Sand shrimp may be unavailable due to whales – Everett Herald

The battle for ocean resources finds a new issue to add to the ever growing list.

Herring, sand shrimp, Power Bait, cured roe, nightcrawlers. Eliminate any of those baits and you’ve made a major portion of the western Washington sport fishing public very unhappy. So expect howls of outrage when the word gets around that sand shrimp may be unavailable — or at least hard to find — for anglers anticipating fishing that big run of pinks due this summer in our local rivers. Or steelhead, Dolly Varden, cutthroat, and several other species…. The problem stems from the fact that leases to harvest sand shrimp on public beaches along parts of Saratoga Passage were cancelled last summer by the Washington Department of Natural Resources…. But whales have entered the picture…. Recently, questions have been asked, often by folks in the Langley area, about whether or not commercial shrimp harvest is negatively impacting whale behavior. Wayne Kruse reports. (Everett Herald)

More bad news for B.C.’s wild sockeye – Vancouver Sun

And this also impacts survival of the Orca.

Nations around the Pacific Ocean may have to cap the number of hatchery salmon they release if sockeye salmon runs are to return to sustainable levels, according to a new study. Record high numbers of pink salmon in the North Pacific coincided with the disastrously small 2009 Fraser River sockeye return, while the unexpectedly large 2010 sockeye return interacted with 40-per-cent fewer pinks, said Brendan Connors, co-author of the article published by the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. The findings have implications for fisheries management and hatchery programs in Russia and Alaska that produce most of the five billion hatchery fish released into the Pacific each year. Randy Shore reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Court Rules Navy War Games Violate Law Protecting Whales and Dolphins

From the National Resources Defense Council. I for one, am glad I donate to their cause!
U.S. District Court deems that nearly 9.6 million underwater assaults on whales and dolphins were improperly assessed as “negligible”

LOS ANGELES (March 31, 2015) —A federal court today announced that the U.S. Navy’s training and testing activities off the coast of Southern California and Hawaii illegally harm more than 60 whale, dolphin, seal, and sea lion populations. The U.S. District Court, District of Hawaii, found that the National Marine Fisheries Service – the agency charged with protecting marine mammals – violated multiple requirements of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act when agreeing to the Navy’s plan.

“Searching the administrative record’s reams of pages for some explanation as to why the Navy’s activities were authorized by the National Marine Fisheries Service (‘NMFS’), this court feels like the sailor in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ who, trapped for days on a ship becalmed in the middle of the ocean, laments, ‘Water, water every where, Nor any drop to drink.’” the Court wrote in its 66-page opinion.

The case before the Court was brought by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Cetacean Society International, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Pacific Environment and Resources Center, and Michael Stocker.

In 2014, the case was consolidated for administrative purposes with another action (Conservation Council for Hawaii v. National Marine Fisheries Service) challenging the government’s authorizations of Navy activities in Hawaii and Southern California. Today, the Court also ruled against the government in that action.

Under its five-year plan for training and testing, the Navy is permitted to harm whales, dolphins, and other marine mammals nearly 9.6 million times while conducting high-intensity sonar exercises and underwater detonations. These harmful impacts include millions of instances of temporary hearing loss and significant disruptions in vital behaviors, such as habitat abandonment, as well as permanent hearing loss, permanent injury and more than 150 deaths.

Ocean noise is one of the biggest threats worldwide to the health and well-being of marine mammals, which rely on sound to ‘see’ their world. Navy sonar activities, shipping noise, and seismic exploration by oil and gas companies have made our oceans noisier in recent decades, resulting in widespread disruption to feeding, communication, mating, and more.

Following is a statement by Zak Smith, attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Marine Mammal Protection Project, representing plaintiffs:

“Defenseless marine mammals are going deaf and hungry and may die at the hands of our Navy. And the laws we have that are meant to limit such harms have been misused by the government.

“Instead of downplaying the impacts on marine mammals – including endangered blue, fin and humpback whales – the government should be doing more to protect them from these harmful activities.

“The Navy has solutions at its disposal to ensure it limits the harm to these animals during its exercises.  It’s time to stop making excuses and embrace those safety measures.”

New study highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species –

As we move into the era of “Big Data”, one of the positive aspects to it is that we can start seriously incorporating a lot more of local up-to-date  knowledge into planning, and better understand trends and issues based on large data sets collected by the people on the ground themselves. This is good news folks. Here’s a concrete example of how it can work.

A new study ( highlights the value of local knowledge in recovering endangered species. The collaborative research, co-authored by NOAA Fisheries, the University of Washington, and researchers from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, is specifically designed to incorporate the knowledge of recreational anglers into recovery planning for three rockfish species in Puget Sound—bocaccio, canary rockfish, and yelloweye rockfish, each of which was listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2010. The study explores how recreational anglers’ understanding of the ecosystem and fishing practices influence their views of conserving Puget Sound rockfish. Through surveys of 443 recreational boat-based anglers, which included scoping questions related to their knowledge of rockfish biology, fishing practices, perceptions of threats to rockfish, and preferences for rockfish recovery measures, several key findings arose. (

Conservancy buys $7M in timberland on Olympic Peninsula -Seattle Times

More good news for the ongoing work to create significant wildlife corridors on the west end of the Peninsula. Good reason  to renew your Nature Conservancy membership!

The Nature Conservancy has purchased 3,184 acres of Rayonier timberlands in the Hoh River drainage in a $7 million acquisition that is part of a broader forest-restoration effort on the Olympic Peninsula. The land sale, which closed Monday, will help in the creation of a 32-mile conservation corridor extending from the Olympic National Park to the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Hal Bernton reports. (Seattle Times)

Here’s the Nature Conservancy’s press release.

