The Norwegian recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) company Nordic Aquafarms announced on Nov. 1 that its board of directors has voted to go ahead with the company's plans to build a facility in the US state of California. 

Nordic announced in February that it had entered into an exclusive option agreement with the Humboldt Bay Harbor District, in Humboldt County, to lease 30 acres. The new facility, which is to be located in an area known as the Samoa Peninsula, near the Northern California town of Eureka, has been estimated to represent a potential $400 million investment and is expected to ultimately produce as much as 27,000 metric tons of fish annually, while creating 80 jobs in the area.

The company had identified concerns about toxic brownfield problems that have existed on the property since the closure of an industrial pulp mill there, though Naess indicated that further reviews indicate any problems may not be as bad as originally thought.

The type of fish to be produced has not yet been determined, though early speculation has included Atlantic salmon, steelhead trout or both. 

Permit applications are expected to be submitted in the summer of 2020.

Read More

Coastal environments have been shown to improve our health, body and mind.

 

The benefits of “blue space” – the sea and coastline, but also rivers, lakes, canals, waterfalls, even fountains – are associated with many positive measures of physical and mental wellbeing, from higher levels of vitamin D to better social relations. 

 

An extensive 2013 study on happiness in natural environments prompted 20,000 smartphone users to record their sense of wellbeing and their immediate environment at random intervals. Marine and coastal margins were found by some distance to be the happiest locations, with responses approximately six points higher than in a continuous urban environment.

 

There are three established pathways by which the presence of water is positively related to health, wellbeing and happiness. First, there are the beneficial environmental factors typical of aquatic environments, such as less polluted air and more sunlight. Second, people who live by water tend to be more physically active – not just with water sports, but walking and cycling.

 

Third – and this is where blue space seems to have an edge over other natural environments – water has a psychologically restorative effect. White says spending time in and around aquatic environments has consistently been shown to lead to significantly higher benefits, in inducing positive mood and reducing negative mood and stress, than green space does.

 

People of all socioeconomic groups go to the coast to spend quality time with friends and family. Dr Sian Rees, a marine scientist at the University of Plymouth, says the coastline is Britain’s “most socially levelling environment”, whereas forests tend to be accessed by high-income earners. “It’s not seen as being elite or a special place, it’s where we just go and have fun.

 

Read More

With five words, it became official — Duluwat Island is being returned to the Wiyot people, for whom it is the physical and cultural center of the universe, a sacred piece of land with the power to bring balance to all else.

 

“Unanimous yes vote. Motion carries,” said Eureka City Clerk Pam Powell, drawing a standing ovation from the hundreds of people who had filled the Adorni Center this morning to watch the city take the unprecedented step of returning 200 acres of land stolen generations ago to the Wiyot Tribe, which has called the North Coast home since time immemorial.

 

The emotional ceremony saw multiple generations of local residents gathered in the Adorni Center to witness the historic vote, many wiping tears from their eyes. 

 

Read More

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.

 

Read More

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.

 

Read More