Welcome to our Winter 2012 e-Newsletter

A message from our Watershed Program Manager, Craig Benson
Natural Resources Services has a long history of filling a watershed coordination role to engage and collaborate with stakeholders in many watersheds to further the mission of watershed and community health. Recent NRS watershed coordination efforts in the Mad River have focused on enhancing water quality and assisting landowners with Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) compliance.
NRS is happy to report that we now have another watershed coordination opportunity, in partnership with the City of Trinidad , to further assist stakeholders in the Humboldt Bay and Mad River watersheds through a Department of Conservation (DOC) Watershed Coordination Grant.  In a unique co-coordinator approach with the City of Trinidad focusing on the marine, bay, and estuarine portion of the watersheds and NRS focusing on the riverine reaches of the watersheds, we will be coordinating a variety of watershed activities through 2014. The five primary goals include  1) the development of sustainable coastal watershed partnerships and coordination; 2) facilitating a coordinated approach to restoration and conservation activities; 3) improvement of water quality through implementation of pollution reduction strategies and best management practices; 4) to improve the resilience of and capacity of watershed and communities to adapt to the effects of climate change; and 5) to reduce the impacts of invasive species through coordinated prevention, detection, and control. 
None of these goals will be realized without the dedicated landowners, agencies, municipalities, scientists, practitioners, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders in and around these watersheds. Do not hesitate to call me at 269-2065 or email to help get the dialogue going.

Site Enhancement Work Underway at New Safeway Streamside Area in Eureka

NRS will complete a five year contract to provide invasive weed control, revegetation, maintenance, and mitigation monitoring services for the Safeway Streamside Management Area mitigation site in Eureka, CA. We will collaborate with the County of Humboldt and the CA Department of Fish and Game to ensure that Safeway successfully meets its mitigation requirements. Work in Year 1 will focus on reclaiming the existing riparian habitat through removal of large infestations of English ivy (Hedera helix) and monbretia (Crocosmia crocosmiiflora sp.) from the site.  This will be followed by replanting of native trees, understory shrubs, and perennial forbs.  Additional habitat elements, such as large woody debris and quail piles, will be added to increase the structural diversity of the habitat. A stormwater channel has also been constructed on site to treat parking lot runoff before it percolates into the groundwater table or is discharged to the headwaters of Third Slough, which connects to Eureka Slough and Humboldt Bay. These are examples of Low Impact Development technology that NRS is encouraging throughout the Humboldt Bay watershed. NRS will conduct 5 years of monitoring to track erformance and ensure that success criteria are being met through adaptive management of the site.

Top photo: A view of an invasive plant treatment area adjacent to the new Safeway store in Eureka.

Humboldt Bay Water Quality and Recreation Facilities Improvement Work

In 2011, NRS was able to purchase and install additional cigarette butt receptacles, an interpretive sign and map intended to help non-motorized boaters safely enjoy the Bay, and conducted photo monitoring of the Wood Creek Tidal Marsh Enhancement Project, thanks to funding from this local source. The sign will be placed at the water access area at the Elk River Truesdale trailhead and parking area, which will be constructed in 2012. The receptacles were placed strategically at sites immediately adjacent to the Bay, where excessive cigarette waste is a common complaint and is known to degrade water quality. The photographs taken as part of the ongoing monitoring of the Wood Creek project will be used to understand the vegetation changes and other site changes taking place with the introduction of more saltwater at the site. Staff will use these photographs to share with other restoration specialists when discussing the project, as well as to establish a record of the site's enhancement. The Humboldt Bay Recreation Enhancement and Water Quality Fund is administered by the Humboldt Area Foundation, but is funded by anonymous local residents who especially care about the health and recreation opportunities of Humboldt Bay.

Top photo: Cigarette butt receptacles installed at the Eureka Public Marina.

Interpretive Panels and Kiosks around Humboldt Bay

- NRS is developing a series of interpretive panels for the Northcoast Regional Land Trust’s one-mile Freshwater Nature Trail near Three Corners in Eureka. The kiosk and signs will highlight recent restoration and the balance between productive agricultural lands and salt marshlands.

- A kiosk and trailhead sign is in progress for the Friends of the Dunes Nature Center, featuring site maps and dune habitat.

- Development has just begun on the City of Eureka’s
Elk River Parkway Trail; from Hilfiker Lane to Pound Road near the Herrick and 101 interchange. Trailhead kiosks and panels will highlight the estuarine environment, wildlife and Native history.

Design of the watershed panel at the Freshwater Nature Trail.

Building Community in Loleta, Table Bluff and Bear River

An NRS team has been leading the Table Bluff/ Bear River/ Loleta Community-Building Initiative funded by the St. Joseph Health System Foundation. The Initiative brings together residents to identify common goals to improve well-being and expand community opportunities. We are also partnering with the Humboldt Area Foundation, First 5 Humboldt, and St. Joseph Hospital Loleta Community Resource Center. After conducting over 60 conversations with individual residents about their priorities, NRS led the first Community Gathering for this project in November at Loleta Elementary. The multilingual gathering brought together over 80 community members. Many voiced appreciation for the opportunity to come together as a diverse community. Next, the team will create a plan and work towards implementation funding this spring.

Above: Residents meeting at Loleta Elementary.
Bike Rodeo at Eureka's Alice Birney Elementary

In October 2011, NRS hosted a Bike Rodeo to help children and adults learn and practice bicycle safety skills. The event, open to all, included rules of the road, a free bike helmet fit check and fitting instructions, and a free professional bike safety check by Adventure’s Edge. More than 50 bicycle helmets were given away to those who needed one. Nearly 70 people registered and participated in this event that was made possible by generous donations from PG&E, Eureka Rotary Club and the Union Labor Health Foundation’s Angel Fund. This was the first in a series of Bicycle Safety Workshops that NRS hopes to host this coming year throughout the Humboldt Bay Area.

Above: A bike rodeo participant gets help fitting his new, free helmet.
Copyright © 2012 Winter 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