Liscom Slough Abuse Continues

Carelessly disposed fish waste degrades the slough channel and poses a threat to pelicans. Photos by Ted Halstead

Carelessly disposed fish waste degrades the slough channel and poses a threat to pelicans. Photos by Ted Halstead

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

“Not even a witch oughtta be caught on the bottom of America’s spew-infested waterways.”

– Frank Zappa, “Drowning Witch”

LISCOM SLOUGH – Both newly restored McDaniel Slough and its Arcata Bottom cousin, Liscom Slough, have gotten a lot of attention this weekend. But where McDaniel received love from scientists and restoration workers, Liscom was subjected to abuse by criminally lazy trash dumpers.

As usual, it fell to citizen Ted Halstead to clean out the illegal dumpage, which he did using his own truck and time.

The dumps occurred at the turnout on Jackson Ranch Road outside Arcata city limits over the last three days. The site is posted with “No Dumping” signs. There, Halstead trieved more than 500 lbs. of garbage from Liscom slough during Coastal Cleanup  the week before.

Last week, a load of roofing material and shingles was strewn about the fragile waterway. This weekend it was green waste, lumber and tires. The tires bore the imprint, “FIERCE ATTITUDE.”

Illegal dumpers have not only been fierce, but tenacious.

In early September, the pollution included more green waste, more tires and still more green waste.  Besides being unsightly and dangerous, the garbage degrades the slough, which provides spawning habitat for key Humboldt Bay animal species.

Inexpensive and ethical means exist to locally dispose of all the waste left at Liscom Slough.

Halstead has received wide recognition and some assistance from NGOs for his efforts. Humboldt Baykeeper and Todd Van Herpe of Humboldt Bay Oyster Company have partnered with him for cleanup projects. Substantive support from government and law enforcement hasn’t been sufficient to either prevent destructive dumping or capture suspects. The City of Arcata has helped by piggybacking Liscom dumpage onto loads retrieved elsewhere in town for proper disposal.

“I feel like there has to be a way that we can do better as a community and a county to protect what I know we all value as a resource,” Halstead said. “This is not acceptable.”

A gallery of recent Liscom Slough dumpings: