Agriculture

Friday, November 20, 2015

GMO Salmon Spawns Huffman's Ire

Posted By on Fri, Nov 20, 2015 at 11:30 AM

THINKSTOCK
  • Thinkstock
Congressman Jared Huffman is not having the fish. According to a press release, Huffman is "deeply concerned" about the Food and Drug Administration's approval of genetically engineered salmon. He cites the engineered salmon's potential to damage wild salmon populations, ecosystems and the fishing industry, as well as the lack of labeling requirements for producers. The congressman is co-sponsoring legislation to ban GE fish.


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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Humboldt County Releases a Draft Marijuana Cultivation Ordinance

Posted By on Thu, Oct 8, 2015 at 11:24 AM

GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
Just weeks after the board of supervisors agreed to take on the creation of an outdoor medical marijuana cultivation ordinance, county staff has released a detailed draft ordinance that would create a strict permitting plan for the county's cannabis cultivators.

It’s a remarkably fast turnaround for a staff that shared concerns that it would be able to get a law on the books by next year when California Cannabis Voice Humboldt handed its draft ordinance over to the county on Sept. 15. During that board meeting, CCVH treasurer Luke Bruner urged the county to take action to regulate outdoor cannabis grows, while saying his organization would relinquish its year-long, multi-draft attempt to create a law — which at one point CCVH said it would put before voters if the county didn’t approve it.


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Sunday, May 24, 2015

UPDATED: Gavin Newsom to Talk Pot in Humboldt

Posted By on Sun, May 24, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom - WIKIPEDIA
  • Wikipedia
  • Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom
UPDATE:
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman issued a press release this afternoon inviting the public to join he and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom in Garberville on Friday afternoon to talk marijuana policy (full press release copied below).

And Huffman spokesman clarified for the Journal that Friday's forum isn't officially part of Newsom's committee work on the subject of marijuana regulation, but that Newsom plans to report back to the committee whatever he learns during his stay in Humboldt.


PREVIOUSLY:
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is headed to Humboldt to talk marijuana policy.

Newsom, who’s leading a committee looking at regulations for potential statewide marijuana legalization in 2016, is slated to appear at a “public forum on marijuana policy” being put on by North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman on Friday afternoon in Garberville. But, it remains unclear if the event will be open to the public, as Huffman’s spokesman wasn’t immediately available for comment and calls to Newsom’s office went unreturned Friday.

It’s also unclear whether Friday’s meeting is a part of the official listening tour being carried out by Newsom’s committee — which includes former Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos. The committee hosted its first forum back in April at the University of California Los Angeles.

Rumors of Newsom’s visit have been swirling since late last week, when Huffman’s office sent out invites to Friday’s event. The invitations — one of which was obtained by the Journal — ask folks to RSVP to Huffman’s office, and bill the forum as a discussion of “the unique public policy challenges related to marijuana legalization affecting California’s North Coast.”

The visit comes on the heels of one in April by members of the State Board of Equalization, who spent a couple of days in Southern Humboldt touring marijuana farms and Wonderland Nursery to help inform potential future tax policies. Huffman and Newsom’s forum also comes as California Cannabis Voice Humboldt is putting the final touches on the latest draft of its land use ordinance initiative, which seeks to regulate and legitimize outdoor marijuana cultivation on large parcels within the county.


The following is the press release from Huffman's office:

***MEDIA ADVISORY***



Huffman to host public marijuana policy forum with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom



GARBERVILLE - Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) will host Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom to discuss the unique public policy challenges related to marijuana legalization affecting California’s North Coast.



Huffman and Newsom will meet with a diverse group of stakeholders, including local governments, marijuana advocates, law enforcement, environmentalists and regulators to explore concepts for a common sense framework for marijuana, post-legalization.



WHAT: Marijuana policy forum and public meeting

WHERE: Redwood Playhouse, 286 Sprowel Creek Road, Garberville

WHEN: Friday, May 29, 1 to 2:30 p.m. PT

DIRECTIONS:

From Hwy 101 North: Take 1st Garberville exit, continue onto Redwood Dr. through town, and turn left at the stop sign onto Sprowel Creek Rd. Cross over highway and theater will be on your left attached to College of the Redwoods Instructional Site.

From Hwy 101 South: Take 2nd Garberville exit for Sprowel Creek Rd. and turn right at top of off ramp. Theater will be on your left attached to College of the Redwoods Instructional Site. 

