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Over 40 Years of Environmental News


Arcata, California

Vol. 44, No. 5 Oct/Nov2014

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

Set the rivers

free! The All Species Parade Un-Dams the Klamath at the North Country Fair

Coastal Cleanup Day | All Species Parade | Groundwater Bill Smith River Mining | Downed Billboards Gone | Bridge Creek Barrier Removal | Measure P

News From the Center After one of the busiest weekends of the year for the NEC, with Coastal Cleanup Day, tabling at the North Country Fair, and the All Species Parade, we are all feeling pretty grateful to be part of such an amazing, artistic, and action-oriented community here on the North Coast. With such an outpouring of care for our community and our planet, it drives home the point that in working together we really can make a significant, positive difference for all life on this little blue ball we live on. It really is humbling to see pictures as they come in of all the volunteers cleaning up tons of trash throughout the region—from the Samoa Peninsula Fire District volunteer’s whopping 5,200 pounds of trash (mostly from roadside dumping) to high school students with the Fortuna Creeks Project recovering over 3,000 cigarette butts that would otherwise have been washed out to sea. There are so many inspiring stories. But



1385 8th Street - Suite 226, Arcata, CA 95521 PO Box 4259, Arcata, CA 95518 707- 822-6918, Fax 707-822-6980 EcoNews is the official bi-monthly publication of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC), a non-profit organization. Third class postage paid in Arcata. ISSN No. 0885-7237. EcoNews is mailed to our members and distributed free throughout the Northern California and Southern Oregon bioregion. The subscription rate is $35 per year.

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

Dan Ehresman, Executive Director Stepping Up for Climate Action

as we take action, it is apparent that we have so much more to do. Case in point is our over-reliance on dinosaur bone-based plastics that pollute our world and fossil fuels that wreak havoc on our climate—and thus on many sensitive ecosystems and human communities.

Editor/Layout: Morgan Corviday Hollis, Advertising: Proofreaders: Karen Schatz and Midge Brown Authors: Sid Dominitz, Dan Ehresman, Sarah Marnick, Dan Sealy, Jennifer Kalt, Scott Greacen, Jennifer Savage, Kimberly Baker, Felice Pace, Colin Fiske, Elaine Wienreb, Darren Mierau, Sally Morris, Tamara MacFarland, John Williams, Kimberly Barrier, Dan Bacher Cover Photo: Mo Hollis .Artist: Terry Torgerson

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

The NEC applauds the Bureau of Reclamation Decision for release of Trinity River flows, but more work is crucial to safeguard Klamath and Trinity salmon.

After significant pressure from North Coast tribes, fisheries experts, and other river advocates—and in response to the finding of deadly ich parasite in the mid-Klamath in mid-September, the US Bureau of Reclamation has again increased flow releases from reservoirs on the Trinity River. We are grateful to the Hoopa, Yurok, and Karuk Tribes and everyone else who rallied to the Bureau headquarters in Sacramento and those who work diligently to monitor river conditions and fish health. We hope that the flow release is enough to prevent a fish kill on the Klamath this year. While it is important to applaud the Bureau’s decision, our sense of relief is tempered by the reality that this is a temporary fix to a much bigger problem. Even in the midst of the worst drought in recorded history, California continues to siphon rivers and pump groundwater at a frightening pace with seemingly no thought as to what will happen next year if severely depleted reservoirs are not replenished this winter. With increased demands from Central Valley irrigators for Trinity River water, coupled with excessive illegal diversions on the smaller tributaries and the four dams on the Klamath River blocking fish passage...

NEC Board Of Directors

Humboldt Baykeeper

The weekend of September 20 also marked a milestone in the movement for climate action. Over 400,000 people swarmed New York City and rallied around the world for the People’s Climate March. Here locally, community members took part in a solidarity march as part of the NEC’s All Species Parade (see page 6). The stats are in: the cost of business as usual will be significantly more expensive than taking the necessarily drastic steps to close the damper on climate change. We are hopeful that the Climate March will mark a turning point towards meaningful measures to keep carbon in the ground, enact regulation and action at a global scale, and re-envision our economic system that perpetuates poverty and the abuse of the ecological systems upon which we all depend.

Klamath/Trinity Update

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

NEC Member Groups 707-268-0664

Sierra Club,North Group, Redwood Chapter

California Native Plant Society North Coast Chapter

Redwood Region Audubon Society,

Friends of the Eel River, 707-822-3342

Safe Alternatives for our Forest Environment (SAFE)

NEC Affiliate Members

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

Friends of Del Norte

Mattole Restoration Council, (707) 629-3514

Zero Waste Humboldt

News from the Center

Continued from previous page ...and causing toxic river conditions, the fight to save North Coast salmon runs and river-dependent livelihoods is far from over. In the face of climate change and the severe ongoing drought, we must keep the pressure on to make sure that our elected and appointed officials bring real solutions to California’s irresponsible water policies. It’s time to prioritize wise water management, conservation, and reuse. It’s also time to UnDam the Klamath. There’s a lot of work ahead, and only together can we address such big challenges around this planet’s most precious element.

Big News for Humboldt Bay Trail, McKay Community Forest, and Safe Routes to School

September brought some great news for Humboldt County residents. We celebrate the realization of the McKay Tract Community Forest with the transfer of 1,000 acres of redwood forest land from Green Diamond to the County of Humboldt. Now the planning, restoration, and trail maintenance and construction will begin. We also celebrate a big boost for trails and Safe Routes to School projects – nearly $7.6 million was awarded to Humboldt County jurisdictions which will go a long way towards safer, more connected communities. The City of Eureka received funding that will go towards completing the Eureka Waterfront Trail and the City of Arcata got a whopping $3.1 million for the construction of the Humboldt Bay Trail between Arcata and Bracut—a huge step closer to a safe, separated trail connecting Arcata and Eureka. Bay Trail here we come!

House Party Thanks and Shout Outs

A huge thanks to everyone who made it out and otherwise contributed to make the NEC’s Summer 2014 Fundraising Dinner such a success! To our hosts Jan and Gary Friedrichsen who went out of their way to provide such a great space

and amazing food and drink - we are eternally grateful. Big thanks to the tireless efforts of the corecrew—Jan, Gary, Lea, Joseph, Chris and Richard— for all of your work from set-up through cleanup! Big kudos to NEC Board members and staff for all of your support at the event and beyond! And to our sponsors, we thank you immensely: Terry Roelofs and Erica Upton, Steve Railsback and Margaret Lang, Coast Seafoods, Chuck, James and John Woolley, Ramone’s Bakery, Moonstone Crossing, Beck’s Bakery, It’s Alive Kombucha, Cakestacey, Bayside Grange, Pierce Family Farm, Little River Farm, Organic Matters Ranch and Good Company!

Billboard Removal – Job Well Done

Thanks to all of the volunteers who clean up beaches and waterways throughout Humboldt County and around the world. Kudos to the great NEC volunteer crew who on Coastal Cleanup Day removed the two downed billboards that were previously occupying public trust wetlands of Humboldt Bay. (See page 9 for more). Big thanks to: Bob Ornelas, Dave Meserve, Kirk Cohune, Chris Honar, Chris Dosch, Bobby Wright, Mike Wilson, and the fellow volunteer who pulled over to lend a hand. The biggest award for taking one for the team goes to Kirk Cohune for sacrificing the comfort of dry clothing to go in the drink and haul some of the heaviest items to dry ground.

3 5 6 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 22

Coastal Cleanup Day Shore Lines Update Smith River Mining All Species Parade Measure P Groundwater Legislation Eye on Washington Prescribed Fire Slows Wildfire Kin to the Earth: Water Warriors Zero Waste Humboldt Humboldt Baykeeper Friends of the Eel River EPIC Mattole Restoration Council Sierra Club, North Group California Native Plant Society Eco-Mania Creature Feature: Beaver Kids’ Page: Moths vs Butterflies

Welcome new NEC staff !

We’d like to welcome a few new additions to the NEC crew who came aboard in the midst of preparations for the NEC’s most intensive weekend of the year: Sydney Stewart, Cherry Sripan and Madison Peters. Sydney is interning with us for her last semester at HSU. Cherry and Madison are our two new work-study hires who bring a lot of energy to our growing crew. All three have already proven to be invaluable in keeping our office rolling and stepping up with action and art in celebration of our planet. We are very much looking forward the months ahead with our committed and growing crew!

Letters welcome!

Letters should be 200 words or less, relevant to material covered in EcoNews, and must include the writer’s address and phone number. No attachments, please. Letters may be edited and shortened for space. The NEC reserves the right to reject any submitted material for any reason (e.g. size, content, etc.). Email letters to

Catch the NEC’s EcoNews Report

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

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014

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Bouquets A multi-modal bouquet to Marcella Clem (HCAOG), Hank Seemann (HumCo Public Works), Miles Slattery (City of Eureka), Karen Diemer (City of Arcata) and all who are making the Humboldt Bay Trail (including the Eureka Waterfront Trail) a reality! A special out-spoke-en bouquet to the inestimable Jen Rice for setting the grand vision in motion many years ago! A bouquet of up-cycled marine debris flowers to the many hundreds of volunteers who made it out to Coastal Cleanup Day 2014 throughout the North Coast and a huge thanks to all of our amazing sponsors for helping to make it all possible. Water-loving floral theatrics to James Hildebrandt, Gregg Moore, Tibora Bea Girczyc-Blum & SCRAP Humboldt, Arcata Playhouse, Kinetic Sculpture Lab and everyone else who made the All Species Parade and street theater so grand! A bouquet of eco-harvested redwood boughs to Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, Green Diamond, Trust for Public Land, Hank Seemann (again) and all who stepped up to seal the deal on the McKay Tract Community Forest!


North Coast Volunteers Won't Give up on the Beach On Saturday, September 20, about 1,000 Humboldt C o u n t y residents took advantage of the balmy day to lend their hands in s u p p o r t of clean beaches and waterways for C o a s t a l Cleanup Day. Volunteers scoured shorelines and inland locations, picking up trash at over 70 sites throughout the county, gathering nearly eight tons of garbage during the morning’s three-hour event. The NEC has been cleaning up local beaches for 35 years and we are proud to have participated in the 30th year of California’s Coastal Cleanup. The Coastal Commission’s preliminary results report that more than 54,124 volunteers collected over 576,571 pounds of trash at over 850 sites throughout the state! International Coastal Cleanup Day is organized by Ocean Conservancy—making our efforts part of one of the biggest days of caring celebrated worldwide. Coastal Cleanup Day is an inspirational day of action that brings our community together to celebrate and protect our rivers and coast. It is the hard work of so many amazing volunteers and the support from agencies, organizations, and businesses that really make this such a successful local event. We are immensely grateful for the devoted volunteers who regularly take part in Coastal Cleanup as well as those who perform cleanups throughout the year. This year’s cleanup saw volunteers of all ages— from hundreds of elementary and high school students, to volunteers who have been involved since the NEC’s first cleanup over three decades ago. People took to the beaches up and down Humboldt’s coastline, from Shelter Cove to Redwood Creek to inland reaches of the Eel and Mad Rivers. The NEC would like to extend our gratitude to ALL our cleanup volunteers, and site captains— some of whom come back to help year after year! See the list of our awesome 2014 site captains and sponsors on the next page.

Left: The North Fork cleanup crew, part of a larger group coordinated by Mad River Alliance. Right: At the Riverwalk Drive cleanup in Fortuna, kids picked up (and counted) over 3,000 cigarette butts! Below left: Beach stewardship starts young. (Kid photos: Pam Halstead). Below center: Plastic frogs are cute but don’t belong at the beach. Photo: Jennifer Savage.

Preliminary Totals for the North Coast:

~ 65 site captains ~ 70 cleanup sites ~ 1,000 volunteers ~ 7-8 tons of trash collected

YOU make Coastal Cleanup Day a success! Thank you! For more information visit:


For those who were unable to make it out for Coastal Cleanup Day or for those who cannot get enough beach cleanups, we have our year-round Adopt-A-Beach program. We provide bags, gloves, and other supplies–and you can participate on your own time. After completing three cleanups, you will be recognized by the NEC as well as the California Coastal Commission. For more information, see adoptabeach, or call us at (707) 822-6918.

