This November 3 marks an important election for the future of Humboldt Bay, when two Humboldt Bay Harbor Commissioners are up for re-election. Now is the time for voters to educate themselves on the candidates, two of which are incumbents.
The Humboldt Bay Harbor Working Group, which promotes the idea of building a new east-west railroad from Humboldt Bay to Red Bluff, will hold a public forum for the Humboldt Bay Harbor District Commissioner election on Wednesday, September 30, at the Samoa Cookhouse from 12:30-1:30 p.m. Candidates are vying for seats in the 2nd and 5th Districts (same as the County’s Supervisorial Districts). The candidates in District 2 (Fortuna, Garberville, Shelter Cove) are Greg Dale (incumbent) and Nick Angeloff. The candidates in District 5 (McKinleyville, Orick, Willow Creek, Orleans) are Pat Higgins (incumbent) and Susan Rotwein. Larry Doss, the candidate for District 1 (King Salmon, Ferndale, Petrolia) is running unopposed.
The Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District is a countywide agency with jurisdiction over all of Humboldt Bay, including tidelands and other public trust lands granted to the District by the State. The mission of the District is to promote harbor use, to enhance commercial and recreational opportunities, and to protect bay and tidal environments. District operations focus on three primary areas: commercial use, recreational use, and conservation. These operations are managed by a staff of employees and are governed by an elected board of commissioners.
According to the 2015 Humboldt County Grand Jury Report, from 2001-2012 the Harbor District paid out $3.1 million more than revenue realized, but recent increases in revenue sources are changing the outlook for the future. A change in leadership at the Harbor District in the last three years has contributed to many projects moving forward, such as improvements at the Fields Landing boatyard and Woodley Island Marina, Spartina grass eradication, and water trails improvements. The Grand Jury recommended that the District continue its efforts to expand economic development.
Among the District's recent accomplishments are:
- Acquisition and cleanup of the former Evergreen pulp mill;
- Adoption of the first Right to Fish ordinance in California, which protects commercial and sport fishermen from nuisance complaints much like Humboldt County's Right to Farm ordinance;
- Administering a $500,000 grant for the eradication of the invasive Spartina grass from Humboldt Bay salt marshes;
- Winning a U.S. EPA grant to develop a bay-wide eelgrass management plan;
- Eliminating stormwater runoff at the Fields Landing Boat Yard;
- Designing a Water Trails plan to improve kayak access around Humboldt Bay;
- Leading the Humboldt Bay Sea Level Rise Adaption Planning Project.