The California Natural Resources Agency awarded the City of Arcata a $90,000 Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Grant last month. This grant, along with $150,000 in CAL FIRE Forest Legacy Program Greenhouse Gas Funds and $5,000 from the City of Arcata, will be used to purchase a 20-acre forested parcel along Jolly Giant Creek that connects Humboldt State University with the Arcata Community Forest.
People regularly use a trail on this property to travel between the university and the forest. The purchase would make the trail a bona fide public trail and assure that this forested parcel remains as open space in perpetuity.
The land purchase from John and Claudia Lima not only expands forest recreational and educational opportunities for university students, residents and visitors, it permanently preserves a working redwood forest, enhances Humboldt Bay water quality by maintaining forested uplands in the upper reaches of the Jolly Giant Creek watershed, and provides habitat protection for coastal cutthroat trout, northern spotted owl and a host of other wildlife species.
Arcata’s Community Forest expansion project was one of 21 projects statewide funded by the Natural Resources Agency. Money for the grants comes from fuel taxes distributed to the Agency by Caltrans. These grants go to local, state and federal governmental agencies and nonprofit organizations for projects to ease environmental impacts caused by new or modified state transportation projects. The Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program encourages projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and risks associated with climate change, and demonstrate collaboration with local, state and community entities to protect and conserve natural resources.
Arcata’s project alleviates impacts of north- and southbound bridges crossing the Mad River on U.S. Route 101 between Arcata and McKinleyville and the accompanying realignment of the Central Avenue on and off ramps.
“We are thankful to John and Claudia Lima and the Natural Resources Agency for working with us on this important conservation and working forest project,” says Arcata Mayor Paul Pitino. “And I want to send out a special thank you to our Environmental Services Department staff for all the work they did on this connecting piece of forest land and to CAL FIRE for their assistance.”
The City will manage this forest addition as part of the Arcata Community Forest and incorporate it into the City’s Community Forest Management Plan. About 1,000 additional conifer and hardwood trees will be planted along Jolly Giant Creek in 2017.