Salmonid Restoration Federation (SRF) is a state-wide non-profit in the fisheries sector that proposes to track the Nordic Aquafarms project (NAF), advocate on behalf of the community, communicate important information to the public, and prepare for future aquafarming scoping projects in the Humboldt Bay watershed. Nordic Aquafarms (NAF) plans to build a land-based fish farm at an old pulp mill site on Humboldt Bay, with an outfall pipe for discharge extending approximately one mile into the Pacific Ocean. The local community is concerned about the potential impacts of this project related to water quality, native species, and the economy.
This is a major land development project, with the potential to have both large costs and benefits to Humboldt County’s economy and environment. The current NAF proposal requires a large amount of fresh water, which would come from the municipal water supply in the Mad River. Diverting this water may have detrimental effects on the water quality of the river and its estuary. Environmental impacts such as reducing available summer flow in the Mad River or polluting Humboldt and Arcata bays could disproportionately affect specific communities.
This grant would fund SRF staff to attend meetings and public hearings with Nordic Aquaculture, as well as review project elements for potential environmental impacts, and communicate with stakeholders throughout the review process. SRF would contribute to the process by identifying potential environmental issues and crucial questions to ask of the project, as well as advocating for specific decisions and engaging the public through outreach and education. Regardless of whether the Nordic Aquafarms project is completed or not, the Humboldt Bay area has been identified as a desirable site for future aquaculture projects, and this baseline research will be valuable and necessary for local entities to evaluate the environmental impacts of such projects on water quality and other risk factors.