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 Arcata Wastewater Treatment Plant is one of the most important pieces of infrastructure at risk as the sea level rises, but it’s unlikely to be moved farther inland for at least another half century.

 

The treatment plant isn’t only at risk from rising sea levels potentially inundating it from the west, particularly during a storm surge, but also from rising groundwater and tectonic forces causing the land to sink, according to the 2018 City of Arcata Sea Level Rise Risk Assessment compiled by local sea level rise expert Alderon Laird. Laird has said to expect .9 feet of sea level rising by 2030, 1.9 feet by 2050 and 3.2 feet by 2070.

 

“The risk to wastewater infrastructure is ongoing,” the assessment states. “Based on existing conditions, exposure of wastewater infrastructure will become critical due to the combination of two feet of sea level rise and king tides that could result in three feet of sea level rise for several days a year.”

 

Man-made structures, such as dikes, are preventing Humboldt Bay from inundating the marsh and other low-lying areas, but those dikes get overtopped during storm surges. Building those dikes higher is complicated because of how land use is regulated along the coast, officials have said.

 

Arcata city officials said they are discussing moving the treatment plant to a different location in the future, but that’s too expensive to do right now.

 

“We have a plan for that,” said Mark Andre, Arcata’s director of environmental services, at a meeting on upgrades to the wastewater treatment facility at the Arcata Marsh Interpretive Center on Friday night. “But moving the treatment plant would cost three or four times what we’re talking about, and it would pretty much eliminate what we have, our wetland-based system, which is highly energy efficient.”

 

Instead, they’re making about $64 million in upgrades to the existing facility that will help it comply with state regulations and keep the city from being fined.

 

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Last night, the multiagency coalition that’s looking to create a master plan for traffic improvements in the south end of Eureka made clear to a crowd at the Wharfinger Building that it’s still considering a long-thought-dead scheme to build a whole new road through the city’s waterfront greenbelt in order to relieve traffic congestion on Broadway.

 

That plan – which had been known as the “Waterfront Drive Extension Project” — was las considered by the Eureka City Council in 2012, but had been burbling about government for many years before that. It would involve major road construction near or through the Palco Marsh and the city-owned “Parcel Four,” behind the Bayshore Mall, creating a north-south thoroughfare between Broadway and what is now the Waterfront Trail.

 

Many have been under the impression that strong opposition from the state Coastal Commission, and also from many local residents, had killed the project years ago. But last night, at the first public meeting of the new grant-funded coalition between the city, Caltrans and the Humboldt County Association of Governments to tackle Eureka’s Broadway Problem, it was back on the table – at least for argument’s sake.

 

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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.

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