LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Leave wood in rivers, on beaches

Dear Editor,

It was sad to read that the restoration project that is protecting the Mad River bluffs at the foot of School Road had been degraded by a senseless act of vandalism. The large wood that stuck out from the structure not only provided complex fish habitat, but also was a resting place for a family of otters and for birds of all kinds.

We need to change the mind set that all wood in streams, on beaches and even in habitat restoration structures is just a commodity. Large wood shapes streams and helps create the habitat diversity that salmon and steelhead rely on.

On beaches large wood can help dune stability and provide habitat diversity for birds and other wildlife species.

Large wood from the Pacific Northwest used to form rafts in the open ocean that would be magnets for life of all sorts, including schools of tuna. The short term  benefit of the wood to one person deprives the public and the reliant fish and wildlife species of valuable habitat that would otherwise last decades or centuries.

The Mad River bluffs structure is a bioengineering project that used large amounts of living willow material and strategic amounts of boulders to stabilize the 1,500 foot long vertical eroding cutbank that threatened the Ocean Drive neighborhood. This type of project is far superior to just rip-rap that is biologically sterile.  The lush willow growth is great songbird habitat and the thicket catches silt and builds banks whenever the Mad River floods.

The scour off the structure is creating depth that substantially benefits estuarine fish species and salmonids and there is some overhanging willow that provides cover associated with the structure. Consequently, the loss of the large wood diminished, but did not completely compromise the Mad River bluffs bioengineering project’s biological value. Its most important structural value is protecting the Ocean Drive neighborhood for the foreseeable future. Thanks to the Natural Resource Conservation Service and the McKinleyville Community Services District that made the project happen.


Patrick Higgins


(Note: Patrick Higgins works with Bioengineering Associates, which designed the Mad River Streambank Protection Project.)


Thank you for support

Dear Editor,

Our Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts in Troop 70536 of McKinleyville would like to thank members of our local community and local businesses who have helped in their effort to fund raise for a trip to England and Wales this coming June.

The girls have had many fundraisers over the past 4-5 years beyond selling Girl Scout cookies and nuts & candy in the Fall Campaign along with the many other troops in the area.  Humboldt generosity never seizes to amaze us when every year Humboldt sells more cookies per girl than the rest of the Northern California council.

Recently, our troop held a Spaghetti Feed at Dow’s Prairie Grange and it was successful largely due to the support from many local businesses who believe in a strong community spirit.  Our thanks go to McKinleyville Office Supply, Tomas Jewelry, Holly Yashi, Lube Central, the McKinleyville Press, Ray’s Food Place, A&L Feed, Mirador Glass, Sholes Overhead Doors, Inc., Pampered Chef, Dow’s Prairie Grange, Denny’s, Safeway, Blue Lake Casino, Humboldt Crabs, Scentsy, Figueriedos, Six Rivers Brewery, The Reed Family, and the parents of Troop 70536.

Assistance has also been given during the last year from Les Schwab for the car wash opportunities, McKinleyville Ace Hardware, the Blue Lake Rancheria, and local residents who called to have their Christmas Trees picked up for recycling.

We don’t have much further to go in order to meet our goals and these high school girls have learned a great deal about putting their own effort into reaching a goal and making a dream come true.  So to all the generous warm-hearted residents of McKinleyville, we say thank you on behalf of our troop’s efforts and on behalf of the 16 other troops in McKinleyville, Arcata, and Trinidad who raise funds in order to pay for their activities and service projects.

Cheryl Kingham

Troop Leader 70536 and Redwood Service Unit Director, Girl Scouts of Northern California