Salmon Need Trees – Hakai Magazine

As a follow up to the last post, as if we needed a reminder. Another study questioning the wisdom of cutting forests for profit rather than habitat. A clearcut is not a forest. A second growth tree farm is not a forest. It’s a monoculture.

A new study stands as a striking reminder that logging watersheds has an outsized impact on salmon and trout. Led by Kyle Wilson at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, the study looked at the successes and failures of five species of salmonids in the Keogh River (called Giyuxw by the local Kwakiutl First Nation) on northern Vancouver Island. For steelhead trout, the salmonid Wilson and his colleagues had the most data for, the problems the fish faced in the BC river hit the population just as hard as the challenges they faced out at sea. Wilson suspects the same holds true for other species with similar life cycles. Nicola Jones reports. (Hakai Magazine)

Salmon Need Trees

Olympic Forest Coalition, WEC & Conservation NW argue case in WA Supreme Court today

This is the kind of lawsuit I find very useful. Status quo is not always legally correct, and challenging the notion that the only thing we can do with public forests is cut them for educational funding has never seemed correct. Our naive ancestors thought that what seemed like endless supplies of trees could fund education forever. We now know how simplistic that idea was. So we’ll find out if the court agrees. Big ramifications if they do. Everyone in this case are folks I’ve met and have a great deal of respect for their stances.


OFCO and colleague plaintiffs Washington Environment Council and Conservation Northwest, and individual plaintiffs Marcy Golde, Peter Bahls, et al, are before the Washington Supreme Court this Thursday, October 21st at approximately 10:00 AM in the “All the People” case. The lawsuit seeks to remove a barrier to balanced and ecological forest management by giving DNR the discretion to pursue timber harvest alongside other benefits. Timber production and associated revenue for beneficiaries, carbon management promoting climate stability, protections of clean water, species and habitats and against landslides and floods during extreme weather events, regrowth of older, complex forests for future generations, as well as non-timber forest products, cultural value, and recreation.

Our lawyer, Wyatt Golding from Chestnut Zioinzt, will argue the case for “All the People” of Washington (Conservation NW, et al. v. Commissioner of Public Lands et al., No. 99183-9). The case centers on the interpretation of the Washington Constitution and the federal land grant when we became a state. Article 16, Section 1 of the Washington State Constitution states that “all the public lands granted to the state are held in trust for “all the people”.


You may watch the hearing on state TVW.

See https://www.tvw.org/watch/?eventID=2021101173

EVENT: Shore Friendly Living workshop OCT 21

These folks put on good events and have been very successful in helping shoreline land owners properly manage their vegetation to protect the shores.


Effective management of vegetation on marine shorelines can make the difference in slowing erosion, reducing stormwater runoff, and improving nearshore habitat for salmon, forage fish, and Orcas.We invite you to join our free “Shore Friendly Living” virtual workshop series on Thursday, October 21st from 6:00-8:00pm to learn the benefits of using native vegetation for slope stability and habitat from Ben Alexander of Sound Native Plants. Some additional topics Ben will cover include: soil composition and drainage, removing invasive plant species, native plant selection, and planting techniques for bluffs and shoreline properties.Click below to register for the workshop. A link to the Zoom invitation will be sent following registration. 
Register now!
To learn more about Shore Friendly Living and how to be a good steward to these habitats we all value as residents of the Salish Sea, check out our website. You can also sign up for a free site visit with a coastal professional.
Website

North Olympic Sierra Club Meeting – Become a better recycler

The folks at the North Olympic Sierra Club are doing good things these days. Check out there next monthly meeting! And still virtual so you don’t have to leave home to participate!

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American household generates nearly 15 pounds of trash per day.  Even though most people try to recycle at least some of their trash, most of that waste winds up in landfills and incinerators.
BECOME A BETTER RECYCLERCome to the North Olympic Sierra Club’s October Meeting to Find Out How From Experts!
Laura Tucker, Jefferson County Public HealthMeggan Uecker, Port AngelesSolid Waste Superintendent
Thursday, October 21, 7PM  RSVP Required Click here to RSVP for the meeting.

