Natural Resources and Science
News articles ranging from water and energy issues, and restoration projects to science and technology are found here.
After decades of struggles over water and years of negotiation, an agreement, the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA), was finally signed by 42 stakeholders. This agreement was slated to expire at the end of 2012 unless congress gave authorization for the agreement. To give congress more time to enact the required legislation, all the parties to the KBRA agreed to extend the deadline for congressional approval.
According to a press release from the Karuk Tribe, dated Dec. 31, 2012:
The 42 parties that originally signed the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement have all agreed to extend the deadline for congressional action necessary to implement the Agreement. The 42 Parties comprise Klamath River tribes, irrigation districts, conservation groups, fishermen, local and state governments.
As originally drafted, the KBRA would have terminated on December 31, 2012 unless Congress passed authorizing legislation. Because it was increasingly clear that Congress would not act before the KBRA’s self-imposed deadline, the Parties agreed to a KBRA amendment that would extend the agreement until December 31, 2014. The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement does not have a termination date and the changes do not affect the proposed dam removal date of 2020. Other proposed amendments simply clarify the groups’ original intent.
The Agreements aim to restore and protect one of America’s greatest salmon rivers in a manner consistent with a healthy agricultural economy. According to Leaf Hillman, Natural Resources Director for the Karuk Tribe, “This Agreement is the only approach that can restore salmon runs while benefitting Klamath Basin agriculture.”
For decades Klamath Basin communities have battled over the region’s most precious commodity: water. Massive fish kills, irrigation shut offs, and fishery closures have created economic insecurity for tribes, farmers, and rural communities throughout the Klamath Basin and for small fishing communities all along the California and Oregon coasts.
The KBRA and companion Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement (KHSA) are the products of years of negotiation between Klamath River Tribes, area farmers, fishermen, dam owner PacifiCorp, and conservationists.
The Agreements were signed by 42 parties but need congressional authorization for full implementation. The Agreements would provide greater water certainty to irrigators who have seen diversions shut off in the middle of growing seasons, but cap those diversions in a manner that provides greater flow assurances for fish. Water storage would be increased in Upper Klamath Lake and four dams further downstream removed. Dam removal would improve conditions for salmon and save power customers money because, under terms of the Agreements, dam removal is cheaper than mandatory infrastructure upgrades required by a new dam license.
“We now need leadership from Senator Wyden and Senator Feinstein to move this through congress or else the Klamath will soon plunge back into a constant state of crisis and economic uncertainty,” adds Hillman.
A summary and copy of the amendments are available at www.klamathcouncil.org.
For more information use the player below to hear an interview with Craig Tucker, Klamath Coordinator for the Karuk Tribe, aired Thurs., Jan. 3, 2012 by KMUD News Correspondent, Christina Aanestad.
According to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity:
The Center for Biological Diversity is distributing 50,000 free Endangered Species Condoms for holiday and New Year’s Eve celebrations around the country. More than 600 volunteer distributors will hand out the condoms at events in all 50 states. The condoms are part of the Center’s 7 Billion and Counting campaign focusing on the effects of rapid human population growth on rare plants and animals.
“There are more than 3 billion people on the planet under the age of 25. The choices this generation makes will determine whether our planet and its wildlife and natural resource base are burdened with 8 billion or 15 billion people. The difference between these paths can be measured by how many other species are left to roam alongside us,” said Jerry Karnas, population campaign director with the Center. “Our Endangered Species Condoms are a great way to get a conversation started about how the growing human population is affecting the wild world around us, especially animals already teetering on the edge of extinction.”
Endangered Species Condoms photo compliments of the Center for Biological Diversity:
According to KMUD News Cordinator, Cynthia Elkins, in a story aired on Thursday, December 13, 2012, on the KMUD Local News:
"A coalition of conservation groups is calling on the state to ban the sale of what they call super-toxic rat poisons. The action targets what’s known as second-generation anticoagulants, which are implicated in the deaths of so-called non-target wildlife, including a rare mammal here on the North Coast. Greg Loarie is an attorney representing the groups that filed the comments this week with the California Department of Pesticide Regulation. He says the action to ban these rat poisons is overdue, and says they will consider litigation if necessary."
Use the player below to hear this story, including an interview with Attorney Greg Loarie, Jonathan Evens from the Center for Biological Diversity and the manager of a hydroponics store advocating for not selling rat poison. The audio begins with Loarie describing the consequences of rodenticide use as a "crisis.'
Citizens of Humboldt County are being invited by the County of Humboldt, the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council (HCFSC), the Humboldt County Fire Chiefs’ Association, and state and federal collaborators to review and give their comments on the recently released Public Review Draft of the Humboldt County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Update. The comment period will be open until Thursday, January 31, 2013.
Click here for a .pdf version of the Public Review Draft.
The complete press release from the Humboldt County Natural Resources Planning/Humboldt County Fire Safe Council, dated Dec. 7, 2012, can be read below:
The County of Humboldt, the Humboldt County Fire Safe Council (HCFSC), the Humboldt County Fire Chiefs’ Association, and state and federal collaborators invite the public to review and comment on the recently released Public Review Draft of the Humboldt County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) Update. The Draft CWPP can be accessed through the HCFSC Home Page at: http://www.co.humboldt.ca.us/natural-resources/fire_safe_council/. The primary purpose of this review is for residents and stakeholders to fact check and evaluate the CWPP for technical errors or omissions. The comment period will be open until Thursday, January 31, 2013.
This CWPP is relevant to all Humboldt County residents, especially those living in high wildfire hazard areas. Valuable information for this update was gathered through a series of community workshops and HCFSC meetings. It is hoped that the updated CWPP will inspire action and give Humboldt County communities a competitive advantage for wildfire mitigation funding.
CWPPs are a vehicle for communities to identify priority actions to mitigate damage from wildfires and overall fire safety on both private and public lands. They make recommendations to address identified community needs with regards to prevention, preparedness, mitigation, and wildfire response. The Humboldt County CWPP process involved extensive collaboration between organized groups of residents, as well as local, state, and federal agencies. This program is sponsored by the County of Humboldt, guided by the HCFSC, and supported by funding from the United States Forest Service.
It is not a matter of if wildfires will occur in Humboldt County, but when. However, a wildfire does not have to be a disaster. It is possible to prepare for wildfire in such a way as to minimize impacts on life, property, and the community as a whole. The updated CWPP provides information about what can be done and how to do it. Local residents can improve their odds of surviving a wildfire by getting to know this plan! The public review period will end on Thursday, January 31, 2013. During the months of February and March the HCFSC and County Staff will review and consider feedback from the public and revise the Draft CWPP. In April, the Final Draft CWPP will be presented to the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, the Humboldt County Fire Chiefs’ Association, and CAL FIRE for their approval.
Photograph by Michael Nichols from National Geographic website
Hear an extended 20+ min. interview with Stephen Sillett below.
According to a press release from the Humboldt State University Media Relations Office:
Stephen C. Sillett, the first Kenneth L. Fisher Chair in Redwood Forest Ecology at Humboldt State University, and his colleagues have confirmed the second-largest tree on earth, about 3,240 years old, above a trail junction in Sequoia National Park, according to the latest edition of National Geographic magazine.
High-altitude climbing research and painstaking measurements by Sillett and his colleagues show that the giant sequoia, named the President about 90 years ago, ranks number two among all big trees ever measured, National Geographic reports.Twenty-seven feet in diameter at the base, the President’s spire rises 247 feet and is estimated to house nearly two billion leaves. It stands some 7,000 feet above sea level in the southern Sierra Nevada. In addition to confirming the tree’s near-record size, state-of-the-art climbing technology and extreme precision have enabled the Sillett operations crew to pinpoint startling facts, among them: a big tree’s rate of growth can increase despite old age. That negates the long-held belief that wood production diminishes as trees grow old, the premise undergirding short-rotation forestry.
The Sillett crew’s breakthrough, high-altitude research—numerous and demanding human ascent operations, laborious raising of cameras, the taking of bore samples and sophisticated mathematical modeling—is a key component of the 10-year Redwoods and Climate Change Initiative, led by Humboldt State and UC Berkeley redwoods scientists under the auspices of the Save the Redwoods League, San Francisco. The objectives are to gather research on how redwoods can survive immense environmental alterations and to devise a long-term, comprehensive strategy for redwoods adaptation to protect and restore redwood forestlands.
The research is aimed at data-based approaches to protection against climate change. It will be based in part on a network of forest plots to be monitored for more than 100 years. The study includes whole-tree and whole-forest rates of annual wood production as far back as 1,000 years. Leading scientists Sillett and Robert Van Pelt of Humboldt State University and Todd Dawson and Anthony Ambrose of the UC Berkeley are probing the capacity of redwoods to mitigate the impact of climate changes through their own photosynthesis, fog interception, wood production and carbon sequestration. The team will attempt to reconstruct past climates to learn how redwoods responded historically to climate change and then assess how the trees are adapting currently. Greenhouse experiments will be used to analyze how redwood seedlings and saplings from different parts of forest ranges might react to climate change.
Related information: For a wonderful book depicting the beauty and complexity of the redwoods see: The Wild Trees by Richard Preston - available in the Humboldt County Library system both as a book and recorded book.
On the Tues., Nov. 20 edition of the KMUD Local News, KMUD News Coordinator, Terri Klemetson, aired an interview with researcher Stephen Sillett. Use the player below to hear the extended version of that interview.
Photo of Sillett in climbing gear