Animals

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.

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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.”

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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Releases on the Trinity River to Significant Increase Flow This Week

Posted By on Thu, Apr 15, 2021 at 12:50 PM

The Trinity River. - BUREAU OF RECLAMATION
  • Bureau of Reclamation
  • The Trinity River.

Restoration flows will begin tomorrow, April 16, on the Trinity River to help improve conditions after another critically dry water year.

A flow schedule based on the expected amount of water available to support salmon restoration efforts on the Trinity River is brought forward by the Trinity Management Council each year.

This week's two-day schedule is slated to increase daily average flows from 300 cubic feet per second to 1,300 cubic feet per second.

That means rising and swifter water at a time when the rivers are already running high and cold. Earlier this month, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office and area residents rescued three swimmers who became stranded on a rock in the Trinity River at a day use area in Willow Creek.

"This year marks the third critically dry year in the last five years for the Trinity watershed," the Bureau of Reclamation release states. "The planned release schedule attempts to maximize benefits to the physical and biological character of the Trinity River, given the constraints of the limited amount of water available.

This week's release with be followed by other on April 21 and April 23 and a peak release to increase flows to 3,550 cfs on April 28. Two others are scheduled in May.

"Visitors near or on the river can expect river levels to increase during the flow releases and should take appropriate safety precautions," the release states. "Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases."

A daily schedule of flow releases is available at the program’s website www.trrp.net/restore/flows/current/.

Read the full release below:
WEAVERVILLE, Calif. – The Bureau of Reclamation announced today that this year’s restoration flow schedule for the Trinity River will begin on April 16. Each year, the Trinity Management Council advances a flow schedule based on the expected amount of water available to support salmon restoration efforts on the Trinity River.

Due to lack of precipitation and snowpack in the Trinity Mountains this winter, the flow schedule for 2021 is scaled to a critically dry water year. Critically dry is one of five water year types used by the Trinity River Restoration Program to decide how much reservoir water will be released in support of the program’s goals to improve habitat for anadromous fish—fish that migrate to fresh water from salt water to spawn—like salmon and steelhead. This year marks the third critically dry year in the last five years for the Trinity watershed. The planned release schedule attempts to maximize benefits to the physical and biological character of the Trinity River, given the constraints of the limited amount of water available.

Key components of the flow release schedule are:
  • April 16-17: Increase daily average flows from 300 cubic feet per second to 1,300 cfs
  • April 21: Decrease flows to 500 cfs
  • April 23: Increase flows to 1,500 cfs
  • April 28: Increase flows to peak release of 3,550 cfs
Thereafter, two additional flow increases to 1,950 cfs on May 6 and 1,600 cfs on May 28 are scheduled before flow decreases to summer baseflow (450 cfs) on June 18, which continues until September 30. Visitors near or on the river can expect river levels to increase during the flow releases and should take appropriate safety precautions. Landowners are advised to clear personal items from the floodplain prior to the releases.

A daily schedule of flow releases is available at the program’s website www.trrp.net/restore/flows/current/. The public may subscribe to automated notifications of Trinity River release changes (via phone or email) at https://www.trrp.net/restoration/flows/flow-release-notifications/. The Trinity Management Council is the governing body of the Trinity River Restoration Program. The council’s membership includes Hoopa Valley Tribe, Yurok Tribe, Trinity County, State of California, USDA-Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, NOAA Fisheries, and the Bureau of Reclamation.

For additional information, visit https://www.trrp.net/ or contact the office at 530-623-1800 (TTY 800-877-8339) info@trrp.net.
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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Fish and Wildlife: Don't Take the Fawns (with Video)

Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 12:50 PM

Don't take the fawns. - CDFW
  • CDFW
  • Don't take the fawns.
Fawn season is here and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is reminding the public that mother deer after hide their young in tall grass or brush, at times for hours, while out foraging.

“It is a very common mistake to believe a fawn has been abandoned when it’s found alone, even if the mother has not been seen in the area for a long period of time,” CDFW’s environmental program manager Northern Region Joe Croteau said in a news release. “It’s actually a survival strategy for the doe to separate from her fawns so as not to attract predators to the whereabouts of her young.”

Late spring to early summer is the peak time for the fawns to be born and CDFW often fields calls during these months from people who have taken the young deer, thinking they were abandoned, the release states.

