Lanphere Refuge Refuse: At Least 100 Black Garbage Bags Heaped on the Foredunes, Says Letter to the Editor

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Normally a jaunt down the beach involves such pleasures as watching the multitudes of migrating shore birds, looking out for whales and dolphins, greeting dog walkers and fishermen, families and children, breathing in the fresh ocean air and seeing what the Pacific has washed up on the shore.  However, last week as we ventured north toward Lanphere Wildlife Refuge we started to see piles and piles of black garbage bags heaped on the foredunes.  It looked like they had been there for quite a while and had begun degrading in the sun and salt air.  Some had fallen onto the wave slope, some buried with sand.

The further north we went the more bags we saw.  We counted at least 100 before we turned around. There may be many more that we couldn’t see from the beach.  We considered taking some of them back with us to dispose of them properly, but they were full of plants.  Maybe poisoned plants.

Two years ago, Lanphere Refuge manager Andrea Pickart and the Fish and Wildlife Service had sprayed the cancer-causing herbicide glysophate on dune plants without any public notice whatsoever.  The plants were then stuffed in plastic bags and left for months in this very same area.  Had they done it again?  History tells us they would rather we didn’t know.

The hypocrisy is that this same public agency that leaves degrading plastic garbage bags filled with poisoned plants for months on public land also sponsors beach clean-up days.

Uri Driscoll



  • Just don’t seem right. Is there something rotten in Denmark and here too ?

  • another conflict of interest piece. a real whodunit.

  • Muddy Black Dodge

    This makes me ill. And I didn’t even touch the bags of poisonous plants…

  • Thst would just be terrible if the agency tasked with caring for the area did this. Imagine the penalties if you or I illegally dumped 10 truck loads of trash on the beach.

    • they were bagged and piled in the location of the removal on their property and are currently awaiting proper disposal upon landfill approval. someone strewed them all over the place before taking the photos. someone in a conflict of interest. the shit that goes on always amazes me. in other news: removal of invasive dune grass has been found to be a waste of time. long story short the weeds win.

      • You are not attune to our area and those of us who adore our unique natural treasures !!! No one disturbed this to take photos you goofball..conflict of interest you say??? Shame on you and all like you who don’t love the natural treasures we have in our area. I am angered you had the nerve to print this stupid idea of yours. I would rather people like you move into huge cities for you don’t deserve to live here. Your idiocy makes me sad that a human being hasn’t the capacity to love nature and protect her. Without our dunes and the gorgeous wildflowers that grow here upon sand the dunes would looked raped. The government is corrupt as to what we on the northcoast want . We don’t want people spraying anywhere !!! We don’t want clear-cutting of our Redwoods that have less than 5% left if that. We don’t want to have to deal with stupidity like yours anymore but we must !!!! Bring it on !!

        • whatever Uri. I have paddled every square inch of the mad river slough and walked every trail and battled the bugs to assess the ponds made by the rail grade. I like how the dune is consuming the forest, its very unique. I was the guy that found the remote homeless camp in there 15 years ago because I don’t always use trails. what was your question again?

          • ” I like how the dune is consuming the forest, its very unique”

            I cannot explain such pathos, this person must’ve been overjoyed with this years forest fires.

            Anyone can strip a dune of vegetation, not everyone can keep a dune vegetated, thus securing wildlife habitat.

            • I have always consider your conflict of interest even worse than Uri’s. historically there were no wetlands on the spit until the pipe and the rail were installed. however the dune has been consuming the forest way before any of the grant whores have been wasting time and money on the war on weeds. here is lanphere in 1950. one could use this aerial image and current images to make some observational notes on the rate of dune consumption, its slow, very slow.

              • Can you give some evidence of a conflict of interest that I would be having. You seem to throw that out with no base at all.
                Are you suggesting I am making money somehow by bringing these atrocities to light?

        • NJR…you don’t speak for anyone but yourself, so do us a favor and keep it to yourself…the nerve of some people that think they speak for everyone … my bad your a liberal!

          • Muddy Black Dodge

            Aren’t you the Steve who always complains about Humboldt county, and says how glad you are to be gone… I’ll speak for everyone, we’re glad you and your negative b.s. is gone.

          • Right Steve! We WANT poisons sprayed everywhere! And the 2% of redwoods left? Cut ’em all down! And not knowing how to spell? We’re PROUD of that! maga!

