Noyo Headlands Working Group
Working For a Collaborative Coastal Future
The Noyo Headlands wrap around the city of Fort Bragg from the north side of the harbor, all the way up past Pudding Creek. The future of these headlands is the future of our home. We have an opportunity to pursue comprehensive clean up, creek daylighting, and community led development. That is all being threatened by Mendocino Railway, the owners of the Skunk Train, who want to see the headlands turned into a railway theme park with too much ill advised development. Read over the information below, check out our vision, and fill out the form at the bottom of the page to join our efforts!
Support John Meyer in his victory:
The verdict is in! Judge Nadel found that Mendocino Railways attempted seizure of John Meyers land using eminent domain was not legal!
This is great news, and the implications of it are expected to ripple out.
The bad news is- Meyer is not set to receive any damages from this case, and still needs our help to avoid bankruptcy!
Click here to contribute to his GoFundMe and support him as he continues his legal battle.
Or, for a tax-deductible donation to help him cover his legal fees, click here. Make sure to select "Legal Fund to Challenge Skunk Train Eminent Domain" from the drop down menu.
But what about the other cases? This document has the current statuses.
Noyo in the news:
Illustration of a restored Noyo Headlands, by Marcia Mellow
Make your voice heard: The next CA Coastal Commission Meeting is
February 7th - 9th
Contacting the CA Coastal Commissioners:
copy and paste the full list of emails into the "to" line of an email, or click on them to send a letter to an individual Coastal Commissioner
Coastal Commission by Mail:
There are many opportunities for public comment on this topic! Get familiar with these talking points -- 1. Fort Bragg’s structurally unsound and toxic collection of mill ponds need to be cleaned up before they contaminate the ocean and all sea life for miles around. 2. Sea Level Rise will destroy the beach berm and undermine the dilapidated dam that contains the toxic millponds. The berm is “just a big pile of junk and debris.” The Department of Dam Safety has warned about the dam for years. The Coastal Commission should list these as sites “Of Concern.” The UC Berkeley Toxic Tides project offers an excellent approach. Read When the Berm Blows by Bill Lemos. 3. We should daylight the creeks to flow into a natural estuary. Environmental restoration in tandem with wise community development will sequester carbon. 4. Georgia-Pacific cannot be allowed to skate away from their clean up responsibilities and leave the poisons to contaminate the Noyo Headlands and then spread the toxins far into to sea? 5. The CCC’s should take a position on Mendocino Railway’s use of eminent domain to take control of the entire Headlands? We in Fort Bragg oppose this.The local train is an excursion train and not a public utility (used for transport of freight and people, which would exempt them from laws that require public hearings, environmental regulation and permitting. 6. What confidence can our community have that Mendocino Railway will be good stewards of the land? What about permits? 7. Carbon sequestration is an important part of any plan for the Noyo Headlands. 8. Mendocino Railway uses 4 acres for their operations. They could not possibly need over 360 acres for their railway operations. They really want it for real estate development and dollar extraction from our coastal community. 9. The Mendocino Railway land grab flies in the face of Environmental Justice. 10. Our community has spoken clearly that we want daylighted creeks and wildlife corridors. Mendocino Railway would make this impossible with their tracks going out to Glass Beach. Why is Mendocino Railway talking about a trash-burning operation on the Headlands?
With the exception of the brilliant work and persistence of the City of Fort Bragg in building the Coastal Trail (Fort Bragg's biggest tourist attraction), coastal residents and visitors would have no access to the Ocean in Fort Bragg. As it is the gate to most of the headlands is still chained.
Twenty Years A Delay Game
The saga of the mill site is not new.
Click through this timeline for a better understanding of how the story has progressed.
Fact: The Clean-Up is being stalled by G-P|Koch and Mendocino Railway
The clean-up of Noyo Headlands has been in limbo since 2018. Regardless of who owns the property, the law says that it must be cleaned up before it can be repurposed and safe for humans or wildlife (including the fishes in the sea.) Georgia Pacific|Koch and Mendocino Railroad now share the responsibility. The City of Fort Bragg is not and never has been the reason for delay. The Department of Toxic Substances Control has signed off on some of the property, albeit putting severe restrictions in place as to what can be done in those areas. The section known as OU-E (Operating Unit E), which includes the old mill ponds and crumbling berm holding ponds back from a rising ocean and the forested strip along Hwy 1 opposite Safeway has no approved action plan for remediation.
If you are interested in more background, detail, and the very real situation, here are additional sources. Reports correspondence between all parties can be found on www. savenoyoheadlands.com.
The Fort Bragg Headlands Consortium
The Fort Bragg Headlands Consortium is a team of scientists and professionals whose experience, training, education, and principles motivate them to look beyond rampant rumor, political hype, marketing language, and corporate greed and dig deeper for the truth. See Bill Lemos story "When the Berm Bursts" or Dave Jensen's "The Obfuscation of Averaging" Lemos's article including pictures of the rickety struture built of flotsam and already condemned by the Derpartment of Dam Safety that protects the Pacific from human ignorance, greed, disdain.... You decide. It depends on the decade we are talking about. Dave, along with a number of local experts and scientists, spend a great deal of time peeling back the layers of nonobjective studies, lengthy delays, and bottom line priority over science to come up with inadequate findings and declarations such as "The site is completely cleaned."
The future is for us to decide, and we must make it clear that we intend to go forward- not backwards to being a company town. Pictured below- the view looking south over the trestle bridge spanning Pudding Creek.