Many times, the fawn are euthanized because long-term placements in zoos or wildlife facilities are limited and they can’t be returned to the wild.

Feeding or keeping deer is illegal and anyone who removes a young animal from the wild is required to contact the CDFW or bring the animal to a licensed wildlife center within 48 hours, the release states.

"To report an injured, sick or suspected orphaned fawn, contact your local CDFW regional office directly," the release states.

Read the full CDFW release below:

Late spring and early summer is the peak time for California’s deer herds to give birth to fawns, and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is issuing a reminder to well-intentioned people to not interact with the baby deer – even if they find one that appears to be abandoned.

Adult female deer often stash their fawns in tall grass or brush for many hours while they are out foraging for food.

“It is a very common mistake to believe a fawn has been abandoned when it’s found alone, even if the mother has not been seen in the area for a long period of time,” said Joe Croteau, environmental program manager with CDFW’s Northern Region. “It’s actually a survival strategy for the doe to separate from her fawns so as not to attract predators to the whereabouts of her young.”

Each year, CDFW and wildlife rehabilitation facilities are called to assist with fawns that have been removed from the wild by concerned members of the public recreating outdoors. With limited long-term placement options in zoos or other wildlife sanctuaries, the animals often have to be euthanized since they lack the survival skills to be released back into the wild and can become dangerous and difficult to keep as they become bigger.

To report an injured, sick or suspected orphaned fawn, contact your local CDFW regional office directly.

Anyone who removes a young animal from the wild is required to notify CDFW or take the animal to a permitted wildlife rehabilitator within 48 hours. Only a limited number of wildlife rehabilitation facilities are licensed to accept fawns.

It is both illegal to feed deer and keep deer in your personal possession. Both crimes are misdemeanors, each subject to penalties of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail. Learn more about the dangers and consequences of feeding deer in this CDFW video.

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Friday, April 9, 2021

One Lucky Cat: Fortuna Fire Comes to the Rescue

Posted By on Fri, Apr 9, 2021 at 12:37 PM

FORTUNA FIRE FACEBOOK PAGE
  • Fortuna Fire Facebook page
Do firefighters really rescue cats from trees? In Fortuna, yes, they do.

A team from the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department came to the rescue of a wayward kitten that became stuck this morning.

According to a Facebook post, Capt. Kyle Kertscher along with firefighters Riley Cameron, Myles Borgelin, and Alan Agnone worked together to retrieve the little gray cat from high up in the branches and bring the feline back into the arms of its owner.

Who says firefighters rescuing a kitten from a tree is just an old cliché? Not us! This morning we were called to do...

Posted by Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department on Friday, April 9, 2021
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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Eureka City Council to Talk Animals, Premium Pay for Grocery Workers

Posted By on Tue, Apr 6, 2021 at 3:34 PM

A proposed animal ordinance in Eureka would require cat owners with more than four to get a fancier's license while dog owners would need to do the same with four or more dogs and reptile owners with more than 10. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • A proposed animal ordinance in Eureka would require cat owners with more than four to get a fancier's license while dog owners would need to do the same with four or more dogs and reptile owners with more than 10.
Tonight, the Eureka City Council is set to discuss an update to the city’s animal ordinance which includes some major changes to the number and type of animals — big and small — people can keep in city limits.

The council will also consider requiring certain grocery stores to pay workers a premium wage, something the Arcata City Council considered last month before deciding to spend more time researching the issue.

The animal ordinance before the Eureka council has been a “work in progress for the better part of five  years,” Eureka Police Department Capt. Brian Stephen said during a March 9 workshop on the proposed changes.

Most of the ordinance now on the books dates back to 1959, with some minor adjustments in the 1990s, and it was in need of an overhaul to “address outdated issues,” according to Eureka Animal Control Officer Celeste Villarreal, who went through an overview of the updates.

The new version, she said at the workshop, is aimed at promoting responsible animal ownership rather than the previous focus on animal containment.

Villarreal noted the language has been revised several times in response to public input, including expanding the poultry section to allow for a wider range of birds and tweaks to the exotic pet section that removed length restrictions on snakes and caps on the number of reptiles that could be owned.

But, having more than 10 means an owner needs to obtain a “fanciers” license, with similar requirements applied to cat (more than four) and dog (four or more) owners.