  • The bags are intact, so they have not been there too long. Find someone with a truck and go get them before the are broken over. uri !

  • Why spray herbicide and fill the bags?
    Herbicide is for folks too lazy to pull and bag weeds.

  • This angers me to no end !!! How dare our government agency that is suppose to protect our natural surroundings poisons our dunes and then leaves the pulled poisonous plants in PLASTIC garbage bags instead of taking them to a landfill. I love the old bumper sticker that said “Question Authority”. My family has much property in Manila and live on the dunes. When I lived there my then husband and I walked these dunes and with a dune buggy went on the roads and stayed off vegetation in order to see the entire beautiful ecosystem of them. In this day and age to spray poisonous chemicals to eradicate a plant is stupid and irresponsible. Our area is unique in the entire world. I found this out when 22 yr old on an expedition throughout Mexico and Guatemala and other adventurers from Europe told me and my boyfriend how lucky we were to live in such a unique and beautiful area. Damn the Department of the government that allowed this!!!

  • HumboldtBiologist

    I’m gonna guess these bags are filled with either European Beachgrass or Cordgrass. Both of which spread amazingly quick with the use of rhizomes (underground roots that spread and bud new individuals above ground). They cannot just be piled on the dune or it will spread. The bags also “bake” the biomass so to speak which destroys the tissues and prevents any escapee roots/shoots from being vigorous enough to spread. I understand that you may not like the look of it, but try to understand why its their in the first place. Ecological projects are driven by man power, budget, and public opinion all things that are difficult to come by if you’re not turning a profit or providing a direct benefit. So let’s all take a breathe and listen to each other.

    • WillSmithFreshPrinceOfHumCO

      And the carcinogen know as glyphosate? What purpose does a compound like this serve in nature? What purpose do petroleum products like plastic serve in nature and near our oceans which are already ridden with pollution? I’ll tell you one thing bayar the company that owns glyphosate brought in 42 billion in revenue last year. This make me sick, funny how the indoctrinated or “educated” individuals are the ones most devoid of critical thought. I apologize but herbicides have no place in our dunes just like they have no place in our forests. This is a patented carcinogen that generated 4,758 million in profit in 2017. They get rich while you get sick, then they sell you the cure. Wake the hell up and get out of your institutional mindset.

      • Its a possible carcinogen. Some of the things that are KNOWN carcinogens include many of the foods we eat. Such as, fried potatoes (acrylamide), barbequed food, and beverages above 65°C. Also alcohol and the sun.

        It’s still probably a bad idea to use glyphosate in large scale ag, even if it is not a carcinogen, due to other negative effects.

        When things are scary, it is very important to think critically.

    • Cord grass is on the Bay

    • Noone can leave garbage laying around without potential government fines or abatement. What’s the abatement cost of these same trash bags on someone’s property, per day, every day. Does everyone finally get the disconnect between the government and the governed?

  • The poison on these is speculation so far. But if it’s on the sand,then it’s in the air and water.

    But why use herbicide and also pull and bag?

  • As far as I can tell, the letter said that plants had been sprayed 2 years ago. So did they do the same thing or not with these bags? If they were sprayed to kill off the root systems, why are the bagged to kill off the root systems again?

    After reading this, I still don’t know what they did but it should not have been done without public notice. As for leaving them scattered around to “bake the plants”, why? And why does there a need time it for approval to dispose of them if that was true? It does sound like Uri is probably right and that exactly what happened.

    The suggestion that someone moved them around to take pictures of them is unrealistic as moving bags of heavy root systems is not going to be done without tearing the bags and leaving traces in the sand.

  • if it was anyone else reporting this other than uri driscoll, i might believe it, but this dude has a major agenda and i think he does and would spin the truth or nontruth to serve his own interests. he probably scattered them to take his pics and there is zero proof that these were sprayed w anything.. just uri “speculating” ..its been nice not seeing his stupid name in the news lately.. but now he’s back.. uggh!

  • As I said I am not sure if these plants were poisoned. All I know is they poisoned plants a couple years ago and left the bags for months. Andrea Pickart and Eric Nelson refuse to engage in a dialog over this. They are the managers of the refuge.
    I am surprised they would do it again and think it is OK.
    This obsession with trying to eradicate plants that are well established and a part of the current ecosystem has taken a sick turn when it thinks cancer causing poisons are helpful.

