How do you think the County can balance economic development while protecting Humboldt Bay for fisheries and recreation?
Virginia Bass: It is not an either/or proposition. Balance is key and I think in order to get balance there has to be conversations where people with differing ideas can really come forward and work things out. I am a proponent of bringing in qualified trained mediators to facilitate these conversations. I believe this has to be a community conversation and we need to learn how to leave politics out of it. In the interim, we can support our existing operations on the peninsula and encourage the interim use of coastal dependent industrial properties for economic development. As we will be reviewing/revising the Humboldt Bay Area Plan there is opportunity to take a closer look on what the economic/recreational mix could look like.
Dani Burkhart: Humboldt must escape the boom-bust cycle of mining our resources to depletion, whether it be water, fisheries, or timber. Development of a responsible and sustainable cannabis and timber industry regulated by professional stewards of the land will support our economy into the future. A focus on eco-tourism can also assist in developing our economy while protecting sensitive resources and educating visitors on the value the citizens of Humboldt place on our environment.
Steve Madrone: If planned carefully, economic development and protection of the environment can be balanced. Natural features need to be seen as assets not problems. That is how many restoration projects were completed around the bay and in freshwater wetlands around the bay. Bracut Marsh was started as a wetlands mitigation bank, but early restoration efforts mostly failed. A public-private partnership was able to analyze what went wrong, how to fix it, and then implement improvements that have more than doubled the wetland mitigation values at the site. This successful mitigation assisted significant economic development in Eureka. The focus is on win-win solutions.