30th Annual California Coastal Cleanup Day 3

Oct/Nov 2014


To everyone who helped make this Coastal Cleanup such a success, from all of us at the Northcoast Environmental Center, thanks you so much from the bottom of our hearts! Your commitment, many of you year after year, is truly inspiring. 2014 Site Captains: • Martin Swett – Dry Lagoon State Park • Michele Bisgrove & Matt Porter, Kokatat – Big Lagoon • Shane Harmon, Big Lagoon School – Big Lagoon County Park • Anthony Andreoli – Agate Beach • Sawar Young-Tripp – College Cove • Rebecca Leuck & Matt Malkus, Trinidad Elementary School – Trinidad State Beach • Charlie Notthoff, Humboldt Skindivers – Trinidad Harbor • Carol Mone – Old Home Beach • Greg Gibbs – Baker Beach • Tina & Scott Davies – Luffenholtz Beach County Park • Rachel Montgomery, PG&E Veg Mgmt – Camel Rock/ Houda Point Beach • Kimberly Thorpe – Moonstone Beach • Katelynn Merritt – Little River State Beach • Julie Layshock – Clam Beach County Park • Paul Souza, Molly Wasko, Margaret Talcott, Pacific Union School – Clam Beach County Park • Brooke Peters – Murray Road Beach • Josh Nikolauson, Cub Scout Pack 180 – Hiller Park • Kate McClain – Hammond Trail • Emily Davenport, GHD – Mad River Beach County Park • Jenny Rushby & Shana Langer, Coastal Grove School – Mad River Beach County Park • Robin Baker – Shay Park • Ted Halstead – Liscom Slough • Alyssa Young & Brandon Drucker, NEC – Greenway Bldg to McDaniel Slough • George Ziminsky, Friends of Arcata Marsh – Arcata Marsh • Brenda Harper, North Coast Co-Op – Mad River Slough at Hwy 255 • Dave Feral, Mad River Alliance – Mad River at Blue Lake • Miki Takada – Ma-le’l Dunes • Dave Haller, Freshwater Elementary – Ma-le’l Dunes • Suzie Fortner, Friends of the Dunes – Humboldt Coastal Nature Center • Michelle Leonard, Redwood Montessori School – Humboldt Coastal Nature Center

• Stacy Becker, HSU Center for Service Learning – Manila Beach, Cooper Gulch Park, Eureka Boardwalk, Halvorsen Park • Dale Unea, Samoa Volunteer Fire Dept – Vance Avenue, under Samoa Bridge • Billy Gartman, US Coast Guard – Samoa Blvd • Annalise Von Borstel, Lost Coast Rotaract & PacOut Green Team– Samoa Beach • Mary Lou Willits, Humboldt Surfrider – North Jetty • Lauren Lynch, Fox Farm Fertilizers – North Spit (bayside) • Dan Ehresman, NEC – Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge: Jacoby Creek Unit • Elicia Goldsworthy & Kara Graham, HSU Aquatic Center – Woodley Island • Jasmin Segura, Humboldt Baykeeper – Indian Island • Georgianna Wood, Explore North Coast – Woodley Island, Eureka Slough • Robert Thoman, DOA – Eureka Slough, Fay Slough • Lucia Boyer, Eureka High School – Eureka Boardwalk, Old Town • Amanda Auston, Sequoia Park Zoo – Sequoia Park • Maggie Herbelin & Don Wilkes – Eureka Public Marina • Emily Sinkhorn – Del Norte Street Pier, Eureka Waterfornt • John Shelter, New Directions – Palco/Eureka Marsh • Jane Stock, Volunteer Trail Stewards – Hikshari Trail • Michele O’Brien, Umpqua Bank – South Spit • Heather Brown, Fortuna East High School – South Jetty • Marsha Lenz, South Bay School – King Salmon Beach • Mark Wheetley – Ocean Ranch Unit, Eel River Wildlife Area • Bruce Slocum – Eel River Mouth and Estuary • Alisha Hamann, Friends of the Eel River – Crab Park • David Erickson, Eel River Estuary Preserve – Eel River Estuary Preserve • Lynn McCullough & Audrey Miller, Ferndale Elementary School – Centerville Beach • Pam Halstead, Fortuna Creeks Project – Rohner Creek, Strong’s Creek, Eel River • Monica Scholey, Mattole Youth Environmental Stewards – Mattole Beach and Estuary • William Bell – Shelter Cove • Dan Tangney – Trinity River, South Fork Bridge to Kimtu

Many thanks to our 2014 Coastal Cleanup Day Sponsors! Lost Coast Outpost KHUM KSLG KXGO KWPT The Point Runaway Kite PG&E HWMA Humboldt County HWMA Recology

City of Eureka Les Schwab Tires Humboldt Sanitation Arcata Garbage Company Danco Crestmark UMPQUA Bank North Coast Co-op Eureka Grocery Delivery Sierra Club Visual Concepts

The Emerald Magazine Mad River Union Greenway Trinidad Rancheria North Coast Journal Pierson Building Center Fox Farm Los Bagels Friends of the Dunes Wildberries

Invest in the Future Join our Monthly Giving Program For more information, call the NEC at 707-822-6918 EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014

CA Bans the Bag

NEC staffer Brandon Drucker will never again have to dress up as the Bag Monster now that California has banned most single-use plastic bags in the state. Photo: Jennifer Savage.

Jennifer Savage, Coastal Programs Director It’s been a long time coming, but after years of advocacy, negotiation and tireless activism, common sense has defeated special interests— California seems to have finally banned single-use plastic bags. The apparent victory—Governor Jerry Brown still needed to sign the bill at Econews press time—came at the very end of the state’s legislative session, passing the Senate 22-15 after squeaking through the Assembly days prior. According to Californian Against Waste, an average of 400 plastic bags are used per second in the state. Most of those end up as litter, costing an average of $11 per California resident. So while the new measure includes a small fee for paper or reusable bags, the pending economic benefits are substantial. For wildlife, single-use plastic bags have long meant a painful death. Sea turtles, marine mammals and birds, in particular, have suffered for years from problems relating to ingestion and strangulation. Anyone who drives or bikes alongside the highways has witnessed plastic bags stuck in bushes, caught on fences or simply littering the roadside on their way to the bay and ocean. Beach cleanup data confirms that plastic bags have consistently been one of the most littered items in our state. Despite all that—and the clear alternatives available—the plastic bag lobby has managed to throw enough money at fighting the various bills over the years to prevent legislation. Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, a longtime champion of banning the bag, carried the legislation and, in the Sacramento Bee, noted the “groundswell of support” throughout the state. Over 80 California cities and counties, including Arcata, have banned the bag. Most grocers have joined with environmentalists in supporting a bag ban, citing cost savings and consistency. We’re pleased to see that this widespread support for this long overdue action that is critical for our environment, economy and wildlife health has finally come to fruition.


Shore Lines: Coastal Programs Update Jennifer Savage, Coastal Programs Director Caring for the beaches, oceans and coastlines has always been a big part of the NEC’s mission. We’re reminded of this as we celebrate the 30th annual California Cleanup Day, which is actually the 35th year since the program was initiated right here in Humboldt County. Much of our efforts continue to revolve around the same issues of litter, pollution and use, although some of the specific threats and potential consequences have shifted with time. This was at the forefront of a recent Ocean Protection Council/Ocean Science Trust workshop in which participants tried to define a “healthy” ocean and the best ways for state agencies to ensure one. On a local level, we strive for three characteristics: clean, productive and protected.

Reaching Further

Thanks to the outstanding efforts of Coastal Education Specialist Justin Zakoren, our Whale Tail grant-funded Clean Beaches, Healthy Communities program has been a big hit at summer schools, camps and programs across the county. Through fun presentations utilizing the NEC’s watershed model, plus hands-on activities, children from five to 14 have a better understanding of how watersheds work, the interconnectivity of rain, land, rivers and ocean, and the harm done by toxins and trash.

A New Model

As we move forward into the school year, Zakoren will continue his presentations with a particular focus on typically underserved communities. An exciting development involves the watershed model, which, wonderful as it is, doesn’t reflect how land-use issues have evolved over the dozen or so years since it was created. To that end, local artist Matthew Oliveri is currently working on a new model, to further expand the NEC’s outreach and education abilities. We look forward to unveiling the 2014 watershed diorama by the end of October.

Art From Trash

Another new creation is the marine debris sculpture based on the art of the Washed Ashore project. Using trash from multiple cleanups and

with help from volunteers, SCRAP Humboldt’s Tibora Girczyc-Blum coordinated the construction of an impressive salmon that will play an important role in discussing the problem of marine debris in classrooms and elsewhere in the community. News Channel 3 included a spot on the project on the station’s “Green Report” in August.

Taking Good Care of the Beach Our main focus through August and into September has been, of course, Coastal Cleanup Day. We’ve acquired several new sponsors in addition to our wonderful repeat supporters from past years. (See our Coastal Cleanup Day report on page 3). For those who enjoyed Coastal Cleanup Day and are seeking a greater commitment, don’t forget we also coordinate the local Adopt-a-Beach program. Interested participants can check out our website, email us at or call 822-6918.

Marine Protected Areas

This December marks not only the two-year anniversary of the North Coast marine protected area network, but the completion of the California state network as a whole. The implementation of the Marine Life Protection Act took over a decade, largely due to unprecedented public involvement in deciding how and where in state waters these special protected areas should go. Many factors came into play, from habitat types to economic considerations. Fortunately, discovering more about what is out “there” will happen sooner, as baseline monitoring projects are already underway here on the North Coast. Eleven projects, largely including local researchers and fishermen, received $4 million of funding from the state. Look for a detailed description of several of these projects in the next EcoNews.

Four year old Isla Davidson celebrates Marine Protected Areas. Photo: Jennifer Savage.

Week in Ocean” on the Lost Coast Outpost ( Monthly updates can be heard the fourth Thursday of each month on The EcoNews Report at 1 p.m. on KHSU (, archives at

Stay in Touch

Each week brings opportunities to keep up on ocean happenings. Tune into Coastal Currents on KHUM 104.7 FM each Wednesday at noon. (Listen online at Read “Your

The amazing MPA cake made for the NEC’s House Party in August, by Cakestacey. Photo: Jennifer Savage.

...working with clients to improve  the social, economic and  environmental performance of  their organizations and projects.  



PLANNING AND RESEARCH                                                                707.822.0597


Oct/Nov 2014


Opposition to Mining on the Smith Gains Momentum Kimberly Barrier, Smith River Alliance The Red Flat Nickel Corporation has proposed to strip mine in the headwaters of the Smith River in Oregon. In June 2014, the company filed an application with the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD), to divert water from a tributary of Baldface Creek for testing purposes. Baldface Creek flows into the North Fork of the Smith River. If approved, Red Flat Nickel Corporation will be moving forward with phase II of development, a second round of test drilling within the watershed. Strong opposition to the water application and the proposed mine has been expressed by the Del Norte County Board of Supervisors, the City Council for Crescent City, the California North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and thousands of private citizens. Oregon’s Curry County Board of Commissioners declared their opposition late last year to a similar mining proposal by Red Flat Nickel Corporation in the headwaters of Hunter Creek and the Pistol River. Most of the Smith River in California is protected due to the creation of the Smith River Recreation Area in 1990, however, a portion of the

Baldface Creek. Photo: © Barbara Ullian.

North Fork Smith River is in Oregon and remains unprotected and vulnerable to mining. In 2012 the foreign owned Red Flat Nickel Corporation submitted a mining plan of operations to extract nickel, cobalt and chromium from National Forest Service land located in Oregon. One of the proposed mining projects is an approximately 4,000 acre site known as the Cleopatra Mine Project, located southeast of the Kalmiopsis Wilderness

within the Baldface Creek drainage. Baldface Creek is a significant spawning and rearing tributary for wild coho, Chinook salmon, and steelhead. According to the Forest Service: “The world-class fishery of the Smith River depends on the water and fish produced in Baldface Creek.” In 1994, Baldface Creek and all of its tributaries were found eligible for addition to the National Wild and Scenic River System. Continued on page 19

All Species Parade Brings Dam Removal to the Arcata Plaza

The All Species Parade, part of the annual festivities of the North Country Fair, always features an entertaining spectacle of creature costumes, puppetry and sculpture parading around the Plaza in celebration of the diversity of life on Earth. This year, however, festival-goers and parade participants were treated to something a little different—with an important message. Coordinated by the NEC, SCRAP Humboldt,

and many dedicated volunteers, this year’s Parade featured Un-Dam the Klamath-themed street theater—complete with construction workers, a cloth dam, “Free the Rivers” and “Un-Dam the Klamath” banners, and lots and lots of salmon. The parade stopped at several points along the route to construct a dam, which was appropriately “blown up” after protest by the salmon and other creatures blocked from passage.

This year’s Parade also coincided with the People’s Climate March in New York City, the largest climate protest in history with over 400,000 participants. Locally, HSU students, environmental activists, and concerned citizens marched as part of the All Species Parade with signs in solidarity with those protesting in NYC. Check our website or find us on Facebook for more fun photos from the All Species Parade!

Photos: Mo Hollis.

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014


Measure P: A Pro-Environment, Pro-Farmer Initiative Colin Fiske Measure P, on this fall’s ballot, is a grassroots initiative to prohibit the raising or growing of genetically modified organisms, usually called GMOs, in Humboldt County. GMO crops are produced by the world’s major chemical corporations, and the vast majority are engineered to withstand the effects of the toxic herbicides sold by those same companies. Unsurprisingly, the widespread planting of these crops in recent years has led to vast increases in the amounts of herbicides applied to cropland—and correspondingly increased rates of evolution of herbicide-resistant “super-weeds.” Now, the same companies are pushing new seeds resistant to ever more toxic chemical cocktails. Measure P will help keep Humboldt County off this “toxic treadmill.” Sustainable agriculture is a way of life on many of Humboldt County’s farms. Increasingly, it’s also the economic niche and marketing mainstay of our agricultural economy as a whole. From the rapid rise in popularity of organic certification among our local dairies to the direct marketing of sustainably raised vegetables at our local farmers markets, Humboldt’s farms are both blazing a trail toward a more sustainable future and poised to take advantage of the growing local and global demand for sustainable products. It’s a phenomenon that benefits both our local environment and our local economy. Certified organic agriculture is only one part of this move toward sustainability, but it’s a big part. And, although GMOs are strictly prohibited in organic agriculture, stray pollen and seeds from GMO crops grown in open fields can contaminate the crops of certified organic producers, sometimes for miles around. A report by the non-profit Food & Water Watch in March of this year revealed that many organic farmers have been forced to take serious, cost-increasing measures such as delayed planting in an effort to avoid such contamination. Despite those measures, more than one-sixth of Missaiya’s

New World Water

those surveyed had still been unable to sell their produce at least once due to contamination. If farmers are forced to abandon organic certification because of unavoidable GMO contamination, it’s not only the farmers but also the natural environment which will bear the brunt of a return to conventional agriculture. There are other compelling environmental reasons to support Measure P as well. The North Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society outlined one of them in its statement explaining its own endorsement of Measure P: “[O]ur concern remains the unintentional spread of GMO pollen and genes with the potential negative impact on wild (native) plants, as almost no research has been done to document these impacts.” In other words, GMOs are novel genomes which, when introduced into wild ecosystems, have the potential to act invasively and “may overwhelm native species.” The CNPS statement cites the well-documented example of genetically engineered creeping bentgrass cross-pollinating with native species and spreading in Eastern Oregon. With more GMO grasses, as well as fishes, trees, and other organisms currently nearing commercialization, the risk to our wild ecosystems is very real. With all of this in mind, it’s no surprise that Measure P has been endorsed by our county’s leading environmental groups, including the California Native Plant Society, the Northcoast Environmental Center, and the Environmental Protection Information Center, as well as our sustainable agriculture organizations, including the North Coast Growers Association and the Redwood Coast Region of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. To learn more about Measure P, and to read the full text of the measure, please visit And don’t forget to vote Yes on Meaure P November 4th!

