Tuesday, June 25, 2013


The wooden stakes planted in the Manila dunes are gone again, spurned as an un-sanctioned environmental experiment. The Manila Community Services District removed them today, and is storing the slats at its office if someone wants to pick them up. - JENNIFER FUMIKO CAHILL/North Coast Journal

According to Steve Werner, a Humboldt County building and planning supervisor, the district had to either amend its existing permit to include the stakes or else remove them from the beach. Werner said the installation of the stakes was "surprising to see without district authorization." The Manila Community Services District owns the land and already has a permit for dune restoration, but that permit doesn't include the rogue stake experiment, which went in without any official approval.

"I didn't see a need for a permit. We're just repairing," said Uri Driscoll, who compared his group's stake installation to children building in the sand. Now that he has learned the county sees it differently, he plans to investigate a little more....

Someone first removed the stakes over the weekend, but no one claimed responsibility. Driscoll and Reel wasted no time re-planting them, adding a sign that read, "Dune repair in progress. Please do not disturb."

Coastal Commission District Manager Bob Merrill said his office has contacted the commission's enforcement staff in San Francisco about the issue. While the area is not in a zone where the Coastal Commission issues permits, Merrill wanted to keep the San Francisco office in the loop.... READ THE REST, at the link.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Frustrated Trail Advocates Launch Rogue Experiment on the Dunes

Dennis Mayo of McKinleyville sits horseback while Ray Reel
of Manila pounds wooden stakes into the sand.
Yesterday afternoon, a small group of people, two horses and a dog hiked along the sandy path from the Manila Community Center across the rolling dunes to the ocean. When they reached the front line of dunes, where vegetation peters out and the beach slopes down to the coastline, two men began shoving and hammering wooden slats into the sand. - Ryan Burns/North Coast Journal

Before long they had several dozen of the shims standing upright in the valley between two dunes. The planks looked like tiny frontier grave crucifixes waiting for their crossbeams. Before they left, they shoved more planks into the sand of an adjacent valley.

The group was attempting a bit of guerrilla dune restoration, using an unauthorized “bio-mimicry” technique they’d learned about ◼ online. The slats, the men explained, are supposed to mimic dune vegetation by catching wind-blown sand and allowing it to accumulate at their bases.

...Here’s the briefest of backgrounds: The men, including Uri Driscoll, Bill Weigle, Dennis Mayo and Ray Reel, are avid horsemen and trail-access advocates who for years now have been at odds with various dune management/restoration agencies. (For more detail ◼ see Heidi Walters’ cover story from April 2011.) They argue that the 30-year, multi-agency campaign to remove European beach grass (Ammophila arenaria) is a fool’s errand that’s only serving to destabilize the dunes — wiping out their favorite horse trails in the process. They hope that their experiment, which they planned to announce today before the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors, will reopen a debate on best practices — a debate, in their opinion, that they and their ilk have been systematically left out of.....

As she stated in her May 21 “My Word” piece for the Times-Standard, Vander Meer said that dunes are naturally mobile and dynamic, so she’d be curious to see the experiment sites, which the experimenters described as “blow-outs.” She added that her organization and others in the Humboldt Dunes Cooperative work with scientists and other experts, and while she’s skeptical about the wood-slat technique, she won’t rule it out. ”I think we’re always open to new knowledge, facts and information.”

Monday, June 17, 2013

Coastal Restoration Using Biomimicry

In order to solve rapid erosion problems off the Cape's Atlantic coast Gordon Peabody and his team at Safe Harbor Environmental use Biomimicry, a simple and effective solution. This is a report from Boston Channel 5's Chronicle program.

Sandcastles at Wildberries

This Saturday morning, a section of Wildberries parking lot (◼ 747 13th Street, Arcata, CA.) will be loaded with sand and local volunteers will be designing a sand sculpture in order to hype the upcoming Sand Sculpture Festival at the Manila Dunes on June 29th! ◼ Wildberries posts A big thank you also to McKenny's Do-It-Best Building Center, Wes Green Landscaping, and Friends of the Dunes for making this happen!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Lost Coast Trail

A 24 mile three day backpacking trip along California's most undeveloped stretch of shoreline. - everytrail.com
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 24 miles / 39 km
Duration: Multiple days
Overview: The Lost Coast is an 80 mile stretch of the California coast where the builders of Highway 1 decided to go around because it was too rough. That left this coast all to us backcountry folks as the cars, the people, and the noise keeps a good distance away. This trip takes you down 24 miles of the Lost Coast starting at Mattole and ending at Black Sands Beach.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Filmed in Arcata community forest

Hyundai ad

Poison from pot grows looked at in owl deaths in Humboldt County

Dune Building with Slats and Beachgrass on Cape Cod

24" high sand fencing had been successful in stabilizing
and collectingsand on small scale, Bayside restoration projects.
Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management - If you are looking for some defense against the winds, waves, and flooding that continuously batter and eat away your coastal property, American beachgrass (Ammophila breviligulata) is your plant. This hardy, salt-tolerant, native grass has strong, fast-growing underground rhizomes (root-like underground stems). The rhizomes spread beneath the sand and give rise to many new plants, helping to stabilize sands. Beachgrass also tolerates salt spray and occasional wave overwash, drying winds, low nutrients, heat, and excessive sunlight, and grows well in sandy soils, making it ideal for coastal use. But maybe the best thing about beachgrass is that it helps to develop, build, and maintain dunes.

