Seattle ‘Kayaktivists’ Building Ranks For Direct Action Against Shell’s Arctic Drilling Fleet – KPLU

With the gigantic well sitting in our local port of Port Angeles, this story is front and center, though the real action will happen later in Alaska. It’s astonishing that on the anniversary of the BP Gulf Spill (which happened not long after the Obama administration talked about opening up the east coast to drilling due it being ‘safe”) that we find the Obama administration opening up oil and gas drilling on the extremely sensitive North Slope waters.

On the shore of Seaview Park in West Seattle, a group of young activists stand behind a row of bright yellow kayaks.  Most of them are new to boating. An instructor from Alki Kayak Tours gives a safety briefing before they head out for a sunset paddle.  While the excursion has the trappings of a simple evening kayak instructional class, it is anything but. This class is a training session for “Kayaktavists.” And they are putting in practice time before Big Oil arrives in the Puget Sound. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Agency proposes lifting most humpback whales’ protections – Bellingham Herald

Hmmm. I’m waiting to hear more from the whale protection groups before calling this a good story. One person interviewed stated that it might be premature to do this. The fact that Alaska is pushing to get it done worries me. Their politics up there are distinctly anti-environmental in nature.

The federal government on Monday proposed removing most of the world’s humpback whale population from the endangered species list, saying they have rebounded after 45 years of protections. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries wants to reclassify humpbacks into 14 distinct populations, and remove 10 of those from the list…. Humpbacks were listed as endangered in 1970, four years after the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling. Caleb Jones reports. (Associated Press)

Severely polluted hawk found near Vancouver BC

We have battled with the legislature for years to ban flame retardants in the environment. Representative Van De Wege has been a leader in this battle, thankfully. Here’s why we need to keep the pressure up. If it’s in hawks, it’s in us.

Hawk found near Langley transfer station among world’s most polluted

A male Cooper’s hawk found near Metro Vancouver’s Langley waste transfer station is polluted with more flame retardant than any other bird tested, globally. A study of the hawk’s liver fat showed 197,000 parts per billion of polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs, chemicals that persist in the environment and have been used in a wide array of polymer resins and plastics including in furniture, TVs, stereos, computers, carpets, and curtains. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Dick Goin Passes Away – A giant of citizen science on the Peninsula

This is incredibly sad news. I first met and interviewed Dick and his wife Marie for “Voices of the Strait.” Dick started fishing on the Elwha in the 30s, when his family moved there to farm from the midwest. For the next 80 years, he documented the salmon, worked in the mills, noticed how the mill pollution was causing them to die in huge numbers, and became what then was called a ‘conservationist”. In his own low key way, was one of the people who helped form the backbone to the battle to remove the Elwha Dam, which luckily he got to see happen before he died. I was extremely impressed by the humble nature of Dick and Marie, and understood when they did not choose to accept the “Eleanor Stopps Award” which was given to them a few years ago by the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. To them, it was just who they were, and didn’t require special attention.

Dick published a piece of personal research called, “Roll Call of the Lost” about what he experienced on each of the rivers he fished on the Peninsula. I’ve published it here for anyone to use in their personal journey to help restore the salmon. I think it is a fitting tribute to his life, and I cannot find it published anywhere else. He told me when he gave it to me that he was alright with me sharing it with others.

Our hearts go out to Marie and Dicks’ extended family. We all will miss him in our own ways.

You can listen to Dick describe his life at my video, “Voices of the Strait.”  He was so influential that I started the film with  a short clip of him, and he tells his full story later in the film.

The Peninsula Daily News has a good obituary.

Dick Goin, defender of Elwha River salmon, dies at age of 83
Dick Goin, who gave voice to the Elwha River’s salmon, has died. Services are pending for Goin (pronounced GOH-in), 83, who died of natural causes Sunday night at his Port Angeles home surrounded by family members, said Marie, his wife of 64 years, on Tuesday. The Goins received the Clallam County Community Service Award in 2007 and the Eleanor Stopps Environmental Leadership Award from the Port Townsend Marine Science Center in September 2011. Paul Gottlieb reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Reducing toxics in fish involves politics, maybe more than science – Chris Dunagan

As usual, veteran reporter on Puget Sound, Chris Dunagan, gets it right. A good overview of the issues involved in getting cancer causing chemicals out of the Sound.

When it comes to eliminating toxic pollution from our waterways and the foods we eat, almost everyone agrees that the best idea is to track down the chemicals, find out how they are getting into the environment and then make decisions about how to handle the situation. It’s all common sense until politics comes into play. Chris Dunagan reports. (Watching Our Water Ways)

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Navy cargo ship towed into Port Angeles Harbor after losing power in Strait – PDN

Just the other day a friend was trying to tell me that the emergency tug was no longer being funded out in Neah Bay. It appears he was wrong. Even so, to be adrift for two hours, especially if it it happened in 30 knot winds and incoming tide, could have been a disaster.

A Navy Military Sealift Command cargo ship was towed into Port Angeles on Saturday after it lost power overnight in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The 685-foot Cape Intrepid was undergoing sea trials after a long period docked in Tacoma when it lost power about 2:30 a.m. Saturday north of Clallam Bay in Canadian waters, according to the Coast Guard. Clallam Bay is 50 miles west of Port Angeles. Coast Guard Lt. Ben Weber said the Cape Intrepid drifted about two miles before the emergency tug Jeffrey Foss reached it approximately two hours later. (Peninsula Daily News)

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Fishing amplifies forage fish collapses- UW Today

Important news for fisheries and our salmon stock, along with the forage fish they rely on it.

A new study shows for the first time that fishing likely worsens population collapses in species of forage fish, including herring, anchovies and sardines. Some of the largest fisheries in the world target these species, and these “baitfish” are also a key source of food for larger marine animals, including salmon, tuna, seabirds and whales. Scientists have long known about wide fluctuations in the abundance of forage fish, including the occasional population collapse. But they had not figured out whether collapses were entirely natural or related to fishing. The study, published April 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, implicates fishing in the collapse of forage fish stocks and recommends risk-based management tools that would track a fishery’s numbers and suspend fishing when necessary. Michelle Ma reports. (UW Today)


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