Cleanup Returns Salt Marsh to Eureka Waterfront
Humboldt Baykeeper is celebrating ten years of safeguarding coastal resources for the health, enjoyment, and economic strength of the Humboldt Bay community through education, scientific research, and enforcement of laws to fight pollution. Looking ahead to the coming year, we are pleased to reflect on the progress of some of our long-term efforts to protect and restore clean water and coastal habitats while increasing awareness and appreciation for Humboldt Bay.
In 2006, Humboldt Baykeeper, Ecological Rights Foundation, and Californians for Alternatives to Toxics successfully settled a lawsuit against Simpson Timber Company to require the cleanup of a dioxin-contaminated tidal wetland channel at the former mill site adjacent to Humboldt Bay and the Del Norte Street Pier in Eureka. Dioxins are extremely toxic compounds that cause reproductive damage and cancer. Dioxins bioaccumulate in fish and shellfish, concentrating as they move up the food chain, harming humans
and wildlife alike.
At the former mill site and in an adjacent tidally-influenced channel, dioxins were found at levels tens of thousands of times higher than Environmental Protection Agency standards—some of the highest levels documented in the U.S. The test sites were near where Simpson commonly sprayed plywood in the 1960’s with the now-widely-banned wood preservative pentachlorophenol (a.k.a. “penta”).
In accordance with the 2008 settlement, Simpson Timber has excavated the contaminated sediment, restored the wetland channel, and installed groundwater-monitoring wells to ensure that residual subsurface contamination doesn’t leave the site. In addition, a Humboldt Bay Wetlands Restoration Fund was established at the Humboldt Area Foundation for restoration projects designed to offset environmental damage caused as a result of the contamination.
Humboldt Baykeeper continues to review Simpson’s groundwater and surface water monitoring being done pursuant to the settlement to determine the effectiveness of the remediation measures taken so far. Today, water flows in and out of the ditch with the tides, and monitoring will continue to ensure the tides aren’t bringing toxic chemicals into the Bay next to the region’s only public fishing pier.
Year-End Fundraising Goal Surpassed!
Thanks to our dedicated supporters and the $10,000 challenge grant from Coast Seafoods, Humboldt Baykeeper surpassed our year-end fundraising goal of $20,000 to support our water quality program in the coming year.
Special thanks to Coast Seafoods! As the largest oyster grower in Humboldt Bay, Coast Seafoods knows the importance of clean water—not just for oysters, but for the health of our entire community.
2014 marked ten years of Humboldt Baykeeper’s work to advocate for clean water, watchdog development, raise awareness of sea level rise, and get people out on the water and coastal trails to appreciate Humboldt Bay.
Thanks to your support, we will be able to continue this work in 2015, as well as apply a laser-focus to identifying and stopping the E. Coli pollution to our streams, the Bay, local beaches, and waterways.
Thanks to our dedicated supporters for each and every contribution!