Environment / Natural Resources

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Flat Fire Stretches to 100 Acres, Long Delays Expected on 299

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2020 at 9:00 AM

The Flat Fire. - PAUL TURNER
  • Paul Turner
  • The Flat Fire.
The Flat Fire that began a little after 3 p.m. yesterday near Burnt Ranch in western Trinity County when a crash on State Route 299 caught the hillside on fire, as of this morning, has spread to approximately 100 acres and is zero percent contained, according to the Northern California Geographic Coordination Center.

The fire is primarily burning in grass and brush.

“Minimal fire activity was reported overnight,” the center reported. “Structures remain threatened and an evacuation warning remains in place.”

The center warns that power-lines in the area are also threatened.

Caltrans tweeted this morning: “If you’re planning on traveling Route 299 east of Burnt Ranch in Trinity County (PM 13.2), please expect delays. Helicopter operations to fight the wildfire in the area could cause two-hour delays.”

Local resident Paul Turner who provided these images from the fire yesterday described seeing “the hot spots burning all night.”
The Flat Fire. - PAUL TURNER
  • Paul Turner
  • The Flat Fire.

The Flat Fire. - PAUL TURNER
  • Paul Turner
  • The Flat Fire.
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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Making the Grade: No Bummer Beaches for Humboldt this Year

Posted By on Tue, Jun 30, 2020 at 3:12 PM

An exceptional low tide at Luffenholtz Beach near Trinidad. - PHOTO BY MARK A. LARSON
  • Photo by Mark A. Larson
  • An exceptional low tide at Luffenholtz Beach near Trinidad.
Here’s some good news:  Humboldt County’s shores didn't make the “Bummer Beach” list in this year’s Heal the Bay report card on California’s coastline.

Clam Beach has been at the top of list in recent years and Luffenholtz Beach has also made an appearance or two. In fact, the Humboldt report shows above average grades with 80 percent of local beaches receiving an A or B during wet weather while that dropped to 60 percent for the region’s summer grades.

“A day at the beach shouldn’t make anyone sick,” Shelley Luce, President and CEO of Heal the Bay, said in a release. “We are glad to see water quality improving at some beaches, but there are no guarantees."

Find the full report here.

Read the Humboldt County section from the report below: 
HUMBOLDT COUNTY Summer Dry Grades were poor but still above average this year with just 60% of the beaches receiving A and B grades.

Wet Weather Grades were good and far above average this year with 80% of the beaches receiving A and B grades.

Humboldt County does not monitor its beaches in the winter months so there were no Winter Dry Grades and no beaches were eligible for the Honor Roll.

Humboldt County received 36 inches of rain, which is 11% lower than the historical average of 41 inches. Most of the rain fell during the winter months when the beaches are not monitored, so we do not know the full impact of the reduced rainfall.

There was one reported sewage spill that sent 5,300 gallons into the Eel River, which flows into the ocean south of Eureka. No beaches were closed as a result of the spill.

Can't see the PDF in mobile view? Try desktop view.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

Fire Safety Reminders for Six Rivers National Forest

Posted By on Mon, Jun 29, 2020 at 4:10 PM

The Six Rivers National Forest was established in 1947. - PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
  • The Six Rivers National Forest was established in 1947.
Six Rivers National Forrest is reminding residents ahead of the Fourth of July weekend that fire restrictions are in effect in the forest to protect visitors, communities, employees and natural resources. 

“Every unwanted wildfire causes needless damage and during this COVID-19 pandemic, increases virus exposure to our firefighters and the public,” Interagency Fire Chief Josh Mathieson said in a release. 

According to the release, fire restrictions prohibit igniting, building, maintaining or using a fire outside of developed recreation sites, designated fire-safe sites, and wilderness areas within the boundaries of the Six Rivers National Forest.

Read the full release below.
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Friday, June 26, 2020

Blue Lake Rancheria's Microgrid Efforts Make HuffPost

Posted By on Fri, Jun 26, 2020 at 3:44 PM

A line of cars waiting to fuel up stretches down the block at the Blue Lake Rancheria gas station, which used microgrid technology, including the solar panels above the pumps, to keep operating through the blackout. - PHOTO BY MARK MCKENNA
  • Photo by Mark McKenna
  • A line of cars waiting to fuel up stretches down the block at the Blue Lake Rancheria gas station, which used microgrid technology, including the solar panels above the pumps, to keep operating through the blackout.
A HuffPost story published today on the role microgrids play in keeping the lights on during natural disasters — focusing mainly on a community located on the Bay of Bengal in the wake of a cyclone — gives a cameo appearance to the Blue Lake Rancheria’s efforts.

The story describes the Rancheria’s microgrid system — built in collaboration with the Schatz Energy Research Center at Humboldt State — as being the “core of a sophisticated energy strategy designed to prepare the community for the growing impacts of climate change.”

That preparation was on full display back in October, when wildfire threats plunged Humboldt County into darkness.

While PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoffs may now seem long, long ago and far, far way in the wake of the pandemic, it was — of course — the Blue Lake Rancheria that provided a major lifeline to the community during that time.

Not only was the Rancheria able to keep its hotel in operation, but it provide a safe space for the medically fragile, kept the ice and gas flowing and allowed people to charge their phones and medical devices, among many other important services.

Read the full HuffPost story here.
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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Cal Fire Humboldt-Del Norte to Suspend Outdoor Vegetation Burning; Issues Warning Ahead of Fourth of July

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 at 1:15 PM

cal_fire_logo.png
Due to atmospheric conditions changing, Cal Fire Humboldt-Del Norte unit will be suspending outdoor vegetation burning in Humboldt, Del Norte and western Trinity counties.

Cal Fire would also like to remind residents to celebrate responsibly during the Fourth of July, as only fireworks with the "Safe and Sane" logo are legal for use in California. Local jurisdictions may have additional restrictions in place as well.

"CAL FIRE is warning the public of the state’s zero-tolerance regarding the use or sale of illegal fireworks. CAL FIRE is working closely with local law enforcement and firefighting agencies to seize illegal fireworks and prosecute those found in possession of them," an email from Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Savona states. 
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Friday, June 19, 2020

SCRAP Humboldt to Close Its Doors

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2020 at 2:32 PM

The store by the Arcata Marsh. - COURTESY OF SCRAP HUMBOLDT
  • Courtesy of SCRAP Humboldt
  • The store by the Arcata Marsh.
SCRAP Humboldt, a friend to many a crafty folk who enjoyed searching for treasure in its Arcata store, announced today that it will close at the end of July.

A news release from Director Kati Texas states SCRAP Humboldt wants to say the doors will one day reopen but that’s unclear at this time.

“SCRAP Humboldt filled our little niche in the material reclamation ecosystem, and that niche will remain, the release, which includes a long list of thanks, states. “But we can’t predict what the future will hold, so for now we need you all to be your own SCRAP. “

Read the full release below:
SCRAP Humboldt is sad to announce that we will be closing our doors at the end of July. Since we opened in 2012 we have enjoyed so much support from this community. We gratefully accepted your boxes of treasures, and took joy in helping crafty people of all ages find their inspiration while doing our part to keep useful things out of the landfill.

Thank you to all our customers. Thank you to every individual, business, and grant program who has given financial support. Thank you to every adult and child who has joined us to learn how to make beautiful things while keeping the planet beautiful. Thank you to you everyone who took the time to bring their creative reuse materials to us rather than letting them go to waste. Thank you to the Arcata Marsh Commons, our landlords for the years of support and patience. Thank you to the hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who have helped us every single day with jobs large and small. We truly couldn’t have done it without you.

We want to say that we will be back. SCRAP Humboldt filled our little niche in the material reclamation ecosystem, and that niche will remain. But we can’t predict what the future will hold, so for now we need you all to be your own SCRAP. Practice the four R’s - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot, and support the other places in our community that work to keep our planet clean and our hearts full.
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Thursday, June 11, 2020

EPA Announces $300,000 for Additional Humboldt Bay Cleanup, Reuse Effort

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2020 at 1:21 PM

Migrating geese take to the sky early Sunday morning from the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge. - MARK MCKENNA
  • Mark McKenna
  • Migrating geese take to the sky early Sunday morning from the Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) granted $300,000 in supplemental funding for ongoing redevelopment work on the Humboldt Bay.

Humboldt County is one of 25 successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grantees throughout the nation.

According to the release the funds will be used to complete the cleanup of five sites at the historic railroad Roundhouse Property in Samoa. 

"These funds will allow the non-profit Timber Heritage Association to take ownership of the property, clean up the contamination and allow the public to access this historical, cultural resource," the release states.

Read the full release below.

U.S. EPA Announces $300,000 for Additional Cleanup, Reuse Effort in California’s Humboldt Bay Harbor District

 

HUMBOLDT CTY.  — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced $300,000 in supplemental funding for ongoing redevelopment work on the Humboldt Bay in northern California’s Humboldt County. Humboldt County is one of 25 successful Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grantees nationally.

The RLF supplemental funds are being provided to communities with demonstrated successes in using the Revolving Loan program to clean up and redevelop brownfield sites. A brownfield is a property where expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Humboldt County will use the funds to complete the cleanup of five sites at the historic railroad Roundhouse Property in Samoa, Calif. These funds will allow the non-profit Timber Heritage Association to take ownership of the property, clean up the contamination and allow the public to access this historical, cultural resource. 

 

“Since 2014, EPA has invested $11.5 million to remove hazardous materials and revitalize brownfields in Humboldt County,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “Restoring the Humboldt Bay harbor area will create housing, community centers and economic opportunities for the area.”

 

“Cleaning up brownfields is good for the environment and the economy. Contaminated areas are dangerous blemishes that keep communities from using these lands to the fullest. It’s great to see the county and the hard-working Timber Heritage Association responsibly address lead contamination on this Samoa property,” said Representative Jared Huffman. “This grant is a great reinvestment for the county that will go a long way in revitalizing working lands and the communities that depend on them.” 

 

“It is exciting to see the success of the long journey to this milestone of housing and showcasing key Humboldt history,” said Larry Doss, Vice President of the Humboldt Bay Harbor District. “The buildings, the contents and the land speak to the amazing ingenuity of the local pioneers and their Redwood story.” 

 

“This is an outstanding example of what can happen when community partners come together with a common goal in mind.  Not only will this benefit those partners, even more so, it will benefit the greater community at large,” said Virginia Bass, Humboldt County Supervisor.  “The Samoa peninsula is truly Humboldt County’s diamond in the rough that is beginning to shine as the gem it is.”

 

When Revolving Loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned to the fund and lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community. To date, EPA’s Revolving Loan grantees across the country have completed 759 cleanups and attracted approximately 45,000 jobs and $8.4 billion in public and private funding.

Background

There are estimated to be more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S. All of the communities receiving supplemental funds per today’s announcement have census tracks designated as federal Opportunity Zones within their jurisdiction. An Opportunity Zone is an economically distressed community where new investment, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Most often, those who reside near these sites are low-income, minority, and disadvantaged Americans. When coupled with leveraged funds, such as other Brownfield grants or Opportunity Funds, Revolving Loans can be a powerful tool for revitalizing a community of need.

Grants awarded by EPA’s Brownfields Program provide communities across the country with an opportunity to transform contaminated sites into community assets that attract jobs and achieve broader economic development outcomes while taking advantage of existing infrastructure. Under President Trump, over 70% of the communities selected for Brownfields grants in 2019 were located in Opportunity Zones. Brownfields grants have been shown to:

  • Increase Local Tax Revenue: A study of 48 brownfield sites found that an estimated $29 million to $97 million in additional local tax revenue was generated in a single year after cleanup. This is two to seven times more than the $12.4 million EPA contributed to the cleanup of these sites.
  • Increase Residential Property Values: Another study found that property values of homes near revitalized brownfield sites increased between 5% and 15% following cleanup.

As of February 2020, under the EPA Brownfields Program, 31,516 properties have been assessed and 92,047 acres of idle land have been made ready for productive use. In addition, communities have been able to use Brownfields grants to attract 160,306 jobs and more than $31 billion of public and private funding.

The 2021 National Brownfields Training Conference will be held on April 26-30, 2021 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Offered every two years, this conference is the largest gathering of stakeholders focused on cleaning up and reusing formerly utilized commercial and industrial properties. EPA cosponsors this event with the International City/County Management Association.

For more on EPA’s Brownfields Program: http://www.epa.gov/brownfields

For more on Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grants: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/types-brownfields-grant-


 
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Thursday, June 4, 2020

Birth Announcement: It’s an HSU Geography Magazine!

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2020 at 12:27 PM

SUBMITTED
  • Submitted

Around 10 a.m. today, Humboldt State University's Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Analysis (GESA) gave birth to a healthy, brand new magazine. Dubbed Humboldt Geographic, the online journal is the culmination of 20 undergraduate students's efforts in a 2019 fall semester course taught by professors Matthew Derrick and Nick Perdue.

Reached while making final edits in his home, Derrick said it’s been a time of “upheaval” for the students, perhaps referring to the COVID-19 pandemic, the widespread economic uncertainty, the countrywide protests and riots and the university’s transition to online-only classes.


"It’s fun to finally get [the journal] done,” said Derrick, who also serves at the GESA Department Chair. “Our goal is to have a print version in the fall.”

The publication’s contents include department news, feature stories, nifty maps known as “geovisualizations,” alumni highlights and student research on topics ranging from marijuana cultivation to gray wolves to sex work in Humboldt County.

Derrick said he hopes the journal will serve as a bridge between the campus and the wider Humboldt community, giving outsiders a window into a department some might consider mysterious. (We may or may not have Googled “what does a geographer study?” Answer: pretty much everything involving people and places.)

For a more detailed answer, check out the magazine.


Editor's note: This story was updated from a previous version to correct an omission.
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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Mountain View Road Closed Through July 2

Posted By on Wed, Jun 3, 2020 at 2:23 PM

Mountain View Road between post mile marker 9.00 and 1.00 will be closed through July 2, 2020, due to culvert replacements.

Signs are posted and a detour will be provided.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Fire in the Seely Creek Area (VIDEO)

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2020 at 3:56 PM

Screenshot of video - KYM KEMP
  • Kym Kemp
  • Screenshot of video
A fire was reported in the Seely Creek area west of Redway near the Briceland Thorn and Shop Roads about 2:56 p.m.

According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Paul Savona, “A 1/4 acre fire is burning in the timber at a slow rate of spread.” Briceland Fire, Redway Fire, and Cal Fire were dispatched to the scene as well as a Cal Fire plane.

As of 3:40 p.m., Savona said, “Crews are actively working to suppress the fire. The cause is under investigation.”
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