This is an important image, taken the second week of December 2010,
illustrating integration of 24 inch collection fencing with zig-zagged
pedestrian access pathway. Once the system was in place, we waited
for a storm. (Barrier Beach Dune Restoration, Cape Cod, Massachusetts)
We had received reports that our fending was "gone," an upsetting thought.
As I walked up the pathway I had to agree the fencing appeared to be gone
...but then I noticed the fending only seemed to be gone, because it was
actuallyburied beneath two feet of collected sand... our system worked
We randomly inserted the single slats into the sand, spacing them 8-10" apart
We were stunned at the results of this random experiment.
Once we had restored enough geomass profile to thwart over-wash,
we set up community beach grass planting events to begin the
transition to a sustainable system. Some elevations had
increased by 12 feet in a period of 14 months
Barrier Dune Restoration Develops Innovative Strategy - safeharborenv.com

Thank you to all who contributed to this year's Annual Beach Grass Planting! - dnrec.delaware.gov

The Shoreline and Waterway Management Section would like to thank the many volunteers who came out on March 23, 2013 to plant Delaware's coastal dunes with Cape American Beach Grass. We would also like to thank for their support of the annual beach grass planting the Delaware Mobile Surf Fisherman, the Indian River Inlet Life Saving Station, the Children's Beach House, Pepsi Co., Masley Enterprises, Inc., Giant Foods, Safeway, Outdoors Delmarva and Delaware State Parks.

Also, please visit: ◼ Dune Protection and Improvement and ◼ Barrier Island/Sand Cycle to learn more about beach and dune preservation.

Redwood National Park to close two trailhead roads

Longer Walk to Some Redwood Park Trails - Carrie Peyton-Dahlberg/The Journal

Redwood National Park is closing two unpaved roads, starting on Monday, June 3, saying it doesn't have the money to maintain them properly.

Hikers and cyclists will still be able to use the roads to reach their favorite trails, but driving to those trailheads is out.

Redwood National Park to close two trailhead roads - Tom Stienstra/SF Chronicle

Monday, May 27, 2013

Kinetic Grand Championship dunes crossing

(Above: Dennis Mayo saves the day.)

(UPDATING) LoCO’s 2013 “Take That, KHUM!” Kinetic Grand Championship Coverage!!!

Pac Man ran into some trouble in the dunes and was one of a few sculptures that got a courtesy tow from Humboldt County’s favorite Republican Dennis Mayo and horse (see photo).

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Earth Day Beach Grass Plantings

A short video about the replanting of ammophila on the east coast after super storm Sandy. It is a slightly different type of ammophila the kind they compared to the European type we have in the Oregon state U study. Ours is much more effective...

In a compelling and meaningful Earth Day project, youngsters with special needs who are part of Hempstead Town's ANCHOR Program and Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray joined with residents of Lido Beach to rebuild coastal sand dunes that were destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Stewarding our coastal dunes

Stewarding our coastal dunes - Carol Vander Meer/My Word/Times-Standard 05/21/2013

You may know Friends of the Dunes for our Annual Sand Sculpture Festival, or our school programs that have introduced thousands of Humboldt County students to the coastal dunes, or maybe you know us as the group that opened up the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center. We are all of those things and more, including being a group working to involve the community in restoring the natural diversity of coastal environments by removing invasive, non-native plants like European beachgrass.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The benefits of our beach grass

The benefits of our beach grass - Uri Driscoll/My Word/Times-Standard

The coastal protection that the European Beach grass was intended to provide has been very effective.

High dunes created over the last 100 or so years by the non native beach grass and the supported subsequent wetlands had established a formidable barrier against ocean storm incursions and tsunamis.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Ranchers say park plan will blanket pastures in sand

Ranchers say park plan will blanket pastures in sand - Tess Elliott/Point Reyes Light, West Marin's Pulitzer Prize-Winning Weekly

European beachgrass, long favored by natural resource management agencies as a means to stabilize shifting sands, has fallen out of fashion with the National Park Service. Not so with local ranchers.

In a letter sent to the superintendent of Point Reyes National Seashore last week, the Point Reyes Seashore Ranchers Association slammed a proposal to expand the removal of beachgrass and other invasive plants from coastal dunes, arguing that it lacks scientific grounds and poses immediate threats to agriculture.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Consider the plight of the plover protectors

Consider the plight of the plover protectors - Uri Driscoll/for the Times-Standard

We simply don't know how many plovers we have here on the North Coast. I personally have counted approximately 50 snowy plovers on numerous occasions on Clam Beach alone this winter. About half appear unbanded. Those are not counted in the official tally. Some have said they are from inland populations but that is only a guess. They could easily be from unfound local sites as well.

Last year three college students were responsible for surveying over 7,000 acres of local habitat deemed critical to the snowy plover. Obviously, lack of resources and qualified personnel make such a task somewhat overwhelming.

Some researchers have brought up strong concerns over the handling of eggs and chicks and the stress this causes the parents. It would stand to reason that birds would find new places to nest after experiencing the harassment deemed necessary to check eggs and capture and band baby chicks.