Environment / Natural Resources

Monday, January 9, 2017

Flooding Expected on the Eel, Van Duzen

Posted By on Mon, Jan 9, 2017 at 2:21 PM

A Mercer Fraser Co. crew rescues a stranded hiker near the Eel River this morning. Officials are warning of more flooding to come as rain continues to fall this week. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • A Mercer Fraser Co. crew rescues a stranded hiker near the Eel River this morning. Officials are warning of more flooding to come as rain continues to fall this week.

With more rain in the forecast, officials are warning that the Eel and Van Duzen rivers are expected to crest their banks as low-lying areas of the county flood on Tuesday.

This weekend’s storm, which dumped between 4 and 5 inches over the last 72 hours, left a Fortuna woman stranded with her two dogs this morning as the Eel River rose around her. Ultimately a Mercer Fraser Co. construction crew used a front loading tractor to cross the 4-to-5 foot deep flooded area and carry the woman and her canine companions to safety at about 8 a.m.

“She probably could have walked across,” said Fortuna Volunteer Fire Chief Lon Winburn, whose agency assisted with the rescue. “But it's a good thing she called us just in case. There was no current because it was just back water.”

The weekend's rainfall left multiple rivers and some roads flooded, and the area is expected to receive another 3 to 5 inches of precipitation this week.

National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Charboneau said the two rivers with the largest flood danger are the Eel and the Van Duzen. Additionally, about 10 roads are currently closed due to flooding, with more expected as the rain continues to fall.

“People should be very aware that there is a high amount of water on the roads,” Charboneau said.

The Eel River is expected to reach about 20 feet by tomorrow afternoon and, by evening, the river is expected to pass flood stage and increase to 23.6 feet. The Van Duzen River is ex-pected to reach 18 feet, a foot above its flood stage.

According to the National Weather Service, “record river levels are expected with disastrous flooding throughout the Eel Delta. Most roads will be impassable including (State Route) 211 to Ferndale, and access will be severely restricted. All persons should take action to protect life and property.”

Charboneau said that between the rainfall and tomorrow’s high tide, some low-lying areas of Humboldt — like the Arcata bottoms and King Salmon — will see some flooding from both rain and tides.

Humboldt Bay Fire Battallion Chief Chris Jelianek said there have been no serious accidents or mudslides from the recent rainfall, but he says tomorrow may be a different story as more flood-ing is expected.

“We have been pretty lucky so far,” Jelianek said.

We are expected to gather another 2 to 3 inches tomorrow. The rain is supposed to slow down Wednesday before picking up again later in the week.

CalTrans spokesperson Myles Cochrane said there was a flood on State Route 254 through the Avenue of the Giants and the road is closed but expected to reopen to controlled traffic at around 5 p.m. today.

“Its best that people check their route with CalTrans before traveling,” Cochrane said.

Roads currently closed from flooding:
Redwood Drive at bluffs
Coffee Creek
Dillon Road between Riverside and Goble Lane
Goble Lane between Dillon and Fulmor
Goble Lane between Fulmor and Sage
Goble Lane between Sage and State Route 211
Fulmor Road past Goble Lane
Nissen Road
Camp Weott
Meridian Road
Port Kenyon Road


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Sunday, January 8, 2017

Duck!

Posted By on Sun, Jan 8, 2017 at 11:21 AM

ROB FOWLER
  • Rob Fowler
Humboldt County's latest visiting celebrity has a red head, greyish back and pale saddle on its bill. Birders from across the country have been visiting to snap pictures of the common pochard, first spotted Dec. 20 in Freshwater Lagoon, near Orick.

The pochard, which is native to Europe and Asia, rarely makes its way to our continent. This is only the fourth time one has been spotted in the lower 48 states, according to local birder and tour leader Rob Fowler.

"All these sightings have occurred in California, the last one was in 1992 or 1993," said Fowler, referring to a spotting of the pochard in San Bernadino County, where birders saw a member of the species return over several winters. Very few people actually saw and recorded the duck at that time, but this pochard appears settled into its visit, mixing and mingling with other species at the lagoon, to the delight of birders who have flown in from as far away as Boston and Chicago.

Fowler calls it a "pretty good deal," adding that it doesn't appear as though the extra attention is disturbing the common pochard, which can be seen from the Old State Highway.

"There has been some concern expressed about hunters potentially taking the bird," said Fowler, echoing the fears of some birders voiced on social media. "Either accidentally or potentially hunters might come up specifically looking for the bird. Hunting is only allowed on the east side of the lagoon so I don’t really think it would be shot there, with the amount of other ducks it’s hanging out with."

Fowler said he and his clients have enjoyed looking for the bird, which is in Humboldt County for the first time.

"It’s kind of funny how these chases go sometimes," he said. "Seeing something that had to fly across the whole Pacific to get here. It’s always exciting to share these sightings with people."


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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Huffman Urges Obama to Ban New West Coast Drilling

Posted By on Wed, Jan 4, 2017 at 3:22 PM

Huffman
  • Huffman
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman today brought back legislation that would ban new gas or  oil drilling leases off the West Coast in a move his office said would help permanently protect the environment, jobs and coastal economies.

Huffman was joined by 14 other lawmakers in reintroducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act on the first day of the 115th Congress while Sen. Dianne Feinstein was joined by her colleagues from California, Oregon and Washington in doing the same in the Senate.

According to a release from Huffman's office, the legislation would "amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in federal waters off the coast of the continental U.S., from Mexico to Canada."

"A true ‘America first’ energy policy keeps oil off our beaches and invests in home-grown renewable sources of power," Huffman states in the release. "I urge President Obama to take action now, while he still has the authority to do so, to permanently protect our oceans from oil and gas drilling.”

Read the full release from Huffman's office below:

Washington, D.C.- On the first day of the 115th Congress, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) led 14 coastal lawmakers in reintroducing the West Coast Ocean Protection Act, a bill to permanently protect the California, Oregon, and Washington coasts from the dangers of offshore drilling, safeguarding the $44 billion coastal economies of the region that support nearly 650,000 jobs. The bill was introduced today in the United States Senate by Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), along with all six California, Oregon, and Washington Senators.

While President Obama recently used his authority under the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to protect areas in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans from oil and gas drilling, he has yet to protect key areas of the Pacific Ocean. The new legislation, H.R. 169, would amend the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit new oil or natural gas leases in federal waters off the coast of the continental U.S., from Mexico to Canada.

“On the West Coast, our coastal communities, local economies, and fragile ocean ecosystems cannot afford another disastrous oil spill,” said Rep. Huffman. “Californians witnessed years of environmental and economic damage caused by the horrific 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill and we cannot allow Big Oil to perpetuate their negligent drilling spree in our precious and spectacular waters. The West Coast Ocean Protection Act would permanently protect our pristine coastlines for future generations and ensure their interests are put above the short-term profits of Big Oil. With his pick of the Exxon C.E.O as Secretary of State, as well as his personal financial stakes in the oil and gas industry, President-elect Trump proved his true priorities will lie with further lining the pockets of industry executives and not with the people who would be affected by an oil spill. A true ‘America first’ energy policy keeps oil off our beaches and invests in home-grown renewable sources of power. I urge President Obama to take action now, while he still has the authority to do so, to permanently protect our oceans from oil and gas drilling.”

Congressman Huffman has long been a leader in the fight against offshore drilling and to expand renewable energy and create clean energy jobs.

Huffman authored the Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act to prohibit new or renewed oil and gas leasing in the Arctic Ocean Planning Areas. That legislation would stop new leasing for the exploration, development, or production of oil, natural gas or any other minerals in the Arctic Ocean and not allow for any renewal of existing leases.

He is also the lead House sponsor of the Keep It In The Ground Act, which would reduce carbon emissions and our nation’s addiction to fossil fuels by permanently barring new fossil fuel leases on all federal public lands and in federal waters.

