Proposal wants big study for Puget Sound’s little fish – KOMO news

While this Senate bill is a great idea, I don’t see a companion House bill  (see comment below, apparently there is), I assume that this will not survive the session. It also has no bi-partisan supporters. Maybe it’s a ‘stake in the ground’ kind of proposal, to try and pave the way for a full House and Senate set of bills in the next session in 2016.

Puget Sound’s little fish – the kind that school together near the shore – don’t have the celebrity status of salmon or orcas. But as the populations of herring, smelt and other forage fish dwindle, so too may the sound’s more iconic species. A bill by state Sen. Christine Rolfes, D-Bainbridge Island, aims to improve what state regulators readily admit is a poor understanding of the small fish that serve as prey for the sound’s larger predators…. Senate Bill 5166 would initiate the most comprehensive study of forage fish ever undertaken in Puget Sound. It would also require a recreational fishing license for smelt, a species typically caught with dip nets near the shore…. Sound Action, the Coastal Conservation Association and the National Audubon Society’s Washington chapter are among the environmental groups that have spoken in favor of the bill. Tristan Baurick reports. (Kitsap Sun) If you like to watch: Sound Action – Forage Fish Matter https://vimeo.com/113797219

http://www.komonews.com/news/local/Proposal-wants-big-study-for-Puget-Sounds-little-fish-292018381.html

Jefferson Healthcare and Grace Lutheran Church lease gifted mineral rights in North Dakota to frackers

This has to be one of the stranger stories lately. Apparently the hospital and church were gifted this mineral lease back in 2000. The hospital and the church will apparently get a minimum of $36,000.

A local watchdog, according to the story, has already requested that the Governor step in and stop this kind of leasing from public facilities. It is ironic that a public healthcare facility would be profiting from a technology that is harming the health of citizens, rivers and air in North Dakota.

It brings into question whether the hospital and other public entities in PT should have instructions given them about divesting in oil and gas exploration investments. I believe that would an appropriate decision. Perhaps a ballot initiative is needed?

Not sure why our firebrand liberal “Occupy” hospital commissioner Matt Ready only gave a tepid “abstain” vote. Maybe he would like to clarify that in our comments. I would have expected a stronger vote than that from him.

Perhaps the money could be donated to the Mountainview Swimming Pool and workout facility fund, to help get us closer to a pool upgrade. There is of course, the still hanging issue of why the public hospital is teaming with a non-profit (the YMCA) to build and run a facility when we have 3 working health clubs already in town, paying city taxes, struggling to survive, and providing working class wages to a lot of people. Oh, and the Sequim pool levy apparently failed to pass, meaning that it’s future is in doubt. Worth thinking about that for the future of the pool levy here. Do we need a workout facility tied to the pool given the voters lack of enthusiasm for ongoing funding of these facilities? Lots of questions.

http://www.ptleader.com/news/hospital-set-to-lease-n-d-mineral-rights-for-oil/article_791f8618-b186-11e4-b860-9b70b411f728.html

You may need to subscribe online to get this story. Or just buy the paper if you are local. Support local journalism.

Move to Amend and our environment. It’s all about people, not corporations

Port Townsend – Tonight a crowd of about 100 listened to the very animated Move to Amend spokesman David Cobb discuss the movement to amend the Constitution to overturn the misguided Supreme Court decisions allowing corporations to be considered people and that money equals free speech.  What has this got to do with Olympic Peninsula environmental issues? Well, it’s pretty simple. This ruling has put corporations in the driver seat of all real decisions regarding the environment. Since the ruling,a corporation has just as much rights as a human being, to exploit our limited resources. But far more resources to bring to bear solely for the purpose of making profits for shareholders. And to spend as much money as needed to elect people to do their bidding. Think about that a minute. Corporations do not breath air, but they pollute it. They excrete waste but it isn’t often processed to the same standards as ours is. They exist only as a legal figment of our imagination, because we willed them into existence with laws. Sort of like Frankenstein?  And they are severely affecting our ability to continue to survive as a species. Sounds like aliens! They are not recognized in the Constitution, and in fact, were extremely limited by our founding fathers. As Cobb pointed out, the only tea destroyed at the original Tea Party, was corporate tea, of the East Indian Company (a good place to find some of this info is at http://www.history.com/news/10-things-you-may-not-know-about-the-boston-tea-party.

So the notion is that the people who are supposed to be in charge of not only this democracy, but this environment, need to take back the ability to be considered the only rulers of our government.

Now some of you might argue that it’s “too hard’ and that what the Supreme Court says, goes. But as Cobb pointed out tonight, it’s not that unusual. Once the Supreme Court thought that slavery was ok. And that women were legally chattel of men. Those antiquated notions of past Supreme Courts who were out of touch with the people governing the country were eventually overturned. We can do this, because it’s been done before. 

Mr. Cobb is headed around Washington on a speaking tour, including Seattle, Olympia, Bellingham, Spokane and other stops. What I would ask of any of you reading this is to check out the web site and read up on what they are trying to do. The City Council  of Port Townsend and the Washington State Democrats have already passed resolutions supporting an amendment, along with many other groups (see the list here https://movetoamend.org/resolutions-map).

Once you have read up on them, go hear him speak if you can. If you can’t the web site has lots of videos and info.

The Move to Amend has gone from 5 people in a living room in 2009 to support from hundreds of organzations and hundreds of thousands of people. This can succeed.

So if you are interested in legally protecting our rights as citizens to run this country, and decide the laws that protect our environment, see about supporting this movement. Or at least learn more. That’s something any of us, regardless of political affiliation, can get behind. It’s all part of the way forward to a sustainable planet. Not a lot of time left to put all the pieces in place to make that happen.

Funny how it didn’t appear that neither the Leader or the Peninsula Daily News was covering this.

Poacher draws 5 1/2 years in prison after investigation by WDFW Police

There has been a number of people wondering about who were poaching  these oysters.

SEATTLE – The former owner of a shellfish company based in Jefferson County was sentenced today to 5½ years in prison after a poaching investigation by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) proved he and his employees had stolen millions of oysters and clams off Washington beaches.

Rodney Allan Clark, 50, former owner of G&R Quality Seafood in Quilcene, pleaded guilty in King County Superior Court to 17 counts of trafficking in stolen property and one count of reckless endangerment for selling shellfish to the public without a state health certification.

Clark was also ordered to return to court next month for a hearing to determine restitution for the shellfish he and his employees stole from beaches in Jefferson and Kitsap counties.

Eight of Clark’s former employees, some of whom cooperated with the investigation, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor fishing violations in previous court appearances and received a combination of fines and jail time.

Clark’s sentencing marked the end of a high-profile case that was delayed for nearly a year after the former convict jumped bail in 2013 and fled the state. He was finally extradited from Hawaii under a warrant signed by Gov. Jay Inslee the following year.

Court records describe how a tip from a shellfish inspector for the Washington Department of Health prompted WDFW to open its investigation of G&R Quality Seafood in April 2009.

According to the health inspector, a shellfish buyer reported buying thousands of Clark’s oysters, which made some of his customers in Yakima and the Tri-Cities sick.

For the next 11 months, WDFW detectives developed a case on Clark and his employees, documenting their activities as they illegally harvested shellfish at night on isolated beaches in Jefferson and Kitsap counties. The detectives also monitored the movement of the stolen shellfish to King County, where Clark and his employees sold it at a profit to restaurants, fish markets, and seafood wholesalers.

WDFW Police Chief Steve Crown estimates that Clark and his employees illegally harvested more than $2 million worth of oysters and clams from publicly and privately owned beaches, but said the true value of the stolen shellfish may never be known.

