Outdoors

Monday, June 20, 2022

Hot Opening to Summer

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2022 at 7:24 PM

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It's going to warm up tomorrow and the next day, especially inland, for the first official two days of summer.

According to the Eureka office of the National Weather Service, a high pressure aloft "will result in increasingly hot interior temperatures through mid-week."

Garberville and Hoopa are forecast to hit 100 degrees Tuesday and 98 and 99, respectively, on Wednesday while Willow Creek is expected to hit 101 followed by 100.

On the coast, "cool northerly winds will persist" each afternoon over the next two days, with Eureka expected to hit 73 tomorrow and 70 on Wednesday, according to NWS.

For more local weather information, visit weather.gov/eka.
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Thursday, June 2, 2022

Back to the Beach: Kids Ocean Day 2022

Posted By on Thu, Jun 2, 2022 at 5:10 PM

Local school children participated in this year's Kids Ocean Day. - PHOTO BY J PATRICK CUDAHY
  • Photo by J Patrick Cudahy
  • Local school children participated in this year's Kids Ocean Day.
Hundreds of Humboldt County school children participated in this year's 17th annual Kids Ocean Day event by helping to restore dune habitat at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area on the South Spit of Humboldt Bay.

To mark the day, the kids joined together with their classmates, teachers and volunteers to form the shape of three ochre sea stars and the message, "Restore Joy," which was captured from the air by photographer J Patrick Cudahy with the help of pilot Mark Harris.

The choice highlights not only the plight of the sea creatures devastated by sea star wasting disease in recent years but also the encouraging signs that the brightly colored echinoderms are once again becoming a familiar sight up and down the West Coast.

“This is our 17th Annual Kids Ocean Day event in Humboldt County, and our first time back since 2019. This is our comeback story, much like the ochre sea stars, and I am so proud to be a part of it,” Friends of the Dunes education coordinator Emily Baxter said in a release. “During this event students from all over Humboldt County come together to not only be coastal stewards but also to have fun! For many of these kids, this is one of their first field trips since coming back to school full time, so we are excited to bring back a joyous occasion that they look forward to every year.”

The event is part of a statewide educational program funded by the California Coastal Commission.

“It’s so wonderful that we are able to hold this event once again,’’ said Coastal Commission Chair Donne Brownsey said in a release. “The students who take part in Kid’s Ocean Day are demonstrating how to be good stewards of our precious coast and ocean, and reminding us of the joy of connecting with nature. They are truly role models.”

Read more in the Friends of the Dunes release below:

About 700 local students spent their school day caring for the coast during the 17th Annual Kids Ocean Day event at the Mike Thompson Wildlife Area, South Spit of the Humboldt Bay.

After spending the day restoring dune habitat and picking up trash, students, teachers, and volunteers formed three ochre sea stars with the message "Restore Joy.”

Local pilot Mark Harris flew over while photographer Patrick Cudahy captured the image.

Friends of the Dunes and the Bureau of Land Management Arcata Field Office organized the Kids Ocean Day event locally, with help from the California Conservation Corps, California State Parks Lifeguards, and US Fish & Wildlife Service.

The Humboldt County event was part of the statewide Kids Ocean Day program funded by the California Coastal Commission, a series of student cleanups and aerial art displays at five sites along the California Coast.

Across the state, students received classroom presentations highlighting the biodiversity of California’s coastal environments, how we are connected to these habitats through watersheds, and the importance of protecting our coast and ocean.

Kids all along the coast of California participated in beach cleanup events throughout late May and early June, leading up to World Ocean Day on June 8, a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future.

In Humboldt County, students participated in a day of ecosystem restoration, removing non-native invasive plant species to create space for native biodiversity, along with trash removal.

This year each site focused on a message of Joy. Our image of three ochre stars (Pisaster ochraceus) was chosen because these ocean animals were hit hard by a sea star wasting syndrome almost 10 years ago with huge die-offs along the west coast.

In recent years, populations of sea stars have been recovering and they are once again becoming a common sighting on northern California beaches.

