Animals

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Time to Start Looking for Otter Sculptures!

Posted By on Tue, Jun 22, 2021 at 3:25 PM

Michelle Kunst, program and project organizer at the Land Trust, joined Jeff Black to look over Maureen McGarry's otter location. - MARK LARSON
  • Mark Larson
  • Michelle Kunst, program and project organizer at the Land Trust, joined Jeff Black to look over Maureen McGarry's otter location.
The long-awaited North Coast Otters Public Art Initiative's treasure hunt of 108 otter sculptures painted by local artists spread throughout five North Coast counties has finally begun and will continue through September.

The initiative's creator and Humboldt State University wildlife professor Jeff Black says he's really excited about finally getting the otter sculptures out.

"I've been getting phone calls from people in the community telling me that they're excited about getting to look for [the sculptures]," Black told the Journal. "I'm very excited about giving people something to look forward to."

All otter sculptures are up for bidding through an online silent auction open throughout the summer, and the highest bid sculptures will be sold in a live auction in September. The funds will then be used to fund HSU otter research and student internships with community-based watershed projects.

The North Coast Otters Public Art Initiative was created to celebrate life, water, and otters, support local businesses and raise funds for student projects.

You can download the otter sculpture guidebook (or artist location key) here, or simply head to the nearest shop, gallery, school or other North Coast locations to pick up a copy.

“The initiative arose from a desire to share what we are learning about wild river otters with the community,” Black said. “River otters are at the top of the food chain in coastal watersheds, rivers, and wetlands, and just like us, river otters need clean water and fresh food each day.”

Black says that "Bunty," the sculpture that inspired him to create the initiative, will make "special appearances" to promote the treasure hunt. 
Jeff Black and Bunty the Otter (Art) - PHOTO BY MARK LARSON
  • Photo by Mark Larson
  • Jeff Black and Bunty the Otter (Art)

Happy hunting!

100+ Otter Sculptures on Display in Public Arts Initiative to Raise Awareness about California's River Otters

The much-anticipated North Coast Otters have arrived! The North Coast Otters public art festival, treasure hunt, and online auction begin today.

North Coast Otters Public Arts Initiative is a community “treasure hunt” tour of more than 100 sculptures painted by local artists, with an aim to celebrate life, water, and otters, support local businesses, and raise funds for student projects. Visit the North Coast Otters Public Arts Initiative website for more information.

North Coast Otters merges art and science, encouraging imagination and observation from our region’s rich creative community.

The project commissioned 108 unique pieces of Otter Art now displayed at shops, galleries, schools, and other North Coast locations. Participating artists decorated three-foot-tall otter sculptures for an educational art trail throughout Humboldt, Del Norte, Mendocino, Trinity, and Siskiyou counties.

Use the maps and guidebooks to locate the otters. Learn all about the charismatic critter, which shares our wild rivers, coastlines, and wetlands. A Junior Otter Spotters "activity booklet" will be available to inspire the young and young at heart.

Otter Art sculptures are available for bidding in a silent auction online throughout the summer, and the highest bid sculptures will be sold in a live auction in September. Proceeds will go to HSU otter research and student internships with community-based watershed projects.

A guidebook—available at each host location and downloadable on the website—shows locations of participating shops, restaurants, and visitor centers. This public arts initiative provides an accessible opportunity to explore our connection with the natural world.

“The initiative arose from a desire to share what we are learning about wild river otters with the community,” says Jeff Black, HSU Wildlife professor and project lead. “River otters are at the top of the food chain in coastal watersheds, rivers, and wetlands, and just like us, river otters need clean water and fresh food each day.”

The project encourages community members to participate in the ongoing citizen science river otter records study by consistently reporting when and where wild river otters are observed throughout the North Coast region.

Since 1999, HSU students have been collecting otter records from citizen volunteers as a means of tracking the quality of North Coast habitats. River otters, seen at all times of day in our area, have captured the attention of thousands.

“Some of these wild river otters travel far and wide to find enough food each and every day,” Black says. “River otter numbers are beginning to recover thanks to efforts to restore and clean up habitats, but they need our commitment to ensure their presence in the wild.”

Send details of wild otter observations to otters@humboldt.edu or call (707) 826-3439.


  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Sunday, June 20, 2021

Klamath Spring Chinook Receive New State Protections

Posted By on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 at 2:50 PM

A decades-long effort to protect spring Chinook took a major step forward last week when the California Fish and Game Commission unanimously approved listing the fish as threatened under the state’s Endangered Species Act.

The June 16 decision was applauded by Karuk Tribe and Salmon River Restoration Council, which jointly filed a petition to list Upper Klamath-Trinity River spring Chinook with the commission in August of 2018, buoyed by new research that showed the so-call “springers” are genetically distinct from their fall counterparts.

“We are elated that the commission recognized the unique characteristics, cultural importance and true peril of Klamath River Spring Chinook,” said Salmon River Restoration Council (SRRC) director Karuna Greenberg. “Tribes and grassroots activists have worked tirelessly for decades to preserve this iconic fish, and now we have a better chance at accomplishing that goal.”

Playing an important role in the research that helped lead to the listing were a cache of spring Chinook bones — some dating back 5,000 years — left inside Upper Klamath Basin caves used by tribal fishermen for untold generations.

(Read more about how the discovery of the ancient DNA and new technology help rewrite the life story of spring Chinook in the Journal story, “One Fish, Two Fish” from Aug. 16, 2017).

The findings, as Karuk Chair Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery noted in a news release about the commission's listing of the springers, only corroborate what Native American tribes that have lived in the Klamath basin for millennia have always known.

"These fish have different names, are used in different ceremonial events, they even taste different. I’m pleased to see western science finally catching up to traditional ecological knowledge,” Attebery said.

Another important step for saving the fish, which once number in the hundreds of thosands but now teeters on the brink of extinction, will be the removal of the four dams on the Klamath River, which will allow the spring run to return to the cool, upper basin pools of their historic range for the first time in a century.

That project, the largest of its kind in U.S. history, is slated to begin in 2023 after hitting a major milestone as well last week, with the Federal Energy Regulatory, approving a transfer of the hydroelectric license from PacifiCorp to the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation and the states of Oregon and California.

And, for the springers, the removal can't come fast enough.

Surveys done in recent years have "counted only a couple hundred individuals in the Salmon River, which hosts the last viable wild run of these fish in the Klamath Basin," according to the news release.

“We thank the commissioners for listening to the Tribe’s concerns and traditional knowledge in their decision to accept our petition. California is on the right track when it comes to working with Tribes,” said Karuk traditional dip net fishermen and council member Troy Hockaday.

Read the June 17 news release from the Karuk Tribe and the Salmon River Restoration Council below:
Sacramento, CA – Today the California Fish and Game Commission ruled unanimously to add Upper Klamath Trinity Spring Chinook to the California Endangered Species List.

“We are elated that the Commission recognized the unique characteristics, cultural importance and true peril of Klamath River Spring Chinook.,” said Salmon River Restoration Council (SRRC) director Karuna Greenberg. “Tribes and grassroots activists have worked tirelessly for decades to preserve this iconic fish, and now we have a better chance at accomplishing that goal.”

The Karuk Tribe and SRRC jointly filed a petition to list Spring Chinook with the Commission in August 2018. The petition is based on the discovery of the genetic sequence that defines Spring Chinook as distinct from the more abundant Fall Chinook.

That data was published in 2017 by UC Davis Professor Michael Miller and colleagues. Adding Spring Chinook to the CA Endangered Species List will allow agencies to prioritize funding for restoration and ensure any projects in the fish’s range will have to avoid adverse impacts to the population.

Spring Chinook enter rivers in the spring when snow melt swells rivers allowing the fish to travel into the upper reaches of a watershed. Then they must reside in cold water areas all summer until they spawn and die in the fall. Fall Chinook migrate into rivers in the fall where they spawn and die relatively soon after entering fresh water.