Yes on P display at a Farmer’s Market. Photo courtesy of GMO Free Humboldt.

Colin Fiske is Co-organizer and Assistant Treasurer, Committee for a GMO Free Humboldt—Yes on Measure P. Mediterranean food truck and catering service.

“Community not Corporations”



778 18th Street, Arcata


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

Oct/Nov 2014


Groundwater Management Act Passed Bridge Creek Barrier Elaine Weinreb

As the effects of the drought intensify, the California legislature has responded by finally tightening its control over the state’s groundwater reserves. On September 16, the Governor signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, a package of three closely related bills. While this move is historic—California was previously the only western state without groundwater regulation—the framework is weaker than is found in other western states. “Unregulated groundwater extraction has been depleting our streams and rivers for too long,” said Konrad Fisher, Executive Director of Klamath Riverkeeper. “This legislation alone will not protect ecosystems from excessive groundwater extraction, but it is a historic step in the right direction.” “Now it’s the responsibility of local groundwater managers to protect ecosystems and surface water right holders from excessive groundwater withdrawals,” Fisher said. While small pockets of groundwater are common everywhere, most of the major groundwater basins lie in the Central Valley, and are significant sources of the water needed to grow crops. In wet years, groundwater basins recharge, but under the drought conditions of the past few years, the demand for groundwater is outstripping the recharge rate. As a result, the water levels of these underground aquifers is dropping. In many areas, wells have needed to be deepened. If the groundwater elevation drops too far, the overlying land can subside, and in some areas, salt water can intrude into the aquifer. Many communities, farms, and industries get part of their water from surface sources, such as rivers and lakes, and part of it from wells. As surface water vanishes, water districts increase their withdrawal from wells, thus exacerbating the problem. The state has been dealing with this problem for years, encouraging local water districts to study, map and plan their underground water reserves,

and to create water management plans. But this has always been voluntary, and some water districts have chosen not to undertake this effort. And up until now, there has been little incentive to keep water districts from overdrafting the groundwater supply. With the new legislation, this will change. All significant groundwater basins will have to be managed for sustainability, a term that was absent in previous legislation. The Department of Water Resources will map out each of the significant groundwater basins, and with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, will prioritize the importance of the basin both for the environment and for human endeavors such as agriculture and industry. Groundwater basins rated as high- and medium- priority must be governed by a new set of local regulatory agencies, which will create plans for managing the groundwater sustainably. A groundwater management agency can be an existing water district, a city, a county, or a new group. The most significant change in this legislation is linking groundwater planning with the General Plans that each city and county are required to make. When adopting or making substantial revisions to a General Plan, the entity is required to consider the groundwater management plan, and to change chapters of the General Plan that might result in a conflict with the groundwater plan. Also, the newly formed groundwater management agencies will have the right to comment on any proposed significant changes to General Plans. Sustainable management of low- and very lowpriority groundwater basins is not required by the new legislation, but communities that want loans or grants from the Department of Water Resources cannot get them unless they have such a plan in place. The pace of this action, however, is leisurely— agencies have until January 2020 to come up with their plans, with another 20 years allowed to stop serious groundwater overdrafts. Therefore, the potential for irreversible groundwater depletion still remains, underscoring the imperative that communities urge their governments to take strong local action.

Removal Complete Darren Mierau, CalTrout

Along the mainstem of the Eel River about 35 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Bridge Creek drains its watershed into the famous Holmes Hole, a gigantic pool guarded by towering sandstone walls, and deep water that annually provides safe haven for thousands of adult salmon and steelhead on their way up river to their natal spawning grounds. For many decades those fish have been blocked from migrating into Bridge Creek by the North Western Pacific Railroad crossing, which long ago erected a 45 foot high earthen dam and culvert system through which no adult fish could ever pass. Now, this barrier is gone. Not only is Bridge Creek able to flow freely to the Eel River once again, but the project has revealed a rather unique geologic feature at the creek/river confluence, exhumed after lying buried under railroad fill for decades. Sandstone cliffs, mirroring those at the Holmes pool carved by the Eel River, also rise high along the lower reaches of Bridge Creek. Incredibly, these cliffs were buried by the construction of the railroad, and no one could remember what lay hidden under the mound of dirt. CalTrout and project partners have completed the construction phase of the Bridge Creek Fish Passage Project. Following several years spent lining up funding and support from the North Coast Rail Continued on page 19 Authority (NCRA),

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EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014

View of the lower Bridge Creek channel showing wood pieces left to add channel complexity for habitat and roughness to retain sediment. Photo: Darren Mierau, CalTrout.


Downed Bay Billboards Removed by Coastal Cleanup Crew

Two of the controversial billboards lining Humboldt Bay were removed on Saturday, September 20 as part of California Coastal Cleanup Day. As school groups, businesses and hundreds of volunteers throughout Humboldt County took to the beaches, rivers, parks and waterfront, a committed crew led by Northcoast Environmental Center staff carefully removed the two downed billboards that have been deteriorating in coastal wetlands – and on public land – since earlier this year. With approval from Caltrans, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and permission from billboard owner CBS Outdoor, the crew set to work dismantling the advertising displays using only hand tools and elbow grease. Cleanup organizer and NEC Executive Director Dan Ehresman said that although CBS Outdoor should have removed the billboards a long time ago, he was glad the company approved the NEC’s cleanup plan. Ehresman also said that the billboards could not have come out a moment too soon. “Given the dilapidated state the billboards were in from how long they’ve been left lying in the mud, it looked like the next king tide would have likely started to disperse parts of the structure into the bay and ocean posing both a threat to wildlife and a hazard to watercraft,” he said. Lumber and plywood was hauled out piece by piece on foot to minimize the impact of the operation, and crew members took care to salvage as much reusable material as possible to minimize the amount of debris that would otherwise go to the landfill. “The billboards may have gone in with heavy equipment, but they were removed with people power,” said cleanup participant Bob Ornelas. By the end of the day, all the material had been hauled away and the all-volunteer crew was happy with the results. Cleanup volunteer Chris Honar summed it up, “We started the day with two massive structures that existed as a result of trespassing on public land – to have them gone is a tremendous benefit to our community, Humboldt Bay, and all people traveling along the coast. I am really happy that with some planning and hard work we were able to remove this blight.”

Eye on

Washington While Congress is in summer recess, the spotlight has been on the actions of federal agencies. It is a mixed bag. Of course, we applaud the decision by regional Bureau of Reclamation on this decision to release more water into our rivers to save fish; but we ponder why they chose to charge this against next year’s water supply rather than reducing water flow to the Central Valley. Some early predictions reveal the possibility that the drought could continue. Only time will tell


While Congress seems to be able to accomplish very little through legislation, federal Agencies are making some decisions of importance. On July 17, the USFWS released a memorandum stating the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will phase out the use of genetically engineered (GE) crops to feed wildlife and a ban on neonicotinoid insecticides from all wildlife refuges nationwide by January 2016. Neonicotinoid pesticides have been linked to honey-bee collapse and bird declines. This new ban will affect 150 million acres of public lands administered by the USFWS. We applaud the USFWS for their enlightened decision.

Endangered Species

As we mark the 100th anniversary of the death of the last passenger pigeon, Martha, which sent this once abundant American wild bird into extinction, we look at current decisions by the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) who has the job of making determinations to add or not add animals that are imperiled. As we celebrate the recent, albeit temporary, return of the gray wolf to California and commend the CA Fish & Wildlife on their recent listing of the species, many conservationists are perplexed by the potential

removal of the gray wolf in the lower 48 states. While working on the proposal, the USFWS commissioned a report by National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis at UC Santa Barbara. The scientists on the panel were asked to answer 4 questions related to the science used by the Service to make its determination. The report indicated, among other things, that the proposed rule did not “utilize the best available scientific information”, and did not “draw reasonable and scientific sound conclusions concerning the status of wolves”, Along similar lines, the Service made a decision not to list the wolverine—against the advice of their own USFWS scientists. On July 31, a group of more than 50 scientists sent a letter to Sec. Sally Jewell and USFWS regional director Dan Ashe (who pulled the proposed listing) when they found that in spite of multiple peer reviewed studies and recommendations from USFWS scientists, the proposed listing was pulled by Ashe based “uncertain” science showing a relationship between predicted effects of climate change— specifically decreased snowfall—and wolverine survival. The scientists wrote: “The (USFWS) regional director’s decision to overturn a scientifically well-vetted and well-supported listing determination sets a bad precedent by allowing an administrator to overrule the expert judgment of the Service’s scientists as well as independent peer reviewers. Using ‘uncertainty’ as an excuse to dismiss the best available science sets an equally dangerous precedent given that so many rare and imperiled species are very difficult to study and assess.” As a result, the estimated 300 remaining wolverines in the lower 48 face near extinction as a result of habitat fragmentation and severe threats from global warming, A recent study projected that climate change could reduce wolverine habitat by 63 percent over the next 75 years. Most wildlife biologists consider the genetically unique CA population of wolverines to be extinct (recent photos of a wolverine in Tahoe National forest have been determined to be a single male, inexplicably from the Rocky Mtn. population). Dan Sealy, NEC Legislative Analyst

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Kirk Cohune of Greenway Partners, waist deep in Humboldt Bay, grins while dismantling and removing pieces of a downed billboard. Photo: Mike Wilson.



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Oct/Nov 2014


Prescribed Burn Slows Fire

Water Bond on November Ballot Elaine Weinreb

Google Earth image with overlays of the Oregon Fire and the prescribed burn area (in cream color).

Sally Morris Reprinted from the Trinity Journal, Sept. 3, 2014 Firefighters who tamed the wind-driven flames of the Aug. 24 Oregon fire at the doorsteps of town are crediting last fall’s prescribed fire treatment within the Weaverville Community Forest and the Weaver Basin Trail System for helping them to stop the fire’s advance on Trinity High School and the many homes in harm’s way until the wind calmed. Hiking up the Garden Gulch trail north of Taylor Street, it is easy to see where prescribed burning was conducted last November and where it wasn’t. Uphill on the treated side of the trail, grasses were scorched, but the trees are green and undamaged. Downhill, where heavy brush was not treated, the recent fire burned hot and fast, resulting in blackened earth and greater tree mortality. Touring the area immediately after the flames were out, Shasta-Trinity National Forest Fuels Specialist Tim Ritchey of Weaverville estimated tree mortality of approximately 10 percent where the fire ran through areas that had been treated with prescribed burning to reduce the buildup of fuels. It is closer to 60 percent where no treatment occurred. “The treated areas really slowed the fire down so the crews could get in. The intensity decreased and the rate of spread slowed which aided us in getting around and ahead of the fire,” Ritchey said, pointing to a section where there were 20- to 30-foot flames on the wildfire side of the trail and flames of less than a foot on the treated side.

“It’s really nice to see defensible space in action,” said the Shasta-Trinity’s acting Public Affairs Officer Debra Ann Brabazon, noting that prescribed burns are not always popular with the public in the shortterm, “so it’s important for the community to see there is a positive, long-term effect.” Having existing trails in place also provided quick access for firefighters “who didn’t have to cut and bulldoze their way into the fire here,” she said. The U.S. Forest Service and Weaverville Volunteer Fire Department last November conducted the prescribed burn on 76 acres north of Taylor Street involving Community Forest land accessed by the Weaver Basin Trail System and some private acreage owned by the Snyder Highland Foundation. The burning was done as part of the Weaverville Community Fire Protection Plan to enhance wildlife habitat by increasing forage for deer. The Trinity County Resource Conservation District assisted, and grant funding was received from the California Deer Association. Trail damage assessments also began immediately following the fire as did restoration work to repair bulldozer lines, prevent erosion and replace tread torn up by suppression efforts. As far as doing more prescribed burning in the area, Ritchey said there are plans being made to treat about 230 acres in the East Weaver Creek drainage this fall for community protection and wildlife enhancement as well as a Jackass Ridge project involving about 90 acres to expand on a smaller burn conducted there in January.

On Election Day, California voters will decide whether to fund a $7.5 billion bond to improve water infrastructure in the state. Known as Proposition 1, or the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014, the bill covers nearly every aspect of water imaginable. There are funds for improving the quality of drinking water, cleaning up wastewater, managing stormwater, water recycling, preserving groundwater, desalination, providing agricultural water, and enhancing wildlife habitat. Part of the money is reserved for economically distressed communities. The law specifically protects rivers listed under the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act from projects that could harm them. "California has been experiencing more frequent and severe droughts and is currently enduring the worst drought in 200 years. These droughts are magnifying the shortcomings of our current water infrastructure," the bill states. One of the goals of the bill is to "help water infrastructure systems adapt to climate change, including, but not limited to, sea level rise." The bill passed both houses of the State Legislature and was signed by Governor Brown on August 13. If voters approve it on November 4, it will go into effect immediately as an urgency statute. It replaces an earlier law written in 2012 that would have issued $11.14 billion in bonds, which was never voted on. Unallocated funds from other waterrelated funding sources, such as Proposition 84 will be reallocated to finance the water improvement programs detailed in Proposition 1. Urban and agricultural water suppliers that wish to benefit from Proposition 1 must have a stateapproved water management plan in place. Some projects also require a state-approved groundwater management plan. Projects that simultaneously solve more than one type of problem, such as habitat improvement and groundwater recharge, get special consideration. Funds cannot be used for eminent domain. Public agencies can use the California Conservation Corps to perform projects. Other nice features of the bill include a 5% limit on administrative costs, and a series of public hearings before finalizing the state's guidelines for soliciting and evaluating projects.

