Environment / Natural Resources

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

From Pulp Mill Ashes, Redwood Marine Terminal II Rises

Posted By on Tue, Oct 18, 2016 at 2:23 PM

Jasmin Segura, with Humboldt Baykeeper, and Delia Bense Kang with Surfrider tour Marine Terminal II. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • Jasmin Segura, with Humboldt Baykeeper, and Delia Bense Kang with Surfrider tour Marine Terminal II.
The buildings stand mostly empty and the work is far from done, but mood inside the Redwood Marine Terminal II last Friday was jubilant nonetheless. At long last, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District threw a grand opening party for the out-of-service pulp mill it bought for $1 back in August of 2013. After successfully saving Humboldt Bay from potentially disastrous toxic sludge, the district has continued to rehabilitate the site into what is now officially the National Marine Research and Innovation Park, a multi-use facility designed to house both research and commercial opportunities in aquaculture, biomass conversion and renewable energy.

State Assemblyman Jim Wood, on hand for the festivities, called the achievement “remarkable” and praised the efforts of both the pulp mill and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. State Sen. Mike McGuire admired the hard work of all involved. Humboldt County Supervisor Virginia Bass recalled her childhood, during which the mill’s stink was known as “the smell of money.”

Virginia Bass. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • Virginia Bass.
As an adult, Bass was employed to do public relations at the mill during its years under Evergreen Pulp, a task she confessed to being “ill-suited” for, in part, she joked, because she had to work with fellow Supervisor Rex Bohn, a man “hard to put a lid on.” Despite that, the “little space of earth” continued to be a prominent part of her life — she even recounted driving out to sit in the abandoned parking lot years later, sad to see such a “vibrant part” of the bay lying fallow. “How can we help?” she asked herself.

Opportunity arrived through the district’s purchasing of the site, which brought federal, state and local agencies, community partners, nonprofit organizations, the county and the city of Eureka into the “monumental” project, she said. And now, Bass finished, she’s confident “the Harbor District is up for the challenge.”

One of the most moving speeches came from Harbor Commissioner Richard Marks, who spent 30 years working at the pulp mill, “almost [all] in this building,” he said. He referenced the “ghosts of workers past” and noted that despite his longtime pride in the workers, “I was never proud of our bad environmental record.” Marks relayed an anecdote about bringing in a copy of the Northcoast Environmental Center’s EcoNews, telling fellow employees that they needed to do things right. This “new day forward” pleased him, he said, with the promise of “new jobs, clean jobs.”

Continuing the speechifying was Harbor Commissioner Mike Wilson (who takes a seat as a Humboldt County supervisor in January. “I don’t like the term ‘revitalization’,” he said, preferring to call the new chapter “vitalization.” He urged the district — and the community — to be “future-focused … Moving backward is so much more difficult.” To that beginning, Wilson noted, success of the NMRIP depends on an interim zoning change and update to Humboldt’s Local Coastal Plan.

Harbor District CEO Jack Crider wrapped up the event with a story of visiting the pulp mill site four years prior. “I did this crazy thing,” he said, “crawled around on top of all the tanks and buildings. I should have died that day.” Instead he took 500 or so photos to the Harbor Commission and showed them the disrepair — and danger — of the sludge tanks.

Afterward, Crider said, “Commissioner [Greg] Dale said, ‘Thanks a lot, Jack. Now we have to do something.’” That something turned out to solve a lot of issues, Crider continued, from removing the toxic sludge from failing tanks to providing dock access and future opportunities. This is his third experience converting a contaminated site, he said, and each time has meant putting his staff through significant challenges. This one, Crider finished, “was the biggest hurdle I’ve ever put anyone through.”

Byron Duty of Pacific Flake. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • Byron Duty of Pacific Flake.
Harbor Commissioner Mike Wilson (left) talks to the crowd. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • Harbor Commissioner Mike Wilson (left) talks to the crowd.
North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire (left) and Assemblyman Jim Wood (right) with Harbor Commissioner Pat Higgins. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire (left) and Assemblyman Jim Wood (right) with Harbor Commissioner Pat Higgins.
John Driscoll, the field representative for North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman, addresses the crowd. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • John Driscoll, the field representative for North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman, addresses the crowd.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Flooding Possible With High Tides and Storm Surge

Posted By on Mon, Oct 17, 2016 at 12:50 PM

  • National Weather Service
The worst of the storm that hit Humboldt County with a one-two punch is over but there is a chance of coastal flooding in low-lying areas of King Salmon and Arcata this afternoon when the storm surge and high tides meet up.