Researches make surprising discovery while tracking Chinook.

A controversial finding in recent chinook research.

Researchers made a surprising discovery while tracking Chinook salmon in both the foraging areas of endangered southern resident orcas and the growing, healthy population of the northern resident orcas in B.C. In a study published last week in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, the researchers stated they expected to find the robust population of northern residents fat with fish, and the southern residents stuck with lean pickings. Instead, the team found four to six times the density of big Chinook in the area they tested in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, part of the southern residents’ core foraging area, compared with the area they sampled in the northern residents’ territory, in the Johnstone Strait. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

https://bit.ly/3FWT9ka

An underwater mystery on Canada’s west coast

Not really a “mystery” to the tribes who lived and continue to live along this coast. Great work by regional archeologists in uncovering the stories of this incredible aquatic farming by the tribes. What we lost by the European invaders ignorance of the people’s they were conquering is still an unfolding story.

Tens of thousands of wooden stakes poking up from British Columbia’s shoreline have smashed a long-held stereotype of Canada’s First Nation people.

https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20211013-an-underwater-mystery-on-canadas-coast

Recycling Wind Turbines

Local Port Townsend resident and ex-New York Times writer Larry Fisher has published a very well researched article in the Milken Review on the recycling of wind turbines titled, “Anyone Want to Buy A Very Used Wind Turbine?” As we see the rush to put in large wind farms off the coast of Washington, promoted by the Department of Energy and the Quinault Nation, it’s worth reviewing that this green technology is still working out the pains of recycling it’s waste.

Turbine blades’ “biggest problem is they are gigantic, and there are not many groups that can cut them into pieces that a general recycler can handle. There’s no furnace you can just feed one into because it’s so huge.”

https://www.milkenreview.org/articles/anyone-want-to-buy-a-very-used-wind-turbine

Conservation Groups Challenge Washington’s Artificial “Fix” to  Southern Resident Killer Whale and Salmon Recovery 

This in from the Wild Fish Conservancy. After trying to move the needle with the WDF&W they have decided that the courts need to get involved. The State should not be allowed to ignore the very laws that it imposes on everyone that lives here, simply to try scientifically dubious efforts to appease special interest groups. To be clear, see the items I’ve boldfaced below to highlight the criticality of this lawsuit.


October 13, 2021— This week, conservation organizations Wild Fish Conservancy and The Conservation Angler  filed suit against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for its repeated refusal to follow state  environmental laws when setting statewide hatchery policy, including when it recently embarked upon a massive  expansion in the production of hatchery salmon that could cause irreparable damage to fragile wild fish  populations and to endangered Southern Resident killer whales. 

Filed in King County Superior Court, the lawsuit alleges that the Department has been ignoring the requirements  of the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) since 2018, when it suspended key components of a science-based  hatchery reform policy designed to prevent state hatcheries from continuing to contribute to the decline of wild  populations of salmon and steelhead and from impeding their recovery. This significant action to abandon  science-based hatchery reform was taken without any public notice and was widely criticized, including in a  letter signed by 77 prominent fisheries and orca scientists and advocates, who called on Governor Inslee to  reinstate the science-based policy recommendations and another letter delivered to the Washington legislature by  five former Fish and Wildlife Commissioners responsible for implementing the hatchery reform policy in the  early 2000’s. 

After neutralizing the safeguards provided by this hatchery reform policy, the lawsuit alleges, the Department  began to massively increase hatchery production of Chinook, coho, and chum salmon at state run facilities,  purportedly to provide more food for Southern Resident killer whales. However, the Department did not support its hatchery expansion plan with any evidence that the Southern Resident killer whales would actually eat or be  sustained by hatchery salmon. Killer whale scientists agree the whales subsist primarily upon older and larger  Chinook that are found almost exclusively in the native Chinook populations that hatcheries have failed to  produce, protect, or restore.  

Even worse, the Department refused to engage in the SEPA process, including drafting an environmental impact  statement that would have assessed any and all potential adverse impacts of the proposed hatchery expansion on  both threatened wild salmon and steelhead populations and on the starving Southern Resident killer whales.  Hatcheries have long been recognized as one of the four primary threats to wild fish populations.  

“The Department took a big gamble, with the only certain payoff going to Washington’s fishing industry, while  all the risks are borne by our orcas and wild salmon populations,” said David Moskowitz, Executive Director of  The Conservation Angler. “But state environmental law does not allow the Department to risk the future of our  fish and wildlife on such an unproven strategy—it requires our agencies to make well-informed decisions based  

on a careful analysis of the potential adverse environmental impacts of their actions.” 

In 2020, at the same time the Department was actively implementing massive hatchery increases without  environmental scrutiny, the Department released a report titled ‘A review of hatchery reform science in  Washington State’ that found “hatcheries have potential for large magnitude ecological impacts on natural  populations that are not well understood, not typically evaluated and not measured” and that “…a focus on  efficiency and maximizing abundance prevents widespread implementation of risk reduction measures.”  

What’s more, the report recommended that prior to increasing hatchery programs, more environmental review  was necessary to evaluate cumulative hatchery effects and to ensure increases wouldn’t harm wild fish recovery,  warning large-scale hatchery production “can magnify the political pressure to take advantage of abundant  hatchery runs at the expense of natural populations” and concluding that increasing program size can raise both  “ecological and genetic risks”. The authors warned that “a rigorous justification for program size is essential for  implementing scientifically defensible hatchery programs.” 

“No doubt, many people supported the state’s ‘Orca Prey Initiative’ with the best of intentions, because it  was presented to the public as a scientifically-credible and rigorously vetted solution to feeding the  starving population of Southern Resident killer whales. The problem is that scientists know that producing  more hatchery fish is not going to solve the problem, and will likely make this crisis worse”, said Kurt  Beardslee, Executive Director of Wild Fish Conservancy. 

“As ridiculous as it sounds, reducing overharvest of the whales’ primary food wasn’t even considered as  an acceptable solution by the Governor’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force and other resource managers.  Instead, the plight of the Southern Residents provided an opportunity for powerful commercial and  recreational fishing interests to push for massive increases in hatchery production, putting our orcas and  wild salmon at even greater risk”, Beardslee says. 

### 

Wild Fish Conservancy is a conservation ecology organization dedicated to conservation, protection, and  restoration of wild fish ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest. wildfishconservancy.org 

The Conservation Angler fights for the protection of wild Pacific anadromous fish populations throughout the  Northwest, all the way to Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. theconservationangler.org 

Wild Fish Conservancy and The Conservation Angler are represented in this matter by Animal & Earth  Advocates, PLLC of Seattle, Washington.

Orcas off Point-No-Point

Reader Wendy Feltham sent in these photos she took Thursday as she was bird watching at Point-No-Point. These are J-Pod, according to the OrcaNet.

Swan-saving project complete at Kirner Pond – PDN

Good news of groups working together to protect habitat for birds.


A multi-agency, private-public effort to help trumpeter swans safely depart from their seasonal home on Kirner Pond is complete…Local bird advocates came together to start a GoFundMe fundraiser that kicked off on Jan. 25, and it quickly raised more than the goal of $65,000. Those funds, along with in-kind labor and efforts from Clallam PUD, helped fund the work to bury the power lines clearing the way for the trumpeter swans to take off from the small pond located about a mile west of the Woodcock/Sequim-Dungeness Way intersection. Michael Dashiell reports. (Peninsula Daily News) Subscription required.

https://bit.ly/3ANwnY4

://bit.ly/3ANwnY4

Inslee says Lower Snake River dams report should be ready by this summer. NW News Network

It will be interesting to see what conclusions this comes to. Remember, it will be coming prior to a mid term election.