The West Coast Ocean Protection Act is cosponsored by Representatives Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Jimmy Panetta (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Derek Kilmer (D-CA), Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Jackie Speier (D-CA), Scott Peters (D-CA), John Garamendi (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Final Numbers for County Cannabis Applications Show Late Push

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 5:35 PM

Three generations of growers, Rain on the Earth with her nephews Mark Switzer (far right) and grand-nephew Myles Moscato (center) pose with Wall as Moscato proudly holds the receipt for his application, the first submitted in the county. - LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Linda Stansberry
  • Three generations of growers, Rain on the Earth with her nephews Mark Switzer (far right) and grand-nephew Myles Moscato (center) pose with Wall as Moscato proudly holds the receipt for his application, the first submitted in the county.
Almost one-third of the total commercial cannabis permit applications filed with the County of Humboldt in 2016 were filed on deadline day, according to numbers from the cannabis services division of the Humboldt County Planning and Building Department. As of the Dec. 30 deadline, a total of 2,334 applications had been filed. Eight hundred and eighteen of those arrived after the Journal checked in with county planner Steve Lazar last Tuesday morning.

“Many are very incomplete,” said Lazar, adding that it could take “several years” to process all of the applications, which they hope to get ready for processing before the state’s new marijuana laws take effect in 2018.

“Some will go quicker than others,” he added. “Some are grossly incomplete, with people just trying to get it in before the deadline.”

Just prior to deadline, Lazar said county staff were busy but “hanging in there,” and that consultants were scrambling to help their clients get in before the deadline.

Megan Azevedo, an environmental planner with Green Road Consulting, said the firm’s staff had been “pretty darn busy” for the last three weeks.

“We’ve had a lot of last minute clients who want to get in the door,” said Azevedo in a phone interview today. “Two weeks ago we were swamped.”

Green Road helped about 200 clients fill out their application forms, complete “plot plans” of their cultivation areas and sign acknowledgement and indemnification agreements as well as navigate the county’s regulation guidelines.

Azevedo said many of the clients were surprised by the strict zoning regulations and the sudden increase in application fees, which hiked about a month ago.

She added that Green Road’s staff expected to be pretty busy over the next six months assisting with applications that had been turned in incomplete.

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Monday, December 5, 2016

Huffman on DAPL: 'Justice and Environmental Protection Have Won'

Posted By on Mon, Dec 5, 2016 at 4:25 PM

Huffman
  • Huffman
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman issued a statement last night applauding the Obama Administration’s announcement that it will deny an easement needed for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross Lake Oahe, forcing the project to abandon its controversial route and undergo an environmental review.

“Since July, tensions have escalated to a boiling point at the Dakota Access Pipeline, and I thank the Obama administration for this bold announcement today, to diffuse what may have otherwise been a tragic conflict,” Huffman said in the statement. “By denying the easement at Lake Oahe and by completing a full environmental review, the federal government is taking a necessary step to ensure our nation is not complicit in yet another grave injustice to Native Americans.”

A host of locals have been at the scene of massive demonstrations in North Dakota, where protesters seeking to occupy the pipeline’s path have been forcefully removed by police wielding tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons in subfreezing temperatures. Read more about the protests, and local involvement in them, in our Nov. 10 cover story “We Travel in a Spiritual Way.”

Huffman has repeatedly joined other members of Congress in urging the Army Corps of Engineers and the Obama administration to intercede in the escalating conflict, and last week penned a letter to “demand accountability for (the) alarming treatment” of protesters.

Huffman dubbed this weekend’s news of the denied easement as a victory.

“Today, justice and environmental protection have won out over arrogance, greed and pollution,” he said in the statement. “We can all be proud that our government has listened, weighed the equities and the implications of this consequential decision, and has bravely done the right thing."

See the the full release from Huffman’s office copied below.


Rep. Huffman Applauds the Obama Administration’s Move to Deny Easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline

Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) today applauded the Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement that they will deny the easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross Lake Oahe and will issue a full environmental impact statement on the effects of the pipeline. This announcement came at the urging of Congressman Huffman, who led a letter with Congressman Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) just weeks ago, asking the federal government to take this very step.

“Since July, tensions have escalated to a boiling point at the Dakota Access Pipeline, and I thank the Obama administration for this bold announcement today, to diffuse what may have otherwise been a tragic conflict,” said Rep. Huffman. “By denying the easement at Lake Oahe and by completing a full environmental review, the federal government is taking a necessary step to ensure our nation is not complicit in yet another grave injustice to Native Americans. Today, justice and environmental protection have won out over arrogance, greed and pollution. We can all be proud that our government has listened, weighed the equities and the implications of this consequential decision, and has bravely done the right thing."
Rep. Huffman has helped lead the effort in Congress in pushing for accountability and justice at the Dakota Access Pipeline site.
In his November 15th letter, on which he was joined by 22 lawmakers, Congressman Huffman called on President Obama to deny the easement for the pipeline to cross Lake Oahe. That letter also called for the Department of Justice to send observers to ensure water protectors and journalists' safety.
On November 28, he led another congressional letter with Rep. Grijalva, requesting an immediate meeting with White House and Department of Justice officials to demand accountability for alarming treatment of Water Protectors and peaceful demonstrators at the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, and to denounce the closure of the Oceti Sakowin camp.



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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Yurok Tribe Blames Feds for Salmon Die-Off

Posted By on Sun, Dec 4, 2016 at 9:11 AM

Favorable ocean conditions and heavy rains have brought the Chinook Salmon back, but to a river choking of toxic algae. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Favorable ocean conditions and heavy rains have brought the Chinook Salmon back, but to a river choking of toxic algae.
SAN FRANCISCO — The federal government was hit with a second lawsuit this week claiming its bungled management of waterways allowed a deadly parasite to infect 91 percent of endangered juvenile coho salmon on the California-Oregon border.

The lawsuit from the 5,000-member Yurok Tribe comes four months after the 2,700-member Hoopa Valley Tribe in Humboldt County blamed the feds for causing lethal infections in threatened Chinook salmon.

“Defendants’ illegal operations of the Klamath Project threaten the health and viability of these species and, in turn, threaten the continued ability of the Yurok Tribe and its members to harvest fish for subsistence and commercial purposes, and conduct ceremonies for the fish and well-being of the Yurok people, and threaten the very identity of the Yurok Tribe and its people,” the Yurok say in their 45-page complaint.

The infections are blamed on low-flow conditions in the Klamath River and its streams. The water levels are controlled by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, which oversees the Klamath Irrigation Project in Southern Oregon and Northern California.

The deadly parasite Ceratanova shasta, or C. shasta, flourishes in low-flow conditions that produce warm, slack water where host worms thrive and juvenile salmon tend to congregate. Signs of infected salmon include cell decay in intestinal tissue, severe inflammation and death.

After reviewing Klamath Project plans, the defendant National Marine Fisheries Service issued a biological opinion in 2013 estimating that infection rates would not exceed 49 percent. But surveys found infection rates climbed to 81 percent in 2014 and 91 percent in 2015.

The tribe says those high infection rates should have triggered the requirement for the Bureau to review the project’s impact on an endangered species, but the government has refused to take that step.

After the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa Valley Tribes, along with a coalition of fishermen and conservation groups, threatened to sue, the co-defendant Bureau of Reclamation formed a technical advisory team in July to recommend steps for reducing C. shasta infection rates.

On Nov. 9, the team created a guidance document urging the Bureau to provide regular flush flows at certain times of the year to flush out worms that host the parasites. The document also recommends reserving 50,000 acre-feet of water for emergency spring dilution and disruption flows each spring when certain conditions, such as high water temperatures and disease rates, require urgent action.

On Nov. 28, the technical staff and federal agencies commented on the guidance document, “largely agreeing with the need for additional flows to flush out polychaetes [host worms] and an emergency dilution flow regime,” according to the complaint.

But the Bureau did not commit to any mitigation measures, the tribe says, which violates the Endangered Species Act. They say failure to reinitiate formal consultation on the project’s impact on coho salmon also violates the Administrative Procedure Act and Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation Act.

Finally, they say, the National Marine Fisheries Service 2013 biological opinion that authorized the project was arbitrary and capricious in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.

Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec. - FILE
  • File
  • Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec.
The Yurok seek an injunction compelling the Bureau to relaunch the formal consultation process and stop limiting disease-management flows and other operations “reasonably certain to take juvenile coho salmon.”

