Atlantic Salmon in the Pacific?

Could be happening soon, as this story from The Mad River Union reports.

Some Excerpts.

“HUMBOLDT – The Nordic Aquafarms company has advanced its plans to build a major aquaculture facility on Humboldt Bay and has released designs of its proposed project.

​“The company’s managers have also said that the preferred species to be raised at this point is Atlantic salmon, which concerns the fishing industry locally and coastwide.

​The Norway-based Nordic Aquafarms unveiled its project design and answered questions at a March 10 forum at Eureka’s Wharfinger Building. About 25 people were there.

​“The project will consist of six buildings on the Samoa Peninsula at the site of the former Louisiana-Pacific pulp mill.

​“A first phase will include a smolt raising facility and a 201,000-square-foot fish holding facility. A second phase includes a larger 337,000-square-foot holding facility.

“Engineers from the local GHD and SHN consulting firms were there and said earthquake, tsunami and sea level rise resistance is a key aspect of project design.

“Elements relevant to that include consecutive placement of buildings to buffer oncoming waters and elevated height of tanks.

​“As project designs were projected, David Noyes, Nordic’s vice president of technology, said the land-based facility has multiple barriers against fish escape.

​“We have a series of measures between us and the water to make sure that there’s no interaction between the outside environments and our indoor facilities,” he continued. “This adds up to roughly 12 physical barriers between the fish and the outside water to make sure that we don’t have any co-mingling and escape issues.”

​“A wastewater treatment loop includes nitrogen reduction and removal of “a majority” of particulate matter and phosphorous, Noyes said. An “ultra-filtration membrane bio-reactor” can “actually filter out bacteria” and removes 99.9 percent of solids in the water, Noyes continued.

​ “He said the process can remove matter “orders of magnitude smaller” than E. coli bacteria.

​“Nordic is in the permitting phase of a similar project in Belfast, Maine, which is encountering controversy. But unlike the Maine project, a zoning change isn’t needed for the Humboldt project, the Samoa site is previously-developed and a discharge pipe doesn’t need to be constructed.

​“The Humboldt site’s existing outfall pipe extends 1.5 miles into the ocean.

​“Controversy is minimal in Humboldt and community support is ramping up, particularly from all tiers of the county’s educational system. Eureka High School, College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University have had discussions with Nordic’s representatives on how the project and the schools can interface.

​“Until now, the company has held off on indicating a preference for the type of fish that will be produced. At the forum, Marianne Naess, Nordic’s commercial director, said it will either be steelhead or Atlantic salmon and the company will “probably apply for both.”

​“Since the facility will produce 33,000 metric tons of fish per year, fishing communities coastwide are concerned about saturating the market with farmed salmon that is cheaper than wild-caught….

​“The Humboldt Fishermen’s Marketing Association will take a stance on the project once a fish species is identified and the project nears permitting.

​“The company plans to submit a first round of permit applications this summer. Start of first phase construction is estimated to be at the end of 2021.

“Second phase construction is expected to begin six months to a year after that and the project is expected to be fully built out by2025, with fish marketing starting in 2024.”

Retrieved March 24, 2020 from

Posted in Environmentalism, Hatcheries

Homeless & Levee Destruction

A huge problem—and a solution—as reported in this story from Cal Matters.

An excerpt.

“California’s homeless crisis is one of the state’s top issues, but the least discussed aspect of this broad problem is the damage these homeless encampments cause to our levees.

“Too often unauthorized encampments threaten not just the environment, but many California communities. Large trenches dug into the side of levees impact the integrity and stability of our protective barriers that are engineered to keep our homes and community from flooding.

“Reclamation District 1000, which provides flood protection for more than 60,000 acres in the Natomas Basin with over 100,000 residents in Sacramento and Sutter counties, is experiencing a rapid and unprecedented increase in encampments along the district’s levee system.

“Ten years ago we had fewer than 10 encampments along the American River, today we have more than 100 encampments. The problem is that the tents, while providing privacy and shelter, frequently hide trenches as deep as 10 feet carved into the levees to create a flat surface. That adds up to a dangerous situation in a city like Sacramento that relies on levees to protect communities from flooding.

“Large storms could bring fast water in our rivers and canals, damaging our levees and impacting the overall integrity. In the Natomas Basin, some areas of the community could be under 22 feet of water with a catastrophic levee break.

“Local flood control engineers routinely survey our levees looking for erosion, but the increased number of encampments is making monitoring and maintenance unworkable and unsafe. The deep trenches under tents must be fixed immediately or we risk the failure of our levee system.

“Under the law, flood control agencies have the responsibility for monitoring the levees but lack the legal authority to relocate encampments from these critical areas. Without this authority, the process for agencies like the Reclamation District to respond to levee intrusion is complicated and time intensive.

“This impedes the district from carrying out its responsibility to monitor, maintain, rebuild, construct and operate the levee system. Failure to act could jeopardize the residents who live and work in the Natomas Basin and other areas whose homes are protected by the levee system.