According to the National Weather Service, tides are expected to peak between 8.5 and 8.9 feet at the North Spit gauge between noon and 2 p.m. The evening could see another one-tenth to one-quarter of an inch of rain along the coast.

Troy Nicolini, meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s Eureka office, said the storm brought local rain totals to more than 700 percent of normal for this time of year — with 6.29 inches since July compared to a normal total of .85 inches.

The system unloaded 3.94 inches of rain on Eureka over the last three days — while portions of Del Norte County saw 10 inches — along with some thunder and lightning that was unusual this early in the season, Nicolini said. 

"It was a pretty darn wet storm," he said.
Sunny skies are forecast to return by Wednesday with temperatures hitting a high of 66 along the coast and inland areas seeing top numbers on Thursday, with Willow Creek slated to reach 78 and Garberville topping out at 80. The warmer weather is expected to continue through the weekend.

Coastal flood advisory from the National Weather Service:





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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Early Prospects for Crab Season Look Good

Posted By on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 at 2:52 PM

North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman and state Sen. Mike McGuire during today's hearing. - JENNIFER SAVAGE
  • Jennifer Savage
  • North Coast Congressman Jared Huffman and state Sen. Mike McGuire during today's hearing.

So far, so good. That's the early word in today's extensively titled forum, "Crab Season Outlook for 2016-17 and Modern Aquaculture in California by the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture" taking place right now at the University of California Davis Marine Lab in Bodega Bay. Convened by the North Coast's own state Sen. Mike McGuire, who chairs the committee, and attended by our U.S. Congressman Jared Huffman, the hearing offers scientists and fishery experts a chance to give their take on the upcoming California crab season. 

After last year's disastrous crab season was delayed due to high levels of the toxin domoic acid, attendees were visibly relieved to hear relative good news from University of California Santa Cruz's Dr. Raphael Kudela, professor of ocean health, that while 2016 was "warm and toxic," the probability of a domoic acid bloom impacting North Coast crabs has decreased over the last month. This is "really good for crab and fisheries," Kudela said. Ultimately what things look like next year is highly dependent on winter storm conditions, he said, but right now, "good news!" 

Additionally, this marks the first time that the Joint Committee has focused primarily on aquaculture (aka “farming in water"). The farmed fish, oysters and seaweed industry continues to expand and so today's panelists will explore finfish, shellfish, inland production and perspectives from state agencies.  

Huffman noted his pride in the Second District's oyster farmers, noting the industry is not only "innovative" and "sustainable," but also "delicious." Representing that valued part of Humboldt's economy at the forum were Coast Seafood Company's Southwest Operations Manager (and Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioner) Greg Dale and Hog Island Oyster Company co-founder and CEO John Finger.

The hearing will be live-streamed until 4 p.m. and then archived for future viewing. 

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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Fire Up the Chainsaws: Oak Woodlands Restoration Bill Signed

Posted By on Sun, Oct 2, 2016 at 3:30 PM

Firs swallowing a grove of black oak. - PHOTO BY LINDA STANSBERRY
  • Photo by Linda Stansberry
  • Firs swallowing a grove of black oak.
On Sept. 24, Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 1958, paving the way for landowners with conifer encroachment on oak woodlands to remove the invasive trees without replanting. The bill comes after more than a year of advocacy from small landowners and environmentalists who argued the existing rules by the state Board of Forestry were counter-intuitive to best practices in land management.

While slow-growing oak woodlands have been a dominant part of the Humboldt landscape for centuries, providing acorns and habitat for many species, the absence of fires has given quick-growing firs a chance to gain ground, shading out oaks and overtaking open ground. Previously the Board of Forestry has required an onerous timber harvest plan process to harvest and sell conifers. A.B. 1958 could ease these regulations, creating a seven-year pilot “exemption” to the THP process for smaller conifers and clarifying language around oak woodland restoration activities.

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Black Widows Found at Carlotta Post Office

Posted By on Fri, Sep 30, 2016 at 11:44 AM

A black widow found in front of the Carlotta Post Office. - ANTHONY WESTKAMPER
  • Anthony Westkamper
  • A black widow found in front of the Carlotta Post Office.

Officials are investigating an apparent infestation of poisonous black widow spiders at the Carlotta Post Office.

Carlotta resident, Journal columnist and bug enthusiast Anthony Westkamper was picking up his mail on Saturday when he noticed a black spider by the post office entrance and, being a bug enthusiast, took a closer look. He spotted the telltale red hourglass at the bottom of the spider’s abdomen and identified it as a black widow. In short order, he spotted seven more on the exterior of the post office building and later notified the U.S. Postal Service.

Fortuna Postmaster John Maloney, who oversees the Carlotta office, said he’s taking Westkamper’s report very seriously and has reached out to the owner of the building that houses the post office and has made plans to bring in an exterminator in the coming days. But Maloney pointed out that the post office makes up just about 400 square feet of the building, which also houses some residences and Café 36.

Maloney said he’s informed the office’s sole Carlotta employee and she’s keeping an eye out inside the building for any spiders, and hasn’t seen any. Westkamper said black widows are not common in the area and guesses they probably hitched a ride with someone hauling firewood or something.

According to WebMD, black widows produce a protein venom that attacks the victim’s nervous system. The venom has a range of effects for humans, ranging from slight to severe. The localized pain from the bite itself can be followed by muscle cramps, abdominal pain and weakness, and in very severe cases, nausea, vomiting, headaches, chest pain and respiratory difficulties.

Children and the elderly are most at risk of having serious reactions, but deaths from black widow bites, even when they are left untreated, are exceedingly rare, with some reports indicating one hasn’t been recorded in the United States in more than a decade. WebMD recommends you seek medical care after a bite if you experience “more than minor pain” or have “whole-body symptoms.”

Humboldt County Agriculture Commissioner Jeff Dolf said black widows aren’t an agricultural pest, so they don’t really fall under the purview of his department and instead are more of a private pest control issue. But Dolf said folks often bring unidentified insects into the Ag Department, and he rarely sees black widows.

“They’re not common around here but it’s not unheard of to have them,” Dolf said. “We do see them from time to time.”

Westkamper said the eight black widows he spotted in Carlotta — which included at least two males — could constitute a breeding population.

To read Westkamper’s first-hand account of finding the spiders, check back here Sunday for his regular HumBug column.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Grants Bring Bay Trail Closer to Completion

Posted By on Thu, Sep 29, 2016 at 12:14 PM

An artist's rendition of a portion of the Humboldt Bay Trail. - COURTESY OF THE CITY OF ARCATA
  • Courtesy of the City of Arcata
  • An artist's rendition of a portion of the Humboldt Bay Trail.
Efforts to link a series of trails to create a 13-mile-long recreational waterfront corridor between Eureka and Arcata took two steps forward this week with nearly $1 million in grants being awarded to the cities.

In the works for years, the $550,000 California State Coastal Conservancy grant awarded to Arcata on Thursday, coupled with the announcement of a $323,000 grant for Eureka from the National Park Service and the Land and Water Conservation Fund earlier this week, moves the long-anticipated trail closer to completion.

While the Humboldt Bay Trail will provide a continuous route between Eureka and Arcata away from cars, the pathway will also serve a larger purpose as a critical connection with the California Coastal Trail.

Press release from the city of Arcata:
The City of Arcata’s Humboldt Bay Trail North (HBTN) project was awarded a $550,000 grant from the California State Coastal Conservancy at a meeting held at the Wharfinger Building in Eureka on Thursday September 29.
This project will construct a multi-use trail from Samoa Boulevard through the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and then integrate with the railroad and Highway 101 corridors along the shoreline of the bay to an endpoint north of Bracut Industrial Park.
The southern-end point will transition onto the shoulder of Highway 101 south of Bayside Cutoff, as a temporary condition until the remaining segment of the Humboldt Bay Trail is constructed.
The Coastal Conservancy’s grant provides the final funding needed to construct the northern three-mile section of the planned 13-mile long Humboldt Bay Trail which will be the backbone of Humboldt County’s envisioned regional trail system and will provide a safe, Class I, ADA-accessible trail between Humboldt County’s two largest cities.
The Trail is also part of the California Coastal Trail, a network of public trails for walkers, bikers, equestrians, wheelchair riders and others along the 1200-mile California coastline, which is currently more than half complete.
At the same meeting, the Conservancy adopted California Environmental Quality Act findings and a mitigation monitoring and reporting program for the project, important aspects of a construction project located close to Humboldt Bay.
The total construction cost for the HBTN project is $4.6 Million. Other funding for the HBTN comes from the Active Transportation Program and matching local funds.
The trail has long been firmly established by the local community as the region’s highest transportation priority. The County of Humboldt is leading the development of the Humboldt Bay Trail South segment, which will provide the interconnecting link between Arcata’s HBTN project and the City of Eureka’s Waterfront Trail.
Development of the Humboldt Bay Trail South project is still in the initial stages and a target construction date has not been determined.