“Having two life strategies allow Chinook to take advantage of the entire watershed instead of just the upper or lower reaches,” explains Toz Soto, Senior Fisheries Biologist for the Karuk Tribe. “This behavioral diversity enhances the odds for long-term survival for the entire population.”

However, until Miller published his findings, the conventional wisdom of fisheries managers was that Fall and Spring Chinook were the same animal despite the differences in behavior. It was not until new scientific instruments and methods were developed that scientists could find the small but very significant changes in DNA sequence that result in the two fish having fundamentally different life histories.

The Karuk and other tribes that have depended on Spring Chinook for sustenance for millennia already knew the two fish were not the same animal.

“These fish have different names, are used in different ceremonial events, they even taste different. I’m pleased to see western science finally catching up to traditional ecological knowledge,” noted Karuk Chairman Russell ‘Buster’ Attebery.

The population of Chinook salmon that swims up the Klamath River in the spring once numbered in the hundreds of thousands. In recent years, surveyors at the Salmon River Cooperative Spring Chinook and Summer Steelhead Population Snorkel Survey have counted only a couple hundred individuals in the Salmon River, which hosts the last viable wild run of these fish in the Klamath Basin.

“We thank the Commissioners for listening to the Tribe’s concerns and traditional knowledge in their decision to accept our petition. California is on the right track when it comes to working with Tribes,” noted Karuk traditional dip net fishermen and council member Troy Hockaday.

Spring Chinook advocates currently have January 2023 circled on their calendars. That’s when the removal of the lower four Klamath River dams is slated to begin pursuant to an historic agreement between dam owner PacifiCorp, California, Oregon, Tribes, and conservation groups. The project would be the largest salmon restoration project in US history. For Spring Chinook and the Karuk Tribe, it can’t come soon enough. The National Marine Fisheries Service is currently considering a similar petition from Karuk and SRRC to list on the federal ESA.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Historic Klamath Dam Removal Project Takes Another Step Forward

Posted By on Thu, Jun 17, 2021 at 12:27 PM

Copco Dam on the Klamath River. - PHOTO COURTESY OF THE U.S. DEPT. OF THE INTERIOR.
  • Photo courtesy of the U.S. Dept. of the Interior.
  • Copco Dam on the Klamath River.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Committee today paved the way for the four dams clogging the Klamath River to be taken down, approving a transfer of the hydroelectric license from PacifiCorp to the nonprofit Klamath River Renewal Corporation and the states of Oregon and California.

“Since 2016, PacifiCorp, along with a coalition of state and federal agencies, Tribes, the states of Oregon and California, and other stakeholders, have worked together to propose surrender of the project license, which includes a plan to decommission the four dams on the Klamath River that comprise the Project,” a FERC news release states. “Today’s transfer is another important step in the ongoing surrender proceeding.”

The decision comes at a crucial juncture, with conditions in the Klamath Basin at the worst they’ve been in years due to drought conditions, threatening the ecology of the river and a way of life for local Tribes.

North Coast Congressmember Jaren Huffman, who has been active in the removal efforts, praised today’s decision in a news release that notes the historic decommissioning of the dams “will open 420 miles of salmon spawning habitat, and dramatically improve water quality and temperature conditions on the Klamath River that cause and increase disease in fish.”

Jared Huffman. - CONGRESS
  • Congress
  • Jared Huffman.

“The tribes and stakeholders of the Klamath River basin have worked diligently for years to restore one of the West’s most important watersheds, and now FERC has moved to make this a reality,” Huffman said. “The partnerships between the states, the tribes, the utility, and many others are ringing in a new era that recognizes the injustices of the past and invests in the future.”

Local Tribes, including the Karuk and Yurok Tribes, conservationists and fishermen have been issuing alarm bells in recent months over the especially dire conditions this year — with a baby salmon dying at such an alarming rate there’s fear none will survive.

