Tuesday, November 17, 2015

LP Pulp Mill 1974. What was.

Old you tube video from 1974 showing pulp making processes. I recognize Mary Pawlyk, Tom Fenwick, Ron Ross, Norm Miller and Jack Hamilton. Any old pulp mill workers recognize any others?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Republican debate. Marco Rubio the best Republican choice?

The latest Republican  debate was kind of an eye opener. Bush, no chance. Donald, complete joke. Cruz, marginal. Carson, overwhelmed. I always like to monitor these forums to see who will be the biggest threat to a Democratic candidate. Marco Rubio seems to be the one big threat to the Democratic party. Whether the nomination for Dem is Hillary or Bernie, don't discount the Marco as a worthy opponent. Just fair warning.

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Love us or Hate us, this Commission has done alot! Congrats to Dale and Higgins.

Love us or hate us, we get sh** done! I would like to address some misinformation and provide updates on what has been done the last four years.

From an economic development and job creation perspective the district has been on a path of growth. This commission continues to be successful in working with our elected representatives at the state and congressional levels to lobby the Army Corps of Engineers for the continued dredging of Humboldt Bay even through lean ship traffic years. Working with local exporters there has been an increase in ship tonnage volume by over 100,000 tons this last year and we anticipate double that next year.

In order to have local control over the process of regularly dredging our docks, the commission purchased a dredge. The last time that Woodley Island and Eureka Marina were dredged by an outside company, it cost 3.2 million dollars. The cost savings by doing it locally will save both Eureka and Harbor District millions.
This commission acquired the former Evergreen Pulp Mill with its many assets our community was at risk of losing, including a commercial dock, needed warehousing, ocean outfall and other infrastructure that would have cost tens of millions to replace.  The district immediately went to work cleaning up the site that, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, was an “immediate danger” to the health of the bay. The Harbor District successfully worked with the EPA who paid for most of the work to safely remove nearly 3 million gallons of caustic chemicals which were repurposed by a pulp mill in Washington. In addition, we continue with our oyster pre-permitting project that has interest from 11 new oyster companies which will bring more jobs to Humboldt.

This commission has done much to help local fishermen. We created a new gear storage area at Redwood Dock Terminal 1 that cleared space on Woodley Island and reduced the price to store fishing gear. We recently opened offloading at Woodley Island for the convenience of our local commercial fishermen. Increasing maintenance workers has allowed for repair and upgrades to bathroom facilities. We are in the final stages of permitting a Fish Market at Woodley Island to accommodate small scale purchasing and sales of fresh fish right off the docks. Recently the District enacted a “Right to Fish” ordinance, the first of its kind in California that protects and elevates commercial fishing activities above all others.

We not only expanded our Fields Landing boat repair facility, we added electronic gates so fishermen have 24 hour access. The recent structure and environmental upgrades, including the repair of the onsite water treatment facility, attracted a steel boat fabricator that allows repairs to stay local. Fishermen are now allowed to stay on their boats while they are in the process of being repaired. We have also stocked the facility with repair items such as paint and scrappers.

The Harbor Commission continues to support the fish cleaning station at Shelter Cove and has made many environmental improvements in the last few years, including repairing the breakwater structure protecting the harbor.

This commission has provided opportunities for Recreation by creating affordable kayak storage units, and finalizing the permitting process of the water trails project. We accepted the maintenance and operation responsibility of the Samoa Trail Project. We continue to support the Sea Scouts and built a new clubhouse for them in Samoa, and support Boy Scout endeavors on Woodley Island Marina.

On the Conservation side, this commission continues the removal of invasive Spartina vegetation to help our marshes to be more productive. We continue water quality monitoring around the Humboldt Bay as well as Shelter Cove. We did a carrying capacity study for potential local oyster expansion. We have held Eel Grass mitigation workshops as well as dredge sediment reuse meetings. We have also managed a sea level rise study and were successful in managing an Aquaponics demonstration project on the Samoa Peninsula that grew fish and lettuce and is now part of a partnership with HSU fisheries. The District is also working with HSU on several renewable energy projects.

The District has never been more transparent and accessible. In fact we are one of the only local special districts that posts our meeting minutes online and records and posts our meetings on public access TV. Our staff is prompt and courteous with all requests for public documents.

Finally, the hiring of current Executive Director Jack Crider was a much needed addition to move the District on the right path – keeping services and adding others while at the same time controlling spending. It is hard to imagine how many complex projects we work on with a budget of just 2 million dollars a year and a staff of 14.

I am proud of the vision and accomplishments of my hardworking fellow commissioners and our dedicated staff and I look forward to continuing the momentum, moving Humboldt Bay ahead both economically and environmentally. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Pulp Mill employees welcome to tour tomorrow 10/13/15 at 10am.

Some former employees of the Pulp Mill are going to come out tomorrow and see the status of the clean up and what it going on for the future. So if you are in interested in the tour, meet out at the old security gate at 10am.

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Tomales Bay Oyster Co has too many customers! Humboldt could use this!

The Tomales Bay Oyster co is being asked by Marin County to scale back it's operation. They might have to turn away 500 people per day! Humboldt Bay Harbor CEO Jack Crider did a report a few months ago about the concept of a Humboldt Oyster Restaurant and we have drafts of what it would look like. I say lets move this project forward on Woodley Island!

Friday, September 25, 2015

CMANC Committee to lobby for 7.8 million for Dredging Humboldt Harbor. Over twice our current allocation.

I attended a recent California Marine Affairs and Navigation Conference  (CMANC) meeting in Layfayette. This was my first meeting since being elected to the Board of Directors. What does CMANC do or what is it?
“CMANC is a consortium of California harbors, ports and marine interest groups. The mission of CMANC is to optimize California maritime benefits by providing advocacy for the maintenance and improvement of California harbors, ports and navigation projects. CMANC works with the California legislature and congressional delegation to make sure that California maritime interests are supported by the federal and state government to the greatest extent possible.”
It was nice to hear other ports issues and how they came up with solutions. CMANC is helping lobby for Humboldt Bay harbor dredge budget to be raised from 3.1 million to CMANC’s recommendation of 7.8 million.  Dredging spoils were discussed in the morning and challenges for beneficial reuse projects. Duck’s Unlimited representative Steven Carroll spoke to the need of mud in the bay area in a place called Cullinan. The issue is off loading the mud to the area. Consultant Ellen Johnck outlined a potential South Bay Salt Pont restoration project at Eden Landing, near the Port of Redwood City. Dr. Michael MacWilliams explained how the tide marshes will not be able to keep pace with sea level rise. Dredge spoils are targeted to use 40% in reuse purposes in the San Francisco bay. The problem? There are no off loaders available for reuse. No contractors are willing to take a 10 million dollar risk investment so this is a real problem for the future.
In the afternoon Joe Calara of the United States Army Core of Engineers (USACE) explained that 40% of all imports comes through California Ports and International trade represents 40% of the state’s economy.  Dredging represents 400 billion in US commerce.  US Marine transportation represents 2 Trillion dollars in commerce and employs 13 million people! $953 Billion Dollars in Freight flows in Northern California.
Alameda County Transportation Commission Executive Director pointed out 33% of all jobs in Alameda is goods movement related. His organizations budget is $320 million dollars. Oakland is the 5th largest Port in the US.  
Newport Harbor boss Chris Miller spoke to their harbor’s eel Grass issues. Their goal was to develop a more effective useful maintenance dredge permit approach; Independent on ecosystem based approach for eel grass management. They are going to use Regional General Permits that are developed to avoid unnecessary regulatory control over activities that do not justify individual control or which are adequate. So for the 11 to 15 ft that are being proposed as individual dredge projects combined stay at 16.8 acres, they will only have to mitigate or replant .84 acres. And each parcel owner can use their own plans for replanting the eel grass.
Port of Oakland Principle Assistant to the Executive Director Jean Baker gave a summary of opportunities and challenges of their port and how they are handling bigger ships that need longer berths, deeper channels and higher cranes. Even though updates on under carriages for trucks and better road ability, there is still congestion with ships backing up because of a shortage of labor. The port and their contractor PMA agreed with the hiring of 150 more longshoremen and the ability to have the “gangs” at full working capacity.  (There are currently 423 “casuals.” That will help the turn time for terminal operators.  The Port Efficiency Task Force is also looking into open on Saturdays. (Currently the port only operates Monday through Friday 7am to 5pm.) The Howard property next to Jack London square is being considered for a new sports arena. The transportation of coal through Oakland is looming in the future even though the coal industry is stagnant currently.
The Short Sea Shipping project or the Maritime Highway 5 project was less than a success with only 40 containers actually moved and the project being subsidized by Stockton. There was also the issue of strange floating vegetation that was several feet deep and causing problems in the waterways.