38150 Hwy 96) at 9 a.m., or at the Stanshaw Trailhead at 10:30. Please contact Tanya Chapple at 530-627-3202 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Co-sponsored by Mid-Klamath Watershed Council.
Seeds? Flowers? Disease? No! These prickly spheres on the wood Rose (Rosa gymnocarpa) are custom-built homes of a teeny-tiny wasp, the Spiny Leaf Gall Wasp (Diplolepis polita). We will look for these and other galls on the June 27 field trip. Photo by John DeMartini.
June 20, Saturday. Rare Plant Treasure Hunt--Trinity Monkeyflower (Erythranthe trinitiensis). Once again the North Coast Chapter of CNPS is partnering with Six Rivers National Forest to search for a rare plant. We will head up Highway 299 to about 4,000 feet elevation in the Horse Mountain Botanical Area of Six Rivers National Forest. We will visit a site where the recently described Trinity (Pink-margined) Monkeyflower was seen last year and then attempt to find additional occurrences in the vicinity. Be prepared for short hikes off gravel roads
A Botanical Treasure Hunt
Imagine a botanical explorer in the 1850s, in a place the locals called “Bear River Ridge.” With no USGS maps and no GPS, that was the best available information. When the botanist discovered a wildflower he had never seen before, new to botanical science, he collected a specimen, circled an area on his crude map, and recorded a general location. Then he described the specimen and named it, and the information all went into a collection of botanical specimens and the botanical literature. Now, 160 years later, contemporary botanists would dearly love to know if that plant still exists. But first they have to find it. The California Native Plant Society is organizing “Rare Plant Treasure Hunts” to locate and count individuals of rare species that have not been seen in many years.
CNPS Rare Plant Botanist and veteran botanical explorer Aaron Sims spoke to the North Coast Chapter of CNPS on April 8, describing his work, which involves seeking and mapping these finds. He encouraged interested people to research rare species in their geographic areas, using records available through the California Natural Diversity Database and Consortium of California Herbaria, and then go search for these treasures in the wild. Our Chapter’s June 20th Rare Plant Treasure Hunt, organized by botanist John McRae of Six Rivers National Forest, will do this, searching for the Pink-margined Monkeyflower on Horse Mountain. Documenting our rare species is important for the general conservation of our native flora. As Sims said, “You can’t protect what you don’t know is there.” Right, pink-margined monkeyflower
and for changeable, mountain weather. Bring boots, lunch, water, hats, and sunscreen. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) to carpool. Contact John McRae at 707-441-3513 for information, to say you are coming, and to tell him if you can bring a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. June 27, Saturday. Plant Gall Survey Trek. A search for interesting and diverse plant galls takes us back to Titlow Hill Rd. and Horse Mountain area in Six Rivers National Forest (off Highway 299) with naturalist John DeMartini. At various roadside stops we will wander a bit, inspecting especially oaks (Quercus spp.) for these amazing homes for certain insect larvae. We will make the most of the botany available, which should be wonderful. Be prepared for walking off-trail and for changeable, mountain weather (cold or hot). Bring lunch and plenty of water, and if you have one, a hand lens. Meet at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) at 9:30 a.m. to carpool. Return by 5 p.m. (or sooner, driver’s choice). It’s good to tell us you’re coming: 707-822-2015 July 10-11-12, Friday p.m.-Sunday. East Boulder Lake and Scott Mt. Summit. A two-mile hike, after an hour’s drive from our camp will put us at 6,700 ft in the wide basin of East Boulder Lake in the Scott Mountains, south of Callahan. We will car-camp Friday and Saturday nights at Scott Mt. Summit Campground (5400 foot elevation) on Route 3 north of Weaverville, three hours from Arcata, in Shasta Trinity National Forest. Saturday we will maximize time at East Boulder Lake among the Western White Pine and alpine flowers. Sunday we will explore the camp area (one of our favorites) and Pacific Crest Trail before heading home. Important: tell Carol if you are thinking of coming! 707-822-2015 email@example.com.