“These poachers stripped entire beaches of oysters and clams, and recklessly sold uncertified shellfish for public consumption,” Crown said. “This was a crime against the people and the natural resources of our state, and we made it a priority to get their ringleader off the street and shut his operation down.”

In March 2010, the WDFW Police seized thousands of documents detailing the operations of G&R Quality Seafood after obtaining a warrant to search Clark’s office in Quilcene and other properties. Several other agencies participated in those raids, including the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Based on WDFW’s investigation, Clark was charged in King County Superior Court in December 2011, but was released on bail pending trial. In December 2013, he failed to appear for a pretrial court date, leading to an interstate search that led first to Alaska, then to Hawaii.

Clark, who previously served a prison sentence for drug offenses in Montana, was eventually arrested in Hawaii and extradited to Washington state under a warrant issued last year by Gov. Inslee.

“We’d like to thank all the agencies that helped us bring Rodney Allan Clark to justice, particularly the King County Prosecutor’s Office,” Crown said. “If the prosecutor hadn’t agreed to pursue this case, Rodney Clark would probably still be out on the oyster beds, plundering the state’s natural resources.”

Shellfish growers support effort to reduce ‘bad oyster’ illness – Skagit Valley Herald

I wonder what the downsides of this possible bill are. Would it hurt smaller growers who maybe can’t afford to wait out the closure? Any growers want to comment?

Vibrio can be bad news for those who savor raw oysters — and the businesses that sell them. Vibrio is a naturally occurring bacteria that thrives in warm temperatures and can cause intestinal distress to those eating contaminated shellfish. While cooking can kill Vibrio in oysters, many consumers prefer them raw…. historically, closures don’t happen until after people get sick. Now, the state is proposing a change to proactive regulations that would base closures on weather conditions favorable to Vibrio parahaemoliticus bacteria, rather than waiting until illnesses are confirmed. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

http://www.goskagit.com/all_access/shellfish-growers-support-effort-to-reduce-bad-oyster-illness/article_59a8fbcd-e929-5797-af3c-1f91bfcd94bb.html

Outdoor enthusiasts outraged over plan to restrict state waterways -KIRO

Another incredibly stupid idea for a law proposed in the State House. The legislature often wants to pass bills that are unfunded, or create unenforceable laws for local jurisdictions. (Correction to an earlier post .. I previously misrepresented Representative O’Keefe’s position, I meant to say Rep. Larry Haler seemed to be protecting wealthy landowners on river fronts. My apologies to Rep O’Keefe! He’s one of the good guys!)

Just think about the ramifications here on the Salish Sea. Good idea to call your Representatives and make sure they are opposed to this nonsense.

Thomas O’Keefe said when he heard about House Bill 1056 he immediately got upset. “The bill would make it basically illegal to access a public waterway if there’s no parking,” said O’Keefe — who is an avid kayaker, scuba diver and canoeist. Rep. Larry Haler (R-Richland) is the primary sponsor of the bill that says “the governmental entity which has jurisdiction of the land must provide adequate public parking for persons utilizing the land to access the water.” If a parking lot isn’t near an access point of a waterway, violators could face a misdemeanor. David Ham reports. (KIRO)

http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/outdoor-enthusiasts-outraged-over-plan-restrict-st/nj42h/

Puget Sound salmon face more ups and downs in river flows – Phys.org

Good news and concerning news from some recent science.

Many salmon rivers around Puget Sound have experienced increasing fluctuations in flow over the past 60 years, just as climate change projections predict – and that’s unfortunate news for threatened Chinook salmon, according to a new analysis of salmon survival and river flow. More pronounced fluctuations in flow can scour away salmon eggs and exhaust young fish, especially when lower flows force adult fish to lay eggs in more exposed areas in the center of the channel. The new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Global Change Biology says such increased flow variability has the most negative effect on salmon populations of several climate factors considered. (Phys.org)

http://phys.org/news/2015-02-puget-salmon-ups-downs-river.html

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