Environmental Tech Startup Demonstrates New Mapping of Elwha

These guys are doing some very interesting new technology. Check them out.

The Elwha Project

Flying FishViews Announcement, November 12, 2014

This morning Flying FishViews Inc. (F2V) released an innovative approach for interacting with rivers,coasts and shores, demonstrated by the first-ever panoramic tour of Washington State’s Elwha River.

F2V’s digital maps (called FishViews) offer a unique perspective for navigating rivers online. Using street view-style panoramic imagery, collected from the surface of the water and fused with other location-specific information like water quality data, F2V is delivering a comprehensive visual and data-driven experience that enables science, recreation and conservation. Available on the website F2V.me, the Elwha River FishView tour shows F2V’s commitment to our waterways by demonstrating online access to digital maps of aquatic environments. (Go directly to the Elwha River tour at: http://F2V.me/elwha-river.html)

F2V is a Seattle-based tech startup that spent the last 18 months developing technology to capture FishViews, a fresh way to tell the story of our rivers, coasts and shores. This new approach enables users to view and navigate within panoramic, river-level imagery. FishViews are captured thru HD photography on, over and under the water, and fused with concurrent measurements of the physical properties of the waterway – all synchronized by time and location. FishViews provide users with a rich, immersive browsing experience that enables greater understanding of a specific location or area.

“Like many new, revolutionary data products, once it is available people will recognize the remaining data gaps even more – driving demand for more extensive coverage with this product.” John Mickett, PhD Senior Oceanographer, University of Washington Applied Physics Lab.

Dam removal began on the Elwha River in mid-September 2011. Today, the Elwha Dam is gone, all of Glines Canyon Dam has been removed, and the Lake Mills and Lake Aldwell reservoirs have drained.

The Elwha River now flows freely from its headwaters in the Olympic Mountains to the Strait of Juan de Fuca for the first time in 100 years. The dam removal process was completed in late August of this year and F2V was there to capture the state of the river two days after the last dam came down. Thru Elwha River FishViews, users can virtually float and snorkel the river, and with F2V-collected data and call outs to important physical and biological features on the river, users can check out conditions before visiting the river – and even zoom in on important features.

Prior to being dammed in the early 20th century, the Elwha River was home to some of the largest Chinook salmon in the northern hemisphere. During F2V’s Elwha data collection, Chinook salmon were imaged spawning in the Elwha above the dams for the first time in over 100 years.

F2V aims to assist in the monitoring and assessment of the Elwha recovery to benefit scientific research, natural resource management, conservation, recreation and education. Looking to the future, F2V intends to work with Elwha River stakeholders to catalogue the recovery process and extend the project further upriver, eventually capturing the entire 45 miles from source to sea.

More broadly, the Elwha project represents the leading edge of a Puget Sound Region initiative to collect and present FishViews for 300 miles of Puget Sound Region rivers, coasts and shores – and prove out commercial viability for providing web-access to aquatic environments. Stay tuned for more FishViews of rivers and waterways throughout Washington State and the US, including tours of Texas’ Spring Lake,

San Marcos River and Lady Bird Lake.

For Inquiries, please contact:

Brian Footen 206.235.9286 or Scott Gallagher 210.516.5910

Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Announce New Endorsements & Video

sportsmen-for-wild-olympicsHundreds of Local Sportsmen Endorse Wild Olympics, Video Highlights Threats, Rivers & Local Support

(Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Video “Salmon Streams for Our Future” )

 

January 31st, 2014 – Today the group of Olympic Peninsula hunters, anglers, and guides of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics delivered signatures from more than 300 local sportsmen and women on a petition to Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer in support of their new legislation to permanently protect headwaters and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest and enhance access.  The signers urge the lawmakers to keep the ancient forests and free-flowing rivers wild, because “Peninsula salmon, trout, and steelhead rely on cold, clean water from upper reaches of rivers & streams on Olympic National Forest. These headwaters & streams are at risk as private industry and small hydro developers try to roll back temporary safeguards on our public lands.”

This new support comes on the heels of new endorsements by over two dozen major hunting and fishing organizations and local guides, including nineteen leading sportsmen groups and Peninsula guides who recently sent a joint letter to Sen. Murray and Rep. Kilmer urging action to safeguard this area.  Those signing the letter include Piscatorial Pursuits (Forks), Waters West Guide Service (Montesano), Angler’s Obsession (Forks), Little Stone Fly Fisher (Port Townsend), Johnson Guide Service (Sequim), Anadromy Fly Fishing (Forks),Game On! Guide Service (Shelton), Olympic Peninsula Skagit Tactics (Forks), Able Guide Service (Seiku), Gray Wolf Fly Fishing Club (Sequim), Peninsula Sportsman (Port Townsend), Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, the Wild Steelhead Coalition, the Northwest Guides & Anglers Association, the Washington Wildlife Federation, Izaak Walton League, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Association of Northwest Steelheaders and others.

