Updates on Crabbing, Clamming from Washington, Oregon Coast For those who love crabbing and clamming along either the Washington coast or the Oregon coast, there’s mostly good news. An area between Washington and British Columbia will open up to crabbing a little bit later, while the southern Oregon coast resumes razor clamming

For those who love crabbing and clamming along either the Washington coast or the Oregon coast, there’s mostly good news. An area between Washington and British Columbia will open up to crabbing a little bit later, while the southern Oregon coast resumes razor clamming. (Oregon Coast Beach Connection)

Updates on Crabbing, Clamming from Washington, Oregon Coast

Art contests help to carry the clean-water message to people around Puget Sound

Chris Dunagan writes: “I’m impressed with artists who combine their passion for nature with a message about protecting the environment and how we all have a role to play. This week, I’d like to share winning artwork from two recent contests. One is a poster competition inspired by the “We are Puget Sound” (Water Ways) book and campaign. The other is a project that involves placing whimsical pictures of sea life on storm drains in Kitsap County. (Puget Sound Institute)

Art contests help to carry the clean-water message to people around Puget Sound

As bull kelp declines continue, collaboration is key Efforts to understand what affects the health of bull kelp in the Salish Sea continue, with the recent publication of a recovery plan, the launch of annual kayak surveys and plans by the Samish Indian Nation to expand its research. Many are interested in kelp because of its connection with culturally and economically important wildlife including crab, rockfish, salmon and orcas. It provides refuge for some wildlife and food for others… Little is known about this palm tree-like algae beyond its role in the ecosystem and the fact that is has disappeared from some areas — including a recently noted decline near a local island.(Skagit Valley Herald)

As bull kelp declines continue, collaboration is key
Efforts to understand what affects the health of bull kelp in the Salish Sea continue, with the recent publication of a recovery plan, the launch of annual kayak surveys and plans by the Samish Indian Nation to expand its research. Many are interested in kelp because of its connection with culturally and economically important wildlife including crab, rockfish, salmon and orcas. It provides refuge for some wildlife and food for others… Little is known about this palm tree-like algae beyond its role in the ecosystem and the fact that is has disappeared from some areas — including a recently noted decline near a local island. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Army Corps of Engineers ends aquaculture activities under court order

The Army Corps of Engineers has issued a ruling to stop much of the commercial aquaculture farming in Puget Sound. This draconian move is the outcome of decades of the local Army Corps of Engineers ignoring their own nationwide rules. This didn’t need to happen if they followed those rules. Instead, it took a court case that they and Taylor Shellfish lost due in part to the findings during discovery that there had been significant scientific information written finding destruction of the shoreline by these activities that was never published by the Corps. This web site at the time said that the findings were a fiasco for the Corps, and undermined any statements they made saying that they had the environment at the top of the priorities. They simply wanted to rubber stamp as much aquaculture as possible, and turn as much of our shorelines into factory farms for Chinese bound geoducks. This hurts the industry at the worse possible time. This industry includes many small farmers and Tribes who relied on that small income stream. The industry should not be blaming the environmentalists that brought this suit, they should be blaming the Corps. This whole shameful situation will not bring back the shorelines and virgin bays of the South Sound that have been destroyed. But it will set an example that the law can still come through. The next battle is coming next year, especially if Trump is not beaten in November. The whole permitting process is under attack, egged on by some of the industry actors we know so well and their contributions to the Trump administration.


SHELLFISH AQUACULTURE AND 2017 NATIONWIDE PERMIT 48
On June 11, 2020, the District Court for the Western District of Washington issued final orders (Order) invalidating authorizations for commercial shellfish aquaculture operations under the 2017 Nationwide Permit (NWP) 48, Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture Activities, in the state of Washington. In accordance with that Order, beginning on August 11, 2020, activities currently authorized under 2017 NWP 48 will no longer be authorized.

However, for those with verifications under the 2017 NWP 48, the Order allows certain activities to occur if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Seattle District (Corps) receives a new permit application for the project by December 11, 2020. Specifically, 2017 NWP 48 verification holders, who submit a new permit application by December 11, 2020, may:

a. Continue seeding and planting new shellfish crops until December 11, 2020 in areas of the project that do not contain mature native eelgrass beds; and
b. Until the expiration of their current 2017 NWP 48 verification, continue maintenance and harvest activities for shellfish planted or seeded on or before December 11, 2020.
c. Commercial shellfish aquaculture verified under 2017 NWP 48 that provides treaty harvest in furtherance of adjudicated treaty rights, may continue in accordance with the terms of the verification, provided that a request for authorization is submitted to the Corps by December 11, 2020.

At this time, the Seattle District is processing shellfish applications as individual permits and will continue to process such applications as expeditiously as possible. Some growers are combining multiple NWP 48 actions into one individual permit application, depending on the specific circumstances. Operators should reach out to their Corps Project Manager if they have questions about whether combining previously verified operations would be appropriate. On your individual permit application please include your Corps permit reference number should have a previous NWP 48 verification. For ease of application, we have developed procedures for applicants to electronically submit permit application materials. Please see our web page for instructions.

The Seattle District established an Aquaculture Permitting web page to answer frequently asked questions and provide updated information as it is developed. The link to this web page is:
https://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Regulatory/Shellfish-Aquaculture/
The Seattle District will periodically update the information on this web page as more questions are received and future special public notices are published. Should you have questions not listed on the FAQ, please submit them via the “Contact Us” link on the left side of this web page.

President Trump signs bill permanently funding Land and Water Conservation Fund

This is huge. And I want to thank Representative Derek Kilmer for having fought hard for this. We have covered this issue in the past on this website. A huge win during a bad time for environmental protection. Smart of Trump and the Republicans to strip away as many of our environmental protections and then turn around and back a bill like this just before the election to burnish their environmental creds. Happens all the time in politics. But good for Kilmer to recognize the opportunity and run with it. He worked in a bi-partisan way to get the job done. Now it’s time to focus on ousting the President and ending this nightmare of selling the environment to the highest bidder.

A landmark bill committing $900 million a year for land conservation and a one-time $9.5 billion boost to help catch up over the next five years on maintenance needs at national parks was signed into law by President Donald Trump Monday.The Great American Outdoors Act, S. 3422, will increase by two or three times the historic average amount of money spent by Congress for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The program, used to fund acquisitions from willing sellers for federal, state and local open space and outdoor recreation, is paid for from royalties earned on oil and natural gas leases on public lands. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

www.seattletimes.com

 

Cliff Mass out at KNKX

University of Washington Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, and well known global warming skeptic Cliff Mass has been terminated from his part time weather discussions on KNKX in Seattle.

