Baykeeper Launches Humboldt Coastal Biodiversity Project

Jennifer Kalt, Director

The Humboldt Bay Trail follows a former rail right-of-way between the bay and Highway 101. The area is dominated by sweeping vistas with abundant shorebirds, waterfowl, and salt marshes. The trail begins at the Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary and ends at the City of Arcata’s southern boundary at Bracut. It will eventually link to the Eureka Waterfront Trail to the south. Once completed, the Humboldt Bay Trail will connect segments of the California Coastal Trail stretching from Clam Beach in McKinleyville to the south end of Eureka! Photo courtesy of Humboldt Baykeeper

Do you love walking along the Eureka Waterfront Trail and the Humboldt Bay Trail in Arcata? Have you often admired a wildflower, bird, or insect, and wished you knew its name? Do you enjoy photographing nature? 

If so, you might enjoy our new Humboldt Coastal Biodiversity Project. It is a great way to contribute to citizen science – even if you don’t know the names of the flora and fauna! All you need is a smartphone with the iNaturalist app. Although we originally envisioned starting this project with group walks, this is an outdoor activity you can safely enjoy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

iNaturalist is an app developed by the California Academy of Sciences and National Geographic Society. People use it to upload observations of plants, animals, or fungi they’ve seen in the wild to a large online database, where scientists and amateur nature enthusiasts from around the world log in to identify these observations. 

Making observations and collecting information is easy – just take photos and upload them straight from a smartphone. Using this powerful citizen science tool, you can help document the biodiversity of Humboldt Bay’s rich ecosystems. 

Using iNaturalist is a great way to learn about plant and animal species. You can use the app to review possible identifications by comparing images and location information. These identifications are then verified by experts from all over the world. And who knows – you could even discover a new species or a major range extension!

There are two ways you can get involved:

  1. To take photos and upload your observations: 
  • Log in or sign up at (
  • Download the iNaturalist app to your smartphone (or learn how to upload photos from your camera).
  • Take photos showing multiple features (e.g., flowers, leaves, etc.) You can add multiple photos to the same observation by clicking the “+” icon. 
  • Upload your observations to iNaturalist – you can do this on the spot or save them for uploading later in batches. 

2. Identify plants and animals from the observations people have uploaded:

  • Log in and go to the Humboldt Coastal iNaturalist Project. 
  • Look for observations that need identification. Observations are considered “research grade” when two people agree on the identification. Whether you are an expert in local birds, insects, plants, or fungi, we need you!

For more info about the Humboldt Coastal Biodiversity Project, visit our website or go to .

Thanks to the California Coastal Conservancy for funding this project, along with our summer bay tours (which have been postponed due to the pandemic). 


The Eureka Waterfront Trail is a recently-completed 6.3-mile trail that stretches from the Hikshari’ Trail and Elk River Wildlife Area to the Eureka Slough Bridge. Sandy beaches and salt marshes support a wide range of flora and fauna. Activities include bicycling, birdwatching, dog-walking, roller-skating, and nature study. Photo courtesy of Humboldt Baykeeper.


COVID-19 Safety for Outdoor Recreation

  • Keep six feet or more between yourself and others.
  • Bring a face mask or bandanna in case you need to use it.
  • Be courteous and step off trails to allow others to pass.
  • Follow signage – in some areas, trails are designated one-way to maintain distance.
  • Wash your hands before you go, carry hand sanitizer, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and avoid high-touch surfaces.
  • Leave no trace. Take everything out with you to protect other visitors and park workers.
  • If you have cold or flu symptoms, or if you are 65 or older or medically vulnerable, please follow the public health directives to stay home.