The Power of Denial

Today in the New York Times, a story about the washing away of homes on the Carolina Outer Banks. The article points out that some of these homeowners, climate change believers bought their homes as recently as last fall! What kind of denial needs to exist to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in homes within yards of the ocean? What kind of denial are all of us in regarding the effects of climate change?

Here on the Olympic Peninsula, we all suffer from denial. For the majority of us, the denial of a major earthquake of such magnitude that only struck here 322 years ago, is our biggest. Then, tsunamis 33 feet high wiped out many native villages on the shore. Many modern Olympic Peninsula people were woke to this issue for the first time when the New Yorker published a sobering article about just how unprepared we are for this. The Seattle Times followed up with this piece a few years later.

As humans, we all live with denial. Denial that our health will not hold long into older age is one that many of our old population is familiar with and engaged in on a daily basis. And here on the Peninsula, as climate change wreaks havoc across the globe, we deny we are at risk. Let’s count the ways:

  • Forest Fire – Clearly, living on a tree farm with most of us at close proximity to timber, this is the most likely short term issue. We have seen the east side of the Cascades burn in massive wildfires, as well as B.C., Oregon and California. How many years do we have before the forests around us are on fire?
  • Sea Level Rise – Cities, from what I’ve seen, are simply kicking this can down the road. PA and PT especially are at sea level. Water Street is at, yes water level. Are there any serious plans to the business district uptown. Nope. Are there mitigation plans at work? Not that I’ve seen.
    • At Point Hudson, there are houses literally at sea level. A good friend owned one that faced out to the Strait, until they woke up to waves crashing on their front window panes. They sold and now live high on the hill above the Fort.
    • Beckett Point – A disaster waiting to happen, Beckett Point will likely be the first place you see houses washed away as in the NY Times article above.
    • Cliff dwellers like Seaview Drive – Our county development foolishly allowed houses to be built within 50 feet of the cliff edge in the 70s and 80s. Even trying to change this rule has been a struggle with home and land owners fighting being pushed back from the cliffs even 50 feet for future construction to be a very hard issue to convince them of supporting. Unfortunately, we have seen cliffs sluff over 100 feet back on Whidbey Island. The bottom line is that scientifically, cliffs sluff. That is the nature of a cliff. Putting thousands of pounds of concrete weight, water in the form of lawn watering, and septic tanks only helps destabilize the cliff more. Want to see a cliff sluff in action? Walk from North Beach to the Fort on the beach. That is an active sluffing cliff.
  • River course change – The Dungeness has reclaimed many homes over the decades from folks denying the ability of the river to do that. Now the Jamestown S’Kallam Tribe and Clallam County are working to give the river the room to “breathe” as one biologist once called it. The floodplains, he said, “are the lungs of the river. If you dyke them, you give them emphysema.”
  • That certain business activity won’t destroy our natural resources – The DNR decision to allow a commercial aquaculture farm inside a wildlife refuge is another case of denial that your decisions won’t destroy what you claim you love.

You can do your bit, by asking yourself “what am I in denial over?” Are there direct things you can do now to protect yourself from being the next to find that “you can’t fool Mother Nature.” That may mean much harder decisions than you ever thought. Just ask the folks on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.

Save the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge Update

Janet Marx, who is a member of Protect the Peninsula’s Future, working to save the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge, passed this along.


With the Army Corp of Engineers (ACE) approving a permit despite their Decision Document stating concerns about more than minimal damage to the Refuge, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) quickly signed a lease with Ron Allen of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe (JST) in January without public input. 

In December we sent DNR the ACE document that listed several ways the oyster operation would destabilize the refuge and harm the wildlife.  We then requested a meeting with Hilary Franz, Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands (DNR) to discuss ACE findings and why the lease should be rescinded based at least on the ACE concerns.  We received no response.  Follow up requests for a meeting were ignored by Hilary. We finally had two meetings with Alex Smith, Deputy Supervisor – Forest Resilience, Regulation and Aquatics, and other staff.  The outcome was a refusal by DNR to rescind the lease, knowing the bottom lands they are charged to protect will be damaged.

They remarked that DNR can enforce permits but cannot deny them.  Hence, violate first.

Remember back to the Clallam County Hearing Examiner’s (HE) mitigated approval in which he required the applicant have the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) or the local Audubon chapter oversee the project and train the applicant’s staff to identify and monitor Refuge birds.  If both declined, then the County would select an independent corporation to review a modified Jamestown Avian Monitoring Plan (AMP) as the original Plan was inadequate.  Both declined.  So the County hired an independent corporation, West Inc.  West reviewed the AMP and made light-weight suggestions instead of requirements.  West accepted weak statements rather than requiring detailed procedures and oversight.  The report primarily focused on seasonal bird counts but did not have a procedure for monitoring habitat changes that will affect the birds.

We have grown our coalition of Washington State environmental organizations who are also appalled with a commercial operation inside a national refuge.  Recently, nearly a dozen organizations sent a joint letter to DNR Commissioner Hilary Franz expressing their concerns that she approved the oyster shellfish operation knowing full well that this operation will damage the Refuge.  (See letter attachment above.) 

We are working with our partner organizations to find a way to save the Dungeness Refuge.  If you have not written to Commissioner Franz please do so. This is a good time for individual letters to join forces with the joint letter.

                                                Hilary Franz, Commissioner

                                                Office of the Commissioner of Public Lands

                                                MS47001

                                                Olympia, WA  98504

                                                cpl@dnr.wa.gov

Hugh Morrison is the recently appointed interim USFWS Regional Director in the Portland OR office.  Please write him.  It was that office that pulled its earlier comments opposing the oyster project.  We need to keep the pressure on the service to re-engage and oppose.  They too were sent the ACE document spelling out the destruction to the Refuge.

                                                Hugh Morrison, Interim Regional Director

                                                Regional Director’s Office-R1

                                                911 NE 11th Avenue

                                                Portland, OR  97282-4181

                                                Hugh_Morrison@fws.gov

This will take a village to save the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge, but save it we will!

Protect the Peninsula’s Future — PO Box 421 — Sequim, WA 98382

http://www.protectpeninsulasfuture.org/dungeness-refuge-alert/

Olympic Coast Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site Symposium on May 10-11

NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary is hosting the Olympic Coast Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site (OASeS) Symposium to share information, generate solutions, and address work plan actions related to policy, management, science, education, and outreach needs of the region regarding changing ocean conditions. 

DATE: May 10-11, 2022 
TIME: May 10: 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. PDTMay 11: 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. PDT
LOCATION:   Virtual attendance through a live stream Join meeting from your computer, tablet, or smartphone:https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/934726957 or:+1 (872) 240-3412 Access Code: 934-726-957

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries formally designated Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary as an Ocean Acidification Sentinel Site in November of 2019. The four Coastal Treaty Tribes who are sustained by these waters – the Hoh, Makah, Quileute, and the Quinault Indian Nation – together with the state of Washington, support this designation for the Washington coast. A roundtable-style steering committee guides Sentinel Site activities and ensures broad representation of coastal resource manager and stakeholder interests.

The Sentinel Site informs resource managers and coastal communities about the impacts of ocean acidification on their marine resources, cultures, communities, and economies to ensure they are prepared for a changing ocean. Climate change effects are the biggest threats to the condition of the sanctuary, as identified in the recently completed condition report

For more information or to obtain a copy of the agenda, contact Katie Wrubel 360-406-2081, mailto:Katie.Wrubel@noaa.gov .

On the Web:

NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov

NOAA’s Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary: http://olympiccoast@noaa.gov

Jacqueline Laverdure  (she / her / hers)

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary

Education and Outreach Coordinator

Master Gardners Annual Plant Sale -Saturday!

Spring is in the air, and the Jefferson County Master Gardener Foundation is pleased to announce its annual plant sale will take place on Saturday, May 7.

It’s the first time the sale will be in person since 2019. During the height of COVID, the Foundation pivoted to an online sale format in 2020 and 2021. For this year’s sale on May 7, gardeners will be be able to reconnect in person with fellow plant enthusiasts while shopping the thousands of small trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals, ground covers, vegetables, fruits and succulents at the sale. 

