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Jenner Jottings - Tim McKusick - December 2015


Jenner Jottings - December 2015

In this season of giving thanks, I am continuingly reminded that we have so much to be thankful for. In the tiny seaside town of Jenner, we have a citizen (He politely declined to be named in an interview attempt) who you may find picking up any litter that finds its way to the roadside. I met him one evening, just as the sun was setting and the town was quiet and seemingly deserted. He had just retrieved a couple ‘stray’ kayaks from out in the river and returned them to the launch ramp area. “Kids being a little mischievous”, he said with a smile on his face. He was just performing yet another thankless task; a humble neighbor, giving to his community with nothing asked in return.

I would like to say, on behalf of your Community and all who visit and enjoy this special place (and who take the clean, litter-free landscape for granted), we thank you!!

I am thankful for community organizations like our Surfrider Sonoma Coast Chapter. We really owe a huge debt of gratitude to these neighbors who have undertaken the daunting task of preserving the health of the true gem of our fair County (and one of our most famous tourist destinations), our Sonoma Coast Beaches. They are a driving force in keeping our beaches litter free and plastic bags and Styrofoam out of the environment. They are also on the job of monitoring the beaches and water for sources of contamination and pollution.

And the next time you sneak out to the coast to catch the ocean sunset (and if you are lucky, a ‘green flash’), you won’t have to put money in a meter thanks to the ongoing ‘anti iron ranger’ efforts of our Sonoma Coast Surfrider Chapter. And it will remain like that if they have their way! P.S.: Their new calendar just went on sale; Amazing photos of Local Surf Breaks…The perfect holiday LOCAL gift!

Believe me, I count my blessings on a daily basis. Life is not easy (just ask your neighborhood Coho), but I still remain hopeful that we can regain our equilibrium and balance that is so vital for a healthy and viable planet, and a Sustainable Future for our children’s and grandchildren’s sake.

Thanks and blessings to organizations like Friends of the Gualala River, Friends of Mark West Creek and Friends of Sheephouse Creek for keeping the health of our local watersheds in the public’s eye. Acting locally truly does have an impact globally. Saving and restoring one watershed at a time has a cumulative positive impact on our collective global environment. And gives us hope that maybe it is not too late for our endangered and threatened species that call these foggy coastal forests home.

By the time you read this, the ‘G-7’ Global Climate Summit will be in full swing – This planet’s nation leaders all convening to discuss and debate how to find a solution to the Global Climate Crisis. Let’s hope that they actually deal with the problem in a realistic way finally, instead of ‘kicking the can down the road’.  

Today’s news reported something that may bring a sense of urgency to their talks. In Greenland, another major glacier appears to have begun a rapid retreat into a deep underwater basin. A troubling trend in Greenland’s glaciers. In all of the cases, warm ocean waters reaching the deep bases of the marine glaciers appears to be a major cause. One of these glaciers that has accelerated melting (especially since 2012), contains 1 ½ feet of potential sea level rise.

Locally, the citizens of Jenner are having active Community conversations on how to deal with this sea level rise, an obvious, inevitable result of the Global Climate Crisis. Our Jenner townspeople are on the frontlines of this global battle.

Nationally and globally, citizens are mobilizing to urge the world leaders to do the right thing. Changing to clean, renewable energy sources ASAP is one key to turning this global climate catastrophe around. There is no good argument to not use the sustainable, renewable resources available. Equally as important is the need to leave the carbon in the ground and in our forests.

Recent studies on Coastal Redwood Trees ability to sequester carbon (another key component in winning the climate battles) showed it Increased Exponentially as the tree increased in height and girth. That is, more carbon is sequestered, at a faster rate, if the tree is allowed to grow.

Current logging practices allow trees to be cut down when they reach 36” in diameter. While this may be good for quick profits, it defies logic if you are at all interested in healing our wounded environment. It is time to do what they are doing in the Jenner Headlands Preserve, thin the ‘suckers’ and leave the bigger specimen trees so the forest will eventually (in several generations) mimic an old growth forest.

After centuries of mowing down (with barely a nod towards sustainable forestry practices) the magnificent Coastal Redwoods (Sequoia Sempervirens), (a special tree that only grows in the small ‘fog band’ that extends from Southern Oregon to the Central CA Coast), we have only very recently (last 20 years) began to understand these Big Trees and their important role in the hydrology of the streams and rivers of the foggy water sheds they support. Studies now show conclusively that in areas with large Redwood trees, the hydrologic input (ground water/stream water) attributed to fog was double that of an area with the trees cut down due to the amazing natural fog processing abilities of the Big Trees.

So, in addition to offering needed shade to fish bearing streams, these big trees increase the streamflow dramatically through their fog processing abilities.

Currently there are logging plans being proposed for the last remaining century old trees in the Gualala River floodplain. Even though the Coho and Steelhead are on the brink of extinction and this is prime Coho/Steelhead habitat; Even though cutting these older Big Trees will have a negative impact on the water table in an already “impaired” water course; Even though the logging plans call for 25,000 gallons of river water be drawn every day for dust control on the logging roads (keep in mind that the town of Gualala is suffering through a moratorium on issuing water meters and the Gualala Water Company is in State violation every time it draws water from its river-side wells).

For our public agencies to approve of the harvest of these old trees in their very sensitive habitat at this point in history where we are at the tipping point fighting for our very survival defies logic. It is time to take capitalism out of the environment. The public comment period has been extended for the Apple and Dogwood timber harvest plans. Please tell our leaders that now is not the time for further degradation of our precious natural resources in the name of corporate profits. We must act before it is too late. 


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