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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Everyone's on Board with Regulation

Posted By on Thu, May 7, 2015 at 4:59 PM

Mark Lovelace addresses the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. - GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
  • Mark Lovelace addresses the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board.
“If you put marijuana on the agenda, they will come,” whispered the ghosts of old policy makers. And, lo, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board listened.

At a packed meeting this afternoon, the board discussed its proposed regulations for Northern California cannabis cultivators. It was the second time this week, following the board of supervisors hearing on a marijuana statement on Tuesday, that the halls of government hummed with an unusual presence of life.

During today’s meeting, water board staff outlined its proposed regulations, part of an ambitious permitting plan to bring private-land growers into compliance with water quality laws. The self-enrolled program would categorize growers into tiers based on the size and water impacts of their operations. Read more about the draft regulation here.

Perhaps even more remarkable than the attendance of perhaps 100 interested stakeholders, was the near universal support for the water board’s proposed regulations from environmentalists, government officials, and marijuana industry types.


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Sunday, February 8, 2015

On the Klamath dams front

Posted By on Sun, Feb 8, 2015 at 10:23 AM

Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec. - PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
  • Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec.

Former Oregon state senator Jason Atkinson has co-produced a new documentary about the conflict between users of the Klamath River and how they finally hashed out the historic Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement to take out four dams and restore salmon and other habitat. The agreement awaits Congress' approval. The film, by Atkinson and filmmaker Jeff Martin, is called A River Between Us and comes out this spring.

High Country New interviewed Atkinson about it, and notes that he was the "first Republican to ever receive a 100 percent approval rating from the Oregon League of Conservation Voters."

"Atkinson, a fifth generation farmer along the Klamath, has a long personal history with the river. He has fly-fished there since he was old enough to hold a rod and learned from his grandparents — one an Eisenhower Republican, the other, a Reagan-hating liberal — that restoring the Klamath did not have to be a polarizing issue.

HCN reports that Atkinson "hopes the film will help spur Congress to authorize the agreement — what he calls 'the greatest conservation opportunity in America.'” Atkinson, in the interview, says that it's wrong to think of the Klamath River battle as "right versus left, dams versus fish":

"HCN: But today’s political climate makes that kind of model look almost unattainable. Why is it that so many environmental initiatives have become lightning rods for partisanship?

"JA: In my mind it was 1973 when the Endangered Species Act was passed—by a Republican no less. People had no idea what the unintended consequences of that would be. Ten years later, that Act was seen as a declaration of war on small communities across the country, and I would argue that that’s when partisanship really stepped in for the first time in the conservation debate.

"The thing that frustrated me was that having grown up in agriculture, I know that every year, once harvest is done, all the farmers go fishing. Everybody does. So in my own mind, I couldn’t reconcile a narrative that makes those kinds of distinctions — and one that discounts an entire swath of Americans from the public land debate."



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Monday, November 24, 2014

Ready, set, squash

Posted By on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 at 12:55 PM

character-72719_1280.jpg

Time’s a’creepin’ up on you Humboldt gardeners planning to put a little GMO oomph into your winter gardens — some genetically modified beans or broccoli, cabbage or cauliflower, perhaps? (We’re mainly looking at you, rebel Nathan Rex, and your promised GMO squash garden.)

On Dec. 2, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors is set to certify the results of the November election. Measure P, which bans the growing, cultivation or propagation of genetically modified organisms, passed with 61 percent of the vote. Ten days after the board certifies the vote (Dec. 12, if all goes as planned), the ban goes into effect. Nobody is permitted to grow new GMOs — except in a controlled laboratory setting — after that. However, those who already have crops growing before the ban date will have until Jan. 1, 2016, to eradicate them.

Humboldt County Agricultural Commissioner Jeff Dolf — whose department is in charge of enforcing the new law — told the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors recently that he’s still refining the details of the new enforcement program and will report back in early 2015. 

“There is still a lot for me to work out in terms of reviewing the language of the ordinance,” he said, adding he’s consulting with counsel as well as with a geneticist.

Opponents to the ban have said that the ability to vaccinate animals might be impacted by it. Dolf said he’s pretty sure state law trumps local ordinances in that regard, in particular state law require rabies vaccines for dogs and brucellosis vaccines for female bovines. But he's double-checking.

