‘The Blob’ may warm Puget Sound’s waters, hurt marine life – Seattle Times

The story here is a good quick overview of the big picture of climate change that we are facing this year and likely into next. The existing conditions are possibly going to make the upcoming ones worse. The fact that the Pacific waters are 7 degrees above normal is astonishing, and that Puget Sound waters are up to 4 degrees warmer adds to that impact. We need to get very serious about the drought’s impacts, and having just passed the city street sweeper machine, out using drinking water to wash the edges of our roads, makes it very frustrating that our city government is so cavalier with water when they are on the other hand asking us to conserve.

Scientists say they are concerned about the continued ecological effects of the unusually warm and dry conditions in the Puget Sound region this summer.


Lummi, S’Klallam Nations In Court Over 30-year-long Dispute Over Fishing Territory – Indian Country Today

People who don’t have any experience with Tribes often think of the world of Native Americans as some kind of monolithic organization. I hear them say, “Oh the Indians take all the fish” or words to that affect. The story that is closer to the truth is illustrated quite well with this article. The Tribes are more like a coalition of peoples, and they have their own disputes, such as this one, over what constitutes the usual and accustomed locations that their ancestors fished. It’s not academic. There is real economic and cultural issues at stake, And to be clear, the Boldt Decision, which is the center of all this, gave the Tribes, all of them, 50% of the catch per season. Not every Tribe gets 50%, most get far less, but it’s up to the State, and representatives of all the Tribes to hash that out. Non Tribal sportsfishermen and commerical fishermen get to work with the State to determine how much we get of that remaining 50%.

The Lummi and S’Klallams were among the Indigenous Peoples who fished a vast inland sea off northwest Washington, bounded by Haro Strait to the west, Rosario Strait to the east, Georgia Strait to the north, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound to the south. In the middle are the San Juan Islands, which the Lummi believe is their place of origin. To the south is the Olympic Peninsula, the place of origin of the Elwha, Jamestown and Port Gamble S’Klallam peoples…. Both sides are in U.S. District Court, in their third decade of legal battles to determine who has the treaty right to fish those waters. District and appellate court decisions have seesawed in favor of the S’Klallams and the Lummi Nation. Richard Walker reports. (Indian Country Today)


Willapa Bay plan cuts Chinook production by one-third – Longview Daily News

The scientific debate over whether hatchery fish are outcompeting natives and subsequent lawsuits, have had an effect. This is good news for wild fish and wild fish advocates. The hatchery fish have been proven to lead to disasterous results in wild fish recovery. The study on wild vs. hatchery fish in the Rogue River basin is what has prompted this. The Rogue, a river that has never had a hatchery, has seen increases in native fish, while the similar river in Washington, from an environmental POV, the Skagit, which includes hatcheries, has seen their wild fish decimated. The key event that has been shown to be the differentiator is the introduction of hatchery fish into the Skagit. Now WDFW is acting on these lawsuits.

The production of hatchery Chinook in Willapa Bay will decrease by more than one-third as a result of a policy adopted recently by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. The policy, adopted in June, also is likely to decrease the number of fish commercial fishermen can catch if the commission’s action survives a legal challenge. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have said that they needed to adopt the new policy to avoid having the Chinook listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. (Longview Daily News)


As salmon vanish in the dry Pacific Northwest, so does Native heritage – Washington Post

A good overview of the issues for the general public. Most of us are aware of salmon, their life cycles and the tribes that rely on them. But if you know someone that lives elsewhere and is unaware of the issues, this is a good starting point. Done by a well known environmental writer from the East Coast.

As a drought tightens its grip on the Pacific Northwest, burning away mountain snow and warming rivers, state officials and Native American tribes are becoming increasingly worried that one of the region’s most precious resources — wild salmon — might disappear. Native Americans, who for centuries have relied on salmon for food and ceremonial rituals, say the area’s five species of salmon have been declining for years, but the current threat is worse than anything they have seen. Darrly Fears reports. (Washington Post)


Questions being raised about Navy’s possible implication in mass whale deaths in Alaska – KTUU TV

5 more dead whales found in Alaska waters since June; total 14 dead.

The highly unusual mass death of whales in Alaskan waters, happened during the time frame that Navy was conducting bombing training that they said, in their documents that they filed with their ESA, that would involve killing of sea mammals.

New concerns were raised for Alaskan whales as the Navy conducted a training exercise in the Gulf of Alaska for two weeks June. Researchers are monitoring for dead whale sightings after the exercise. Sonobuoys were used as part of the exercise – a technology that affects deep diving whale species like beaked whales and sperm whales most, researchers say.

Interestingly, once the Navy started monitoring the situation the whale deaths stopped.


Inslee: I’ll use my authority to impose cap on emissions  – Seattle Times

This is what is needed in the face of our drought, and the unprecedented warming of the seas that sustain us here in the Pacific NW. Leadership is needed. We voted for him to be a leader and that’s what we are getting. Thanks to Governor Inslee for not waiting for Republicans to come meet him halfway, because they have said repeatedly that they won’t. Given that a huge number of them represent some of the hardest hit areas of the state by this years drought, I suppose that means their constituents will suffer the worst. Maybe it will get them off the dime.

Frustrated by legislative inaction on climate, Gov. Jay Inslee plans to wield his administration’s executive authority to impose a binding cap on carbon emissions in Washington state. Inslee on Tuesday directed the state Department of Ecology to step up enforcement of state pollution laws and develop the emissions cap — aimed at enforcing greenhouse-gas-reduction targets that have been in state law since 2008. Jim Brunner and Hal Bernton report. (Seattle Times)


Puget Sound waters reach record warm temperatures  – Skagit Valley Herald

So, here’s another outcome of our global inability to do anything meaningful for global warming. Thanks though to Governor Inslee who also announced yesterday he would take unilateral action to impose cap and trade. Folks, there is no time to lose. With this years lack of unprecedented lack of snow pack, catastrophic salmon die off, we have to see leadership come to the table and get things done now.

Puget Sound has reached the highest temperatures on record based on 25 years of data, the state Department of Ecology announced Tuesday. Scientists are seeing unusual conditions in the sound as a result of the statewide drought and the pool of unusually warm water in the northern Pacific Ocean some are calling “the blob.” (Skagit Valley Herald)



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