The event will take place from 9 a.m.–2 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, at the Chimacum High School, 91 West Valley Road, Chimacum.

Shoppers may preview the plant and tree varieties on sale online: jcmgf.square.site/ All plants have been propagated by experienced Master Gardeners on a volunteer basis. Plants may vary in size from the photos shown on the site.

Please contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you!

Suzanne Eggleston

Jefferson County Master Gardener (Class of 2019)

Choosing Winners and Losers in Alaska’s Crab Fishery -Hakai Magazine

Great article on the Alaska crab season.

A quota system implemented in 2005 has meant economic and social trade-offs.

https://hakaimagazine.com/news/choosing-winners-and-losers-in-alaskas-crab-fishery/

Anderson Lake Closed due to Toxic Algae

Please don’t let you or your dogs swim or get near it. It could kill them.

Wildlife officials warn of invasive frogs in Washington – AP

Now this….seems like we never learn.


An invasive species is consuming and competing with native species in western Washington, including salmon. Scientists have spotted African clawed frogs in Issaquah, Lacey and Bothell, KING5 reported. The frogs were initially brought into the United States to be used in pregnancy tests and later became pets, said state wildlife scientist Max Lambert. (Associated Press)

https://apnews.com/article/united-states-environment-fish-washington-wildlife-6c84623b376b1a13124a724945cfdd51

Scientists race to rescue world’s fastest sea star from oblivion -KUOW


Update on the Starfish wasting disease.

Scientists are racing to revive a critically endangered species that has succumbed to a mysterious underwater pandemic up and down the West Coast. The species is the sunflower star, a pizza-sized predator that can have two dozen arms. Since 2013, a wasting disease of unknown origin has turned some 5 billion sunflower stars, or 90% of the global population, into goo. John Ryan reports. (KUOW)

https://kuow.org/stories/scientists-race-to-rescue-world-s-fastest-sea-star-from-oblivion

Food Bank Growers Plant Sale

Please help out our local Food Bank Growers.


The Food Bank Growers network, a collection of 14 local garden teams dedicated to funneling fresh organic produce to four Jefferson County food banks, is holding its Second Annual Spring Plant Sale.

Orders will be taken online through Wed, April 27 at FoodBankGrowers.org. Items include vegetables, berries, herbs, and pollinating flowers, and also include Other Fun Items of bee homes, worm bins, bamboo stakes and weeding services! All proceeds will go toward helping feed your Jefferson County neighbors.

This year, all seed sales will be donated to World Central Kitchen, an organization that is feeding the people of Ukraine. The national flower of Ukraine is the sunflower; organizers of the sale are urging residents to show solidarity with Ukraine by planting a patch of sunflowers.

Order pick up will be on April 30th, from 10:00-1:00, at the Quimper Grange, 1219 Corona Ave at the end of Sheridan.

An in-person sale will occur from 1:00-3:00, with a worm bin demo and live music by Au Contraire. Come and tour a Food Bank Garden! For questions contact FoodBankGrowers@gmail.com.

Arlington electric aircraft maker logs order for 75 planes- Everett Herald

The future is coming whether we accept it or not. On the same day that the Biden Administration announced it is planning to give $6B to support the economically failed world of nuclear power, the next generation planes are being ordered. While many red state politicians want you to continue our massive taxpayer funded subsidies to fossil fuels, it would be great to see continued investment in this technology that will fuel the second half of this century airplanes.

ARLINGTON — Eviation Aircraft, the Arlington company that has built a fully electric commuter airplane, got a hefty boost this week when one of the nation’s largest commuter airlines, Cape Air, signed a letter of intent to buy 75 of the Eviation Alice model.

https://www.heraldnet.com/business/arlington-electric-aircraft-maker-logs-a-hefty-order/

The retreating glaciers of Puget Sound -Ecopugetsond.org

Bad news on the glacial front. “When the snow leaves the mountains the world ends”-Native legend. Likely true for civiluzation on the peninsula. Our society here depends on it glacial runoff.

