The Humboldt Bay area may become the site of the first offshore wind energy project on the west coast of North America. The pieces are quickly falling into place for Redwood Coast Energy Authority to become the first local government entity to apply for a commercial offshore wind lease from the federal government. Unlike land-based projects, this lease bid would be just the beginning of a series of studies and related permits that could culminate in project development in 5-7 years.

Humboldt Baykeeper was launched in October 2004 to safeguard our coastal resources for the health, enjoyment, and economic strength of the Humboldt Bay community through education, scientific research, and enforcement of laws to fight pollution.

 

Our Staff:


Jennifer Kalt, Director

707.499.3678
jkalt [AT] humboldtbaykeeper.org  
 
Jasmin Segura, Bay Tours Coordinator
707.407.6183 
jasmin [AT] humboldtbaykeeper.org
 

Humboldt Baykeeper is a program of the Northcoast Environmental Center, a non-profit organization devoted to conserving, protecting, and celebrating terrestrial, aquatic, and marine ecosystems of northern California and southern Oregon.

Our Tax ID# is 23-7122386. Please specify that your donation is intended for Humboldt Baykeeper.

 

Board of Directors:

Larry Glass - President, Representative for Safe Alternatives For Our Forest Environment
Dan Sealy Vice President, At-Large
Chris Beresford - Treasurer, At-Large
Jennifer Kalt - Secretary, Representative for Humboldt Baykeeper
CJ Ralph - Representative for Redwood Region Audubon Society
Gary Falxa, Representative for California Native Plant Society, North Coast Chapter
Richard Kreis - Representative for Sierra Club North Group, Redwood Chapter
Tom Wheeler, Representative for Environmental Protection Information Center
Alicia HamannRepresentative for Friends of the Eel River
Margaret Gainer, At-Large 
Jim Test, At-Large

Humboldt Baykeeper Advisory Committee:

Fred Evenson - Director, Ecological Rights Foundation
Larry Glass - Board President, Northcoast Environmental Center
Aldaron Laird - Sea Level Rise Planner, Trinity Associates,
Mike Manetas - Retired Educator
Kerry McNamee - Conservation Planner, Northcoast Regional Land Trust
Pete Nichols - National Director, Waterkeeper Alliance
Laurie Richmond - Assistant Professor, Humboldt State University
Michelle D. Smith - Environmental Attorney
Michael Welch - Director, Redwood Alliance 

What are Coastal Resources?

 

Humboldt Bay is the second largest estuary in California. The Bay and the adjacent Pacific Ocean coastline give our community its unique character. The health of our waters both in the bay and along our coastline depend greatly on the functioning of the intertidal mudflats, salt marshes, and freshwater wetlands of Humboldt Bay which act as a natural pollution filter and flood plain. Clean water supports healthier fisheries, which in turn support bird and wildlife populations.

 

For the human community around the bay and coast this means more lucrative fisheries, better bird hunting, bird watching, and cleaner water for recreating, including boating, surfing, diving, and swimming.    

 

Humboldt Baykeeper's programs involve scientists, boaters, fishermen, birdwatchers, students, and other concerned citizens in the important work of protecting Humboldt Bay, its tributaries, and the near-shore waters of the Pacific Ocean.

 

The geographical reach of Humboldt Baykeeper's programs includes Humboldt Bay, its tributaries, and the Pacific Coast between Trinidad Harbor to the north and the Eel River estuary to the south. Baykeeper maintains an on-the-water presence throughout the area, patrolling by motorboat, kayak, and airplane, with upland areas patrolled by car and by foot.

 

 

 

The Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District has appealed the permitting of a Glendale cannabis manufacturing complex, stating that project’s development on a former lumber mill site runs the risk of “contaminating the district’s drinking water supplies.”

 

Filed on September 19 and revised a week later, the appeal challenges the county Planning Commission’s Sept. 5 approval of the project’s permits. At the hearing, the project site’s uncertain groundwater and soil contamination status was raised as an issue and it’s one that concerned commissioners.

 

Located on Glendale Drive just east of the Route 299 Exit 4 onramp and off ramp, the site was used for lumber storage by the former McNamara and Peepe Lumber Mill. By the time the mill changed ownership in 1986 and became Blue Lake Forest Products, use of the toxic wood preservative pentachlorophenol (PCP) had been banned.

 

Interviewed after the appeal was filed, Kalt said Baykeeper “has been trying to educate the county” because the appealed project is the fourth one that’s been permitted on former mill sites with potential contamination.

 

“They’re just not listening,” she continued.

 

The DTSC’s documents are outdated, inaccurate and don’t mention the district’s intakes or critical habitat for salmon and other species, said Kalt.

 

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A Norway-based aquaculture company will soon decide whether to pursue a project on Humboldt Bay’s former pulp mill site and its interest has highlighted the economic potential of the Samoa Peninsula.

 

At its Aug. 3 meeting, Humboldt County’s Board of Supervisors was updated on the project and its infrastructure-related challenges. The company, Nordic Aquafarms, entered a lease with the Harbor District, which owns the project site, but now has doubts due to the need to upgrade freshwater delivery infrastructure and the more expensive proposition of removing turbidity.

 

Economic Development Director Scott Adair came to the meeting with good news – a federal funding source will pay 80 percent of the $3 million cost of improving the delivery infrastructure.

 

Water infrastructure isn’t the only utility concern on the Samoa Peninsula. Roads, bridges and broadband telecommunications infrastructure also need improvement or development and supervisors discussed forming a multi-jurisdictional Joint Powers Authority to handle it.

 

The Nordic project represents an initial $400 million investment and the creation of 100 primary and ancillary jobs. The site’s zoning includes aquaculture and the county is keen on promoting new industry.

 

But a letter of support for the project wasn’t approved without discussion and some debate. The letter is important to Nordic’s board of investors, which will decide on whether or not to go forward with the project on Sept. 15.

 

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The county Planning Commission’s review of a Glendale cannabis manufacturing project has exposed a lack of testing for dioxins on former mill and lumber storage sites, which could have implications for drinking water.

 

Considering the stakes, one commissioner described the lack of testing as “ridiculous.”

 

The uncertain contamination status of the project site eclipsed concerns about volatile manufacturing and an assumed link between cannabis and crime as the commission reviewed the project at its September 5 meeting

There were concerns about those uses from neighboring residents. But a more entrenched issue soon became apparent.

 

Ryan Plotz, the attorney for the Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, warned of potential effects on drinking water. “The district is seriously concerned that the project’s construction and operation will result in contaminated soils and groundwater flowing into the nearby Hall Creek, which flows into the Mad River and ultimately into the district’s downstream intake wells,” he said.

 

Plotz said groundwater levels of toxic pentachlorophenol (PCP) have “skyrocketed” since the sites were deemed uncontaminated in 2003.

 

“What’s really important is that no dioxin sampling has been done on the soil of this property at all. And these sites need to be tested for dioxins, not just pentachlorophenol – just as you would test old buildings for lead and asbestos, every lumber mill site in this county needs to be tested for dioxins.” 

 

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