Welcome to our Spring 2015 e-Newsletter!

A message from NRS Director Craig Benson

A few weeks ago I started my morning with a cup of coffee and the February 28th Times-Standard. There were three articles involving RCAA in the first section of the newspaper. The front page headline read “MAC Shift Response Mixed”. Jessie Faulkner’s article dealt with the public response to the Multiple Assistance Center switching its goal from transitioning homeless families (mostly women and children) to permanent housing to rapidly rehousing single individuals (mostly adult males) instead. This is a big concern that is being looked at very closely. NRS is known for its trail-building efforts and I could not help but reflect that one of the unintended consequences of building the attractive and popular Hikshari' Trail is that many of the people who called that stretch of baylands home were displaced to Palco Marsh or elsewhere. I am gratified to know that the MAC may now be able to offer services to some of those individuals. NRS staff is still partnering with the City of Eureka, GHD, and others to complete the entire 6.5-mile Eureka Waterfront Trail and we continue working towards healthy communities. On page 2 of the paper there was a large photo of RCAA crews treating invasive cordgrass (Spartina densiflora) in the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. The caption read “Grinding Away” referring to the arduous task of masticating cordgrass rhizomes with tri-blade brushcutters. Invasive cordgrass reduces marsh productivity and biodiversity, displaces native plants and benthic organisms, and threatens the City of Arcata’s investment in a living shoreline. RCAA field staff, along with CDF High Rock crews, City of Arcata staff, USFWS staff, the Wiyot Tribe, the Hoopa Tribal Civilian Community Corps, Humboldt Bay Harbor District, Fortuna CCC’s, Friends of the Dunes, the Humboldt County RCD, the State Coastal Conservancy, and a slough (pun intended) of volunteers are addressing invasive spartina throughout the greater Humboldt Bay region. While the battle against spartina is far from over, RCAA will continue to foster collaborative approaches working towards healthy watersheds. Lastly, the headline on page 9 read “Partners Bringing Improvements to Park”. This article spoke about agreements made between the Loleta Chamber of Commerce and the North Coast Railroad Authority advocated for through the Loleta Local Organizing Committee to develop parks and recreation amenities on two Loleta parcels. And I honestly mean this… I appreciated that RCAA, a key project proponent, was not mentioned in the newspaper article. It means that we at RCAA are doing something right: filling gaps, thinking creatively, providing tools, and building local capacity. As long as we’re invited to the ribbon cutting, we’re in!
Photo: Eureka Dog Park
Speaking of ribbon cuttings, the City of Eureka, the Eureka Open Space, Parks, and Recreation Commission, the Eureka Dog Park committee, and RCAA are delighted to announce that the Eureka Dog Park (pictured at right) is ready to be opened on April 8, 2015. Woof!

Craig Benson
Above: The Community Bike Kitchen in action!

Eureka's Community Bike Kitchen

The Community Bike Kitchen, a project initiated by NRS and dedicated community members, has been providing bicycles and bicycle knowledge to Eureka and beyond since June 2013. The bike kitchen, located at the Jefferson Community Center (1000 B Street in Eureka), has thrived as a hands-on, community-oriented space for people learning bicycle maintenance and looking for an affordable, used bicycle. The bike kitchen provides tools, resources and mechanics' knowledge to people learning to fix, repair or build-up used bicycles. The bike kitchen has become a hub of learning and activity for all ages in the Eureka community, providing no-cost and low-cost options to earn a bicycle or bicycle parts. The earn-a-bike program has given over 120 community members the opportunity to volunteer in the bike kitchen learning new skills while working towards a new set of wheels. While NRS supports the management of the bike kitchen, this community space is powered by volunteers who assist with bike repairs, customer service and guiding the direction of the bike kitchen through a steering committee. Many veterans from the North Coast Veterans Resource Center have become mechanics at the bike kitchen, and many youth from RCAA’s Youth Services Bureau and the westside community have learned new skills and earned bikes. Bicycles and tools have been donated from across the community including the Eureka Police Department, HSU Police Department, local bike shops and many individuals. The Community Bike Kitchen is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. If you are interested in getting involved, want to find a bicycle, or wish to make a donation, come by the bike kitchen during open hours or call 707-269-2061. 

Above: One of the trail's new interpretive signs. 

PALCO Marsh Interpretive Trail

NRS recently enhanced the trail corridor and interpretive facilities along the half-mile PALCO Marsh trail that runs south of Del Norte Street in Eureka. An informational kiosk in the style of south Eureka’s Hikshari’ Trail was installed at the Del Norte Street parking area and features a trail map and historical information. From the kiosk sign, you can learn that the Del Norte area once boasted a thriving lumber mill, a horse racetrack, farmland and a telephone pole company. The railroad berm (raised rail bed) once greatly isolated the marsh from the bay, reducing tidal flows and plant and wildlife dependent on them. Extensive restoration efforts, including upgraded water conveyance structures and stormwater management, have brought PALCO Marsh back into the tidal prism and back to life. The trail corridor along the Marsh was resurfaced with compacted shale and four viewing platforms were designed alongside the trail. Each viewing platform hosts either a picnic table or bench, and every platform has an interpretive sign. Interpretive signs highlight bird life within mudflat environments, marsh plant life at varying elevations above sea level, tidal flow and habitat restoration and coastal willow thicket habitat.
Below: Shorebirds at PALCO Marsh. 

Above: An example of a road condition that can have negative impacts to water quality and aquatic habitat.   
Road Assessments Planned for Horse Linto Creek Watershed
In February 2015, the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife Fisheries Restoration Grant Program awarded NRS a grant to a conduct a sediment source assessment of roads in the Horse Linto Creek watershed on Six Rivers National Forest (SRNF) land. The goal of the project is to identify, map, and prioritize roads that are contributing fine sediment to the stream system. Excessive sediment in north coast streams has detrimental effects on salmonid spawning, egg and alevin survival, rearing and adult habitat. Roads have been shown to be a significant source of sediment that impact stream systems in the Pacific Northwest. The project will entail a field inventory of all roads on SRNF land within the watershed to identify road features posing the greatest risk of sediment delivery to the stream network. Field evaluation and a risk assessment model will used to prioritize individual sites and road segments for treatment. Treatment recommendations will be developed and included in the analysis. The data will be added to the SRNF road database and used to plan road upgrades and restoration projects in the future. NRS and the SRNF have been collaborating for twenty years on road assessment, invasive week management, and restoration projects.

Below: A Forest Service road slated for assessment. 

Copyright © Spring 2015 e-Newsletter, Redwood Community Action Agency and Natural Resources Services, All rights reserved.
Redwood Community Action Agency
Natural Resources Services Division
904 G Street
Eureka, CA 95501