Whales! As sighted outside of Crescent City in “Humpback Alley.” Everything you need to know in this episode of Coastal Currents. (Photos courtesy Jeff Jacobsen)

Lots of action in, around and regarding the ocean and bay this month. Here’s your “In Case You Missed It” snapshot:

  • The California Ocean Protection Council awarded $1.3 million to seven local governments, including $250,000 to the City of Eureka for its General Plan Update: Coastal Land Use Policy – Sea Level Rise Adaptation Strategies and Policies. “These grants will help local governments understand their vulnerabilities and develop plans to reduce their risks to sea level rise, storms and erosion,” said California Natural Resources Secretary John Laird. “These voter-approved funds will assist coastal communities in preparing for a changing climate.” This program provides grants to local governments along the California coast to assess vulnerabilities to sea level rise, coastal storms, and shoreline change and to develop plans to reduce risk through updating Local Coastal Programs (LCPs), which are a key tool for action on sea level rise in California. LCPs are required by the Coastal Act for each coastal jurisdiction in California and are the basic planning and regulatory tool that guides development in the coastal zone in accordance with the Coastal Act goals and policies. 
  • Speaking of the EPA and the bay’s industrial legacy, the Humboldt Bay Recreation Enhancement & Water Quality Fund, a result of the 1991 settlement between Surfrider Foundation, the EPA, L-P and Simpson after the two pulp mills were found to be in massive violation of the Clean Water Act, continues to provide money for education and other good times on Humboldt Bay. Recent recipients of fund grants include Friends of the Dunes ($3,100) and Humboldt Baykeeper ($5,800). To date, over $130,000 has been awarded through the Humboldt Area Foundation.
  • As long as you’re inevitably hanging out on Facebook, give Low Tide a Like. It’s an art and archive project assembling a comprehensive survey of visual bay histories for public re-presentation and preservation. Low Tide volunteers are collecting material on Humboldt Bay to reproduce in exhibitions, books, and archives, incorporating photos, charts, maps and other graphics. Very cool, interactive images here.
  • If you’re looking to get away from the computer, take your binocs to Patrick’s Point or the Klamath Overlook or Table Bluff – any safe vantage point that gives you a good view of the ocean. There’s hella whales for days.
  • Maybe you’re into high tides? This year’s King High Tides are Monday, Dec. 2 through Wednesday, Dec. 4 and Tuesday, Dec. 31 through Thursday, Jan. 2 with the highest predicted for New Year’s Day – 8.65’ at the North Spit! Humboldt Baykeeper is building on a 2012 effort to photograph sites around the bay that are most vulnerable to storm surges and sea level rise. Email KingTidePhotos@gmail.com to adopt a site.
  • Finally, good news for whales! And all marine life. And all life that depends on the ocean, i.e. everyone. The City of Arcata has become the 80-somethingth – they’re increasing too quickly to be definite – municipality to ban single-use plastic grocery bags. Why is this good? Because this and thisand this and this and this. (Summary: plastic bags make up a significant amount of litter harmful to ocean creatures, the tide is heavily turned in favor of turning customers on to reusables, cities that have implemented the ban are doing fine.) Humboldt Baykeeper Executive Director Jessica Hall and Arcata City Councilmember Alex Stillman agree.

Looking ahead

Join Humboldt Surfrider, Humboldt Baykeeper and Ocean Conservancy for Ocean Night on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Arcata Theatre Lounge. The evening will focus on Humboldt Bay, particularly the efforts of the Wiyot Tribe’s history, restoration and vision regarding the Tuluwat Ceremonial site. More to come.