Any license fees would be waived for foster and service animals, Villarreal said.

Other changes include new licensing for mini pigs and goats, which are limited to two over the age of 4 weeks, as well as allowances for certain livestock, if a property can “reasonably accommodate the animals.”

For larger animals, such as a cow or horse, a property would need to be at least 21,000 square feet instead of the 30,000 square feet now on the books.

Read the full proposed ordinance at the end of the story.

In other business, the city council will consider enacting an emergency ordinance on a pay requirement for grocery workers, who were among those still on the frontlines during the last year as much of the rest of Humboldt County went on shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The draft ordinance included in the agenda would require a premium pay of an additional $4 at grocery stores that employ more than 500 workers nationally and more than 15 per store in the city of Eureka or an additional $3 per hour at stores with more than 25 employees but fewer than 500 workers in the city.

Under the draft, a grocery store is defined as “a retail store that is located within the geographic limits of the city, and that sells primarily household foodstuffs for offsite consumption, including the sale of fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, baked foods, or prepared foods.

Also include would be a “retail store of any kind located within the geographic limits of the city that devotes 15 percent or more of its interior space to the sale of household foodstuffs for offsite consumption, including the sale of fresh produce, meats, poultry, fish, deli products, dairy products, canned foods, dry foods, beverages, baked foods, or prepared foods.”

The city council will be discussing premium pay just hours after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the state aims to reopen to pre-pandemic levels in mid-June, as long as hospitalizations and vaccine supplies remain stable. (Read more here.)

To view the full agenda and for more information on how to view the 6 p.m. meeting, click here.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Prey-go-neesh One Step Closer to Soaring in Humboldt Skies

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2021 at 12:12 PM

A wild-hatched condor. - COURTESY OF REDWOOD NATIONAL PARK
  • Courtesy of Redwood National Park
  • A wild-hatched condor.
After nearly a century, California condors will soon once again soar over Yurok ancestral lands, the culmination of years of work by the tribe on behalf of the bird Yurok people know as prey-go-neesh.

Nearly lost to extinction in the 1980s, condors are integrally connected to the Yurok Tribe and others in the region, where the last reported sighting was near Drain, Oregon, in 1940.

“For the last 20 years, the Yurok Tribe has been actively engaged in the restoration of the rivers, forests and prairies in our ancestral territory,” said Yurok Tribe Chair Joseph L. James in a news release “The reintroduction of the condor is one component of this effort to reconstruct the diverse environmental conditions that once existed in our region. We are extremely proud of the fact that our future generations will not know a world without prey-go-neesh. We are excited to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Redwood National Park on the final stages of the project and beyond.”

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

Ventana Wildlife intern Kristy Markowitz (front), Yurok Tribe wildlife technician Tiana Williams (center) and Ventana field technician Sayre Flannigan release a California condor in Big Sur. Photo by Chris West
  • Ventana Wildlife intern Kristy Markowitz (front), Yurok Tribe wildlife technician Tiana Williams (center) and Ventana field technician Sayre Flannigan release a California condor in Big Sur. Photo by Chris West

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.

Tomorrow, a final rule will be published in the Federal Register to designated condors involved in this reintroduction “as a nonessential, experimental population,”  which is needed to propel the collaborative effort by the Northern California Condor Restoration Program, Redwood National and State Parks and the Yurok Tribe forward.

Not long ago, a mere 22 sole survivors were sequestered in a small, remote mountainous area of Southern California and, by 1987, the last ones were taken into captivity for breeding, with hundreds of North America’s largest bird now returned to the wild.

Still condors remain vulnerable, mostly due to human interference partnered with a slow reproduction cycle that sees a female produce one solitary egg every other year.

“The return of condors to the skies above Redwood National and State Parks is a critical step toward recovery of this majestic landscape,” said Steve Mietz, superintendent of the Parks. “Working with our friends and partners, the Yurok Tribe and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we will continue the unparalleled success story of condor recovery allowing all Americans to visit the tallest trees in the world while watching one of the largest birds in the world soar overhead.”

But with another chance for the birds to spread their 10-foot wingspans, the hope is the Redwood National Park site will act as a gateway for the California condor to make new inroads into its former territory.

