Does not want to play with your dog (by Amber Anderson via Northcoast Marine Mammal’s Facebook page)
Friend of LoCO Bill Lydgate recently reminded us that we’re entering seal pupping season and various caring folks would appreciate beachgoers keeping their dogs leashed around the little critters. Before we could even get to posting the info, another FoLoCO, Katie Goulart, reported a sea lion pup hanging out alone on Trinidad State Beach having exactly the problem we’d hoped to avoid. “I was there making sure dogs didn’t ravage the poor thing,” Goulart said.
Sea lion pup on Trinidad State Beach (Photo by Katie Goulart)
As the fine people at the Northcoast Marine Mammal Center note on their Facebook page:
If you find a seal pup, please do NOT pick it up. Please keep your distance and keep all pets leashed. Most likely its mom is foraging offshore and knows exactly where she left her pup. If you do happen to come across one of these cuties, please call us at (707) 465-6265 or on our stranding line at (707) 951-4722.
Sign at the North Jetty (Photo by Bill Lydgate)
LoCO contributor Jennifer Savage is the Northcoast Environmental Center’s Coastal Programs Director and Humboldt Surfrider Chairperson.
Humboldt County Superior Court Calendar: Today
Sutter Rd / Central Ave (Humboldt office): Animal Hazard
Times-Standard Breaking: Supes to Planning Commission: Time’s up on open space
Mad River Union: $20,000 Reward Offered In Nyxo Poisoning
Here’s what to be aware of this week and slightly beyond:
Thursday, March 6: Navy Training & Testing Public Hearing in Eureka
On March 6 at 5 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, 1929 Fourth St., Eureka, the U.S. Navy will hold a public hearing on the potential environmental impacts of the Navy’s proposal to increase training and weapons testing activities – including sonar and explosives – off the coast from Humboldt County to Alaska.
The biggest problem with the proposed testing is the harm it will do to marine mammals ranging from dolphins to blue whales, as well as other sea creatures. Certain places are key to the successful foraging and feeding of many endangered species, but currently no area within the testing range is considered off limits. Environmental activists and scientists are asking for the establishment of exclusionary zones free of high intensity testing.
More info on the Navy’s plans and its flaws in the Northcoast Environmental Center’s EcoNews Report interview with Steve Mashuda, staff attorney with Earthjustice.
Photo courtesy Jeff Jacobsen
Friday, March 7: Eel River Symposium – Drought, Resilience and the North Coast
The 2014 Eel River Symposium is themed around our current drought and how we can learn to live within such extreme conditions. Join Friends of the Eel River for an informative discussion of how climate changes and how society can adjust. Speakers include Joshua Strange of Stillwater Sciences, Bill Trush, geohydrologist and chair of HSU’s River Institute, and local nonprofit leaders including Friends of the Eel River’s Scott Greacen, Darren Mireau of Cal Trout, Tasha McKee of Sanctuary Forest and more.
Saturday, March 8: Ocean Night – A Deeper Shade of Blue & Exploring Humboldt
Join Humboldt Surfrider, Humboldt Baykeeper and the NEC for Ocean Night at the Arcata Theatre Lounge featuring the work of local filmmaker Ace Aseltine and Jack McCoy’s A Deeper Shade of Blue.
Monday, March 10: Humboldt County Supervisors review streams and wetlands protection
In recent weeks, the County Planning Commission re-reviewed the Conservation & Open Space Element, significantly weakening protections for streams and wetlands, trails, community forests and open space.
On Monday, March 10 at 1:30 p.m., the County General Plan Update goes back to the Board of Supervisors. Humboldt Baykeeper is urging supporters to insist on better protections for streams, wetlands and our imperiled fisheries, and to send “a strong message” that trails and community forests are important to Humboldt County residents’ quality of life.
Bonus: Drones Over Dolphins, just because.
Jennifer Savage is the Northcoast Environmental Center’s Coastal Programs Director and Humboldt Surfrider Chairperson.
