Reggae on the River To Go ‘Water-Neutral’

Mike Dronkers / Yesterday @ 6:56 a.m. / Drought , Environment , Good News

In an apparent music festival first, Reggae on the River organizers hope to make next year’s event – held annually at French’s Camp alongside the Eel River – a “water-neutral“ one.

Mateel Community Center board president Garth Epling elaborated on the project on KHSU‘s The Home Page yesterday“We’re building a rain catchment pond at French’s Camp that can hold about 750,000 gallons of water,” he explained. 

Epling said that Reggae required around 220,000 gallons of water in 2013, and they had to bring additional water in to the 2015 festival. “The idea is to use the [accumulated] 750,000 gallons to water the bowl, keep the grass growing into the summertime when the event happens, and use the water for all sorts of other purposes like showers and such.”

Much of the extra water will be used to keep the dust down, Epling continued. Battling the dust problem requires water, “and we obviously can’t pump water out of the river at that time of the year… It’s not environmentally correct,” he said.

A cursory Google search showed no other “water-neutral” music festivals. “We may be the first one,” Epling noted. “I’m not sure. Festivals are certainly looking at this.”

From left: Justin Crellin, Garth Epling, John Jennings

He added that the remaining water will be poured back into the aquifer, ultimately recharging Eel River flow. “It’s so cool to finally see this happening.”

The liner cost around $25,000, and Greenway Partners helped with the engineering. 

Epling said that if other festival organizers wanted to pick his brain on going water-neutral, he’d gladly share the Mateel’s expertise. “It’s not, like, a corporate secret or anything.”

Listen to the full KHSU The Home Page interview below. 


Here’s the County’s Draft Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance

Ryan Burns / Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 4:55 p.m. / Government , marijuana

Less than a month after industry group California Cannabis Voice Humboldt (CCVH) handed off the regulatory reins, county staff has released what it’s calling “the final Draft Marijuana ordinance.” (Click here for the pdf.) This draft, of course, still has to go before the county Planning Commission and be adopted by the Board of Supervisors. The board hopes to have an ordinance governing outdoor medical marijuana cultivation in place by March 1, 2016, the last day that the state will allow local regulations.

The public comment period is now open and will last until Nov. 4, the day before the Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the matter. You can make comments at the Commission’s Nov. 5 meeting (6 p.m. in Supervisors’ chambers at the county courthouse) or send your written comments ahead of time to:

Humboldt County Planning & Building Department
Attn: Steve Lazar, Senior Planner
3015 H Street


In an email, Northcoast Environmental Center Executive Director Dan Ehresman, who was a vocal critic of drafts developed by CCVH, said the ordinance “looks pretty strong based on my quick perusal of it.”

In particular Ehresman called attention to the draft’s call for Conditional Use Permits for grows on land zoned for timber production (TPZ) along with “meaningful application requirements and conditions of approval.”

Reached via phone, Ehresman elaborated:”While there are some areas that could be improved,” he said, “overall it looks like a well-thought-out framework for regulating cannabis cultivation in Humboldt County.” He added that giving people the opportunity to come into a legal framework will hopefully go a long way toward addressing the negative impacts of the industry that are so prevalent today.

Asked for a comment, CCVH spokesman (and fellow Lost Coast Communications employee) Andy Powell said the group has no comment at this time.

Let’s take a quick look at what’s in here. Some things that jump out on first reading:

  • The ordinance is divided into two sections, one governing grows in the Coastal Zone and the other governing inland grows.

  • The county will have three permitting tiers that correspond with the various state license types. Tier 1, a “Zoning Clearance Certificate,” will be required for grows smaller than 500 square feet. A “Special Permit” (Tier 2) will be required for grows of 500 square feet to 2,000 square feet. And a Conditional Use Permit (Tier 3) will be required for grows larger than 2,000 square feet.

  • Commercial grows larger than 10,000 square feet will only be allowed on properties larger than five acres with Class I or II soils, on slopes of 15 percent or less, and with documented water rights.

  • It appears that the county will allow grows of up to an acre, with a Conditional Use Permit, following the guidelines set out in Assembly Bill 266.

  • Applications for permits will have to include a cultivation and operations plan “that meets or exceeds minimum legal standards for water storage, conservation and use; drainage, runoff and erosion control; watershed and habitat protection; and proper storage of fertilizers, pesticides, and other regulated products … .”

  • Growing will not be principally permitted on land zoned for General Agriculture, despite the fact that cannabis will be considered an agricultural product in the state’s Health and Safety Code (assuming Gov. Brown signs AB 243), which means that:

  • In addition to all the necessary state licenses and permits, growers will have to get a conditional zoning clearance, conditional special permit, or conditional use permit from the county.

  • Conditional use permits will only be granted on land zoned TPZ (timber production), FR (forestry recreation) and TC (coastal commercial timberland) if the grow in question was already there on Sept. 1, 2015. If you want to start a new grow on land with that zoning, you’re out of luck.

  • If you’re going to divert any surface water for your grow, you’ve got to lay off said diversion from March 1 to October 30 each year.

  • All commercial grows will have a year to come into compliance with the new codes, regardless of whether or not they were already approved by the county.

  • All commercial growers will have to consent to an annual on-site compliance inspection, (though they’ll get at least 24 hours’ notice).

  • Grows won’t be allowed within 600 feet of schools, school bus stops, churches, public parks or Native American cultural sites.

  • This broad condemnation of badness: “The commercial cultivation of cannabis for medical use shall at all times be operated in such a way as to ensure the health and safety of employees, independent contractors, visitors to the area, neighboring property owners, and end users of medical marijuana, to protect the environment from harm to streams, fish, and wildlife; to ensure the security of the medical marijuana; and to safeguard against the diversion of medical marijuana for non-medical purposes.”

