Over 40 Years of Environmental News
Vol. 43, No. 1 Feb/Mar 2013
NEWS R Published by the Northcoast Environmental Center Since 1971
n our hands: I our
Community our Planet Our Climate is changing. 13 Things you can do to help.
Shovel-Ready Sustainability | Why Wilderness? | Garbage and Global Warming Climate Activist Bill McKibben | Tsunami Debris Monitoring | Orcas off North Coast
1385 8th Street - Suite 215, Arcata, CA 95521 PO Box 4259, Arcata, CA 95518 707- 822-6918, Fax 707-822-6980 www.yournec.org EcoNews is the official bi-monthly publication of the Northcoast Environmental Center, 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/ Southern Oregon bioregion. The subscription rate is $35 per year.
Editor/Layout: Morgan Corviday, firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: email@example.com Proofreaders: Karen Schatz, Midge Brown Writers: Sid Dominitz, Morgan Corviday, Dan Ehresman, Sarah Marnick, Dan Sealy, Jennifer Kalt, Brandon Drucker, Scott Greacen, Hezekiah Allen, Margaret Gainer, Mark DuPont Artist: Terry Torgerson Cover Photo: Lee and Mary, flickr. comCC BY-NC-SA 2.0
The Northcoast Environmental Center: Our Mission
To promote understanding of the relations between people and the biosphere and to conserve, protect and celebrate terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems of northern California and southern Oregon.
NEC Board Of Directors
Safe Alternatives for our Forest EnvironmentLarry Glass, President, firstname.lastname@example.org At-Large, Trinity County Rep. - Bob Morris, Vice-President, email@example.com At-Large - Chris Jenican Beresford, Treasurer, firstname.lastname@example.org California Native Plant Society Jennifer Kalt, Secretary, email@example.com Humboldt Baykeeper - Jessica Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org Redwood Region Audubon Society CJ Ralph, email@example.com Sierra Club North Group, - Richard Kries, firstname.lastname@example.org At-Large - Scott Greacen, email@example.com
NEC Executive Director: Dan Ehresman, firstname.lastname@example.org
North Group/Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club, Redwood Region Audubon Society, North Coast Chapter of the California Native Plant Society, Humboldt Baykeeper, Safe Alternatives for Our Forest Environment.
News From the Center
With the lengthening days and the new growth emerging from previously naked shrubs and deciduous trees, it feels like a time of reawakening. And here, at the NEC, the New Year is off to a great beginning. After a brief holiday reprieve, we returned to the Center to be greeted by many gifts of support in response to our winter mailer. We are immensely grateful for such generosity—so much so that a more detailed note of appreciation needed to have its own page. We are also thankful for all who joined us at the Arcata Playhouse for our first mixer and movie night of 2013! On a personal note, I very much appreciated getting to chat with old friends and meet long-time NEC supporters—finally putting faces to names I’ve heard or seen written throughout the years. Thanks to all for making it such a successful event! When I was first hired as staff just over one year ago, it did not take long to recognize the immense gift of community support. It is this strength that has kept the NEC engaged for 42 years and afloat through many difficult times and transitions. We are forever grateful to so many folks who have put so much into the organization—from founders and board members, to volunteers, donors, and staff. We are
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Dan Ehresman, Executive Director
committed to carry on the tradition of community engagement and collaboration, as well as advocacy and (where necessary) agitation, as we grapple with the many trying issues of our time. I particularly want to recognize the NEC Board of Directors for the time and energy they have committed to keep the NEC running. A huge thanks to: Larry Glass for helping to lead the way (and for your voice and confidence); to Chris Beresford for holding us together (and for your stories and expertise—bureaucratic and otherwise); to Jen Kalt for bringing clarity, knowledge, and commitment – even amidst the chaos (and always being available to talk); and to Bob Morris for keeping us in check (and for your caution and kind smile). To Jessica Hall, Scott Greacen, CJ Ralph, Richard Kreis, and our member and affiliate member groups—thank you. Huge kudos to our staff and committed volunteers; to Morgan Corviday, our EcoNews editor, designer and online communications guru, for your patience and professional eye; to our work study students Alanna Cottrell, Brandon Drucker, and Morgan Allen for your organization, focus, and selfmotivation; to Dan Sealy for your wisdom and work on the hill; to
Sid Dominitz and Terry Torgerson for such amazing contributions to EcoNews over the years (and for telling/showing it as you see it); and to our advisors and star volunteers— Fred McGloughlin, Keytra Meyer, Robert Thoman, Andy Alm, and Frank Milelzcik for the gifts of your time and experience. A huge thanks to all of you— whether you’ve been a part of the NEC since the very beginning or if you are just coming aboard. The NEC would not be here today were it not for your work and support. There truly is strength in numbers and much success in collaboration. I look forward to more opportunities for sharing stories, mixing it up, and working together for a resilient future for all life here on our planet Earth.
Upcoming NEC Events Join us at the Arcata Vets Hall on Saturday, February 23 for a barn dance with Tara Stetz and The Striped Pig Stringband! Also, we’d love to see you at the Arcata Playhouse on March 27 for a showing of “Catching Fire.” After the film will be a panel discussion on fire ecology, prescription burning, and restoration. See page 7 for an update on progress on the Genral Plan Update.
Leave a North Coast Legacy Give a gift that will endure beyond your lifetime. Leave a lasting legacy by naming the Northcoast Environmental Center as a beneﬁciary of your will, trust, or other estate plans.
Your bequest will help us advocate for and educate about the North Coast and the KlamathSiskiyou bioregion for future generations. To learn more, call us at 707-822-6918. The NEC is a 501(c)(3) not-for-proﬁt organization, EIN 23-7122386.
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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!
Many thanks to all of our readers and supporters whose gifts have helped us surpass the annual contributions of the previous two years. Such an outpouring of support is truly inspiring! We are excited to have gained many new members and the renewed commitment of hundreds of long-term supporters. Your donations help us support healthy watersheds, protection of the region’s forests and farms, and sustainable communities for the benefit of all— human and wild. We wish to thank the following businesses and individuals for your contributions during our winter fund appeal. We also wish to recognize and express our deep gratitude to two new members of our Legacy Giving Program. Many blessings to Fred Hummel, whose Legacy Gift arrived at just the right time—helping immensely to carry us through 2012. Lastly, many thanks to those who contributed but indicated they preferred not to be mentioned by name. We tip our hats in particular, with much respect, to the five anonymous individuals who have given so generously this past year. Together, your gifts carry us all towards a more resilient, ecologically balanced future for the North Coast!
Alicia Adrian Dave & Leah Alcyon Tom & Katy Allen Katie & John Amodio Clifford Anderson Gary & Janice Anderson Chip Sharpe & Celestine Armenta Susan K. Barnstein Barbara Barratt Barney Bartelle Bob Battagin Bruce Benner & Family James Benson James & Susan Bentz Chris & Richard Beresford Robert Garner & Robin Beresford Joan Berman Dona Blakely Foster Boone Renay Radniecki & Bill Bowman Milton J. Boyd, Ph.D. Teddee-Ann Boylan Carol Brant John & Barbara Brimlow Dan Burritt George Burtchett Charlie Butterworth Geoffrey & Mary Caldwell Donna Sund-Caldwell & Kevin Caldwell Richard & Slyvia Cardella Edward T. & Victoria Chan Zoe Chapman Chris & Wendy Cole Margaret & Steve Cole Ken J Collins Gregory & Carol Conners Gail Coonen Douglas W Correia Bruce A Courtright Nancy & Michael Cox Jenny Cranston Carol Toffaleti & Bill Croft Suzanne & Neal Crothers Mattie Culver Chandler & Paula Dawson Joan Del Monte Mike Diggles Sidney Dominitz
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Arcata Marsh Why Wilderness? Shovel-Ready Sustainability Garbage and Climate Change Planned Clearcut Near Headwaters Salmonid Restoration Conference Kin to the Earth: Bill McKibben Eye on Washington Tsunami Debris Cleanup 13 Things for 2013 Humboldt Baykeeper Friends of the Eel River EPIC Mattole Restoration Council Sierra Club, North Group Redwood Region Audubon California Plant Native Society Eco-Mania Creature Feature: Orcas Kids’ Page: Pod, Quiver, Swarm and Zeal!
Bouquets A big, organically grown bouquet to Mel Kreb for his efforts in speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves during his time as part of Humboldt County’s Planning Commission. An unedited “Thank You!” to Fred McGlaughlin for his kind commitment and countless hours of engineering over the years to help bring listeners the EcoNews Report! A wild rose on Valentine’s Day to our secret admirers (and our not-so-secret supporters) for their flattering attention and gifts of support. We couldn’t have done it without you!
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Night heron, tern, egret, mallard, ducks of every color. 2 river otters mucking in the muck of it— Migrations of hippies & shorebirds & trimmers-Willow swamp tree frog wild goose v’ed goose flash of pelican moon mud tracks in the place of refuge – Humans always walking in circles. It’s our sewage system you know, used to be Wiyot home, used to be our trash heap, 1st railroad site in all of California But we don’t talk about that here in town with its crepe shop, town with its alibi, all of us washing out to sea one day, our body of waste mixing together, then – filters through the marsh cattails slowly becomes Grebe fox cormorant bat owl raven muskrat vagrant cats so often leashless dogs jolly giant creek - The Living Machine. My therapist (not that I have one) says its sacrilege to go there and talk on your cell phone – but we go there, don’t we? - we go there, we walk off our dinner, our sorrows, we kiss, smoke dope, watch the birders nerd on birds, circumambulate Mt. Trashmore, we take out-of-towners to see it, our magic – look – our scat – look – it transforms! - it grows feathers, see – I’m telling you, our scat it swims— swims-our scat - it flies! Nutrients really do revolve into nurturance and we create the world over wine in town, the way here in our weird little rainy town too we give back the things we think we’re only taking. ~ by Joanna Reichhold Photo: Ralph Bucher (Flickr.com , CC)
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Why Wilderness? Dan Sealy Sometimes we can do that “big thing”—that thing that cannot be done ever again. Taking a bold stand takes courage, understanding and dedication to an idea bigger than the individual. We may yet have a chance for the big thing— saving wilderness—but it will not be easy. In the wake of the most anti-wilderness Congress in history, it is worth remembering why wilderness is worth saving.
What is Wilderness?
Elements of nature can be found on ski slopes, off-road vehicle areas, dammed rivers, or around cabins or hotels, but wilderness cannot. Many people spend time in the outdoors to camp and hike, perhaps to fish or hunt. But those who really want to opt out of our noisy, engine-driven, bustling world for awhile seek out designated Wilderness Areas. There, people can take respite from the distractions we have created: television, phones, computers, the internet, video games, and the rest of civilization. “(Wilderness) symbolizes escape,” states Steve Martin, chair of HSU’s Department of
“The 112th Congress
has been the most antiwilderness Congress in history, blocking any wilderness legislation from getting to the House floor. [In fact] it is the first Congress since 1966 to not protect a single acre of wilderness.” –Wilderness Society December, 2012
is a resource which can shrink but not grow... the full creation of new wilderness in the full sense of the word is impossible” –Aldo Leopold, wildlife biologist and conservationist
Upper right: Diamond Lake and wildflowers in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Photo: MiguelVieira (flickr.com CC BY 2.0). Above: Rock Creek Canyon in the John Muir Wilderness. Photo: Martin Swett.
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PLANNING AND RESEARCH
Environmental Science and Management. “I know it’s always there if I need to separate myself from civilization.” Wilderness provides an opportunity to experience nature as nature intended. Ecosystems and all forms of natural resources (including water systems, geology, and weather) can be studied without the intrusion of human development. Wilderness experiences also provide inspiration for photography, drawing, painting, poetry and writing. Martin describes wilderness as “a slice of nature in its most
unmodified form. It provides enormous environmental benefits, but also many important social, psychological, physical, and economic benefits as well. It serves as a link to our history and culture. It reminds us of the awesome power of nature, but also serves as a crucible for humans to develop an environmental ethic that incorporates humility and restraint.”
It’s the Law
“A wilderness, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is hereby recognized as an area where the earth and community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”—the Wilderness Act of 1964. The use of the term “man” may seem antiquated, and people surely have influence over every inch of the planet, but the Wilderness Act states a simple philosophy of management:
Continued on page 19
HIGH TIDE PERMACULTURE DESIGN Regenerative Land-Use Systems
Water - Land - Life
Shovel-Ready Sustainability Tools—Today Mark DuPont
a presidential election that avoided the issue of addressing global warming entirely. After 18 years, “The petroleum age has greased international climate negotiations are dead in the our feet and slid us right into the age of water. Our political process moves slower than apprehension. To apprehend means both a glacier, while our economic system continues “to understand” and “to anticipate with to produce material goods at the expense of the ecosystems upon which all life depends. It would fear”. We’ve built our American culture be wise to begin now, on a local level, to retrofit on and around inexpensive, high quality our homes, communities and watersheds for energy. Collectively we fear what it’s doing resiliency as insurance for an uncertain future. to our national security, the climate, and the The only questions remaining are why we are not land, and yet that angst is subsumed by the doing it, and where to start. fear of withdrawal from our oil addiction. Permaculture offers some options to address There is no lack of consensus that we need to these questions. Permaculture focuses not on use less fossil fuel, but because it may mean the next hybrid car or hydrogen economy that is changing habits and reducing consumption five or ten years down the road, but on practical, of all goods we fear doing it.” shovel-ready sustainability that can be done here, -Gloria Flora, excerpted from The Post Carbon Reader with the tools we have now. It is a dynamic, trial and error process that is most effective when It’s a modern paradox: Fossil fuels are the implemented by a network of practitioners that basis for everything we do in our society, and share and build upon their successes to build an at the same time they are our undoing. A look abundant, post-carbon future. back at 2012—the hottest year on record, with The means and technology exist here and now over half of the U.S. declared a disaster area due to build beautiful, efficient homes out of local, low to droughts, storms, flood and fire caused by carbon materials (such as straw bale and cob); to extreme weather—reveals our societal quandary. design and create edible landscapes and perennial More and more scientists are connecting polycultures that can provide a substantial part of the dots between weather on steroids and global our diet; and to capture, store and utilize water, climate change, and yet $2.5 billion was spent on wind and sun to heat our homes. There are living examples of hand built homes that cost less than $10,000, of diverse crops from small parcels feeding local communities, of harnessing and storing rainwater and solar energy, of mushrooms used to remediate toxic soils, and watersheds being restored to their historic Scenes from the 2012 Klamath Knot Permaculture Design Course. Photos: Klamath Knot Permaculture. abundance.
Permaculture is a process
for designing and redesigning our human habitats—our homes and dwellings, our neighborhoods, and our communities—to be resilient, productive, beautiful and low carbon. Permaculture uses a set of basic principles of ecological design and applies them systematically to a site—be it a rental, a home, a farm or a community. It starts with an analysis that divides a site into usage zones for energy efficient planning, and assesses actual and potential energy and resources—such as sun, wind, shade, water, etc. The basis for analysis is protracted and thoughtful observation, a core skill that informs the foundation of ecological design and is a theme throughout the design process. Mapping the zones, sectors and topography of the site reveals patterns that can be used to our advantage to heat or cool dwellings, produce food, and to capture, store and utilize rainwater, wind and solar energy.
For more articles in our ongoing Permaculture series, go to www.yournec.org/permaculture Global climate change lacks the adrenaline of a war or natural disaster, and as a society, it may seem that we are unable to respond adequately to the challenge. A global problem requires global solutions: a market price on carbon and energy policies committed to more renewables and conservation—all supported by international treaties, national legislation and regional and local governments. But, this fossil fuel-climatechange-peak-everything puzzle is not going to be solved by the systems that created it. In addition to keeping the pressure on our local, state and national representatives, we need to work on the Continued on page 19 levels of our home..
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Landfills Contribute to Global Warming
Margaret Gainer Garbage is a major contributor to global warming. Solid waste landfills are the single largest man-made source of methane gas in the United States. Methane (CH4) is a powerful greenhouse gas that is 23 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than the most prevalent greenhouse gas—carbon dioxide (CO2). The Zero Waste for Zero Warming Campaign of the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) is organizing in communities worldwide to address waste as a primary root cause of global warming. According to Californians Against Waste, ton for ton, Zero Waste strategies—(1) Waste Prevention, (2) Reuse, and (3) Recycling and Composting—reduce more pollution, save more energy and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions more than any other activity. Californians currently throw away millions of tons of recyclable materials every year. According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, over 60 percent of the materials in California landfills could be composted or recycled. To help prevent the public health and environmental threats posed by global warming, California has committed to an aggressive series of GHG emission reduction goals. Every sector of the state is being called upon to reduce their GHG emissions—including the waste management sector. Zero Waste strategies reduce GHG emissions in three important ways. First, waste prevention in product design, packaging and operations is the most effective method of reducing GHG emissions because it eliminates the extraction of virgin resources for products—especially avoiding single-use products and packaging. Second, collecting, transporting and processing discarded materials for recycling and composting releases greenhouse gases, but has a net reduction of GHG emissions. Replacing raw material with recycled feedstock in the manufacturing of new goods dramatically reduces the energy and related emissions associated with raw material extraction processes. Third, and the last resort of these options, is recycling and composting to divert these materials from solid
waste landfills and incineration. Landfills are designed to be anaerobic, meaning that once waste has been dumped, very little air remains below the surface. Landfill gas is generated as a byproduct of the digestion of organic materials by organisms that thrive in these anaerobic conditions. Food waste, paper, grass, and other organic matter is readily digested and turned into landfill gas, which is 50 percent methane. While most modern landfills are required to capture some of their methane emissions, significant quantities continue to escape into the atmosphere. While new waste incineration technologies are being promoted as ‘clean and green,’ they are not the best option for generating energy and have significant GHG emissions. In addition to air and water emissions (incineration produces carbon dioxide as a by-product), incinerators create toxic ash or slag that must then be landfilled. This ash contains heavy metals, dioxins, and other pollutants, making it too toxic to reuse, although industry often tries to do so. Humboldt County threw away more than 110,000 tons in 2005 according to CalRecycle, the state agency that gathers waste-related data. Total greenhouse gas emissions from this waste are estimated to be over 38,000 tons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to burning 149 railcars full of coal, or burning 3.9 million gallons of gasoline, every year. Nearly one third of the greenhouse gases emitted come from food waste alone, and the exhaust emitted while transporting this waste out of Humboldt County contributes about 16%. These emission estimates were provided by the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (RCEA). With the assistance of local jurisdictions and public agencies, RCEA is developing a greenhouse gas emissions tool specific to the Humboldt County area so that future emissions can be easily quantified. Remember, every time you throw something away, you contribute to global warming. Your decision to be a part of the solution starts with your point-of-purchase. Avoid single-use products and packaging; find second uses for them; recycle; and compost. For more information about local zero waste strategies, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Birds flock to find food at a landfill. Photo: Justin Ritchie, (Flickr.com CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
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General Plan Update Moving Forward Dan Ehresman The NEC is pleased to report that after much delay, the General Plan Update is moving forward again. Although we still are quite a ways off from a finalized Update, the NEC remains committed to playing an active role to ensure that this blueprint for future development will contain the safeguards necessary to protect this region’s wild and working lands, incorporate measures that will help address the County’s watershed woes, and promote healthier communities by planning for not just automobiles, but for those who take the bus, bike, and walk as well. The NEC and other ecologically-minded representatives are playing a positive role in the process as part of an ad hoc working group—that the County is greatly deferring to. However, we very much need your help to continue to help educate our current Board of Supervisors and fellow community members about the importance of good planning, and the benefits not just to our human communities, but to the ecosystem as a whole. Hopefully these conversations can help us better understand one another and move us closer to creating a better future—together. Currently the ad hoc working group is discussing the Infrastructure Element and hopes to bring the consolidated comments to the Board of Supervisors on February 25. The Board is currently scheduled to deliberate on the General Plan Update every other Monday from 1:30-5:30. At their next hearing on February 11, the Board will be deliberating on the Noise Element. It is unknown which elements will be before the Board at the subsequent hearings on February 25, March 11, and March 25.
