Environment / Natural Resources

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Yurok Broadband Connect Project a 'Game Changer' for the Tribe

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2020 at 6:45 PM

yurok_tribe.jpg
The Yurok Tribal Council recently approved a $2.1 million project to boost internet speeds and provide access to homes that have never been connected, according to an announcement today.

The Yurok Connect Broadband Project received funding from the CARES Act and is expected to be completed by the end of the year, the release states. Yurok Connect is a Tribe-owned wireless internet provider started in 2013.

“The Broadband Project will considerably enhance emergency communications on the reservation for decades to come,” said Yurok Joseph L. James, the chair of the Yurok Tribe, the release. “It will also create a wide range of additional benefits for tribal citizens, ranging from new economic opportunities to improved healthcare options. This is game changer for the Yurok Tribe.”

Read the full release below: 
The Yurok Tribal Council recently approved a $2.1 million project that will significantly boost Yurok Connect’s data transmission speeds and expand its coverage to many family homes that have never had access to the internet.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act-funded, Yurok Connect Broadband Project is expected to be completed before the end of this year. Launched in 2013, Yurok Connect is a Yurok Tribe-owned, wireless internet service provider.

“The Broadband Project will considerably enhance emergency communications on the reservation for decades to come,” said Joseph L. James, the Chairman of the Yurok Tribe. “It will also create a wide range of additional benefits for tribal citizens, ranging from new economic opportunities to improved healthcare options. This is game changer for the Yurok Tribe.”

“Yurok Connect customers and tribal government offices can expect to experience a night-and-day difference in the speed of our internet services,” added Jessica Engle, the Director of the Yurok Tribe’s Information Technology Department, who is overseeing this project on behalf of the Tribe. “This project is going to produce many positive outcomes, such as greater access to distance-learning platforms and virtual job opportunities, not to mention all of the other benefits associated with a fast internet service.”

In addition to elevating the Tribe’s emergency communications capacity, the Broadband Project will facilitate meaningful progress in several key areas, including: education, e-commerce, telehealth, natural disaster response and public safety. After the project is complete, Yurok Connect will offer 1 gigabit per second service, which is several times faster than what is currently offered.

Students on the reservation will be able to participate in online learning because the high-speed service offers sufficient bandwidth to sustain online teaching platforms.

Yurok Connect customers will be able to quickly communicate with their primary care physicians and other types of healthcare providers. For the first time, Yurok artists and traditional tradespeople will be able to sell their professional-quality products to patrons all over the world.

The Yurok Reservation, located in far Northern California, is in one of the most technologically disadvantaged parts of the state. Since its inception, Yurok Connect has secured several grants to gradually expand its coverage on the reservation, where the steep, forested terrain makes it particularly challenging and expensive to install broadband equipment.

Prior to receiving the CARES dollars, the IT Department developed a detailed plan for the Yurok Connect Broadband Project and acquired a grant to implement a portion of the now fully funded undertaking.

The department also obtained funding to hire EnerTribe, a Native American-owned firm, to engineer and construct the electronic infrastructure.

EnerTribe is currently re-engineering and building up the Yurok tower sites to accommodate better broadband speeds. The towers will also be equipped with cutting-edge, superior quality hardware to support fast internet velocities. "

We are thrilled to be working with our big brother and sister tribes at such a critical time. The pandemic has impacted Indigenous communities globally in such a devastating way and if broadband can help make it just a little easier for our tribal governments to operate, we are grateful to contribute," said E

nerTribe CEO Forest James (no relation to Chairman James). Simultaneous to the Broadband Project, the Tribe is working on strengthening emergency communications in other substantive ways. Many of the family homes outside of the current internet coverage area also do not have telephone services.

The Yurok IT Department secured two grants to get the existing broadband towers cellular ready and to begin a search for commercial carriers to take advantage of this opportunity, which will vastly expand cellphone reception on the reservation.

The department and EnerTribe are actively looking for a cellular provider to offer this much-needed service. This project is expected to be completed sometime next year.   

“The combination of the CARES Act funding and smart planning has accelerated our efforts to build a brighter future for the Yurok people,” Chairman James said. “I would like to commend the Tribal Council, the IT Department, EnerTribe and THPO for laying the groundwork to make these long-term reservation infrastructure improvements a reality.”

To date, the Tribal Council has strategically invested CARES Act dollars into multiple projects that address different challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis. For example, last week, the Tribe broke ground on a 20,000 square foot emergency operations center, which will serve as the headquarters for the Yurok Incident Command Team.

CARES dollars were used to start a forgivable grant program for tribal business owners and entrepreneurs. The Tribe has also sent $1,250 in relief funding to tribal citizens who are facing financial challenges because of the pandemic and are over the age of 18 by December 30, 2020.

The construction of the new internet infrastructure received funding from CARES Act and the three separate organizations, including the Tribal Nations Grant Fund, US Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration and the California Public Utilities Commission.


Launched in 2013, Yurok Connect offers inexpensive broadband internet to individuals, Tribal offices as well as Tribally owned and private businesses. The Yurok IT Department built the whole, wireless internet system from the ground up. The wireless internet service provider is a self-sustaining business administered entirely by Yurok citizens.