“The California condor is a shining example of how a species can be brought back from the brink of extinction through the power of partnerships,” said Paul Souza, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California-Great Basin Region. “I would like to thank the Yurok Tribe, National Park Service, our state partners, and others, who were instrumental in this project. Together, we can help recover and conserve this magnificent species for future generations.”

Read the full release below:

For the first time in 100 years, the endangered California condor will return to the Pacific Northwest. Once on the brink of extinction, this iconic species has made significant steps towards recovery. Today, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and the Yurok Tribe announced a final rule that will help facilitate the creation of a new California condor release facility for the reintroduction of condors to Yurok Ancestral Territory and Redwood National Park, which is in the northern portion of the species’ historic range. This facility will be operated by the Northern California Condor Restoration Program, a partnership between Redwood National Park and Yurok Tribe.

The rule will designate the condors affiliated with this program as a nonessential, experimental population under the Endangered Species Act. This status will provide needed flexibility in managing the reintroduced population, reduce the regulatory impact of reintroducing a federally listed species, and facilitate cooperative conservation. 

“The California condor is a shining example of how a species can be brought back from the brink of extinction through the power of partnerships,” said Paul Souza, Regional Director for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s California-Great Basin Region. “I would like to thank the Yurok Tribe, National Park Service, our state partners, and others, who were instrumental in this project. Together, we can help recover and conserve this magnificent species for future generations.”

With a wingspan of almost 10 feet, the California condor is the largest soaring land bird in North America. These massive vultures are essential members of their ecosystems and play a significant role in the spiritual and cultural beliefs of the Yurok Tribe, as well as many other Tribes, throughout northern California and the Pacific Northwest.

Over the past twelve years, the Yurok Tribe has led this reintroduction effort and completed a tremendous amount of legwork to prepare for the return of condors to the Pacific Northwest. Extensive environmental assessments, contaminant analyses, and community outreach were just a few of the requisite tasks. The Tribe completed this endeavor because the condor is an irreplaceable part of a sacred cultural landscape. Pending completion of the condor release facility, the anticipated release of condors would be fall of 2021 or spring of 2022.

“For the last 20 years, the Yurok Tribe has been actively engaged in the restoration of the rivers, forests and prairies in our ancestral territory. The reintroduction of the condor is one component of this effort to reconstruct the diverse environmental conditions that once existed in our region. We are extremely proud of the fact that our future generations will not know a world without prey-go-neesh. We are excited to work with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Redwood National Park on the final stages of the project and beyond,” said Joseph L. James, Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. 

California condors prehistorically ranged from California to Florida and, in contemporary times, from Western Canada to Northern Mexico. By the mid-20th century, condor populations drastically declined due to poaching and poisoning. In 1967, the California condor was listed as endangered. In 1982, only 23 condors survived worldwide. By 1987, all remaining wild condors were placed into a captive breeding program. Thus, began an intensive recovery program to save the species from extinction.

As a result of exemplary conservation partnerships, and intensive captive breeding and reintroduction efforts, there are now over 300 California condors in the wild in California, Arizona, Utah and Baja California. However, the bird is still listed as endangered and lead poisoning (largely caused by ingesting lead shot or fragments of lead bullets when feeding on carcasses) is listed as one of the species’ primary threats.

“The return of condors to the skies above Redwood National and State Parks is a critical step toward recovery of this majestic landscape,” said Steve Mietz, superintendent of Redwood National and State Parks. “Working with our friends and partners, the Yurok Tribe and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, we will continue the unparalleled success story of condor recovery allowing all Americans to visit the tallest trees in the world while watching one of the largest birds in the world soar overhead.”

“We are excited for this opportunity to bring these iconic birds back to California habitat that has not been occupied for decades,” said Stafford Lehr, Deputy Director of Wildlife and Fisheries for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. “These birds are important to the biodiversity of the landscape and we are pleased with the collaboration amongst state and federal agencies, the Yurok Tribe, and private companies to conserve this species.”

The final rule exempts most incidental take of condors within the nonessential experimental population, provided the take is unintentional and not due to negligent conduct. Although the rule exempts most incidental take, certain activities are prohibited within 656 feet (200 meters) of an occupied nest.

These include habitat alteration (e.g., removing trees, erecting structures, altering the nest structure or perches near the nest) and significant visual or noise disturbance (e.g., tree felling, chainsaws, helicopter overflights, concrete cutters, fireworks or explosives). There are two exemptions: emergency fuel treatment activities by federal, state, tribal, or local government agencies to reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires and responses to wildfire or other emergencies.

