Larry Glass and Carrie Tully
As some of you may know, I have a home on South Fork Mountain in Southern Trinity County. Since the numerous lightning strikes in August, we have been dealing with fires in our area. The fire, now called the August Complex, is referred to as the first giga-fire – meaning that it has burned over one million acres. This is the largest fire in recorded California history. After several wind events and exceedingly hot and dry conditions, this wildfire made it to my forty acres on top of the mountain.
I am pleased to say that as we are writing this column, the houses on my property have so far been spared, thanks to the diligent efforts of the U.S. Forest Service firefighters. The fire in the forest in and around my property has burned with varying degrees of severity. Some of the fire has been beneficial to the forest by removing the fuels on the ground and some of the overcrowded understory. Some of the fire has burned very hot and has killed even large, old growth trees. In some areas the fire has scorched the ground, probably killing the micro rhizomes and rendering the ground sterile and prone to erosion.
The takeaway lesson for me so far is, in this fire, it didn’t matter what the forest looked like as far as tree structure – meaning whether they’re too crowded, too small, or all the same age. None of that seemed to matter. All that seemed to matter was fuel on the ground. In my area, this is the result of no fire on the landscape for almost 100 years. Without fire routinely burning through at low intensity and cleaning the fuels out of the forest regularly, you can wind up with a catastrophic event like I’m seeing in my area.
Fire needs to be a part of any conversation about current forest management.
Trinidad Rancheria Hotel Proposal Input to the Coastal Commission
The NEC has some major concerns regarding the Trinidad Rancheria Hotel proposal, and we therefore recently encouraged our members and the public to send in comments to the Coastal Commission before October 16th. Some of the concerns we have for the proposal include: how this proposed 5-story hotel is consistent with the CA Coastal Act, the Rancheria’s proposed well water supply and quality, as well as wastewater treatment and leachfields.
More specifically, we agree with HARP on the following questions which need to be answered to our satisfaction:
~ When the Rancheria’s wells do not produce enough water to supply the needs of the hotel, where would the additional water come from?
~ Why were the impacts of trucking in water not considered in the final Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)/Environmental Assessment (EA)?
~ Why were the impacts on local traffic not analyzed in this report?
Other issues which were raised previously, but, in our view, never adequately addressed include: adverse visual impact on the coast; environmental impacts; impacts on the rural village character of the Trinidad area; effects of draining an additional 9,500 gallons per day or more into the sandy bluff; other components of the piecemeal development yet to come including the 50-unit RV park, minimart/gas station; full highway interchange on 101; other rancheria buildout, etc.
The NEC continues to track this project and provide you with details.
Here at the NEC we have wrapped up the last of our events of 2020. Despite the pandemic and being fully encompassed in smoke, we were able to bring you one brand new event – Trash-a-thon, and a twist on an NEC classic – Coastal Cleanup Day, proving that no matter what the world throws our way, this team can’t be stopped! We fully intend on continuing to create, update, and modify the way we work in order to continue bringing you efficient and effective ways to be involved with environmental activism.
During the rest of the autumn season, staff will be keeping cozy and keeping busy working on some exciting projects. The first plan of action is to revamp and restyle our office space! Since we have all been working remotely since the start of COVID-19, we have imagined a new way to utilize the space that currently houses our desks and computers. We can’t wait to open our doors to the public in an entirely new way in 2021! If you have fun ideas or office reimagining-tips, please feel free to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are all familiar with the NEC’s 39+ year projects, Adopt-a-Beach and Adopt-a-Block. This Fall we will be taking a deeper look at these programs to find ways to get more of our community (that’s you!) involved. We know that sheltering-in-place has made it easier to stay at home and indoors…and we want you to get motivated, get outside, and (finally) enjoy some fresh air by helping to keep our neighborhoods, parks, and beaches clean. If you are finding some free time on your hands, then this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about how you can contribute in a meaningful way to one of the NEC’s longest standing programs! If you are interested in participating or would like more information, please email email@example.com.
In the last issue of EcoNews we let you in on our next project; the Reduce Single Use plastics pledge. We will be dishing out stickers to local restaurants in Eureka and Arcata so they can show you that they’re dedicated to reducing their impact on single use plastics production. Keep an eye out for the sticker in the window of your favorite take-out spot, and be sure to let restaurants know that they can sign the pledge too! For more information, visit www.yournec.org/pledge.