Press release from Congressman Jared Huffman’s office on Tuesday:
WASHINGTON­— Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today announced a $323,000 grant from the National Park Service and the Land and Water Conservation Fund to Eureka for ongoing work on a waterfront trail through a once-blighted area.
“This grant means that more Californians will be able to enjoy and appreciate Eureka’s special place on Humboldt Bay,” said Rep. Huffman. “Improving Eureka’s waterfront and creating trails and a clean place for the public to recreate around the Bay demonstrates the value of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in our communities.”
“Through the hard work of city staff and the Land and Water Conservation Fund Local Assistance Office, the former mill buildings can be removed and one of the most picturesque areas of Eureka’s waterfront can be opened up for our community to enjoy a wide variety of nature viewing and recreational opportunities,” said Eureka Mayor Frank Jager.
This grant will go toward the removal of four former mill buildings, which will be replaced by a new park featuring a multi-use trail, nature play area, as well as interpretive viewing platforms and benches adjacent to Humboldt Bay.
For more than 50 years, the National Park Service has provided grants through the LWCF. Its State & Local Assistance Program focuses on helping protect a "seamless system of parks" by providing matching grants for local and state parks outside of National Park boundaries, such as this grant to the City of Eureka.
Phase A of this project is expected to be completed in November.

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Klamath Dam Removal Takes a Step Forward

Posted By on Sun, Sep 25, 2016 at 9:42 AM

  • Courtesy of American Rivers and Klamath Restoration Council
  • Irongate Dam on the upper Klamath River.
The newly formed nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation and dam owner PacifiCorp filed applications Friday with federal regulators to decommission the four hydroelectric dams that clog the Klamath River.

The filings were hailed by proponents of dam removal as a milestone in refurbished plans to see the lower Klamath River dams removed in 2020. The dams block fish passage and contribute to the poor water quality on the lower river, which is currently seeing some of its lowest salmon returns in history. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission will now determine whether to approve the license transfer and surrender applications, and will ultimately be the agency to decide whether to approve removal of the four dams.

“The deplorable water quality, back-to-back disease outbreaks and bottomed-out fish runs have taken a tremendous toll on our people,” said Yurok Tribal Chair Thomas O’Rourke Sr. “We welcome this major step toward restoring Klamath fish populations and providing salmon once again to our upstream neighbors, the Klamath Tribes.”

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Redwood Borough

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Artist's concept of the tiny Humboldt-inspired forest exhibit set to open in Brooklyn. - PUBLIC ART FUND
  • Public Art Fund
  • Artist's concept of the tiny Humboldt-inspired forest exhibit set to open in Brooklyn.
A tiny Humboldt County-inspired redwood forest is taking root in downtown Brooklyn as part of a public art project set to open on Oct. 1.

Spencer Finch’s Lost Man Creek exhibit — which replicates a 790-acre section of the Redwood National Park on a 1:100 scale with some 4,000 dawn redwood seedlings being planted by volunteers.

“Lost Man Creek reflects Finch’s fascination with activating the imagination through observation of natural phenomena,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “For many years he has explored the ineffable qualities of our ever-changing natural world through wide-ranging mediums, but this is his first use of living trees.”

The New York-based Public Art Fund reached out to the Humboldt County Visitors’ Bureau in January, which help connect the artist with the Save the Redwood League, which provided detailed topographical information for the living exhibition.

Press release from the Public Art Fund:

Public Art Fund and Forest City Ratner Companies (FCRC) announce Spencer Finch: Lost Man Creek, an extraordinary new exhibition at MetroTech Commons that recreates, at a 1:100 scale, a 790-acre section of the Redwood National Park in California, one of the United States’ most treasured natural wonders.

In this living artwork, Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch scales down the topography and tree canopy of his selected section, with trees that range from 98 to 380 feet becoming 1 to 4 feet in the installation. Finch’s miniature forest for Downtown Brooklyn will live in the eastern triangular lawn of MetroTech Commons, with a footprint measuring 4,500 square feet, and will feature some 4,000 young Dawn Redwoods. Visitors will be able to experience the work from a viewing platform installed on one side of the work, as well as from ground level, offering different perspectives of the work. Spencer Finch: Lost Man Creek is free to the public and on view October 1, 2016 through May 13, 2018 at MetroTech Commons, Downtown Brooklyn.

“Lost Man Creek reflects Finch’s fascination with activating the imagination through observation of natural phenomena,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “For many years he has explored the ineffable qualities of our ever-changing natural world through wide-ranging mediums, but this is his first use of living trees.”

To realize Lost Man Creek, Finch collaborated with the Save the Redwoods League, which provided details like topographical and canopy height maps of a select section of the protected, inaccessible forest. Utilizing these resources, Finch created a vision of the site at a 1:100 scale for MetroTech Commons. The miniature forest will flourish with the help of a specific planting and irrigation system, designed to provide the trees with an optimum living environment within this urban context. When the exhibition closes, these trees will be rehoused.

“We are excited to team up with Public Art Fund for our 23rd year to bring beautiful art to
MetroTech Commons,” said Ashley Cotton, Executive Vice President at FCRC. “The work of Brooklyn-based artist Spencer Finch will be on display for a year and a half, longer than any past installation that we have done with Public Art Fund, giving visitors an opportunity to fully engage with one of the world’s most renowned forests through the eyes of one of Brooklyn’s most highly regarded artists”.

At the core of Finch's practice is an ongoing investigation into the nature of light, color, memory, and perception. The artist is known for transforming his own observations of a particular time
or place into various media from painting, drawing, and photography to installation. Lost Man
Creek references the fleeting and the temporal elements inherent in all areas of life, with the
artist mining the observed world to create a poetic installation that speaks to a shared existence.

Among previous projects are A Certain Slant of Light (2014-15), a large-scale installation at The
Morgan Library & Museum inspired by its collection of medieval Books of Hours; Trying To
Remember the Color of the Sky on That September Morning (2014), composed of 2,983
individual watercolors representing the artist’s recollection of the sky on September 11, 2001;
There Is Another Sky (2014), which transformed a formerly dark alley into an urban forest
sanctuary at South Lake Union, Seattle; Painting Air (2012), an installation of more than 100
panels of suspended glass inspired by the colors of Claude Monet's garden at Giverny; and The
River That Flows Both Ways (2009), a permanent installation composed of an existing series of
windows transformed with 700 individual panes of glass representing the water conditions on
the Hudson River over 700 minutes in a single day.

“Through both a scientific approach to gathering data—including precise measurements and
record keeping—and a poetic sensibility, Finch’s works often inhabit the area between objective investigations of science and the subjectivity of lived experience,” said Associate Curator Emma Enderby, who organized the exhibition. “In a world where climate change is at the core of societal debates, Finch’s installation in the heart of one of the most urbanized neighborhoods
of the city presents us with the universal reality of nature’s power to awe and inspire, and the
importance to remember and protect such wonders.”

In conjunction with the exhibition, Spencer Finch will give a Public Art Fund Talk at
The New School on November 16 where he will focus on his various public and large-scale installations.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Ballet of the Fog and the Stars (Video)

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 3:46 PM

Like this picture? Check out the video below. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Like this picture? Check out the video below.

Work week got you down? Or maybe it’s Humboldt’s seemingly endless feed of grisly news? Whatever it is that’s conspiring against you this Wednesday, push it aside and take a moment to appreciate this beautiful place we call home. Heck, thanks to Eureka’s David Wilson, you won’t even have to get out of your chair.

Wilson spent much of a recent night perched on a ridge line between the south and north forks of the Eel River with his camera.