Note: Earlier this year, the California Public Utilities Commission funded the Klamath River Rural Broadband Initiative, which seeks to install fiber-optic cable from Orleans to Orick as well as from Weitchpec to Wautec on the Yurok Reservation. This project is currently in the permitting phase and will complement the Yurok Connect Broadband Project.       
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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Huffman Joins House Majority in Approving Defense Budget; Trump Threatens Veto Over Confederate Names on Bases

Posted By on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 at 5:48 PM

huffman-cropped.jpg
North Coast Rep. Jared Huffman today voted with the House majority to approve the National Defense Authorization Act, noting that while he has concerns about its size, he worked with his Congressional colleagues to include amendments addressing climate change, protecting public lands and cleaning polluted waterways, among others, in the bill.

Passed by a bipartisan vote of 295 to 125, the annual budget act authorizes $732 billion in discretionary spending for U.S. national defense for fiscal year 2021, according to Huffman’s release.

President Donald Trump threatened to veto the bill because it would require the Pentagon to rename bases and infrastructure bearing names of those who served in the Confederacy, according to national media reports.

The bill would also ban the display of the Confederate flag on Department of Defense property as well as create a $1 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Resilience National Security Fun. It does not provide funding for the border wall.

“This year’s NDAA is another unique opportunity to secure many priorities for my constituents, like blocking the Trump administration’s new nuclear arms race, addressing climate change, cleaning up polluted waters, and protecting our public lands – including my Northwest California public lands bill which I am happy to see pass out of the House for the second time this year,” Huffman states in the release. “For these reasons, I ultimately decided to vote for this year’s defense authorization bill in the House, and I will keep working with my colleagues to reduce the military budget and make other necessary fixes to the bill so I can hopefully support final conference report.”

Read the full release from Huffman’s office below:


Continue reading »

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Monday, July 13, 2020

Forest Service: Water Activities Prohibited During Karuk Tribe's World Renewal Ceremonies

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2020 at 3:24 PM

Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec. - FILE
  • File
  • Klamath River at Hopkins Creek, close to Weitchpec.

The Karuk Tribe is set to hold its World Renewal Ceremonies in Six Rivers and Klamath national forests from July through late September. In honor of these long-standing tribal traditions, outsiders will be prohibited from entering the water or launching watercraft during the ceremonies, the U.S. Forest Service has announced in a press release.

“The Karuk have conducted their ceremonies along the Klamath River since time immemorial, passing them down from generation to generation,” said Six Rivers National Forest Supervisor Ted McArthur in a press release. “The landscapes and rivers that we think of as the Six Rivers and Klamath national forests are woven into who the Karuk are as a people.”

Beginning at Sarah Totten Campground and continuing down the Klamath River, signs will be posted to alert river users about when and where launching is allowed and take-out encouraged, the press release states.

For more information about the specific locations and dates of the ceremonies, read the press release below:

Continue reading »

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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Rep. Huffman to Host Town Hall on Climate Crisis Action Plan

Posted By on Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 12:46 PM

Congressman Jared Huffman will host a virtual town hall on the newly released Climate Crisis Action Plan. On Thursday, July 16 at 4 p.m., Rep. Huffman will be joined by former State Senator Fran Pavley and President and CEO of Natural Resources Defense Council Gina McCarthy. Viewers can submit questions in advance to huffmanQandA@mail.house.gov or ask them live via Facebook live. Viewers can tune in to the town hall via Huffman's Facebook page as well as other media outlets.

For more information about the town hall read the full press release below.

On Thursday, July 16 at 4:00 p.m. PDT, Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) will host a virtual town hall on the newly released Climate Crisis Action Plan, a comprehensive Congressional framework to protect the health of all families, make sure our communities can withstand the impacts of climate change, and grow our economy and put Americans back to work. Rep. Huffman will be joined by former State Senator Fran Pavley, author of California’s landmark climate law AB32, and President and CEO of Natural Resources Defense Council Gina McCarthy for this community dialogue. Viewers can submit their questions in advance to huffmanQandA@mail.house.gov or ask them live via Facebook live.

If you have questions please contact the San Rafael office at (415) 258-9657.

Event Details:

When: Thursday, July 16th

Time: 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. PDT

Who:
Congressman Jared Huffman, Congressional District 2
Former State Senator Fran Pavley, author of California’s clean car law and the Global Warming Solutions Act
Gina McCarthy, President & CEO of NRDC, and former administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency

Where:
Facebook.com/RepHuffman
Marin TV Education Channel (Comcast Ch 30 and AT&T Ch 99) and streaming online at https://cmcm.tv/30
KSRO 1350-AM will air the town hall at 6:00 p.m., streaming at KSRO.com, or on the KSRO app
KZYX live on Mendocino County Public Broadcasting 90.7FM Philo, 91.5FM Willits and Ukiah, and 88.1FM Fort Bragg and streaming at https://www.kzyx.org/
KPCA live on 103.3FM or go to kpca.fm and click the "Listen Live" box.
* This is a partial list, media coverage will be updated early next week.

Please be advised that this is a virtual event; members of the press and public should not attempt to meet in person with the Congressman and his guests.
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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

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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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