Over the years, much of Humboldt’s wetlands have been diked and converted to pasture. We’ll talk about negative environmental impact another day (it is extreme). Today I’ll just share the history….
The following was published in LAND USES ON HUMBOLDT BAY TRIBUTARIES (Salmon Creek, Elk River, Freshwater Creek and Jacoby Creek)– Which was compiled by Susie Van Kirk in February 1998
Arcata Union (18 June 1892)
The Harpst and Spring Dike…starts in on the bank of Butcher Slough just beyond the town [Arcata] line and follows the course of the slough as near as possible to the bay. Here it follows along the edge of the mudflats for a mile or more and crosses Flannigan and Brosnan’s railroad at the edge of the bay. It then goes down along the bay comes up and crosses the big slough by the draw bridge where a flood gate will be put in, and follows down the further bank of the slough to the mouth of Jacoby Creek. From there it follows up the bank of the creek till it gets out of the reach of the highest tides and there ends…
The first owner who took up this marsh as swamp and overflowed land never dreamed that this large stretch of country, from Arcata to Jacoby Creek, inhabited only by the festive clam and the busy little crab would some day be pasture for hundreds of cattle… [emphasis added]