Photo: Martin Swett



News From the Center

By Dan Ehresman

On July 18, one week ago today as I sit typing, my colleague and good friend called with unfathomable news. He called to say his 11-year-old son was killed in an ATV accident. My heart cracked in that instant—both for the loss of one whose sweet energy and exuberance for life touched so many and for my friends who just lost one of the most important beings in their world.

As time ticked by, my eyes gradually opened to the gift that Owen left in his passing.




Eye on Washington

By Dan Sealy

Some members of Congress are using the public’s fear and misunderstanding of fire to circumvent the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA is the foundation of our nation’s environmental laws and, most importantly, the mechanism by which federal agencies are required to inform citizens of their plans, use the best available science, and consider public input.

HR 2647, ironically titled the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2015, gives the U.S. Forest Service sweeping powers to log up to 5,000 acres with virtually no public input, and pushes some post-fire logging timelines up making them also nearly impossible to stop, even in the face of potentially significant environmental impact.




Supervisors Pass the Buck on Problem Pot

By Dan Ehresman

Over the last five or so years, we at the NEC—including our member organizations and others in our community—have been trying to wrap our minds around how to address the runaway industry in our hills that is sucking streams dry and laying waste to acres upon acres of forest.

In a certain sense, it was more straightforward when we were fighting a handful of corporations clearcutting ancient redwoods. Now, thousands of people hope to strike it rich by scraping away hillsides for plantations of a particular sticky green herb. Some cultivators are environmentally conscious, but they are substantially outgunned by those who are not—and conditions are getting exponentially worse with each passing day.



Are Green Plastics Really Green?

By Julie Layshock, Zero Waste Humboldt

Bioplastic, biodegradable, plant-based, recyclable, and compostable are popular terms on single use plastic products and packaging. While these green marketing words sound good, clarity is needed to understand the flood of new plastic products. Often used interchangeably and in combination with each other, these terms have very different meanings. “Bioplastic” and “plant-based” indicate the source materials used to make the plastics. “Biodegradable,” “recyclable,” and “compostable” describe possible options after use.




Regional Water Board Proposes Rules to Protect Water Quality from Impacts Associated with Marijuana Cultivation

By Scott Greacen, Friends of the Eel River

A substantial crowd was on hand May 7 at Eureka’s Wharfinger Building as the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (generally known as the Regional Water Board) held a public workshop at its board meeting to discuss a draft framework for regulating water quality impacts associated with cultivation of marijuana and similar crops. The proposal will be open for public comment through June 8, 2015. If adopted by the Board, as early as its August meeting, the new program could go into effect as soon as the fall of this year.




Global Carbon Levels Surpass 400ppm for First Time Ever for Entire Month

By Sarah Lazarre, Common Dreams

Marking yet another grim milestone for an ever-warming planet, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) revealed on Wednesday that, for the first time in recorded history, global levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere averaged more than 400 parts per million (ppm) for an entire month—in March 2015.

“This marks the fact that humans burning fossil fuels have caused global carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to rise more than 120 parts per million since pre-industrial times,” said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network, in a press statement. “Half of that rise has occurred since 1980.”






2nd Annual Bayside Patio Party!

Join NEC staff and friends for an open-air fundraising dinner.

Doors open at 4pm, dinner at 6pm.
Come early for lawn games, tasty treats, locally brewed beverages, music and more!. $50/person suggested donation. Space is limited so please RSVP early! Reserve your tickets - call the NEC at 707-822-6918 or email

Visit the event page on Facebook



Support the NEC!

Dear Friend of the Northcoast Environmental Center,

The year so far has been incredibly rewarding just as it has been wrought with many challenges. On the positive side, our environmental programs have involved and inspired over 500 area youth; we’ve worked with over 1,000 community members to clean up our waterways and coast; and we’ve stood together for healthy watersheds, intact ecosystems and climate action – with some major successes. All that was accomplished would not have been possible without your support and we thank you immensely for being right there with us!

We are proud to work with so many committed individuals, businesses, and organizations here on the North Coast and beyond. Unfortunately, as you might know, we are currently facing some major issues and we need your help!







CORRECTION: The print edition of EcoNews included the incorrect location for the Water-Wise Home workshop coming in August. The correct location is the D St Neighborhood Center! Mark your calendars now!