North Coast News

Russian River Watershed Association seeks public input on stormwater planCalifornia

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:27pm

The  Russian River Watershed Association has announced the development of a grant-funded Storm Water Resources Plan for the Russian River watershed. Public meetings will be held to discuss the SWRP and provide an opportunity for input on watershed priorities, storm water projects to be evaluated, and the prioritization of projects for future implementation. The purpose of the SWRP is to identify and prioritize projects that improve the use of storm water as a resource and “bringing to the top” those multi-benefit projects that can best meet the identified priorities on a watershed basis.

Santa Rosa well project provides emergency backup supply

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:26pm

Santa Rosa officials working to boost the city’s backup water supply have tapped into deep fears among residents of a Rincon Valley neighborhood that the installation of an emergency well near their homes might threaten their own water supplies. About 60 people turned out Wednesday evening to air concerns and learn more about the city’s plan to install a test well on a vacant property on Speers Road the city purchased in December. The goal is to install a deep well — up to 700 feet — capable of producing up to 500,000 gallons per day in the event the city’s primary water supply, most of which comes from the Russian River, is ever compromised.

Disputed Gualala River logging plan stalled pending revised study

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:28pm

A disputed 2-year-old plan to log along several miles of the Gualala River floodplain remains in limbo five months after a Sonoma County judge nullified its approval and sent it back to state forestry officials for revision and additional public review. Acting on a lawsuit brought by environmental groups, Superior Court Judge Rene Chouteau ruled in January that the 330-acre project was deficient because it failed to account for the cumulative impacts of a different logging plan in development when the proposal at issue was first submitted.

Eureka backs away from beach disposal approach, now plans to dump Bay’s dredge spoils offshore

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:29pm

Eureka staff (and Humboldt County Supervisor Ryan Sundberg) tried mightily to convince federal regulators that the best place to dump Humboldt Bay’s dredge spoils is a beach on the Samoa Peninsula, but with the Environmental Protection Agency holding firm on its opposition to that plan, city staff has agreed to pursue another option. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Miles Slattery announced that the city aims to hire a contractor to dig up the fine-grain silts and mud from Eureka’s public marina with a clamshell dredge, put that material into barges called dump scows, and haul it roughly three miles offshore to a federally designated disposal site known as HOODS (Humboldt Open Ocean Dredged Site).

Coastal Commission denies Humboldt oyster farm’s permit

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:29pm

The California Coastal Commission narrowly denied the renewal of a permit for an oyster farm to operate in Humboldt Bay in the northwestern tip of California. Coast Seafoods sought to renew the permit that allows them to raise oysters in a 300-acre portion of the northern stretch of Humboldt Bay adjacent to Eureka, California, and to expand their operation by 82 acres. The Coastal Commission ultimately denied that quest in a close 6-5 vote, with some commissioners expressing concern that the project would have a negative impact on eelgrass and black brant – two species endemic to the unique ecosystem of the bay.

Two Humboldt beaches make Heal the Bay’s biggest CA ‘Beach Bummer’ list

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:31pm

Two beaches in Humboldt County made Heal the Bay’s 2016-17 annual report for “Beach Bummers.”  According to the report, which is based on monitoring the poorest dry weather water quality in California during the past summer, five of Humboldt County’s beaches are monitored by Heal the Bay. Clam Beach County Park in McKinleyville topped the list at number one with an F grade. Trinidad’s Luffenholtz Beach came in 8th, with a D grade.

California farmers creating healthier soil to help ameliorate climate change

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:33pm

California farmers and researchers are helping rethink approaches to climate change by reworking traditional farming practices. At Green String Farm in Sonoma County, Bob Cannard grows produce for some of the most celebrated restaurants in California.  “The soil is the foundation of all life, and it can hold so much carbon, and produce so much bounty,” says Cannard, walking through fields that might look overgrown. This ground cover explosion, however, is entirely by design, because the life and death of these weeds will bring new life to this dirt.  “It doesn’t all burn out in one year,” says Cannard. “You build carbon into your soil.” That’s the big idea California will now invest in, moving carbon out of the atmosphere and back into our soil.  This summer the state of California will spend seven million dollars encouraging farmers to embrace practices that would make their soil more carbon absorbent.