“This is our 17th Annual Kids Ocean Day event in Humboldt County, and our first time back since 2019. This is our comeback story, much like the ochre sea stars, and I am so proud to be a part of it.” said Emily Baxter, Friends of the Dunes Education Coordinator. “During this event students from all over Humboldt County come together to not only be coastal stewards but also to have fun! For many of these kids, this is one of their first field trips since coming back to school full time, so we are excited to bring back a joyous occasion that they look forward to every year.”

“It’s so wonderful that we are able to hold this event once again,’’ said Coastal Commission Chair Donne Brownsey. “The students who take part in Kid’s Ocean Day are demonstrating how to be good stewards of our precious coast and ocean, and reminding us of the joy of connecting with nature. They are truly role models.”

The Coastal Commission provides financial support to Kids Ocean Day efforts statewide with proceeds from the Whale Tail License Plate and voluntary donations on the state tax return to the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund.

Participating Schools included: Blue Lake Elementary, Bridgeville Elementary, Fuente Nueva Charter School, Jacoby Creek, Loleta, McKinleyville Middle, Pacific Union School, Redway Elementary, Sunny Brae Middle School, Walker (South Fortuna) Elementary, and Washington Elementary.

Friends of the Dunes is dedicated to conserving the natural diversity of coastal environments through community supported education and stewardship programs. Projects include the Bay to Dunes school education program, Dune Ecosystem Restoration Team, and the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. For more information visit friendsofthedunes.org.

The Bureau of Land Management’s Arcata Field Office is responsible for the administration of natural resources, lands, and mineral programs on approximately 200,000 acres of public land in Northwestern California. The Area includes the 60,000-acre King Range National Conservation Area and the 7,472-acre Headwaters Forest Reserve.

This annual event was started by the Malibu Foundation for Environmental Education and the California Coastal Commission in Los Angeles in 1994.

With funding from the Whale Tail License Plate, this program expanded to the North Coast in 2005. The program focuses on reaching children in underserved and inland schools.

The California Coastal Commission is committed to protecting and enhancing California’s coast and ocean for present and future generations. It does so through careful planning and regulation of environmentally-sustainable development, strong public participation, education, and effective intergovernmental coordination.

The Kids’ Ocean Day program is part of the Commission’s effort to raise public awareness of marine and coastal resources and promote coastal stewardship. Funding for this program comes from sales of the WHALE TAIL® License Plate and donations to the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund on the California state tax return. For more information about the California Coastal Commission’s programs and how to buy a Whale Tail Plate, call (800) COAST-4U or visit www.coastforyou.org.
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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Wet, Windy Weekend in the Forecast

Posted By on Wed, Jun 1, 2022 at 11:17 AM

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June is here and rain is in the forecast.

The Eureka office of the National Weather Service reports this weekend is expected to be unusually wet, with the possibility of a quarter inch or more falling between 5 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday.

"This will be a warm storm with mild temperatures and high snow levels," NWS states in a Facebook post. "If you are planning outdoor activities this weekend, be ready for wet weather conditions and possibly gusty winds."

There is a slight chance for light rain or drizzle as early as Thursday night and Friday.

"Probabilities for a tenth of an inch or more will increase on Saturday, however gusty southerly winds in advance of the front may limit the rain amounts around Humboldt Bay and the greater Eureka area," the post states.


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Monday, May 23, 2022

Third Condor Set to Fly Free

Posted By on Mon, May 23, 2022 at 6:19 PM

A2 and A3 interact after A3 returns to the enclosure site after a two-week absence. - YUROK TRIBE FACEBOOK
  • Yurok Tribe Facebook
  • A2 and A3 interact after A3 returns to the enclosure site after a two-week absence.
The Northern California Condor Restoration Program is readying to send a third condor out into the wilds of Humboldt County on Wednesday to join two others — A2 and A3 — that took their first foray earlier this month.

A change in the weather forecast is delaying the previous plan to go forward on Tuesday.

