Starfish Are Still Disappearing From Northwest Waters – Earthfix

Catching up on this since I’m back from vacation.

A couple of years ago, divers in Puget Sound began to notice something odd: Starfish were disappearing. The sea creatures would get sores and then melt into piles of mush. Sea star wasting syndrome is a gruesome disease and it spread to starfish all along the West Coast. Scientists still don’t know a lot about it. Katie Campbell, a reporter for EarthFix and KCTS9, says that although scientists have isolated the cause, the creatures continue to die.  Katie Campbell and Isolde Raftery report. (EarthFix)

Pope urges revolution to save Earth, fix ‘perverse’ economy – AP

Even the Pope is onboard. Time is running out. From 6/18.

Pope Francis called Thursday for a bold cultural revolution to correct what he calls the “structurally perverse” economic system of the rich exploiting the poor that is turning Earth into an “immense pile of filth.” In a sweeping manifesto aimed at spurring action in U.N. climate negotiations, domestic politics and everyday life, Francis explains the science of global warming, which he blames on an unfair, fossil fuel-based industrial model that he says harms the poor most. Citing Scripture and past popes’ and bishops’ appeals, he urges people of all faiths and no faith to undergo an awakening to save God’s creation for future generations. It’s an indictment of big business and climate doubters alike. Nicole Winfield, Rachel Zoll and Seth Borenstein report. (Associated Press)

Time for Buzzing Off – Eye On the Environment

Eye on the Environment blogger Laurie McBride discusses changes she’s seeing in her local hummingbird populations. You too?

It seems quieter around our house than usual, and I think I know the reason: in the last day or two, Buzzy (shown above – click on photo to enlarge) and the other adult male Rufous hummingbirds appear to have taken off on their southern journey. They’ll be heading over to the Rockies, where they’ll tank up on wildflower nectar, then on to Mexico – completing a 4000+ mile-long, clockwise circuit of the continent.

That trip began earlier this year, when Buzzy and his buddies travelled up the Pacific coast from their winter home. They arrived here in early March to stake out their breeding territories, and immediately started making their presence known with steep dives, loud chirps and a rattling buzz aimed to intimidate any creature, large or small (including resident humans).


The Puget Sound Partnership will soon be updating the Puget Sound Action Agenda, the plan that describes the priorities for actions that will help to recover Puget Sound. To lay the groundwork for the update, we are asking for the public’s input on the results of a series of meetings and discussions about the update.

In April, we convened three workgroups of independent experts and practitioners who volunteered to review and update three strategic initiatives that help to focus and hone the many possible actions that could take place through the Action Agenda. These three strategic initiatives address the most pressing environmental issues in Puget Sound:

  • Protecting and restoring habitat
  • Preventing pollution from stormwater
  • Recovering shellfish beds
The workgroups met several times in April and May, and staff from the Puget Sound Partnership facilitated the meetings and summarized the discussions and the resulting recommendations. These recommendations are now available online for public review and comment. Online public comments are accepted through July 10, 2015.

After the public has had an opportunity to comment, the recommendations will be presented to the Puget Sound Partnership Science Panel, Ecosystem Coordination Board, Salmon Recovery Council, and Leadership Council. Once the recommendations are reviewed and receive final approval from the Leadership Council, they will be used to develop the criteria for actions that can be begun or completed within the next two years.

Why it matters

This recommendation will also inform how Local Integrating Organizations (LIOs) – made up of local governments, tribes, nonprofits, citizens, business and a variety of interest groups — work together to plan for and propose Near Term Actions they hope to receive funding for in the 2016-17 biennium. The Near Term Action proposals need to be submitted to the Puget Sound Partnership for review by its Management Conference this coming December to be considered for inclusion in the 2016-17 Puget Sound Action Agenda.

What’s next

After the Leadership Council reviews and approves any changes to the scope of the three strategic initiatives, the process of selecting Near Term Actions that will be included in the 2016-17 Action Agenda can begin.