It also seeks an order invalidating provisions of the 2013 biological opinion.

Co-plaintiffs include the Pacific Coast Federation of  ishermen’s Associations, the Institute for Fisheries Resources and Klamath Riverkeeper.

They are represented by Kristen Boyles with Earthjustice in Seattle.

National Marine Fishers Service spokesman Jim Midbury declined comment.

Bureau of Reclamation spokesman Shane Hunt did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment Thursday.

This story was reprinted with with the permission of Courthouse News Service.
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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Huffman Demands Accountability for Treatment of Pipeline Protesters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 29, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Protesters are pepper sprayed while occupying the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline. - ROB WILSON
  • Rob wilson
  • Protesters are pepper sprayed while occupying the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.
North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman penned a letter to President Barack Obama today requesting an immediate meeting to “demand accountability for (the) alarming treatment of Water Protectors and peaceful demonstrators at the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota.”

Huffman, who penned the letter with Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Arizona), also took the opportunity to denounce the Army Corps of Engineers announced plans to close the Oceti Sakowin camp. Both Huffman and Grijalva led 21 members of Congress earlier this month in urging Obama to deescalate tension in the Standing Rock protests. It seems those urgings went unheeded, as circumstances have deteriorated since then with daily reports of violent clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

From the congressmen: “[H]eadlines of mass injuries, frigid water being sprayed at demonstrators in sub-freezing temperatures, and of rubber bullets and similar anti-riot weapons being fired at peaceful, unarmed civilians, make it clear that this situation is only getting worse.”

See the full press release from Huffman’s office copied below, and their full letter can be seen by clicking here. And for more on the pipeline project and local efforts to combat it, see past Journal coverage here.

Reps. Huffman, Grijalva Demand Accountability for Brutal Law Enforcement Tactics at DAPL

Washington, D.C.- Representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today requested an immediate meeting with White House and Department of Justice officials to demand accountability for alarming treatment of Water Protectors and peaceful demonstrators at the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota, and to denounce the closure of the Oceti Sakowin camp. The lawmakers, who jointly led 21 Members of Congress in urging President Obama to deescalate the tension at Standing Rock in a November 14 letter, noted today that circumstances since then have only deteriorated:

“[H]eadlines of mass injuries, frigid water being sprayed at demonstrators in sub-freezing temperatures, and of rubber bullets and similar anti-riot weapons being fired at peaceful, unarmed civilians, make it clear that this situation is only getting worse.  Additionally, the Army Corps of Engineers letter announcing the closure of the Oceti Sakowin camp to demonstrators represents a concerning and disappointing course of action by the federal government.

“We question the plan and reasoning given by the Army Corps of Engineers to close the Oceti Sakowin camp to the Water Protectors. The members of the Standing Rock Sioux and the hundreds of Americans who join them in opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline are constitutionally protected in their right to peaceably assemble.”

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Crab Countdown

Posted By on Thu, Nov 24, 2016 at 11:00 PM

Last season's first, long-awaited crab coming in at the Eureka waterfront. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL
  • Jennifer Fumiko Cahill
  • Last season's first, long-awaited crab coming in at the Eureka waterfront.

If you haven't got your own pots to drop or if picking and dipping crab is as much work as you want to do, you're likely counting the days until commercial Dungeness crab fishing begins. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife has given the green light to fishing north of the Humboldt Bay jetty starting Dec. 1 to the Oregon state line. Commercial boats will have to wait to fish south to Point Reyes until we get the all-clear on levels of domoic acid, a toxin that can cause nausea, dizziness and even death. Recreational crabbing has been on in our county since Nov. 5.

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Close Call Leaves Mills with Lessons Learned

Posted By on Tue, Nov 8, 2016 at 12:04 PM

Mills in cooler days. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Mills in cooler days.
Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills has a PSA for would-be wave-watchers: "When they say don't go out on the jetty, don't go out on the jetty."