The fate of the four controversial Lower Snake River dams will be a topic of study this summer. Washington politicians said they plan to weigh in then on the fate of the four controversial Lower Snake River dams. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says a report should come out this summer on the four controversial dams on the Lower Snake River. Courtney Flatt reports. (NW News Network)

Inslee says Lower Snake River dams report should be ready this summer

U.S. to reopen land border to fully vaccinated Canadians next month. 

It’s time.

Fully vaccinated Canadians will be allowed to enter the United States at land and ferry border crossings starting in early November.

Senior U.S. officials announced Tuesday night a plan to begin reopening the land borders with Canada and Mexico, which have been closed for non-essential travel since the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020.

An exact date for the reopening has not yet been determined, according to senior administration officials who briefed reporters earlier about the plan during a conference call.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/us-canada-border-reopen-1.6208838

Philanthropists pledge $5B to save threatened species – Washington Post

Good news for environmental organizations. More money to fund their work is always a positive step, since so many are hurting with the Pandemic. Also these wealthy Philanthropists have seen their stocks soar in the last year. Since our government gives them such low taxes, this is at least one way for them to pay back.


A group of philanthropists pledged $5 billion by 2030 to help conservation and protect biodiversity around the world. Steven Mufson reports. (Washington Post)

Philanthropists pledge $5 billion to save threatened species 

Loans for septic repairs and replacement now available to entire state – WaDOE

Heads up for all of you needing to properly maintain your septic systems, especially those close to waterways and streams. This was legislation passed by the efforts many years ago of a number of environmentalists, including those in Jefferson County, to convince the legislature that not everyone along the shores of Puget Sound with a septic tank was a rich person who could afford the maintenance. It was shocking that even solidly liberal legislators did not understand this issue at the time. You can thank the work of organizations like People For Puget Sound, the Northwest Straits Initiative, our Marine Resources Committees and many others who banded together to get this subsidy passed. Then Senator Lynn Kessler was a good supporter of this. Now it seems like it’s been here forever.


Approximately a third of Washington homes use septic systems for wastewater treatment. Well-functioning and properly maintained septic systems can effectively treat household wastewater for many years. Failing septic systems can result in sewage backing up in the home or entering local waterways and groundwater supplies– posing a public health threat. As of Sept. 1, the Regional On-Site Sewage System Loan Program has expanded state-wide, adding 17 counties to this successful program. (Washington Dept. of Ecology)

https://ecology.wa.gov/About-us/Who-we-are/News/2021/Sept-21-Septic-Loans

Swinomish tribal members say steelhead net pens violate fishing rights, add their voice to state Supreme Court case – Seattle Times

This raises an interesting queastion. Since Cooke has created some joint partnerships with some other tribes in the area to produce black cod, it will be interesting to see if this lawsuit, if successful, could be used non tribal people to sue other tribes who are doing the same aquaculture. We’ll track this in the future to see how it plays out.


…The Swinomish Tribe has joined as a friend of the court in a lawsuit to block permits that allow steelhead farming in a commercial net pen just offshore near Hope Island. The state Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the case next week. In its brief filed in the case, Swinomish tribal leaders, elders and fishers say the pen is a deep cultural insult and violation of their treaty fishing rights. The pen’s anchor lines foul their nets, tangle crab pots and force tribal fishers to keep clear of a productive fishing area they reserved a right to in the Treaty of Point Elliott, tribal members stated in declarations. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

Southern resident grandmother orca ‘missing and likely dead’ – AP

More bad news for our Southern Residents.


The Center for Whale Research has declared an orca in one of the Puget Sound’s endangered southern resident killer whale pods “missing and likely dead.” Mother and grandmother L47, or Marina as she was also known, was missing from the center’s 2021 census, according to a Monday news release, and she hasn’t been spotted since Feb. 27. The 47-year-old orca “did not appear to be in particularly poor condition” in that sighting, but she was missing from surveys this summer conducted by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Associated Press)

Dungeness Wildlife Refuge -Opposition to the leasing of the refuge to aquaculture

This is the latest update from Janet Marx who is one of the people leading the opposition to this ill conceived idea. Since I first published this yesterday, I’ve already received mail wondering why this is a problem at all and why the Tribe shouldn’t just have their way with creating a commercial aquaculture farm inside the refuge. Beyond the absurdity of saying because something was allowed once that we still should, (should we open all our national parks to unrestricted commercial activity because it once was allowed there?), I published the following some time ago in this blog:

This web site has published the letter of concern from the Refuge Manager.

As stated by the Department of Interior letter, “The shores and tidelands in this area provide some of the most important wildlife habitat and supports the highest density of waterfowl and shorebirds within the refuge….These shorelines also support one of the largest Brandt haul out sites in the state of Washington….Shorebird densities are highest within the action area and the adjacent lagoon on Graveyard Spit.”

“Human-caused wildlife disturbance and habitat loss are two of the most pervasive threats to shorebird and waterfowl use of the Salish Sea….very little information is available on entrapment resulting from aquaculture structures.”

Actually there is a great deal of photos widely available on the web with a little searching, of entrapment of wild animals by aquaculture structures.

But now, let’s return to the information put out by Janet Marx:


This is what we’ve been up to since the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) signed the lease allowing the shellfish operation within the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge.

1)  Contacting Media – We have sent out press releases to state and national newspaper and radio media.  We have received some interest; however, follow up will depend on our actions.  See below.

2)  Reading and reviewing Corps of Engineers and DNR decision- making documents for future use.3)  Seeking legal advice.

3)  Continuing written contact with DNR regarding their explanation of why they issued  the permit.  We encourage you to write or phone DNR requesting they rescind the permit.

4)  A sign waving and printed handouts event is currently scheduled for Saturday, October 2nd, 10am to 3pm near the Refuge.  Please contribute time that morning or afternoon.  Show up and make the public and media take notice. 

Please email or give me a call by September 24 if you will be with us on October 5th.  We will send you detailed information.

Janet Marx

 janetmarx_76@msn.com

Valuable crab populations are in a ‘very scary’ decline in warming Bering Sea

The latest from the Alaska seafood front. The warming planet is now severely impacting Alaskan crab.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/valuable-crab-populations-crash-in-a-warming-bering-sea/

In the Absence of Cruise Ships, Humpbacks have different things to say -Hakai Magazine

Hakai Magazine always has interesting stories. It’s amazing to me that we spend billions trying to land on other planets, yet we cannot spend similar funds to unlock the mysteries of the languages of the creatures we share this planet with, who we clearly know are communicating with brains much larger than ours. We don’t need to go to another galaxy before we really understand the home planet. We don’t have much time left, as our species seems hell bent on ending it’s short time here. Maybe the whales who have lived here far longer than us, may have something to tell us about saving ourselves.


Researchers don’t know exactly what the whales were saying, of course, but the discovery that the proportions of call types changed is intriguing on its own. Amorina Kingdon reports. (Hakai Magazine)

In the Absence of Cruise Ships, Humpbacks Have Different Things to Say

Undersea Photographer’s show open in Port Townsend – PDN

Well worth seeing this show. Bill is an outstanding photographer.


…Bill Curtsinger, whom many know as co-owner of Sunrise Coffee, has witnessed many of the world’s strange and beautiful scenes. A National Geographic photographer for more than three decades before moving to Port Townsend, he created a body of work now sampled in the show simply titled “Curtsinger” at the downtown Grover Gallery, 236 Taylor St. Diane Urbani de la Paz reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Undersea photographer’s show open in Port Townsend

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