North Coast News

Ocean fishing, salmon data and more discussed in Yurok/ Siskiyou talk

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:46pm

The discussion between the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors and Yurok Tribe representatives on July 18 involved a great deal of data – and what might be done with it to inform efforts to restore salmon populations in the Klamath River system. Yurok Fisheries Program Manager Dave Hillemeier shared a slide show presentation during the meeting, covering a wide array of Klamath salmon data, including departing juveniles, estimates on how many salmon of each age class are in the ocean, and how many adults return to spawn in a given year. Board Chair Michael Kobseff, echoing concerns he voiced before State Water Board and State Water Resources Control Board representatives last week, said that the county can only work with the salmon that come back to spawn. He drew attention to years where few Chinook would return, expressing his concern that if fewer salmon come back from the ocean, fewer will be produced.

Officials: Bill would end Trinity River fish disease preventive flows, county water right

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:47pm

Local tribal and government officials say a bill currently under U.S. Senate review would virtually end Trinity River dam water releases used to prevent fish kills and do away with Humboldt County’s 60-year right to river water in favor of providing more water to Central Valley irrigators. California Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) said the bill — HR 23 introduced by California Rep. David Valadao (R-Hanford) — is but one of several attempts over the years by Central Valley water contractors and suppliers, namely the Fresno-based Westlands Water District, to redirect more Trinity River water for their own interests.

Public health warning issues after blue-green algae bloom found on Klamath River

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:48pm

The State Water Resources Control Board in mid-July issued a press release that states: “Swimmers, boaters and recreational users are urged to avoid direct contact with waters containing blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), now blooming in the Copco Reservoir on the Klamath River in Northern California. Sample results collected June 27, 2017 from Copco Reservoir at Copco Cove do not meet the State of California’s recommended threshold for blue –green algae toxins in recreational waters, resulting in the posting of the reservoir.“

Supervisors wary of effort to model Shasta River hydrology

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:49pm

Representatives from the SWRCB visited the board of supervisors on Tuesday to discuss the proposed hydrology model, which is a part of the California Water Action Plan. The plan was released in 2014 and updated in 2016, and acts as a guiding document in efforts to enhance the state’s water supply reliability, restore damaged ecosystems, and improve water infrastructure, according to Daniel Worth of the SWRCB’s Division of Water Rights. The board had a number of questions and concerns for the agency staff on hand, starting with Board Chair Michael Kobseff, who expressed his dissatisfaction with the scope of the study and his concern that such efforts will ultimately lead to curtailments of water rights in the Shasta Valley.

Crews break through blockage to reopen Russian River

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:49pm

High surf conditions closed the mouth of the Russian River at Jenner for about a week before Sonoma County Water Agency crews dug a channel that biologists hope will balance the interests of the river’s endangered native salmon and steelhead trout along with flood prevention. On July 17, the Water Agency opened an outlet channel on the beach at Goat Rock State Park appears to be working this week. “The goal of the outlet channel is to enhance habitat for federally listed juvenile salmon and minimizing flood risks by keeping freshwater levels in the estuary while allowing river water to flow out of the estuary and prevent ocean water from entering,” said Water Agency spokesperson Ann DuBay. She said the Water Agency will monitor conditions at the estuary and manage the lagoon’s depth this summer so that high water doesn’t flood low-lying areas in Jenner.

Dredging project planned for Bodega Bay harbor

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:50pm

Sonoma County officials announced in early July that some relief is in on the way for the harbor, where the Army Corps of Engineers now plans to carry out an overdue dredging project this fall. The work, slated to cost about $4.4 million, will remove an estimated 110,000 cubic yards of excess sediment — enough to fill roughly 8,000 dump trucks — that has settled into the harbor since 2004, when the channels were last dredged. It also will curtail buildup of sediment in side channels, improving access to marinas, wharves and the U.S. Coast Guard Station Bodega Bay, said Peter Mull, project manager for the Army Corps.

Sonoma County issues toxic algae warning for Russian River beaches

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:50pm

Sonoma County officials posted caution signs at beaches up and down the Russian River on Wednesday alerting visitors to positive test results for a potentially dangerous, naturally occurring neurotoxin linked to harmful algae, a problem surfacing around Northern California this summer.

Humboldt Supervisors vote to end participation in Elk River program

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:52pm

The supervisors received a report from Public Works outlining the intent of the Elk River Watershed Stewardship Program — which was initiated in May 2016 — and was urged to end participation in the program. The program was designed to support projects and activities that are beneficial to the watershed and was a coordinated effort from multiple agencies including Humboldt County Public Works, University of California Cooperative Extension, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, CalTrout and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. Public Works and UC Cooperative Extension decided this year “irreconcilable differences” were straining the cooperation and opted to end participation in the program.

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.

North Coast Soil Health Hub

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:53pm

MENDOCINO, NAPA and SONOMA county farmers and partners are working together as the North Coast Soil Health Hub, and are part of the larger California Farmer-to Farmer Soil Health Network. SOIL HEALTH HUBS are agriculturally focused networks that address region specific needs, successes and challenges. Regional hubs are focused on specific needs for specific crops, soils, climate, land management practices, and marketing. SOILHUB.ORG is the on-line home for the new HUB. Visit the website for events, news, research, and anecdotes related to soil health, farming practices, and soil carbon sequestration in Northern California. Take the SOIL HEALTH SURVEY to help us shape the North Coast Soil Health Hub’s services and programs. We want to hear from you! Tell us what you are already doing in the vineyard to improve soil health, and tell us what you want to learn more about!

Cyanobacteria warning issued for North Coast rivers and lakes

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:54pm

State and local public health and environmental health officials are warning recreational users of all bodies of fresh water in Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties to avoid contact with cyanobacteria harmful algal blooms. The blue-green algae usually starts to appear in inland areas in late July or early August, coinciding with warmer weather and slower flowing water.  Dogs and children are most likely to be affected because of their smaller body size and tendency to stay in the water longer. Cyanobacteria can be present in any freshwater body. It looks like dark green, blue-green, black, orange or brown scum, foam or mats on the riverbed or floating on the water. Warm water and abundant nutrients can cause cyanobacteria algae to grow more rapidly than usual causing “blooms”. The presence of cyanobacteria toxins has been confirmed in previous years in some water bodies within Humboldt, Mendocino and Lake counties including the South Fork Eel River, Van Duzen River, Trinity River, Clear Lake and Lake Pillsbury.

EPA Oks limits on mercury in California waters

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:54pm

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced the approval of new water quality criteria for mercury in California waters. The new rules, developed by the State Water Resources Control Board, set mercury limits in fish tissue to protect human health and aquatic-dependent wildlife. New protections also have been added for tribal cultural use and subsistence fishing.

Carbon Farming: California Focus on soil to meet climate, water goals

Aug 10, 2017 at 6:55pm

A pioneering program in California aims to sequester carbon, improve water resources and boost plant growth, by treating the soil beneath farmers’ and ranchers’ feet as part of a living system.