“What Klamath Basin communities are facing right now is the definition of a disaster. It is also the new normal. Substantial water shortages are along-predicted symptom of climate change. There is an urgent need for an equitable federal disaster relief bill that addresses the immediate needs of our communities and establishes a foundation from which to build a more resilient ecology and economy in the Klamath Basin, Yurok Vice Chair Frankie Myers said in May. “We owe it to future generations to never let another juvenile fish kill like this happen again. We need to act now before it is too late for the Klamath salmon.”

A month earlier, as basin Tribes sent a letter to the Biden administration requesting aid, Karuk Tribal Chair Russell Attebery also voiced concerns that a way of life is at stake.

“The Klamath Basin is in crisis,” he said. “This drought has the potential to irrevocably damage the already anguished ecosystems and economic viability of the area. Salmon are the lifeblood of the Karuk people and play an integral role in our culture, ceremonies, and nourishment. We have watched our fisheries decline for decades and have done everything in our power to save them, but we have arrived at an impasse; there is nothing we can do to make the rain come.”

Last week, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland joined the chorus of voices calling for the dams' removal, penning a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Committee in support of moving forward with the project.

Deb Haaland
  • Deb Haaland

“Dam removal will restore salmonid fisheries, reestablish fish passage, improve water quality and bring new recreation and economic opportunities to the Basin," Haaland, the nation's first Native Interior Secretary, wrote. "Moreover, removal will advance the Biden-Harris administrations’ commitments to combat the climate crisis, increasing resilience to the impacts of climate change; protect public health; conserve our lands, waters, and biodiversity; deliver environmental justice; and fulfill the Federal Government’s trust and treaty responsibilities.”

The four hydroelectric dams are slated to be removed in 2023.

Read the FERC release below:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) today approved the transfer of the license for the Lower Klamath Hydroelectric Project (Project) from PacifiCorp to the Klamath River Renewal Corporation and the states of Oregon and California, as co-licensees.

Since 2016, PacifiCorp, along with a coalition of state and federal agencies, Tribes, the States of Oregon and California, and other stakeholders, have worked together to propose surrender of the Project license, which includes a plan to decommission the four dams on the Klamath River that comprise the Project.  Today’s transfer is another important step in the ongoing surrender proceeding.

Today’s order confirms that the Renewal Corporation has the ability, financially and otherwise, to undertake dam removal, and with the states, as co-licensees, the necessary legal and technical expertise required for such a huge undertaking.  The surrender application is still pending before the Commission and is awaiting further environmental review as required under the National Environmental Policy Act.  The Commission will continue to engage with all parties and stakeholders to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in the surrender proceeding.

Read the release from Huffman’s office below:

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) applauded the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) decision today to allow the Klamath River dam removal project to go forward, clearing the way for a massive effort to restore struggling salmon runs vital for tribal and coastal communities.

FERC approved PacifiCorp, the non-profit Klamath River Renewal Corporation, and the states of California and Oregon’s application to transfer the utility’s hydropower license to the nonprofit organization for surrender. The decommissioning and removal of PacifiCorp’s four dams will open 420 miles of salmon spawning habitat, and dramatically improve water quality and temperature conditions on the Klamath River that cause and increase disease in fish.

“The tribes and stakeholders of the Klamath River basin have worked diligently for years to restore one of the West’s most important watersheds, and now FERC has moved to make this a reality,” Rep. Huffman said. “The partnerships between the states, the tribes, the utility, and many others are ringing in a new era that recognizes the injustices of the past and invests in the future.”

The four dams on the Klamath River produce a marginal amount of electricity, and their reservoirs superheat water and experience dangerous algal blooms every summer. They provide no flood control or water supply. Years of study show that removal of the dams are in the public interest and will lead to significantly better conditions on the river.

“Today’s order confirms that the Renewal Corporation has the ability, financially and otherwise, to undertake dam removal, and with the states, as co-licensees, the necessary legal and technical expertise required for such a huge undertaking,” FERC wrote in announcing the decision. “The surrender application is still pending before the Commission and is awaiting further environmental review as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Commission will continue to engage with all parties and stakeholders to ensure everyone has an opportunity to participate in the surrender proceeding.”

