Environmental Services

Welcome to the Environmental Services Department. The Environmental Services Department has three divisions: Water/Wastewater, Natural Resources and Recreation. Below you will find brief descriptions of each division and links to their home pages.

Reusable Bag Ordinance Environmental Document

The City's CEQA / Environmental document for the Reusable Bag Ordinance has been approved. Click here to review the environmental document.

If you have additional questions about the Reusable Bag Ordinance, Contact Environmental Services or call (707) 822-8184.

Rail with Trail Project

The City has just released the CEQA / Enviornmental review for the Rail with Trail Project.  Click here to review all the background and data for this project. 


Test your stormwater and water quality IQ!

Help the North Coast Stormwater Coalition take their pollution prevention program to the next level by taking their online stormwater and water quality survey. You can also pick up a paper copy of the survey at Arcata City Hall's Environmental Services Department. Your input can make the world of a difference to the creatures that share our creeks and bays.


Water/Wastewater Division

The Water/Wastewater Division monitors, reports, tests and treats all drinking water for the City of Arcata and the Jacoby Creek Water District. It monitors, reports, tests and treats all wastewater, including 55-acres of oxidation ponds and 225-acres of treatment and enhancement marshes which make up the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary. Information on the quality of the City's water is available in the City of Arcata Consumer Confidence/Water Quality Report and in the Jacoby Creek Water District Consumer Confidence/Water Quality Report.

Statewide Drought Emergency: For water conservation tips go to www.saveourh2o.org

At its August 20, 2014, the Arcata City Council activated its Water Shortage Contingency Plan. Statewide Emergency Conservation Measures have been adopted. The following uses of potable water are prohibited unless there is an immediate health and safety concern:

  1. Allowing potable water to flow beyond the limits of your yard, landscaping, or over a hard surface when watering;
  2. Letting the water run while washing a motor vehicle;
  3. Using potable water to wash driveways and sidewalks; and
  4. Using potable water to operate a decorative fountain or other water feature where the water is not re-circulated.


Natural Resources Division

Stormwater and Open Space - It maintains, manages and restores Arcata's creeks, wetlands, and tidelands to optimize fish and wildlife habitat, public use, recreation, water quality and to fulfill aspects of Arcata's Creeks Management Plan, Stormwater Management Plan and City Municipal Code which address erosion and sediment control.

Throughout the year the Environmental Services Department sponsors volunteer work days in the Arcata Community Forest, the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary and other open space areas. If you are interested in participating, click the link below to see a schedule.

Volunteer Work Day Schedule

Energy Program

The Energy Program coordinates energy- and climate change-related activties within City government and the Arcata community in order to reduce energy use and the associated generation of greenhouse gas emissions through the promotion of energy efficiency and conservation, renewable energy, and sustainable transportation.  

Arcata Marsh Interpretative Center

The Arcata Marsh Interpretative Center, with interactive exhibits on the historical, biological, and technical aspects of the Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, is a focal point for students and visitors. Open Tuesday through Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Monday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Closed on major holidays. A free public tour leaves the Interpretative Center every Saturday at 2 p.m. year round.

Volunteers are recruited to staff the Interpretative Center and lead special request tours and Saturday tours. Stop by the Interpretative Center to pick up an application. Docent training takes place twice a year, spring and fall.

Source Reduction and Recycling

It administers programs, public education and agreements regarding source reduction, recycling and solid waste. Programs include distribution of compost bins, a yard waste drop-off facility and information on diversion of construction and demolition waste from the landfill.

Geographic Information System (GIS)

It provides digital geographic information analysis and mapping services to City staff, the public, and other jurisdictions and features public access to maps and data. The GIS program also maintains updates of a variety of City databases and records including but not limited to: Parcel ownership, easements, building activity, stormwater utility information, wetlands, zoning, historical sites, and water quality information.

Forest Management

It maintains the integrity of 2,350-acres of forest lands owned by the City. This includes the watersheds, wildlife, timber, fisheries, and plant resources as well as the overall health of the forest systems. The Community and Jacoby Creek forests are managed to produce marketable forest products on a sustained basis, balancing timber harvest and timber growth. 

Recreation Division

The Recreation Division operates a variety of programs with the overall goal of enriching the quality of life for those who utilize its services while building better kids and a stronger, more involved community. Programs are available that are geared to all ages and interests ranging from traditional sports to non-traditional arts, theater, music and foreign languages. Schedules for current classes are available. Please click on this link for information on classes, parks and other programs offered by the Recreation Division.