Vancouver places 30,000 sandbags along waterfront as ‘king tide’ looms – Canadian Press

Vancouver braces for high tide coupled with storm surge. This is exactly the issue that climate change scientists warn about becoming more frequent as the climate continues to warm. It’s not so much about the mid points of the swings, but that we will continue to have higher highs and lower lows.  I have not heard of any precautions being taken on the Washington side of the Strait.

Some 30,000 sandbags line a stretch of low-lying waterfront land in Vancouver, placed by city workers in a bid to protect local homes from an anticipated king tide. The task was completed by about 45 workers in advance of Wednesday’s forecasted weather event, which could coincide with the same type of high winds and heavy rains that have already cut power to thousands of residents across the south coast and flooded streets. Justin Smallbridge reports. (Canadian Press)

Forage Fish Matter – Video

Forage fish are the backbone of a healthy Puget Sound. They provide the food base for endangered chinook which in turn are relied on by the endangered Southern Resident Orcas. Little Fish + Big Fish = Orca. Laura James produced this piece for Sound Action.

Forage Fish Matter

Another Orca Death in the Salish Sea. JPod down to 77

We have lost a number of Southern Resident orcas in the last year. The hard thing to take is that J-32 was a young breeding mother, and died with a fetus inside her. First thoughts has been that the calf died in utero and may have been what killed the mother. With the population so low, the loss of even one young cow is truly painful. We have to admit that the recovery efforts are failing, for reasons we still don’t fully understand, but have some strong suspicions. Among them are pollution, fish and herring stocks, and an inability to recover from the theft of their young and the murder of their old from the pods in the 1960s and 70s, as documented in “Black Fish”.

Canadian marine mammal scientists who spent most of Saturday performing a necropsy on killer whale J-32 say the female orca had been pregnant with a full-term fetus.

We don’t have much time to get this trend reversed. And Canada is not helping by allowing destruction of the habitat in the Mt. Polley Mine Spill to dump hundreds of tons of mercury into the Frasier River system with no cleanup. This will directly affect their food source, by poisoning the Frasier River salmon that spawn in and above the lake.

Leaked Internal Presentation Details the Oil Industry’s Campaign to Stop Clean Energy – Renewable Energy World

More bad business practices by the petroleum industry. WSPA operates up here in Washington, and is often lobbying our State legislators to stop progressive clean energy proposals. I’ve passed them in Olympia going to our representatives in the halls.

The Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) — whose members include Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, ConocoPhillips, BP, and others — was caught red-handed late last month when a leaked internal presentation revealed a coordinated campaign to stomp out climate and clean energy progress in California, Oregon and Washington by propping up over 15 front groups that purport to represent the views of concerned citizens and the broader business community.

read the rest of the story at:

Marine Resources Committees Annual Meeting in Port Townsend

The annual meeting of Marine Resource Committees (MRC) that help guide policy and restoration work in the seven north Sound counties took place this weekend in Port Townsend. The MRCs are funded and supported by the Northwest Strait Commission. The annual meeting is always a full house packed with great speakers on the latest scientific and policy issues around restoration of the Salish Sea.

Speakers included President Obama’s Director  of the National Ocean Council, Beth Kerttula who gave a spirited talk on working under the Obama Administration to set ocean policy. Also the Executive Director of the Puget Sound Partnership, Sheida Sahandy spoke on the direction of the PSP under her leadership up to now (Ms. Sahandy took over the PSP earller in the in year). Ms Sahandy braved a serious cold to give the audience what may be one of the better ways of moving the Partnership forward in some time. Julie Horowitz from the Office of the Governor Shellfish Initiative spoke on the latest coordination efforts in shellfish science at the State level. Ian Miller spoke on climate change and the impacts of it on coastal Washington communities, which includes problems ahead for Port Townsend, which will be negatively impacted by climate change. Jamestown S’Klallam tribal elder Marlon Holden who is also the chair of the Natural Resources Committee for the tribe gave us his blessing, as well as an overview of the tribal point of view on environmental protection, to kick off the proceedings. Look for links to the audio of the speakers at the web site of the NW Straits Commission,

MRC speakers (Clockwise from top): Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal member Marlin Holden, Sheida Sahandy, Beth Kerttula,,Betsy Peobody,Ginny Broadhurst,Ian Miller,Julie Horowitz, Christine Woodward

MRC speakers (Clockwise from top): Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal member Marlin Holden, Sheida Sahandy, Beth Kerttula,,Betsy Peobody,Ginny Broadhurst,Ian Miller,Julie Horowitz, Christine Woodward

In the morning, the Jefferson County MRC had a tour of local restoration sites, on the Glacier Express.

MRC Conference Boat Tour

Additional speakers also included Betsy Peabody, Puget Sound Restoration Fund, who spoke on a multi-faceted Approach to Combating Ocean Acidification;Tom Mumford, Ret. Dept of Natural Resources on  kelp research; Ron Thom, Pacific Northwest of the National Laboratory on eelgrass research: restoring Puget Sound’s meadows. From Jefferson County,Cheryl Lowe of the Jefferson MRC presented on: Local Action: MRCs and Eelgrass Protection Efforts .