Mills was driving along the north jetty with his wife last Saturday when he decided to walk out on the jetty and take pictures of the large waves sweeping in due to an upper-level storm system. The National Weather Advisory had warned of 19 to 22 foot waves over the weekend, and advised people to "stay safe ... by staying farther back from the surf and off of rocks and jetties." It's a frequent warning on the North Coast, and one that sometimes goes unheeded to deadly consequence.

On Facebook, Mills quipped about his foolhardiness, "Big waves 22'+ they say. Stay off the jetty they say. I am smarter, faster and stronger than them, I say. My cellphone now sits at the bottom of the ocean along with the skin from my arms and knees. If you are trying to call or text me...sorry. Call tomorrow. For now the laughing squid who has my phone may answer."

In a phone interview today, Mills said that as an experienced surfer, he thought, like many, that he could judge the speed and trajectory of the waves and stay out of their reach, but in just a short time, "the waves got gigantic."

In seconds one crashed down on top of him, throwing him onto the cement.

"It treated me like a little tiny rag doll," he told the Journal, comparing the impact of being pushed against the rocks to a cheesegrater. "It's cement, wood, cement wood, like a cheesegrater. So, I thought, I’m going to get on top of the wall. That was a mistake. It pushed me off into the rocks. I held on my with my upper body and the next one came in and took me out."

Mills said a smaller person would definitely have been swept out to sea and killed. He managed to make it safely back onto the beach and to the car where his wife was waiting, although his phone was lost and a favorite shirt bloodied. He called the experience "humbling" and urges others to learn from his experience.

"The real thing is, compared to the power of nature, we are insignificant," he said. "Lots of lessons to be learned for Chief Mills."

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Thursday, November 3, 2016

Crab: No Guts, No Worries

Posted By on Thu, Nov 3, 2016 at 1:37 PM

From the CDFW website. - C. JUHASZ
  • C. Juhasz
  • From the CDFW website.
You can start planning Christmas dinner — the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is opening recreational Dungeness crabbing all over California starting Saturday, Nov. 5. Mind you, the California Department of Health warns seafood lovers in Humboldt and other areas north of Marin County not to consume the guts "due to the sporadic detection of elevated levels of domoic acid in the viscera of Dungeness crabs." You remember domoic acid, that nasty toxin that more or less destroyed our last commercial crab season, which didn't open until May, and threatens consumers with nausea, vomiting and even death. So just melted butter, no "crab butter" for us. If you can't wait for commercial season to open but don't have your own boat, you might try dropping pots from the dock or by kayak.

Read the full CDFW press release below.
Recreational Dungeness Crab Season to Open Statewide Nov. 5
The recreational Dungeness crab season is scheduled to open statewide on Saturday, Nov. 5 — with a health warning in place for crabs caught north of Point Reyes (Marin County).

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has issued a warning to recreational anglers not to consume the viscera (internal organs) of Dungeness crab caught in coastal waters north of Point Reyes due to the sporadic detection of elevated levels of domoic acid in the viscera of Dungeness crabs caught off the northern California coast.

The health warning is effective for recreationally caught Dungeness crabs taken from state waters north of Latitude 38° 00' N. (near Point Reyes). CDPH believes that Dungeness crab meat is safe to consume, however, as a precaution, consumers are advised not to eat the viscera (also known as "butter" or "guts") of crabs. CDPH further recommends recreational anglers follow best preparation practices to ensure that they avoid any inadvertent exposure to domoic acid that might be sporadically found in some crab's viscera.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin related to a "bloom" of certain single-celled algae. Fish and shellfish are capable of accumulating elevated levels of domoic acid in their tissue, which can sicken people who eat them. Last fall and winter, domoic acid along the West Coast interrupted Dungeness and rock crab fisheries from Santa Barbara to the Oregon state line. This year, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will continue to work with CDPH and the fishing community to collect crab samples from the northern California coast until the domoic acid levels have dissipated.

Consult the CDPH biotoxin information line at (800) 553-4133 or CDPH's Domoic Acid Health Information webpage for more information.

CDFW reminds crabbers of new regulations that became effective on Aug. 1, 2016. For a complete description of the regulations, please go to www.wildlife.ca.gov and click on "New Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery Regulations" in the Announcements box.

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