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland last week filed a letter with FERC urging the commission to approve the application for transfer. “Today we have an incredible opportunity to restore this magnificent river, rewrite a painful chapter in our history, and do so in a manner that protects the many interests in the basin,” Secretary Haaland wrote.

The dam removal is consistent with the Klamath Hydropower Settlement Agreement signed in 2010 and amended in 2016 by federal agencies, the states of Oregon and California, the Yurok and Karuk tribes, Humboldt County, and conservation organizations.

Rep. Huffman has been an active partner in the efforts to remove the Klamath River dams. Following signs in July 2020 that PacifiCorp may walk back its commitment to dam removal, Rep. Huffman, Chair of the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Oceans, and Wildlife, held a public forum to examine the terrible impacts the dams have had on salmon and downstream water quality. In September of that year, he successfully offered an amendment to the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act, which was approved by the House, to safeguard Tribal communities against further harm to the Klamath River and its ecosystem caused by PacifiCorp’s delays.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Happy World Otter Day!

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2021 at 3:19 PM

KELLIE BROWN
  • Kellie Brown
Happy World Otter Day! The Sequoia Park Zoo is celebrating by spending time with their otters Toby, Etu and Takoda today, while the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce is gearing up to display its North Coast Otter Art Initiative otter sculpture.

The North Coast Otters Art Initiative (including a fundraiser and scavenger hunt of 100 plus otter sculptures) was set to begin last year but much like every other event, the COVID-19 pandemic postponed it. But the initiative's creator Jeff Black told the Journal that the project will commence this summer, he's just waiting on approval by Humboldt State University for an official set date.

Fortuna Chamber of Commerce shared a sneak peek of their otter "Poppy Rose McOtter" that will live at the River Lodge in Fortuna until the fundraiser auction, where the majority of the otter sculptures will be sold to raise money for internships for HSU wildlife students and to support watershed projects by nonprofit organizations, like the Mad River Alliance.


"There are 13 different species of otter worldwide, from the Asian small-clawed otters to the Giant otters of the Amazon," reads a tweet from the Sequoia Park Zoo.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Sheriff's Office Fielding Rash of Illegal Target Shooting Reports on the Eel

Posted By on Wed, May 26, 2021 at 2:08 PM

no_shooting_zone.jpg
The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office is reminding residents that target shooting on the Eel River bar near Fernbridge is illegal under county code after fielding a rash of reports about shooting activity in the area with the potential to harm people and livestock.

Back in July of 2018, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance banning target shooting on unincorporated land that does not meet certain safety standards, including a 20-foot berm behind the target.

The action was taken in response to local residents' concerns about having to dodge bullets while working in fields in the Fernbridge area and dairy owners who reported having to put down cattle struck by stray rounds. (Read more here.)

"The Eel River bar near Fernbridge is within one-half mile of a state highway and does not have the required safe shooting backdrop, therefore, it is unlawful under county code to conduct target shooting in that area," a news release from the sheriff's office states.

Target shooting in that area and others in the region (find a list here) are misdemeanors punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment or both.

Read the HCSO release below:
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office has received an increased number of reports regarding unsafe target shooting on the Eel River bar near Fernbridge putting residents and livestock at risk.  

The Sheriff’s Office reminds the public that pursuant to Humboldt County Code Section 915.5, target shooting with firearms is prohibited on the Eel River bar at/near Fernbridge.

Humboldt County Code prohibits target shooting with firearms in a public place within one-half mile of any state highway (915.5-6). Additionally, areas utilized for target shooting must have a 20-foot-tall backdrop of earth behind the target (915.5-8).

The Eel River bar near Fernbridge is within one-half mile of a state highway and does not have the required safe shooting backdrop, therefore, it is unlawful under County Code to conduct target shooting in that area. Violation of this code is a misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of up to $1,000, imprisonment, or both (915.5-9).  