Both the petition and the letter state that “Only full, Congressionally-designated Wilderness and Wild & Scenic River safeguards will permanently protect backcountry elk habitat and sensitive salmon and steelhead spawning grounds against future development.” The group further notes that the final compromise legislation removed all roads from the proposed wilderness boundaries, ensuring Wild Olympics will not close roads or affect any road or trailhead access.

 

Sportsmen for Wild Olympics also released a new video:”Salmon Streams for Our Future” to spotlight the headwaters, rivers and salmon that would be protected under the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act, and the threats they face without permanent protection. It highlights the long list of support for Wild Olympics from 27 leading hunting & fishing organizations and local guides, and features stunning footage of spawning salmon shot by acclaimed local filmmaker John Gussman. An interview with Sequim fishing guide & Sportsmen for Wild Olympics co-founder Norrie Johnson explains how the legislation is vital to protecting the headwaters, rivers & streams on Olympic National Forest that local anglers depend on for salmon & steelhead fishing. The video closes with a call for hunters & anglers to visit the Sportsmen for Wild Olympics website and sign their online petition in support of the Wild Olympics legislation.

Dave Bailey, Past President of the Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club in Sequim, WA and a co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics says the group is releasing the video to show people that the threats to local salmon streams are real and that Wild Olympics is broadly supported in the local sportsmen community.

“People think that because these areas appear as they’ve always been, that they are safe.  That is the furthest thing from the truth,” said Bailey. “There is a determined effort in Congress to roll back safeguards on our public lands and open these sensitive spawning grounds to small hydro development, industrial clear-cutting and more road building once more.  That’s bad for fish, game, and sportsmen” said Bailey.

The Sportsmen are concerned that without immediate action on this issue, extreme logging legislation before Congress and the renewed push for small-hydro project development in Washington State are putting the remote backcountry headwaters and salmon streams on Olympic National Forest at risk.  (Click here to read the Sportsmen for Wild Olympics threats report, “Our Rivers & Headwaters at Risk”)

Aaron O’Leary, a member of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics and owner and head guide of Angler’s Obsession (Forks, WA),  put it plainly; “Supporting Wild Olympics will help preserve the salmon and steelhead fishing on the Olympic Peninsula for future generations.”  (Click here to see profiles of all the members ofSportsmen For Wild Olympics “About Us” )

Many area hunters and anglers have long been supportive of legislation introduced earlier by Senator Murray and former Representative Dicks, and participated in the four year public process initiated by local stakeholders and the lawmakers to craft a balanced protection plan for upper watersheds on Olympic Forest.

The Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Leaders have also updated their website to help dispel some of the myths about Wild Olympics & access, highlighting the fact that it will not close one single mile of the 2,250 miles of roads on Olympic National Forest and that Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers protect and enhance hunting & fishing access (Click Here to Read Wild Olympics Protects & Enhances Access Without Closing Roads).   “Wild Olympics will not only protect water quality and fish, but enhance public access,” said Roy Morris, Jr., a co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics and Owner/Head Guide for Able Guide Service out of Seiku, on the northwest corner of the Olympic Peninsula. Dave Bailey added that “Wild and Scenic Rivers are managed to protect and enhance the values that make them eligible for designation that include recreational pursuits such as sportfishing.”

“We must not lose this critical opportunity to conserve and protect the headwaters and watershed forests that are vital to our wild fish, birds and wildlife,” said Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing GuideBob Triggs of Port Townsend — one of the co-founders of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics. “It is far simpler and less expensive to conserve the wilderness habitat that we have, rather than to attempt to restore these places later. The value of some wild places cannot be measured in money.”

“Only Congressionally-designated wilderness and Wild & Scenic River safeguards will permanently protect core backcountry elk habitat and critical salmon and steelhead spawning grounds against future development,” said Dave Bailey.  “The Wild Olympics legislation would give our fish, wildlife and salmon streams the gold standard of protection they deserve.”

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Video “Salmon Streams for Our Future”

 

·             Sportsmen For Wild Olympics Threats Report “Our Rivers & Headwaters at Risk”

 

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics About Us

 

·             Sportsmen for Wild Olympics Website:www.SportsmenForWildOlympics.org

Representative Van De Wege signs onto bill to ban & label GMO Salmon

Republican State Representative Condotta (R) co-sponsored  by Representative Van de Wege, have put forward bill HB 2143,  to ban genetically modified salmon in the State. This would ban net pen operations in state waters from farming any genetically modified salmon. It does not ban raising them in upland closed container sites. Additionally it calls for identification of farmed GMO fish vs. commercially caught salmon. Background on this is that Washington was the first state in the country, in 1993,  to make it a law to label salmon as wild or farmed. It was heavily opposed by the same industry coalition back then. But it passed. We led the way in salmon labeling, and the arguments are again being made that labeling and banning of these fish should be a Federal issue, not a State issue. They also say it will cause consumer confusion. I  personally don’t know many consumers who are confused as to wild vs. farmed salmon labels. In fact, it seems to have spurred purchase of wild salmon, as consumers know that they are getting what they want, as opposed to not knowing if it is or isn’t. That confusion is more likely to lead to other choices of protein.

The reasons for this bill that have been put forward is to codify the rules on avoiding cross contamination on GMO salmon and to add a simple label on GMO fish when they are sold in Washington State stores.

At the January 17th Public Hearing, testimony was hot and heavy. Industry spokespeople were out in force to attempt to stop the bill. Also citizen activists testified in favor of it. Industry is attempting to muddy the waters by claiming that this will ban research and development of genetic fish, some of which could be hampering work on human disease development. To be clear, the bill does not ban that research. It bans farming GMO salmon in State Waters. That is defined as navigable waters in the state. The Sound, Strait, Outer Coasts and freshwater rivers and streams are usually what is meant by that term. 

Some of the testimony (pardon me if the names are spelled wrong, they were not always clearly identifiable):

A panel opposed to the bill showed up to testify:

Alan Cook of Icicle Seafoods. They opposed  the bill claiming that GMO salmon are already banned in State waters.

John Dentler Director of Troutlodge. They are the oldest company in aquaculture in America. They  grow Sable Fish (Black Cod) and Shellfish. He claimed they have no plans on rearing GMO salmon and trout.  They want to  carve out an exemption  specifically for triploid (sterile) fish in the bill. Labeling aspect is troubling to them. If we specifically label to this State, they are faced with labeling requirements. National and State environmental policy acts handle these issues, he said.

John Bialka Pacific Aquaculture on the Columbia. They produce triploid trout for restaurant business. Not interested in raising GMO salmon. Opposed the bill.

Also in opposition to the bill.

  • Dan Swecker ex-salmon farmer and ED Washington Salmon Growers Assoc.
  • JIm Jesernig ofWashington Association of Wheat Growers -
  • Tom Davis Farm Bureau
  • Heather Hansen – Friends of Farms and Forest.  “True intent is to stigmatize genetically modified food”
  • NW Grocery Association
  • James Curry NW Food Processors Assoc. – Opposed to the bill.
  • Dan Coin – Biotechnology Industry Association – Opposed.

Showing up in favor of the bill

  • The Yakima Nation
  • Doug Milholland of Port Townsend. He brought up Salmon Confidential and the work going on in British Columbia against farmed and GMO salmon.
  • Senator Marilyn Chase 32nd district (D)  testified in favor of the bill.
  • Ann Mossmiss – Ex-Alaska Fisherman. Food and Society Policy Fellow Institute of Agriculture and Trade Culture. Very concerned about the new genetically modfied  National Academy of Scientists are very skeptical and concerned on this. She was a very convincing speaker with a great deal of background on the subject.

The bill will encounter stiff opposition in the House and Senate,if it even passes out of committee. I highly recommend that any of you wanting to weigh in on this bill do so now. Send emails to Representative Kevin Van De Wege’s office.

Watch the whole testimony here:

http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014010063

The Bill itself:

http://apps.leg.wa.gov/documents/billdocs/2013-14/Pdf/Bills/House%20Bills/2143.pdf

Bill Analysis:
http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2014010063

Peninsula lawmakers back new legislation banning toxic chemicals

kevinvdwegemtg

Representative Kevin Van de Wege (along with Rep. Steve Tharinger  and Senator James Hargrove who was not in the photo) talks to PT folks, helping roll out the latest “Toxic Free Kids and Families Act”. The latest version of the bill (ESHB 1294) will help stop the ‘toxic treadmill’ of chemicals, banning toxic flame-retardants like Tris in children’s products and furniture. Rep Van de Wege was a skeptical when this was first introduced in 2007, but as a firefighter asked to be convinced, and came around to support this whole heartedly. Thanks to Rep. Van de Wege an earlier version passed, but now needs to be strengthened. This bill was sponsored by Washington Toxics Coalition, over 20 NGO’s who are working to rid the Sound and our bodies of these toxins. 