Robert Berg, D.D.S.

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

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014


Kin to the Earth: Dan Bacher Reprinted (abridged) from, Sept. 2, 2014 On August 27, over 200 Tribal Members and Leaders, river advocates and politicians attended a day of celebration on the Trinity River below Lewiston Dam. The event, organized by the Hoopa Valley Tribe, demonstrated the impacts of water diversion on their culture and the river communities. The “Water Warriors,” those who have protested in defense of the Trinity in recent weeks, walked from the gate at the entrance into the hatchery where they convened at a stage. Many of those “Water Warriors” had participated in a direct action protest at the Bureau of Reclamation Offices in Sacramento the week before, organized by the Klamath Justice Coalition and Got Water?, that helped pressure Reclamation to increase releases into the Trinity River below the dam to avert a fish kill on the lower Klamath. The opening walk was in honor of the Water Warriors’ “strong battle to preserve and protect our sovereignty, water rights, and salmon,” according to Hoopa Tribal Chairwoman Danielle Vigil-Masten. At the rally, Vigil-Masten reviewed the recent campaign by grassroots tribal and environmental activists that culminated in the victory, emphasizing the need for unity among the tribes and other river people fighting for the restoration of the Trinity. “This rally today brings all the Water Warriors together to show them we have a united front,” she said. “This all happened within a two week time frame. We were able to bring the tribes and river people together from the dam to the mouth.” “Water is our lifeblood—without water we won’t have salmon,” she said. “Our fish need water to live and survive,” she emphasized. “Two weeks ago the Bureau said they couldn’t allow increased releases down the river, even though fish were dying. We called our Sister, the Chief of the Winnemem Wintu, to do the fire and water dance. We called everybody and said we can’t fight this battle with egos—we have to be united.” Vigil-Masten said the high river releases from the dam that splashed into the air behind her were the result of a recent visit to Redding by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel. After finding out about the visit the night before, Hoopa tribal members including Dania Colegrove, Vivienna Orcutt and Allie Hostler and river activists including Regina Chichizola and Stormy Salamander quickly mobilized to organize a protest in Redding where Jewell was meeting with local officials about the fires. Fortunately, Vigil-Masten and other tribal members were able to talk to her, and two days after Jewell’s visit, members of her staff traveled out to the Klamath and Trinity rivers to see the reality of the situation, with fish dying and the waters choked with algae in sections. Jeannie McCovey, Yurok Tribal Member, said state and federal authorities are “not managing the


Water Warriors

Speaking out and taking action to stop a fish kill on the Klamath

river properly. We’re dealing with ecocide... We have to fight for our air, water and land.” McCovey urged people to fight for the river and salmon with every avenue available, including going to protests and hearings, writing letters and “folding hands in prayer.” Debra Chapman, Trinity County Supervisor, said, “We were bracing for another catastrophic die-off ” before the Bureau decided to release water. “They treat the Trinity as if it is a tributary of the Sacramento. The Trinity is not a tributary of the Sacramento,” she emphasized. Caleen Sisk, Chief and Spiritual Leader of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, who gave the final prayer and song, emphasized, “We are a salmon state, not a watermelon or pistachio state. It will take Indian people all over the state to bring the salmon back.” “We are one of a handful willing to speak for the salmon. We have to speak up, to support one another… Make sure that we carry the salmon in our hearts so we know what to say.” she said.

Above: Danielle Vigil-Masten, Hoopa Tribal Chairwoman, speaking about recent actions and protests to stop a fish kill. Below: Water Warriors lined up in defense of the salmon and the river at Lewiston Dam. Photos: Dan Bacher.

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Oct/Nov 2014






Redwood Region Audubon Society Every Saturday: Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. These are our famous rain-or-shine, docent-led field trips at the Marsh. Bring your binocular(s) and have a great morning birding! Meet in the parking lot at the end of South I Street (Klopp Lake) in Arcata at 8:30 a.m. Trips end around 11 a.m. Sunday, October 5: Willows, Alders, and Birds (INSECT TRIP!) What makes willow thickets and alders such great places for birds, winter or summer? Join expert entomologist Pete Haggard for an insect walk at the Arcata Marsh to try and answer this question. Meet at 2 p.m. at the first parking lot on South I Street in from Samoa Boulevard. Plan to finish around 3:30 p.m. Contact Pete (707-839-0307) or for more information. Saturday, October 11: Patrick’s Point State Park. Gary Lester (707-839-3373) will lead a 3-hour walk through the forests and along the bluffs of this beautiful park in search of land- and seabirds. Wear sturdy shoes. Meet in front at the Park entrance at 9 a.m. Free parking is available along Patrick’s Point Drive; please mind the posted signage. Sunday, October 12: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. This is a wonderful, 2- to 3-hour trip for people

October Program

Friday, October 10

Bird Conservation in Equatorial Guinea


wanting to learn the birds of the Humboldt Bay area. It takes a leisurely pace with emphasis on enjoying the birds! Beginners are more than welcome. Meet at the Refuge Visitor Center off the Hookton Road exit from Hwy 101 at 9 a.m. Call Jude Power or David Fix (707-822-3613) for more information. Saturday, October 18: eBird Site Survey–Shay Park. Join Rob Fowler (707-616-9841) to help survey the extent of Arcata’s Shay Park for 1-3 hours and count every species present. For more info on the eBird site survey, visit this link at about/eBird_Site_Survey. Meet at 8 a.m. at the Shay Park parking lot at the eastern end of Foster Avenue. Waterproof shoes are recommended, as we typically walk through a grassy field off-trail. Sunday, October 19: Southern Humboldt Community Park. Tom Leskiw will guest lead this monthly walk along with Jay Sooter (707-444-8001) and/or John Gaffin. 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 bring your own if possible. Steady rain cancels. Meet at 9 a.m., parking by the kiosk near


the farmhouse at the main entrance. Shade-grown coffee usually offered. Sunday, October 19: Hikshari’ Trail, Eureka. Meet at 9 a.m. at the end of Del Norte Street in Eureka, where we will scope birds off of the public dock here until the group assembles. We’ll then drive to the Hikshari’ Trail entrance at Truesdale Street and bird along the trail to the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. Leader: Ralph Bucher (707-499-1247; Sunday, November 9: Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. See October 12. Saturday, November 15: eBird Site Survey–Shay Park. See October 18. Sunday, November 16: Southern Humboldt Community Park. See October 19 (without guest leader). Sunday, November 16: Hikshari’ Trail, Eureka. See October 19. Sunday, November 23: Bear River Ridge. Tour the open prairies and forest edges in search of rough-legged hawks, golden eagles, horned larks, and bluebirds. Dress in layers and expect to return between 1 and 2 p.m. Meet across from Fernbridge Market at 8:30 a.m. Rob Fowler (707616-9841) will lead.

November Program

Friday, November 14 TH

Rat Poison Kills More Than Rats

Virtually unknown to ornithologists, the Central African nation of Equatorial Guinea has vast tracts of pristine Congolese forest, home to a dizzying array of wildlife. Recent discovery of oil there has turned one of the world’s poorest nations into the richest one (per capita) in Africa. Rapid development is occurring and bird populations, subspecies, and species are at risk of being lost before they’re even discovered. A group of ornithologists, funded by the National Geographic Society, have begun a long-term partnership with the Equatoguinean government to document unknown and sensitive avifauna. Jared Wolfe—research scientist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station and member of the Equatorial Guinea Bird Initiative team—will introduce you to the birds, forest, and people of Equatorial Guinea, arguably the country least known to science.

Secondary poisoning of wildlife through use of rat poisons--whether residential, governmental, commercial, or at illegal marijuana grow sites--is a growing problem (all puns intended), resulting in death of beneficial predators. Some call rat poison the “new DDT.” Lack of action by government agencies often leads to grassroots groups forming in an effort to induce change in other ways, such as through education. What is secondary poisoning? What can small groups of concerned individuals do to help beneficial predators thrive, so they can continue to provide free, natural pest control? Are rats really so scary and dangerous to our health that we have to poison entire ecosystems? Can an economy be green if it leaves behind environmental carnage? Maggie Rufo, a volunteer with the Hungry Owl Project ( and steering committee member for RATS (, will speak about these two grassroots groups that share a common goal: eliminating secondary poisoning of beneficial predators like owls, hawks, coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions, and the Pacific Fisher.

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


President’s Column

OFFICERS President— Hal Genger …………............ 707-499-0887 Vice President ........................................................ Vacant Secretary—Adam Brown............................. 707-826-0319 Treasurer—Syn-dee Noel............................. 707-442-8862 DIRECTORS AT LARGE Ralph Bucher …........................................ 707-443-6944 Joe Ceriani …............................................ 707-476-9127 Jill Demers ……………………………… 707-667-6163 Harriet Hill………………………………. 707-267-4055 Cindy Moyer.....................................…..… 707-822-1806 Chet Ogan …............................................… 707-442-9353 Susan Penn..................................…......…. 707-443-9660 C.J. Ralph ............................................….. 707-822-2015 OTHER CHAPTER LEADERS Conservation — Jim Clark ...............…... 707-445-8311 Eductn/Scholarships — Denise Seeger ....707-444-2399 eBird Liaison — Rob Fowler …………... 707-839-3493 Field Notes — Daryl Coldren...........…..... 916-384-8089 Field Trips— Rob Fowler ……….......….. 707-839-3493 Finance— Syn-dee Noel .............................707-442-8862 Historian — John Hewston ...................... 707-822-5288 Membership — Susan Penn.…..................707-443-9660 NEC Representative — C.J. Ralph.......... 707-822-2015 Nominating – Jim Clark …....................... 707-445-8311 Programs — Jared Wolfe...........................262-443-6866 Publications — C.J. Ralph..................….. 707-822-2015 Publicity — Harriet Hill............................ 707-267-4055 Sandpiper (Editor)—Jan Andersen ….… 707-616-3888 Sandpiper (Layout)— Gary Bloomfield ...707-362-1226 Volunteer Coordinator — Susan Penn.…707-443-9660 Website Gatekeeper— Sue Leskiw……...707-442-5444 Lake Earl Branch — Sue Calla................ 707-465-6191 RRAS Web Page...........................……..... Arcata Bird Alert .........707-822-LOON (707-822-5666) The Sandpiper is published six times each year by Redwood Region Audubon Society P.O. Box 1054, Eureka, CA 95502.

New Members

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

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

By Hal Genger

Sue “Batgirl” Leskiw & Jim “Rockhopper” Clark in 2013

RRAS Volunteer Appreciation Event Oct 24

If you are among the 50+ people who have volunteered for RRAS in the past 12 months, you soon will receive an e-mail invitation to our Fourth Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event. It will be held at the Humboldt Area Foundation on Indianola Cutoff from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 24. Eligible volunteers include Board members, field trip leaders, Sandpiper contributors, and helpers at special events (e.g., Wildlife Camp, Godwit Days). Significant others are welcome. Because the event is so near Halloween, we hope attendees will get in the spirit and dress up. Sue Leskiw will again bring her vast collection of kooky hats, if you want to borrow a look for the evening. Invitees are reminded to RSVP to Sue at or 707-442-5444 by Monday, October 20 with their choice of beverage and number attending (even if zero), so we can plan the food and libations. Also let us know if you can arrive early to help set up.

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.

I am writing this in early September so you can read it in the October/November Sandpiper. Even with our technology, it still takes time to get all the information to the printers and send it out to you in a predictable, timely manner! I want to say thank you to all who help get the Sandpiper out to our members. It takes time and energy to compose articles (many folks), edit the articles (Jan Andersen and this issue, Sue Leskiw), make articles fit on 4 pages (Gary Bloomfield), and get the issue to the publisher in the correct format (Gary and the EcoNews staff). Thank you! In early September, RRAS is holding a board and committee chair retreat to see where we are now, what we want to accomplish in the near and distant future, and how we plan on reaching those goals. Outcomes from the retreat will be the subject of the next president’s column. When I joined RRAS many decades ago, I was, of course, interested in birds, but more importantly in conservation issues. Just as important today, I implore all of you to volunteer, vote, inform, etc. to help protect and preserve our natural environment. The RRAS Conservation Committee meets the second Wednesday of each month at noon at the Golden Harvest Café in Arcata. Please attend and learn what we are doing. While there may be a project that fits your interest and motivates you to volunteer, just your informed outreach could bring in another volunteer to assists with these projects. I hope to see more of you at the Golden Harvest!

Chapter Membership Application

Yes, I’d like to join.

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

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

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

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


Godwit Days Fall Preview Oct 4 & 5

For the third year, Godwit Days is offering a Fall Preview. Join experienced leaders on any of 10 small-group (maximum 10 attendees) trips selected to cover the area’s best birding locations. Held at the end of the peak period for migrating birds, the Fall Preview is intended to give registrants a taste of Humboldt and Del Norte counties during this time of year with high potential for rare bird sightings. Trips range from the Arcata Marsh to Lake Earl, from Blue Lake to Petrolia, with prices from $25 to $50. To register or get more info on trip times, leaders, geographical areas, and expected species, visit and click on the link in the right-hand “Special Events” column.