But it wasn’t his web site rants against the ‘establishment’ science community and how they have bought into climate change without all the facts. No, he apparently went after the recent protesters in no uncertain terms. This was sent to KNKX supporters today.

At KNKX, we value high-quality, factual information in our news programming and we aim to present an array of voices that reflect our region.

We turn to our regular commentators for their expertise and points-of-view when it comes to sports, food and the weather. But if a commentator, even on his own independent platform, delivers rhetoric that is offensive and inaccurate, we cannot support it.

This is the case today with Cliff Mass. His post on his personal blog compares recent events in Seattle to Kristallnacht, the 1938 pogrom carried out by Nazi Germany and draws distorted, offensive parallels between protesters and Nazi Brownshirts. We abhor the comparison and find it sensationalized and misleading—it does not reflect who we are and what we stand for at KNKX.

The segment Weather with Cliff Mass will no longer air on KNKX.

Sincerely,

Joey Cohn
General Manager

This is the second time he has been ousted from a radio job. In 2011 he was kicked off KUOW, as reported in the Seattle Times,

Mass said the station was particularly peeved over his occasional forays into math education and the controversy over which textbooks to use in local schools. But the final straw came last month, when Mass weighed in to defend and clarify UW’s admission policies after The Seattle Times reported some straight-A local students were being rejected in favor of higher-paying out-of-state applicants.

I was somewhat surprised then when KNKX decided to pick him up. It showed poor judgement on their part.

I’m just surprised that it took this diatribe for KNKX to oust him, rather than one where he challenged that we are not in a crisis situation with global warming. This one he can’t explain away. Let’s be clear, there are a lot of other regional weather meteorologists that can be of as much help as Cliff has been. I have followed Cliff for many years, and even discussed his lack of support for climate change/global warming issues on his blog once. He is the darling of the global warming skeptics crowd.

Goodbye Cliff, you have done your bit to tell people that we are not in any danger of global warming, as the forests of Siberia burn with temperatures 20 degrees over normal, and Paradise is now a real place known to have burned to the ground rather than a mythical nirvana. You have done your damage, and now it’s caught up to you. Bye.

The Esselen Tribe of Big Sur regain some of their land -The Optimist Daily and other sources

This is not about our Peninsula, nor the Pacific NW. But the story how this tiny West Coast tribe, almost wiped out and by most people, assumed dead and gone, have revived themselves and their lands, is a story worth telling. As many of you know, there is a famous “new age” retreat here, primarily by and for wealthy white people, (I only reference the images on their web site that are almost uniformly white) called the Esselen Institute. There is no mention on their web site that their name is derived from the native tribe who’s land they sit on. No honor to the tribe at all.

 

The coast here is supremely rugged, and the people who chose to live here must also have been very experienced in living in this unique environment. They were, by all accounts, a gentle and peaceful people. Not a warrior tribe. They unfortunately apparently trusted the Spanish who turned against them quite quickly.

Anyone who has visited the coast of Monterey and south, can only imagine what it must have been like being able to subsist off vast amounts of seafood, shellfish and rivers teaming with salmon, along with acorns, camas, and other flora further inland . The rivers there held runs (and still do) of steelhead. According to the Western Rivers Conservancy, who bought the land and donated it to the tribe, “The ranch’s ridgetop grasslands and giant redwoods are ideal feeding and nesting habitat for California condor, and wildlife biologists predict the land will become part of the expanding range of recovery for this endangered bird”

All of this in one of the most hospitable climates outside of Italy. In my mind, it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and an astonishingly welcome place for human habitation. It is no wonder why these people settled here. Now, a small correction to the incomparable suffering of these people over the last couple of hundred years, as they were driven out of their homes to be enslaved by Spaniards, beaten by priests, and ignored and murdered by whites, looking to settle their land, is being righted.

According to Wikipedia: “About 460 individuals have identified themselves as descendants of the original Esselen people and banded together to form a tribe.” After an extended battle for the ability to be accepted as a tribe, due to the work of the Western Rivers Conservancy, land along the Little Sur river have been bought for them.

We are living in an age of recovery. While recovery of natural habitats is important, as important is the recovery of native peoples to the lands they lived on, in a balance with nature, for thousands of years. Their struggle and their true love of their lands continues to be a guidepost for those of us moving from a culture of imperialism, war, racism and conquest, to one of balance, cultural diversity and peace. The work has barely begun and has a long time before it can be called, “complete”. If ever.

View of Adler Ranch, Big Sur, California Photo by Doug Steakley

 


The story below would be more accurate if it had said, “…were forcibly removed from their lands and enslaved in Spanish missions.” That is the truth of the matter.

After 250 years, the Esselen tribe has reclaimed their homelands

In 1770, the people of the Esselen Tribe of northern California were forcibly removed from their lands and brought to Spanish missions. But now, after more than 250 years, the Esselen tribe is landless no more.

This week, the Esselen tribe finalized the purchase of a 1,200-acre ranch near Big Sur, along California’s north-central coast, as part of a $4.5 million acquisition that involved the state and an Oregon-based environmental group. The deal signifies a return to their ancestral homelands. It is also a big win for environmentalists as the tribe will conserve old-growth redwoods and endangered wildlife such as the California condor and red-legged frog, as well as protect the Little Sur River, an important spawning stream for the imperiled steelhead trout.

 

https://www.optimistdaily.com/2020/07/after-250-years-the-esselen-tribe-has-reclaimed-their-homelands/

and

http://www.westernrivers.org/blog/entry/protectingacriticalstreamintheheartofbigsur

 

 

 

 

Seeing Sea Stacks – By Jerry Gorsline

Sea Stacks located along Olympic coast and western reaches of the Strait of Juan
de Fuca are remnants of headlands that remain after erosion of cliffs by wave action. Erosion of headlands creates caves, and then arches that eventually collapse to form stand-alone large or small sea stacks that lie close to the shore, and
offshore by as much as three miles. Flat-topped rocks standing at an approximate
elevation of 100 feet represent the horizontal surface of an elevated wave-cut
platform, raised by vertical movement owing to post-glacial rebound and uplift
from movement on the Cascadia subduction zone.

Thoughts by Jerry Gorsline. Photo by Olympic National Park Website.

 

Court of Appeals Retains Protection for Washington’s Iconic Coastlines and Wildlife from Industrial Shellfish Aquaculture 

Court Denies Stay of Decision Setting Aside Unlawful Permit for Commercial Shellfish Aquaculture

Seattle, WA — Today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied shellfish growers’ motion to stay the recent district court decision nullifying the defective Nationwide Permit 48 (NWP 48) covering tens of thousands of acres of shellfish aquaculture activities in Washington. On June 11, 2020, the District Court for the Western District of Washington set aside the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ unlawful permit, in response to lawsuits brought by Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat (Coalition). The court also partially stayed that order to allow some harvest and planting activities to continue pending issuance of new, lawful permits. The Pacific Coast Shellfish Growers Association (PCSGA), an intervenor in the case, appealed that decision to the Ninth Circuit on June 18, 2020 and sought a stay to allow all activities on all acres in both 2020 and 2021.

 

The initial ruling on the merits was in October 2019, when the court ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ commercial shellfish aquaculture general permit was unlawful, based on the agency’s failure to adequately consider the impacts—including cumulative—of commercial shellfish aquaculture to Washington shorelines and wildlife habitat when it issued the permit. Today the court issued a ruling on the remedy that was needed to address the unlawful actions by the Corps.

 

“The Court’s decision ensures protection for Washington’s iconic wildlife and special places from the largely ignored impacts of industrial shellfish aquaculture pending the growers’ meritless appeal,” said Amy van Saun, senior attorney at CFS, based out of its Pacific Northwest office. “The district court’s partial vacatur was already a major compromise, allowing some shellfish aquaculture activities to go forward despite the Corps’ serious errors of law when adopting the permit and failure to protect Washington’s environment and the public interest, and we are pleased the permit will remain null and void.”

 

Activities that may continue pending new permits include: harvest of shellfish planted before today’s Order; limited seeding and planting of shellfish for the 2020 season but only in areas without mature native eelgrass; maintenance activities for the same; and shellfish activities conducted pursuant to and to provide treaty harvest in furtherance of treaty rights, all conducted in accordance with the conservation measures applicable under the NWP 48 and the 2016 Endangered Species Act programmatic consultation. These limited activities may only go forward if the growers apply for new permits within six months of the order. The court further ordered the Army Corps to process new permits as expeditiously as possible, but made it clear the Corps could only do so in accordance with Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act requirements that the court had outlined in its October 2019 Order finding NWP 48 unlawful.

 

Coalition Executive Director Laura Hendricks said: “This is good news for Puget Sound and it’s marine environment. We are pleased the Ninth Circuit saw fit to put an end to ‘business as usual’ for the destructive practices of the commercial shellfish industry during the industry’s appeal of Judge Lasnik’s extraordinarily thorough decision.”

 

Background on NWP 48 and the court decision ruling it unlawful:

 

For over two decades, Washington State agencies and most counties have ignored citizens’ concerns, as shellfish aquaculture lobbying paved the way for the unlimited proliferation of this industrial conversion of Washington shorelines. NWP 48, issued by the Trump administration in 2017, would have allowed an enormous expansion of an over $100 million dollar-a-year industry without sufficient marine wildlife or water quality protections for these unique and sensitive ecosystems. Industrial aquaculture already threatens Washington’s iconic, invaluable shorelines and bays, which are home to numerous marine species including endangered salmon. Without any proper cumulative impact analysis of the existing tens of thousands of acres of industrial shellfish aquaculture, the 2017 NWP 48 opened the door to doubling that acreage—to an estimated 72,300 acres or a third of all Washington shorelines—including critical spawning and feeding grounds for forage fish, birds, invertebrates like Dungeness crab, and finfish like salmon and green sturgeon.

 

As the evidence before the Army Corps showed, many of these species rely on eelgrass and other aquatic vegetation. Eelgrass also helps to mitigate the effects of climate change on oceans. Industrial shellfish aquaculture is known to reduce or eliminate eelgrass, including through the industry’s intentional the use of pesticides. Yet the new permit did not place any restrictions on impacts to eelgrass, through pesticide use or otherwise. The permit also failed to restrict the enormous use of plastics by the industry, like the 42,000 PVC tubes per acre that are covered in plastic netting and used to grow geoducks (a type of clam grown almost exclusively for the luxury export market). Netting can trap and entangle wildlife, and the plastics break down into microplastics that are hazardous to marine organisms, including the very shellfish being grown for human consumption.

 

In its October 2019 Order granting summary judgment to CFS and the Coalition, the court found that “the Corps acknowledged that reissuance of NWP 48 would have foreseeable environmental impacts on the biotic and abiotic components of coastal waters, the intertidal and subtidal habitats of fish, eelgrass, and birds, the marine substrate, the balance between native and non-native species, pollution, and water quality, chemistry, and structure, but failed to describe, much less quantify, these consequences.” But because the Corps refused to evaluate these various impacts—and their cumulative impact—at the outset, and relied on cherry-picked data to support its minimal impact determination, its adoption of NWP 48 in Washington was unlawful under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Clean Water Act.

 

After additional briefing and oral argument on the appropriate remedy, the court found the Army Corps’ legal errors went to the heart of the federal laws protecting our water and environment. The court further found the environmental impacts of commercial shellfish aquaculture outweigh any economic consequences from vacating the permit, given that the Corps cannot issue the same permit again. Rather than allow the industry to “conduct shellfish operations under a defective, unlawful permit regardless of the environmental impacts for an unspecified period of time,” the court partially stayed the vacatur for limited harvesting and seeding activities according to suggestions from plaintiffs, including the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, and Amici tribes.

 

CFS was represented in the case by Amy van Saun and George Kimbrell. The Coalition was represented in the case by Karl G. Anuta and Thane Tienson.

 

https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/6097/court-of-appeals-retains-protection-for-washingtons-iconic-coastlines-and-wildlife-from-industrial-shellfish-aquaculture

Conservation and Food Safety Groups Winning Over Washington’s Shellfish Industry and Army Corps of Engineers

The Coalition to Protect Puget Sound Habitat and the Center for Food Safety won another step in their case to stop a flawed nation-wide permit for the shellfish industry in Washington’s waters. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the shellfish industry’s attempt to stop a lower court decision from taking effect while the Circuit considers an appeal of a lower court decision.

As discussed in this blog in 2016, this case is one of the most serious attempts to slow the growth of the shellfish (and primarily the geoduck) industry from converting almost all our remaining beaches that can grow geoduck into industrial farms forever.  This reporter reached out to Taylor Shellfish for comment, but they did not get back to me before publication.

What is at stake: NWP 48 – the 2017 “nation-wide permit” granted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to commercial shellfish aquaculture to intensify operations including authorizing “discharges, structures and works” in Washington’s coastal marine habitat. The NWP 48 was issued in 2017, and in just two years, 898 shellfish industry projects impacting 35,800 acres of marine habitats were greenlighted in Washington State.

The Court’s decision in October 2019 was a scathing rebuke of the U.S. Amy Corps Engineers process issuing NWP 48 without “adequate” (or any) scientific review of impacts. The Court found that the U.S. Army Corps had no basis to determine that NWP 48 would have “minimal impact” to marine habitat.

The Court rejected the Corps conclusion that the shellfish industry impacts are “no more than minimal, however, (a) when considered on a landscape rather than a site-by-site scale, (b) because the relevant ecosystems are resilient, and (c) because the impacts are “relatively mild” in comparison “to the disturbances and degradation caused by coastal development, pollution, and other human activities in coastal areas.” The Corps argued that when you make the landscape big enough, the operations would have ‘minimal’ impact, that the waters are so resilient that they would fix themselves, and that there is already pollution by other human activities and these additional impacts are minimal by comparison. The Court bluntly stated that “Noting that a particular environmental resource is degraded is not an excuse or justification for further degradation…The record is devoid of any indication [emphasis added] that the Corps considered regional data, catalogued the species in and characteristics of the aquatic environments in which commercial shellfish aquaculture activities occur, considered the myriad techniques, equipment, and materials used in shellfish aquaculture, attempted to quantify the impacts the permitted activity would likely have on the identified species and characteristics, or evaluated the impacts of the as-yet-unknown regional conditions.”

 

The Court also did not agree with the shellfish industry and the U.S. Corps argument that because the impacts of the various types of waters, habitats, and operations were so disparate across the country, that a nation-wide permit should stand based on allowing local district engineers to evaluate the impacts on a case by case basis. At face value that may seem reasonable and even desirable – that local offices would know more and be able to evaluate impacts and operations: “Faced with incredible diversity, the Corps effectively threw up its hands and turned over impacts analysis to district engineers.” The Court said the agency violated both the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) by its action issuing NWP 48. The Court then could vacate the permit, which would essentially revoke Washington shellfish industry permits that were granted as a result of NWP 48. Interesting, the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, having made extensive efforts to ensure its shellfish operations were carried out in an environmentally sound manner unlike other operations, had also challenged NWP 48 but asked the Court to consider not completely vacating NWP 48.

 

In June 2020, the Court vacated the NWP 48, but stayed the effect of its decision and gave the Corps and the shellfish industry 60 days to appeal to the 9th Circuit. Noting how serious the action to vacate NWP 48 is – affecting the 898 projects in Washington State alone permitted under NWP 48, impacting 35,800 acres of Washington’s marine waters, the Court looked carefully at the district engineers impacts analysis.  In one instance, the Court found that “the Corps’ failure to take a hard look at the environmental impacts of shellfish aquaculture (other than, arguably, the potential impacts to endangered or threatened species under the ESA) was not corrected at the District level. In fact, the District declined to require any mitigation for the expected loss of eelgrass because the Corps permitted, on a nationwide basis, operations affecting submerged aquatic vegetation as long as the area had previously been used for commercial shellfish aquaculture.”  The Corps allowed operations where shellfish activity had occurred at any time in the previous 100 years. The shellfish industry asked that the Court not take any action, and to allow NWP 48 to stay in place and not disrupt business until the Corps could correct its errors. The Corps said it could not correct its errors until 2022, which is the next time when the Corps would issue a new NWP in any course. The Court said no but allowed some activities to continue while the case is under appeal. The shellfish industry tried to stop even the limited effects of the Court’s decision. The 9th Circuit rejected their motion while it considers the appeal. The case is not over – one could ask what has been the role of the Washington Dept. of Ecology? The Court was equally not impressed with Ecology’s role in remedying the defects of NWP 48. The parties have until October 2020 to submit briefs on the appeal.

 

 

 

Support Lorna Smith for Jeff Co District 2 County Commissioner

We are extremely lucky to have three very capable women running for District 2 in the County Commissioner race. While all three have extensive background in our community,  I’m supporting Lorna Smith. Here’s why:

In 1979 I met and started working with Lorna, covering her work with Seattle Audubon as liaison to Eleanor Stopps in the fight to protect Protection Island. Over the years, I’ve worked with Lorna on a variety of environmental causes and watched her on the Planning Commission, crafting a Comprehensive Plan.

I have always valued experience as well as good intention over friendship when it comes to people running for governmental positions. While I consider myself a good friend with Lorna and her husband Darrell, I am supporting  her because I believe she brings the best experience and proven results to the position. She will not need on the job training to step into the role and start producing positive outcomes for our county and her district.

She is a three term Jefferson County Planning Commissioner. She took a hard and ultimately correct stand on the controversial shooting range.

She is the only candidate to have worked in management for county government. That experience counts. She worked in planning, transportation, public works and budgeting for a much larger county in Washington earlier in her career.

She was the governor appointment to the Washington State Economic Development Board.

She has been  on the board of the Olympic Forest Coalition, the Washington Environmental Council, Seattle Audubon and the Snohomish County Wetlands Alliance. She speaks fluent Spanish and has been a volunteer on the Jefferson County Immigrant Rights Advocates.

Lorna worked on conservation issues impacting the Peninsula and the Salish Sea for her entire career. Her family roots here go back generations. Her grandparents were lighthouse keepers on Destruction Island and Dungeness light.

Most recently she was part of the coalition to protect our native salmon from the harmful diseases found in Atlantic salmon raised in pens in our marine waters, protecting the jobs of our local fishers. She co-authored one of the first Habitat Conservation Plans prepared by a local jurisdiction in Washington state and also authored one of the country’s first local ordinances for wetland and stream protection.

I’m hoping you will support her also. And thank you to all three of these talented women for deciding to put themselves and their families in the harsh spotlight of a campaign race.

Local Supporters Cheer House Passage of Wild Olympics Bill as part of NDAA

Olympic Peninsula Tribes, Sportsmen groups, business leaders, and local officials cite benefits to local economy, clean water, and salmon recovery

QUILCENE, Wash. (July 22, 2020) –The Wild Olympics Coalition cheered a major bipartisan vote in Congress yesterday that helped advance important public lands and rivers legislation forward, including the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act sponsored by Senator Patty Murray and Representative Derek Kilmer (D-WA-06), which passed with a number of other public land bills as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. The Wild Olympics legislation would permanently protect more than 126,500 acres of Olympic National Forest as wilderness and 19 rivers and their major tributaries – a total of 464 river miles – as Wild and Scenic Rivers. Designed through extensive community input to protect ancient forests and clean water and enhance outdoor recreation, the legislation would designate the first new wilderness in the Olympic National Forest in nearly three decades and the first-ever protected wild and scenic rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.

The bipartisan vote in favor of the legislation included strong support from Washington and California representatives Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith who supported the amendment to the NDAA. The Wild Olympics legislation was passed by the House earlier this February. Given the few legislative days left in this legislative session, the NDAA offers an opportunity to advance the bill in both Houses of congress. A similar legislative strategy was used in 2014 by Senators Murray and Cantwell and Representatives Reichert and DelBene to attach legislation to expand Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers in the Alpine Lakes and Ilabott Creek, the last major wilderness & wild and scenic bills for WA, which were passed in the 2014 NDAA.

 

“As someone who grew up on the Olympic Peninsula, I learned first-hand that economic growth and environmental protection go hand-in-hand,” said Representative Kilmer.“Adding this practical, balanced strategy to today’s bill will help us protect some of the most environmentally sensitive places on the Peninsula. It will also ensure we can keep and grow jobs in our natural resource industries and other sectors. I am grateful for the years-long collaboration to create a proposal that works for folks across the community – including Tribes, sportsmen, conservation groups, timber communities, business leaders, shellfish growers, and everyone in-between.”

Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer spent years gathering extensive community input on the Olympic Peninsula to craft the carefully balanced legislation. It would permanently preserve ancient and mature forests, critical salmon habitat, and sources of clean drinking water for local communities, while also protecting and expanding world-class outdoor recreation opportunities like hiking, camping, boating, hunting, and fishing. No roads would be closed, and trailhead access would not be affected.

Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer worked extensively with local and regional timber interests to remove any currently viable timber base from the proposal to ensure the legislation would have no impact on existing timber jobs, as confirmed in a 2012 Timber Impact Study by the respected independent Forester Derek Churchill.

Aberdeen Forest Products Consultant and Former Timber CEO Roy Nott said in his July 10th testimony before the House Natural Resources Committee, “My own experience as a CEO and Entrepreneur is that our area’s natural treasures- which provide world-class outdoor recreation, clean water and our area’s high quality of living- are what give us a competitive edge over other regions in attracting and retaining the talented people new companies require.  Wilderness and wild and scenic river protections would help protect and grow the local jobs that depend on our ability to compete for talent against other regions, and they would enhance our recruitment efforts as we work to grow new businesses in the future. And as a former Timber Industry Executive, I appreciate that Senator Murray and Rep Kilmer’s final compromise proposal was scaled-back to ensure it would not impact current timber jobs.”

The House passage comes on a wave of support from over 100 new endorsements rallying behind the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. The new additions bring the total number of local Olympic Peninsula & Hood Canal region endorsements to more than”800” endorsers, including the Quinault, Quileute, Elwha and Jamestowns’ Klallam Tribes; over 30 local “sportsmen” organizations and fishing guides; the mayors of Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Ocean Shores and Elma; businesses and CEOs; farms and faith leaders; conservation and outdoor recreation groups; and many others. Additionally, more than 12,000 local residents have signed petitions in support.

 

TESTIMONIALS

 

Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe Chairwoman, Frances Charles: “The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (“Lower Elwha”) strongly supports the proposed Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, and appreciates Sen. Murray’s and Rep. Kilmer’s sponsorship of this important legislation. We believe that it represents a fair compromise between potentially competing interests of preservation, economic use, and recreation. This legislation creates 126,600 acres of new wilderness and nineteen new wild and scenic rivers designations in the Olympic National Forest, the Olympic National Park and Washington State Department of Natural Resource-managed land. For Lower Elwha, the most important aspect of these new designations is the increased protection for salmon habitat. And we appreciate that it expressly acknowledges the fundamental interests and expertise of all treaty tribes in the restoration of fish habitat. This is an important complement to our ongoing successes, along with our federal and State partners, in restoring Elwha River fisheries in the aftermath of dam removal.”

 

Quinault Indian Nation President Fawn Sharp: Our Tribe urges swift passage of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. As stated in the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s “Treaty Rights at Risk” report, “Salmon recovery is based on the crucial premise that we can protect what habitat remains while we restore previously degraded habitat conditions. Unfortunately, significant investments in recovery may not be realized because the rate of habitat loss continues to outpace restoration. The resulting net decline in habitat demonstrates the federal government’s failure to protect the Tribes’ treaty-reserved rights.” In an era where we are witnessing unprecedented rollbacks of environmental safeguards on federal public lands, the Wild Olympics legislation would permanently protect some of the healthiest, intact salmon habitat left on the Peninsula.

 

Quileute Tribal Council Chairman Douglas Woodruff Jr. “The Quileute Tribe supports passage of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It represents a well-crafted compromise that provides critical protections for fish and wildlife habitat and water quality, while also respecting the treaty rights and management prerogatives of the Quileute Tribe. Protecting the best remaining habitat is imperative as tribal, state and federal governments and citizens throughout the Olympic region commit millions of dollars and incalculable volunteer hours to restoration activities in the face of declining salmon populations, fishing closures, threats to Orcas, and the impacts of climate change.  The current version of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is a significant and vital step forward to “protect the best,” and the Quileute Tribe urges swift passage of this legislation.”

 

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Chairman Ron Allen: “As stated in the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s “Treaty Rights at Risk” report, “Salmon recovery is based on the crucial premise that we can protect what habitat remains while we restore previously degraded habitat conditions.  Unfortunately, significant investments in recovery may not be realized because the rate of habitat loss continues to outpace restoration. “The resulting net decline in habitat demonstrates the federal government’s failure to protect the Tribes’ treaty-reserved rights. ”In an era where we are witnessing unprecedented rollbacks of environmental safeguards on federal public lands, the Wild Olympics legislation would permanently protect some of the healthiest, intact salmon habitat left on the Peninsula. It is our heritage and cultural principles to protect the lands and waters Nature provides, as well as the natural resources she sustains.  Therefore, we do continue to support and urge swift passage of the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.”

 

Aberdeen Forest Products Consultant & Former Timber CEO Roy Nott: “My own experience as a CEO and Entrepreneur is that our area’s natural treasures – which provide world-class outdoor recreation, clean water and our area’s high quality of living – are what give us a competitive edge over other regions in attracting and retaining the talented people new companies require.  Wilderness and wild and scenic river protections would help protect and grow the local jobs that depend on our ability to compete for talent against other regions, and they would enhance our recruitment efforts as we work to grow new businesses in the future. And as a former Timber Industry Executive, I appreciate that Senator Murray and Rep Kilmer’s final compromise proposal was scaled-back to ensure it would not impact current timber jobs.”

 

Dave Bailey, Past President of the Grey Wolf Fly Fishing Club in Sequim, WA & co-founder of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics: “People think that because our salmon streams on Olympic National Forest appear as they’ve always been, that they are safe. Unfortunately, that’s the furthest thing from the truth.” There are determined threats underway by Congress and the Administration to roll back current safeguards and open these sensitive spawning streams to small hydropower development, industrial clear-cutting and more road building once more.”That’s bad for fish, game, and sportsmen. This legislation is critical to preserve what we have.”

 

Casey Weigel, Owner & Head Guide of Waters West Guide Service (Montesano) and member, of Sportsmen for Wild Olympics: “Through hard work and our passion for our rivers and fishing, my wife and I have grown our small business enough to be able to help 3 other year-round and seasonal local guides support families, who love fishing just as much as we do. I support the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild & Scenic Rivers Act because our rivers and our salmon are our lifeblood and, without them, businesses like ours, the local jobs they support, and the dollars they bring into our local economy would dry up. The Wild Olympics proposal would simply make the current safeguards protecting our rivers on Olympic National Forest permanent. That’s all it does. It doesn’t change access or cost timber jobs. And if it did, I wouldn’t support it, because my family works in the timber industry. There are many challenges facing our rivers and salmon, with lots of debate and millions of dollars spent trying to help restore clean water and habitat downstream. But one basic, simple piece of the foundation we can put in place now that won’t cost any of us anything, is to permanently protect the healthy habitat on the federal lands upstream against any misguided attempts to develop them in the future. That’s why I am a proud supporter of the Wild Olympics Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Act. For Our Future.”

 

Ashley Nichole Lewis, Bad Ash Fishing Guide Service (Tahola) and  member, Sportsmen For Wild Olympics: “Conservation for me on the Olympic Peninsula means that the next generation and generations to come can come out here and experience the way that I experience it and the way my grandpa experienced it when he fished out here and that forever we always have this – what is wild and what is the Olympic Peninsula and our culture today.”

 

Bill Taylor, President of Taylor Shellfish Farms (Shelton): “Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer’s Wild Olympics legislation will help protect our state’s shellfish industry, including hundreds of shellfishing jobs in Hood Canal alone – and many more in related industries like processing, shipping and sales. It protects the rivers and streams vital to the health of our hatcheries and to the health and restoration of Puget Sound. Our oyster beds depend on the clean, cold, silt-free water that drains off Olympic National Forest into Hood Canal. Protecting these watersheds allows our industry to grow, expand and continue to benefit the economy and ecology of Washington State. We are grateful for their leadership.”

 

James Thomas, President & CEO Thermedia Corp/MasQs (Shelton): “The Wild Olympics legislation would help protect the outstanding way of life that is an important reason people choose to live, work and play here in Mason County with the stunning backdrop of the Olympic Mountains in our backyard. The ancient forests, wild rivers and scenic beauty of the Olympics are the foundation of our high “Quality of Life” that attracts visitors, entrepreneurs, new residents and investment in our communities, strengthening our local economy. In fact, these spectacular public lands were the final determinant when I chose the Olympic Peninsula as the new home for my medical device manufacturing company.  Ten years later my heart still sings when I round a corner or top a hill and the Olympics come into view.   I applaud Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer for working to protect the Peninsula’s economic future.”

 

Fred Rakevich, Retired logger and 49- year veteran of the timber industry (Elma): “I am a retired logger who worked for fifty years in the timber industry. I have also fished and kayaked most of the major rivers in the Olympics. I was born and raised in Grays Harbor, but have traveled half way around the world. In all my travels, nothing impressed me more than the natural beauty of the Olympic Mountain Range and the clear running waters that begin their journey flowing toward the lands below. Timber is and always will be part of the Olympic Peninsula’s proud heritage. But our ancient forests and wild rivers are the natural legacy we will leave to our children and grandchildren.  Senator Murray and Representative Kilmer’s bill protects our natural heritage while respecting our timber heritage. I thank them for their thoughtful leadership, and future generations will thank them too.”

 

State Representative Mike Chapman, 24th Legislative District (Port Angeles): “I have been very excited about the economic & recreational opportunities Wild Olympics will bring to the Olympic Peninsula. With REI and Patagonia’s support our corner of the world is now attracting visitors from all over. Wild Olympics is our future, for fresh air, clean water, pristine forests and future generations!”

 

Sarah Muszynski, Owner, Blue Horizons Paddlesports (Lake Cushman): “As an outdoor recreation business owner and an avid outdoorsman, my livelihood and lifestyle depend on clean, free-flowing rivers. Visitors to Olympic National Park and businesses like mine annually contribute $220 million in local economic benefits and support 2,708 jobs. This economic benefit depends on access to the high quality natural resources the Olympic Peninsula is known for and protection of those resources. Visitors from around the world come to experience the place we call home. Protecting these resources is an investment in our region’s economic future, and the smart thing to do.”

 

Michelle Sandoval, Port Townsend Mayor (Port Townsend): “This legislation will help permanently protect clean drinking water for local Peninsula communities. For example, one of the places proposed for Wilderness protection is in the Big Quilcene watershed, which filters the clean, cold drinking water for the city of Port Townsend. Protecting forests and rivers on federal lands upstream protects our investments in salmon habitat and water quality downstream. We are grateful for Representative Kilmer’s and Senator Murray’s help in protecting Port Townsend’s clean water.”

 

Harriet Reyenga, Independent realtor for Windermere Real Estate (Port Angeles): “The Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild & Scenic Rivers Act will protect and promote the same spectacular public lands and high quality of life that are helping to drive growth and create local jobs in real estate, construction and many other sectors of our economy today.  Our ancient forests, salmon, rivers and amazing landscapes are the north Olympic Peninsula’s competitive economic advantage over other regions. We should do all we can to protect and promote these natural treasures. The Wild Olympics legislation will do both.”

 

State Representative Steve Tharinger, 24th Legislative District (Sequim): “It is easy to see and understand the ecological value of the Wild Olympics idea, conserving clean and free flowing rivers, but what is sometimes missed is the economic value that maintaining places like Wild Olympics brings by attracting people to the special outdoors of the Olympic region. I want to thank REI and Patagonia for engaging local community leaders like myself to help design the map, and for recognizing that encouraging people to get out and enjoy the special places in the Wild Olympics proposal brings economic benefits to the communities I represent.”