Eye on Washington
Kauffmann, who authored two definitive books on western conifers called Conifer Country and Conifers of the Pacific Slope, has created this guide with the help of photographer and editor Jeff Bisbee, who documented all these species with his camera, and co-authors Tom Parker and Michael Vasey, two of the world’s experts on manzanitas who teach at San Francisco State University. “This beautiful group of plants has fascinated me since the late 1970s. In particular, I was captivated by the great number of species that are restricted to small, local places,” Vasey says. “Manzanita species are stunning in their form—with reddish bark, miniature apple-like fruit, and tough evergreen leaves in numerous shapes and sizes.” In addition to their beauty, “manzanitas are foundational species for understanding the diverse habitats across California,” Parker says. “If you study manzanitas, there’s never a dull moment. The diverse soils and climates in which they grow offer exceptional field trips around the state.” Manzanitas are members of the heath family (Ericaceae), an ancient lineage of woody plants that dates back to the late Cretaceous (~110 million years ago). The heath family has a global distribution prominent on all continents in both hemispheres, with the exception of Antarctica. Well known plants in this family include rhododendrons, cranberries, huckleberries and blueberries. Jeff Bisbee, who photographed all the species and subspecies for the book, said he became seriously interested in manzanita after meeting Mike Vasey. “I began learning as much as possible about them, searching out every species to document their identifying characteristics in photographs.” Field Guide to Manzanitas includes color photographs, range maps, regional keys, helpful descriptions, a brief natural history of each manzanita species, and destinations to find manzanitas in the field. As befits a book about the beauty and wonder of plants, Field Guide to Manzanitas is printed in California on postconsumer recycled paper by Backcountry Press, in Humboldt County.
...to manage our national forests to recover from the devastating clearcutting preferred by the timber industry. Some conservation organizations, including the NEC, are participating in listening sessions and meetings with agencies and the Obama administration to voice concern about incremental dismantling of the NWFP. Dominick A. DellaSala, Chief Scientist for Geos Institute in Ashland, OR, recently wrote, “Several assessments have demonstrated that the scientific underpinnings of the plan remain sound and that it has met most of its ecosystem management goals.” Most conservation organizations agree the changes that are needed are increased protections and strengthening the enforcement of the Plan. The public listening sessions have been widely attended throughout the northwest and many hope the Forest Service and BLM will actually listen at their “listening sessions” to the public and to scientists. Early signs, however, point to a strong representation by the timber industry calling for increased timber poduction in important habitat protection areas and less protection for streams and wetlands. The NEC and its member organizations are fully engaged in the process to assure a strong voice for conservation is heard and we will report on any developments. This effort is being initiated by the Administration though the results will generate interest in Congress as well.
...monitor near the school was removed— against the vocal opposition of Mr. Rowen. The PG&E representatives opined that the particles were coming from nuclear testing in China and drifting to Humboldt. Instead of determining the source, the reaction was to remove a monitoring station that could alert school administrators and government officials to health threats to children, faculty and staff. Mr. Rowen provides testimony to the support and leadership of some of his colleagues and friends. Rowen dedicated his book to the memory of his colleague, Forrest Williams, the father of the current owner of the Jogg’n Shoppe in Arcata.
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“My Humboldt Diary will hopefully provide pause to the clamor for more nuclear plants!” Bob Rowen
Rowen spoke at book-signing events this winter in the Jogg’n Shoppe, the Northcoast Environmental Center, Northtown Books and Eureka Books. While Rowen was making book tour rounds, the Eureka Times-Standard quoted PG&E North Coast External Communications Representative Brittany McKannay, “we don’t have information to support the allegations that were made nearly 45 years ago and to an agency that no longer exists.” After reading Rowen’s book, that statement might not give readers any real sense of comfort or transparency from PG&E. PG&E has been decommissioning the nuclear power unit of the plant since 2009 after it closed down in 1976. The radioactive cores are still in Humboldt, onsite at the power plant, in long-term dry cask storage until the long-promised national repository is established. The fact remains, however, that the radioactivity will long outlive the storage design. Requiring any community hosting a nuclear plant to also provide for the long-term permanent storage of the radioactive waste it creates might help to assure communities consider the environmental and health effects that generations to come will face as a result of their decisions today. Meanwhile, the sleeping giant rests on our south bay doorstep. In Washington D.C., an “all of the above” energy strategy is often referenced. One component of the “all,” inevitably, is nuclear. Nuclear energy is the silver bullet for both U.S. energy independence and reducing carbon emissions. Unfortunately, the boosters of nuclear energy are reluctant to detail the problems of storing the accumulating radioactive waste, the true cost of nuclear energy (including decommissioning and waste storage) and long-term, widespread effects of accident or sabotage. Each time there is a problem, nuclear supporters are quick to tell us that lessons have been learned and those situations are unlikely to happen ever again. Yet as we learned with the Fukushima disaster in 2011, the risk of an unexpected disaster continues to be all too real. Bob Rowen was interviewed for the EcoNews Report that aired on February 26. Listen to the interview in the archives at http://yournec.org/ econews-report.
HEAVY-DUTY RESCUE: Five people spent four hours dragging a 500-pound endangered leatherback turtle from a remote South Carolina beach to rehabilitation facilities in Charleston—the ﬁrst to be recovered alive in the state. The leatherback, the largest turtle in the world, can weigh 2,000 pounds as an adult.
A merry melange: salient or silly.
100% GREEN: Because of hydropower, Costa Rica has not used a drop of fossil fuel to power itself during the ﬁrst 75 days of this year. POO BUS: That’s what the British are calling the bus which runs entirely on human and food waste. The bio-bus with a capacity of 40 passengers will use waste from more than 32,000 households along its 25-mile route in the Bristol area.
CODE BLUE: Rats have been engineered to develop erections—and some even ejaculate—when their genitals are bathed in blue light. The Swiss study said the method may be used as an alternative treatment for men who don’t respond to drugs like Viagra. BIRD POWER: The blackpoll warbler songbird (Setophaga striata), which weighs only half an ounce, still manages to ﬂy nonstop for some 1,700 miles. It leaves its home in the forests of northeast U.S. and Canada and arrives in the Caribbean three days later. MAY BE A KILLER: Glyphosate, the world‘s most widely used herbicide, has been described as “possibly carcinogenic” by France’s International Agency For Research on Cancer. According to the British publication the Lancet, the agency cited links to cancers such as non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
DEEPER IS BETTER: Stallions with deeper “voices” have a slower heart rate and sire more children. By listening to their call, mares might ﬁnd the toughest, calmest and most fertile, ; the ones with the potential to be good fathers and protective mates.
CONSTIPATED GOLDFISH: The British also showed their love of animals when a man paid $450 to relieve his goldﬁsh’s constipation problem. The three-inch-long ﬁsh underwent a delicate 50-minute operation using a tiny scalpel to remove a lump near its anus and another from its dorsal ﬁn. The surgeon said, “There was nothing special about the ﬁsh. He just liked it a lot.” PREDATOR-KILLING: While slaughtering wolves and coyotes in Idaho remains a contest, California became the ﬁrst state to have an agency ban such killing derbies. Michael Sutton, president of the California Fish and Game Commission, said “Awarding prizes for wildlife killing contests is both unethical and inconsistent with our current understating of natural systems.” EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
ALAS EMU: Eight teenagers were busted for stealing an emu from a rural Texas town and beating it to death. The incident involving the ﬂightless bird, related to an ostrich, occurred during a party attended by a large number of high school students. POT FOR PETS: Ailing animals would get medical marijuana if a veterinarian conﬁrms it may mitigate the effects of a chronic or debilitating medical condition. The measure was proposed by a legislator in Nevada, one of 23 states where medical marijuana is legal. www.yournec.org
CODE BLUE: Rats have been engineered to develop erections—and some even ejaculate—when their genitals are bathed in blue light. The Swiss study said the method may be used as an alternative treatment for men who don’t respond to drugs like Viagra.
