An important issue we’ve been working on is making sure that the public is fully informed about the planned cannabis chemical extraction facilities (hash labs) by Mercer-Fraser at Glendale, on the Mad River near Blue Lake, and at Big Rock on the Trinity River near Willow Creek. Despite the seemingly good news that Mercer-Fraser has withdrawn its plans for the Glendale operation and rezoning, we can’t stress enough that this was a decision that provides political cover for members of the Board of Supervisors, but does not prevent Mercer-Fraser from bringing this issue back at any time. Some members of the community predict this will be the case right after the election cycle. We must remain vigilant.
To emphasize this point, it has been discovered that, buried in the Board of Supervisors’ recently passed “Cannabis 2.0” ordinance, there is a section (18.104.22.168) that allows flammable and nonflammable extraction chemicals on land zoned AG with a conditional use permit or special use permit. This significant loophole could allow Mercer-Fraser to get a conditional use permit and begin its hash lab activities on the Glendale site without changing the zoning. Be sure and let your supervisor know if you find this to be an unacceptable threat to our drinking water!
With so many critical decisions being made by the Board of Supervisors, the June election has become a focus of concern. In light of that, the NEC participated in a community forum with the Humboldt supervisorial candidates. This forum can be seen on Access Humboldt. To further educate the public, we published a Humboldt Supervisors Candidate Questionnaire which can be found on our website or in the previous issue of EcoNews. Be sure to exercise your responsibility as a citizen—vote on June 5.
In addition to following local elections, we’ve actively supported the following recent state bills:
• SB 835 – State Parks Smoking Ban. Banning smoking in state parks will help reduce the amount of litter that’s affecting wildlife and watercourses and will also address public health concerns associated with smoking.
• SB 836 – State Beaches Smoking Ban. Banning smoking on state beaches will reduce the massive amount of cigarette butt litter. In addition to the fines imposed by Senate Bill 836, the NEC encouraged adequate funding of personnel to be able to enforce this and SB 835 regulations.
• SB 1335 – Sustainable Take-Out Food Packaging for State Parks, Beaches, and Facilities. SB 1335 ensures that food packaging is made of sustainable materials and the used packaging is captured for recycling and composting at a rate of 75 percent or higher at our state parks and beaches.
• AB 2369 – Preventing Poaching in Marine Protected Areas. AB 2369 would create more stringent penalties for commercial and party boat poaching in marine protected areas (MPAs), and prohibit a fishing license or permit from being transferred when enforcement action is being taken or there is an ongoing investigation into poaching activity by the license or permit holder.
• On a national issue, the NEC submitted a letter during the public comment period calling for protection of the Arctic Refuge.
Our efforts as the Northcoast Environmental Center have continued to expand and affect a broad range of issues here in Northwest California. Now with paid staff, solid programs, and a loyal membership, we plan to expand and continue our work to educate, protect, and advocate for our environment.
With the decline of reporters in our local media, the lack of focused environmental reporting has left many members of the public completely uninformed on the many assaults on our local environment. This is a huge void. Therefore, we’re excited to announce that the Northcoast Environmental Center has hired its own journalist. A recent HSU graduate, Hannah Sargent will be helping fill the gaps between what city, county, and agency officials are deciding and what the local public knows. Her articles will be available in EcoNews and on our new website.
We’ve also hired Casey Cruikshank as our new Office Support and Programs Coordinator. Casey is passionate about clean oceans and will be a great fit with the rest of the staff. You can read more about Casey and Hannah below, and be sure to say hi next time you’re in the office.
We’ve also added three new interns to our office for the summer: Katlynn Russo as our Ocean Night intern, Haley Isaacson as Special Programs intern, and Destiny Mancilla as Coastal Cleanup intern.
We hope you’ll join us for this year’s Summer Slough Social on August 26! Following the success we’ve had at previous house parties, this party will be at another gorgeous location, filled with delicious food, music, and tasty beverages. This location also has a swimming pool for all to enjoy (clothing required), plus easy access to the slough for those with kayaks or canoes (bring your own!). We’ll have to keep the cars and people to a minimum, so get your limited ticket now before they run out! We’ll only be selling 60 tickets for this intimate experience.
Click here for more info and to purchase tickets: https://www.yournec.org/summer-slough-social/
Welcome the NEC’s Newest Staff Members
Office Support & Programs Coordinator
Casey Cruikshank is very excited to be part of the NEC team! She graduated from Humboldt State University with a degree in Recreation Administration and an emphasis in Eco-Tourism. She is an avid scuba diver and her life has revolved around the ocean and its inhabitants for as long as she can remember. She has over 70 houseplants and absolutely loves gardening. A lot of her spare time is spent working on her NorCal Beach Clean project. She loves Humboldt and feels it is a dream come true to be working with a group of people who dedicate their lives to understanding, conserving, and protecting
our local ecosystems.
Hannah Sargent is a recent graduate from Humboldt State University with a B.A. in Anthropology and a minor in Journalism. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she came to Arcata for school and has since fallen in love with the local ecology and the strong sense of community togetherness. With a lifelong passion for the outdoors and a desire to connect members of the community to environmental issues, Hannah is eager to utilize her journalism background to bring these important topics to light in a way that makes them accessible to the public. She looks forward to this opportunity to combine her love for people and the environment in order to help foster a greater understanding of the connection between the two.
Bouquet of wildflowers to Anne Maher, the NEC’s former Programs Coordinator, for her dedication, enthusiasm, and organization during her time with the Northcoast Environmental Center. We wish Anne the best for her new adventures in Washington!
Thank you to the 9th Street Committee (Jen Kalt, Larry Glass & Bob Morris) for their work on securing a Site Cleanup Subaccount Program (SCAP) grant to continue the cleanup.
Bouquet of daisies to HumBots707 for our awesome new website!
Bouquets to the Garden Gate for hosting NEC and supplying the wine during May’s Arts Arcata!
Bouquets to Pacific Outfitters for hosting NEC during June & July’s Arts Arcata!
Bouquet to Zack at the Arcata Post Office for making our bulk mailing process simple and pleasant.
Bouquets to all the birders and their donors who helped make the Fourth Annual Tim McKay Memorial Birdathon a success!