Additional locations prohibiting the discharge of firearms can be reviewed here: https://humboldt.county.codes/Code/915 Anyone witnessing illegal target shooting is encouraged to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at (707) 268-2539.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , ,

Friday, May 21, 2021

Redwood Sky Walk Grand Opening Events Set

Posted By on Fri, May 21, 2021 at 12:54 PM

One of the suspended pathways. - EDDY ALEXANDER ON BEHALF OF THE CITY OF EUREKA
  • Eddy Alexander on behalf of the city of Eureka
  • One of the suspended pathways.
A series of special events are planned for the June 4 weekend to officially mark the opening of the Sequoia Park Zoo’s Redwood Sky Walk, including a forest bathing session  and special talks.

Some, including the grand opening ceremony, are invitation only while others, such as a yoga class and the "Old Growth, New Adventures" fundraising soiree for the Sequoia Park Playground Improvement Fund, require the purchase of tickets.

Find a full list of the events here.

A soft opening scheduled for May 14 was delayed due to the high winds that have blowing through the region for the last week or so and are expected to continue  through Saturday. It's unclear if the elevated walkway will be open to visitors before June.

When it does open, there will be a change in zoo admission prices, with differing amounts for Humboldt County residents and out-of-town visitors.

For adults (age 13 and older) the cost will be $14.95 and $24.95, children ages 3 to 12 at $10.95 and $11.95 and those age 2 and under are free. The admission cost includes access to the sky walk.

The zoo — which is not only the oldest operating in California and one of the nation’s smallest but one of the few that is still publicly owned — will be offering what the release describes as “special access programs” to “ensure the Sequoia Park Zoo will remain highly accessible to the entire community.”


The 100-foot-high suspended pathways through the trees is the longest in the western United States, according to the zoo, at just under a fourth of a mile to the end and back.

Masks are required for those 3 and older as some zoo denizens, including the otters, are potentially vulnerable to being infected by COVID-19.

Catch a glimpse of the sky walk in the slideshow below:
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Protect the Otters

Posted By on Tue, May 18, 2021 at 11:19 AM

River otters at the Sequoia Park Zoo Watershed Heroes exhibit. - PHOTO COURTESY OF SEQUOIA PARK ZOO
  • Photo courtesy of Sequoia Park Zoo
  • River otters at the Sequoia Park Zoo Watershed Heroes exhibit.
Sequoia Park Zoo will continue to mandate masks for guests who are 3 years old and older on the grounds that some animals, like the adorable river otters, are more susceptible to contracting the COVID-19 virus. 

In a video tweeted by the zoo, keeper Ruth Mock talks about why they wear masks and why guests should continue to do so, especially when visiting the otters.

"Thank you all for coming and wearing your mask, especially around the animals like the North American river otters, which are a species that we suspect are susceptible to COVID-19. That means that they can catch it from us," Mock says in the video. "We know that they can catch other types of the coronavirus, so we're just being extra careful when we're around the animals."

Watch the full video below.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , ,

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Condo of Condors Making Themselves at Home, Causing Quite a Scene

Posted By on Thu, May 6, 2021 at 4:39 PM

With the countdown on to the first California condors making their way back to the wilds of Humboldt County in a century, a group of the endangered birds — a gathering known as a "condo" or a "scarcity"  — has taken a liking to one woman's deck, roof and yard, apparently creating quite the scene.

About 15 to 20 of the birds have made themselves at home for the last several days, according to the daughter of the inland Southern California homeowner, who has been documenting the condor congregation saga on Twitter, capturing the attention of several media outlets, including SF Gate and the New York Times.

The extremely rare event is made even more extraordinary considering there were only 22 of the majestic birds left back in 1982, a fact not lost on the family.
The SF Gate article (written by former Journal staffer Ashley Harrell) quotes a response from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Twitter account, which notes the woman's home, which the Times reports is in the Tehachapi Mountains, is part of the bird's historic range and offers some advice.

“Unfortunately, [condors] sometimes perceive houses and decks as suitable perch locations,” the response states. “If this happens again, hazing to preclude them from causing damage and habituation is encouraged.”

