Petersburgs tribe uses new machine to make compost in bulk

first_imgBrandon Thynes, Petersburg Indian Association’s Tribal Resource Director, and his assistant, Clifton Gudgel, stand next to the tribe’s new composting machine, which is housed in a portable building at the Petersburg Borough’s baler facility. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)Two things that Petersburg has a lot of are fish and wood. And one thing the local rocky terrain is short on is dirt. But given the right circumstances you can get dirt out of fish and wood. A new business venture by the local tribe, Petersburg Indian Association, has begun to provide the town with locally-made, environmentally friendly compost.Listen nowWalking on the road into the landfill, you pass by piles of automobiles and rubber tires, and eventually come to three large, white portable buildings. This is where the local tribe makes compost. In one of the tents is a large stainless steel machine that’s cylinder in shape sitting on top of a trailer. (It’s called a Nioex Biovator) The tribe paid $15,000 for it and had it shipped in this fall from Manitoba, Canada.Brandon Thynes is the Tribal Resource Director.“We have a load in it right now and it’s been cooking since last Friday,” Thynes said. “You just kind of layer it like lasagna with wood chips and fish waste and wood chips to cover it so it doesn’t smell.”Thynes and his assistant, Clifton Gudgel opened up the lid and he was right; it didn’t smell. It just looks like dark brown wood chips.Petersburg Indian Association’s new composting machine is open on one end showing a batch of wood chips and fish meal being composted. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)“The temperature should get up to 160, 140 [degrees]. It’s pretty crazy to open up your pile and steams just rolling out of it,” Thynes said. “It’s pretty amazing.”Before working for PIA, Thynes used to be a commercial fisherman. He knew there was a lot of fish waste. It gets ground up and dumped into the water in front of town by local processing plants. Now, Thynes gets some of that leftover fish for free. The tribe uses up to 500 pounds a week for composting.“It’s a great year round business for the tribe, helping the environment by not pumping that fish waste into our Narrows,” Thynes said.If there’s a shortage of fish, Thynes said they could always use kelp.The wood they get from scraps around town that would otherwise get burned at the landfill. It’s usually alder because it grows fast and people often want to cut it back. PIA puts it through a wood chipper and its ready for composting. But they won’t just use any scraps. They have to know where it’s from and that it hasn’t come in contact with pesticides or other chemicals.“It’s not labeled organic but it is organic because we don’t add anything to it,” Thynes said.The composting machine is on a timer so it rotates every two hours. It takes about two weeks for the fish and wood to become dirt and then it needs to sit and cure for a month before it can be used.After a batch is done, they’ll filter out any leftover pieces of wood to go into the next batch.“It’s actually like a little starter, kind of like sour dough where the microbes are on these pieces already,” Thynes said. “So, it spreads throughout the compost a lot faster.”Brandon Thynes, Petersburg Indian Association’s Tribal Resource Director, stands next to the tribe’s new stainless steel composting machine. The tribe shipped in the machine from Canada this fall. (Photo by Angela Denning/KFSK)PIA has been making compost for years. In the past, the tribe used an older model composting machine that kept breaking down. Then workers made compost by hand by what’s called static aerated piles. Wood chips and fish were layered in a heap on the ground, which would get aerated and turned occasionally. But the process was lengthy. And when Thynes started working for the tribe a year and a half ago, he wanted to expand. He says they were missing opportunities.“Juneau wanted quite a bunch, like 50 cubic yards and we just couldn’t, I couldn’t make enough to get what they wanted,” Thynes said. “So, it was stuff like that, opportunities to make it a business, and hire some more tribe members so they can have a [full-time], year round job that pays well.”Gudgel, Thynes’ assistant, said he likes having a job where he can work outside.“Getting out there and getting the materials and throwing it all together,” Gudgel said, “and just doing something different rather than standing behind a desk or stocking things on shelves.”Thynes keeps a detailed notebook of batch results, what goes in when and at what temperature. On average, this machine can produce about 40 pounds of compost a day.PIA plans to sell it in 40 pound bags within a few months. It will cost about the same price as imported compost sells for at the store. But Thynes says this stuff will be pure, local product.“You know the big companies that do it, they don’t care what they throw in there, they just throw it in, ‘Throw it in–it’s a nitrogen, throw it in–it’s a carbon,’ and people are just getting a mixed bag of who knows what’s in it but with us, you’ll know what’s in it,” he said.And when it’s done?“It kind of looks just like dirt,” Thynes said, laughing.It’s like a fluffy, “mulchy” dirt.PIA’s composting project is funded by IGAP, the Indian Environmental General Assistance Program.last_img read more

Slow fishing week but Joe Lynberg did get a snook

first_imgNo related posts. Not many people on the water this week. Marlin and sails were big up north from Tamarindo to Coco, but slowed when the wind came up and inshore rooster fishing picked up the slack. Herradura and Quepos are seeing some sailfish action but not many boats are out. Down south, the locals are catching snook off the beach near Carate, no one reported from offshore which usually means it’s slow.The action on the Caribbean is picking up just as expected and lots of tarpon are around.Joe Lynberg Catches a SnookThe tide had started to push up into the mangroves, and Joe Lynberg’s kayak drifted slowly with the current. A few egrets and a tiger heron had arrived earlier and were busy picking off small minnows, who were planning on using the rising tide to get to protection under the crossroads of mangrove roots when the estuary filled.Lyberg, a chef by trade, gave up fixing fine dishes to pursue his passion, fishing. Kind of a kayak warrior, he has tackled billfish, tarpon and other large pelagic species, but is just at home in a quiet estuary casting and enjoying nature.Operating out of his home port of Jímenez down on the Osa, Lynberg is a short paddle to a myriad of fishing action. Roosterfish, snapper, jacks, sierra mackerel, African Pompano and more are within 15 minutes of launching off the beach.Lynberg worked his way up the mangrove-lined estuary as a light rain began to fall. Fish started “popping” on the surface, engulfing small fish on their way up the river, but would not touch a top-water lure. He cast a dead sardine in a hole in front of a mangrove root and it was stuck as soon as it hit bottom. Moments later he had a nice snook in his kayak.You can get more info and Lynberg’s kayak trips at or Facebook Commentslast_img read more