News From the Center

by Larry Glass and Carrie Tully

From the NEC Staff

The last month has brought some big changes for the NEC staff. The biggest change we have encountered is that our Coastal Programs Coordinator, Casey Cruikshank, has made a decision to move on from her position with us. Casey has been a huge asset to our team for the last three years! During that time Casey developed Coastal Programs unlike ever before. Her passion for marine debris awareness helped staff focus their interests and hone their skills towards building projects that develop meaningful community participation and support. She brought us so much success during Coastal Cleanup Days, as well as year-round litter removal programs such as Adopt-a-Beach and Adopt-a-Block. She built relationships and coalitions with other groups around California in order to effect real changes in how we all think about and handle debris. Most importantly, she recognizes the work that others in our community do, and consistently points out their efforts…showing us that she knows that the relationships she builds are not in vain: we all need to do our part. 

We are so lucky to have been able to have Casey on our staff, and we know that despite her officially parting ways, our relationship will not end here. 

Despite Casey’s departure, we know that change is good. And to prove this, we would like to introduce you to our new Coastal Programs Coordinator, Ivy Munnerlyn. Ivy came highly recommended for this position by Casey, and we are so glad! Ivy moved to Humboldt County in 2019 to study Wildlife Biology at HSU and explore the beauty of the Northcoast. Her interests include botany, marine science, Indigenous natural resource knowledge, wildlife rehabilitation, and citizen science. These diverse interests came into focus during her time studying Biology at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz, CA. Ivy has a deep sense of curiosity about and responsibility for the natural world and its human and non-human inhabitants. She is very excited for the opportunity to serve the Humboldt community as Coastal Programs Coordinator for the NEC!

We know that this change is going to be exciting. Stay tuned!


August Complex Vegetation and Resource Rapid Assessment

Recently the NEC joined in with CalWild and many other Environmental organizations to make input to the “August Complex Vegetation and Resource Rapid Assessment.” This Rapid Assessment endeavor is the US Forest Service’s attempt to respond to the August Complex giga-fire that to some degree touched 1,032,648 acres between August 16, 2020 and November 12, 2020. Suppression costs are pegged at $319.8 million between Shasta, Mendocino, Tehama, Trinity, Glenn and Lake Counties, and in three National Forests; Six Rivers, Shasta-Trinity and Mendocino.
We have asked that the Forest Service also include existing, agency-recommended, and eligible Wild Scenic Rivers to the Assessment. We have also requested for the agency to acknowledge in Rep. Jared Huffman’s Northwest California Wilderness, Recreation, and Working Forests Act, that some public lands in the Assessment area are proposed for wilderness, wild and scenic river designation, and other protections. This legislation passed the House twice in 2020, and it will be reintroduced in 2021. We have suggested that recreation be added to their analysis. We further urged that recreation and anadromous fish-critical habitat be added to the list of Areas of Special Concern.

We would like to point out that this Assessment provides little direction for reforestation. We assert that in order to avoid increased wildfire hazard in the future, new reforestation standards should focus on less-dense replanting in groups and patches instead of standard plantations. Special thanks to Mr. “Wildrivers” Steve Evans of CalWild for spearheading this input.


Wildfire Risk Reduction, Reliability, and Asset Protection Project

The Trinity Public Utilities District (TPUD) recently released it’s scoping notice for it’s so called “Wildfire Risk Reduction, Reliability, and Asset Protection Project”. This project calls for expanding the existing 20-foot right of way (ROW) clearing to a 130-foot wide clearcut. This ROW expansion would be over 217 miles mostly through National Forest public lands. That adds up to about 3700 acres of land proposed to be stripped of vegetation. In order to maintain this cleared area perpetually into the foreseeable future, the TPUD proposes spraying herbicides regularly.  NEC member group SAFE asked for help from other NEC member groups to oppose this proposal. EPIC and the Sierra Club have responded by sending out alerts and making input along with SAFE (see article on EPIC’s page).

Family Security Act?

We have become so used to reading about draconian Republican plans to take children away from their parents, so we definitely did a double take when we heard about Mitt Romney’s proposed “Family Security Act.” At first glance it sounds pretty great – a monthly allowance per child instead of a tax cut.  But wait, incentivizing people to have more kids is actually a doomsday recipe. The climate upheaval we are already experiencing now is in part because there’s too many people using too many resources. I guess that this has always been part of the right wing agenda that restricts access to family planning. It would make more sense to pay people to not have children. Tragically, overpopulation and its intersection with climate change is that ‘taboo subject’ no one wants to deal with. At some point we need to deal with it, or nature will resolve it, and it will be brutal.