  • But they allow dogs on the beach? Dog crap is good for wildlife and wild plants? LOL

    Dogs and cats are GMO’s. Humans created them. Let’s release some wild wolves or mountain lions on the beaches and see how the bureaucrats and do-gooders and beach-trashers “appreciate nature” after they lose one of their precious poodles – or nephews.

    • There is a difference between hybrid and cross breeding over GMO. Please learn more about gene modified organisms; it is important.

  • My reaction to many of the comments, particularly Uri’s and Nathalie’s, are a combination of laughter and despair. It’s frankly hard to imagine anyone could take any of their statements as having a basis in reality.

    Glyphosate has not been found to be carcinogenic at anything except extremely high dosages and that was in animals. There is no demonstrated risk to humans at normal exposure levels.

    Ecosystems dominated by invasive nonnative species are not ‘normalized’, especially when their continued existence and expansion threatens rare and endangered species.

    And Nathalie, coast redwood still occupies somewhere over 75% (and probably closer to 90%) of its historical range (comparisons are difficult due to lack of reliable historical maps), albeit with somewhat younger trees. The 5% figure refers only to old growth, all of which is currently protected in reserves and never harvested, much less clearcut.

    Next time, try some actual facts in your opinions.

    • wow.. my reaction to YOUR comment was laughter and despair.. you actually think roundup doesnt cause cancer?! do you believe everything corporations tell you? next time try some actual facts in your opinion not a bunch of corporate spun lies/propaganda.. anyone with an independently functioning brain (not controlled by the media/news/corps/govt) knows roundup causes cancer as well as other health issues but i hope you enjoy a nice big yummy herbicide laden salad for lunch today, cy.. good luck with that.. i’m sure it won’t hurt ya cuz monsanto told you it wouldnt!

      • “anyone with an independently functioning brain (not controlled by the media/news/corps/govt) knows roundup causes cancer”

        Based on what? I’ve looked at the science because I tend to be very cautious when it comes to any chemical, particularly ones used widely in the environment and the only ones demonstrating a cancer risk would require you to eat the equivalent of a half kilo a day for an extended period.

        I’ll readily admit that it’s extremely hard to prove links between chemicals and cancer in humans but the studies published (and there are a lot of them) have failed to demonstrate an appreciable risk at even fairly high dosages. The chemicals in the fuel you put in your car are far more likely to cause cancer than has been demonstrated thus far for glyphosate.

    • Cy, Perhaps you did not pick up the news a couple weeks ago that there was a $300 mil ruling over the fact that a grounds keeper got cancer from glysophate.
      FYI there are 100 times more endangered wall flowers on the Arkley dunes where there has been no beachgrass eradication efforts than on adjacent properties where there was. Your argument for endangered plants has some big gaps.
      As far as the threatened snowy plover “importantly eggs often fail to hatch in restored areas” (Colwell 2008)
      So if you want to believe that bulldozing, child labor and spraying cancer causing poisons on plants that may actually be beneficial is in some twisted way good for the environment that is your choice. It is just not mine.

      • And that many cereal companies found harmful levels of glysophate in foods

        • Actually no, that was an advocacy group that tested cereals and they found trace levels of glyphosate in food. They deemed it harmful because of the very low limits they set which weren’t based on any studies. The highest concentrations found were 10 times lower than the concentrations deemed to have even a minimal risk of danger.

          • Not quite. Research showed that liver and kidney damage happened at levels well below label specifications combined with the fact that GHP is so incredibly pervasive in modern farming that people are getting it from multiple sources everyday. Testing for affects based on that lower level was based on real world consumption, not the company’s cherry picked idea that only some products are consumed irregularly thus limiting the amount deemed dangerous. Monsanto’s statements are like saying one aspirin will not cause damage. True but not so when in the real world people are unknowningly consumed a hundred.

            Beside Roundup is notoriously dangerous to fish so it is of concern especially to use it on a beach.

          • In my 1911 I trust

            There is also TSP in cereal, so just don’t eat it.

      • That was from a jury and was not based on any of the currently published science. Even the EU has backtracked on their labelling glyphosate as a possible carcinogen based on meta-analysis. In case you weren’t aware, juries can be notoriously wrong when it comes to personal injury lawsuits because they tend to rule on emotion rather than fact. Mainly because they are composed of average folks and, like Uri, lack any apparent training or education in science.

