EVENT: Premiere of “Return of the River” on the Elwha Dam Removal

My friend and fellow filmmaker John Gussman has completed his epic film on the removal of the Elwha dam. Come see his film in Port Townsend

Friday, 6:30 p.m., Rose Theatre
Saturday, 12:15 p.m., Peter Simpson Free Cinema

“Return of the River” is a feature documentary that tells the story of the largest dam removal and river restoration project in history, currently unfolding on the Elwha River in Washington State. The film explores an extraordinary community effort to set the river free, and shows an unlikely victory for environmental justice. Told by an ensemble cast of characters, “Return of the River” offers hope amid grim environmental news.

Find us on facebook at facebook.com/ReturnOfTheRiver

EVENT – Oct 7 – Community Forum on Ocean Health


Ocean_Health_Forum-100714

Please join us for a free evening event featuring guest speakers Dr. Simone Alin, Supervisory Oceanographer at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Lab; and Betsy Peabody, the Director of Puget Sound Restoration Fund. You’ll learn about changes in the marine waters of Puget Sound, and what’s being done to address them by some of the amazing people who live and work here.

Tuesday, October 7

6:30 PM-8:00 PM (Doors open at 6 PM)

Northwest Maritime Center

Maritime Meeting Room (2nd floor of yellow building)

Port Townsend, WA 98368

This event is sponsored by the Northwest Straits Commission, Jefferson County Marine Resources Committee (MRC), and Puget Sound Restoration Fund.

All are welcome.

Caroline Gibson    –    Marine Program Manager

Northwest Straits Commission

431 Water Street

Port Townsend, WA 98368

360.385.1153 (PT office)

www.nwstraits.org

EVENT -March to demand more climate change action – Port Townsend

Sent to me today: if you are on the Peninsula, this could be a good alternative to driving a long ways for a climate change event! Go by bike, take a bus, or walk! At least carpool.

Please join us at the People’s Climate March this Sunday, Sept 21, 3 – 4:30, at Pope Marine Park.  We will be joining thousands of people like us marching at the United Nations in NYC and at other marches around the world.  Our message is simple:

 
NOW IS THE TIME FOR STRONG ACTIONS TO CURB GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
We will be joined by tribal representatives especially concerned about the future of the Salish Sea – our local waters.  Bring your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers so that all our voices can be heard.
PT Climate March

Lessons from the Oso Mud Slide

There are two articles in the last 48 hours on the Oso mud slide which are worth reading, especially as it relates to the Olympic Peninsula. Timothy Egan, a northwest based writer produced, “A Mudslide, Foretold”, in which he claims that logging over legal limits likely were part of the problems that caused the slide.

DON’T tell me, please, that nobody saw one of the deadliest landslides in American history coming… enough with the denial, the willful ignorance of cause and effect, the shock that one of the prettiest valleys on the planet could turn in a flash from quiet respite in the foothills of the North Cascades to a gravelly graveyard.

New York Times Article by Timothy Egan

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/30/opinion/sunday/egan-at-home-when-the-earth-moves.html?hp&rref=opinion&_r=0

We also now know that the State has been monitoring this very slope for over 25 years, with a very specific report given to DNR from the Department of Ecology in 1997, DNR chose to ignore that science and use data from 1988 to issue much greater logging areas than the scientists from Ecology recommended.

State used outdated data to allow logging on slope – Seattle Times

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2023266702_mudslideloggingmapxml.html

How much the homeowners themselves knew about all this in advance are likely to range from nothing to choosing to ignore the issues. That would be understandable, as choosing to move out of harms way is a hard decision, and some folks likely couldn’t afford to. But the County knew, and the State knew. Likely the city of Oso knew as well. Could they have taken actions such as banning logging from the plateau above the river? Yes. Could they have offered buy outs to the homeowners at fair market value to plow these homes under and stop habitation of the land along the river corridor? Yes. Should increased setbacks from rivers and shores be implemented for future building, be implemented in local laws like Shoreline Master Programs? Yes.

Are there others in harms way in Snohomish County (and elsewhere)? Seems so.

Landslide risk widespread in county; 30,000 in hazard zones 

http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20140330/NEWS01/140339947/Landslide-risk-widespread-in-county-30000-in-hazard-zones
…. The approximately 50 houses east of Oso swept aside by the March 22 landslide were hardly the only ones built near unstable land in Snohomish County. Hazard maps show almost all of the county’s coastline and mountain valleys are in landslide danger zones. An estimated 30,000 people live in those places, according to a 2010 study commissioned by the county. By 2035, the county is expected to absorb roughly 200,000 more people. There are about 730,000 today…. The county can’t afford to buy out property owners in landslide areas. Plus, people have a right to stay and, under certain conditions, to build. Existing laws and policies governing development in Snohomish County didn’t keep people in Oso out of harm’s way. Under the county’s building regulations, the area where homes were built wasn’t even designated high-risk for landslides. Noah Haglund and Dan Catchpole report. (Everett Herald)

It’s also becoming known that many of the homeowners didn’t have flood insurance, probably because they lived within the boundaries of a known flood plain.

