News From the Center - Oct/Nov 2014
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.
With such an outpouring of care for our community and our planet, it drives home the point that in working together we really can make a significant, positive difference for all life on this little blue ball we live on. It really is humbling to see pictures as they come in of all the volunteers cleaning up tons of trash throughout the region—from the Samoa Peninsula Fire District volunteer’s whopping 5,200 pounds of trash (mostly from roadside dumping) to high school students with the Fortuna Creeks Project recovering over 3,000 cigarette butts that would otherwise have been washed out to sea. There are so many inspiring stories. But as we take action, it is apparent that we have so much more to do. Case in point is our over-reliance on dinosaur bone-based plastics that pollute our world and fossil fuels that wreak havoc on our climate – and thus on many sensitive ecosystems and human communities.
Stepping Up for Climate Action
The weekend of September 20 also marked a milestone in the movement for climate action. Countless masses swarmed New York City and rallied around the world for the People’s Climate March. Here locally, community members took part in a solidarity march as part of the NEC’s All Species Parade.
The stats are in: the cost of business as usual will be significantly more expensive than taking the necessarily drastic steps to close the damper on climate change. We are hopeful that the Climate March will mark a turning point towards meaningful measures to keep carbon in the ground, enact regulation and action at a global scale, and re-envision our economic system that perpetuates poverty and the abuse of the ecological systems upon which we all depend.
The NEC applauds the Bureau of Reclamation Decision for release of Trinity River flows, but more work is crucial to safeguard Klamath and Trinity salmon.
After significant pressure from North Coast tribes, fisheries experts, and other river advocates – and in response to the finding of deadly ich parasite in the mid-Klamath in mid-September, the US Bureau of Reclamation has again increased flow releases from reservoirs on the Trinity River. We are grateful to the Hoopa, Yurok, and Karuk Tribes and everyone else who rallied to the Bureau headquarters in Sacramento and those who work diligently to monitor river conditions and fish health. We hope that the flow release is enough to prevent a fish kill on the Klamath this year.
While it is important to applaud the Bureau’s decision, our sense of relief is tempered by the reality that this is a temporary fix to a much bigger problem. Even in the midst of the worst drought in recorded history, California continues to siphon rivers and pump groundwater at a frightening pace with seemingly no thought as to what will happen next year if severely depleted reservoirs are not replenished this winter. With increased demands from Central Valley irrigators for Trinity River water, coupled with excessive illegal diversions on the smaller tributaries and the four dams on the Klamath River blocking fish passage and causing toxic river conditions, the fight to save North Coast salmon runs and river-dependent livelihoods is far from over.
In the face of climate change and the severe ongoing drought, we must keep the pressure on to make sure that our elected and appointed officials bring real solutions to California’s irresponsible water policies. It’s time to prioritize wise water management, conservation, and reuse. It’s also time to UnDam the Klamath. There’s a lot of work ahead, and only together can we address such big challenges around this planet’s most
Big News for Humboldt Bay Trail, McKay Community Forest and Safe Routes to School
September brought some great news for Humboldt County residents. We celebrate the realization of the McKay Tract Community Forest with the transfer of 1,000 acres of redwood forest land from Green Diamond to the County of Humboldt. Now the planning, restoration, and trail maintenance and construction will begin. We also celebrate a big boost for trails and Safe Routes to School projects – nearly $7.6 million was awarded to Humboldt County jurisdictions which will go a long way towards safer, more connected communities. The City of Eureka received funding that will go towards completing the Eureka Waterfront Trail and the City of Arcata got a whopping $3.1 million for the construction of the Humboldt Bay Trail between Arcata and Bracut—a huge step closer to a safe, separated trail connecting Arcata and Eureka. Bay Trail here we come!!!
House Party Thanks and Shout Outs
A huge thanks to everyone who made it out and otherwise contributed to make the NEC’s Summer 2014 Fundraising Dinner such a success!
To our hosts Jan and Gary Friedrichsen who went out of their way to provide such a great space and amazing food and drink—we are eternally grateful. Big thanks to the tireless efforts of the core-crew—Jan, Gary, Lea, Joseph, Chris and Richard—for all of your work from set-up through cleanup! Big kudos to NEC Board members and staff for all of your support at the event and beyond!
And to our sponsors, we thank you immensely: Terry Roelofs and Erica Upton, Steve Railsback and Margaret Lang, Coast Seafoods, Chuck, James and John Woolley, Ramone’s Bakery, Moonstone Crossing, Beck’s Bakery, It’s Alive Kombucha, Cakestacey, Bayside Grange, Pierce Family Farm, Little River Farm, Organic Matters Ranch and Good Company!
Billboard Removal - Job Well Done
Thanks to all of the volunteers who clean up beaches and waterways throughout Humboldt County and around the world. Kudos the great NEC volunteer crew who on Coastal Cleanup Day removed the two downed billboards that were previously occupying public trust wetlands of Humboldt Bay. (See page 9 for more). Big thanks to: Bob Ornelas, Dave Meserve, Kirk Cohune, Chris Honar, Chris Dosch, Bobby Wright, Mike Wilson, and the fellow volunteer who pulled over to lend a hand. The biggest award for taking one for the team goes to Kirk Cohune for sacrificing the comfort of dry clothing to go in the drink and haul some of the heaviest items to dry ground.
Welcome New NEC Staff!
We’d like to welcome a few new additions to the NEC crew who came aboard in the midst of preparations for the NEC’s most intensive weekend of the year: Sydney Stewart, Cherry Sripan and Madison Peters. Sydney is interning with us for her last semester at HSU. Cherry and Madison are our two new work-study hires who bring a lot of energy to our growing crew. All three have already proven to be invaluable in keeping our office rolling and stepping up with action and art in celebration of our planet. We are very much looking forward the months ahead with our committed and