“My hope was to create a time lapse that successfully spanned the sunset-to-night transition and caught the star-lit valley filling with fog as the Milky Way and star field slid across the sky,” he wrote in an email to the Journal. “I started shooting still photographs for this time lapse at 7:24 p.m. on Sept. 2, 2016, to catch the sunlight disappearing. It wasn’t until about 9:30 p.m. that the fog first came into the view far down the valley. It rolled up both river valleys simultaneously. … It flowed like fluid, billowing, advancing and retreating as it filled the valleys and washed over the hills. It spotted like a wildfire, with puffs appearing here and there ahead of it. The Milky Way slid across the frame above.”

Wilson's perch. - DAVID WILSON
  • David Wilson
  • Wilson's perch.

Wilson kept shooting at regular intervals until the fog overtook him and he could no longer keep his camera dry, snapping his last frame at 2:34 a.m.

Check out the video below, which is scored by Wilson’s son, Jarren, a marine biology major at Humboldt State University who has studied music since his days at Freshwater School. The elder Wilson is a Humboldt County native and HSU alum, who teaches Photoshop and digital media at College of the Redwoods. He’s obviously also a photographer with a thing for time lapse videos, as his YouTube page will attest.

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

UPDATED: Large Fuel Spill in State Park Amid Crash Cleanup Effort

Posted By on Sat, Sep 10, 2016 at 8:24 AM

Caltrans reported the overturned truck's tanks were intact with minimal leaking observed on Thursday. - FACEBOOK
  • Facebook
  • Caltrans reported the overturned truck's tanks were intact with minimal leaking observed on Thursday.

The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services sent out a press release today with a bit more information about the spill, including that the department doesn't believe the spill presents a threat to public health and that there's currently no evidence fuel has entered the nearby South Fork of the Eel River. Find the full release copied below our original post.

Approximately 4,000 gallons of fuel spilled into state park soil as crews tried to clear the wreckage of a tanker truck that overturned alongside U.S. Highway 101 near Salmon Creek Bridge.

Information is sparse at this point, but State Parks sent out the below press release last night stating that cleanup efforts are underway and noting that about 4,000 gallons of the tanker's 7,000-gallon load "was released." The crash occurred Wednesday night near Miranda and its cause remains under investigation.

According to Caltrans, the plan had been to transfer the 7,000 gallons of gasoline to another truck before using a hoist to pul the tanker back onto the roadway. The truck's tanks stayed intact in the crash, with minimal observed leakage, according to Caltrans.

We'll update this post with additional information as we get it.

Humboldt County, Calif — Recovery and clean-up efforts of an overturned semi-truck carrying up to 7,000 gallons of fuel continued today near north bound US-101 out hot Salmon Creek Road in Humboldt County. The Peterbilt tank truck and trailer that collided with a guard rail and overturned on state park property on September 7 has been removed. Approximately 4,000 gallons of fuel was released.

Planning efforts to remove contaminated soil are underway and environmental monitoring will be ongoing throughout the entire clean-up process The park is open to the public. Park hours and services have not been impacted.

It is anticipated that traffic will be restored to normal conditions this evening, though traffic may be restricted in the near future to aid in clean-up efforts.

The collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. For further information, please contact Superintendent Tom Gunther (707) 946-1812.

From DHHS:

Sept. 10, 2016

Public notified of gas spill above South Fork Eel River

An estimated 4,000 gallons of gasoline from a petroleum tanker that overturned Wednesday in Southern Humboldt has leaked above the South Fork of the Eel River.

The incident occurred just south of the Salmon Creek exit from northbound U.S. Highway 101.

There is currently no evidence that fuel has entered the water. Assessment of the area continues today, with cleanup efforts expected to begin Tuesday.

The fuel truck overturned with an estimated 7,000 gallons on board. Some of the fuel was recovered in what’s called a “hot stinger operation,” which involves drilling the top of the overturned tank and inserting a pipe to remove the fuel. Recovery efforts, however, were complicated by the position of the truck and its location on the hill.

The California Department of Parks and Recreation is the lead agency for the spill and the recovery. Staff from the Division of Environmental Health (DEH) remain on site and continue to monitor these efforts.

“We don’t believe at this time that the spill presents a threat to public health,” said Susan Buckley, director of the Public Health Branch of the Department of Health & Human Services. “But in keeping with Proposition 65 notification requirements and out of an abundance of caution, we’re making this announcement over the weekend to make sure area residents are informed.”


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