“Last year, lawmakers introduced legislation giving flood control districts the authority to have encampments relocated. Unfortunately, the legislation bogged down in committee and never made it to Gov. Gavin Newsom for his signature.

“This year, Assembly members Jim Cooper of Elk Grove, and Kevin McCarty of Sacramento, are again working to fix this problem by introducing Assembly Bill 1958. This measure will protect our levees, and those across the state, from unauthorized excavations and enable regular maintenance and inspection critical to flood season preparation.”

Retrieved March 23, 2020 from


Posted in Homelessness

Miracle March II

Looking good for our water supply, as this story from Accuweather reports.

An excerpt.

“After an absence of major storms for much of the winter, the ‘March Miracle,’ in terms of wet weather, seems likely to continue next week in California.

The storm that brought drenching rain and yards of snow to the Sierra Nevada early this week has now all but cleared out of the state of California.

“A lull in storms is forecast late this week to this weekend, but a new series of storms is destined to impact much of the West next week with more rain and mountain snow from Monday to Wednesday.

“It looks like a general 1 to 3 inches of rain during the first half of the week for California alone,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

“The most frequent rain may focus from just north of Los Angeles to the Oregon border, but some periodic rains will sweep through the L.A. Basin to San Diego and the deserts as well.

“The rainfall can cause some problems at the local level as most rainstorms do in the region. These include incidents of mudslides and flash flooding.

“The rain may be spread out enough to prevent a great deal of flash flooding, so this will likely bring more benefits in terms of drought relief rather than problems,” Anderson said.”

Retrieved March 20, 2020 from



Posted in Water

Miracle March

Looking good so far on water, as reported by the Weather Channel.

An excerpt.

“At a Glance

  • A slow-moving storm is bringing heavy snow to California’s Sierra Nevada.
  • Several feet of snow have already piled up.
  • This is good news for the state’s snowpack, a key for replenishing reservoirs in spring and summer.
  • California’s record-driest February increased concern for drought.
  • Snowpack remains much lower than average in the Sierra, but reservoirs generally remain in good shape.”

Retrieved March 17, 2020 from

Posted in Water

Remembering the Homeless

They are a vulnerable population and we need to remember them during the virus epidemic, as this article from City Journal reminds us.

An excerpt.

“Thus far, no homeless people have tested positive for coronavirus, though that may be due mainly to the sporadic nature of America’s current testing regime. Homeless-services agencies long ago realized the threat that they face. The “phony war” character of the last few weeks has given officials time to plan their response. Most assume an outbreak of COVID-19 among the homeless as a question of when, not if.

“The homeless population is large and diverse, and some are more at risk than others, both in terms of contracting the virus and dying from it. Many of the street homeless practice social distancing as a lifestyle. Shelters strictly regulate access by non-clients. The homeless are unlikely to have attended a Biogen conference or traveled recently on a cruise or plane.

“But the social isolation of the homeless has major downsides as well, insofar as it may impede the heightened public-health consciousness that officials claim is crucial to mitigating the crisis. A number of news articles have reported worries among the homeless, but it’s hard to say how representative those reports are, because low-functioning, highly isolated homeless people are less likely to speak to reporters.

“As a whole, the homeless are disproportionately young. In the U.S. in general, 22 percent are 60 and older, but among those who stayed in a shelter at some point during 2017, only 5.4 percent were 62 or older. In San Francisco, 10 percent of the homeless are 61 or older. In New York, 7 percent of sheltered single adults are over 65. Los Angeles County reports that 6.5 percent of its street population is 62 or older. The relative youth of the homeless is likely a macabre testament to their low life expectancy and poor health. A hard-core chronic case is likely to die decades before the ordinary American.

“In terms of the fatality risk from coronavirus, we should be just as worried about the formerly homeless as those sleeping on the subway and in tents. Advocates often speak about housing as tantamount to treatment. In his 2020 State of the State speech, for example, California governor Gavin Newsom recommended using Medicaid funds for housing. But a recent survey by the National Academies found little evidence that permanent supportive housing improved health outcomes among the formerly homeless. Tens of thousands of formerly homeless people age 60 or above live in supportive housing.

“Homeless-services administrators have been focused thus far on public-health efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus and increasing capacity in their systems. In particular, increasing housing capacity has been the goal for years, and cities are always behind on this, even when they have an abundance of resources at their disposal. Now they really can’t wait. San Francisco has acquired RVs. King County in Washington bought a hotel for quarantine purposes. Anchorage is eyeing a city-owned ice arena. Even if shelters aren’t full, additional capacity is required to thin out overly dense sleeping areas, per the directive of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“For service providers, the nightmare scenario is if their frontline staff can’t work because they’re infected, or are quarantined because they might be infected, or have to tend a child whose school has closed. To forestall any staffing crisis, homeless-services agencies should be developing plans to recruit idle staff from elsewhere in the public sector, such as school systems and higher education. These workforces are enormous—K-12 districts always rank among the largest employers in their communities—and some of their functions overlap with those of homeless-services agencies. Even if only a fraction of the idle security and human-services staff can be recruited for use in homeless services, it could well be enough to meet providers’ emergency needs.