Marbled Murrelet Brachyramphus marmoratus
subarctic portion of its range, where there are no trees, it’s a ground nester). This dependence on two disparate ecosystems makes the MAMU vulnerable to a broad set of conservation issues and makes preserving the species especially challenging. The MAMU’s unusual nesting habits eluded ornithologists for 200 years, and it wasn’t until the 1970s that the first tree nest was documented. We’ve learned a lot since then, but much of the species’ life Juvenile marbled murrelet at sea. Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service—Pacific Region. history remains a mystery. MAMUs Ken Burton lay a single egg on a large, mossy, horizontal limb You’re probably aware that anadromous fish— and take turns incubating it in 24-hour shifts that salmon and steelhead—link our forest and ocean turn over at dawn. MAMUs are extremely vocal ecosystems in their life cycles, returning to their on their way to and from these exchanges, mostly natal streams to spawn after maturing at sea. There’s uttering gull-like keer calls for which the bird has another animal that links them on a daily basis, as a been nicknamed the Fog Lark and that enable commuter, if you will: the marbled murrelet. MAMU researchers to detect them and determine This little bird, visually a bit smaller than a robin whether forest stands are occupied. After the chick but weighing three times as much, is a member of hatches, the parents deliver up to eight seafood the Alcidae, the family that also includes puffins, meals to it every day; as it grows, its droppings murres, guillemots, and auklets. The world’s 24 form a ring around it that helps keep it from falling alcids are sometimes called the “penguins of the off the branch. north” since many of them look superficially similar At four to six weeks of age, the chick, perhaps to penguins and fill a similar ecological niche motivated by hunger that its parents are no longer The marbled murrelet—or MAMU, as it’s known able to assuage, makes its maiden flight, solo, to bird nerds—ranges from central California to straight to the sea; growing up listening to those the tip of the Aleutian chain. In some ways, it’s a keer calls may help it orient in the proper direction. classic alcid, spending most of its time at sea feeding Once there, it continues its development without on marine fish and invertebrates. However, unlike parental assistance, eventually joining adults or most other alcids, which nest coastally on cliffs other juveniles. Most MAMU sightings at sea are or in burrows, it nests high in trees in old-growth of pairs, though the age and sex composition of forests up to 25 miles or more inland. (In the these pairs is still unknown.
Not surprisingly, the MAMU has suffered tremendously from habitat loss caused by logging of the Pacific Northwest’s old-growth forests. Habitat loss’s insidious partner, fragmentation, also threatens the species; higher edge to area ratios increase the risk of nest predation by jays and ravens. (If you’ve visited the Redwood National and State Parks, you’ve seen signs that say, “Feed a Jay, Kill a Murrelet.”) At sea, there’s always the risk of oil spills and other pollution; the Exxon Valdez spill alone killed an estimated 8,400 MAMUs. And then there are the unpredictable effects of climate change on prey resources, with yet-to-be-determined consequences on the health of MAMU populations. The MAMU was listed as Threatened under the US Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1992 and is also listed as Threatened in British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon and Endangered in California. The Northwest Forest Plan of 1994 has done perhaps more than any other legislation to protect the MAMU’s remaining nesting habitat while doing nothing to address the issues it faces at sea, where it spends most of its time. The MAMU, in a sense, was fortunate in being able to piggyback on conservation policies driven by its more charismatic forest cohabitants, the Northern Spotted Owl and coho salmon. But the logging industry has been waging an undercover war on the MAMU ever since. Time and again, it has sued the government to remove the MAMU from the Endangered Species List; time and again it has lost. In February, the US Court of Appeals rejected a suit by the American Forest Resource Council, which argued that the government had acted “arbitrarily and capriciously” in distinguishing US and Canadian MAMU populations, even though the ESA unambiguously recognizes populations defined by political boundaries. Let’s hope that this latest decision in favor of the MAMU, the fifth straight, is the final nail in the coffin (made of recycled wood, of course) of the timber industry’s attempts to undermine the ESA and return to its old, destructive ways. Three cheers for keers!