        • If there is one thing that is irritating, it is the “I-have-a-degree-so-shut-up” responses. The tobacco industry had loads of degreed sychophants supporting them for decades. As have the drug companies who have produced medications, passed by governments as safe, that were found to harm people when they started being used in the real world.

          With enough money, degreed authorities can be sicced on any human who is a noisy nuisance. Even on other degreed authorities who inconveniently disagree. Company money funds a lot of supposedly unbiased research every day. A degree does not convey sainthood. It too frequently does not even convey competence.

        • Cy,
          Are you saying that the court is making Monsanto pay $300 million dollars to this guy with cancer that had a job spraying glysophate and the jury was not allowed to review current science?
          And the World health Organization does not consider science when it determines that Glysophate is a probable carcinogen.
          And that “average folks” like me should just trust anonymous folks like you when it comes to poisoning our environment.

      • Wait, child labor? How did they get the children to labor? I can’t figure out how to get mine to do anything close to being considered labor.

        • Mike, All you got to do is bus them to the beach with a thousand others and tell them they have to dig up plants. Then you collect $17.84 per hour per kid to match funds to get more money. I think FOD is teaching classes on this method. However the resistance is growing. Kids aren’t as stupid as they had hoped.
          The parents are slower to catch on.
          But no they are not making kids spray poisons yet.

        • You may need to beat them. NOT REALLY, JUST SAYING.

      • The fact that you spin volunteer removal as child labor reveal just how untrustworthy you are on this issue.

      • “FYI there are 100 times more endangered wall flowers on the Arkley dunes where there has been no beachgrass eradication efforts than on adjacent properties where there was.”

        Please link to that study. How many were there in each area before the beachgrass?

    • Haven’t done enough research on this to make a call but this NY Times article seems to contradict some of what you allege.

      • I’ve spent quite a lot of time reviewing the lit. My feeling is that glyphosate should not be used in agriculture due to the scale of application, as well as the effects on soil ecology, insect ecology, and potentially human gut microbiome . (This would however have serious implications for food production, which would require social atl level changes of nearly unprecedented scale)

        Use in control of invasive plants is another question. Areas sprayed with glyphosate should be closed to the public for a period. Mechanical removal is preferable when feasible.

    • Was that a White House press release?

    • “The 5% figure refers only to old growth”….oh yeah, ONLY those 1000 year old trees…..well, you are right, then, in 900 years, if no cutting happens, the old growth forests will be restored…uh, do you work for big timber?

  • Hopefully this public forum will get their attention. Clean up the shit you left while cleaning up the shit

  • I was out there for a hike around Mother’s Day.. The bags were there then.. tried to lift one… way to heavy to carry back to my car. So much appreciation to all doing the great work to get rid of the invasive species out there, Yet leaving plastic bags behind is very confusing. Is the invasive plant really worse than the plastic bag? Plastic bags we use in our everyday life take 10-1000 years to decompose… I agree Ezra.. clean up & take away in the same day..
    And if the Rounup/Glyphosate use is really happening… I say this …NO ROUNDUP!! EVER
    “According the the World Health Organization, glyphosate is now declared a “probable carcinogen” which means it may cause cancer. The industry still asserts that it is totally safe for humans, however, one only needs to look at the data to know that is not true.
    Ignorance may be bliss but I believe we may be on the verge of one of the most toxic man made environmental disasters in history… and unfortunately this chemical is persistent in both the environment and the human body and it is not easy to clean up. France’s highest court found Monsanto guilty of lying as far back as 2008 about the toxicity of it’s popular weedkiller, Roundup. “The court confirmed an earlier judgment that Monsanto had falsely advertised its herbicide as “biodegradable” and claimed it “left the soil clean”.”…

    • You can be sure that the plan is not too leave the bags in place indefinitely. I also prefer mechanical removela to glyphosate.

  • Its too bad Kym didn’t have time to contact Andrea and do some investigative journalism before posting this inflammatory and unsubstantiated letter. Most people who read this letter will form an emotionally charged opinion which will be never be changed with any amount of counterfactuals presented in response.

    • Are you offering any counter factuals?
      Andrea refuses to have a conversation about this

      • Refused to have a conversation with Kym, or with you? I believe what is need here maybe education, not counterfactuals. It’s the interpretation of facts which is the root of disagreement.

        Scare tactics are more effective than facts, to a crowd that has already been scared. Thus my statement; “Most people who read this letter will form an emotionally charged opinion which will be never be changed with any amount of counterfactuals presented in response.”

        • The fact is Andrea Pickart and her team have repeatedly left piles of plastic garbage bags on public property for months at a time. That in my opinion is serious enough to get her fired.
          Add to that the fact that they have also sprayed poison on plants in a wildlife preserve (public land) without telling the people that own it (the public). All because of an obsession with plants that have been around for a century and are a part of the ecosystem.
          She refuses to discuss this in a public forum or with people that want to talk with her about this. Her boss Eric Nelson actively shields her from the public and has gone into hiding himself over this subject.

          • Funny how you don’t awnser my question. So the bags were left for months, and then what?

            No spraying was done in secret.

            A century is less than a blink of an eye in ecological context. They are parts of the ecosystem, in that they exist in it, but they also lower biodiversity in that same ecosystem.

            Again who specifically did she refuse to speak to? Is it her job or her bosses to speak with the public on this matter?

            • Andrea offered to speak with anyone who had input at a public meeting over two years ago. I had requested several times to do so and bring up some of the inconsistencies between what was permitted through their Consistency Determination and the intent to cause changes to the environment including wetland losses that were not identified during the permit process. She refused and continues to refuse.
              I don’t have information regarding Kim.
              Your turn;
              Who are you and what is your position and interest in this issue?

  • Oh, the horror.

  • One of the worst things that ever happened here is govt taking over land that used to be private. They mismanage everything at taxpayers expense and restrict use by keeping the public on a tight leash. I will say the marijuana business is way worse though.

  • I wish someone would introduce Andrea and the Friends to The Coastal Act.
    When they came to our community of Manila, twenty-years ago, we did not know our dunes were infested with non-natives. Andrea and her buddy Ron LeValley did some science gymnastics to show that the invasive plant was displacing natives and if we would remove the Euro Grass all would be better. So under a Negative Declaration to enviro impacts and a delineation of federal wetlands, they began the experiment of removing non-natives.

    The results are profoundly gruesome, illegal as sin and beneficial only to some peoples bank account.
    Lost and unreported on one property alone are four federally delineated ponds, acres of deflation-plane marsh,
    a paleo- forest, wildlife and habitat.

    Now we discover that all of Manila’s 154 acres of dunes are collateralized set-asides, deed restricted from any use but water/sewer unless an OK from the Fed EPA and the State Water Boards. The EPA and Water Boards never gave that OK. The careless removal of vegetation has begun a ‘wasting-process,” we need repairs now or it continually gets worse.

    • “Andrea and her buddy Ron LeValley did some science gymnastics to show that the invasive plant was displacing natives and if we would remove the Euro Grass all would be better.”

      What specifically are you referring to as gymnastics?

      Whoes bank account is benefited, and whoes is harmed?

      The results are beautiful!

      You are taking about man made ponds that should have never been made. The forest is not in danger. It is part of the ecosystem and adapted to succession.

      You admitted previously that the restoration of the dunes has caused increased wind speed on your property and the natural process of succession is killing trees you liked to look at.

      • Another anonymous post by a cheerleader who saves rah rahs for erosion and dead trees.

        Go back and read your Permits! If eroding dunes is what you wanted- then damn-it, say so at the
        Permitting process so they can shut you down before you destabilize a coastline in a period of Relative Sea-
        Level rise.

        Six decades on the coast of California, seen a lot of bad shit go down, this is a new low a whole new standard of creepy -greed behavior dressed as environmentalism.

        • good point Dan
          This loser hides behind anonymity while ignoring the point that the effects we are seeing were never brought out during the permitting process.
          BTW there is no difference between constructed wetlands and natural wetlands when it comes to legal protections.
          To answer the question whose wallet grew it was Mr. Lavalley for one, at the expense of the citizens and wetland habitats. Most people don’t realize that Lavalley’s first plover report had a photo of a nest with eggs in a clump of the same beachgrass they are tearing out with child labor. Lavalley misidentified the grass in the photo. Yet he and his minions made millions claiming to be experts.

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