ACWA releases Storage Integration Study

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:34pm

The Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) commissioned a technical study to examine how California’s water supply system could operate more flexibly and effectively with the addition and integrated operation of new storage capacity. The study by MBK Engineers modeled real-world capabilities of proposed storage projects. The findings suggest that adding storage assets to the system and operating them in an integrated way would result in significant value, including new water available to meet the coequal goals, protection of existing water supplies and a more resilient water system for both the environment and water users. The first-of-its study, conducted with the full participation of the storage project proponents, is intended to spark discussion about a new approach to water storage integration as the California Water Commission conducts its public process to allocate $2.7 billion from Proposition 1 to help fund water storage projects.

Forest restoration projects could create billions in new revenue

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:35pm

Nearly 5 billion acres of degraded and deforested land awaits restoration worldwide. As the economy surrounding landscape restoration, the New Restoration Economy, continues to develop, prospective investors are intrigued by the financial returns restoration projects can deliver. Investing in landscape restoration may seem different from buying a bond or trading stocks online, but the fundamental structure is the same. Restoration projects, like conventional investments, also generate both income and capital gains.

Acified ocean water widespread along North American West Coast

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:36pm

A three-year survey of the California Current System along the West Coast of the United States found persistent, highly acidified water throughout this ecologically critical nearshore habitat, with "hotspots" of pH measurements as low as any oceanic surface waters in the world. The researchers say that conditions will continue to worsen because the atmospheric carbon dioxide primarily to blame for this increase in acidification has been rising substantially in recent years. One piece of good news came out of the study, which was published this week in Scientific Reports. There are "refuges" of more moderate pH environments that could become havens for some marine organisms to escape more highly acidified waters, and which could be used as a resource for ecosystem management.

New report shows grim outlook for California’s salmon and trout

Jul 19, 2017 at 2:37pm

Seventy-four percent of California's native trout and salmon are headed for extinction in the next century, and 45 percent could disappear in the next 50 years if no action is taken to alter the trend. A report released May 16 by the University of California, Davis and advocacy group California Trout details the continued decline of the state's 32 species of native salmon, trout and steelhead, and proposes solutions for stabilizing the species. "There are more than just resident fish," said California Trout Executive Director Curtis Knight in a press conference. "Their health and their resilience indicates healthy waters, which is important for all Californians," he said. "Drinking water, agriculture, commerce, and the health of the people in the environment in which we live — it has a lot to do with the quality of our life. The decline of these fish indicates the decline of our quality of water, and that's important to all Californians."

DWR launches new version of Economic Analysis Website

Mar 21, 2017 at 8:38am

DWR has launched a new version of its Economic Analysis Website. The site provides water and resource managers guidance and tools to analyze local, regional, and statewide economic costs and benefits of proposed water management programs and projects and determine their socioeconomic impacts. A web page provides several DWR guidance documents, including DWR’s Economic Analysis Guidebook.

Clean Energy States Alliance releases guide to bring Solar Energy to Low-Income Consumers

Jun 7, 2017 at 2:21pm

Despite increasing affordability of solar and solar-friendly policies and programs, some low-income households still face substantial obstacles to going solar: being renters and not homeowners, having low or no credit, or having little savings. Conversely, many policies that provide financial or energy assistance to the poor were not designed to access solar power. A new guide, written for CESA by Bentham Paulos of Paulos Analysis, concludes that barriers to adopting solar are not insurmountable. This guide, “Bringing the Benefits of Solar Energy to Low-Income Consumers,” outlines the obstacles that low-income households face in accessing solar power and provides a detailed overview of strategies that policymakers and government agencies can use to encourage low-income solar adoption.