The final rule will publish in the Federal Register on March 24, 2021. The document can be found on www.regulations.gov by searching under docket number FWS–R1–ES–2018–0033. More information is available here: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=66364

The Yurok Tribe, California’s largest federally recognized tribe, exercises its inherent sovereignty in order to conserve, protect and restore Yurok natural resources and culture and the health and social well-being of existing and future Tribal members through its exercise of sovereign rights, culturally integrated methods and high quality scientific practices in coordination with the community, public agencies and private organizations. For more information about our work, visit http://www.yuroktribe.org/ or connect with us via Facebook.

The National Park Service Organic Act of 1916 established a single system of federally managed parks, monuments and reserved lands to promote and regulate their use and "....to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations." For more information about the National Park Service, please visit Facebook, Twitter or Flickr. For more information regarding Redwood National Park visit https://www.nps.gov/redw/index.htm.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information about our work and the people who make it happen, visit https://www.fws.gov/cno/ or connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Flickr.

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Thursday, February 25, 2021

Godwit Days Takes Flight Again, Virtually

Posted By on Thu, Feb 25, 2021 at 11:46 AM

Flying Godwits artwork by Gary Bloomfield
  • Flying Godwits artwork by Gary Bloomfield
After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Godwit Days Festival takes flight again — online! This year's festival, like so many beloved local events, has adapted itself for the times. Instead of taking to the marshes, mudflats and coasts, participants and guides will gather 'round their individual devices April 16 through 18 for live-streamed sessions like, The Big Hour: Facebook Live at the Arcata Marsh with Rob Fowler of Fowlerope Birding Tours & wildlife artist Gary Bloomfield, Zoom events like Humboldt Birding: Past, Present & Future, A Birds & Beers Social Zoom, as well as prerecorded lectures, sessions and more.  The winner of Humboldt County’s Bird of the Year for 2020, as well as winners in the 18th annual student bird art contest will also be announced online.

In a press release, Godwit Days Board chair Alex Stillman said, “We wanted to keep Godwit Days in the public eye after we had to cancel the April 2020 event, but we needed to do it safely and without spending much money; thus, we came up with a virtual festival. I hope people will enjoy the content and donate accordingly, so that we can return in 2022 with a full-blown, in-person festival.”

While the event is free, donations are gratefully accepted as they are what keeps the event alive and running year after year.

Keep abreast of updates and information on the Godwit Days Facebook page and look for the complete schedule and instruction for how to view the sessions, posted soon at www.godwitdays.org.

For more, read the press release below.

Godwit Days Festival Returns, Goes Virtual

You may be among the people who’ve been wondering what is happening with Godwit Days in 2021. Will it again be postponed due to Covid-19?

Well, the suspense is over! The Godwit Days Spring Migration Birding Festival will be offering a free, virtual, three-day program April 16 through 18. It will highlight some favorite species and the spots where they occur.

Most sessions will be 60 to 90 minutes in length, with breaks in between. Some will be live streamed (and also recorded for future viewing) and others will be pre-recorded and posted online.

Participants will be asked to make donations to keep the festival going, both this year and beyond. (In 2020, the festival had to cancel a mere 6 weeks before the event, after money had been spent that couldn’t be recouped.)

The complete program schedule will be posted soon at www.godwitdays.org, as will instructions on how to access the sessions. Among the sessions being planned:

· A Bird in the Hand: Banding at the Humboldt Bay Bird Observatory featuring HBBO staff and/or volunteers

· Curiosities & Oddities in the Humboldt State Wildlife Museum with Curator Tamar Danufsky

· Humboldt Birding: Past, Present & Future, A Birds & Beers Social Zoom

· Surveying Shorebirds of Humboldt Bay: Plenary Lecture by HSU wildlife professor Dr. Mark Colwell

· “The Big Hour”: Facebook Live at the Arcata Marsh with Rob Fowler of Fowlerope Birding Tours & wildlife artist Gary Bloomfield

· Bird Songs & Calls: An Identification Workshop with birder/biologist David Juliano

· Shorebird Fly-off: Facebook Live at the Arcata Marsh with Dr. Mark Colwell & Rob Fowler

