Video: Coastal Watershed Institute Elwha Sampling

The work continues on the Great Healing of the Elwha.

Anne Shaffer of CWI writes: “At our January long term sampling of the Elwha estuary and lower river we documented-for the first time after looking for over a decade-hundreds of gravid and spent eulachon, Thaleichthys pacificus, and a gravid female long fin smelt, Spirinchus thaleichthys. These   forage fish, which are federally listed along areas of the west coast due to their  precipitous decline, are-literally-the backbone of coastal cultures and nearshore ecosystems…. Within five months of the dam removal ending, these fish are literally flooding the system, feeding dozens of harbor seals and thousands of birds.”

A webinar on Ocean Acidification by the NOAA Ocean Acidification Program

On Wed, Jan 21, 2015 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM PST NOAA kicks off their 2015 Webinar series with a webinar called “Sharing Ocean Acidification Resources for Communicators and Educators”  it is a walk through of data and online resources to help teach Ocean Acidification.

This new webinar series provides ocean acidification communication tools to formal & informal educators, and stakeholders across the country. One of its primary goals is to promote a more integrated and effective ocean acidification education community by sharing ocean acidification education and communication activities virtually.

With awareness of and access to these resources, the ocean acidification education and communication community will be able to utilize and continue to create cutting edge communication tools that incorporate current scientific and communication research.


Comments being accepted through Jan. 23 on status of tufted puffins, Steller sea lions – PDN

As numbers of tufted puffins collapse, probably due to dwindling herring stocks, the state looks into listing them as endangered. The puffin has traditionally reproduced on Protection Island. It has been one of the most southern breeding grounds in the northern hemisphere, and likely they will vanish soon from there without protection.

On the other hand, the Steller sea lion, which feeds on our dwindling salmon stocks.

Legislature starts and new enviro bills kick off

And so it begins. I’ll do my best to keep up on this as it goes along.

Ericksen, Ranker introduce dueling oil transportation safety bills
Two legislators who represent parts of Whatcom County have introduced dueling oil transportation safety bills in the Senate. Wasting no time, Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, introduced his bill the first day of the session. As chair of the Senate Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee, he will host a public hearing on the bill tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 15 at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 14, Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, along with Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Kitsap County, introduced oil legislation requested by Gov. Jay Inslee. That bill has also been referred to Ericksen’s committee. Samantha Wohlfeil reports. (Bellingham Herald)

Will Sonobuoys In The Pacific Help The Navy But Harm Whales? – Earthfix

This issue is the latest Navy Environmental Impact Statement Supplement that needs citizen input before Feb 2. They did not choose to hold meetings on the Olympic Peninsula to take public input on this supplemental update.

The Navy conducts training and testing in a stretch of the Pacific  roughly the size of Montana. It wants to continue and expand its activities in these waters off the West Coast from Washington to Northern California. But first, the Navy must renew its permit under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.  The plan calls for detonating explosives, moving vessels, and deploying 700 more sonobuoys per year. And that’s drawing criticism from environmentalists who say the increased use of sonar poses increased risk for whales and other marine mammals. Sonobouys are three-feet-long cylindrical floats are dropped from aircraft into the water. They use active sonar for the audible clues that can help them locate enemy submarines. Ashley Ahearn reports. (EarthFix)

Fifty Years of Oil Spills in Washington’s Waters – Siteline

For those of you who are relatively new to the Pacific NW, there is a history lesson for environmentalists in what we have already fought or had to deal with. The Boldt Decision, The Spotted Owl controversy and subsequent NW Forest Plan, the various incarnations of the Puget Sound Partnership, and also, the history of oil spills are some of these historical precedents. Just last week I spoke before a church group that was full of relatively new people to the Olympic Peninsula, people who are genuinely wanting to engage with the Tribes, and astonishingly to me, some of them did not know what the Boldt Decision was.

I for one, was sent on my current course of hard core activism for protection of our Salish Sea by the Dalco Passage spill. That spill, so ineptly handled by DOE and others, was the basis for my re-engagement in deep activism. It was also the basis of Governor Gregoire forming the Puget Sound Partnership.  I felt that I had to bring what limited talent I could to helping avoid another such event. This blog, is one of the outcomes of that anger over the failure of our State agencies to protect our waters.

So that you too, can understand why some of us “old timers” are so hard core. Maybe it won’t take another major spill to get you active. Here’s  a quick education care of Sightline, one of my favorite reads. Subscribe to them.

New proposed rules on fish consumption by Governor Inslee and DOE

The Govenor has issued a policy brief, on the issue of reducing toxic pollution called “No Single Source, No Single Solution”. In it, he explains that the Clean Water Act has been beneficial, but that new tools are needed to address emerging sources of toxic pollution. Why should you care? 

If you eat fish, especially locally caught fish, you are eating some amount of toxic pollution. The government has arbitrarily decided that the amount you eat that may be harmful is a very small portion. Most people in the NW eat much more than that portion weekly. If the government is serious about reducing the amount of toxins in your fish, it needs to force polluters not to put that in the water in the first place. Who are those polluters? Many companies are small polluters, that might be able to work with Ecology to reduce their pollution. However, there are others, that are iconic here, such as Boeing, that  see this as a distinct threat to their continued profits. They will strongly oppose this.

There are lots of good that can come from this, not just from regulating Boeing, but all the other point sources of pollution. Read the Governor’s policy brief for a more comprehensive overview, so I don’t have to repeat it here.

To quote from the WDOE press release:

The state’s updated water quality standards would ensure that no standard, except naturally occurring arsenic, becomes less protective. Seventy percent of the new standards would be more protective. Most would be from two to 20 times more protective. The remaining 30 percent of the standards would maintain the current protective standards and would not backslide. Because arsenic occurs naturally at high levels in Washington, Ecology proposes the updated arsenic standard align with the federal drinking water standard.

Ecology’s cost-benefit analysis on the updated water quality standards indicates the new standards would create minimal costs to water dischargers. Although there would be approximately 55 new polluted water listings under the proposed standards, the new water pollution listings would not immediately result in new requirements for any exist.

It’s hard to say whether, in this current legislature, the Governor’s proposal will move beyond a proposal. But it is a good idea, and it is worth supporting. It is better than the current situation.


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