Additional comments or recommendations can be provided via in-person public testimony at the following meetings:

  • Science Panel, June 24, 2015, at Western Washington University, Viking Union 565, Bellingham
  • Ecosystem Recovery Board, July 8, 2015, at Edmonds City Hall, Brackett Room, 121 Fifth Ave. N., Edmonds
  • Leadership Council, July 29, 2015, at the Legislative Building, Columbia Room, 416 Sid Snyder Ave. S.W., Olympia.

The draft 2016-17 Action Agenda, including Near Term Actions, will be available for public comment in the spring of 2016.

Teamsters and Turtles –Together At Last – Concert on July 6

A Concert with Anne Feeney & Dana Lyons

Date & Time: July 6, 2013 7PM

Venue: Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall

Venue Address: 73 Howe Road, Agnew

Admission by Donation

Iconic environmental singer Dana Lyons teams up with notorious labor hellraiser Anne Feeney to launch Teamsters and Turtles – Together at Last! Starting in Bellingham, WA July 1st and sweeping south to Oregon, with the Agnew/Port Angeles the only north-peninsula stop, the duo will dispel the myth that unions are at odds with environmentalists. They will accomplish this with song and story. How likely is this tour to bring labor activists and environmentalists into a huge movement for justice, peace, equality, and sustainability? Come to their show and find out!

Hellraiser Anne Feeney

Pittsburgh-based agitator Anne Feeney performs music that she says is designed to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” Not many women have chosen to walk the path of Woody Guthrie, but Feeney has made a career of it for the past 35 years.

“Anne Feeney is the best labor singer in North America.”

Utah Phillips

Eco Troubadour Dana Lyons

Dana Lyons is the singer/songwriter best known for his outrageous hit comedy songs “Cows With Guns,” “RV” and “Ride The Lawn.”

“Every movement has its minstrel. The unions had Woody Guthrie. The peace movement had Phil Ochs. The environmental movement has Dana Lyons”.

Captain Paul Watson, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society

Details for upcoming shows can be found at

Contact Anne Feeney

Contact Dana Lyons at

County shows off its low-impact development parking lot – Skagit Valley Herald

If we are ever going to recover our Sound and it’s creatures, such as endangered fish, we need to significantly slow or stop storm water runoff. We have used our rivers and the Salish Sea as a sewer for far too long. A first step can be permeable concrete to keep water where it falls, which is exactly what the forests did before we cut  and paved over them. Think it’s too expensive? Try building storm water systems. The costs will have to be borne by all taxpayers. It’s impossible for poor counties like here on the Olympic Peninsula to be expected to shoulder the costs on their own. Here’s one small step on the road to recovery.

When Skagit County Public Works employee Randy Nelson released 2,200 gallons of water from the holding tank of a water truck Thursday, some onlookers had the urge to flee to keep from getting their feet wet. But they didn’t have to. The water disappeared in seconds into the surface of a parking lot outside the Skagit County government offices, leaving only a ring of alder seeds as proof it was spilled. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Spotted owl numbers not only down but also at faster rate – Earthfix

For a variety of reasons, including the near total decimation of old growth timber by our demand for it over the last century, along with invasive species that have outcompeted the spotted owl, we are still on track to wipe out the species sooner than later. Rather than rejoicing the timber industry and their allies should be concerned, because this situation will likely thwart any of their attempts to open the forest to even more exploitation, which is their goal. As if, with the huge tracks of forest cut on the Olympic Peninsula and near record stockpiles in NW mills, we need more cutting of the remaining old growth.

Scientists report that after two decades of attempts to save the species, northern spotted owl numbers in the Northwest are still on the decline — and at a faster rate. The threatened bird nests in old trees and is at the heart of a decades-long struggle over the fate of the region’s old-growth forests. Scientists at a conference Tuesday in Vancouver, Washington, reported that owl numbers are now dropping at an annual rate of 3.8 percent, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Glen Sachet. Five years ago, the rate was 2.8 percent. Tim Fought reports. (Associated Press)

See also: Where Things Stand For Northwest Forests Under The Clinton Plan Burns reports. (EarthFix)


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