· The Language of Birds: Keynote Lecture by Nathan Pieplow, blogger on recording, identifying, and interpreting bird sounds (www.earbirding.com)

· Seeking Amphibians in Del Norte County with California State Parks biologist Tony Kurz

· Tips & Techniques for Sketching Birds by Gary Bloomfield

· Spotted Owl Search with Green Diamond Resource Company staff, Rob Fowler & Gary Bloomfield

· A Tribute to Dr. Stanley Harris: Memories of HSU Ornithology Prof “Doc” Harris

Also to be posted on line during the festival: announcement of the winner of Humboldt County’s Bird of the Year for 2020, as well as winners in the 18th annual student bird art contest, cosponsored by Friends of the Arcata Marsh and Redwood Region Audubon Society (RRAS), and in the 16th annual student nature writing contest, sponsored by RRAS.

“We wanted to keep Godwit Days in the public eye after we had to cancel the April 2020 event,” says Board chair Alex Stillman. “But we needed to do it safely and without spending much money; thus, we came up with a virtual festival. I hope people will enjoy the content and donate accordingly, so that we can return in 2022 with a full-blown, in-person festival.”

Follow us on Facebook or visit www.godwitdays.org for festival updates or to make a tax-deductible contribution at any time.
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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

No Touching: It's Seal Pupping Season

Posted By on Wed, Feb 24, 2021 at 6:35 AM

Seal pups are cute, but don't touch. They are just waiting for mom to return. - FILE
  • File
  • Seal pups are cute, but don't touch. They are just waiting for mom to return.
The Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, which rescues animals along the coastlines of Humboldt and Del Norte counties, is reminding folks that it's seal pupping season.

That means encounters with a young one alone on the beach are possible — most likely because the mother is out foraging for food in the water — and it’s important to keep a distance and keep dogs away so she will return to her pup. And absolutely no touching.

If worried, the center has a stranding line that can be reached at (707) 951-4722 or click the “call now” feature on the nonprofit's Facebook page, which can be found here.

The center had its first rescue of the year this week — a harbor seal pup dubbed “Kai” that was found on Centerville Beach in McKinleyville and taken in being under observation by the center.

“He was put on watch for a couple of days on Centerville Beach in Humboldt County before determining that his mother was not returning,” a Facebook post states. “We brought him to the hospital here in Crescent City (on Monday) where he had a check-up with the veterinarian. He is just a couple days old and is doing well so far, with his only problem being a terrible case of the hiccups when he arrived.”

The center notes that donations play an important role in its efforts to rescue marine mammals in need. More information on how to help is also available on the center’s Facebook page.

Meet Kai! The first Harbor Seal pup of our busy season. He was put on watch for a couple of days on Centerville Beach...

Posted by Northcoast Marine Mammal Center on Tuesday, February 23, 2021
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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Rare Catch: 'Butters' the Albino Crab Finds a Home at HSU's Marine Lab

Posted By on Tue, Feb 9, 2021 at 1:51 PM

"Butters," a rare albino crab, has a new home at the HSU Marine Lab. - GRANT EBERLE/HSU MARINE LAB
  • Grant Eberle/HSU Marine Lab
  • "Butters," a rare albino crab, has a new home at the HSU Marine Lab.
An albino Dungeness crab caught in the Bay Area was brought up to local outfit Comet Fisheries, which help revive the unusual crustacean by placing it in an aeriated tank before HSU’s Marine Lab came Tuesday to take it to a new home.

It now goes by "Butters."

Based on pictures on a Facebook post by Comet Fisheries, based over at Woodley Island, a crab expert says looks like the real thing.

The crab has been taken in by HSU's Marine Lab, which notes it is not currently open to the public due to COVID-19.

" We will keep the crab until we are able to display it to the general public," a Facebook post by the lab on the Comet Fisheries' site states.
Scott Groth, a shellfish biologist with Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW),  described them as rare, according to an announcement from the Oregon Coast Aquarium when it had one on exhibit, possibly as rare as one in a million.

“In Oregon, we harvest between 15-20 million pounds of Dungeness a year,” Groth told the aquarium. “Each adult crab averages about two pounds. That’s something like 8 million crabs annually. We receive reports of these anomalous individuals maybe two or three times a year, so the odds of finding them are quite low.”

Edit's note: This story has been updated to correct where the crab was found and the role of a local fisheries outfit.
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