the Kids’ Page:
Did you know that leeches have 32 brains? Leeches are a type of segmented worm, like an earthworm. They have 34 segments, and 32 of those contain a brain. There are over 700 species of leeches in the world. Most of them live in slow moving freshwater, like ponds and marshes. There are about 100 species that live in the ocean and even some that live on land. Some leeches eat decaying leaves and logs, or insects and worms, but most eat blood. They have several sets of eyes, depending on species, but they do not use these eyes to hunt prey. They can sense light but not see clear pictures, similar to if you close your eyes. Leeches use their sense of smell, and are also able to sense vibrations, which help them ﬁnd their prey. Once their prey is located they attach their suckers. They have suckers on both ends of their bodies. A leeches bite contain a painkiller so it is not painful, and most of the time it isn’t noticed. Once attached, the leech releases a chemical that prevents blood from clotting so they can continue feeding until they’re full. Leeches feed on mammals, ﬁsh, reptiles, amphibians, and birds. Leeches do not carry diseases, but the host can run the risk of infection from the attachment site. Leeches are able to eat up to 10 times their weight! When they are done feeding, the leech simply falls oﬀ the host. They can go up to a year without feeding again. They range in size from the width of a pencil eraser up to the height of a construction cone. The largest leech is the Amazonian giant leech, which can grow up to 18 inches and live up to 20 years. That leech feeds by injecting a long (up to 6 inches!) needle-type mouthpart into its host in order to suck its blood. Leeches are also used in medicine. Doctors use leeches to stimulate blood ﬂow to parts of the body after surgery, in particular after ﬁnger reattachment. Medical leeches are grown and kept in a clean laboratory environment; they are not caught from the wild.
by Sarah Marnick Above right: A small leech attached to a man’s thumb. Photo: Charles Haynes, Flickr.com CC. Background: Historical medical illustrations of leeches.
EcoNews Jun/Jul 2015
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A jury found William Cayo guilty of violating shoreline management and water pollution laws, as well as conducting hydraulic activities that are prohibited. His actions filled one river channel, deepened and straightened another and removed a river bend. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Cayo “did serious damage and put fish, wildlife and his downstream neighbors at risk.” Here at the NEC, we fight against yet another example of human’s arrogant and regardless desire to reshape the natural world. From unwanted dams to poisonous pesticides, from ocean-damaging plastics to atomic energy, the notion is that Man can do whatever he wants against Nature. If you are willing to support us in this seemingly never-ending struggle, then devote some hours or send us a little currency. The other side has a lot of cash to back up its arrogant attitude; we’re only asking less than a dime a day to officially join us. Thank you.
CREATE YOUR OWN WATER-WISE HOME AND LANDSCAPE
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AUGUST 24, 2015
ARCATA COMMUNITY CENTER
June 28, 2015 July 26, 2015 September 13, 2015 January 10, 2016 Space is limited. Request application at firstname.lastname@example.org
Workshops for Youth ages 7-16 • Habitat Walks • Polymer Clay • Mixed media journaling
Mail to: NEC, PO Box 4259 Arcata, CA 95518
Please check here if you would rather remain anonymous.
Art Journaling the Habitats of Humboldt Bay
(must be accompanied by an adult)
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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.
Seasons of the Refuge:
Art Journaling for Kids
Published on May 29, 2015
EcoNews is the official bi-monthly publication of the Northcoast Environmental Center, a non-profit advocacy and educational organization. T...