Honduran String Theory Part I: Waste Not February 25, 2011. Sue and I are on the first day of the 1,300-mile return trip to northern California from southeastern Arizona. We make a pit stop at a LOVE’S gas station in Quartzite, a small town known for its legions of snowbirds. I enter the rest room to find a man brushing his teeth, precious desert water spewing from the faucet at full blast. Because I haven’t had a chance to brush following breakfast, I pull out my toothbrush and a travel-sized tube of toothpaste. He’s really doing a thorough job on his teeth. Meanwhile, a forceful stream of water continues down the drain—water that first fell from the skies during the Pleistocene more than 10,000 years ago. I size the person up. He appears to be in his late thirties. His forearms, below the sleeves of his tattered t-shirt, are festooned with crude tattoos. The man’s overall look and demeanor is one my parents used to characterize as “rough.” His conspicuous waste of water sends my blood pressure skyrocketing. I begin an internal debate. I should speak to him about this. What a waste of the desert’s scarcest resource! Then, a voice of reason. Chill. He’s gotten this far in life clueless about conservation. Besides, he looks like the kind of guy whose response... well, our interaction’s unlikely to have a happy ending. I finish brushing my teeth and make my way to the urinal. Following that, I wash my hands and reach for a paper towel. The guy’s faucet is still open full-blast. Again, the debate: Talk to him; we’re “mining” this ancient water. There’s no way to replenish it. No, on second thought, I don’t think you could find words neutral enough to avoid an ugly confrontation. You don’t need this. Your wife and dog are in the car and you’ve got miles and days to go. So, I leave, water still pulsing from the faucet like a high-pressure Jacuzzi—unsure if my inaction deserves a medal for discretionary valor... or is simply an act of supreme cowardice. Part II: Want Not February, 2002. Copan, Honduras. Sue and I are enjoying our visit to Central America, birding and poking around the fabulous ruins of Mayan temples. One day, while shopping for a memento of the trip, we come across a vase. The designs etched into the painted vase—birds, palms, flowers, and mountains—resonate with us, so we buy it. The shop owner finds a suitable used cardboard box for our fragile purchase. Cradling the box, we stroll through a small park in Copan’s

central plaza. The scene is an indelible one: music, families picnicking under shade trees, and flocks of Great-tailed Grackles underfoot, their cacophonous caterwauling competing with the din of diesel trucks. Suddenly, it occurs to us that we’ll need string to ready our vase and its cardboard box so that airline officials can open the package for inspection, then re-tie it for us to carry on the plane. “Sure, we could do it the gringo way: find a store that sells balls of string...” I suggest. “But, the locals down here... well, they do things differently. You know: the original reduce-reuse-recycle folks.” “We’ve seen scraps of string littering some of the side streets and alleys,” Sue responds. “We could do our part to clean things up, while at the same time finding the string we need.” So we begin to walk the streets of Copan, intent on our one-item scavenger hunt. For anyone scrutinizing our efforts, we must have looked strange: turistas, surrounded by novel sights, sounds, and aromas, studying the street just in front of their feet. Soon, we located several lengths of brick-colored polypropylene string, not far from a street vendor. As I coil the string and place it in my pocket, he eyes us quizzically. Triumphant at the swift finding of our trophy, we move on, under the street vendor’s watchful eye. Every so often, Sue and I recall our visit to Honduras, laughing about our experience of combing the streets of Copan in search of string. However, such behavior isn’t that unusual for us. Sue avidly scopes out yard sales for gently used treasures and bargains. Advice about the need to save for a rainy day has informed our world view. One look at my garage workshop confirms that at least a vestige of the need to collect bits of string—and wire, rope, and plant twisty-ties—remains with me. I’m reminded of the Buddhist practice of mottainai, that is, not wasting resources and using them with respect and gratitude. Some say that ignorance is bliss. But not for me. I want to know where my water comes from... and to use this scarce resource with gratitude. Especially during this time of climate change and wide-scale drought.

Tom Leskiw

photos by Tom Leskiw

“Cappy” McKinney Memorial Trail Dedicated

By Sue Leskiw

On a gorgeous late summer day, approximately 40 people gathered along the Eureka waterfront to pay tribute to the late Mel McKinney. The September 4 ceremony, emceed by Eureka mayor Frank Jaeger, featured short speeches by Sue Leskiw (North Group Sierra Club), Jim Clark (RRAS), Dan Ehresman and Jen Kalt (NEC), and Maggy Herbelin (close friend). Signs erected on both ends of a shoreline loop segment of the Hikshari’ Trail south of the main Hilfiker parking lot now proclaim it the Melvin “Cappy” McKinney Loop. The proposal to honor Mel in this fashion originated with RRAS and Sierra Club, two groups to which he dedicated many hours as a volunteer. The Eureka City Council had voted unanimously in August to approve the naming, following a recommendation from City staff and positive votes by Eureka’s Space, Parks, and Recreation Committee and Planning Commission. Representatives of RRAS and Sierra Club had attended all three meetings to testify in favor of the recognition. Cappy, who passed away in June 2013, spent much of his retirement protecting the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. He worked with various agencies to identify appropriate uses and preserve the natural habitat, patrolling the area on a regular basis to report problems. Mel’s persistence led the City of Eureka to upgrade what had been the Elk River Wildlife Area to Sanctuary status in 2003. Sue, Maggy, and RRAS Board member Susan Penn planned the event. Sue and Maggy handled the refreshments, underwritten by RRAS and Sierra Club. Tom Leskiw led an RRAS bird walk through the sanctuary prior to the ceremony.

Field Notes

By Daryl Coldren


July 1 to August 31, 2014 Field Notes is a compilation of bird-sighting reports for Del Norte, Humboldt, and Trinity counties. Sources include the RRAS Bird Box (707-822LOON), the online northwestern California birding and information exchange (nwcalbird@, eBird ( klamathsiskiyou), and reports submitted directly to the compiler. Reports may be submitted to any of the sources mentioned abov e or toDaryl Coldren, (916) 384-8089,

(SM); 1, Elk River, 30-31 Aug (BE) • Wilson’s Phalarope: 8-30! (including Del Norte high count on 10 July by LB), Smith River Bottoms, 1-21 Jul (LB, CR, TK); 7-9, Ocean Ranch, 4-7 Jul (BE, EF, RF, AL); 1-15, Arcata Marsh, 7 Jul-3 Aug (TL, GZ, CO, BB, RF, CB, IG, MOb); 53! (a new high count for Humboldt), Ocean Ranch, 11 Jul (BE, AL): 33, Ocean Ranch, 29 Jul (BE); 2, Lake Earl, 29 Jul (RF, CD); 1-3, Ocean Ranch, 3 Aug (CR); 1-6, V St Loop, 12-14 Aug (SB, EF, AL, BB) • Laughing Gull: 1, Elk River, 29 Aug (SM, EF) Tennessee Warbler, © Rob Fowler Arcata, Humboldt County

MOb = many observers Black Scoter: 1, Crescent City Harbor, 29 Jul (LK, RF, CD); 2, Patrick’s Point, 17 Aug (JW, LP); 1, Stone Lagoon, 22 Aug (ML) • American White Pelican: 1 (continuing since 29 Nov. 2013); Smith River Bottoms/Lake Tolowa, 1-30 Jul (LB, CR, MOb) • Laysan Albatross: 1, Offshore HumboldtHSU Pelagic, 30 Aug (RF, SM, MOb) • Blackvented Shearwater: 1, Offshore Humboldt-HSU Pelagic, 30 Aug (JH, RF, SM, MOb) • Ashy Stormpetrel: 1, Offshore Humboldt-HSU Pelagic, 30 Aug (RF, SM, MOb) • Golden Eagle: 1, Dyerville Rd, 5 Jul (JG) • White-faced Ibis: 1, Smith River Bottoms, 1 Jul (LB); Lake Tolowa, 20 Jul (LB) • Black-necked Stilt: 1, Arcata Marsh, 31 Aug (AL, MOb) • Ruddy Turnstone: 1, Woodley Island, 30 Aug (RF, SM, MOb) • Red Knot: 3, Jacoby Creek Mouth, 25 Aug (BE) • Stilt Sandpiper: 1, Lake Tolowa, 21 Aug (LB); 1, Centerville Wetlands, 2729 Aug (EF, MOb) • Buff-breasted Sandpiper: 1, Centerville Wetlands, 26 Aug (BE, AL) • Semipalmated Sandpiper: 1, Smith River Bottoms, 2 Jul (TK, CR); 1, Gold Bluffs Beach, 10 Jul (CR); 1, Smith River Bottoms, 21 Jul (LB); 2, Lake Earl, 29 Jul (RF, CD, LK); 1, Smith River Bottoms, 29 Jul (RF, CD, TK, CR); 1, Clam Beach, 4 Aug (ML); 1, Hiller Park, 11 Aug (RF); 1, Arcata Marsh, 20 Aug (AL); 1, Salt River-Riverside Ranch, 28 Aug

Baird’s Sandpiper, © Rob Fowler Centerville Wetlands, Humboldt County

Bobolink: 1, Hiller Park-flyover, 27 Aug (RF) • Rose-breasted Grosbeak: 1, Bayside, 11 Aug (JP) • Yellow-headed Blackbird: 1, Arcata BottomsMoxon Dairy, 9-13 Aug (RF, MOb); 2, Centerville Wetlands, 27 Aug (AW) • Hooded Oriole: 1 (adult male), Shay Park, 19 Jul (RF, MOb); 1 (adult female), Shay Park, 23 Aug (RF, MOb)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (on left, with California Gull) © Gary Bloomfield, Eureka, Humboldt County

Lesser Black-backed Gull: 1 (1st confirmed Humboldt record), Elk River, 2-22 Aug (TM, RF, DCo, SM, BE, GL, TL, MOb) • Black Tern: 1, Mad River Estuary, 24 Aug (RF, GL, CD) • Greater Roadrunner: 1, Briceland, 30 Aug (CR) • Longeared Owl: 2, Titlow Hill Rd, 7-11 Jul (AR, EF) • White-throated Swift: 2 (1st confirmed Del Norte record), Klamath River Bridge, 13 Jun-29 Jul (GL, LL, AB, RF, MOb) • Costa’s Hummingbird: 1, Fortuna, 12 Jul (JI) • White-headed Woodpecker: 1-2, Titlow Hill Rd/Grouse Mt, 7-31 Jul (GB, CD) • Red-eyed Vireo: 1, Hiller Park, 26 Aug (TM, ST) • Mountain Bluebird: 1 (recently fledged); Doctor Rock Trail-Gasquet-Orleans Rd, 21 Jul (LB) • Oak Titmouse: 2, Alderpoint, 4 Jul (CD) • House Wren: 1-3, Titlow Hill Rd, 7 Jul-9 Aug (AL, GB, MOb) • Gray Catbird: 1, Hiller Park, 26 Aug (TM, ST) • Ovenbird: 1, Titlow Hill Rd, 1 Jul (MT, DCz) • Northern Waterthrush: 2, Humboldt Bay NWR, 30 Aug (BE) • Tennessee Warbler: 1, Janes CreekZehndner & Q St, 28 Aug (GB, RF) • Hooded Warbler: 1, Sequoia Park Zoo, 28 Aug (CB) • American Redstart: 1 (AHY male), Mad River Estuary-School Rd, 24-27 Aug (RF, MOb) • Vesper Sparrow: 1, Ocean Ranch, 27 Aug (BE); 1, Bear River Ridge, Aug 30 (CR) • Lark Bunting: 1 (male), McKinleyville Bottoms, 11-12 Aug (KS, MOb) •

Lark Bunting, © Rob Fowler McKinleyville, Humboldt County

Cited Observers: Samantha Bacon, Alan Barron, Gary Bloomfield, Bob Brown, Lucas Brug, Camden Bruner, Daryl Coldren (DCo), Dave Czaplak (DCz), Cédric Duhalde, Brad Elvert, Elizabeth Feucht, Rob Fowler, John Gaffin, Ian Gledhill, Jared Hughey, Jon Isacoff, Logan Kahle, Tony Kurz, Alexandra Lamb, Matt Lau, Tom Leskiw, Gary Lester, Lauren Lester, Sean McAllister, Tristan McKee, Chet Ogan, Luke Powell, Jude Power, Angela Rex, Casey Ryan, Keith Slauson, Scott Terrill, Mary Ann Todd, Andrew Wiegardt, Jared Wolfe, George Ziminsky Thanks to all who have submitted their sightings!

One Family’s Journey Toward Zero Waste Tamara McFarland A few months ago, a Mother Jones article about health hazards of plastics in food packaging, cookware, and serving items motivated me to learn more about the downsides of plastics in general. I learned about synthetic hormones leaching into my family’s food, and about the five gyres (floating garbage islands) contaminating our planet’s marine ecosystems. I felt sadness and despair as I read about toxic dumps in developing countries, and contemplated my children growing up on a planet where wild spaces were disappearing at an alarming pace, species were dropping like flies, and very few people seemed to care. It can be difficult to remain hopeful when the outlook seems so bleak. It takes a conscious effort to focus on the positive changes I can make in my own life, a concentration on, and appreciation of, the efforts of like-minded individuals and groups who are working hard to effect positive change. Books like Zero Waste Home, by Bea Johnson and Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, by Beth Terry were helpful practical guides as I began what will surely be a lifelong process of learning new habits, one at a time, to reduce our family’s negative impact on the environment. Our vegan lifestyle, commitment to recycling, and recently installed solar panels gave me an initial sense of virtue, but while these

are huge steps in the right direction, the realization of how much trash we generate was sobering. I became aware of the pitfalls and limitations of recycling programs, and have slowly come to realize that there are more effective approaches to consider before automatic reliance on curbside mixed recycling—namely, refusing unnecessary items, reducing consumption and packaging wherever possible, and reusing discarded materials as much as we can. Some of the changes I’ve made so far include purchasing grocery items in bulk with reusable mason jars, carrying a few stainless steel straws, Plastics that cannot be recycled make their way into waterways and the spoons, and forks in my purse, making ocean. These plastic toothbrushes were found on a beach in Australia. Photo: F Delventhal, Flickr CC. my own snacks, bread, and vegan butter from scratch to eliminate plastic packaging, chips, maple syrup, and canola oil) and my kids’ locating resources for recycling items that can’t rejection of my homemade soy and almond milk be recycled locally (including aseptic cartons, recipes in favor of store-bought varieties. I’ve flexible plastic vegan cheese packaging, plastic fallen short in some areas, but made progress lids, credit cards, Tyvek, energy bar wrappers, overall, and I remain committed to continuing the Scotch tape dispensers, deodorant containers, positive momentum. toothbrushes, and more) and exploring in-person I would love to meet other Redwood Coast and online resources for good quality second hand residents who want to make these kinds of clothing. I’ve encountered several pitfalls and positive changes. If you’d like to connect, or frustrations along the way, including higher prices if you’d like to find links to any of the books, on some bulk items (such as fair trade chocolate recipes, or direct-to-manufacturer recycling resources that I’ve discovered, please email I will also Contact Zero Waste Humboldt be posting more resources over time to

from our back door...

