The Arcata City Council voted on Wednesday to apply for federal funding to clean up dioxin-contaminated soil at the former Little Lake Industries lumber mill on South I Street. This cleanup has been a long time coming. In 2015, a major dioxin hotspot was discovered in bay sediments at the mouth of Butcher's Slough, which flows through the former mill site. We have been pressing for a cleanup of the City-owned property ever since. This site is not likely the only source of dioxins in Butchers Slough/Jolly Giant Creek, but it is a big step in the right direction. And it may lead to a much-needed dog park!
On this edition of the EcoNews Report, we are joined by Jacobs Pounds of Blue Lake Rancheria Environmental Department, who recently detected toxic algae in the Mad River from Blue Lake to Arcata. Anatoxins are powerful neurotoxins produced by blue-green algae when populations explode or "bloom" during unusually warm, low-flow conditions. These toxins have been detected in other local rivers and across the West, but never before in the Mad River. With limited testing due to high costs, it's best to avoid freshwater with visible algae mats, since these toxins have led to dog deaths and could be harmful to people, especially children. To learn more, visit the Blue Lake Rancheria's Facebook page.
For more info on toxic algae, visit the CA Harmful Algae Blooms website.There you will see the HAB Incidents Report Map with the latest test results throughout the state, including No Swimming advisories for Big Lagoon, Stone Lagoon, and much of the Klamath River.
A huge indoor fish farm project has submitted a first round of permit applications and its managers are confident that regulators will find its environmental impacts to be minimal.The Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms company took written questions and presented what its managers described as a “very low risk” project during a Sept. 9 videoconferenced public meeting.Nordic has advanced discharge permit applications to the state’s water board and Coastal Commission. Humboldt County will take the lead on the project’s California Environmental Quality Act review and coastal development permitting.Asked by Humboldt Baykeeper about use of chemicals to address disease outbreaks, anti-biotics and heavy metals, Noyes emphasized that land-based aquaculture facilities have “the ability to exclude parasites and pathogens” and a fish vaccination program will target “any identified pathogens of concern.”Read More
The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday spent another two hours debating the fate of a billboard that was felled by wind last November, ultimately voting 3-2 to allow owner AllPoints Sign Company to rebuild the structure. However, in doing so, the three-member board majority added a provision that will require the sign, which sits in wetlands along the Elk River, to be permanently removed within five years.That’s assuming it gets rebuilt. If AllPoints owner Geoff Wills accepts this five-year provision, he’ll still need to get approval from the California Coastal Commission before rebuilding the billboard.During the public comment period, three people called in to advocate for upholding the Planning Commission’s denial of the permit. Jennifer Kalt, executive director of Humboldt Baykeeper, argued that the environmental document prepared for the project was inadequate, in part because no biologist has analyzed the wetlands where the sign is situated. “In short, I’d urge you to recognize that this billboard had a good run of many, many decades,” Kalt said, adding that it’s time to get rid of this structure standing in an environmentally sensitive habitat."Tom Wheeler, executive director of the Environmental Protection Information Center (EPIC), seconded her comments and also questioned the adequacy of the environmental review. urge you to recognize that this billboard had a good run of many, many decades,” Kalt said, adding that it’s time to get rid of this structure standing in an environmentally sensitive habitat.Read More