We’re surrounded by beauty. Redwoods, rivers, beaches, Humboldt Bay, the dunes, the ocean crashing against sea stacks – it’s one postcard moment after another. Which makes all the garbage littering the sand, roadsides, sloughs and riverbanks even more appalling. Besides the eyesore element, the consequences to wildlife can be devastating.
Some folks are so bothered by the consequences of unfettered littering that they carve out some time in their schedule to clean it up. Humboldt Surfrider hosts regular beach cleanups, the Northcoast Environmental Center offers an Adopt-A-Beach program and, most recently, Pacific Outfitters has sponsored the “PacOut Green Team,” whose mission is to spend one hour a week redirecting garbage from the ground to the dump.
Today on Coastal Currents, PacOut’s Tim Haywood and Jason Self talk about their commitment toward making Humboldt County a cleaner, better place. Tune into KHUM 104.7 FM at noon to find out more, including how you can get involved.
And if you need some evidence of all the garbage waiting out there, here’s a look at recent collections:
A not-uncommon sight on beaches local and global – plastic beverage bottle are consistently in the most littered items in the world according to Coastal Cleanup data.
Trash collected on a two-mile stretch between the Manila dunes and ocean.
In one hour along the Mad River. (Photo above and below submitted by Ken Miller)
Two hunting seasons’ worth of shotgun shell debris collecting along Mad River.
A member of Pacific Outfitters’ PacOut Green Team collects garbage near Humboldt Bay. (Photo above and below submitted by Jason Self)
More PacOut Green Team members work to keep trash out of Humboldt Bay.
This plastic bag flapped in the wind for weeks before the PacOut Green Team disentangled and disposed of it.
An hour’s worth of trash collected roadside on Indian Island.
Cigarette butts presumably tossed out car windows – they would have ended up in the bay, eventually.
Want to help? The next PacOut Green Team effort is Saturday, March 8 at 8:30 a.m. And, of course, reducing, reusing, recycling and properly disposing of your trash all help staunch the flow of garbage impacting our coast, bay, rivers and the wildlife who call those areas home.
Jennifer Savage chairs Surfrider Foundation’s Humboldt chapter and serves as the NEC’s Coastal Programs Director.
Photo by Terrence McNally/Arcata Photo Studios
Fans of marine mammals and sea life in general are dismayed at the U.S. Navy’s plan to conduct extensive weapons testing and training exercises off a stretch of coast ranging from the top of Humboldt County up through Alaska. Over 100 whales and dolphins are anticipated to be killed in the testing, which utilizes sonar technology, electromagnetic devices and explosives, and thousands more permanently wounded from being exposed to an estimated 9.6 million instances of harm.
On today’s Coastal Currents, Natural Resource Defense Council Senior Policy Analyst Michael Jasny discusses the Navy’s plan, why people should oppose it and how they can do so. Tune in to KHUM 104.7 FM (or via the stream) for more information – then follow up by commenting on the environmental impact report here. Comments accepted through March 25.
Additionally, the Navy is holding a hearing on March 6 at 5 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, 1929 Fourth St., Eureka.
- T-S story
- Navy info site
- NRDC Switchboard post
- Center for Biological Diversity statement
- Humboldt Baykeeper comments 2012
Jennifer Savage is the Northcoast Environmental Center’s Coastal Programs Director and also serves as Surfrider Foundation’s Humboldt Chapter chair.
This view may change. “I want a new name. I’m tired of calling it ‘the old pulp mill.’” – Harbor District Commissioner Mike Wilson
The death of the former Lousiana-Pacific pulp mill was about 45 years in the making. The birth of something new on the site is expected to happen far more quickly. To assist in determining exactly what should rise from the ash fields, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District – which acquired the mill last August – turned to the community Monday afternoon.
Over 100 residents from Arcata, Eureka and beyond came, saw, mingled, shared thoughts, wrote comments and/or stayed for the presentations offered at the Harbor District’s special open house-economic development committee meeting.
The topic at hand was what to do with the property. Posters detailing the state of the site lined the room. Sticky notes suggesting various options dotted “Innovative Park Uses” boards. Ideas ran the gamut.
Many attendees suggested manufacturing of one sort or another.
