Natural Resources and Science

Natural Resources and Science

News articles ranging from water and energy issues, and restoration projects to science and technology are found here.


Update: Fri., Oct., 25, 2013 - Audio added, including an interview with Pat Higgins, Eel River Recovery Project Volunteer Coordinator.

Another fish count in the Eel River will take place this Sat., Oct. 26. The orientation will begin at 8:30 AM, at the River Lodge in Fortuna. Volunteers are welcome and, if interested, should contact Pat Higgins, at (707) 223-7200. See photos and more information about the fish survey in the original post of this story below.

Use the player below to hear the Pat Higgins interview. This piece was submitted and aired on the KMUD Local News Thurs., Oct 24, 2013 by News Anchor Christina Aanestad.

The original post on this story appears below.

Around 20 volunteers met at River Lodge in Fortuna on Saturday morning, Oct, 12, ready to embark on their Lower Eel River Fall 2013 Chinook Census Dive. This dive, sponsored by the Eel River Recovery Project (ERRP) and several other groups, covered the Lower Eel River, including 12th Street, Boxcar, Drake, and Worswick Pools - shown in the map above. According to USGS data, the flow of the Eel River at Scotia, before the September 20 rain, was down to 50 cfs, but subsequent rainfall brought flows up, making for ideal dive conditions on October 12. Click here for the complete pdf version of the report and here for additional spectacular photos.
The dive team counted 1854 fall Chinook in pools ranging from the Van Duzen River to just above Fernbridge. These numbers were similar to last year's count. In addition to Chinook, 15 adult steelhead and 90 half pounders were counted. Chinook salmon were more numerous in the 12th Street Pool and Van Duzen/Eel convergence than in pools or runs further downstream. No Coho were seen in this first fall dive.

According to the report, lessons learned in this dive include:

  • The rise of the Eel River with the September 20 rain event and the September 30-October 1 storm was sufficient for dispersal upstream and access to the lower Eel River pools for adult and jack Chinook salmon. Flows were also optimal for the dive (<200 cfs).
  • Holding capacity in the lower Eel River is restricted with only the Creamery, Drake, Boxcar and 12th Street Pools capable of holding large numbers of adult Chinook in 2013. The Worswick pool is compromised in depth as is the run above it.
  • Doing reconnaissance and mapping of pools helped to develop more effective tactics for dive team.
  • High turnout of fish professionals and experienced ERRP divers lead to very trustable data being collected.
  • Scorekeepers that walk the bank are a great help because it frees up all divers to be part of the team.
  • Team may have bunched on River Walk side in 12th Street Pool and we may have missed some fish. The Drake Pool is much shallower in 2013 and we may need to rethink tactics.
  • Count is comparable to 10/13/12 dive in gross numbers, but the Van Duzen Pool was not counted in 2012 and many more fish were counted in the Drake Pool and below last year.
  • ERRP and Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC) dives are documenting the pre-pulse portion of run, if last year’s patterns hold, which means large counts are likely on subsequent dives (10/26 & 11/9 in Fortuna)

The next HRC dive is Monday October 21. Volunteers need to be in Scotia at Hoby's Market at 9 AM.  Call Nick Simpson at HRC to coordinate (764-4281).

Call Pat Higgins, ERRP Volunteer Coordinator (223-7200), if you want to help count fish near Fortuna on Saturday, October 26. Orientation will begin at 8:30 AM, at the River Lodge in Fortuna. Wetsuits are available, with advance request.

The photos below show adult Chinook and Jacks and a portion of the dive team after surveying the
Worswick Pool.



Sudden Oak Death (SOD), a disease that kills oak and other species of trees, has had devastating effects in some areas of California and Oregon. Symptoms of the disease, now known to be caused by the oomycete plant pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, include bleeding cankers on the trunk of the tree and dieback of the foliage. Often the disease is fatal to the infected tree. The photo above (credit: U.C.Davis) shows a forest with oak trees dying of sudden oak death.

In an update on the spread of SOD on the Mendocino Coast, KMUD News Correspondent Dan Young conducts several interviews, including an interview with U.C. Berkeley Professor and Statewide Forestry Pathologist Matteo Garbelotto.

This report can be heard using the player below and was aired on KMUD News on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

Additional Resources:

Previous SOD News Web posts:


The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors voted recently to support a multi-agency committee dedicated to promoting enhanced use of the port at Humboldt Bay. However, others are concerned about the environmental impact of increased shipping on marine mammals. These issues were the focus of a news piece aired Thurs., Oct. 3, 2013 on the KMUD Local news. See the "Additional Resources" section below for infographics that support the information in the interview.

Use the player below to hear an interview with Stephanie Buffum, Executive Director of Friends of the San Juan, a non-profit organization focused on cleaning up and protecting the harbors and surrounding waters in Washington State.This story was submitted and aired by KMUD News Director Terri Klemetson.


Additional Resources:

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Judge Releases Trinity River Water

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Federal Judge Lawrence O'Neill lifted his temporary restraining order on the release of Trinity River water this Thursday (Aug., 22, 2013), thus deciding against a preliminary injunction which would have halted any release until a pending lawsuit over the issue is settled. As a result of Judge O'Neill's decision, this Sun, Aug 25, the flow from Lewiston Dam to the Trinity River will begin to increase. The Trinity River is the main tributory of the Klamath River. See the map below for the location of Lewiston Dam.

Judge O'Neill got involved after the Federal Bureau of Reclamation had authorized the flows to begin on Aug. 13, to protect the fish. Subsequently, the Westlands Water District and the San Luis & Delta-Mendota Water Authority sued the bureau claiming the releases would decrease already low water allocations available to farmers. In his decision Judge O'Neill found that blocking the flows would do greater harm to the tribes and the fisheries, if an injunction was granted, than it would to the water districts.

The day before Judge O'Neill's decision to release the water, a group of Hoopa Valley Tribal members demonstrated in Fresno at the location where the hearing on the matter was to be held - the aim being to convey the impacts that a large-scale fish kill would have on the people of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers.

Hear more details on this story in a piece submitted by Kelly Lincoln and aired on the KMUD Local News on Friday, Aug. 23, 2013.

Use the player below to hear more about the demonstration of Hoopa Tribal members in Fresno. This story was submitted and aired by Eileen Russell on the KMUD Local News, Tue., Aug. 20, 2013.

Hoopa Tribal Members rally in support of increased flows in the Trinity River

The Map below shows the location of Lewiston Dam.

View Larger Map

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