Glomalin and Conservation in Humboldt County The 1996 discovery of the soil glue glomalin is changing our understanding of the impact of elevated carbon dioxide, while giving important clues to forest health, watersheds, revegetation, wildfire and carbon sequestration. Here I share what I have found so others may read and draw their own conclusions, and relate it to my own experience, Humboldt County issues and stories from the news.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

223. Upwelling, GLobal warming actions 

BBC reporter Jonathan Fildes ran a story on February 17 (, "Winds Devastate Ocean Life" about shifts in the winds that cause upwelling, which stirs up nutrients from the deep into the food chain for all marine animals. For the last five years the annual cycle has acted erratically, providing no food when it is needed and too much when it is not. The excess food decays and uses all available oxygen in the water causing death to all who cannot flee. Dead zones have also been found off Chile, Namibia and South Africa.
U.S. scientists on the West Coast think the timing and intensity of the upwelling are being disrupted. A late season in 2005 meant there was no food for migrating salmon. A massive but late bloom in 2006 triggered a dead zone from decomposition of unused nutrients. There were massive bird die offs from lack of food in some areas.
On February 20 John Driscoll of the Times-Standard wrote "When Come the Winds" ( He provided more local information, explaining we need northwest winds in March and April, which have come in July the last two years, mentioned that Cassins auklet and rockfish have been seriously depleted by the variations from the norm. Fog and redwood trees are also mentioned as an effect of upwelling by Troy Nicolini of the National Weather Service in Eureka. A result of this has been the coming together of different scientific disicplines learning to forecast these events and make predictions about abundance, similar to the way agriculture does it now.
Al Gore seems to have convinced people global warming has arrived. Many people are now trying to battle the problem on every level from giant corporations to local town meetings. Still no mention of restoring the soil by using fungi to store carbon dioxide in the soil, or to recognize the importance of large trees as the true absorbers of carbon dioxide, or that it is a resource that should be hoarded by landowners. In fact failed carbon credit schemes and calls for short rotation logging show a deep ignorance of the basic workings of the landscape, as does mowing grass instead of growing woody perrenials. W3e would like to see more emphasis on restoring the landscape and creating natural. It will take a big load off the need for technological solutions, as called for by Richard Bransons 25 million dollar prize, and contribute to a profitable and stable landscape as well. "Branson Launches $25 million Climate Bid". ( The prize is for capturing at least one billion tons of CO2 per year. While several schemes for capturing and storing CO2 are mentioned there is no mention of capture for further use, either.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

222. Lions, Murrlets and the Lost Coast 

The horrific cougar attack on Jim Hamm and the heroic life saving defense by his wife in Redwood National and State Parks last week brought lots of attention to cougars and the Park. An excellent piece on cougars there by John Driscoll of the Times-Standard on Sunday, February 4, 2007 ( includes a Park video well worth watching for anyone interested in these large cats and their behavior. They seem much less bothered by humans than usually reported. It must be noted that the attacking cat was a first year female, who seem to be the problem in the majority of the human attacks. There hasn't been a killing of a human by a lion in Humboldt since 1890. All the usual steps to avoid confrontation and stave off attacks were well reported on TV and the local papers and even in the national press.
While the lions are increasing in numbers, the marbled murrlet seems to be diminishing rapidly in the parts of its range thought to be safe for them, beyond logging. No explanation is currently available for the precipitous drop off in numbers in the Aleutians or Alaska other than major changes in ocean nutrient cyclingor possibly predation by ravens and/or bald eagles are a possibility, the ravens presence directly the result of development encroaching on old growth forests. The USGS was doing the survey for the administration which is tryting to ease logging restrictions imposed by the decline of the birds in the mainland US in the early nineties. Jeff Barnard, AP environmental writer via Yahoo, February 6, 2007.;_ylt=Au1EMnI3gquSPiNlgUsUCg3MWM0F;_ylu=X3oDMTA3MzV0MTdmBHNlYwM3NTM-.
Bennett Barthalemy wrote a nice three part article for the Northcoast Journal(one part every two weeks January 4, Mattole to Spanish Flat, Jan 18 Spanish Flat to shelter Cove, Feb 1Sinkyone State Park) about hiking the Lost Coast. It gives a good feel for the area and plenty of useful information for those seeking a good hike. It describes the beauty of our region as a wilderness and hikers destination. We hope to see Humboldt redwoods state Park and Gilham Butte eventually tied in as the Redwoods to Sea. (

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