From Humboldt Baykeeper;
Using our 2005-2009 Citizen Water Monitoring data, the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board staff recently recommended six streams for listing under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act due to bacterial pollution.
Please write a brief comment supporting the recommended listing so that this type of pollution will become a higher priority for state and local agencies.
Runoff polluted with fecal coliform (E. coli) has long been recognized to be a significant water quality problem in the Humboldt Bay watershed, impacting the Bay ecosystem, water-based recreation, and the commercial oyster industry.
While County Environmental Health monitors local beaches and posts warnings, little has been done to identify the sources and develop strategies to address polluted runoff that impacts local coastal waters.
Comments are due by 5 pm on April 18.
Submit your comments to:
North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board
5550 Skylane Blvd, Suite A
Santa Rosa, CA 95403 Katharine.Carter@waterboards.ca.gov
Here is a sample letter to use as a starting point:
Re: Release of North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board “Public Review Draft Staff Report for the 2012 Integrated Report” (March 14, 2014)
Dear Ms. Carter,
I am writing in support of the recommended listing of the following waterways as Impaired by bacteria due to the high number of exceedances documented by Humboldt Baykeeper’s Citizen Water Monitoring Program.
I like to [surf, fish, kayak, swim, wade, etc.] in and near [name of local waterway], and am in support of listing this waterway as Impaired by bacteria under Section 303(d) of the Clean Water Act. This listing will help prioritize the important work of identifying pollution sources and working towards strategies for reducing and eliminating this type of pollution from our streams and Humboldt Bay.
Add other relevant info, such as: Have you or your kids ever had an intestinal illness after surfing or other water-based recreation? Do you go in the water year-round? Have you ever noticed unpleasant smells, strange colors or sheens, or other signs of pollution?
Examples of activities that could expose people to pathogenic bacteria in each streams’ waters:
Little River: The Little River at Moonstone Beach County Park is a popular spot for children to play in the shallow river all year long. Many people surf, boogie board, fish and crab at Moonstone Beach, and they kayak, stand up paddle, and even swim in the Little River.
Jolly Giant Creek & Campbell Creek in Arcata: These two creeks flow into the region of Humboldt Bay that support commercial oyster farms. Although the Bay itself does not have high E. coli levels when oysters are harvested, the farms are required to stop harvesting after major storms, when E. coli washes into the creeks and flows into the Bay. On average, the oyster industry shuts down 30 days each year to protect public health and safety.
Widow White Creek/Mad River: This creek winds through suburban neighborhoods of McKinleyville, where children play in the water. Children often play in the creek where its lower reach flows onto a popular public beach before reaching the Mad River.
Martin’s Slough/Lower Elk River: The Elk River supplies drinking water to many residents. Martin’s Slough attracts children to play in its waters where it flows through suburban neighborhoods. People have been known to surf at “Stinky Beach” near the Elk River mouth in Humboldt Bay.