 

Mark and Desiree’ Dodson, Owners Westport Marina Cottages (Westport): “We’re one of the hundreds of local Peninsula businesses backing Wild Olympics because it would protect & promote the same priceless natural treasures that are cornerstones of our economy.  Our ancient temperate rainforests & wild rivers are iconic one-of-kind outdoor recreation destinations that draw visitors & new residents from around the world.”

 

Douglas Scott, Owner of Exotic Hikes and The Outdoor Society (Hood Canal): “Outside my door, the river, forests and mountains of the Olympic Peninsula beckon me to hike and climb. In the Northwest corner of the contiguous United States, far from the hustle and bustle of the big cities, our glacial-fed rivers, full of salmon and surrounded by majestic eagles constantly inspire millions of locals and visitors to the region. Each year, over four million outdoor recreation enthusiasts head to the region, hoping to find a slice of natural beauty in pristine forests and impossibly gorgeous river valleys. As an author, tour guide and advocate for the Olympic Peninsula, I have witnessed the importance of nature and outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest. Thanks to the support outdoor enthusiasts from all walks of life, passing the Wild Olympics Wilderness & Wild and Scenic Rivers Act will help ensure that even more of the stunning scenery will be protected and accessible for all. I am proud to Support the Wild Olympics. Come visit and fall in love with the beauty of rainforests, wild rivers and breathtaking adventures and you will too.”

 

Contact: Connie Gallant, Chair, Wild Olympics Campaign / connie@wildolympics.org

Wild Olympics Campaign / PO Box 214, Quilcene, WA 98376

Wild Fish Conservancy submits lease proposal to take back public waters from the commercial open water net pen industry

Just when I thought that our environmental coalition was bankrupt of ideas and people willing to really fight for the environment, along comes this. The future of environmentalism. Let’s just buy out the economic exploiters destroying these sites. Get behind this. Tell Hilary Franz you want this done. She’s up for re-election and wants your donations. You have the power in you pocket. You will have plenty of wealthy businesses fighting this.


July 15, 2020: After the catastrophic collapse of Cooke Aquaculture’s Cypress Island open water net pen in 2017, the public came together to pass Washington’s landmark law banning nonnative Atlantic salmon net pen aquaculture in Puget Sound after the expiration of Cooke’s existing leases. Taking advantage of a loophole in the law, the company submitted a new proposal in fall 2019 to transition their facilities to native species in order to avoid the phase out of their Puget Sound net pens and to qualify for new leases for all sites.

The continued use of public waters for commercial net pen aquaculture directly undermines the will of the public who have fought tirelessly to protect Puget Sound from this industry and invested significantly in the recovery of wild salmon, steelhead, orcas, and the health of Puget Sound.” says Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy. “The expiration of these leases comes less than once in a decade and offers the public a rare opportunity to work together to take back our sound and restore these waters after thirty years of rampant pollution and industrial use.”

In accordance with existing public-use regulations and in concert with obligations to fulfill tribal treaty rights, the campaign’s alternative, the Taking Back Our Sound Restoration Project, seeks to hold these lands in trust for the sole purposes of restoring these industrialized aquatic lands to their natural state for the restoration and conservation of threatened and endangered species, water quality, and the overall health and function of Puget Sound’s ecosystem; and restoring full access to 130 acres of aquatic lands to the public for their benefit, use and enjoyment.

Washington’s laws direct DNR to protect state-owned aquatic lands as a public trust and to strive for uses that ensure environmental protection, encourage direct use, and provide a balance of benefits for all citizens. As Cooke reapplies for each of its expiring or recently terminated leases, DNR will need to compare both applications and proposed uses against the state’s goals and philosophy for managing public lands, creating an unusual competition and leaving DNR with a precedent-setting choice to make—continue to lease these waters for the restoration of Puget Sound and use by all, or the degradation of public waters and profit of a few.

“To date, Commissioner Franz has shown exceptional leadership when it comes to holding Cooke Aquaculture accountable for our environmental laws and protecting Puget Sound from this industry” said Beardslee. “By choosing the Taking Back Our Sound proposal, Commissioner Franz will guarantee the public that these lands, currently degraded and restricted for private profit, will be restored and managed for the public’s benefit and use by all citizens.”

Throughout the coming months, the newly launched Taking Back Our Sound campaign will offer the public opportunities to make their voices heard on this important issue and to call on Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and DNR to make the Sound choice for Puget Sound and current and future generations.

Taking Back Our Sound is a new Our Sound, Our Salmon campaign to engage the public in a social movement to take back our waters from the commercial open water net pen industry to protect Puget Sound and restore the ecosystem for the use and benefit of all. Our Sound, Our Salmon is facilitated by Wild Fish Conservancy.

Wild Fish Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation ecology organization dedicated to preserving, protecting, and restoring the northwest’s wild fish and the ecosystems they depend on, through science, education, and advocacy.

###

For More Information visit: oursound-oursalmon.org/taking-back-our-sound

PDF of cover letter to Commissioner Franz.
PDF of this press release.

Contact:
Kurt Beardslee, Executive Director, Wild Fish Conservancy (206) 310-9301 kurt@wildfishconservancy.org
Emma Helverson, Director of Campaigns, WFC emma@wildfishconservancy.org

Greta Thunberg’s Summer – BBC Radio

 

Where in the world has Greta Thunberg been, while the world has struggled with COVID-19? Putting together her radio broadcast of her remarkable last year on the road. She ties it all together with how climate change and COVID are interrelated, and what must come next. Don’t miss this incredible radio broadcast, but give yourself some time. It’s an hour and a twenty minutes long. You can download it from this link at the BBC. A great production.

Things may look dark and hopeless, but I’m telling you there is hope. And that hope comes from the people, from democracy, from you. From the people who more and more themselves are starting to realize the absurdity of the situation. The hope does not come from politics, business or finance. And that’s not because politicians or businesspeople are evil. But because what is needed right now simply seems to be too uncomfortable, unpopular and unprofitable.

Public opinion is what runs the free world, and the public opinion necessary is today nonexisting, the level of knowledge is too low.

But there are signs of change, of awakening. Just take the metoo movement, blacklivesmatter or the schoolstrike movement for instance. It’s all interconnected. We have passed a social tipping point, we can no longer look away from what our society has been ignoring for so long. Whether it is sustainability, equality, or justice.

If you don’t want to listen to it, or don’t have the time, you can find the whole thing on Time Magazine. https://time.com/5863684/greta-thunberg-diary-climate-crisis/

The radio download is here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p08kbsm0

 

Meet and Greet Sierra Club’s Endorsed Candidate for County Commissioner, Lorna Smith, July 14, 5PM

Sierra Club holds virtual meet and greet for Lorna Smith.

 

Lorna Smith has been an environmental activist since the late 1970s, and worked with prominent conservationists to establish a National Wildlife Refuge on Protection Island. She has made climate change one of her top priorities. She is a strong supporter of the County’s Comprehensive Plan and adopting a stronger Shoreline Management Program. She opposes plans to transport Canadian tar sands oil through our waters that will increase tanker traffic ten-fold and greatly increase the risk of oil spills. In her role as a planning commissioner, she has always put environmental considerations first and has opposed ill-conceived projects that negatively impacted communities and the environment. She has extensive experience building coalitions and seeking collaboration based on a lifetime of experience in government, NGO’s, and community groups, and through her extensive research on particular projects she has been able to convince decision makers to support her positions.  We believe this background and experience lends itself particularly well to this uniquely challenging period as we face the twin tasks of addressing disruptions caused by both the pandemic and climate change.

Meet Lorna on Zoom, Tuesday July 14 at 5PM

 

Join Zoom Meeting Link:

 

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81131568159

 

Meeting ID: 811 3156 8159

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,81131568159# US (Tacoma)

+16699006833,,81131568159# US (San Jose)

The Sierra Club has endorsed Lorna Smith for Jefferson County Commissioner

Lorna Smith has been an environmental activist since the late 1970s, and worked with prominent conservationists to establish a National Wildlife Refuge on Protection Island. She has made climate change one of her top priorities. She is a strong supporter of the County’s Comprehensive Plan and adopting a stronger Shoreline Management Program. She opposes plans to transport Canadian tar sands oil through our waters that will increase tanker traffic ten-fold and greatly increase the risk of oil spills. In her role as a planning commissioner, she has always put environmental considerations first and has opposed ill-conceived projects that negatively impacted communities and the environment. She has extensive experience building coalitions and seeking collaboration based on a lifetime of experience in government, NGO’s, and community groups. We believe this background and experience lends itself particularly well to this uniquely challenging period as we face the twin tasks of addressing disruptions caused by both the pandemic and climate change. For more information about Lorna Smith, visit her website:

Lorna Smith for Commissioner – Jefferson County, WA

 

Arctic Circle sees ‘highest-ever’ recorded temperatures – BBC

While the COVID nightmare goes on, Climate Change is still continuing without any sign of slowing. This is frightening. We have never seen anything like this in the last hundreds of years.The variation from normal ought to give anyone pause. Could this happen here? What if it did?

Temperatures in the Arctic Circle are likely to have hit an all-time record on Saturday, reaching a scorching 38C (100F) in Verkhoyansk, a Siberian town. The record still needs to be verified, but it appears to have been 18C higher than the average maximum daily temperature in June. Hot summer weather is not uncommon in the Arctic Circle, but recent months have seen abnormally high temperatures. The Arctic is believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average. (BBC)

Arctic Circle sees ‘highest-ever’ recorded temperatures

Washington’s water quality standards back in court after EPA Rollback – KNKX

Fighting for our clean water goes on. Thanks to all who are doing the heavy lifting.

A coalition of environmental groups, commercial fishermen and the Makah Tribe are suing the federal Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to roll back water quality regulations in Washington state. At issue are human health standards that the EPA itself forced the state to adopt just a few years ago. Washington updated its water quality standards in 2016 to bring the state in line with the Clean Water Act. But, after litigation from environmental groups, the EPA forced the state to adopt stricter standards, to ensure that people who consume large amounts of fish are protected. Now, the EPA has retracted those rules.  Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Washington’s water quality standards back in court after EPA rollback

US Senate Passes Funding Boost To Conservation Fund, Help For National Parks – OPB

Jefferson County Wally Bowman Bridge Photo by WA State Land & Water Cons

Thanks to Maria Cantwell and many others who have been fighting for this funding for a long time. As many of you long time readers will know, this has been a battle that has seen funding for local conservation districts threatened. The funds for these are applied locally, in efforts that help local farmers and environmental efforts that are determined by the local population.

 

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would further protect public lands and recreation across the country. The legislation would also help relieve a massive maintenance backlog on federal lands.

Washington conservation groups say this funding will help promote access to nature across the state.

This blog reported on the Republicans defunding of this crucial program back in 2015. It was led by Utah Representative Rob Bishop.  Thankfully for the country, he is retiring from the Congress this fall and running for a Utah state position.

https://olyopen.com/2015/10/05/republicans-kill-the-land-and-water-conservation-fund/

I stated then

The LWCF state assistance program provides matching grants to help states and local communities protect parks and recreation resources. LWCF funding has benefited nearly every county in America, supporting over 41,000 projects. From building hiking and biking trails, to improving community parks, playgrounds and ballfields, this 50:50 matching program is the primary federal investment tool to ensure that families have easy access to public, open spaces.

I also stated that:

Closer to home, here on the Olympic Peninsula, this program has funded, over the last 50 years, the Bogachiel River Boat Launch repair, maintenance at Clallam Bay, Clallam Bay Spit development, Freshwater Bay development, Snow Creek Renovation, Salt Creek County Parks renovation, and the Shane Park Playground in Port Angeles. Remember, Clallam County usually votes Republican, and this is what you are getting folks for your support of that party, which now controls the purse strings at the Federal Level.

In Jefferson County, Fort Worden State Park was funded with over $156, 000, The Hoh River Boat Launch, Kai Tai Park, Fort Worden Breakwater, and the Point Whitney (south in the county on Hood Canal) acquisition all were supported by funding from this program. You can find the entire list of funded projects here: http://www.nps.gov/lwcf/index.htm

What did Congress want to use the funds for? They want to give this money to the oil and gas industry for employee training. You read that right. They want to give the money to private enterprises to offset their employee training, which will make them more profitable by not having to spend that money themselves.

Read the whole story here.

https://www.opb.org/news/article/us-senate-funding-bill-conservation-fund-national-parks/

If you are curious about the details of this little known governmental effort, see this webpage.

https://rco.wa.gov/grant/land-and-water-conservation-fund/

 

Getting dinner

Baila Dworsky caught this unusual duo last month.

Bailas Bird shot

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