Natural Resources and Science
News articles ranging from water and energy issues, and restoration projects to science and technology are found here.
KMUD News has been following the recent flurry of criticism surrounding Green Diamond Resource Company's logging practices, including their timber harvest plan for the Strawberry Rock area near Trinidad, California. Recently Green Diamond hosted a public meeting to discuss their current plans, and KMUD covered the event.
Use the player below to hear more on this story, including a report from KMUD News Correspondent Eric Black. This audio includes coverage of the meeting held by Green Diamond on Wed., Feb. 13, at the Bayside Grange, updating the public on Green Diamond's current plans. This story was aired by KMUD News Cordinator, Christina Aanestad, on the KMUD Local News, Feb., 14, 2013.
Underwater sounds generated from U.S. Naval testing and training activities off the coasts of California and Hawaii, and on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean, may have negative consequences for marine mammals. The degree to which this acoustic impact is harmful is a subject of controversy involving the Navy, NOAA-Fisheries Service, and environmental groups.
Public comments on the issue will be accepted by NOAA Fisheries through March 11, 2013. Comments should be addressed to:
P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division
Office of Protected Resources
National Marine Fisheries Service
1315 East-West Highway
Silver Spring MD 20910-3225
Electronic comments can be sent via the Federal eRulemaking Portal:http://www.regulations.gov, using the identifier 0648-BC52.
Use the player below to hear more on this issue, including an interview with a representatives from NOAA Fisheries and The Center for Biological Diversity. This story was aired by KMUD News Coordinator, Terri Klemetson, on the Wed., Feb. 6, 2013 edition of the KMUD Local News.
- Click here for links monitoring Plans and additional materials.
- See Press release below
According to a recent press release from NOAA:
NOAA’s Fisheries Service is seeking comments for a proposed rule requiring the United States Navy to implement protective measures during training and testing activities off the coasts of California and Hawaii and on the high seas of the Pacific Ocean to reduce the chances of harming marine mammals.
The Navy has requested an authorization under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, because the mid-frequency sound generated by active sonar, the sound and pressure generated by detonating explosives, and other associated activities may affect the behavior of some marine mammals, cause a temporary loss of their hearing sensitivity or other injury.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service recently made a preliminary determination that these effects would have a negligible effect on the species or stocks involved. Based on that preliminary determination, it does not necessarily expect the exercises to result in serious injury or death to marine mammals, and proposes that the Navy use mitigation measures to avoid injury or death.
However, exposure to sonar in certain circumstances has been associated with the stranding of some marine mammals, and some injury or death may occur despite the best efforts of the Navy. Therefore, the proposed authorization allows for a small number of incidental mortalities to marine mammals from sonar, as well as vessel strikes and explosions.
Under the authorization, the Navy would have to follow mitigation measures to minimize effects on marine mammals, including:
- establishing marine mammal mitigation zones around each vessel using sonar;
- using Navy observers to shut down sonar operations if marine mammals are seen within designated mitigation zones;
- using mitigation zones to ensure that explosives are not detonated when animals are detected within a certain distance;
- implementing a stranding response plan that includes a training shutdown provision in certain circumstances, and allows for the Navy to contribute in-kind services to NOAA’s Fisheries Service if the agency has to conduct a stranding response and investigation; and,
- designating a Humpback Whale Cautionary Area to protect high concentrations of humpback whales around Hawaii during winter months.
These measures should minimize the potential for injury or death and significantly reduce the number of marine mammals exposed to levels of sound likely to cause temporary loss of hearing. Additionally, the proposed rule includes an adaptive management component that requires that the Navy and NOAA’s Fisheries Service meet yearly to discuss new science, Navy research and development, and Navy monitoring results to determine if modifications to mitigation or monitoring measures are appropriate.
NOAA’s Fisheries Service and the Navy have worked to develop a robust monitoring plan to use independent, experienced vessel-based marine mammal observers (as well as Navy observers), and passive acoustic monitoring to help better understand how marine mammals respond to various levels of sound and to assess the effectiveness of mitigation measures. Additionally, an Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Plan being developed by the Navy (with input from NOAA’s Fisheries Service) will better prioritize monitoring goals and standardize data collection methods across all U.S. range complexes.
NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels at http://www.noaa.gov/socialmedia.
Late in January KMUD Community Journalist, Bob Froehlich, obtained permission from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to accompany Fisheries Technician, Ryan Spencer, on a Coho Salmon survey in the lower part of Little Sprowel Creek. Spencer works for Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, an agency established by Congress in 1947 to help resource agencies and the fishing industry sustainably manage Pacific Ocean resources. This agency contracts with DFW to assist with their current South Fork Eel River Coho Population Estimate Project. Little Sprowel Creek is a tributary of Sprowel Creek which itself flows into the South Fork of the Eel River. The mouth of Little Sprowel Creek is located about four miles southwest of Garberville.
An edited version (7 min.) of the field interview was aired on KMUD Local News on February 5, 2013.
Use the player below to hear the extended (25 min.) interview.
Fisheries Technician, Ryan Spencer, along Little Sprowel Creek
Vortex of water flowing under log obstruction (left) and potential likely redd building area in Little Spowel Creek (right)
Update: Thurs., June 20, 2013 - Construction halted in wetland draining work area of the Willits Bypass Project.
The audio in the player below, submitted and aired by KMUD News Correspondent Eileen Russell, was broadcast on the KMUD Local News Thurs., June 20, 2013 and includes interviews with protesters, as well as representatives from Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol.
Also, see additional articles:
- Lockdown stops work at Willits Bypass; 2 arrested
- Willits Bypass tree-sitters extracted by CHP
- Arrests at Willits Bypass site
Update: February 27, 2013
Use the player below to hear: "Willits Bypass slowing Down", including more on the impact of the Willits Bypass Project on nesting birds. This piece was aired on Wed., Feb 27, 2013 by KMUD News Coordinator, Christina Aanestad.
Update: February 26, 2013
Use the player below to hear: "Willits Bypass protests continue" including the alledged finding of bird nests on the project construction site and "security" of the protest tree sit area. This part of the story was aired on Tues., Feb. 26 2013 by KMUD News Director, Terri Klemetson.
Update: February 25, 2013
use the player below to hear: "Protesters stop construction near Willits Bypass"and "Tree sitter says Willits Bypass deserves scrutiny", aired on Mon., Feb. 25, 2013 by KMUD News Director, Terry Klemetson, with reports from KMUD News Correspondent, Jennifer Poole and KMUD News Coordinator, Christina Aanestad.
Update: February 14, 2013
KMUD news has been following the progress of the Willits Bypass Project as tensions build between those protesting the project and Caltrans, the government agency in charge of the project.
Use the player below to hear an audio clip, aired by KMUD News Coordinator Christina Aanestad, which includes interviews with Naomi Wagner of Earth First, Caltrans Spokesperson, Phil Frisbie, and Treesitter, Warbler. This story was aired on KMUD Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013.
See the posts below for previous updates, background and the original post on the Willits Bypass story.
Update-Jan. 28, 2013:
This Monday, Jan. 28, about 30 to 40 protestors participated in a rally and organized a tree sit just off Highway 101, at the south end of Willits, to protest the proposed Willits Bypass Project.
Use the player below to hear more about the demonstration opposing the Willits Bypass, including interviews with demonstrators and a Caltrans representative. This piece was aired by KMUD News Correspondent, Christina Aanestad on the KMUD Local News Monday, Jan. 28, 2013.
24-year old Amanda Senseman, also known as "Warbler", sits in a tree to stop the Willits bypass.
The original post of the proposed Willits Bypass Demonstration can be viewed below.
For a number of years there has been a proposal to reroute Highway 101 around the downtown Willits area, the so-called Willits Bypass. According to the Caltrans website:
“Route 101, functionally classified a principal arterial route, is the single north-south route serving the length of coastal California and is crucial in the commerce of northwestern California. On Route 101, trucks and passenger vehicles transport goods and people to and from the many communities throughout the region. In the Willits area, it serves an increasingly heavy commuter, recreational and commercial traffic demand. Lack of capacity and congestion has resulted in delay and lengthy traffic queues within the project limits north of the city limit.”
In September, 2012, concerned that the bypass project would harm wetlands, salmon streams and endangered plants, a number of environmental groups including: the Center for Biological Diversity, Willits Environmental Center, Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club and EPIC, requested a preliminary injunction to stop the proposed bypass. Early in November of 2012 that injunction was denied by a federal judge and the work on the bypass is ready to begin as soon as funding for the project is designated.
Use the player below to hear more on this story, including a planned protest of the project on Monday, Jan.28. The piece was introduced and aired by KMUD News Coordinator, Terri Klemetson, and produced by Rian Marie and Cody Mark.
Save Our Willits Valley Coalition -707-216-5549
Click here for information about the protest on Mon., Jan. 28, 2013
Willits Bypass - Final Environmental Impact Statement / Environmental Impact Report, October 2006
Supplemental Environmental Impact Report, May 2010
Click here for maps of Willits Bypass
Willits Bypass - Reports and Presentations
Caltrans Willits Bypass - Environmental Atlas:
According to KMUD News Correspondent, Christina Aanestad:
"A 3,000 page document outlining logging practices over the next 80 years at Mendocino Redwood Company is up for public review. The timber company is hosting 2 community workshops to present their Habitat Conservation Plan this Wednesday and Thursday. The plan would add 8000 acres for roosting spotted owls and open up 10 more miles of streams to spawning salmon over the next 30 years, according to Mike Jani, Chief Forester and resident of Mendocino and Humboldt Redwood Companies. He spoke with KMUD and outlined some of the conservation measures they’re going to take for salmon and old growth trees."
Use the player below to hear the interview with Mike Jani. This story was aired on KMUD Local News, Monday, January 14, 2013 by Christina Aanestad.
Public comment on the proposed plan is open until February 21, 2013. However, Jani told KMUD News that the regulating agencies are considering extending the deadline to April 21st, so the public has time to navigate MRC’s lengthy, 3,000 page habitat conservation plan.
Public Workshops (held at MRC’s Fort Bragg office, located at 32601 Holquist Lane in Fort Bragg - turn east onto Gibney Lane approximately 2.5 miles south of the Highway 20/Highway 1 interchange, office is on the corner of Holquist and Gibney):
- Fish and water portions of the habitat conservation plan - Wednesday, January 16, from 7-9 pm.
- Terrestrial portions of the plan - Thursday, January 17, from 7-9 pm.
Click here for more information on the workshops.
Click here for Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Mendocino Redwood Company Incidental Take Authorization and Habitat Conservation Plan Implementation.
Inland residents with questions unable to attend the meetings can contact the MRC project leader, John Ramaley at 707‐463‐5129.