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Building habitat

Spike, a western toad, dines on an earthworm in Pete Haggard's backyard. Haggard will show Del Norters how they can attract frogs and other wildlife to their own backyards on Sunday at the Lake Earl Information Center. Courtesy Pete Haggard
 Author Pete Haggard will offer folks the tools needed to build habitat for songbirds, insects, native bees and other wildlife.

Haggard’s presentation Sunday is the latest nature program sponsored by the Tolowa Dunes Stewards and the Redwood Parks Association. Haggard will focus on native plants that can thrive on the North Coast.

Haggard said he will put an emphasis on drought-tolerant plants, although most native species are already used to the area’s rainy winters and dry summers.

“The exceptions would be the ones that grow along streams where they get a source of water and maybe some high mountain places where the summer is short enough,” he said.

Bertsch Tract calls for action

An increasingly bold mountain lion frequently spotted in the Bertsch Tract neighborhood just south of Crescent City has residents concerned for their children’s safety with school starting next week and children waiting for the bus in dim, dawn light when a lion might be on the prowl.

“We've lived in relative harmony with this mountain lion since at least March. We had some minor sightings, but it wasn't until a few weeks ago that the mountain lion became frighteningly bold and has lost its fear of humans,” said Emilie Simmons, leader of the Bertsch Tract Neighborhood Watch group, during Tuesday’s Del Norte County Board of Supervisors meeting.

In an emergency agenda item requested by board chairman David Finigan, county supervisors gave direction to ramp-up options to protect the public and private property from the mountain lion, suspected of killing residents’ goats, cats, and ducks. It also has residents worried school children at the bus stop might be the big cat’s next target.

Attempt to block release denied

On Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge denied attempts by Central Valley farmers to block an emergency release of Trinity River reservoir water requested by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to prevent a massive salmon die-off like in the Klamath basin, which are running low and warm during California’s fourth year of drought.

The water release was requested by the Yurok and Hoopa Valley tribes, Humboldt County, Earthjustice and a commercial fishing trade group to prevent the spread of a gill-rotting disease known as Ich — Ichthyophthirius multifiliis — that spreads in low and warm water conditions.  The presence of Ich in Klamath River salmon was detected by Yurok Tribe fisheries crews.  Water releases from reservoirs on the Trinity River — the Klamath’s primary tributary — have been used the last three years during California's drought conditions to prevent the killing of thousands of adult salmon from Ich that happened in 2002.  

Trinity reservoirs share water with Central Valley farmers through large diversion tunnels sent to the Sacramento River.

Rock Creek water line damaged, as S. Fork keeps Coon fire at bay

Firefighters ford the South Fork Smith River on foot to reach Ed Tollefson's home Tuesday, rather than risk having their vehicles trapped by an expanding wildfire. Courtesy Ed Tollefson
 Fire personnel say they’re confident the South Fork Smith River will keep the Coon Fire from reaching nearby homes. But a damaged water line due to fire activity has local officials gearing up to provide emergency supplies until the blaze dies back enough to fix the problem.

Del Norte County Administrative Officer Jay Sarina said the Office of Emergency Services had delivered two pallets of water to the residents of Rock Creek on Wednesday after receiving reports they weren’t able to draw from their taps.

Fire fighters walked the blaze’s edge at Deer Creek to discover a tree had fallen on the above-ground pipe, preventing water from being delivered from the creek to homes on the other side of the river, Sarina said. As several hotspots have been observed on the fire, officials are not recommending that anyone attempt to make repairs.

Man gets 7 years for high speed chase

 A 24-year-old Eureka man was sentenced Aug. 20 to seven years in state prison in connection with the theft of a vehicle and a high-speed chase in April.

Robert David Benefield stole a delivery truck from Baxter Auto Parts on the 400 block of L Street in Crescent City on April 4, according to a press release received Wednesday from the Del Norte County District Attorney’s office. An employee had started left the truck running in the parking lot while he gathered items for the day and then heard squealing tires. He looked out to see the truck speeding south on L Street.

Police and sheriff call logs, Aug. 23, 2015

Excerpts from the call logs for the Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office and the Crescent City Police Department, August 23:


Sunday, August 23

At 12:31 a.m., report of a suspicious vehicle that has been sitting near Pacific Avenue and E Street for a couple hours.

At 12:49 a.m., caller reports her sister is intoxicated on the 1200 block of A Street and is threatening the caller and her niece.

At 1:13 a.m., report that the stabbing victim from earlier is trying to leave Sutter Coast Hospital.

CDPH warns against eating local recreational clams

The California Department of Public Health issued an advisory Wednesday warning consumers not to eat clams and mussels recreationally harvested from Del Norte and Humboldt counties.

Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in mussel and razor clam samples, a toxic substance which can cause death or illness in humans. It’s possible the substance is present in other species, which have not been tested, and the department advises to abstain from all bivalve shellfish, to include oysters.

Several local restaurants surveyed by the Triplicate they don’t source their bivalves locally.

RNP seeks input on accessibility

Redwood National Park is seeking public input on how it plans to make the park more accessible to visitors.

The park’s draft plan includes an overview of what barriers are currently limiting accessibility to services, activities and programs available and strategies for improvement. The plan is available at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/Redwoodaccessibility, or by calling Aida Parkinson at 707-465-7703.

Comments will be accepted through Sept. 22.

Stick games: Ancient pastime

Thunder Lewis takes off towards the tossel after it is thrown back into play during the annual stick games at the Salmon Festival in Klamath. Del Norte Triplicate / Michael Zogg
 Long before basketball, football or baseball, the most popular sport in Del Norte County (before the term Del Norte was ever coined) was the stick games.

South Fork holding off wildfires

Helicopters on the tarmac at the Gasquet airport. Courtesy Thomas Stewart
 The Gasquet Complex wildfires burning in eastern Del Norte County grew 4,000 acres since Friday although much of the growth can be attributed to firefighters backburning between fire lines and the main fire of the Coon and Bear fires.

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