The release of A0 — which will be live streamed —  marks the first flight of a female condor in the region in more than a century. But first, the bird has to cooperate by entering a smaller pen next to the main enclosure that has a door to the outside, a process successfully navigated by A2 and A3 on May 3.


After leaving first, A3 was nicknamed "Poy’-we-son," which the Yurok Tribe said translates to "the one who goes ahead, but also harks back to the traditional name for a headman of a village, who helps lead and guide the village in a good way,” while A2’s nickname, "Nes-kwe-chokw,’" translates to “He returns” or “He arrives."


The last of the young condors is expected to be let out sometime next month.



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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Condors Return to the North Coast's Skies (with Video)

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2022 at 3:34 PM

The first two condors were released today, A3 and A2. - COURTESY OF THE YUROK TRIBE
  • Courtesy of the Yurok Tribe
  • The first two condors were released today, A3 and A2.
Just around 10:30 a.m. today, two young California condors made their first venture into the wild and the Northern California Condor Restoration Program took flight, bringing the bird known to the Yurok Tribe as prey-go-neesh back to the skies over their ancestral lands after more than a century of absence.

The moment culminates 15 years of planning, outreach and research by the Yurok Tribe, which is spearheading the program in partnership with the National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and marks the critically endangered species' first release into the northern reaches of its former territory.

Yurok Wildlife Department Director Tiana Williams-Claussen teared up during a live stream of the event as she watched the two captive-raised birds spread their massive wings in the wide open for the very first time.
"I'm so deeply happy," she said, thanking the indivuals and agencies that have been a part of the effort and especially thanking the tribe's elders for realizing the cultural and ecological importance of bringing the sacred bird back to Yurok lands. "I'm so grateful for the day to have finally come."

A3, an almost 2-year-old male that made his way out first, has been nicknamed 
"Poy’-we-son," which the Yurok Tribe said translates to "the one who goes ahead, but also harks back to the traditional name for a headman of a village, who helps lead and guide the village in a good way."

He has shown dominate traits during his stay with the three other juvenile condors as the group spent the last several weeks socializing and picking up lifeskills from mentor bird No. 46, which is currently on loan to the Northern California restoration program.

Williams-Claussen says she expects Poy'-we-son to be a leader of the flock that will be expanded with new birds every year for the next 20 years or so, with the goal of building up a self-sustaining population that eventually makes its way into the Pacific Northwest.

Second to take flight was A2, nicknamed "Nes-kwe-chokw,’" which translates to “He returns” or “He arrives," which Williams-Claussen says "is representative of the historic moment we just underwent, and condors’ return, free-flying, to the Yurok and surrounding landscape."

She describes A2 as a "confident bird" that is "often seen jockeying with A3 in play" but also to establish his place in the flock's hierarchy, and "with the will to do well in the wild."

The other two — A1 and A0, the sole female  — are slated to be released at a later date, in part because A1 has a broken satellite transmitter that can't be repaired until June or so.

While Poy’-we-son and  Nes-kwe-chokw are free to soar on the thermals that they can ride for 100 miles without flapping a wing, the program's staff will continue to monitor the birds' movements via radio and satellite transmitters.

The three remaining condors in the heavily fortressed enclosure in Redwoods National and State Parks are expected to draw Poy’-we-son and  Nes-kwe-chokw
back to the hillside, where staff will continue to put out carrion for feedings in an open but fenced area adjacent to the wire-encased atrium, allowing the socializing to continue through the mesh as the highly interactive birds adapt to their new surroundings.
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Monday, May 2, 2022

First Condor Release Set for Tomorrow

Posted By on Mon, May 2, 2022 at 4:53 PM

The Yurok Tribe is preparing for the first condor release tomorrow. - COURTESY OF THE YUROK TRIBE
  • Courtesy of the Yurok Tribe
  • The Yurok Tribe is preparing for the first condor release tomorrow.
Two California condors are slated to be released into Redwood National and State Parks tomorrow, becoming the first to soar over the North Coast in more than a century.