This also gets to the core of a bill recently supported by Representative Derek Kilmer, (Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act), who proudly boasted of supporting the roll back of insurance costs and support by the Federal government for home and business owners along the shore who have seen a huge increase in their flood insurance due to the outcome of Hurricane Sandy. The insurance companies have obviously decided  to no longer take the risk to insure people who have been allowed, by the county and the State, to build homes and businesses at locations that are likely to be flooded  by Tsunami or global warming related storms. This is how the market should work. If the risk is too high, then you choose to live there at your own risk. This is what all the property rights people keep screaming for, that the government should get out of their lives. Now they and others seem quite happy to have us taxpayers pay for their risk.  And of course, Representative Kilmer says, ‘sure’.

If people want to live at sea level, or in a flood plain, since government seems incapable of stopping it, then the marketplace should. Or the marketplace should state that it’s at your own risk to do so. That’s what Representative Kilmer has stopped by supporting the House bill to rollback or nationalize the insurance risk. Now, people will continue to assume there is low or no risk in continuing to build and live in harm’s way.

As to Oso, The State and County should be held responsible for ignoring science and allowing logging to continue on the slope with outdated science. That is the only way we are going to get the government to do the right thing. But again, the failure of DNR to do the right thing will be a cost that you and I have to pay. The department heads that made that decision are likely long gone, and certainly won’t be held accountable for their  decisions. It’s you and I that will be.

And the people who rail about how the government should get out of their lives and stop making rules that take away their rights to do whatever they want whenever they want, should take a hard look at where they live, and whether they expect the public to foot the bill for the outcome of their demands.

Feds OK Snohomish County PUD’s Tidal Power Project In Admiralty Inlet – KPLU

Ok. It’s time to get this first phase built and find out it’s shortcomings, and positive sides. Every method of electricity generation has a cost, environmentally. Even solar panels have their minerals mined somewhere, likely without much environmental oversight.  So let’s get this extremely benign appearing generation trial in the water and up and running. Once there, we can judge whether it’s worth the environmental costs. My guess, is it’s not going to be anywhere near as bad as even wind has turned out to be (bird deaths have been a major problem in wind sites).

Federal regulators have given unanimous approval for an underwater energy project powered by the tides in Washington’s Admiralty Inlet. Two turbines will take advantage of the fast-moving currents and daily tidal movements in the busy passage west of Whidbey Island, at a depth of about 200 feet. Snohomish County PUD says the turbines will be connected to the electrical grid with cables that emerge on leased land south of the ferry dock in Coupeville. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KPLU)

Feds OK Snohomish County PUD’s Tidal Power Project In Admiralty Inlet 

Controversial Olympic Peninsula Timber Sale Pits Environment Against Education – Earthfix

The battle to protect remaining stands of timber, that are home to the endangered marbled murrelet, continues. The State has decided to log off the stand, which are home to some pairs. A lawsuit is imminent. This is another good example of the environmental battle that happens as resources dwindle and we don’t have a proper modern taxing mechanism to fund our schools. The idea of cutting timber to fund schools was once a simple one, but now, it’s become a trade off of rare species vs. schools. It will take a brave legislator(s) to really end this practice and come up with a funding mechanism that properly funds our schools. It’s ironic, because the very district (Jefferson County) that probably thought this was a great idea once a 160 or so years ago, now is the one that brought the lawsuit demanding proper funding. And we are one of the most environmentally supportive counties in the state. I don’t see any legislators of the calibre to offer a new way forward. In fact, in conversations with them, they feel like they are unwilling to do anything more for the schools than they already have. Would love to be proven wrong.

SEATTLE — The Washington Board of Natural Resources voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the sale of 200 acres of the Olympic Peninsula that are home to the threatened marbled murrelet. The money from the timber sale will go to the University of Washington.

http://earthfix.kcts9.org/flora-and-fauna/article/controversial-olympic-peninsula-timber-sale-pits-e/

WSU Master Goat Farmer Program offered in Jefferson County in January

WSU Jefferson County Extension offers the Master Goat Farmer Program on Marrowstone  Island from January 17-19th , 2014. The 3-day advanced course, offered by WSU since 1988,provides goat farmers/owners in-depth training of goat production topics including nutrition, pasture management, health and disease, lactation, mastitis, reproduction, housing, breed  selection, and food safety.

Course presenters include Susan Kerr, WSU Northwest Regional Livestock and Dairy Extension Specialist; Gary Fredericks, WSU Cowlitz Extension County Director, and Lorrie Conway. Course participants will experience hands-on and classroom presentations, along with a field trip to neighboring goat dairy, Mystery Bay Farm. Participants will also receive a CD of educational publications related to goat care and management.

The Master Goat Farmer Program will be held at WSU Twin Vista Ranch on Marrowstone Island on Friday, Saturday and Sunday January 17th , 18th and 19th

Class size is limited. Cost is $60 per person, plus $30 for additional family members. To register, visit jefferson.wsu.edu.

For more information: Susan Kerr at kerrs@wsu.edu or 360-848-6151 or Kellie Henwood at (360) 379-5610 ext. 201.

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