You can read the whole thing via the link below:

DOCUMENT: Draft Ordinance Relating to the Commercial Cultivation of Cannabis for Medical Use

Two Texas Men Arrested in Eureka Motel with 50 lbs. of Packaged Marijuana

Andrew Goff / Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 4:37 p.m. / marijuana

Eureka Police Department press release: 

On 10/06/15 at approximately 9:11 p.m., Officers with the Eureka Police Department responded to a motel on the 2200 block of 4th Street for the report of a disturbance.  Once on scene, Officers contacted two males associated with a motel room.  The males were identified as Matthew Foty and Zachary Pereira, both 25 of Texas.

During the course of the investigation, Officers noticed a strong smell of Marijuana coming from the motel room.  A search warrant was obtained and the Eureka Police Problem Oriented Policing Unit (POP) and Humboldt County Drug Task Force (DTF) was asked to respond and assist.

Agents seized 50 pounds of Marijuana bud individually packaged for sales and over $64,000 in US currency.  Foty and Pereira were taken into custody on suspicion of possession of Marijuana for sales and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.



Someone Called the Cops on This ‘Offensive’ Van Parked in Eureka

Andrew Goff / Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 3:35 p.m. / Hardly News

You misspelled daughter

A few minutes ago, law enforcement was dispatched to Fourth Street in Eureka after someone called 911 to report an “offensive” van they thought should be checked out. Remember that? We noted their distress on Scanner Traffic Indicates

Quicker than LoCO could think “Hey, I wanna see that van,” reader Theresa Jennetti sent in these photos of what has to be the offending vehicle in question (right? If it isn’t, uh, we give up). Jennetti reports the van has Canadian plates and was parked in front of Delta Mattress. 

But is it offensive? The best we could figure is that the same anonymous LoCO commenters that rag on us for our typos were confused by the fact that there was no comment section online for them to righteously point out that the van’s artist misspelled daughter as “daugter” and called in the fuzz to investigate. 

And look: Now a comment section exists. You win, grammer warriors.

UPDATE, 4:13 p.m.: Yes, a commenter points out “grammar” I won the bet!

Man Walking Through Eureka with a Rifle? Eh, Not Really

Andrew Goff / Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 12:55 p.m. / Non-Emergencies

Earlier this hour, several LoCO readers claimed to have seen a man walking through Downtown Eureka carrying a rifle. One reader reported seeing him around Red Lion Hotel. Scanner traffic indicated 911 callers spotted him near a nearby pawn shop. Are we in danger?

Nah, says Eureka Police Department PIO Brittany Powell. EPD contacted the man in question and it turned out he was carrying a BB gun he’d just purchased from said pawn shop. 

While we’re talking about alleged roaming gunmen, last night a few readers were inquiring about a different (probably) individual with a large, scary looking firearm on Fifth Street near the County Courthouse. In that instance, Powell said EPD responded to the area but were unable to locate the subject. 

So it seems we are 1 for 2 on answering the “what’s that gun?” queries for the day. Maybe that’s good?

RESCUE SQUAD! Humboldt Bay Fire Launches Two-Man Lifesaving Team w/ Tricked-Out Truck

Hank Sims / Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 10:25 a.m. / Emergencies

From Humboldt Bay Fire:

On October 1st Humboldt Bay Fire placed a two-person rescue squad in to service as part of a three month evaluation period for a potentially improved response model for Humboldt Bay Fire. The apparatus is a refurbished 2002 Horton Medium Duty Rescue vehicle which will respond to all fires, rescues, and calls for medical service in the Fire Station 1 (Downtown/Old Town areas) and Fire Station 4 (Myrtle Town) response areas. The squad has equipment on it such as self-contained breathing apparatus, forcible entry tools, and rescue equipment. It is also configured as a medical response vehicle but is not intended for transport as City Ambulance of Eureka provides medical transport.

Since the temporary closure of Fire Station 4 in July, the squad was purchased to provide service to that area, as well as reducing the response load for Fire Station 1 which is the busiest station in Humboldt Bay Fire’s response area as well as the county. The squad is the primary response vehicle for all medical calls and single unit service calls not involving fire in the Downtown and Myrtle Town areas. The squad is housed at Fire Station 1 at 533 C St. in Eureka, along with a truck company. For any fires or rescues, the squad is dispatched as part of the response. The two person company, comprised of a company officer and firefighter, has the capabilities to perform search and rescue, forcible entry, containment of small fires until the engines and truck with larger crews and equipment caches, pumps, and hoses arrive.

The squad cost approximately $30,000 dollars and has already demonstrated that it can reduce the workload on the much larger tiller truck, saving on maintenance costs and keeping it available for fires, rescues, and additional calls for service. 

Your Latest ‘Humboldt is Really Pretty’ Video is Really Pretty (VIDEO)

Andrew Goff / Wednesday, Oct. 7 @ 9:31 a.m. / Hardly News


Every so often, Humboldt dwellers need a fresh set of peepers to remind us that we live in an incomparable, whimsical wonderland. Our most recent example comes to us courtesy filmmakers Will Pattiz and Jim Pattiz of the More Than Just Parks project, an attempt to chronicle the beauty encapsulated within America’s 59 National Parks. 

They made a pretty video (below).

Check out their site for more lovely, but first, reacquaint yourself with the jawdropping corner of globe you call home. Feel good, HumCo.

MTJP | Redwood from More Than Just Parks on Vimeo.