Salmon Creek Diesel Spill

What we’ve been worried about has happened. Apparently a large diesel spill has occurred on Hacker Creek, tributary of Salmon Creek. A convey of Dept. of Fish and Game as well as other officials is attempting to access it today. They tried yesterday and were unable to find the place from the Salmon Creek side. They went through the Briceland road, found the spill, and, because road access is through this watershed, are coming through our roads today.

Wayne Stark, our local fire official, is in touch with Fish and Game. He has agreed to be interviewed later today by me and I will post information as it becomes available.

UPDATE: I spoke to Lt. John Wilcox of the Dept. of Fish and Game just before 2PM today. He said that the Department received an anonymous phone tip. He responded and has found red diesel possibly from a fuel tank, although that has yet to be determined, in Hacker Creek. All the agencies concerned with water quality are on site. They have mostly contained the spill to the property where the damage happened. At this time, it does not appear likely to cause problems further downstream and into Salmon Creek.

They aren’t ready to release the name of the property owner or declare whether or not any arrests have been made.

KMUD is saying that the Dept. of Environmental Health is deeply concerned about the spill and wants Salmon Creek land owners to pull all water lines below the Hacker Creek confluence. This contradicts Fish and Game and I’m waiting on a call to Melissa Martell of Environmental Health to confirm this information.

Brenda Godsey of the Humboldt Co. Sheriff’s Dept. that the source of the spill was a generator powering a dismantled indoor grow and they are now seeking a search warrant for the place.

I have now spoken to Melissa Martell. At this point, no one should be drinking water taken from Hacker Creek and its confluence with Salmon Creek all the way to where Thomas Rd. crosses the water–by the Gribi Gate.

Link to Times Standard Article

Link to the Hazardous Materials Spill Report–apparently a report that was created off the anonymous call.

Link to KMUD info from Friday the 16th news at 6 pm. The Anonymous caller apparently smelled diesel and tracked the smell to its source. Spill was likely 1000 gallon tank emptied into ground. It seeped out of the ground and pooled into the creek. The local Water agencies have a contractor on site cleaning up. The effort could “take months.”

Link to Eureka Reporter


latitude and longitude for Hacker Creek as a whole–I don’t have the co-ordinates of the spill itself.

Clearer Map on the right side is a drawing with a red pin. Click hybrid in the tabs. Click the plus sign 3 times. Click and hold down left hand mouse. Move pin to upper right hand corner. Hacker Creek title appears along the waterway. You can follow that to near the headwaters which is where the spill is located.

Excellent New information in Times Standard article for Saturday, May 17th.

Humboldt County News seems to give the grower’s perspective on many posts.  Here is the writer’s view of the Hacker Creek spill.



  • Great use of the blog. Hang in there.

  • I’m having a hard time imagining our beautiful creek with diesel in it.

  • I see the TS picked it up, but I am still waiting for the guys who were Johnny-on-the-spot about the Freshwater spill when the truck fell off the bridge (no pot grow) to even have a post on this one. The same overwhelming feeling I had when reading the Allman interview. I guess it is the selective outrage that gets to me.

    What’s happening to you and yours as a result of this spill and the activity that apparently led to it is worthy of EQUAL if not greater outrage – but, I guess no Palco involvement in your spill. So no fanfare.

  • I always hate to hear about stuff like this happening.

  • Rose, I’m not sure what they could do at this point. Hopefully, as we develop a plan to ensure safety, the environmental groups will step on board.

    Ren, I’m so sad.

  • This is happening way too frequently. I am so sorry to hear this happened so close to your home, Kym.

  • Kym, it is eerily prophetic that you were just talking about fuel spills with Tom Allman in the post just before this one. Did you suspect that something was amiss?

    When I worked in the woods, we used canvass water bags. The water that seeped through the bag evaporated and kept the water cool. It took a long time to break in a water bag, until the taste of canvass was soaked away. A well broke in water bag that didn’t impart a canvass flavor was a precious item. There was nothing more precious that a fresh clean water bag. We would usually develop a spring in the woods to keep the bags filled. It was very common to drink more than a gallon of water a day. You wouldn’t believe me if I told you how much water a Cat skinner or choker setter will drink on a hot 10 hour workday in the sun, so I won’t bother telling you.

    The choker-setters were in charge of fueling the Cats. The water bags were usually hung on the back of the Cat canopy, just above the fuel tank. Lord God help the poor bastard choker setter that got even so much as a drop of fuel on the water bag. So you have my sympathy with having fuel in your creek. I can’t even imagine it will be well ever again. I disturbs me greatly.

    Lord God help the poor bastard that spilled the fuel in the creek, and I hope that he gets what’s coming to him, with as little mercy as he deserves.

  • Well done, Kym!

  • Good job Kym on using your blog in this manner. The blogs are kind of the alternate alternate community reporting. Like a party line of old. Good work.

  • That string over on Eric’s blog is ghastly. People are so weird. I agree exactly with your count of violent incidents. A great community that still knows how to have fun. That’s why Salmon Creek property is the most desirable rural land in Humboldt County and the most expensive.

  • I love the blogs. The posts are interesting insights into areas of the community’s beliefs and culture.

    The comments are usually pretty interesting too, but, The nasty name calling about Salmon Creek got me worked up. I love this place and I love these great people. You hit the nail on the head, Ben, Salmon Creek property is the most desirable rural land in Humboldt and its because of the people here.

  • I also concur with your reporting, Kym. Maybe the rumor-spreader was himself confronted trying to sneak up here years ago… how sad to miss the point that our community is trying to address a very complicated and deeply entrenched problem in a thoughtful and productive way. To even start work on solutions is hard, slow, committed effort. Not as exciting as anonymous goading…

    You mentioned the quilts, and there are also dozens of quilts made for babies born here. The women who put hundreds of hours into those works of art also end up bringing beautiful potluck dishes to school events and volunteering time in the classroom or at booths for us.

    When Sherri Nelsen’s Salmon Creek home burned down, neighbors here found a new house for her and her three children. They volunteered days to clean it, put out calls for donated clothes, furniture, food, bedding, etc. and then collected all of that and moved it in. The day Sherri was brought to see her new home, a Christmas tree had even been set up and decorated with presents for all of them underneath.

    In further defense of my adopted home, I wanted to recall the time when our oldest resident, Don Stevens, was beginning to have problems living alone, driving his car, etc. A devoted group of neighbors formed an ad hoc group to check in on him daily. If no one could come directly to his house, he got called twice a day. This support system lasted for months until his family could convince him to finally leave his beloved Salmon Creek. He wanted to spend his last days here, and I see why.

    During the Canoe Fires, there was a sense of unity and level of urgency and alertness in our community that we need to recapture now, together, all of us.

  • Kato you said that beautifully. I had a rush of love pass over me that left me with tears in my eyes.

  • Pingback: Cleanup on Hacker Creek Begins « REDHEADED BLACKBELT and Other Strange Connections

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