Another Year Keeping Watch on Humboldt Bay

December, 2016



 As this edition of EcoNews goes to press, we are struggling to make sense of the outcome of our national election. Given a President-elect who has never held public office, and has no track record other than many wildly conflicting statements, perhaps the biggest questions are “what will Donald Trump really do, and how will we stop the worst from happening over the next 2-4 years?”

With so much of what we value under attack at the federal level, many of us will turn to local issues where we can have an impact on our own communities. We will need to act upon our principles by actively engaging, volunteering or donating where we feel we can be most effective. 

Trump has made campaign promises to undo landmark environmental laws and unravel the federal agencies that enforce them. We will need to work even harder to fight polluters and protect clean water, to continue our shift away from fossils fuels to renewable energy, and to slow climate change while preparing for sea level rise and ocean acidification. 

On the local level, elected representatives in the Humboldt Bay area will be making difficult decisions about planning for sea level rise in the coming year. Will we take this challenge seriously and come up with real solutions? Or will we kick the can down the road for someone else to deal with? 

We rely on our members, volunteers, and funders to help us accomplish our mission of safeguarding coastal resources for the health, enjoyment, and economic security of the Humboldt Bay community. For more information, visit, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and tune in to the EcoNews Report on KHSU on the 3rd Thursday of each month (90.5 FM). 

Identifying the Sources of Bacteria Pollution

We recently completed our fourth sampling event for the ongoing bacteria source identification study in Janes Creek and Little River. In the coming months, we will analyze the results of genetic testing that will pinpoint the primary sources (human, cattle, dog, bird, etc.). Thanks to experts at the North Coast Regional Water Board, Pacific Watershed Associates, Humboldt County Public Health Lab and our funders at Environment Now,  Rose Foundation, Kurt Feuerman Foundation, Coast Seafood, and Moonstone Beach Surf Camp, we hope to use the results of our study to develop solutions to one of our region’s worst water quality problems.



Explore the Bay/Explorara la Bahía

This year, more than 250 people joined us in 2016 for bay tours via kayaks, motorboats, and the Madaket; interpretive walks along the Hikshari’ Trail; and two kayak-based trash cleanups on Indian Island. Thanks to the Humboldt Bay Aquatic Center, the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Conservation District, our volunteer docents, and funding from the California Coastal Conservancy, Humboldt Area Foundation, and Strong Foundation these free tours help us share our love and enjoyment of beautiful Humboldt Bay! If you haven’t had a chance to join a tour yet, or would like to join us again, our 2017 Bay Tours will resume in April.



Humboldt Bay Mercury Assessment

In 2011, coastwide sampling found the highest mercury levels in the state in a leopard shark from Humboldt Bay. In July, Humboldt Baykeeper received a California EPA grant to analyze fish caught by local subsistence, tribal, and sport fishermen to better assess the magnitude of mercury contamination in Humboldt Bay. Working with fisheries biologist Ross Taylor, local fishermen (pictured), and charter boat captain Phil Glenn, we launched the mercury study in time for the California halibut season. Other species we will test include lingcod, bat ray, leopard shark, shiner surfperch, oysters, and several species of clams that are important to members of the Wiyot Tribe. In 2017, we will interview anglers to assess the human health risks associated with the mercury levels we detect in various species. If you eat sharks or bat rays, or know someone who does, we want to hear from you! Call us at 825-1020, or send a message to [email protected]

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