Little Fish Big Winners! Also, Go Coastal!
Everyone recovered from the emotional highs and lows of election season? Great! Because no matter where you are on the political spectrum, I have some upbeat news to share: While the nation may remain divided in ways too numerous to list here, the people who make decisions for West Coast fisheries have agreed to advance important protections for forage fish – the important, but small and often forgotten fish that form the base of the ocean food web. For communities like ours with active fishing fleets, this serves as an especially important step in ensuring a productive ocean. For everyone working in natural resource issues, evidence that people from all sides of an issue can find common ground should be inspiration that it can be done.
In other state-local ocean news, implementation of the new North Coast Marine Protected Areas continues on track. Expect them in the water January 1, 2013, thus completing the statewide network and making California the first state in the nation with such comprehensive ocean protection.
The weekend weather forecast is, as Humboldt-usual, iffy: some rain, some fog, maybe some sun, mostly likely some rain – and cold! On the upside, this often leads to dramatic skies, rainbows and a renewed appreciation for the beauty inherent to this place we live.
You can help others discover the wonders of the Humboldt coast by joining Friends of the Dunes for a Coastal Naturalist Ambassador training on Saturday, Nov.10 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Show up at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center at 220 Stamps Lane in Manila.
What do Coastal Naturalist Ambassadors do? Why, they assist with guided walks, programs and tabling events. The training includes an overview of the various land management agencies on the Samoa Peninsula, Friends of the Dunes mission and a one-hour guided walk on the trails at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. (This is where, with luck, the rainbows come in.) For more information, call Friends of the Dunes at (707) 444-1397.
If taking on an ambassador role daunts you, show up earlier for a hands-on morning of invasive plant removal. Tools, gloves and cookies are provided, but you’ll need water and layered comfy clothing suitable for some bad plant ass-kicking. Show up at the Nature Center at 9:30 a.m., same Saturday morning.
Now perhaps that’s still too much work. No problem! You can get yourself out on Humboldt Bay on Sunday, Nov. 11 for a leisurely, bird-laden stroll with members of the Redwood Region Audubon Society. Meet at the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center off Hookton Road, Loleta, at 9 a.m. Call leaders David Fix – (707) 825-1195 – or Jude Power – (707) 822-3613 – for more info.
If you’re thinking of spending the weekend indoors, either because the weather intimidates you or because you’re worried you’ll miss a fascinating Lost Coast Outpost update, consider this: Daylight hours are dwindling fast. Take advantage of reveling in the great outdoors while you can.
Jennifer Savage is Ocean Conservancy’s North Coast Program Coordinator and chairs the Humboldt chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.