STAFF PICKS

No matter how water-loving you are — fully immersed or just Bay-curious — Humboldt Baykeeper will tempt you to embrace the aquatic.

For free!

The environmental group offers a little-known, free boat ride on Saturday and Sunday mornings from early April through mid- to late October.

The theory is that once you see Humboldt Bay up close and lovely, you won’t be able to resist its charms. You’ll cherish it. And you’ll want it to stay healthy.

The hour-long nature tour is yours for just a bit of planning: Call or email in advance, put your name down for the next opening and sign a waiver. Baykeeper won’t take money even if you offer (at least, not on the boat — it’s a legal thing).

When it’s your turn to ride on the group’s 25-foot Boston Whaler, a docent will explain what you’re seeing as the bay’s silvery waters slip past. The talk might be about birds or oysters or the bay’s natural history, but docents are trained to steer away from politics. (If you must know, they’ll point you to the organization’s office in Old Town Eureka.)

 

Original Article

9/18/11

For Humboldt County residents Kate Shea Ortiz and Amelia Burroughs, participating in Saturday's 27th annual California Coastal Cleanup Day was as much about cleaning up one of their favorite beaches as it was a teaching moment for their children.

”It's so important to have this discussion with the kids and involve them,” said Ortiz as she watched her two young daughters play with Burroughs' two daughters in the sand along the north jetty under a cloudless sky. “Today we are teaching them about what goes onto the beach and what doesn't.”

Education is one of the most important components of Coastal Cleanup Day, said Humboldt Surfrider Chapter Secretary Debbie Topping. The statewide cleanup -- put on in Humboldt through the coordination of the North Coast Environmental Center -- took place Saturday morning at a handful of local beaches, rivers, bays and estuaries. Last year, an estimated 1,000 Humboldt County volunteers participated, removing over eight tons of trash and one ton of recycling.

”We are hoping to beat those numbers this year,” Topping said.

As volunteers showed up to scour the dunes and beach sand for trash, Humboldt Bay Keeper Outreach Coordinator Vanessa Vasquez handed out gloves, data cards to tally the amount of trash collected and bags for trash and recycling. She also directed volunteers to special cartons to collect discarded cigarettes brought by Tabacco Free Humboldt Coordinator Jay McCubbrey. 

”This is a great day for the cleanup; it's beautiful out,” Vasquez said as she pulled down her baseball cap to keep the sun out of her eyes. “We are seeing a really good turnout this morning.”

For Topping, the most important part of the day was getting the word out and getting people involved in the cleanup effort.

”This is a one-day event, but cleanup should happen year round,” she said.

The two largest sources of trash Topping has noticed on Humboldt beaches are cigarette butts and plastic shards.

”I am always amazed at the handfuls of little shards of plastic I find,” she said. “The problem is they just break up, they don't break down.” 

 

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6/1/11

It is bittersweet to announce that our Executive Director, Pete Nichols, has been promoted to the new Western Regional Director of the Waterkeeper Alliance, Humboldt Baykeeper's parent organization.  His new position at Waterkeeper will take him around the western United States to help other Keepers with logistics, funding, and programs. 

His new promotion is outstanding for him and Humboldt Baykeeper because we will have an excellent local resource to work with on our future programs. Stay tuned for more information on the changes happening at Humboldt Baykeeper and thank you for your continued support - we are very lucky to have such a wonderful community to call home!

4/21/11

The Tigris River is one of the most important bodies of water in the Middle East, but years of extensive toxic dumping and gravel mining have severely compromised its ecosystem. We’ll speak with Humbolt Baykeeper Executive Director Pete Nichols and Nature Iraq founder Dr. Azzam Alwash about efforts to clean up the river and the newly founded group, Upper Tigris Waterkeeper.

Listen to the radio interview from WNYC here.

3/31/11

One morning last September Pete Nichols of Humboldt Baykeeper was up early working, listening to the radio in the background. Something on the BBC news caught his attention.

“I heard an interview with this Iraqi, Azzam Alwash, talking about his [river] restoration work for an organization called Nature Iraq.” Nichols recalled. “It was this fantastic story of restoring the wetlands that were supposedly the Garden of Eden.”

He decided to learn more. Now, six months later, Nichols is catching a plane to the Middle East — destination Iraq. He leaves this week to go meet Azzam Alwash in person.

Nichols established Humboldt Baykeeper seven years ago as part of the larger Waterkeeper Alliance, an advocacy organization started 15 years ago by Robert Kennedy Jr., initially bringing together likeminded groups on the East Coast. “The Hudson Riverkeeper group was the genesis of it all; that was started by commercial fishermen in the ‘60s,” said Nichols. “There are 192 groups right now, nationally and internationally.” And the next may be Waterkeeper Iraq.

Since Nichols serves on the Waterkeeper board, he’s among those responsible for what are known as site visits, basically checking out new chapters before they are brought into the fold. One such visit took him to China two years ago; this one is a bit different.

 

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