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The News
Humboldt Bay Dredging Faces Setbacks From State and Federal Agencies
Written by Natalya Estrada, California Report   

5/15/17

 

Dredging on Humboldt Bay could be done this year. So why is that such a big deal? Because it's been a decade since the bay has been cleaned and some 80 million gallons of mucky, goopy sludge has piled up. But in order to dredge the bay, the harbor district and city of Eureka need approval from the Environmental Protection Agency, along with other federal and state agencies about where to put that gunk. And those approvals are moving about as fast as boats in thick mud.

 

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No relief funds for crab fishermen: What next?
Written by Will Houston, Times-Standard   

California crab fishermen discuss consequences of poor seasons

 

5/13/17

After four years of poor crab and salmon fishing, including one of the worst crab seasons in recent memory, local fisherman and Eureka resident Bob Borck decided in November that it was time to move on. After selling his fishing vessel — the Belle J II — of four years in January, Borck is now planning to start work as a contractor.

“I couldn’t be married to the boat,” he said Friday. “I’ve got enough family responsibilities on shore that it was too difficult to dedicate it to everything it needed to be.” Borck said he isn’t walking away from the industry completely if the right opportunity presents itself. But he said isn’t pining to return to it either, especially following a “pretty hard financial beating” after toxic algae blooms closed the 2015-16 Dungeness crab season for six months, placing many fishermen into debt.

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EPA Says Eureka, Harbor District Should Have Known Dredging Disposal on the Beach Wouldn’t be Allowed
Written by Ryan Burns, Lost Coast Outpost   

 

5/5/17

 

Until late last week, the City of Eureka and the Humboldt County Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District, the two agencies responsible for performing maintenance dredging, planned to dump the dredge spoils on a beach along the Samoa Peninsula, as they have for years.

 

EPA public affairs officer Bill Keener said beach dumping is not allowed because the sediment from the bay is primarily composed of fine-grain silts and mud, making it inappropriate for the surf zone on sandy beaches. “However, the 1998 permit for the Harbor’s dredging was inappropriately issued by the [U.S. Army] Corps of Engineers allowing continued surf-zone disposal,” Keener explained. “[The] EPA, the Corps, and the Coastal Commission all agreed to allow that permit to stay in force, in order to give the Harbor time to plan (and budget) for a different dredging operation after the permit expired in 2008.”

 

So when the City and Harbor District last dredged the marinas, in 2007, it was considered the last use of that 1998 permit. Keener said regulators were unambiguous on this point. “[The] EPA (as well as the Army Corps and the California Coastal Commission) made it clear both in 1998, and at the time of the final dredging under the old permit in 2007, that the permit could not be renewed the same way.”

 

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EPA Rejects Eureka/Harbor District’s Plan to Dump Dredge Spoils on the Beach
Written by Ryan Burns, Lost Coast Outpost   

 

5/3/17

 

Time for a Plan B.

 

Back in March, Eureka Parks and Recreation Director Miles Slattery outlined a plan for where to put the sediment that has accumulated along the bay floor at the Woodley Island Marina and Eureka’s public marina. Both the City of Eureka and the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District had agreed to pursue a plan to deposit the sludgy dredge spoils on a beach on the Samoa Peninsula. That’s where such materials have been deposited for decades, including last time the marinas were dredged, back in 2007.

 

But yesterday, in a conference call with staff from the Harbor District and the City, officials with the Environmental Protection Agency rejected that plan in no uncertain terms. 

 

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Harbor district illegally renting warehouse to businesses displaced by pot
Written by Will Houston, Times-Standard   

3/18/17


Humboldt Bay harbor district Executive Director Jack Crider confirmed Friday that the district has been illegally renting its Samoa pulp mill property to businesses in full awareness that it is violating county land use laws.

Crider said his decision to rent to these four businesses “was all about saving jobs in this community” and said the county government is aware of the district’s actions.

Some of the businesses currently renting the district’s property — such as An Electrician, Inc. — were displaced from their previous locations due to the newly regulated marijuana industry, Crider said.

“What triggered the whole thing was the desperation of local businesses that were getting forced out because of the cannabis industry,” he said. “The warehouses in town and everywhere else were being sold at an incredible price. The tenants were being kicked out, forced to vacate.”

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