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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.