HBI General Meeting Notes 9/12/2014

Humboldt Bay Initiative Meeting Notes
Friday, September 12, 2014, 9:00 – 11:00 am
Conference Room, US Fish & Wildlife Office, Arcata


Welcome and Introductions
HBI Partner News and Updates
Drought Roundtable
HBI Next Steps Update:

Welcome, Introductions, and Updates

  • Jenny Curtis- USGS, California Water Science Center. They have funding in the current water bond to look at reservoir storage via aerial lidar. Just had a meeting about groundwater withdrawls with Regional Water Board, also recently met with Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District about a water balance model in the Mad River. Also working on a sediment deposition project with HSU student.
  • Jill Demers – CEINC/HBI. Jill has been talking to folks about the Humboldt Bay Symposium, and will be reaching out to former steering committee members soon. CEINC has started planning outreach events for Spring 2015 to highlight the results of collaborative Humboldt Bay SLR Adaptation Planning project. Jill is also working with Becky Price-Hall, Doreen Hansen, and Laura Bridy to plan a DIY Drought Solutions Workshop, schedule for Saturday, October 4th. http://www.coastalecosystemsinstitute.org/diy-drought-solutions-workshop/
  • Vicky Frey – CDFW working on statewide issues in marine environments. There is an Eelgrass Management Workshop on October 6-7th. October 6th will be a scientific meeting with outside expertise/presentations. The goal of the workshop is a Humboldt Bay Eelgrass Management Plan.
  • Doreen Hansen, Humboldt Co. RCD. Salt River Phase 2 almost completed. In previously restored areas, they are finding eelgrass recruitment, tidewater goby, and coho juveniles. RCD also worked on removal of Mad River weir, with low flow surveys recently occurring. Because there weren’t high flows this year, the bar wasn’t scoured, put hopefully this will occur in future years. Also working on DIY Drought Solutions Workshop. Eel River Forum scheduled for Thursday, Sept 18th.
  • Rebecca Garwood, CDFW, North Coast Marine Environments. Working on eelgrass management plan and two projects coming up re: aquaculture. Harbor District is doing a pre-permitting expansion project to expand leased areas in the Humboldt Bay. The Draft EIR will be coming out in next few months. In a parallel track, Coast Seafoods want to expand from 300 acres to 1,000 acres; not sure if the Harbor District will ask Coast Seafoods to prepare an EIR.
  • Becky Price-Hall, HBI & City of Trinidad, working with North Coast Stormwater Coalition. Thinking about linking up the work of the NCSC and HBI’s Sustainable Development working group.
  • Dave Fuller, BLM.
    • At Headwaters, s. fork Elk River – taken 30 of 50 miles of roads out (grant from Save the Redwoods League). Water flows look pretty good in Elk considering drought.
    • Working with Steve Martin from HSU for visitor’s survey for Humboldt Bay BLM holdings for planning purposes.
    • Paving in Samoa.
    • Trinidad – acquired the working lighthouse and the 13 acres that surrounds it, doing public outreach and starting management plan for public access and preservation.
    • Working with CDFW to move fish in the Mattole (moving coho from areas that are drying up).
  • Bill Trush, HSU and River Institute
    • Bill is a member of Humboldt Co Extraction Review Team. The gravel bars are not replenished with low flows, and the deep pits dug for gravel extraction are persisting with current low flows (usually, these would go away with replenishment). Because this pits are persisting and wet year round, this is creating bullfrog habitat (they aren’t getting flushed out the system annually;  bullfrogs need at least 1 year of wet pond, and these deep pits don’t dry out, favoring bull frogs over native species). Shallow pits could be a solution, but they are not as profitable for extraction. Asking his students to make a restoration design for deep pits. Trying to get HSU engaged in lower Mad River.
    • Also working with CalTrout – State Resources Control Board does not have a policy on how to allocate diversions from April 1 – early fall. Bill is working to design a protocol to how to deal with this using a variable diversion rate for commercial entities. Requires a variable rate pump, and pumping rate changes based on the river stage height so that a proportion of the flow is taken at any given time (instead of taking all or none). This will be finished by March 2015. Policy is AB 2121.
    • Looking at cumulative effects of turbidity in river systems and how it affects primary production, eventually causing growth loss on fish. Thinking about water quality standards within the mainstem and the cumulative effect.
  • Reg Kennedy, NOAAWeather Service. During fall, provides outlook to permitting agencies (contact with NOAA fisheries) on potential of rain during October. This effects permit extension through October for permits ending Oct 1. Also working with County Drought Task Forces.
  • Paula Golightly, USFWS Coastal and Partners Programs.
    • A recent levee breach occurred on Refuge property on White Slough; Paula’s team offered technical expertise to address levee breach. This site was slated for restoration and had already received funding to input sediment to increase elevation prior to (planned) levee removal. However, the regulatory compliance not yet in place, nor is there a clearly identified source of sediment. Decided to use an aquadam to plug levee so that they project can go ahead as planned.
    • McKay Tract’s Ryan Creek – contributed funds through Coastal Program Wetland Program for wetlands. Developing alternatives for some of the lower floodplain wetlands in Ryan Creek.
    • Working with Eel River Estuary landowners with properties adjacent to Salt River restoration to increase the connectively of private properties to the restoration. Also providing technical assistance to landowners in the area.
    • Teaching a class at NRTC (USFWS national training center) on restoration planning, partnering, and policy at a landscape scale. This training is given to USFWS and with other federal partners.
  • Mark Wheetley – CDFW and City of Arcata
  • CDFW
      • State wildlife action plan. The focus on this plan is updating the climate change and aquatics sections.
      • Mad River – working with Water District on instream flow dedication; also working on hatchery genetic management plan and a Fisheries Management Evaluation Plan to guide future monitoring efforts. This would be the first in CA, although there are examples in OR and WA.
      • Working with Scott- Shasta Flow Study – river flow and ground water component.
      • Ocean Ranch – Met yesterday with Ocean Ranch TAC group, and discussed 4 conceptual designs. Meeting with landowners will occur today.
  • City of Arcata
    • Participating with Humboldt Bay Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning project
    • involved in Water Bond to try to promote provisions for disadvantage communities, lowering match requirements, etc
    • Annual conference – League of CA cities. The Redwood Empire group presented the only resolution that passed (overwhelmingly) to have a summit with Governor and others at state-level to discuss impacts of marijuana.
    • Participated in the Climate Symposium held by USC Schwarzenegger Institute.
  • Joe Tyburczy, CA Sea Grant
    • SLR planning and Ocean Ranch projects
    • Focused on outer coast – rocky intertidal and offshore rocky reefs, working black cod/sable fish to reduce seabird (especially Short-tailed albatross) bycatch.
    • Starfish wasting – not seeing a ton of recruitment from ochre start.

Drought Presentation

Jenny Curtis provided an excellent presentation (here) focused on CA’s drought, weather patterns that start and end droughts, flows in our local rivers, CA’s surface and groundwater supplies, the Water Bond, new CA legislation to regulate groundwater, and implications of expanding forests & their water use under climate scenarios. Jenny also discussed the 2014 Basin Characterization Model: http://climate.calcommons.org/article/featured-dataset-california-basin-characterization-model?utm_source=September+16+Newsletter&utm_campaign=Constant+Contact&utm_medium=email

HBI Next Steps Update: