On the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors and SB 405

Let’s just say it straight out: Plastic bags are a miracle. They illustrate a crowning achievement of modern technology. After all, how many items designed to be used one single time actually last forever? We live in uncertain times overall, but one thing is for sure: Every time we go to the beach, plastic bags are there. Every time we drive down the highway, plastic bags are there. Every time we roam in the dunes or walk in the woods, plastic bags are there. All over the world, plastic bags are wherever we go!

They always make the Top 5 list of Things Found On The Beach That Are Not Actually A Natural Part Of The Beach And Are In Fact Trash. How amazingly consistent is that?! And they’re so durable! They actually maintain enough structural integrity to confuse sea turtles into thinking they’re jellyfish! The turtles even eat them! They remain strong enough to strangle seals and choke seabirds – incredible!

Oh, sure, cleaning up plastic waste costs the state millions every year, and, sure, reusable bags and boxes are a cinch to use, and, yes, grocers benefit from a statewide plastic bag ban because it would make business more uniform, especially since 72 (at last count) cities and counties have banned plastic bags.

If you value our economy and our sea life and the health of our beaches – and our own health, since we’re now eating fish that eat fish that eat plastic – of course, you’d support a ban on single use plastic bags, but if you, like the vast minority of Californians value a negligible amount of convenience above all else, then, well, that says a lot. 

On Tuesday, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors made their position known, voting unanimously to send a support letter for SB 405, the statewide legislation to ban single-use (plastic) bags – particularly great news for coastal communities like ours, where the bags accumulate on land, in waterways and in the ocean. Representatives from Eel River Disposal, Humboldt Baykeeper, the Northcoast Environmental Center and Humboldt Surfrider (yours truly) were on hand to illustrate the benefits of supporting the bill. Non-affiliated members of the public also stepped up to ask the supervisors to do the right thing. No one spoke against the bill, a heartening turn of events.

Hooray, Humboldt!

Marine Protected Area Baseline Program Bidders Conference Tonight

 In other positive ocean news, the North Coast Marine Protected Area Baseline Program partners host the Baseline Program Bidders Conference at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center in Eureka from 4 to 7:30 p.m. at the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center. This is a great opportunity to consider and discuss the Request For Proposals, ask questions of the Baseline Program partners, and engage with others interested in participating. Make sure to also visit the Ocean Spaces North Coast Community Bulletin Board for more info.


Manila’s NextDoor (residents, join here) has been abuzz with reports of whale sightings as have local surf reports. So there’s a slight chance of showers this weekend. Big deal! Go up to Patrick’s Point, enjoy your state park, look for those tell-tale spouts and relish that we get to see in real life what so many people only see on YouTube.

Jennifer Savage is the chair of the Humboldt chapter of the Surfrider Foundation and Ocean Conservancy’s North Coast Coordinator, Pacific Programs.