FORKS, WA | March 31, 2015

The Nature Conservancy has purchased 3,184 acres along the Hoh River near the Washington coast from Rayonier, the two organizations announced today.

The purchase is part of a Nature Conservancy initiative to increase salmon populations, promote sustainable economies and restore temperate rainforest on the Washington coast.

This $7,004,800 acquisition, which closed Monday, March 30, builds on work by the Hoh River Trust, which owns 6,800 acres along the Hoh River, to create a 32-mile conservation corridor extending from Olympic National Park to the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. Home to old-growth and temperate rain forest, the Hoh River corridor provides critical habitat for marbled murrelet, northern spotted owl, bald eagle, and bull trout. It also supports some of the healthiest native salmon and steelhead runs in the lower 48 states.

“On the Washington Coast, generations have drawn their livelihoods from a wealth of natural resources—abundant salmon and trees that grow faster than anywhere else in the world,” said Mike Stevens, Washington State Director for The Nature Conservancy. “We’re working with local communities to ensure that these wild salmon rivers and forests will continue to provide recreation and sustainable livelihoods for generations to come.”

“The Hoh River Trust is pleased to welcome The Nature Conservancy to the Hoh Valley,” said Randy Messenbrink of Forks, president of the Hoh River Trust. “Just as we have endeavored to create a restored and open land corridor we are confident The Nature Conservancy holds these shared values and bring a great synergy to the Hoh River, the Forks community and the greater West End.”

“We’re pleased to again partner with The Nature Conservancy to preserve, for future generations, this important regional forest landscape and the fish and wildlife habitat it will protect,” said David Nunes, Rayonier president and CEO. “In addition to safeguarding salmon habitat, this project connects a large forested landscape from the mountains to the sea. The responsible stewardship provided by generations of Rayonier foresters since the 1940s makes this partnership possible. I would like to thank and acknowledge the collaborative work between the Conservancy and our team for their creative and innovative approach to this transaction resulting in an economically viable agreement that will not only keep the land ecologically healthy, but also in a forestland cover.”

This acquisition is made possible with support from the Wyss Foundation, the Norcliffe Foundation, and other private donors and supporters.

“Everyone should have the chance to gaze up at the towering cedars of the Olympic Peninsula and experience the wild steelhead runs of the Hoh River,” said Hansjörg Wyss, who started the Wyss Foundation in 1998. “Thanks to the foresight and leadership of local communities, future generations will be able to hike, hunt, and explore the remarkable rainforests of the Hoh River from its source in Olympic National Park all the way to the Pacific Ocean.”

The Hoh is one of four major river systems flowing from summit to sea in the Olympic rainforest. It is expected to offer Pacific salmon and steelhead some refuge from the impacts of climate change.

The Conservancy has also purchased and is restoring forest lands on the Queets and Clearwater rivers, and is working with the Quinault Indian Nation for restoration of forests on the Quinault River. Together with the earlier acquisitions on the Queets and Clearwater rivers, the Conservancy is now managing 11,130 acres of forest lands in Jefferson County. Conservancy foresters and ecologists have developed long-term plans that include planting trees, restoring important salmon and wildlife habitat, and sustainable long-rotation timber harvest where it makes sense, said Stevens. All these activities generate jobs in coastal communities.

The Conservancy plans to maintain a forest designation and pay property taxes on this land.

Farther south on the Washington Coast, the Conservancy owns and manages nearly 8,000 acres at the Ellsworth Creek Preserve adjoining Willapa National Wildlife Refuge on Willapa Bay. The Conservancy also owns 47,921 acres of forest land in the Central Cascades east of Snoqualmie Pass.

All the Conservancy’s land on the Washington Coast continues to be open to public and tribal use for hunting, fishing, traditional gathering of plants and medicines, boating, birding, hiking, and other coastal outdoor activities.

The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working in Washington and around the world to protect the lands and waters on which all life depends. Visit The Nature Conservancy’s Washington Program on the web at

Rayonier is a leading international land resources company primarily engaged in timberland management and the sale of real estate. Rayonier owns, leases or manages approximately 2.7 million acres of timberlands located in the U.S. and New Zealand. Rayonier is structured as a real estate investment trust. To date, Rayonier has joined with conservation experts to ensure more than 200,000 acres of forestland will remain in conservation for future generations.

More information is available at

Dabob Bay Aquatic Reserve Proposal Withdrawn by DNR

This was sent to me today.  Looks like someone had some significant concerns. More to come…

This email is in regard to the Department of Natural Resources’ proposed Aquatic Reserve at Dabob Bay. The reserve proposal is being withdrawn at this time.  DNR is withdrawing the proposal based on significant concerns that were expressed during early outreach to key stakeholders. State-owned aquatic lands will continue to be managed to provide a high level of resource protection in Dabob Bay.

I’m happy to answer any further questions you have.

Thank you,

Birdie Davenport

Aquatic Reserves Program Manager

Department of Natural Resources

Aquatic Resources Division

Washington House Democrats Say ‘Yes’ To Capital Gains Tax, ‘No’ To Cap-And-Trade- NW News Network

I don’t know if the Republicans will support this, but I view it as a positive approach to raising taxes. I agree that Cap and Trade does not seem to be an effective way to solve the problem, from the solutions I’ve seen. I’d rather see the state raise the money by taxing the capital gains of people who primarily end up playing the markets. It’s not much, and only affects the wealthiest of the State. It will help fund what we need in this state. With an ever growing population that demands more services from government, that seems fair to me.

Majority Democrats in the Washington state House have unveiled a proposed two-year, nearly $39 billion state budget and tax package. They embraced Governor Jay Inslee’s push for a state capital gains tax, but they’re not biting on the Democratic governor’s cap-and-trade proposal. The capital gains proposal House Democrats offered was slimmed down a bit — a five percent tax rate instead of the governor’s seven percent. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)


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