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

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

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014


Friends of the Eel River

Local Waterways ‘Impaired’ under the Clean Water Act For more info, including results of past water monitoring events, visit:


Join Humboldt Baykeeper for a free bilingual natural history tour of the Hikshari’ Trail in Eureka on Sunday, October 12 at 9:30 am. Meet at the Truesdale Vista Point on the Humboldt Bay waterfront at Truesdale Avenue. The trail is paved, level, and ADA accessible, and leashed dogs are welcome. For more info, or to RSVP, please call (707) 825-1020 or email tours@humboldtbaykeeper. org. For info on kayaking and motor boat tours, and to learn more about our work to safeguard Humboldt Bay and coastal resources, visit our website at

Sundays in the Sanctuary Redwood Community Action Agency (RCAA) is hosting two free coastal exploration events in south Eureka’s Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary on Sunday, September 28th and Sunday, October 19th (12-4 p.m. both days). Funded through State Coastal Conservancy’s Explore the Coast program, RCAA, along with many partnering organizations (including Humboldt Baykeeper), will be offering a myriad of family-friendly activities along south Eureka’s newest trail, the Hikshari’ Trail. Turn onto Hilfiker Lane off Broadway (at Hilfiker Pipe Company) for event activities and parking. Food services will be available.

Swim Guide App! Waterkeeper Swim Guide is a mobile phone app that delivers the latest beach water quality information right to your smartphone. The Swim Guide w r w o shows current and .th e. eswimguid historic status of the most popular beaches so you can determine if the water is safe for swimming. For more information and to download the app, visit w

E. coli is a type of fecal coliform bacteria found in the guts of warm-blooded animals, including humans. It is an indicator of other pathogenic bacteria and viruses found in feces, all of which can make people sick. The state sets limits for waterways that are used for contact recreation, such as swimming, wading, fishing, surfing, or boating. Children are especially susceptible to illness from playing in small streams and coastal waters polluted with coliform bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, stomach cramps, vomiting, as well as skin and eye irritation. While County Environmental Health monitors local beaches and posts warnings, little has been done to identify the sources of pollution and develop strategies to address polluted runoff that impacts local coastal waters. Good news for oyster growers and eaters: Humboldt Bay itself is not proposed for listing due to overall low E. coli levels in the bay. Oyster growers sample the bay frequently to ensure that bacteria levels are below limits set by the state for shellfish consumption. The proposed listing should benefit the oyster industry, which is required to suspend harvest during and after major rainstorms due to the high levels of bacteria being flushed from the Bay’s tributaries. Thanks to all of our dedicated Citizen Scientists who have monitored water quality since 2005, and to our consultants at Pacific Watershed Associates in McKinleyville. Special thanks to the Eureka Times-Standard editorial board for supporting the proposed listing and our work in general! (See “A Call to Action,” posted April 11, 2014). Have you or your children gotten sick after swimming or surfing at Little River, Moonstone Beach, or other local beaches? Baykeeper docent Rich Ridenhour leads a Bay Tour aboard the Harbor District patrol boat. For information about our free natural history tours contact Let us know! Send your story to, or call 707-825-1020.

Explore the Hikshari’ Trail with Humboldt Baykeeper

Oct/Nov 2014


Jennifer Kalt, Director On August 14, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board voted to designate six local waterways as impaired by high concentrations of fecal coliform bacteria, such as E. coli. Using Humboldt Baykeeper’s Citizen Water Monitoring data, the agency supported their staff ’s recommendation and called for adding Little River, Widow White Creek, Martin Slough, lower Elk River, Jolly Giant Creek, and Campbell Creek to the Federal Clean Water Act’s list of impaired waters. The designation—known as 303(d) listing—will set in motion the development of plans to restore water quality by limiting bacterial pollution that is finding its way into these streams—and ultimately into Humboldt Bay and coastal waters. Unfortunately, due to the massive backlog of 303(d) listed waterbodies, developing a plan to restore water quality will likely take many years. The first step toward finding solutions is identifying the sources. Here at Humboldt Baykeeper, our top priority for 2014 and 2015 is to secure funding for research that will identify the sources of bacterial pollution. Understanding the sources will help point to ways to reduce it, thereby restoring clean water to our streams, the bay, and local beaches.



of the Eel River

Would the Real NCRA Please Stand Up?

Railroad Agency Ducking Environmental Review to Avoid Disclosing Harms to River

Scott Greacen, Executive Director However, when we pointed out that the EIR replaced by a judge who got the law badly wrong River advocates have been encouraged, if not failed entirely to address the impacts of rebuilding in finding for the railroad. We’ve appealed the surprised, by the rapid return of salmon after the line through the Eel River Canyon, the NCRA ruling, but may have to take the case all the way to the two Elwha River dams in Washington State’s decided that it would not, and need never, follow the state Supreme Court. Olympic National Park were removed. Even a CEQA at all. Rather, the state agency claims, it’s Only hours after our hearing before the court century’s absence won’t keep fish out once barriers exempt from the state law because Congress has of appeals, our path to the state’s highest court are removed. preempted local regulation of railroads. was cleared. A different appellate panel, ruling Our generation’s best chance to help the Wild If the argument works, the Northwest Pacific in the city of Atherton’s challenge to the High and Scenic Eel River and its magnificent steelhead Railroad Company (NWP Co: owned in part Speed Rail Authority (HSRA)’s compliance with and salmon fisheries recover is CEQA, echoed our argument just around the corner, with the that CEQA review is not federally pending 2022 expiration of the preempted when a state-owned federal license for the Potter rail line complies with the law as Valley Project’s two dams on a condition of state funding. If the the upper mainstem Eel River. Atherton opinion is correct, it’s The dams exist to allow by far nearly impossible to distinguish the largest diversion of the our case in a principled way. If Eel’s waters, through a tunnel the panel considering our case into Potter Valley and the nonetheless rules otherwise, the Russian River. California Supreme Court is very Removing the dams won’t likely to resolve the split between magically restore the Eel, of circuits. course—the tragic condition of After I sent some of the above the river this drought-stricken material out in an email to Friends summer shows we still have a lot of of the Eel River’s supporters, Mr. work to do in our own watersheds. David Schonbrunn of San Rafael, A big part of helping the Eel to who identifies himself as President continue to recover is just making of the Transportation Solutions sure we don’t keep creating the Defense and Education Fund, wrote same kind of harms that nearly to call me a liar: destroyed the fisheries. “Your latest newsletter contains The Northwest Pacific an outrageous falsehood: “This Railroad, built through the is why we are suing the NCRA Rail cars that toppled into the Eel River decades ago remain in place. Photo: Friends of the Eel River. unstable Eel River Canyon to ensure they follow CEQA and by former Congressman and Democratic Party a century ago, was plagued by constant slope consider potential impacts before rebuilding in the kingmaker Doug Bosco) could gain free rein in failures that left dirt, tracks and even trains in the Eel River Canyon.” NCRA is not now, and probably the Eel Canyon for the 99 year term of the lease river. After the redwood boom went bust, the line never will, rebuild in the canyon.” the NCRA gave the company (for zero dollars). was so expensive to maintain, the railroad went Of course, if the NCRA had ever taken the Leveraging public property and public money to bust too. The North Coast Railroad Authority position Mr. Schonbrunn ascribes to it—that it build private fortunes is the classic game of railroad (NCRA) was formed by the California legislature does not plan to rebuild in the Canyon—we’d have barons, but their gains come at the expense of the to purchase the line, rescuing the railroad no case at all: even die-hard environmentalist public interest and public trust resources. from abandonment. fanatics can think of better things to do than This is why we are suing the NCRA to ensure The NCRA has always insisted it is mandated demand review for a project that’s never going they follow CEQA and consider potential impacts to rebuild the failed line from Humboldt Bay to to happen. Not only has the NCRA failed ever to before rebuilding in the Eel River Canyon. It is Sonoma, through the Eel River Canyon. The produce such a statement; the agency has never critically important to establish the NCRA’s duty agency has also long promised it would first do taken that position in court. Instead, they’ve argued to address all the impacts of rebuilding the line. a full environmental review under the California that they have no responsibility to undertake the This case shows how hard it often is to Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Analysis of environmental review they promised to do and convince courts that government agencies are in impacts and needed mitigations was an explicit took state money to do, nor any other review fact breaking the law. At the district court, after condition of more than $30 million California for any other future actions, no matter what the months of delay, a judge who had ruled against gave the NCRA to rebuild the line. Taxpayers even potential for grave and lasting harms to the Eel the NCRA’s preemption claim was transferred, paid for the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). River may be.

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014


The Environmental Protection Information Center

50 Years Wild: Connecting Wild Places Kimberly Baker In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, EPIC and our conservation partners sent 50,000 messages (through the Connecting Wild Places Petition) to Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and to all California National Forest and BLM Supervisors and elected delegates asking them to protect all remaining old growth, to establish a well-connected network of wildlife corridors and to reform antiquated extraction policies. Wild places are part of our nation’s heritage. California’s 53 Wilderness Areas (mostly high elevation), 25 national and 270 state parks and beaches offer islands of refuge for native plants and wildlife. Roadless Areas, rivers and ridges contain vital lower elevation carbon dense forests and provide connectivity between these core areas. Habitat linkages serve as passageways that allow wildlife to move freely, search for food, find a mate and strengthen genetic diversity. A majority of wildlife corridors, managed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) within California’s’ 18 national forests, remain unacknowledged, unprotected and open to multiple threats. Northern California forests are some of the most carbon dense forests on the planet, with the largest, oldest trees storing the greatest amounts of carbon and playing a major role in regulating the Earth’s climate. These networks of interconnected forests create crucial climate refugia for imperiled species. The Federal Forest Carbon Coalition—a new first-of-a-kind consortium of over 60 national,

Monument Peak, Trinity Alps Wilderness. Photo: Gary Robertson, Flickr CC.


regional and local organizations, including EPIC, focused on forests, biodiversity, fisheries, rivers, faith and spirituality, Native American treaty rights, youth, rural communities and climate disruption—recently issued a suite of science-based recommendations to the Obama Administration. Entitled Modernizing Federal Forest Management To Mitigate and Prepare For Climate Disruption, the recommendations for our public lands include permanently protecting all high-biomass forested areas (older forests; live, dead and fallen) from logging, recognizing carbon as a significant public resource, increasing carbon storage, restoring mature forests, promoting more natural fire regimes and a moratorium on fracking. More than 75 scientists recently requested that the President direct his Secretary of Agriculture and Chief of the USFS to craft a National Old Growth Conservation Policy that fully protects the remaining old-growth forests on all national forests. The signatories include PhD professors from throughout the country and Canada, retired state and federal resource agency biologists and two former USFS Chiefs. National forests providing habitat linkages between wilderness areas are increasingly important refuges for many rare native plants and animals. Well over half of California’s fish, amphibians and mammals and nearly half of all birds and reptiles are “at-risk.” Habitat loss is the main reason for the current global mass extinction rate. Conserving and connecting habitat is the number one goal of the National Fish, Wildlife and Plant Climate Adaption Strategy. Connecting Wild Places is in concert with that goal. On a positive note for wildlife, the gray wolf is returning to California. Wolves need room to roam

and packs are known to travel up to 30 miles a day. OR-7 traveled over 4,000 miles in the last four years between Oregon and California. Residing just over the border with his mate and three pups, it is entirely possible that the new pack will make California part of their home range. California and its globally significant forests offer an amazing opportunity to establish an interconnected intact landscape, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Connecting Wild Places is crucial for the survival of wildlife and is integral to climate adaption. Climate change demands political change. Our leaders in office and in forest, fish and wildlife management need to enact policy and implement adaption strategies to conserve our quality of life, wildlife and wild places.

For more info visit 707-822-7711,

Oct/Nov 2014


Where has the Water Gone?

Thirsty trees may contribute to declining minimum flows John Williams, MRC Board of Directors There are wet years and dry years, and flow in the Mattole river varies correspondingly, but the US Geological Survey gage record shows a declining trend in minimum flows since about 1960, with a faster decline since about 1990. Minimum flows have decreased by roughly ten cubic feet per second (cfs), or about 40%, over the last 25 years. Ten cfs is a lot of water, enough to fill a 2,500 gallon tank in about half a minute, or cover almost 20 acres a foot deep in a day. While there is no downward trend apparent in spring or early summer flows (while variant upon spring rains), flows decrease rapidly through August and the rest of the dry season. Minimum flows, therefore, tend to be lower, for several reasons. If the fall rains arrive late, there is more time for the flow to drop. August and September rains have been less frequent in recent decades, so the minimum flows also tend to occur somewhat later in recent decades, but analysis of the gage data shows that this effect is minor. Diversions by marijuana growers receive substantial press. With the “Green Rush,” there are more people and irrigated plants in the basin, and more water is diverted from springs or streams to supply their needs, but the decline in late summer flows at Petrolia seems too big for diversions to be the main cause. Reliable numbers on water use by marijuana cultivation are available, but based on data for Scott Valley in Siskiyou County

Figure 1. The minimum flow at the Near Petrolia gage as a percentage of the July 15 flow. Trend lines fit with a smoothing algorithm called Lowess. Courtesy of MRC.

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014

from UC Davis, one cfs will irrigate about 95 acres of alfalfa in July, or about 160 acres in September— probably equivalent to many greenhouses. Also, irrigation is not new; until the 1970s, ranchers grew irrigated alfalfa on some of the terraces along the river for hay. Diversions do, however, have locally severe effects in tributaries and the upper river, and pumping can dry small streams. Increased water use by trees, primarily Douglas-fir and grand fir, may be a large contributor to the decline The water needs of young forests, primarily Douglas-fir and grand fir, may contribute to in minimum flows. The the decline in minimum flows in the Mattole. Photo: Mark Stevens, Flickr CC. forest in the Mattole basin and after rains, so that less reaches the ground. is rapidly recovering from the logging boom of This “interception loss” varies, being greater the 1950s and 60s, and the forest has expanded. as a percentage in light rains, but the scientific Mapping by the MRC shows that about 55% of literature suggests 15 to 20% overall is a reasonable grasslands have been lost between 1950 and 2005. estimate. Interception by grass is much less, so Douglas-fir are also expanding into oak woodlands trees reduce the effective rainfall. As the forest in interior parts of the Mattole basin, as has been expands, interception increases as well. documented in many areas, from the North Fork Finally, the young fir forest that developed after Eel River to as far north as Vancouver Island. (The the logging boom may be reaching peak water use. MRC is developing an oak woodlands project As a stand matures, water use by individual trees to quantify and hopefully reverse the process increases because they are bigger, but at some here.) Closer to the coast in the Mattole basin, point use decreases because the trees are fewer old, open-grown fir, whose lower branches have and less effective at moving water to their needles. been shaded out but have not yet fallen, show Taller trees need to pull harder to lift water into that dense young forest has replaced scattered their canopies, which takes water-transporting trees in many areas. cells with thicker walls and smaller passages in the Increases in summer flows after forest clearing sapwood, twigs, and needles. have been documented in many kinds of forests, Will aggressively thinning the forest help? In but this effect is masked in the Petrolia gage data by the very short and long run, probably yes, but in variation in the weather. However, when minimum the medium term, the remaining trees probably flows are adjusted by the July 15 flows, in order to will expand their root systems to capture the newly account for wet or dry springs, the response to the available water. How much thinning may help, logging shows up clearly (Figure 1). and the time scales involved, are uncertain. We are With our annual summer drought, summer hoping to set up experimental plots to collect data streamflow comes from water that percolates on the response of water use to thinning. deep into hills, and trees affect deep percolation in several ways. First, trees roots penetrate deeply into the ground, drying soil at depth. To learn more about our projects, Second, trees intercept rain or snow before or to make a donation to support MRC, it hits the ground, and some of this evaporates please visit directly from the surface of the canopy during


NORTH GROUP REDWOOD CHAPTER Restoring Natural Wildfire

ecological role will require substantial changes in Forest Service management practices. A more strategic approach to fire risk reduction, restraint in deploying fire suppression actions which cause environmental damage, and fire risk reduction projects which are not just timber sales with a new name remain the exception rather than the rule. Still, forest communities, tribes and environmental groups have made a good start and even some Forest Service managers are beginning to change business as usual. When it comes to wildfire suppression and fire risk reduction, the winds of change are blowing both locally and nationally. Hopefully that will lead to reduced suppression costs and greater reliance on natural and cultural fire as appropriate and cost-effective tools to restore forest ecosystems. Stay tuned.

Felice Pace Attitudes toward wildfire are changing in Northwest California. Many folks now understand that fire is a natural part of western forest ecosystems; these forests are going to burn sooner or later. Thinking has shifted from “will they be able to keep fire at bay” to “how can we protect the community so that fires can be allowed to play a more natural role in forest ecosystems.” Attitudes toward cultural burning are also shifting: Indigenous natives burned portions of these forests for uncounted generations and many believe tribal efforts to restore cultural burning should be supported. At the same time, concerns about the high cost of fire suppression have grown in Washington, D.C., within the Forest Service and with taxpayers. In the Klamath Mountains, we’ve had those concerns for a long time because, in spite of spending many millions of dollars, fire suppression on the national forests in these rugged mountains is rarely effective once a fire has grown large. Too often, Forest Service and fire managers order costly and questionable suppression actions which trigger landslides and damage watersheds but do little to protect communities or control a fire. Bulldozer lines and burnouts in the backcountry are particularly ineffective, costly and damaging. In too many cases Forest Service “thinning” projects actually increase fire risk down the road because they stimulate sprouting Large landslide in the Trinity Alps Wilderness triggered by a Forest Service burn-out. This delivered a massive amount of sediment to New River, one of the few streams still of small trees and brush. Salvage supporting Summer Steelhead. Photo: Felice Pace. logging, which reestablishes highly flammable tree plantations, is also a detriment to restoring fire to a more natural, Campers Learn & Enjoy Themselves and therefore sustainable, role in Klamath Forest “Amazing,” “wonderful,” and “fun” were among ecosystems. the adjectives used by the four campers North Faced with Forest Service policies that are not Group members supported to attend a Towering working, those living in forest communities within Trees & Tidepools Camp for grades 4-5 and a the Klamath Mountains have begun moving toward Redwoods Ecology Camp for grades 6-8 this July a more enlightened and effective approach to living in Redwood National & State Parks. We were able with wildfire. Led by local restoration and fire safe to underwrite a girl and two boys from Eureka councils, citizens are working to construct shaded (one of them living in a family shelter) and a boy fuel breaks around towns and residences and on from Weaverville. This marked the 20th year that strategic ridge tops so that natural wildfires can our Lucille Vinyard/Susie Van Kirk Environmental be allowed to burn naturally without threatening Education Fund provided a camping experience human habitations. for children in our membership area of Humboldt, Because so much of the Klamath Mountains is Del Norte, and Trinity counties. National Forest land, restoring fire to a more natural


“Cappy” McKinney Memorial Trail Approved

On August 5, the Eureka City Council voted unanimously to name a shoreline loop segment of the Eureka Waterfront Hikshari’ Trail after longtime environmental advocate Melvin McKinney. The proposal to honor Mel in this fashion came from North Group and the local Audubon chapter, two groups to which he dedicated many hours as a volunteer. Cappy, who passed away in 2013, spent much of his retirement protecting the Elk River Wildlife Sanctuary. He worked with various agencies to identify appropriate uses and preserve the natural habitat, patrolling the area on a regular basis to report problems. Mel’s persistence led the City of Eureka to upgrade what had been the Elk River Wildlife Area to Sanctuary status in 2003. A dedication ceremony for the loop trail was held in early September.


The North Group offers the following hikes in September. All our hikes are open to the public. Contact hike leaders for more information: Thursday, October 23—Prairie Creek State Park, West Ridge-Prairie Creek Loop. Towering ridge forest and stout creek-side giants; a rippling creek overhung by autumn maples! From the Visitor Center, to West Ridge Trail, to the Zig-Zag #1 connector, to Prairie Creek Trail. Total distance is 6 miles of medium difficulty, under 500’ elevation change. Bring lunch, water, hiking gear. No dogs. Carpools meet 9:15 am SW corner Arcata Community Center or 10:30 am Prairie Creek Visitor Center. Leader Melinda (668-4275). Rain cancels. Sunday, November 9—Horse Mountain Botanical Area Trails. Two loop trails, each just over 2 miles, mostly on dirt roads: one to the west, past the old “Ski Chalet” site, with views of the King Range, the Siskiyous, and the coast, and another loop to the north and east looking at the Trinity Alps, the Yolla Bollys, and maybe a peek at Mt. Lassen. Bring lunch, water, and good boots. No dogs. Medium difficulty, under 500’ elevation change. Carpools meet 9 am Valley West Shopping Center (near Ray’s) or 10 am Horse Mtn. parking area. Leader Ned (; 825-3652). Heavy rain cancels.

Oct/Nov 2014


NORTHCOAST CHAPTER Beginners and experts, non-members and members are all welcome at our programs and on our outings. Almost all of our events are free. All of our events are made possible by volunteer effort.

Evening Programs

Second Wednesday evening, September through May. Refreshments at 7 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m. at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, near 7th and Union, Arcata. October 8, Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. Discovering a new species in the Trinity Alps Wilderness: Antennaria sawyerii, with Pete Figura, Environmental Scientist with the USFS. Pete will summarize the discovery, characteristics, and ecology of a new species of pussy-toes (Antennaria) from the Trinity Alps. A. sawyeri appears to be another Klamath Mountains endemic and is currently known only from a spectacular subalpine, ultramafic area near Siligo and Van Matre meadows in the eastern part of the wilderness. The new plant’s specific epithet will honor the late Dr. John O. Sawyer, Jr.,

a founding member of the North Coast Chapter and friend and mentor to many in the north state botanical community. November 12, Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. Book Release Party! “Field Guide to Grasses of California.” Dr. James P. Smith. There are more than 300 species of native California grasses and they are found in almost every climate and habitat. Despite their importance, grasslands remain one of the most underprotected of California’s vegetation types, and native grasslands have undergone the greatest percentage loss of any habitat type in the state. Join us for an evening with our own agrostologist superstar. Books will be for sale at this event. December 10, Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. Native Plant Show and Tell. An informal evening for anyone to share photos, artifacts, readings or food relating to native plants and their habitats. More details on our web page in November.

Special Evening Program

October 15, Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. “In Praise of Woody Diversity” with Mark Turner, author of Trees and Shrubs of the Pacific Northwest. See flyer at left.

Field Trips & Plant Walks October 12, Saturday. South Fork Janes Creek Trail Day Hike, This trail is an almost-three-mile loop through redwood forest, crossing the creek three times, traveling the ridge as well, and necessarily ascending and descending in between. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd, Arcata) or at 9:15 a.m. at the trailhead at the top of Diamond Drive. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Return mid-afternoon. Contact Carol: 707-822-2015 or theralphs@ November 1, Saturday. Eel River Estuary Preserve Day Hike. The meeting of the Eel River and the ocean, fresh and saltwater, beach sand and bottomlands mud. The Wildlands Conservancy has established this

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014

Fall Native Plant Sale

Saturday, October 4 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Fall is planting time!

Join us for the Fall Native Plant Sale at the Bayside Grange, 2297 Jacoby Creek Road, Bayside (just off Old Arcata Rd.). Find a wide selection of trees, shrubs, ferns, perennials, annuals, bulbs, shade plants, sun plants, wetland plants, native gardening resources, and friendly, knowledgeable people to help you create or add to your bee-, butterfly-, and bird-friendly garden or your habitat garden or your potted plant garden or wherever you want to bring species from our native ecosystems. Experienced growers, gardeners and botanists will be on hand to assist you in choosing plants to meet your gardening and landscaping needs and to help answer your questions. We have reference books available for use and educational materials on hand to further assist gardeners who want to incorporate native plants into their landscapes. Cash, check, or credit card accepted. Please bring boxes to carry your purchases. All proceeds benefit the North Coast Chapter. For more information, or to volunteer to help with the sales, contact Chris Beresford 707-826-0259 or Anna Bernard 707-825-6991. preserve, not yet open to the public. With the preserve ranger we will walk 2-4 miles on established trails through tidal wetlands, fresh water marsh, sand dunes, grasslands, and beach. Meet at 9 a.m. at Pacific Union School (3001 Janes Rd., Arcata) or at 9:45 a.m. at the south end of Bayshore Mall parking area, or arrange another place. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Return late afternoon. Contact Carol: 707-8222015 or


Smith River

Continued from page 6 The health of the Smith River and all living things that depend on it are at stake. Hazards of mining and processing metals include toxic mine waste, pollution of surface and groundwater, plus air pollution from metallic dust and naturally occurring asbestos, a known carcinogen. According to the U.S. EPA, metal mining is the most polluting industry in America. This pollution would not only harm the fisheries and the livelihood of those that depend on it, but would compromise the drinking water supply for thousands of local citizens. Opposition toward the mining project has gained momentum with key state and local agencies joining the fight. During the public comment period in July, over 3,000 comments were submitted to OWRD. Crescent City Council and the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to send letters of opposition to OWRD requesting that the agency deny Red Flat Nickel Corp.’s application to use water for drilling. Del Norte County stated in their letter that they “adamantly oppose(s) this application or any application that would result in future strip mining in the Smith River watershed.” A consortium of eighteen environmental conservation groups representing thousands of citizens in California and Oregon opposed ”temporary or permanent use of water from any of these sources for mining activities (as being) not in the public interest”. Gordon Lydford, a Certified Water Right Examiner in Oregon, submitted a comment letter stating that both the long term and short term plans of Red Flat Nickel Corporation would “deplete a fully appropriated stream”. He further explained, “the only (allowable) beneficial uses of water in the North Fork Smith River watershed in Oregon are for wild, scenic, recreational, fishery and other natural ecological demands”. Complete protection for California’s “most sacred river” requires that we actively engage across state lines to defend that part of the Smith that runs through Oregon. Under the 1872 Mining law, the Forest Service cannot deny a reasonable mining plan unless the proposed project area has been withdrawn from mining eligibility. A mineral withdrawal will prevent the location of new mining claims and it would stop the proposed strip mine in its tracks. Take Action! Emails and letters can be submitted Morgan Corviday



freelance design for print and web


to State and Federal representatives urging them to protect the Smith River by supporting the mineral withdrawal. Please visit the Smith River Alliance website ( to see how you can add your voice to the growing opposition to strip mining in the Smith River and nearby watersheds. You’ll also find several excellent letters of opposition from local government agencies and others.

Bridge Creek

Continued from page 8

Mouth of Bridge Creek from the Eel River. Photo: Darren Mierau.