MRC Conf 4

Ron Thom, Tom Mumford,Cheryl Lowe, Nan McKay, Jerry Masters, and Jill Clark presenting award to Joe Chang of F/V Bet Sea.


Another showing of “Return of the River” in PT this weekend!

GO SEE IT. A beautiful, moving  film on the Elwha Dam removal. John and Jessica have done a masterful job. I’ve done a much longer review in this blog previously, so search for it if you need more input. But really, just go see it!

Hundreds turn out for Navy Growler EIS Scoping Meeting in Port Townsend Thursday.

Hundreds of people from the North Olympic Peninsula came to Fort Worden in Port Townsend Thursday afternoon to hear the Navy explain their plans for expansion of the Growler air fleet. The Navy had subject matter experts with signage to help explain their plans, which in some cases did clarify issues. (more on that later). Additionally, the Navy provided scribes and the ability for people to get their comments logged to the official record of public comment.

US Navy EIS EA-18G Growler Jet Expansion EIS Public Comment Meeting at Fort Worden.

US Navy EIS EA-18G Growler Jet Expansion EIS Public Comment Meeting at Fort Worden. Photos by Al Bergstein

Opponents of the expansion were out in force, and had stations with question banks so people could ask knowledgeable questions. The opposition groups have a great deal of concern about noise pollution, jet pollution, the tie in of this expansion with the Electromagnetic warfare training that the Navy plans to use these planes to test over the west end of the Olympic National Park and Clallam County.

Some interesting questions that were answered were that the Navy has traditionally only scoped a radius of 10 miles from the base. We and the San Juans are about 15 miles away. It took petitioning our government representatives to get the Navy to wave the distance requirement for San Juan and Jefferson County. Speaking of that, many of our local elected officials were present.

Also, the Navy spokesperson was quite clear that the multiple EIS, EAs etc. that the Navy currently has moving, while easily seeming to be a tactic to throw off the civilian opposition to the expansion, in their minds is a work load issue. They just couldn’t take on all of them simultaneously.

Another question that was answered was that the planes are currently not funded in the military budget. It’s assumed they will be, but they could see funding cut at some level. It appears that the plan is for the maximum they want to add with the money they assume will be there.

There appear that are no EIS alternatives that are “no expansion”. The “No action” choice is being used as a ‘baseline’ as they call it, for the others, and the Navy claims it would not meet the goals of the DoD for electronic attack capability. To be clear, the Navy expects to expand their fleet here. The only possibility standing between that expansion is citizen opposition at all levels to change the goals, or have them find another field elsewhere. The Navy seems not interested in those options at all.

It is clear that these folks see their job to sell this expansion to us, as a simple matter economic savings by bringing all the planes and pilots here. Some of the people I spoke with live on the East Coast, have lived with Navy jet noise for years and see it as just the way the world works. It’s up to people here to make the Navy understand that expansion of this base, in a heavily populated area, is not something we have been able to vote on, and  that seems to be unstoppable, as the Navy themselves gives no alternative option to growing the base. While people who are openly anti-military attended the meeting, it seemed as if the bulk of the people are simply concerned with the growing noise pollution, threat to the environment, possible unknown health risks from these secret devices on the planes, and feel that it’s better suited to another, more remote base. One where the local population is much smaller, and spread away from the jets and their training.

So there you have it. It’s up to you to decide. They have presented their case. Do you want an expanding world of unmuffled jets, flying an expanded array of sorties throughout the day and night, or will you take some action now to try and put some rational limits on the local growth of this particular base? Do you want to continue to trade away our environment, both as it affects humans and the natural world around us? Do you think that people will continue to come  here to camp, fish and sail as the jet noise continues to increase, when they can choose to go elsewhere where it’s quieter? It’s not just about the environment, but it’s also about economic issues.

It is worth noting that we put up with a huge amount of Navy now, and have for decades. Indian Island, Bangor Sub Base and the ongoing closures of the Hood Canal Bridge which ties up commerce, harassment by Coast Guard of recreational sailors for what seems like practice on their part rather than any real concern, noise pollution of jets waking us at midnight, and unknown deaths and injuries to Orcas, whales and other sea life.  The Navy admits they kill sea mammals. It’s just a question of how many, not if they will or not.

The Navy sees this all as part of their job to protect us. They are nice people, many with families too. They feel very patriotic about their job and they should. But they work for us, not a bunch of shareholders and stock. We are the ones that would have to say, “thanks’ but we have enough Navy here now, and your plans don’t fit this place. You are not actually saving us money if your consequences impact our economy. We have a unique environment with endangered species, some which are impacted severely by noise. We are not some part of the country that has already been trashed, and has nowhere to go but up. We really are in the middle. We’ve lost a lot, but have a lot more to lose. We can go either down or up in our quality of life.  We have families that come here from all over the world, because it’s quiet and beautiful. They can go outside to fabulous mountains, rivers, lakes and the ocean, and expect peace and quiet. It’s not Seattle, or some other noisy big city. If they need to do this, they need to go somewhere much more remote. “

It’s a long shot to take this on, but if you don’t, no one else will.


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