Suggested deterrents include using a water hose or yelling and clapping. According to the daughter, who goes by Seana Lyn on Twitter, her mother went for the former and it seems to have brought some success, sending the condors to the trees.

Intelligent birds with a wingspan of nearly 10 feet, condors are highly social and often roost in groups.

Tianna Williams-Claussen, a Yurok tribal member and wildlife biologist who has been working on the local recovery project since its inception more than a decade ago, told the Journal back in May of 2019, they are "very fun to watch" and definitely have individual personalities that become apparent if you spend enough time with them.

Nearly lost to extinction in the 1980s, condors are integrally connected to the Yurok Tribe, which knowns the bird as prey-go-neesh, and others in the region, where the last reported sighting was near Drain, Oregon, in 1940.

(Read more about the Yurok Tribe's efforts in the Journal's May of 2019 story, "Bringing Prey-go-neesh Home" by clicking here.)

By this fall or next spring, after a release facility in Redwood National Park is completed, the first birds are expected to take flight, bringing California condors back to the northern reaches of its historic range, which once stretched to the Canadian border and east to Utah, Montana and Colorado.

Editor's Note: This story has been updated to correct that SF Gate wrote the piece.
  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Humboldt Company Fined $2M for Clean Water Act Violations

Posted By on Wed, May 5, 2021 at 11:20 AM

A U.S. District Court judge this week ordered a Humboldt County company to pay just more than $2 million in civil penalties for discharging pollutants into Hall Creek, a tributary to the Mad River, in violation of the Clean Water Act and for noncompliance with state and federal pollution control measures.

According to the May 2 order signed by Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, Kernen Construction Co. admitted to “the key allegations in the complaint" filed by the Arcata-based Californians for Alternatives to Toxics.

The fines, according to the order, were for 9,461 violations in connection with the company’s facility at 2350 Glendale Drive in McKinleyville, with 11 related to polluted storm water discharge and the remainder for failure to comply with “plans, technologies, monitoring and other preventative procedures and mechanisms” required by the state and the Clean Water Act.

“The Court finds these violations to be serious, as CAT has shown that (1) the water sampling data shows discharges of at least four toxic pollutants (lead, copper, pentachlorophenol, and zinc) that are harmful to animal and human life; and (2) the degree to which the discharges exceed EPA standards is significant,” Rogers wrote in reference to the discharges.

The fines were applied to violations dating back to November of 2017.

“That a small and endangered population of salmon still hangs on in Hall Creek is something to treasure and protect from toxic pollutants,” said CATs Executive Director Patty Clary said in a release. “This $2 million penalty should send the message that whether a stream supports fish or provides drinking water or other benefit, it is a public resource, not a dumping ground for industries looking to enhance their bottom line.”


Read the full CATs release below:

U.S. District Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers on Sunday ordered a Humboldt County construction company to pay $2,087,750 in civil penalties to the federal government for discharge of stormwater laden with toxic chemicals to a salmon-bearing stream without undertaking pollution control measures required by the Clean Water Act.

Arcata-based Californians for Alternatives to Toxics (CATs) brought the litigation against Kernen Construction Co. in McKinleyville for on-going discharge of pollutants at levels exceeding those set by regulators into a small stream that flows into Hall Creek, a tributary to the Mad River.

Of toxic pollutants found in samples Kernen must submit to regional water regulators are aluminum, which inhibits the ability of fish to breathe through their gills, at average concentrations 3,742 % above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency benchmark, and iron averaging 5,449 % above the benchmark. Among other pollutants found in water samples is pentachlorophenol, a highly toxic legacy chemical of former mill operations that killed more than 30,000 fish in Hall Creek and the lower Mad River in 1967. Hall Creek has since been listed as critical habitat for endangered salmon.

