September 23, 2016

2016-17 Rotary Theme

This Friday’s Program:

Our next meeting on Friday, September 30th, will be our third Foundation Final Friday of President Susan’s year. Please remember to bring your checkbooks for the auction – all funds

RISE Calendar … “Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone

October 8 – HSU Homecoming Tailgate Party from 3 to 6 pm.
October 9
– Erin Dunn stars in the “Rocky Horror Show” at the Ferndale Repertory Theatre!
October 18-26
– Opportunity to travel to Nigeria to help fight polio and attend the West Africa Project Fair! Check your email for details, or contact Howard Tours in Oakland (800-475-2260).
October 23 – Stetsons, Steaks, and Spurs – a Rotary Foundation Fandango! At The Lodge, 445 Herrick Avenue, Eureka. No-host cocktails at 2 pm, cook-your-own-steak at 3 pm. Check your email for your personal invitation!
November 17A Taste of the Holidays! Our Fall Fundraiser returns to help you kick off another festive season !
March 11, 2017 – The Rotary Club of Arcata Spring Fundraiser! Put it on your calendar now (or as soon as you purchase a 2017 calendar)!
May 12-14, 2017 – The District 5130 Conference at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort in Incline Village, Nevada

Sunrise Moments

  • President Susan told us that our $2,500 District Grant for the Humboldt Domestic Violence Services Improvement Project. She thanked Carol Vander Meer for shepherding the grant through the process. Carol said that we are hoping to make the nonprofit’s facility more inviting and functional. It should be a great “hands on” project.
  • Make a date to “Hang Out With Judy”! Our Inbound Rotary Exchange Student from Taiwan would love to spend time with you and your family. Please make arrangements with Host Mother Claire Ajina, and have fun! Remember, something on your agenda may not seem overly interesting to you, but for a young woman from another country, a trip to the Farmers’ Market is one more step toward understanding our culture.
  • President Susan plans to make Vocational Moments a regular feature at our meetings. Please let her know if you (or your business) have something new or exciting to share! She called upon Steve McHaney to talk about the previous weekend’s Rotary Institute for Leadership in Santa Rosa. Steve said that our Club had great representation. In addition to Steve, Tom Tellez and Dick Johnson were among the 21 Rotarians who attended. He strongly recommended the two-day program, which touches on leadership within Rotary, but it also applies to leadership in your professional or personal life. Dick asked Steve to talk about the Portuguese Man-o-War, as he did at the Institute. This jellyfish is actually a conglomerate of organisms that work together for a common purpose, and Steve used that as an analogy for how Rotarians work to get things done in our Clubs. (Minus the sting, we hope!)
  • Susan also reported that Past President Howard Stauffer and his wife Rebecca are having a great time touring Europe. They visited celebrity chef Massimo Bottura’s Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy. Chef Massimo insisted on having his photo taken with “his two celebrity visitors from the Rotary Club of Arcata in the USA”.
  • The call is out for nominations for the 2019-2020 Governor of District 5130! Nominations are due by November 18th. See President Susan for more details and to make suggestions.
  • The Rotary Club of Nevada, Iowa is hoping to get some donations of some great California wines for their 2nd Annual Wine Tasting Fundraiser in November. They hope to raise $5,000 to purchase furniture for the local medical center. Again, let President Susan know if you can help.

Special Daze

  • Lori Breyer’s birthday was July 16th, and her niece was in town from the Bay Area. So Lori celebrated with her, Lori’s parents, her husband Dave, and her niece’s daughter all went to Sunset Grill for a birthday dinner.
  • Ian Schatz worked on his September 20th birthday, but he had an evening dinner with his family. It was too noisy for the staff and family to sing him “Happy Birthday”, so we did the honors for him (and for Lori as well).
  • Terri Clark and Marty Lay have been married for 34 years, as of August 24th, and they celebrated at their cabin on the Russian River near Santa Rosa. They had company for the weekend, and they all went out to dinner to toast the couple.

Oyster Farming on Humboldt Bay: An Update

Our Featured Speaker was Greg Dale of Coast Seafoods. Greg grew up in Alaska, and he attended Humboldt State University, where he received his degree in Marine Biology and a teaching credential in Science. Since 1990, he has worked in the oyster industry, and he has been the Operations Manager for Coast Seafoods since 1995. He is a Former President of the Rotary Club of Southwest Eureka, he currently serves as a Commissioner for the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation, and Harbor District, and he lives in Fortuna.

Greg began his presentation by praising Arcata for its annual Oyster Festival, “because of its commitment to local foods, local industry, small businesses, and its commitment to water quality in Humboldt Bay”. He told us that shellfish culture has been taking place in the Bay for 3,000 or more years. Members of the Wiyot Tribe used to move oysters and clams to locations nearer their settlements for convenience. Aquaculture as an industry in Humboldt Bay began in 1911, and Coast Seafoods entered the local scene in 1955. Greg’s main topic was his firm’s efforts to re-permit their existing oyster farm, and gaining a permit to expand their operations in the Bay.

Greg said that Coast Seafoods grows oysters on long lines in the intertidal zones – what are usually called the mud flats. He told us that the permitting process is “not fun”. But he said that he’s okay with a process, as long as you can work things out. He noted that it can take a while, and there is a great deal of compromise involved. “The goal is,” he noted, “to come out of it with a permit that allows you to do your job or to grow your business.” The area currently farmed by the business encompasses 294.5 acres, and they are seeking to expand that to 622 acres (still down from the roughly 1,000 acres they operated about ten years ago).

Greg Dale
Greg Dale

In the early part of this year, Coast Seafoods circulated a draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which was reviewed by state and federal agencies, and by the Wiyot Tribe, Non-Governmental Organizations, and private citizens. They received comments expressing some concerns with the project, and revised the EIR accordingly. “It’s a really easy 1,000-page document,” he told us. “And it’s riveting to read.” The report applies up to date research in the field, and addresses the concerns regarding the function of eelgrass as critical habitat for many creatures in the Bay; potential disturbances to fish, shorebirds, and waterfowl; potential impact on hunting and other recreational activities; and other concerns.

Greg acknowledges, “It is a difficult industry to be in. We operate in some of the most sensitive and valuable ecological habitats in the world.” And from a global perspective, it is a depleted resource. “A lot of the estuaries around the world that don’t have shellfish culture have really declined in function.” Humboldt Bay is one of the best areas for aquaculture, and it enjoys a global reputation for its seafood. Many other areas that host shellfish farms are overfarmed, to the point where native species are crowded out. Most of those places lack the good tidal flushing that Humboldt Bay enjoys.

Greg’s firm is addressing the concerns raised by the EIR comments, and part of this is education. The science and observations show that eelgrass is not suppressed in culture areas, and it also indicates that shorebirds and fish exist inside these areas than outside. He noted that farmers have long relied on great water quality, and they are strong advocates for a healthy Bay. The local cities and the county have worked hard to minimize the impacts on water quality.

You can read the original Coast Seafoods Environmental Impact report by clicking anywhere in this sentence.

Greg showed the following on his final slide:

  • Our goal is to design a project that has no impact to all resources in Humboldt Bay and allows for increased production and economic activity. Coast wants to be a good steward and neighbor.
  • We take seriously our commitment to the Wiyot people and their lands as well as all other user groups and activities.
  • We believe in science based holistic management for Humboldt Bay that is monitored and adaptive.
  • We have taken all input seriously and look forward to working through the process and continued success making Humboldt Bay a great place to live, work, and recreate.