Wetlands and Creeks Committee sets goals for council to ponder

ARCATA – The City of Arcata Wetlands and Creeks Committee (WACC) held its regular meeting by Zoom on Tuesday, Jan. 18.

Committeemembers spent time discussing and developing their committee goals for the Fiscal Year 22/23. Committee goals provide guidance to the City Council’s discussions as it develops its upcoming city-wide goals and fiscal budget. The committee goals also clarify objectives for future WACC agenda items.

These committee goals will be incorporated into the WACC’s 2021 Annual Report, which will be presented to the City Council during a future meeting. Once that presentation is scheduled, the final annual report will be included in the Council’s agenda packet and posted online at cityofarcata.org.

After robust discussion, the Wetlands and Creeks Committee unanimously approved eight goals. Goals include:

1. Support city staff to implement the MS4 (storm quality) Permit, including stormwater education and outreach. (The permit requires the city to implement a variety of actions to reduce pollution in urban stormwater run-off to protect the water quality of local creeks, rivers and Humboldt Bay.)

2. Maintain presence on Measure A’s Ad-Hoc Committee and revisit the priority funding list twice per year. (Measure A is an annual special tax of $37 per parcel to fund the protection, preservation, maintenance and expansion of Arcata’s parks, trails, and natural open spaces. It was approved by over 80 percent of Arcata’s voters in the 2020 election.)

3. Continue to review and provide policy recommendations to support habitat, water quality, and climate resiliency, including the Local Coastal Program (LCP) Update and Strategic Infill Redevelopment Program (SIRP). (More information about the LCP and SIRP can be found at cityofarcata.org.)

4. Explore HSU partnership opportunities and support city staff to develop potential paid, unpaid, and/or standardized internships focused on protecting Arcata’s wetland and creeks resources.

5. Support city staff in sea level rise adaptation planning and implementation efforts, including review of Thriving Earth Exchange research. (Thriving Earth Exchange is a non-profit organization that assists local governments with science-based project review. Visit thrivingearthexchange.org for more information.)

6. Support city staff in the development of a long-term management plan for the city-owned Jacoby Creek Gannon Slough Wildlife Area complex.

7. Explore options for inter committee information sharing and idea exchange with the Wetlands and Creeks Committee, i.e., share goals with other committees, invite other committee members and/or provide updates to other committees. (Currently, there are eight additional city committees and they often share overlapping expertise and purviews.)

8. Explore subcommittee formation to support city staff as needed and feasible, i.e., grant proposals.

The Wetlands and Creeks Committee is composed of Council-appointed community volunteers interested in helping to preserve, enhance and protect Arcata’s wetlands, creeks, tidelands and open spaces, including the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary.

All WACC annual reports, agendas and approved minutes are archived (and easily accessible) on the city’s website, cityofarcata.org. Every city committee meeting is recorded and all recordings are available upon request for up to one year.