“Security staff will be essential if there’s trouble getting people into quarantine. Overcoming “service resistance” has always been a challenge in homeless services. We justify involuntary civil commitment of the mentally ill if they are an immediate danger to others; anyone infected with COVID-19 is similarly a danger to the community. Many agencies and homeless-advocacy organizations have put out planning protocols for coronavirus, but these are notably silent on what to do about people ordered to quarantine but who don’t want to go or stay there. Breaking quarantine orders may trigger fines and jail time, but are those credible threats for someone who’s been cycling for years through the criminal-justice system?  Service-resistance challenges have emerged early on for Washington’s King County. At King County’s isolation hotel, one homeless man wandered off while awaiting his COVID-19 test results. He ignored a security guard, went to a convenience store, and “allegedly shoplifted a doughnut then jumped on a northbound Route 153 Metro bus.” He was only the second client to be placed in the hotel.”

Retrieved March 17, 2020 from


Posted in Homelessness

Part of Parkway Trail to Close for Months

As reported by Channel 3.

An excerpt.

“A popular section of the Jedediah Smith Memorial Trail along the American River Parkway in Sacramento will close next week.

“The stretch spans just a few hundred yards between Nimbus Fish Hatchery and Nimbus Dam.

“The section, which crosses under Hazel Avenue in Rancho Cordova, will be closed March 16 through Oct. 10. Cyclists, runner and walkers will need to cross Hazel Avenue traffic to reconnect to the trail.

“That’s going to be more dangerous,” cyclist Tony Thomas said. “I think the speed limit is 50 mph and I think it’s hard for people to stop. So, I definitely won’t be going across Hazel.”

“The Bureau of Reclamation is behind the construction, which will relocate the Nimbus fish ladder upstream toward Nimbus Dam and the Sacramento State Aquatic Center.

“We are hugging the bank a little more with the new ladder,” Mark Curney, with the Bureau of Reclamation said. “It’s just upstream of the old ladder, so that will allow to keep the fish coming to the hatchery for longer periods of time.”

“The Bureau of Reclamation manages Folsom and Nimbus dams and is responsible for creating spawning habitat for Chinook salmon and steelhead trout, which are blocked from their natural habitat due to the water infrastructure.

“Curney explained that although many portions of Nimbus Fish Hatchery have been upgraded since it began in 1955, the wooden weir has not and needs modern improvements.

“Well, it’s helping the salmon, so in the long term, I support it,” cyclist Mark Conley said. “It’s going to be a hassle, but we can live with it.”

Retrieved March 12, 2020 from


Posted in Parks

Single Use Bag Ban

It has had unintended consequences, as this article from City Journal notes.

An excerpt.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is giving new meaning to those “sustainable” shopping bags that politicians and environmentalists have been so eager to impose on the public. These reusable tote bags can sustain the COVID-19 and flu viruses—and spread the viruses throughout the store.

“Researchers have been warning for years about the risks of these bags spreading deadly viral and bacterial diseases, but public officials have ignored their concerns, determined to eliminate single-use bags and other plastic products despite their obvious advantages in reducing the spread of pathogens. In New York State, a new law took effect this month banning single-use plastic bags in most retail businesses, and this week Democratic state legislators advanced a bill that would force coffee shops to accept consumers’ reusable cups—a practice that Starbucks and other chains have wisely suspended to avoid spreading the COVID-19 virus.

“John Flanagan, the Republican leader of the New York State Senate, has criticized the new legislation and called for a suspension of the law banning plastic bags. “Senate Democrats’ desperate need to be green is unclean during the coronavirus outbreak,” he said Tuesday, but so far he’s been a lonely voice among public officials.

“The COVID-19 virus is just one of many pathogens that shoppers can spread unless they wash the bags regularly, which few people bother to do. Viruses and bacteria can survive in the tote bags up to nine days, according to one study of coronaviruses.

“The risk of spreading viruses was clearly demonstrated in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Environmental Health. The researchers, led by Ryan Sinclair of the Loma Linda University School of Public Health, sent shoppers into three California grocery stores carrying polypropylene plastic tote bags that had been sprayed with a harmless surrogate of a virus.

“After the shoppers bought groceries and checked out, the researchers found sufficiently high traces of the surrogate to risk transmission on the hands of the shoppers and checkout clerks, as well as on many surfaces touched by the shoppers, including packaged food, unpackaged produce, shopping carts, checkout counters, and the touch screens used to pay for groceries. The researchers said that the results warranted the adaptation of “in-store hand hygiene” and “surface disinfection” by merchants, and they also recommended educating shoppers to wash their bags.

“An earlier study of supermarkets in Arizona and California found large numbers of bacteria in almost all the reusable bags—and no contamination in any of the new single-use plastic bags. When a bag with meat juice on the interior was stored in the trunk of a car, within two hours the number of bacteria multiplied tenfold.”

Retrieved March 13, 2020 from

Posted in Environmentalism