Green Diamond Plans Clearcut Near Headwaters
Jerry Martien Logging is still a serious problem in Elk River. Now Green Diamond plans to make it worse. In the winter of ‘96/97, damage to habitat and property became so severe that county and state agencies called for a moratorium on Maxxam’s liquidation cutting. Homes were flooded, drinking water and irrigation systems ruined, orchards and gardens destroyed, elderly residents stranded for days at a time. The river was choked with mud, its banks were eroded, and spawning beds smothered in silt. Many thought this problem was solved when public funds paid Charles Hurwitz an obscene amount of money for a strip of land along the South Fork that included some of the last old growth in the watershed. But for a decade, Maxxam continued to aggressively log Elk River’s North Fork, as well as in Freshwater and the Van Duzen. While BLM began an exemplary program of restoration and education within the Reserve, residents and some environmental groups felt the Headwaters deal had sold them out. When Maxxam’s holdings were purchased by the Fisher family in 2006, again many hoped things would turn around. Humboldt Redwood Corporation met with residents and watershed groups. They promised not to cut old growth, and said no more clear cuts. They’ve taken residents on tours to show off their selective harvesting and erosion control work, their repair of damage done by the previous owner. And they put a lot of time and expense into having their lumber certified sustainable. But despite these changes, for the fish and for downstream residents, things are not better. Elk River has been declared by the EPA an impaired watershed. This has led to numerous meetings between residents and agencies, with some promising talk of cooperation and restoration, but without funding little has been done. As Water Quality staff has pointed out, commenting on this new Green Diamond THP, channel conditions continue to worsen in the middle reach of Elk River. Cross sections show
that as much as 60% of channel capacity has been lost. With decreased forest canopy and greater storm intensity there is increased run-off, and with the channel full of mud it has no place to go but into yards and fields and over residents’ only access roads. Again, residents and environmental groups have been disappointed by the failure of elected officials and regulatory agencies to reverse this trend. They point out that HRC now has roughly a thousand acres of active THP’s in this small watershed. It’s too much good logging, they say, after too much bad logging. Now Green Diamond (formerly, and some say still, Simpson Timber) has filed a timber harvest plan on the North Fork of Elk River that includes 70 acres of clear cut. The land is adjacent to HRC property, which hasn’t seen a clearcut for six years now. The THP is located on McCloud Creek, which enters the South Fork of Elk River a little upstream from the old town of Falk. It is adjacent to Headwaters Forest Reserve, and hikers might get to watch what happens to trees that didn’t get reserved. Elk River residents have invited the two new County Supervisors to tour the area, listen to this history, and witness the damage. Jerry Martien is a poet, author, teacher, and has occasionally been known to be a Loon. At press time, comments are still being received by Cal-Fire (Forest Practice Program Manager, 135 Ridgway Avenue, Santa Rosa, CA 95401 re: THP 01-12-113 HUM). Locally, a letter has been circulating asking Green Diamond (Neal Ewald, Vice President, 5151 Highway 101 North, Eureka, CA 95503) to withdraw the plan and re-write it in conformity with present practices and conditions.
Robert Berg, D.D.S.
212 J Street Eureka, CA 95501 707-445-0784
31st Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference March 13-16, 2013 in Fortuna, CA
Innovative Approaches to Fisheries Restoration
In March, 2013 the Salmonid Restoration Federation will produce the 31st Annual Salmonid Restoration Conference in Fortuna, California. The theme of this year’s conference is “Innovative Approaches to Fisheries Restoration” and the conference agenda will highlight pioneering techniques, methodologies, and practices to restore and recover salmonids. The conference agenda will also explore the theories, philosophies, and science informing the development of restoration practices that mimic natural processes. The conference agenda will focus on pressing issues that are affecting the future of the salmonid restoration field including diminishing funding, regulatory hurdles, climate change, water diversions, and balancing competing resources. SRF has tried to take a solution-oriented approach when crafting the agenda and looking at the future of the habitat restoration field. To this end, this year’s workshops will examine innovative and successful restoration practices and protocols including estuary and off-channel habitat restoration, restoring natural processes, calculating instream flows, salmon life-cycle monitoring, and navigating hurdles to create successful restoration projects. Field tours will visit exemplary and cutting-edge projects on the North Coast including road decommissioning in Headwaters Forest, instream work in Redwoods State Park, biogeomorphic approaches in the Lower Klamath, experimental wood loading in the Mattole, estuary restoration in the Salmon Creek Delta, community forest management in Arcata, and aquatic restoration in the Mad River. Concurrent sessions will cover innovative approaches to fisheries and coho salmon restoration; landscape ecology of Pacific salmonids; water diversions; creating a sustainable restoration field; collaborative approaches in the Klamath basin, recovery plan implementation, and rapid sea level rise; and Spring-run Chinook salmon. The Plenary session will feature the new Director of the newly renamed California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Chuck Bonham who will discuss managing California’s Salmonid populations in a changing climate. Tina Swanson, the Science Director for the National Resources
Tell the FDA We want Nature’s Bounty,
On December 26, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a preliminary “finding of no significant impact” (FONSI) on AquaBounty Technology’s “AquaAdvantage” genetically-engineered salmon, beginning a 60-day comment period.
Defense Council will give a presentation entitled “Science as a Second Language: Translating Science to Action to Protect and Restore Salmon.” Mike Belchik, Senior Scientist for the Yurok tribe will give a talk called “Bringing it All Together: How People, Science, Policy, Law, Politics, Business, Language and Culture Interact to Build Innovative Approaches to Fisheries Restoration.” Larry Notheis, the North Coast Director of the California Conservation Corps will give a presentation about “Going Beyond Science, The Importance of Engaging Youth and Diversity in the Restoration Movement!” Other conference events will include the SRF Annual Meeting and membership dinner on Thursday evening, a poster session and reception on Friday night, and a cabaret and banquet with a wild Copper River salmon dinner and live dance band on Saturday evening. For more information about the conference, please visit www.calsalmon.org.
The FDA’s draft environmental assessment (EA), only covers the impacts of the salmon in the United States, based on the current farming scheme—which includes eggs hatched in Canada and rearing in Panama— and does not require labeling of the GMO salmon. The EA was released on the Friday before Christmas, to avoid publicity.
Voice your opposition to GMO salmon! Visit www.regulations.gov or write to: Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm 10161, Rockville, MD 20852. Comments should reference Docket No. FDA2011-N-0899. Visit our website www.yournec. org for more information, and a draft sample letter crafted by the Center for Food Safety.
Comments are due by Feb. 25!
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Kin to the Earth:
Morgan Corviday In 2011, McKibben and 350.org organized the Bill McKibben is an unlikely celebrity. Tall, that has the potential to alter the very nature of “Moving Planet” campaign, which included 2000 awkward, intensely honest, polite to a fault, and “nature” as we know it and have been used to. We walking and biking events around the world to protest a writer by trade, he became an environmental are already well past that marker—currently above our dependence on fossil fuels. They also organized superstar essentially out of necessity. In 2010, the 394ppm—but if enough action is taken quickly two protests in Washington, D.C., against perhaps Boston Globe called him “probably the nation’s enough, the trend might be able to be reversed. the primary climate target: the Keystone XL pipeline. leading environmentalist.” Al Gore has praised “350” became a unifying goal—a number to The Keystone XL pipeline— him for his “sincerity and depth which would carry toxic tar sands of knowledge.” He is driven by a require bitumen from Alberta, Canada, passion for doing the right thing, across seven states and several but never expected to be a leader. . major aquifers to refineries on our His first book was published Gulf Coast, for shipment overseas. in 1989, when he was just 28. We simply can't live on the Tar sands oil requires much more The End of Nature was part new earth as if it were the energy and resources to extract and science journalism and part refine than regular oil, and is highly philosophical essay—the first old earth—we’ve foreclosed corrosive, making it much more book about climate change that option." dangerous to transport. Climate written for a general audience. science expert James Hansen has At the time, climate science -Bill McKibben, called tar sands development was still in its infancy, but he Eaarth: Making a “game over” for the climate, due to could see the disturbing trend Life on a Tough the amount of carbon that will be that was developing. He wrongly New Planet released into the atmosphere if tar assumed that if politicians simply sands development continues. read the book and researched the The next protest is scheduled data, they would decide to alter for February 17 in D.C., President’s our political course and address Day weekend. It is hoped this the issues. He thought that his will be the biggest climate role as a writer and presenter of demonstration yet, building information would be enough. a human pipeline across the city. “I spent a long time thinking McKibbens’ latest book on that I was doing my part by Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of the climate action group 350.org. Photo: © Jennifer Esperanza. climate change, Eaarth: Making writing and speaking about a Life on a Tough New Planet (2010), emphasizes this, and that since it wasn’t really my nature to be organize around and a fitting rally cry. that our planet has already changed due to our use He doesn’t see himself, however, as the leader of a political organizer, someone else would build a of fossil fuels (hence the intentional misspelling of movement,” he told the Utne Reader in December 350.org. Instead, he sees the group as a bottom-up “Eaarth”), but there are things we can do to avert 2010. “But it never happened, and it became clear to grassroots organization, uniting a broad coalition climate catastrophe, and we must do them now. me that this was one of the reasons we were making of environmental groups under one banner. Stopping the Keystone XL pipeline is one of these Part of 350.org’s effectiveness is its use of new so little progress. It’s the most important issue things. Bill McKibben might just be the man who we’ve ever come up against, so I figured I’d better techniques to engage people from all over the can make it happen, or rather, the man to inspire all world. Organizing takes place largely online, and do what I could.” of us to help make it happen. What he did was the create the world’s leading people participate in “Days of Action” wherever they are. The first Day of Action in 2009 included climate change action organization: 350.org. For more information about Bill McKibben The group takes its name from the upper safe 5,248 rallies in 181 countries, and was called the and 350.org, view this article online at limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—350 “largest ever coordinated global rally of any kind” www.yournec.org/content/kin-mckibben, or visit parts per million (ppm)—beyond which chances in history. The 2010 campaign broke the records increase exponentially for drastic climate change again, with 7,400 events in 188 countries. WWW.350.ORG
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at its Best
Every four years we celebrate not only new elected representatives in Congress but the winner in the hard-fought Presidential election. The city is full of people from all over the nation, from big cities and small villages who worked hard to assure that their chosen leaders were elected. It is a time of music, speeches, parties and celebration. To many, the re-election of President Barack Obama in such a divisive time is nothing short of a miracle. Admittedly, President Obama has not routinely had environmental concerns at the top of his priorities, and many conservation organizations have been frustrated by the President’s lack of attention. There is hope that this second term will bring an opportunity for important environmental issues to rise to the top of the list of national priorities. President Obama stressed the importance of addressing Climate Change in his inaugural address on January 21, which is promising, but he has also vowed on numerous occasions to increase domestic energy production. We also hope to see a citizenry that asserts a broad bipartisan effort to advance important conservation legislation. Stay tuned.
A Welcome to
As Huffman took the ceremonial oath on Capitol Hill surrounded by his family. He announced his assignment to two very important House committees where the hard work takes place: Budget (where he will be working with former Republican Vice Presidential nominee, Paul Ryan) and the House Committee on Natural Resources—which determines which environmental issues will actually come to the House floor for a vote. The committee is chaired
Washington by Rep. Doc Hastings from Washington State. Hastings is a reasonable person who can support good legislation, but under his leadership, not a single wilderness bill made it to the House floor for a vote, yet many bills of concern—from the Farm Bill to the Sportsmen’s Heritage Bill—boiled up to the surface. Fortunately, the elements of concern in these bills never progressed through to be signed. With strong local support, Freshman Rep. Huffman has an opportunity to make some waves here.
Takes his Leave
After making some very difficult decisions for wilderness on public lands, it was no surprise when the Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, announced he would not stick around for a second Obama term. This leaves a pretty wide void as there have been no assistant secretaries recently. My prediction: A westerner will be chosen who will push through more energy development on public lands while attempting to balance this with alternative energy sources. A wild card might be John Barry—currently head of the Office of Personnel Management and former Deputy Secretary of the Interior. Barry is very popular among federal agencies and, as one of the highest ranking openly gay member of Obama’s team, Barry helped with crucial blocks for re-election. He lacks a western base and energy resumé, but he is very much the environmentalist and progressive. His appointment would be a big surprise.
The Leaderless EP A The EPA has been the neglected step-child in the Obama Administration. Jackson has been blindsided by decisions by the administration to block the EPA’s work on important regulations, from air quality to water quality effects of logging road run-off. We await a decision by the Supreme Court that will determine the ability to regulate destructive run-off from the extensive network of logging roads in our forests. Lisa Jackson was an environmental champion who will be missed. We can only hope that whoever is chosen next to head this important agency has more support from the White House. Stay tuned for news.
Back from the Political Grave
Eyebrows have been raised in Washington as perennial conservative politician, Gail Norton, has arrived with a brand new coalition for conservation. It has an innocuous name: Conservation Leadership Council. This is the same Gail Norton who was a protégé of James Watt—President Reagan’s disgraced Secretary of the Interior. Norton had even bigger problems as she watched many of those around her taken down by the shenanigans of Jack Abramoff, who wound up in jail. Norton resigned under ethics charges, and her deputy, Steve Griles, went to prison in tears. The money Abramoff raised illegally went to The Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy—a political group founded by Norton and anti-tax-radical Grover Norquist. Makes you wonder why Norton has decided to re-invent herself. Wonder, indeed. Apparently some folks think Americans have an extremely short memory. Dan Sealy is the NEC’s Legislative Analyst—our eyes (and ears) in Washington, D.C.
greenwheels www.green-wheels.org Humboldt’s Advocate for Transportation Choices
Promoting walking, biking, carpooling, and bus use.
Tsunami Debris Monitoring &
Cleanup Project Has Begun!
On Saturday, February 2nd, the Northcoast Environmental Center officially kicked off our Tsunami Debris Monitoring and Cleanup Program. Many thanks to the fabulous volunteers who made it out to collect over 50 pounds of trash from Samoa Beach. Along with over 50 feet of tangled rope, piles of Styrofoam, and countless plastic fragments we found our first piece of possible tsunami debris – a rectangular piece of plastic with East Asian characters on it! We are currently looking into where it may have come from and we will let our readers know if and when we find out more. Over the course of the next year, in collaboration with the California Coastal Commission and HSU’s Marine Debris Program, the NEC will continue to monitor beaches in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties for any possible debris that may have originated from the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011. These monitoring and cleanup events not only improve the health of our local beaches; they are an important tool to assess when and where to direct future cleanup efforts. The program also helps to draw further attention to the significant problem of pollution in our world’s oceans and the resulting impact on creatures great and small.
There are several more Humboldt County beach cleanup and monitoring events prior to Coastal Cleanup Day on September 21st. The next tsunami debris monitoring and Samoa Beach cleanup will be held on Saturday, April 20, in honor of Earth Day. Later that afternoon, we’ll be joining together with Humboldt Baykeeper and Mad River Alliance (who have their own cleanups planned that day), and many other local organizations for an Earth Day celebration - the exact time and location will be announced soon! Stay tuned for further opportunities to “hit the beaches” together! In the meantime, let us know if you’d like to volunteer or help organize another cleanup.
More info at www.yournec.org/tsunamidebris
The Tsunami Debris Field Guide (above) is available for download or sharing on the Ocean Conservancy website: www. oceanconservancy.org/our-work/marinedebris/tsunmi-debris-what-you-need.html Photos: Top, Brooke Peters and Brandon Drucker collect debris from Samoa Beach. Insert, item with Asian markings found during the cleanup. Right: Large debris from Japan’s March 2011 tsunami adrift in the Pacific Ocean. Top and Insert photos: Dan Ehresman. Right: United States Navy, 110313-N-5503T-176.
13 Things we can do for our
Communities and our
3 - Stop the CoaL Trains! Up and down the West Coast, ports are being targeted to aid in the transport of coal from the midwest to China. Transporting this dangerous energy resource by train, to a country whose appetite for energy (clean or dirty) is growing exponentially by the day, will have devastating consequences for those along the train routes, near the ports and for our climate.
Planet 1 - Cancel Keystone XL! Of the many destructive fossil fuel-related projects throughout North America, TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline—and the associated tar sands development—nears the top of the Bad list—not only for this part of the world, but for our entire planet. Join with 350.org and climate activists around the world to put a stop to this project and to help further the movement towards climate safety. 2 - Put a Price on Carbon! There is no way around it: so long as profitability of the fossil-fuel industry remains high, the industry will continue its relentless push to exploit the Earth’s carbon reserves at enormous cost to people and planet. Ending subsidies for fossil fuels, requiring better emissions controls, and attaching a price tag to carbon is a clear path to a switch toward cleaner energy sources. In the long run, this strategy will save great expense (both environmental and economic). Moreover, a “fee and dividend” system would distribute the proceeds from a tax on coal, gas, and oil to the public—to offset the additional cost of carbon elsewhere.
4 - Watch Over Wild and Working Lands Along with providing clean water, food, fiber, and many other ecosystem services, our farms, forests, and wildlands provide vast, living reservoirs for the capture and storage of carbon. As global emissions continue to climb, it makes the conservation and restoration of our wild and working lands even more important to the health of planet. 5 - Foster your Foodshed Growing your own food and/or buying from local, sustainable farms strengthens the region’s food security, fosters a deeper connection to the land, and minimizes CO2 emissions related to the transport of goods. 6 - Step up your Participation in Active Transportation Choosing to bike, walk, or take the bus for even one trip a week where you would otherwise drive not only is good for you, it decreases your carbon footprint. Taking this action together can have a big impact.
10 - Contribute to Community Design The way we build our communities has a huge impact on how much energy we use. In this political climate (no pun intended) we need all hands on deck to further educate our elected and appointed representatives, development community, and business leaders about how planning and sustainable community design is a pathway to both economic and environmental resilience.
11 - Renew your Commitment to Local Renewables The majority of the energy we use here on the North Coast is derived from imported fossil fuels. It will take a majority of committed Photo: tarsandsaction, flickr.com CC BY 2.0 people to make the switch to 7 - Enhance Eco-Literacy appropriately-sited, locally Increasing your own eco-literacy available energy like solar, and sharing your knowledge has wind, and micro-hydro. a dramatic impact on the choices we make on a daily basis. 12 - Show your appreciation In our daily lives, we all 8 - Reconnect the Product function better knowing we Lifecycle Loop are supported and valued. For too long people have Expressing your sincere accepted that much of what appreciation for someone can we buy ends up in the dump. have tremendous benefit—for Be mindful of unnecessary the individual and for the planet. packaging, and unrecyclable or toxic materials when shopping. 13 - Engage in Choose (and advocate for) Environmental Education materials that can be easily for the Next Generation reintegrated with the natural Kids are the future, and cycle—whether that is through if we don’t help them to appropriate reuse, recycling, understand the dynamics and or composting. natural systems of the world around them, they won’t do 9 - Embrace Water-Wisdom any better than we have done Use greywater to irrigate a in taking care of the planet. perennial garden; capture rainwater from your roof for household use and/or irrigation purposes; and practice landscaping and deve l o p m e n t techniques that are based on the rehydration model (slow it, spread it, sink it) rather than the dehydration model (pave it, pipe it, pollute it).
Photo: Mark DuPont, Klamath Knot Permaculture.
Contaminated Sites Assessed for Sea Level Rise Vulnerability Last October, waves generated by Hurricane Sandy washed over a former Agent Orange manufacturing plant on the shores of the Passaic River in Newark, New Jersey. In 2011, flooding caused by Hurricane Irene swept carcinogenic PCBs and dioxins into the Passaic River and onto a local baseball field, which then had to be decontaminated. It is tempting to think of sea level rise as a gradual change, like the slow rise of the water level in a bathtub. But recent events are increasing awareness that this perspective is far too simple. Sea level rise will lead to more flooding and erosion in low-lying areas, higher (and saltier) groundwater, and storm surges that will combine with higher tides, pushing sudden waves further inland. The threat to the Humboldt Bay shoreline— much of which is made of earthen dikes constructed in the early 20th Century—cannot be ignored. Nor can the threats to coastal wetlands, which are restricted to 10% of their historic extent around the Bay. Without room to move inland and upward as sea level rises, the loss of the remaining coastal wetlands is inevitable. How we will prepare for rising sea levels is just beginning to take shape here in the Humboldt Bay region. Over the past year, Humboldt Baykeeper has assessed sea level rise vulnerability for contaminated sites near Humboldt Bay. More than 300 contaminated sites are within 10 meters of current sea level, including more than 40 that are below 2 meters – the amount sea level is
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Overtop Banks Around Humboldt Bay
On December 12, 2013 Liscom Slough overtopped its levee at Jackson Ranch Road in the Arcata Bottoms covering the road and adjacent cow pasture in nearly two feet of water—enough to float a kayak on! All around Humboldt Bay, Baykeeper volunteers and staff photo-documented this unusual high tide event, known as the King High Tide. By capturing images of these high water events, environmental planners across the state hope to gain insight into how rising sea levels will impact coastal areas in the future. For more information about King Tide monitoring and sea level rise visit www. humboldtbaykeeper.org. To view the Humboldt Bay King Tide Photo Initiative album visit http:// www.flickr.com/groups/humboldtbaykingtides/. projected to rise by the year 2100. Although many of these contaminated sites are in various stages of remediation, including former leaky underground storage tank sites, there remain contaminated sites that mix not only with groundwater, but as sea level rises, with bay waters also. Other sites have contaminated soils that will be submerged if left in place when sea levels surge upward. With the highest rate of sea level rise in California—18.6 inches over the last century—and many populated low-lying areas, the Humboldt Bay region will need to adapt to these challenges sooner than other parts of the state. Contaminated soil and groundwater are not the only problems we need to consider—highways, sewer treatment plants, power lines, and drinking water supplies all need to be adapted as we plan for the inevitable and potentially catastrophic changes brought as sea level rises. www.yournec.org
A truck drives a flooded road near Liscom Slough in the Arcata Bottoms. Photo: Ted Halstead.
CEQA Key to Holding Railroad Authority Accountable Scott Greacen As California Governor Jerry Brown is renewing his campaign to ‘reform’ the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), it’s worth considering the importance of the state’s flagship environmental law—particularly in light of an actual CEQA lawsuit now underway. Our long-delayed case challenging the North Coast Railroad Authority’s failure to comply with CEQA in rebuilding the failed rail line from Humboldt Bay to the Bay Area shows how crucial CEQA is to protecting California’s natural assets—and also how difficult it can be to force the wealthy and powerful to follow the law. Business interests blame environmentalists’ love of litigation for protracted, expensive lawsuits over big projects, but it may often be the case that it’s actually the project proponents who are creating endless delays and driving up litigation costs. CEQA attorneys say they often confront such defensive strategies to avoid trial and exhaust the small citizens’ groups who often bring environmental cases, suggesting it may sometimes just be cheaper to stonewall and bankrupt opponents than to mitigate significant environmental impacts. That has certainly been our experience. More than a year and a half has elapsed since Friends of the Eel River and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) sought court review of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) the NCRA filed in June of 2011. At every stage in the process, the NCRA and its operator, the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Company (NWP Co.)—the defendants—have gone down every possible legal rabbit hole in their efforts to stall the case, drive up costs and avoid trial. In their latest, last-ditch move, the NCRA and NWP Co. have again delayed the case by going to the state Court of Appeals to challenge the state court’s recent ruling allowing the case to move forward. These efforts to sidetrack the case don’t suggest that the defense is confident in its CEQA compliance. “The NCRA has dragged this lawsuit through federal court, state court and to the court of appeal, and tried again with its current tactic, and has lost every time, all to avoid delivering on its promise to California taxpayers to show them what the environmental impacts of reopening this derelict railroad would be,” said Patty Clary, spokesperson
Court-Held North Coast Railroad "Reaped Substantial Public Benefits” by Agreeing to Environmental Review, Can't “Take Opposite Position” to Avoid Court Scrutiny
The Eel River Canyon features some of the planet’s most unstable geology, and the tracks carving along the steep, winding hillsides have suffered extensive damage from storms, quakes and floods over the years. The line was oppressively expensive to maintain and repair, and was officially closed by the Federal Railroad Authority in 1998. Photo: ^allisun^, flickr.com CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
for CATs. “It’s tough seeing a state agency act with such disregard for state law.” Another claim would-be CEQA reformers make is that for all the trouble it causes business, the law doesn’t do much to protect the environment. The NCRA case suggests the opposite—that CEQA is a critical bulwark against irreversible harms to the state’s ecoystems and well-being. Under CEQA, major projects must analyze, disclose, minimize and mitigate potentially significant environmental impacts. It not only ensures communities are informed about potential harms, but affirmatively requires state agencies to choose less harmful courses of action where practicable. To effectively control impacts, CEQA requires that projects be reviewed in a www.yournec.org
single analysis. Pulling small pieces of a larger project—a classic technique for minimizing harms while building momentum to press forward with a project, called “piecemealing” or “segmentation”—is not allowed. But that is exactly what the NCRA appears to be doing. After repeatedly promising to conduct full environmental review of the entire line before rebuilding any part of it, the NCRA’s EIR only analyzed the potential impacts of operating trains on the southern end of the line—the socalled Russian River Division. They completely ignored the potential harms to the Eel River watershed and its vitally important salmonids— three remaining species (chinook, coho, and steelhead) that are at real risk of extinction. Negative impacts are certaint if the northern rail line through the Eel River Canyon were to be rebuilt cheaply, as the NCRA plans to do. What’s more, when we challenged the adequacy of the EIR, the NCRA argued they have no legal obligation to follow CEQA at all— despite the fact that the NCRA is a California state agency. So though they promised to conduct full environmental review on the entire line, they actually only did as little review as they thought they could get away with, on just a fraction of their overall line. It seems apparent they have no intention of doing any further meaningful environmental review at all. Were it not for the fact that the NCRA took millions of California taxpayer’s dollars under a promise to do environmental review, the agency could probably have skipped considering impacts altogether. But because the NCRA took the money, Judge Faye D’Opal refused to allow the NCRA to take the opposite position in court. The judge quoted an appellate court case, Torch Energy Services, that emphasizes the need for courts “to protect parties from opponents’ unfair strategies,” to “preclude litigants from playing ‘fast and loose’ with the courts, and prohibit ‘parties from deliberately changing positions according to exigencies of the moment.’” It is this ruling that the NCRA’s appealing. Apparently, they’re not yet done playing fast and loose with the courts. Scott Greacen is Executive Director of Friends of the Eel River.
Casey Neil & the Norway Rats
Friday, March 8th, Beginnings, Briceland 145 G Street, Suite A, Arcata, CA 95521
The Environmental Protection Information Center
Returning to a Natural Cycle of Wildfire Kimberly Baker
The Role of Fire in Forest Ecosystems in Northwest California Fire is as natural as rain in the mountains of Northern California. For countless millennia our forests have been shaped by fire. Post-fire landscapes are alive and vibrant. They are more biologically diverse than unburned forest and provide for an array of plant and animal species. Post-fire landscapes are considered to be one of the most rare, endangered, and ecologically important forest habitats in the west, and a growing body of scientific evidence shows that the stand-transforming fires that create this habitat are not damaging the forest ecosystem. Rather, they are advancing ecological restoration by fulfilling a crucial disturbance regime process to the forest ecosystem.
Fire Suppression The predominant military style of fire fighting can be more environmentally destructive than wildfire itself. Suppression tactics often include cutting down large snags, bulldozing miles of firebreak along ridge tops, and lighting high severity backfires to “control” fire behavior. Furthermore, it is often natural elements such as rain, topography or weather that ultimately put the fire out. While suppression may be justified around homes and communities, it can often lead to devastating negative environmental effects far from human life and property. It is well known that creating a defensible “fire-safe” area and building with fire resistant materials is the best way to prevent loss of homes and structures.
Post Fire Logging
Fire and tree mortality are essential elements in a forest ecosystem. Logging on fragile post-fire soil inhibits and damages natural recovery. Logging snags and trees within post-fire landscapes does not contribute to recovery of forest habitat. Science indicates that post-fire logging often results in significant impacts to soils, wildlife, late successional characteristics and hydrology.
Threats to Our Public Lands from Current “Salvage” Logging Proposals Mill Fire
The Mendocino National Forest (NF) is planning 250 acres of post-fire logging. The 30,000-acre Mill Fire burned outside the town of Stoneyford, and within the Blue Slides Late Successional Reserve. The reserves are set aside to preserve old growth forest and the species that depend on big old trees for survival. A majority of these forest stands had a moderate severity burn with many green trees in tact. In fact, less than 10% of the fire area burned at high severity, and much of the area is already naturally regenerating. Mendocino planners are seeking to streamline environmental analysis, which would allow logging to begin immediately after a decision by the Forest Supervisor despite an appeal or pending lawsuit.
North Pass Fire
Also on the Mendocino NF the 31,050 acre North Pass Fire burned 21,693 acres at low severity and only 855 acres at high severity, less than 3% of the fire area. There were 46 miles of fireline constructed during suppression efforts. The proposed project would log within snag forest habitat on approximately 300 acres of Northern Spotted Owl Critical Habitat and would damage natural regeneration and recovery. Subsequent replating would establish highly flammable plantations. The project is within the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork Eel River Key Watershed, critical for Salmon recovery.
Unfulfilled Promises – EPIC Documents Forest Service Failures in Past “Salvage”Logging Projects. It is instructive to review recent postfire timber sales. EPIC monitoring demonstrates a failure on the part of the USFS to fulfill promises made to protect habitat, wildlife, fisheries and streams by revealing a vast swath of inconsistencies between the proposed projects and what actually happened on the ground. As a society, we must understand that fire is an essential element in maintaining healthy ecosystems. People continue to move deeper into Northern California’s forests and balancing the needs of landowners with effective wildfire management techniques is not easy. However, working with state agencies, local fire safe councils, regional Indian tribes, and other community members, we look to form a holistic approach to wildfire management that addresses the needs of the land and the people.
Scan to Take Action Scan to Take Action on the Mill Fire! on the North Pass Fire!
Saved snag in riparian area due to monitoring. Carabou Fire, Klamath National Forest.
Sparse tree trunks remain after the Panther Fire, Elk Creek Watershed, Klamath National Forest.
The objectives and purpose of the Mattole Restoration Council are the protection and restoration of natural systems in the Mattole River Watershed and their maintenance at sustainable levels of health and productivity, especially in regards to forests, fisheries, soil, and other native plant and animal communities.
Mattole River & Range Field Institute Gains Momentum
Flora Brain In spring of 2012, the Mattole Restoration Council launched its newest program, the Mattole River & Range Field Institute. The Field Institute aims to provide place-based, hands-on instruction in topics related to Mattole watershed restoration. Courses will encompass a broad range of curriculum areas, recognizing that ecological restoration is most effective when cross-pollinated with studies including sociology, history, politics, and literature. The Field Institute’s initial courses are being developed with faculty and students at Humboldt State University, though the MRC hopes to encourage participants from outside academia as well. Currently, courses are taught by staff of the Mattole Restoration Council, the Mattole Salmon Group, and community members with expertise in course subjects. As the Field Institute grows, we hope to expand the pools of participating students and instructors, recognizing the great wealth of interest, knowledge, and experience in the watershed. The first Field Institute course was held in May 2012, and focused on estuary restoration. The five-day field course, based at Mattole Beach campground, was preceded by two lectures at
HSU which introduced students to some of the history of restoration in the Mattole. The course attracted eight extremely engaged HSU undergraduate students, mostly from the Environmental Science and Management department. Drawing on the success of last spring’s estuary course, the Field Institute is again offering a weeklong course based out of the Mattole estuary. The field course, Estuarine Dynamics and Habitat Restoration, will take place May 20-24, before a busy summer 2013 work season slated to involve a massive-scale instream large wood project. The course will focus on the dynamic ecological processes occurring in the Mattole estuary/ Field Institute students and Sungnome Madrone of the Mattole Salmon lagoon. Integrated topics will include Group discuss forest succession in the alder and willow forest adjacent to climate change, ecological resilience, the Mattole estuary (above). and conservation of threatened species. If interest exists, instructors will fold in discussions on the socio-political aspects of In the near future, the Mattole River restoration, its funding, and the nature of working and Range Field Institute looks forward in our rural North Coast watershed. to offering a Literary Field Studies
With local restoration practitioners, students will explore: •ecological succession and habitat recovery over the past six decades, •habitat utilization by native salmonids and birds, •streamflow, sediment transport, and water quality, •past, present and future placement of instream large wood structures, •forest, riparian, and grassland restoration. The Mattole River estuary in May of 2012. Students in this year’s Estuary course will explore an estuary that was substantially realigned by December 2012 bankfull flows in the Mattole River.
course. Though details are still in the works, we envision a course focused on place-based writing and co-taught by local literary figures in the Mattole. We hope to offer this course in fall 2013. Also on the drawing board are courses on the Socio-economics of Forests and Fisheries, the Politics of Food and Sustainable Agriculture in Rural Communities, and Grasslands and Fire Ecology. If you love learning, love the Mattole, and have ideas for directions in which this program could grow, or have questions about upcoming courses, please contact Flora Brain at the MRC: 707-629-3514 or by email at Flora@mattole.org.
Events and Updates ~ North Group, Redwood Chapter confidential; the polluter need never know who filed the complaint. Citizen complaints are usually effective at getting agency bureaucrats to investigate and to enforce clean water law on polluters. Unfortunately, we have tens of thousands of streams in our region which regularly receive non-point pollution—particularly during the rainy season. That’s why it would be great if more citizens took it upon themselves to file a complaint whenever they observe pollution. Don’t rely on activists alone to clean up our streams—lend a hand by filing a complaint when a local stream turns muddy or when you observe animal waste flowing into streams. Clean water is our right. Let’s demand that the agencies responsible for controlling pollution do the job!
OUTINGS & MEETINGS The regular meeting of the North Group takes place on the second Tuesday of each month at Eureka’s Adorni Center beginning at 7 p.m. There are no outings scheduled for February or March.
Implementing the Clean Water Act
Although the Clean Water Act is now over 40 years old, clean water advocates are still hard at work trying to get federal and state agencies to implement the law with respect to pollution that results from agriculture and logging. In the lexicon of the Clean Water Act, pollution coming from agriculture and logging is called non-point pollution, i.e. it does not come to a stream through a “point” or other “discrete conveyance”—for example, a pipe or ditch. The Redwood Chapter and the North Group (which is a part of the Chapter) each have water chairpersons who are deeply involved in advocating for control of pollution from agriculture, forestry and other non-point sources. Nonpoint pollution—including sediment, nutrient and temperature pollution—is widespread in our region, however, and responsible agencies are reticent to regulate agriculture and logging. Under these circumstances concerned citizens can play
a key role in cleaning up our streams. Here’s what you can do: If you observe water pollution in a stream or in the ocean, as in the photo below, you can file a complaint with Cal/EPA. Complaints can be filed online at this link: http://www.dtsc. ca.gov/database/CalEPA_Complaint/index.cfm. Alternately, you can call the agency responsible for controlling pollution on the North Coast and within the Klamath River Basin. Call the North Coast Water Quality office at (707) 576-2220 and tell the operator you want to file a complaint. You can request that your identity be held
Get Out with Sierra Club in 2013 Outings Chair Bill Knight reports that during 2012, North Group Sierra Club members led 10 trips in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, involving 62 participants. Three volunteers led hikes: Melinda Groom, Allison Bronkall, and Bill Knight. The photo on this page shows participants in front of the roaring surf at False Klamath Cove during our most recent trip, led by Melinda Groom. You can find out about North Group outings in EcoNews or on the North Groups Web Page: http://www.redwood.sierraclub.org/north/ index.html. Look for special hikes this spring visiting some of our regions remaining unprotected wild areas. There is always a need for more leaders, so if you would like to help people explore our beautiful North Coast, contact Bill at email@example.com.
Get Plugged In
A citizen complaint about ocean sediment pollution at False Klamath Cove resulted in an investigation and clean up of logging road drainage problems upstream in Wilson Creek. Photo: Felice Pace. Above: Hikers at False Klamath Cove.
Redwood Region Audubon Society w w w. r r a s . o r g
FEBRUARY / MARCH 2013
Welcome to Redwood Region Audubon Society’s “Least Sandpiper.”
Its purpose is to highlight some of the articles that appear in our Sandpiper newsletter, which is now published exclusively online at www.rras.org. Publishing the Sandpiper online allows us to offer more content, more photos, and easy-to-read type! Visit our website for complete information on the items below and more!
Highlights of the February/March 2013 Sandpiper (posted at http://rras.org/docs/sandpiper/2013February-March.pdf or reached by clicking on “News” from the home page and selecting “The Sandpiper” by date): • •
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Reserve Saturday, March 2 for the RRAS Annual Banquet. The speaker will be seabird specialist Dr Julia Parrish from the University of Washington.
The deadline for Humboldt County K-12 students to enter our 10th Annual Student Bird Art Contest is March 22. All artwork will be displayed at Godwit Days, April 19-21.
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Our February 8 program features biologist Karen Pope on “Ecosystem effects of nonnative �ish in mountain lakes of the Trinity Alps Wilderness.”
Poems and prose entries for our 8th annual Student Nature Writing Contest are due from Humboldt and Del Norte 4th through 12th graders on March 22. Discover highlights of our �ive local Christmas Bird Counts.
Get updated on the conversion of Eureka’s Waterfront Drive Extension from road to multi-use trail.
Enjoying the post-CBCs “Winter Rarities” �ield trip on Ferndale’s Berding Street. Photo by Rob Fowler’s camera timer.
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Get the skinny on upcoming �ield trips, plus �ield notes, Rob Fowler’s eBird tip, and Jim Clark’s president column. To receive updates on events and announcements of interest to RRAS members, visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ RedwoodRegionAudubonSociety.
Go to www.rras.org to view these—and other—articles in their entirety.
and Events from the North Coast Chapter HAPPENINGS News Please watch for later additions on our Web site (www.northcoastcnps.org) or sign up for e-mail announcements (Northcoast_CNPSfirstname.lastname@example.org)
Beginners and experts, non-members and members are all welcome at our programs and on our outings. Almost all of our events are free. All of our events are made possible by volunteer effort.
EVENING PROGRAMS Second Wednesday evening, September through May. Refreshments at 7 p.m.; program at 7:30 p.m. at the Six Rivers Masonic Lodge, 251 Bayside Road, near 7th and Union, Arcata. Botanical FAQ’s: At 7:15 p.m. Pete Haggard or some other presenter shares a brief, hands-on demonstration and discussion of some botanical topic. February 13 , Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. “A River Rehabilitation Project on the Trinity.” Making a river functional for fish involves the vegetation growing along it. Riparian botanist and ecologist John Bair will describe a ten-year effort to rehabilitate a section of the Trinity River—why it needed it, what they did, and what happened. John will share some of what he has learned about willows and cottonwoods, his special interest. March 13, Wednesday. 7:30 p.m. “Nitrogen in Yosemite: Too Much of a Good Thing.” Rain and wind brings more nitrogen than it used to, and Martin Hutten has found that it matters for lichens
and for plants adapted to low nitrogen diets. Martin, a lichen and invasive plant specialist and a photographer working for National Parks, will tell about his studies. Attendees are invited to bring lichens on branches (with tree species labeled) to learn to distinguish healthy lichens from sick ones.
FIELD TRIPS AND HIKES February 23, Saturday. Mad River Beach to Lanphere Dunes Day Hike. Study the tiny things blooming in the spring dunes, and watch for other treasures in the foredunes and swales paralleling the beach for about 2 miles. We will shuttle cars from the county park to the refuge, to walk only one way. Dress for weather; bring lunch and water. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School. Return midafternoon. Please tell Carol (822-2015) you are coming. March 10, Sunday. Rohner Park and Eureka Marsh—Two short hikes. Rohner Park in Fortuna features a wealth of slinkpod, a.k.a. fetid adder’s tongue. Its flowers should be open as we walk along the easy trail through second growth redwood. Lunch in the park, then drive to Eureka Marsh. The 1-2 hour, flat, loop trail passes mudflat, salt marsh, freshwater marsh, and riparian. Dress for weather; bring lunch and water. Meet www.yournec.org
at 9:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School, 9:30 a.m. at the Kohls end of Bayshore Mall parking lot, or 10:00 a.m. at the Fireman’s Pavillion in Rohner Park. Return midafternoon. Please tell Carol (822-2015) you are coming. March 30, Saturday. Horse Linto Day Hike. The time to visit Horse Linto is before the poison oak leafs out. Hopefully two trilliums and a fawn lily will be blooming. This camp site in Six Rivers National Forest is about an hour from Arcata, north of Willow Creek. We will walk a short, uneven trail. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School or arrange another place. Return mid-afternoon. Please tell Carol (822-2015) you are coming. April 7, Sunday. Four Creeks and Three Fawn Lilies Tour. We will visit roadside patches of three species of fawn lilies (Erythronium), on Redwood Creek, East Fork Willow Creek, Supply Creek, and Skunk Creek. We hope to be able to study and measure these flowers using what we learned at our November program from Cherie Sanville and Bianca Hayashi. Dress for the weather; bring lunch and water. Meet at 9:00 a.m. at Pacific Union School or arrange another place. Return mid-afternoon. Please tell Carol (822-2015) you are coming.
Continued from page 4
“The idea of wilderness needs no defense. It only needs more defenders.”
...err on the side of protecting nature and solitude. Congress intentionally used “untrammeled” vs. ”un-trampled.” Untrammeled relates to being unshackled and able to run free. Wilderness is a place where people are just a component of the environment—visitors that do not remain rather than the dominant force. Nature rules—not people.
What are the big hurdles?
Paul Spitler, Director of Wilderness Policy for the Wilderness Society in Washington, D.C. and previous Director of the California Wilderness Coalition, succinctly states the biggest problems: “Public malaise and extreme Congressional representatives who do not believe in wilderness protections for public lands. [And] especially motorized vehicles. We just can’t seem to live without them.” We should ask ourselves: why has wilderness protection slipped from our public consciousness? In 2014, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. Many Americans fought and were personally attacked (even in Humboldt County) in the efforts to create the Wilderness Act and to designate today’s wilderness areas. Fifty years later there is not just malaise; there are attacks and campaigns of misinformation that make designation of the last wilderness areas even more difficult. Those who oppose wilderness have learned how to fight those who love it and need it. Right now, we have protected and own 110 million acres of federal wildlands as wilderness.
Another 100 million acres of pristine wildlands are still at risk of exploitation and degradation. We cannot create new wilderness out of hand. We can tear up pavement and “restore” but we cannot create new wilderness. If we are dedicated, we can save what we still have and pass it along to future generations. In the coming months and years, there will be opportunities to do this “big thing.” May we foster understanding about the importance to do so, and encourage our leaders to summon the courage to take action.
Deer Creek from Siligo Peak in the Trinity Alps Wilderness. Photo: MiguelVieira (flickr.com CC BY 2.0).
Continued from page 5 ...community and watershed—in reverse of globalization. As we come to rely more and more upon our local resources—the clean water and air from our forests, the soil of our farmlands, the integrity of our communities and homes—we will come to find that we have not treated them as respectfully as we should have. By neglect and misuse, these systems have been degraded and are in need of restoration and regeneration themselves. The risks from climate change are uncertain and hard to quantify, but that is no reason for inaction. We buy insurance, for example, not because we plan on being in an accident, or experiencing a natural disaster, but because if unexpected things happen, the consequences could be catastrophic. The cost of insurance is justified by the risk we mitigate. We need a climate change insurance policy—a resiliency retrofit—for our homes, communities and watersheds. As no such policy exists, and political processes can’t be relied upon, we need to take action ourselves using the tools and technologies at hand—now. There are a wealth of options available for reducing our carbon footprint and retrofitting our communities for resiliency. This is what approaches like Permaculture, and sister movements such as Transition Humboldt and community watershed councils, are all about. Mark DuPont owns and manages Sandy Bar Ranch and Klamath Knot Permaculture with his wife, Blythe Reis. He is also Coordinator of the Mid Klamath Foodsheds Program.
Cabins & Organic Gardens on the Klamath River www.SandyBar.com
Klamath Knot Permaculture Design Course
bagels & pastries Baked fresh daily
March - September 2013 Register by February 21 for $100 discount www.KlamathKnot.com
Permaculture Strategies for Community Resilience FREE Presentation! February 20, 6pm Beneficial Living Center, 148 South G Street, Arcata
VICTIMS OF SANDY: On top of its betterknown disasters, Hurricane Sandy also took its toll on scientific research and equipment. Almost 10,000 genetically engineered mice perished in the flooded cellars of the NYU’s Smilow Research Center, destroying a decade’s worth of research into heart disease, cancer, autism and schizophrenia. What’s more, equipment designed to study the superstorm was itself battered. Of 28 radar stations in the coastal network stretching from North Carolina to Massachusetts, 17 were silent after the storm.
A merry melange: salient or silly.
RAIL POWER: A way to harvest energy from vibrations generated by passing trains could save more than $10 million in trackside power costs and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 3,000 tons in New York alone, says its inventor, Stony Brook University professor Lei Zuo. The device converts the irregular up-and-down vibration of a train track to a unidirectional rotation of a generator. The concept is similar to other energy-harvesting devices such as the speed bump. SWELTERING: 2012 was officially the hottest year on record, with every state in the contiguous U.S. setting above-average temperatures. It was also the second-worst year for “extreme” weather such as hurricanes, droughts or floods. The year’s average temperature of 55.3 degrees Fahrenheit across the Lower 48 was more than 3.2 degrees warmer than the average for the 20th century, and topping the previous record—set in 1998—by a full degree.
MECHANICAL MARRIAGE: Two Japanese became the first couple in the world to have their marriage performed by a robot. The robot, named I-Fairy, spoke in a lilting but mechanical voice as it started the ceremony by asking the groom to lift the bride's veil. The robot was controlled by a man, behind a black curtain, clicking commands on a computer helping the robot to speak and move.
NEW MEANING OF SAD: Ever since the drought in the West a decade ago, aspen trees have been dying at an alarming rate, a phenomenon now known as Sudden Aspen Decline (SAD). In some places, nearly a fifth of the trees have died. A Stanford University team looked at the xylem, or water-conducting pipes, of declining aspens in Colorado and found that the drought had caused air bubbles to creep in, interrupting water flow and leading to death.
ADIEU ASHES: A fungus deadly to ash trees has swept through more than 20 countries in Europe that are powerless to prevent its spread. The fungus has already wiped out all ashes in Poland, where the fungus first appeared in 1992, and has destroyed 99 percent of the ashes in Lithuania and 90 per cent in Denmark. Now it has reached Britain, where about one-fifth of all trees are ashes.
RUM AND RADIATION: Researchers in Brazil have come up with a faster way to age cachaca, the national drink akin to rum, by zapping it with gamma radiation for a few minutes rather than let it sit in barrels. The gamma rays ionize and thus speed up chemical reactions that take place naturally during the aging process. Although the method is said to cause no risks of radiation, it still would be too expensive to do on an industrial scale because each radiation machine costs millions.
SHELL OF A LIFE: Thomas the tortoise has been declared Britain’s oldest resident: born when Queen Victoria was on the throne, pulled from the rubble of the blitz during World War II and mistaken for a male for 96 years. It was only discovered Thomas was female when she was taken to the vet. A suggestion to rename the 130-year-old tortoise Tomasina was rejected. SLIMY THREADS: Ancient bottom-dwelling, eel-like hagfish can produce gelatinous slime containing mucous—but also tens of thousands of protein threads. Researchers are investigating how to harvest those threads for use as petroleum-free textiles. The hagfish threads have properties that rival those of spider silk, which is exceptionally strong for its weight and out-performs petroleum products such as Kevlar. But the problem with spiders is they cannot yield high quantities of silk.
ODD RAT: A new species of rat that cannot gnaw or chew and eats nothing but earthworms has been found in the rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. The rodent—only one of more than 2,200 rat species in the world that doesn’t have molars and incisors—is a reminder that wild habitats can still harbor undiscovered species. However, Sulawesi’s forests are threatened by expanded logging, mining and plantations. www.yournec.org
AVOIDING EXTINCTION: Cloning may be the backstop to avoid extinction, say Brazilian scientists who will experiment on eight animals that are not yet critically endangered, such as jaguars. Brazil’s agricultural research agency, Embrapa, wants a head start and has collected around 420 tissue samples, mostly from carcasses. The eight species all live in the tropical savannah. They will be cloned and kept in captivity as a reserve in case wild populations collapse.
the Kids’ Page:
Pod, Quiver, Swarm & Zeal!
Did you know that some animals live in groups while others live
alone? If an animal lives alone, it only needs to find food and shelter for itself, but also has to watch out for predators alone. When animals live in groups, there are more eyes to help look out for predators. This is called the “many eyes hypothesis”. In some animal groups, families and relatives stay together, in others the males and females might live separate from each other. Some groups can be very large, others rather small.
There are also many different names people use to describe and identify groups of animals. Here are a few interesting ones: Animal
Alligator Baby alligator Ape Bacteria Beaver Butterfly Buzzard Caterpillar Camel Cheetah Clam Cobra Coyote Crow Dove Eel Rhinoceros Seal Stork Starling Turtle Wombat Zebra
N O I T I L A O C U L N B A T
X W D N A I K E O V O P A V V
Y Z O F M X J Q D I O F Y V N
I S V C T I K Q T S P N U N K
G H E S L Z J A A S O V A N T
E Q S L S S G L N E S Z E Y X
P C J A L E L Q J N S J B W L
I W A G C R K C C G X O O D C H R P N T J Q A E N G A E U Z J E R G K I E F M T I B V D S V P A N E O C R S P H R D D C V A Z W G T W U H L P N S U O E T I P E U M D L R G E F H C V E W H I J E O Z O T G S G H S W W K J D P N Z W V U C W A
congregation pod shrewdness culture colony swarm or rabble wake army flock ALLIGATOR CONGREGATION coalition APE DOVE bed CHEETAH JACK PITEOUSNESS quiver COALITION JILL QUIVER band COBRA OPOSSUM SHREWDNESS murder piteousness swarm There are also different words scientists use when talking crash about the gender of an animal. For example, we call a male human rookery a man and a female a woman. Other members of the animal muster kingdom have separate names as well. Here’s some examples: murmuration bale Animal Male Female warren Hippopotamus bull cow zeal
Opossum Swan Tiger
jack cob tiger
jill pen tigress
by Sarah Marnick Photos (Creative Commons): Top, an army of caterpillars (Jonathan Kington, geograph.org.uk CC); lower left, a rookery of seals (Brigitte Werner, pixabay.com CC); above, a zeal of zebras (Wei Jiang, fotopedia.com CC).
Help us continue to advocate, educate, and bring you
Northcoast Environmental Center
1385 8th St Suite 215, P.O. Box 4259 Arcata, CA 95521
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The goal was to raise awareness of the threat Burmese pythons, native to Southeast Asia, pose to the Everglades ecosystem. Despite the formidable size of the pythons, it was the swamp itself, with its alligators, venomous snakes and mosquitos, which posed a greater threat to the contestants. Here at the NEC, where we think that human developers are a greater threat than invasive serpents to the “sea of grass” that is the Everglades, that $1,500 prize would pay for 30 entire families to become members of your environmental center. Those families would be a force here on the North Coast for conserving the local ecosystem and against the snakes in the grass who just see the environment as something to be perverted for profit. So if you were a winner at python hunting, think of donating your prize money to the NEC. If you didn’t win, you might want to join us anyway.
Participants paid a $25 entry fee and took on-line training, which consisted mainly of looking at photographs to differentiate between protected native snakes and targeted Burmese pythons, one of which reached a length of more than 17 feet and weighed more than 160 pounds.
Credit Card #
A python-hunting competition drew hundreds of amateurs armed with clubs, machetes and guns to the Florida Everglades at the start of 2013, seeking the $1,500 prize for most targeted serpents killed.
Just $50 for your whole family. No clubs or machetes required.
Do you have a smartphone? Scan the code to pay online!
Northcoast Environmental Center & Ink People Center for the Arts present
Jim Page Saturday, March 30 with Special Guests
Mo Hollis & Morgan Corviday
and featuring local environmental art
Arcata Playhouse details coming soon - www.yournec.org and www.inkpeople.org