Photo: Steven Bratman, CC



News From the Center

By Dan Ehresman

After one of the busiest weekends of the year for the NEC, with Coastal Cleanup Day, tabling at the North Country Fair, and the All Species Parade, we are all feeling pretty grateful to be part of such an amazing, artistic, and action-oriented community here on the North Coast.




Downed Bay Billboards Removed by Cleanup Crew
Two of the controversial billboards lining Humboldt Bay were removed on Saturday, September 20 as part of California Coastal Cleanup Day. As school groups, businesses and hundreds of volunteers throughout Humboldt County took to the beaches, rivers, parks and waterfront, a committed crew led by Northcoast Environmental Center staff carefully removed the two downed billboards that have been deteriorating in coastal wetlands – and on public land – since earlier this year. With approval from Caltrans, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and permission from billboard owner CBS Outdoor, the crew set to work dismantling the advertising displays using only hand tools and elbow grease.




Groundwater Management Act Passed

By Elaine Weinreb

As the effects of the drought intensify, the California legislature has responded by finally tightening its control over the state’s groundwater reserves. On September 16,  the Governor signed the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act,  a package of three closely related bills. 

While this move is historic—California was previously the only western state without groundwater regulation—the framework is weaker than is found in other western states.




Measure P: A Pro-Environment, Pro-Farmer Initiative

By Colin Fiske

Measure P, on this fall’s ballot, is a grassroots initiative to prohibit the raising or growing of genetically modified organisms, usually called GMOs, in Humboldt County.

Sustainable agriculture is a way of life on many of Humboldt County’s farms. Increasingly, it’s also the economic niche and marketing mainstay of our agricultural economy as a whole. From the rapid rise in popularity of organic certification among our local dairies to the direct marketing of sustainably raised vegetables at our local farmers markets, Humboldt’s farms are both blazing a trail toward a more sustainable future and poised to take advantage of the growing local and global demand for sustainable products. It’s a phenomenon that benefits both our local environment and our local economy.



Bridge Creek Barrier Removal Complete
Along the mainstem of the Eel River about 35 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Bridge Creek drains its watershed into the famous Holmes Hole, a gigantic pool guarded by towering sandstone walls, and deep water that annually provides safe haven for thousands of adult salmon and steelhead on their way up river to their natal spawning grounds. 

For many decades those fish have been blocked from migrating into Bridge Creek by the North Western Pacific Railroad crossing, which long ago erected a 45 foot high earthen dam and culvert system through which no adult fish could ever pass.

Now, this barrier is gone.




Celebrating Wilderness: 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act and the 30th Anniversary of the California Wilderness Act. The 1964 Wilderness Act created the framework of our National Wilderness Preservation System which now comprises 110 million acres from coast to coast. This includes lands designated under California’s Wilderness Act such as the Trinity Alps and Siskiyou Wilderness Areas for which the NEC and many other organizations and individuals helped to fight for. In this issue of EcoNews, we highlight four of Northern California’s cherished wilderness areas: the Trinities, the King Range, Yolla Bolly, and the Siskiyous.








Governor Signs Statewide Plastic Bag Ban!

California Governor Jerry Brown today, September 30, signed legislation enacting the nation’s first statewide ban of single-use plastic shopping bags.

“California policy makers have made a clear statement in enacting the bag ban: Producers are responsible for the end of life impacts of their products,” said Mark Murray, Executive Director of Californians Against Waste, the bill’s sponsor. “If a product is too costly to society and the environment, California is prepared to move to eliminate it.”

Currently, 127 cities and counties in the state have adopted a local bag ordinance, covering 36% of the population. SB 270 provides a uniform, statewide solution to the rest of the state, modeled after the local ordinances already in place and successfully implemented.



All Species Parade Brings Dam Removal to the Arcata Plaza
Coordinated by the NEC, SCRAP Humboldt, and many dedicated volunteers, this year’s All Species Parade featured Un-Dam the Klamath themed street theater—complete with construction workers, a cloth dam, Free the Rivers and Un-Dam the Klamath banners, and lots and lots of salmon. The parade was stopped at several points along the Parade route by the construction of a dam, which was appropriately “blown up” after protest by the salmon and other creatures blocked from passage.



More than Half of California Suffering from Exceptional Drought

Map of California drought conditions updated July 29, 2014Map of California drought conditions updated July 29, 2014

More than fifty-eight percent of California is suffering from what the United States Drought Monitor calls Exceptional Drought. Available data is updated every few weeks on their website HERE.


Explore the Bay with Humboldt Baykeeper

Interested in exploring Humboldt Bay while paddling a kayak or from the more leisurely deck of a motorized boat? Baykeeper has partnered with the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center and the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District to offer monthly bilingual tours covering a variety of topics on Humboldt Bay.