USE YOUR EBT CARD AT THE FARMERS MARKET Visit the info booth to find out how Market Match can help stretch your dollar to purchase more fruits and vegetables! Farmers Markets that accept CalFresh/EBT: North Coast Growers Assn. Markets: (707) 441-9999

Fortuna Farmers Market: (707) 499-2150

Arcata Plaza (April - Nov): Sat. 9-2 Plaza (Dec - Mar): Sat. 10-2 Wildberries: Tues. 3:30-6:30

Fortuna 10th & Main: Tues. 3-6

Eureka Old Town: Tues. 10-1 Henderson Center: Thurs. 10-1

Southern Humboldt Farmers Markets: (707) 672-5224

McKinleyville Safeway Lot: Thurs. 3:30-6:30

Garberville Town Square: Fri. 11-3

...and another year finalizing construction plans, the project was launched into construction early this summer. The project was funded from the CDFW Fisheries Restoration Grants Program and the State Coastal Conservancy, with a small share of costs and tons of determination from our project partners. In addition to our funders, the Bridge Creek project has received unanimous support from the NCRA board, and engineering oversight from the NCRA and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) engineers. From start to finish, the project has been in the capable hands of Pacific Watershed Associates (PWA) and our construction contractor Ryan Rice Construction. Many technical aspects challenge a project of this scale, such as deconstructing and stockpiling railroad tracks and wooden ties, re-routing the creek and diverting dirty water away from the Eel, and removing trees and vegetation. But the biggest task for this project was simply moving dirt, tons of it. Excavators and dump trucks toiled for more than eleven weeks, removing layers of fill foot-by-foot. In total more than 55,000 yards of dirt was removed and stockpiled safely along the railroad line. That’s a mere 2,750 truck-loads (more or less), moved with a gigantic 20-yard off-road dump truck. After dirt removal, construction crews worked to re-create a natural Bridge Creek stream channel and banks, and a new confluence with the Eel River. Next, large wood logs and boulders will be placed back on the streambed to armor the bed, along with extensive erosion control measures to minimize winter erosion. Now we wait for the fish to arrive. CalTrout and project partners would like to acknowledge the invaluable support from private landowners, Jack Rice and his family, as well as the Humboldt Redwood Company, for their willingness to allow this project on their properties.

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Oct/Nov 2014



PACHYDERM PANIC: Poaching is the main reason that more elephants are dying in Africa than are being born. Up to 40,000 elephants have been illegally killed each year since 2009—and the population has shrunk by up to three percent annually. “This poaching spike is due to rising demand for ivory from Asia,” says Richard Thomas of Britain’s Traffic International. “Thanks to rising wealth, people are now able to afford ivory, which has long been desired as a status symbol. Deterrents need to be put in place to drive home that wildlife poaching is a serious crime.”

A merry melange: salient or silly.

PSST, WANT TO BUY A BRIDGE: Portland officials want to sell the Sellwood Bridge, complete with a paved road, sidewalks and railings, as long as the buyer has a place to put it. A spokesman said, “We’d even consider a plan to buy half of it,” although they have not put a price on the 60-foot bridge. Crews have already moved the bridge at a cost of a million dollars.

OH DEER: Norway had to close a major highway in the Arctic because high temperatures drove reindeer to seek refuge in a cool road tunnel. Drivers were forced to take a long detour for days until temperatures dropped and the deer left the tunnel.

NO COMMENT: A Seattle man who tried to kill a spider with a makeshift blowtorch—a cigarette lighter and a can of spray paint—instead set his house on fire, causing $60,000 in damages. FOREST GUARDIANS: The best way to keep trees standing is by letting local people have the right to control what happens there—because most communities would protect rather than plunder them. So says a new study by the World Resources Institute which concludes that community-owned forests are often the best protected. But they have control over just one-eighth of the world’s forests; the rest are run by governments or leased for logging or mining, often in defiance of community claims. In the Amazon, for example, deforestation rates in community forests are 10 times lower than those controlled by outside forces. In Guatemala, they are 20 times lower than in those under government protection. In Mexico’s Yucatan state, deforestation is a whopping 350 times lower in community forests. A GREAT FALL: Humpty Dumpty literally fell off the wall. It happened at the Enchanted Forest where two men wanting pictures climbed up the wall—where Humpty had sat since the theme park opened in 1970—and the whole structure came crashing down. “Hopefully, we can put him together again,” said a spokesman.

EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014

WALK TO SURVIVAL: A 57-year-old woman survived in the Alaskan wilds after being mauled by a brown bear. Thea Thomas was hiking near a stream where salmon were spawning when her dogs sprinted back to her chased by the bear. She estimates she was bitten seven times, the worst to her back and inner thighs, but still managed to walk back to her truck some 1.5 miles away.

WHAT’S IN A NAME: The fashionable clothing store Saks Fifth Avenue insists on a new name for the online pet treat company, Snaks Fifth Avenchew. The pet foods owner, Carrie Sarabella, who grew up shopping at Saks, said using a parody name, just like Bloomingtails, seemed fitting for her company. She launched her online store to market treats for pets suffering from food allergies.

FLYING HIGH ON TOBACCO: Making jet fuel from tobacco is the goal of a joint venture by Boeing and South African Airways. Test farming of a hybrid tobacco plant, which is nicotine-free, is being done in South Africa. The biofuel is expected “in the next few years,” both companies said. The fuel has potential wherever traditional tobacco is cultivated.

HEAVY GATOR: Alabama hunters snared an alligator that weighed more than 1,000 pounds, the largest ever caught in the state and so heavy it needed a backhoe to lift it onto a scale. The gator, caught with a snare hook in a state park and measuring 15 feet long, registered at 1,011.5 pounds. The American alligator was listed as endangered almost 50 years ago because of habitat loss and excessive hunting. But it was removed from the list in 1987 and now numbers more than a million in the Southeast, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. MUSSEL MUSCLE: Scientists determined that the part of the mussel “glue” called catchecol pushes water molecules out of the way to bind directly to a wide variety of surfaces. This study could pave the way for better adhesives for many applications, such as for use in surgeries.


Leave it to Beaver: River Restoration partners with coho. A recent study in the Stillaguamish Watershed in western Washington found an 86% reduction in coho smolt production potential from historic levels. The majority of the loss was attributed to beaver dam removal. Beaver ponds also greatly enhance channel complexity with spawning gravel deposition upstream of ponds and plunge pools scoured downstream of dams. Sediment and water retention from dams enhance existing floodplain connection and create new floodplain Beaver dam on Bridge Creek in Oregon. Photo: Oregon Natural Desert Association. surfaces which provides highElijah Portugal flow refugia for salmonids. Beaver (Castor canadensis) are North America’s Dams are sponges—absorbing sediment and largest rodent. Once numbering around 400 million, water which elevates the water table. This in beaver were historically distributed across North turn expands the riparian corridor, elevates base America, including northern Mexico. Historic flow, and provides critical refugia from extreme beaver dam density would have been impressive, water temperatures. Ponds and associated with estimates of 25 million dams and an average riparian expansion also benefit mammals, reptiles, density of 10 dams/km. Beaver and Pacific salmon amphibians and birds. Possibly one of the most co-evolved in North American streams choked with important benefits of beaver dams is their role dams for at least the last 6 million years. in combating the effects of climate change. The However, in the 1600s Euro-Americans cumulative increase in water retention in a discovered the incredible quality of beaver fur and a watershed with high dam densities attenuates peak 300-year period of commercial exploitation began. flows, providing higher base flows during the dry By 1900, beaver populations had been decimated summer months. throughout their native range. Fortunately, For these reasons, river restoration practitioners conservation practices were implemented in response have begun partnering with beaver to rehabilitate to the near extinction. Beaver now occupy most of degraded rivers. This style of restoration was their historic range, and populations have rebounded developed in Bridge Creek, Oregon, for example, to approximately 10 million in North America. by fisheries scientists and geomorphologists from Beaver are widely considered “Ecosystem the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Engineers” because they modify the riverine Administration (NOAA), Eco Logical Research landscape to create their preferred habitat. Their Inc., and Utah State University. Bridge Creek was modifications benefit other aquatic and riparian deeply entrenched and disconnected from its species as well as critical hydrological and historic floodplain due to poor land management. geomorphic processes. Beaver build dams across Vertical downcutting left the stream with a small and medium-sized streams and on side simplified channel and poor steelhead habitat. channels in larger streams to create ponds. Ponds Beaver were already present in Bridge Creek but provide protection from predators, expand the their dams didn’t persist; the narrow trench didn’t foraging area, allow for food storage over-winter, allow for flow dispersal across the floodplain and and provide a safe location to build lodges. the poor riparian area didn’t provide robust dam There are many positive benefits of beaver building material. This left too much stream power pond complexes for fish species. The impounded in the channel and dams failed during high flows. water provides critical rearing habitat for In response, the researchers developed juvenile salmonids, particularly endangered methods of re-enforcing existing dams and


Castor canadensis

installing Beaver Dam Analogs (BDAs—a series of fence posts pounded into the riverbed, interwoven with willow branches) to rehabilitate Bridge Creek. This creates a semi-permeable dam surface which is then reinforced with rocks and mud to mimic beaver dams. In many cases beaver treated the BDAs on Bridge Creek like their own, providing dam maintenance and expansion. Over the last five to six years this method has had tremendous success, elevating the height of the stream bed, creating and enhancing floodplain connection, expanding the riparian corridor and creating critical habitat for steelhead. This has translated into a significant increase in steelhead production. Additionally, through an extensive series of fish tag readers, they have established that dams and BDAs do not impede the movement of juvenile and adult salmonids. Beaver are a critical part of the riverine ecosystem. They can help us to restore and rehabilitate rivers and may help combat the effects of climate change. There are increasingly more resources on the ecological benefits of beaver and how to implement beaver-assisted restoration. To learn more, visit Elijah Portugal is a Fluvial Geomorphologist with the Fluvial Habitat Center, Utah State University.

Oct/Nov 2014


the Kids’ Page: Butterfly vs Moth Is that a moth or a butterfly?


• Feathery antennae


• Smooth antennae with a little knob at the end • Diurnal (active during the day) • Usually have a thin body • Often brightly colored • Wings rest together and upright • Make chrysalises

They look almost the same. How can you tell? They were • Nocturnal (active at night) both caterpillars that metamorphosed into insects that fly all crazy in the air. They both have two sets of wings, antennae, • Usually have a thick body and scaly wings. The scales are the colorful powder that’s • Usually dull colored left on your fingers if you accidently touch one of their • Wings rest at their side wings. This powdery scale gives moths and butterflies their color. With so many things in common, it’s easy to not know • Make cocoons what is a moth and what is a butterfly. Usually moths are not brightly colored, but some moths are beautifully colored with green, pink, yellow, and orange. There is even a moth that looks like it has zebra stripes, and some are even rainbow colored! Moths have fuzzy bodies and large eyes, with fuzzy antennae, and look a little like liny teddy bears with wings. Usually moths are seen only at night, but some are tricky and are out during the day, trying to fool you into thinking they’re butterflies. The largest moth in the world is the Atlas moth, which can have a wingspan bigger than a grown-up’s foot! The biggest moth in the U.S. is the beautiful light green Luna moth, which has Q H T Y X Y D X T D D N U F I a wingspan of up to 8 inches across, with long ‘tails’. The S K Q M L I L H L I U O I E O smallest moth in the world, S W O L U B G F C F L O K A J called the the pygmy leaf miner moth, can fit on your L T A R H I W H R F L C N T M fingernail. H H N L R C R H P E I O M H T The largest butterfly M A S B L Y T G H R T C Q E L in the U.S. is the giant swallowtail, with yellow L W K G S O A T V E V T G R U and black wings with ‘tails’ X Z Q A M G W N S N F R U Y C and has a wingspan of up to 6 inches. The smallest F X L A G M B T T C X C A B I butterfly in the world W I N G S P A N A E A O Z Z F is the Western pygmy S U N E M O D B A I N L Y G F blue butterfly and has a wingspan of a half-inch, L Z O E B E A W W A L N E A I just covering the tip of your T U R Y Q G N I W S S Z A M D finger! It is from Africa, but K C J W Y L R X Z G V C R E Q also lives in California. Telling the difference S L A N R U T C O N W P I I A between butterflies and moths can be difficult! Next ABDOMEN DIFFERENCE MOTH time you go outside at ANTENNAE DIFFICULT NOCTURNAL night, turn the porch light BRIGHT DIURNAL SCALE on and count how many BUTTERFLY DULL SWALLOWTAIL beautiful moths that come CHRYSALIS FEATHERY WING out. Then, compare them to COCOON LUNA MOTH WINGSPAN all the beautiful butterflies you see during the day. Photo at left: A North American Black Witch moth, a large brown migratory batlike moth, Ascalapha odorata, photographed recently in Humboldt County, shown by Sarah Marnick almost actual size. Photo: Norm Crawford. Background: Westerm tiger swallowtail,

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EcoNews Oct/Nov 2014


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Recycling Strays In Istanbul, a solar-powered vending machine encourages recycling by feeding stray dogs. Every time a can or bottle is recycled, some food appears in a dispenser at the right height for the animals. The profit from the recyclables covers the cost of the food in the machine. The company whose brainstorm it was said it wanted to boost recycling as well as help the giant number of stray dogs and wildlife in the Turkish city. Here at the NEC—parent of the first rural recycling center in the state—we are now pushing, along with many others, for passage of the so-called recycled “bag bill.” It would make California the first state to outlaw single-use plastic grocery bags, but a tough battle is predicted in the legislature. Recycling is just one of the many contentious issues that the NEC has been engaged with since it was founded more than 40 years ago, and we couldn’t have lasted this long without your consistent help. So, if you haven’t yet, please become a member. In fact, your entire family— including any stray pets—can join for less than a dollar a week. With your help, our victory is in the bag. Thank you.

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EcoNews - Vol 44, No 5 - Oct/Nov 2014