It's a moment the Yurok Tribe has been working toward for 15 years, with the flight not only marking the captive-born birds' first foray into the wild but a new beginning for the endangered species in the northern reaches of its historic range.

The tribe's connection with the bird they call prey-go-neesh goes back to the beginning of time, with the condor considered to be among Earth's first creatures and the one that carries their prayers to the Creator.

“For countless generations, the Yurok people have upheld a sacred responsibility to maintain balance in the natural world. Condor reintroduction is a real-life manifestation of our cultural commitment to restore and protect the planet for future generations,” said Joseph L. James, the Chair of the Yurok Tribe. “On behalf of the Yurok Tribe, I would like to thank all of the individuals, agencies and organizations that helped us prepare to welcome prey-go-neesh (condor) back to our homeland.”

But the first move is up to the condors, which will need to "voluntarily enter a designated staging area with access to the outside world," according to a release from the Yurok Tribe. "If the birds do not enter the transition zone by 4 p.m., a second attempt to release the birds will occur at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, May 4.

Two of the four young birds that arrived in Humboldt County back in March will be up for release first, with the others following at a later date. The release will be live streamed at www.yuroktribe.org/yurok-condor-live-feed and on the Yurok Tribe's Facebook page.

The last condor sighting on the North Coast was in 1892 after decades of decimation by settlers, who shot and poisoned the birds considered sacred in Yurok tradition.

“The loss of the condor has limited our capacity to be Yurok because prey-go-neesh is such an important part of our culture and traditions. In a very real way, restoring condor habitat and returning condor to Yurok skies is a clear restoration of the Yurok people, homeland, ecological systems, culture, and lifeway,” said Yurok Wildlife Department Director Tiana Williams-Claussen, a Yurok citizen and traditional culture bearer, who has dedicated her entire professional career to condor reintroduction.

“I have a 3-year-old-daughter. She is going to grow up with condors in her sky for her entire life. She is not going to know what it is to miss condors," Willams-Claussen said. "She will always live in relationship with condors, which is really what this project is all about — bringing condor home, back into our communities, back into our conversations, back into our households, and into the minds and hearts of our children on behalf of the hearts of our elders.”

Back in 1982, only 22 remained in a small pocket of mountainous area in Southern California. Five years later, the last of the wild condors were placed into captive breeding programs in a race against time to save the largest bird in North America.

Over the intervening years, the California Condor Recovery Program has seen many success stories, with close to 500 of the largest birds in North American now at release sites operating in California — including Big Sur and Pinnacles — as well as Arizona and Baja California, Mexico.

Now, Northern California is added to the list.


These first four condors (three are male and one is female) will be followed over the years by more releases, with the ultimate hope of creating a sustainable population that will eventually spreads its wings up into Oregon and Washington.

“We are fortunate to be able to develop our program based on an immense quantity of Traditional Ecological Knowledge and 30 years of real-world condor recovery experience from our partners within the California Condor Recovery Program," said Chris West, senior biologist and manager of the Yurok Condor Restoration Program. "We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants. For these reasons, I have no doubt that our reintroduction will serve as a gateway to bring the condor back to the Pacific Northwest.” 

Find the full release below:


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Friday, April 29, 2022

Dive Team Set to Look For Missing Fishermen

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2022 at 4:08 PM

Scott Arbaugh, 70, of Eureka, and his son Josh Arbaugh, 49, remain missing. - HCSO FACEBOOK
  • HCSO Facebook
  • Scott Arbaugh, 70, of Eureka, and his son Josh Arbaugh, 49, remain missing.
Humboldt Bay Fire's Dive Recovery and Rescue Team is preparing for a recovery dive in Humboldt Bay, looking for a father and sonwho went missing near King Salmon while boating in Humboldt Bay on Tuesday.

The team, working in conjunction with the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District and California Fish and Wildlife, performed sonar scans earlier today and is currently preparing for a dive in the waters near where the men's boat was recovered Wednesday.

"We ask that community members avoid the area so that our crews can do their work," a press release states. "Even well-meaning self-initiated searchers can inadvertently have a negative effect on the search by reducing visibility and cluttering the waters. We will provide regular updates as they are available."

Scott Arbaugh and his son, Josh Arbaugh, both of Eureka, were reported missing after launching their 16-foot boat into Humboldt Bay to do some fishing. The boat was then found shortly after midnight, partially submerged, about a half-mile from King Salmon, with no sign of the men.

See the full release from Humboldt Bay Fire copied below.

The Humboldt Bay Fire Dive Rescue and Recovery Team along with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District and California Fish & Wildlife are currently continuing search efforts for the two men who went missing near King Salmon on Tuesday, April 26 based off of information received from the U.S. Coast Guard and Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

The team, along with Fish & Wildlife performed sonar scans earlier today and are currently preparing for a dive in the waters near where the boat was recovered mid-day on Wednesday, April 27.

We ask that community members avoid the area so that our crews can do their work. Even well-meaning selfinitiated searchers can inadvertently have a negative effect on the search by reducing visibility and cluttering the waters. We will provide regular updates as they are available.
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Thursday, April 21, 2022

Burl Thieves Strike Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2022 at 11:35 AM

The latest damage done by burl thieves. - CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS
  • California State Parks
  • The latest damage done by burl thieves.
California State Parks rangers are asking for the public's help to identify burl thieves who recently struck in Humboldt Redwoods State Park, the latest in a rash of incidents involving old growth redwood trees.

The most recent damage left a 4-foot by 3 foot by 2 foot gorge in the base of a tree.

"The redwood burl wood was poorly cut and would likely still be in multiple roughly  block pieces," a state parks release states.

According to the release, park rangers have identified a light-colored Ford F250, carrying two potential suspects, that was missing a license plate and the tail gate as the vehicle connected to this illegal cutting and others.
The suspect vehicle. - CALIFORNIA STATE PARKS
  • California State Parks
  • The suspect vehicle.

Coveted by woodworkers for crafting everything from artisan bowls to clocks and coffee tables, old growth redwood burl can draw a hefty price, but trading in pilfered wood can come with a high cost — not just for a singular tree but also the species' future.

Most commonly found at the base but sometimes occurring higher up, burl is the main way redwoods reproduce — the other being by seed — with the knotty bulbs holding genetic tissue capable of sprouting an exact replica of the parent tree, known as a "clone."

Cutting off the burls can interrupt this propagation process and leave the trees vulnerable to disease and infection.

Anyone with information is asked to call Ranger Kuhnhofer at 946-1818 or the park's tip line at 946-1816.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Wind, Rain and Snow Forecast for Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2022 at 2:56 PM

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Some more weather is heading this way Wednesday morning with the arrival of strong southerly winds that are expected to stay around for most of the day.

The Eureka office of the National Weather Service has issued a wind advisory for southwestern, northern interior and southern interior areas of Humboldt County, with gusts up to 45 mph.

Meanwhile, more rain and higher elevation snow are also in the forecast, with the coast getting hit first around 5 a.m. before the rain moves inland.

"Steady rainfall will taper off in the afternoon, but showers will continue through Friday morning," according to the NWS.

For more information, visit www.weather.gov/eka.
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Thursday, April 14, 2022

Fish and Wildlife to Ban Crab Traps for Recreational Season

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2022 at 3:50 PM

Effective April 24 at 7 p.m., the California Department of Fish and Wildlife is prohibiting the use of crab traps for recreational catches due to an increased risk of whale entanglement.

"This restriction is being implemented because of the unusually large number of humpback whales that have migrated back to California waters earlier than in previous years and because of several recent humpback whale entanglements involving California commercial Dungeness crab fishing gear and gear of unknown origin," the CDFW announcement states. "This statewide trap restriction will help minimize risk of entanglement as humpback whales continue to return to forage in California waters during the spring and summer months."

The announcement comes one week after the CDFW made the decision to shut down the commercial season early, on April 20, for the same reasons. 



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