“That a small and endangered population of salmon still hangs on in Hall Creek is something to treasure and protect from toxic pollutants,” said Patty Clary, Executive Director of CATs. “This $2 million penalty should send the message that whether a stream supports fish or provides drinking water or other benefit, it is a public resource, not a dumping ground for industries looking to enhance their bottom line.”

Kernen Construction, located a few hundred yards north of the Mad River between McKinleyville and Blue Lake on Glendale Drive, admitted in court to on-going violations of the Clean Water Act from November 14, 2017 to the present. Judge Gonzalez Rogers determined that 9,461 violations by Kernen are on record for this period.

“The court roundly rejected Defendants’ arguments that the violations were minor, sending a clear message to the regulated community that they will be punished for violating our nation’s water quality laws,” said attorney Andrew Packard, who represents Plaintiff CATs in the Clean Water Act litigation against Kernen.

Referring also to a settlement of a lawsuit brought by CATs in 2016 against Kernen Construction for violations similar to those claimed in the current litigation, Bill Verick, attorney for Plaintiff CATs, said “This is the second go-round with this company and the second time they ignored their duty to come up with better pollution control when they exceeded EPA benchmarks. Hopefully, a $2 million fine will get their attention. If not, we’ll be back for a third go-round.”

Attorney William N. Carlon of The Law Offices of Andrew L. Packard also represents Plaintiff CATs.

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Humboldt County Fair Announces Dates, Fundraiser for the Ponies

Posted By on Wed, Apr 21, 2021 at 12:29 PM

The Humboldt County Fair announces dates and a fundraiser for race horse owners. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • The Humboldt County Fair announces dates and a fundraiser for race horse owners.
The Humboldt County Fair announced today plans (if all goes well) to hold the event from Aug. 18 to Aug. 29 with the theme "A Country Fair with a Western Flair."

According to a news release, the fair has set up a "Horses to Humboldt" GoFundMe page to help owners make their way to Ferndale this summer for a return of the races.

"It’s been a tough year for horses too as they have not been able to run races. Over the years, the cost for horse owners to travel, stall, feed, and insure their horses has continually gone up," the fair's release states. "The campaign is an effort to keep the local tradition alive of making heart-warming memories in Ferndale during the sunny days at the fair enjoying the horse races with friends and family by offering incentives to horse owners to attend."

The campaign has so far raised $5,000 of the $50,000 goal.

The fair was, of course, put on hold last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Read the full release and find more information on how to become a vendor below:
The Humboldt County Fair has announced their planned fair dates for the 2021 Humboldt County Fair. If all goes well with reopening plans, the Fair will be held starting Wednesday, August 18th and running through Sunday, August 29, 2021.

The Theme of the fair was chosen at the last Board meeting, “A County Fair with a Western Flair.” All phases of the fair are in the planning stages including Horseracing, Carnival, Vendors, Exhibits and Livestock. In an effort to secure more horses to run during the fair, there is currently a “Horses to Humboldt” GoFundMe page set up to help horses make the trip to Ferndale.

It’s been a tough year for horses too as they have not been able to run races. Over the years, the cost for horse owners to travel, stall, feed, and insure their horses has continually gone up. The campaign is an effort to keep the local tradition alive of making heart-warming memories in Ferndale during the sunny days at the fair enjoying the horse races with friends and family by offering incentives to horse owners to attend.

The “Horses to Humboldt” GoFundMe page can be found on the Humboldt County Fair’s Facebook page, or you can contact the fairgrounds office directly if you want to donate. The Fair is also looking for Vendors who would like to sell and promote their products and services in our Commercial Building during the fair.

Applications for commercial Vendors can be found on the HCF website https://www.humboldtcountyfair.org, by emailing humcofairentries@frontiernet.net, or by calling the Fair office at (707) 786-9511.

For more information about the fair, check for progress updates on their website, https://humboldtcountyfair.org/ or follow Humboldt County Fair on Facebook! We are looking forward to an exciting 2021 “County Fair with a Western Flair.”

  • Pin It
  • Favorite
  • Email

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Recent Comments

Care2 Take Action?

socialize

Facebook | Twitter

© 2021 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation