Faced with a mounting fiscal crisis, local environmental nonprofit Humboldt Baykeeper
is in the process of dramatically downsizing its organization. The office staff was reportedly laid off recently, and this week Executive Director Jessica Hall learned that she, too, is being laid off. Only Policy Director Jennifer Kalt, whose position has been reduced to part-time, remains employed by the organization.
Hall, who was hired as the group's executive director in October 2012, said Baykeeper recently lost some key financial support from foundations such as the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund and Environment Now.
Launched in October 2004 by environmental activists Pete Nichols and Fred Evenson, Humboldt Baykeeper works to protect the environmental resources in and around Humboldt Bay. Recently the group has been actively involved in Caltrans' 101 Safety Corridor project (including billboard removal
), efforts to ban plastic bags in Humboldt and the county's general plan update, among other projects.
Kalt said that the organization must now focus on streamlining and rebuilding, much as the Northcoast Environmental Center has done in recent years.
"We’re just fortunate to have the support of a lot of fellow activists who will help us get through this as we helped the NEC get through their fiscal crisis," Kalt said.
The group, whose parent organization is the Garberville-based Ecological Rights Foundation
, will continue to offer free bay exploration tours
on its boat thanks to a grant that did
come through, along with help from an existing group of volunteers, skippers and docents. But it will have to move out of its Old Town Eureka office on E Street. Saturday will be the last Arts Alive!
that the office will be open. Kalt said she plans to continue working on Baykeeper causes.