“It’s kind of a mess,” Commissioner Greg Dale noted. “The whole thing is unfortunate… but I think for the first time in years, we feel things are moving forward.” Cleaning up the site is the first step, he continued, using it to generate revenue can then follow. “There’s all kind of ideas, from paintball to wrecking ships… I think there’s things out there that can make money, can make jobs, and I think we’re trying as a district to make sure that there’s lots of input, that we get everybody’s thoughts and ideas.”
Humboldt Baykeeper’s Jen Kalt interviews Harbor District Commissioner Greg Dale
Although, Dale added, referencing the dilapidated state of the abandoned structures, “I lean to, of course, a zombie apocalypse theme park.”
Zombies aside, business suggestions include the more serious research, renewable energy, aquaculture, manufacturing, shipping and, most surprisingly, an ethanol distillery. Teisha Mechetti wants to bring her experience working with E85 (a blend of 85 percent ethanol/15 percent gasoline) to the mill site in hopes of providing a “transition” fuel to Humboldt County. After all, jumping from gasoline to non-gasoline is difficult when the majority of people are still driving traditional cars, Mechetti explained. Using E85, she said, still reduces carbon dioxide, lowers smog and volatile organic compounds, and cuts down on greenhouse gases, she said. Her Moonlightning Fuels business plan focuses on using readily available biomass resources locally, thus minimizing use of valuable agricultural land.
Enthusiasm for what could be a nationally recognized marine research, energy and innovation park continued to run high through the afternoon and into the evening.
Commissioner Richard Marks, a Samoa resident who worked at the pulp mill for 30 years, offered high hopes and a historical viewpoint. “I’m very excited about all the people showing up,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of ex-pulp mill workers showing up wanting to know what’s going on with the site… The environmentally friendly projects that might come forward are a big move from what it was. As a harbor commissioner – and with my real concern about conservation – I’m glad we have the EPA and the Coast Guard strike force here leading with a cleanup.” The property should be clean “from the ground up” within a year, Marks said, and after that, “We’re going to start addressing the ground-down clean up.” That part is the responsibility of Lousiana-Pacific, the result of the company’s days of using chlorine and the resultant dioxin contamination. He views the Harbor District taking on the former pulp mill site as “the best thing that could have happened.” Otherwise, Marks said, proper cleanup would likely never have been done.
As far as what the new era might bring, “We’re not a timber industry area any more. We need to take advantage of what we do have… And that is aquaculture, aquaponics and whatever else comes forward with these different projects.”
- 1965 The pulp mill begins production under Georgia-Pacific.
- 1989 The mill’s reputation for pollution culminates in a consolidated Environmental Protection Agency/Surfrider Foundation lawsuit against both the L-P mill and the nearby Simpson mill. Together, the mills were discharging 40 million gallons of untreated chlorinated wastewater into the ocean daily. Not only did beachgoers complain of skin and eye irritation, nausea and other illnesses, but traces of dioxin and furan were found in fish and crab caught offshore.
- 1991 Ultimately, the mills settle the suit, agreeing to pay what was then the third-largest EPA fine levied under the Clean Water Act. Following the settlement, Simpson moves operations to Chile, but L-P opts to go chlorine-free, the first pulp mill in the nation to do so.
- 1990s L-P sells the mill to a group of investors and it goes through a series of owners.
- 2005 Lee & Man purchase the mill from Stockton Pacific under the company’s subsidiary Evergreen Pulp, making it the first Chinese-owned mill complex in the U.S.
- 2006 The Environmental Protection Information Center and Californians Against Toxins file suit against Evergreen Pulp over “significant and ongoing violations” of air quality.
- 2007 Evergreen settles, agrees to install air scrubbers.
- 2008 A freshly divested Evergreen Pulp closes the mill.
- 2009 Freshwater Tissue Co. purchases the mill.
- 2010 Freshwater Tissue Co. announces permanent closure.
- August, 2013 The Harbor District acquires the mill.
- November, 2013 EPA and Coast Guard efforts to clean up the site begin.
Further and detailed history can be found on Richard Marks’ blog.
And… oysters! Provided by Humboldt Bay Oyster Co.