Environmental Lobby Day is no more…

Washington Environmental Council (WEC), who took over the remains of People For Puget Sound after it’s collapse  a few years ago, continued the long running and highly successful Environmental Lobby Day in Olympia. No longer.  WEC has determined that the event needs to die to continue to live. So they are running a new program this year, called 60 Days/60 Ways Action Plan. Here’s how they describe it:

Get Involved! 60 Days/60 Ways Action Plan
This legislative session we’re trying something new and exciting. We’re going to be interacting with legislators throughout the entire session. We have 60 days and 60 ways to help. What does this mean for you? We know you’re busy and time is limited, so whether it’s volunteering one evening at a phone bank, sharing a post on social media, or attending your local town-hall meeting, we’re giving legislators 60 days and you 60 ways to get involved.

Doorbell Days
Every Priority campaign will have at least one doorbell day during this legislative session. These days will entail passing out campaign information to targeted voters in the legislators’ own backyards.

Town Halls
Organized by your local legislators, we have two goals: to pack the room with constituents, and get at least one activist to the microphones to ask a question on each Priority.

Local Party Meetings
This includes attending legislators’ party meetings (both Democrat and Republican) and asking to put our issues on the agenda when appropriate.

Constituent Meetings
Every week during the legislative session we will have one weekly grasstop constituent meeting with a targeted legislator at their office in Olympia. The meetings will be a chance to talk about each Priority.

Phonebanks
Most phonebanks will be run out of offices in Seattle, but option may be available to call at home. Phonebanks will call voters in targeted areas to educate the public and legislators on our Priority campaigns.

Literature Drops
Each Priority will have at least one ‘drop’ day in Olympia. A local team of volunteers will canvas the campus with literature or some related item, infographic, or educational piece that will be distributed to all legislators.

Social Media Shares – Facebook/Twitter
Campaigns will develop weekly Facebook and Twitter feeds that will be posted and sent to share. They will include pictures, graphics, interesting facts, or links to action alerts.

You can sign up if interested, here: http://environmentalpriorities.org/

Last year, over 300 people attended Environmental Lobby Day, spending time learning about issues, meeting with their State Senators and Representatives.  I’m hoping that the folks at WEC/P4PS will make sure they have their metrics for the success of this new idea dialed in. I always had a lot of good feedback from people who came to the Lobby Day, and it introduced people to their elected officials, as well as to their power in calling for change. Losing the momentum of Environmental Lobby Day to push out to a indistinct cloud of people who you hope will actually take actions over a much longer period of time is fraught with possible problems. Hoping that we see some real successes with this tactic.

Along those lines, as posted here elsewhere, Representative Kevin Van De Wege is going to be holding a public meeting in Port Townsend to discuss his involvement with the Toxic Coalition leader Laurie Valerino at the PT Community Center. See the other post here for details.

Shhh…Puget Sound Partnership’s Leadership At Work – Salish Sea Communications

Mike Sato hits it right on the head. It’s time for Govenor Inslee to show us what this bureaucracy is doing, and if he’s really behind it or not. Getting it a leader that can actually lead would be a great start. No one would likely cry for it if they kill it and reconstitute it anew. It’s become a behind the scenes player in Olympia and virtually unknown outside of the Capital. A real shame, frankly. We had high hopes for it, but environmentalism appears to be joke and a pawn in the power politics in Olympia. Use it to garner votes, then ignore it for 2 to 4 years. Maybe when we are down to one Orca they’ll actually get serious.

http://salishseacommunications.blogspot.com/2013/07/shhhpuget-sound-partnerships-leadership.html?showComment=1373384001721#c6277622826257682962

Legislature approves several Puget Sound priority bills

The fact that what did get put forward in the legislature this year did get passed is good news. Other bills that were important died in committee, some with very little help from even their sponsors (such as the bill allowing the banning of net pens that was sponsored by Representative Kevin Van De Wege and lightly supported by him). However, the rubber will meet the road in Olympia, this week and next, as the budget tries to get through. All these bills’ funding is stalled in the Senate, which, with a small Republican majority, is blocking a final budget. If you are so inclined, call your Representatives and Senator and tell them to get this done.  Kudos to NGO’s such as Washington Environmental Coalition, Puget Soundkeepers, Audubon, and companies such as Taylor Shellfish, who have stepped into a leadership role fighting Ocean Acidification, along with  many others who championed these bills.
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Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law all of the Puget Sound priority bills. Most recently, partners celebrated the signing of bills that prevent derelict vessels (ESHB 1245), prevent aquatic invasive species (SB 5702), strengthen the management of our coastal resources and protect Washington waters from the effects of ocean acidification (SB 5603). Attention remains on the budget, where little progress is visible toward bridging the significant impasse between the House and Senate.
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