Enforcing the ban, which will be complaint-driven, could get expensive if enough complaints come in that require laboratory testing. But Dolf said he doesn’t have cost estimates. Looking to Trinity and Mendocino counties isn’t much help, he added — they’ve had bans in place for years, and there’s been just one complaint, in Mendocino, which proved unfounded. Those counties were not known for growing GMO crops in the first place, he said, whereas Humboldt has grown GMO silage (corn feed for livestock).

We haven't heard of other GMO crops being grown here in Humboldt. And we tried, to no avail, to reach Rex, the would-be ban-defier who raised $800 from sympathizers in a gofundme campaign so he could plant genetically engineered squash. 

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Fairest of Them All

Posted By on Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 10:18 AM

humboldt_gold_state_fair_2014.jpg
Indeed, there was never any doubt, but this is just to say Humboldt County took the gold medal again (won last year, too) at the California State Fair 2014 for its booth promoting Humboldt goodness. The booth, a creation of the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau and Humboldt Made, featured products made in Humboldt set in a "historic general store" setting, says the news release from the visitors bureau.

So we can expect yet more wholesome hordes storming our gates for some of that homemade milk, ice cream, cheese, sauce, vodka, noodles, wine and more.

Here's the news release:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Humboldt County wins gold at state fair

July 23, 2014

SACRAMENTO, CA – The official Humboldt County display received a gold medal at the 2014 California State Fair, currently underway in Sacramento, the second year in a row it has earned such honors in the popular counties exhibition.

The booth, put together by the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau with assistance from the Humboldt Made business cooperative, showcases a variety of agricultural and related products from the region.

“Given how great our local food, wine and beer products are, I’m not surprised that the judges rewarded us with the gold,” said Tony Smithers, executive director of the Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau, which coordinates the booth each year on behalf of the county.

The prize-winning exhibit, which resembles a historic general store, complete with tasteful displays of local products and an old-time bean counter showing their logos, reflects the theme this year for the counties exhibition, From Our County To Your Table.

“Humboldt makes such a wide variety of products so it was an easy theme for us,” said Dianne Oneto, who with colleague John Queirolo designed the booth for the bureau.

She noted that more than 12,000 of the popular Redwood Coast Map & Guide, the official travel publication of the county, which the bureau produces each spring, had already been given out at the booth as of this week.

Humboldt Made, which does marketing and development for many local products, rallied many of their members to supply the booth with everything from coffee to cheese to beer to bagels.

Kathleen Moxon, executive director of Humboldt Made, thinks the benefits of the exposure will go far beyond the fair. These local products are “ambassadors for our county,” she said. “It’s great that many of these patrons will recognize Humboldt on grocery stores shelves, wherever they may live, after seeing the exhibit.”

Don Banducci, a Humboldt Made board member, was quite pleased with the honor too. “The gold medal recognition for our display is a perfect reflection of what we like to call Humboldt’s ‘rural sophistication.’”

Besides sharing products, the exhibit serves as chance to market the county as a place to visit, Smithers said. Some 800,000 people are expected to visit this year, including many people from outside the state and country.

“When they see our travel guides, with pictures of giant trees, pristine beaches and Victorian masterpieces, they find that the greatest product from Humboldt County is Humboldt itself,” he said.

Visitors to the Sacramento area this week can still enjoy the exhibit and fair, which includes a kids park, carnival rides, live music, a petting zoo, and countless exhibitions showcasing everything from flowers to tractors to livestock to technology. The 17-day event, a California tradition for more than 150 years, runs until Sunday, July 27th at the CalExpo Fairgrounds. For ticket and fair information, visit: www.CaStateFair.org.

Humboldt County Convention & Visitors Bureau
A non-profit organization that markets Humboldt County's natural beauty, arts and history as a vacation destination, the bureau represent agencies, businesses and individuals with an interest in our region’s success as a tourist destination. Among its objectives are to increase overnight stays and visitor spending, support jobs and contribute to the local economy. More at www.Redwoods.info.

Humboldt Made
A public benefit corporation focused on business development and cooperative marketing, Humboldt Made is a community of makers and producers. It partners with retailers and restaurateurs, community organizations, media makers institutions, special events and business service providers to build the economy of Humboldt County. More at www.HumboldtMade.com.
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Friday, March 21, 2014

Ridding Toxic Killers

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 6:47 PM

On Tuesday, California passed a regulation restricting retail sales of certain rat poisons, such as d-Con. Soon, only licensed, certified or county permitted application professionals will be able to use them. The restrictions don't go into effect until July 1. But by Friday morning, at least one local retailer already was sweeping those products from its shelves. 

Pierson Building Center's garden shop manager, Lydia Rieman, said she has known for at least a year that the restriction was coming and hasn't been carrying any backstock on d-Con anyway. What limited supplies her shop had were pulled off the shelves today.

"And we'll no longer special order it for people," she said.

Other stores in the area that carry d-Con include Walgreens, Walmart and Shafer's Ace Hardware, and at least as of today they were still selling it. Down in Southern Humboldt, stores voluntarily quit selling such rat poisons last year after the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution asking county retailers to stop carrying the stuff.

The restriction covers any rat poisons containing brodifacoum, bromadiolone, difenacoum and difethialone. They're called second-generation anticoagulant rodenticides, and though d-Con's the most prevalent brand of these products, there are many others. Animals that ingest these poisons — not just the targeted rats and mice, but also pets and wildlife — can bleed to death either from a cut or from internal hemorrhaging. And they can be poisoned even if they don't directly eat the poison.

"While one dose kills, it takes several days and the pest will continue to eat the rodenticide, building up the amount of that remains in their body tissue," said Charlotte Fadipe, with the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. "When wildlife such as a coyote, barn owl or endangered San Joaquin Kit fox, or a family pet, eats the poisoned pest, they end up being poisoned as well."

The use of these rodenticides on illegal marijuana farms has caused particular alarm, especially here in Humboldt County. According to a National Public Radio report, they're responsible for "nearly a third of the deaths of male fishers in recent years" on the Hoopa Valley reservation. And it was brodifacoum that killed a Blue Lake man's dog in February. That death the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is investigating: Red meat laced with brodifacoum was found in the dog's system — possibly revenge against the dog's owner, who is a researcher studying how the use of these poisons on pot farms affects wildlife.

"The volume of rodenticides will be dramatically reduced," said Jonathan Evans, with the Center for Biological Diversity, about the new restrictions. The Center has raised its reward for information on the Blue Lake dog killing from $2,500 to $20,000. 

However, he said, people can still sidestep the law by bringing the stuff in from out of state. And, he fears a likely challenge from the makers of d-Con, whose legal challenge has delayed implementation of a similar federal restriction from going into effect.
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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Wet February Boosts Rainfall Totals

Posted By on Tue, Mar 4, 2014 at 9:17 AM

Things are looking up! Humboldt County isn’t out of the desert just yet, but a wetter-than-average February has the county’s year-to-date rainfall totals looking much more respectable.

When the last drops were counted on Woodley Island, the folks over at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tell us a total of 6.09 inches of rain fell in February, nearly doubling the 6.47 inches that had fallen July 1 through Jan. 31. Humboldt isn’t out of drought watch just yet but there’s reason for optimism.

To get a picture of where we stand, check out this graph, which the Journal has and will be updating periodically. It shows this and last year’s precipitation totals as they compare to the drought years of 1976-77 and 1977-78 and the 30-year-average monthly rainfall. Special thanks to NOAA for the data.
drought-graph-update.jpg
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Upper Klamath Tribes, Farmers Announce Tentative Agreement

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 2:32 PM

Klamath Tribal Chairman Don Gentry and Oregon Governor's Office Natural Resources Policy Director Richard Whitman. - COURTESY OF THE KLAMATH TRIBES
  • Courtesy of the Klamath Tribes
  • Klamath Tribal Chairman Don Gentry and Oregon Governor's Office Natural Resources Policy Director Richard Whitman.
Klamath Tribes and Oregon irrigators have reached an "agreement in principle" over the long-disputed waters of the Upper Klamath Basin, saying the groups will work toward a common goal of improving fisheries, water quality and agricultural sustainability in the region.

Upper Klamath farmers were dismayed earlier this year when the Oregon Water Resources Department ordered irrigation shutoffs

The agreement was "built on the foundation" of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, a dam removal and river restoration plan agreed upon by tribes, fishing industry groups and Pacificorp, which owns hydroelectric dams on the Trinity. Despite recommendations from the federal government, the KBRA has yet to gain traction in Congress.

In a press release the Klamath Tribes called this week's agreement in principle with irrigators a "critical step toward resolving Upper Klamath Basin water and fisheries disputes not previously addressed in the KBRA."

The tribes will hold several meetings this month to provide information about the agreement and the continuing negotiations toward a final agreement.

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