Puget Sound’s glaciers are melting rapidly due to climate change. The North Cascades mountains have lost about 56% of their glacial ice while estimates show that glaciers in the Olympics could be gone within the next 50 years. Scientists say salmon and other species could be hard hit as the region loses its “giant storage tank” of ice.

https://www.eopugetsound.org/

EPA grants Jamestown water testing oversight on reservation, trust lands -PDN

Good news that the tribe is continuing to be a focal point for environmental monitoring on the peninsula.

BLYN — The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe has received approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to administer the Clean Water Act’s water quality standards and certification programs on its reservation and trust lands.

Read the rest of the story at the link below. The PDN does have a firewall for subscribers but if you haven’t used any of the three they allow you before they closed the door might be able to read this.

https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/epa-grants-jamestown-water-testing-oversight-on-reservation-trust-lands/

Volunteers Needed for Seabird Monitoring Program (June – August)

Looking for some fun volunteer opportunities this summer?

Do you enjoy watching wildlife and early morning solitude? If so please consider being a one day per week volunteer monitoring breeding and feeding behavior of Pigeon Guillemots along beach segments in Clallam County (this is part of a regional Salish Sea citizen science program[http://www.pigeonguillemot.org]).

Training (or refresher training) will be provided before surveys begin in early June. Volunteers commit to one morning hour each week for 10 weeks (through August). The Clallam Marine Resources Committee and Olympic Peninsula Audubon Society hope that sufficient numbers of returning and/or new volunteers will allow for substitutes for those taking summer vacations.

If interested, please contact Ed Bowlby (edbowlby2@gmail.com). Thanks for considering being a volunteer and please alert others who might be interested.

Trouble on the Half Shell

Scientists have discovered a mystery parasite—what will it mean for the future of Washington’s oysters?

Interesting article that features the Jamestown S’Klallam and their efforts to restore Olympia Oysters, and scientists trying to better understand the history of this mysterious parasite.

April storm improves 2022 PNW water outlook, drought remains. – AP

Good news but not enough to bail us out of drought conditions.



Climatologists say rare April snow along with rain sweeping across the Pacific Northwest this week could increase water supplies, slow snow melt and lengthen the irrigation season. Washington state climatologist Nick Bond said irrigators will benefit from April storms, but it won’t be enough to end the eastern Washington drought. (Associated Press)

https://www.knkx.org/environment/2022-04-13/april-storm-improves-2022-pnw-water-outlook-drought-remains

An ocean of noise: how sonic pollution is hurting marine life – The Guardian

The ongoing uncovering of the damage to nature by our continued pollution of the ocean by man-made noise.



Today’s oceans are a tumult of engine roar, artificial sonar and seismic blasts that make it impossible for marine creatures to hunt or communicate. We could make it stop, so why don’t we? David George Haskell reports. (The Guardian)

An ocean of noise: how sonic pollution is hurting marine life

Seattle developer pushes for WA’s first floating offshore wind farm off Olympic Peninsula – Seattle Times

Will be interesting to see how this project develops and who would possibly oppose it during a time of rising heating costs and concerns of global warming. The position of this blog is that we need to be supporting all possible ways of getting us off fossil fuels. The devil though, is always in the details.


Trident Winds, a wind energy developer based in Seattle, submitted an unsolicited lease request Monday to the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management to build a floating offshore wind farm — the state’s first — about 43 miles off the coast of the Olympic Peninsula, near Grays Harbor.

Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/seattle-developer-pushes-for-was-first-floating-offshore-wind-farm-off-olympic-peninsula/

Perspective: DNR moving forward with cutting Ludlow old growth while “protecting” other areas

The confusing balancing act of Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz and Jefferson County environmentalists and politicians has continued over the last month. Franz runs the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). First, a bit of background:

The Olympic Forest Coalition, which has been working hard to protect forests for decades, and includes some of the most well respected Democratic activists in the county, has issued written concerns to DNR and the County Commissioners about logging of old growth near Port Ludlow. Ludlow has seen a huge upturn in large clear-cut parcels in the last year. A drive along Paradise Bay road recently showed huge swaths cut on both sides of the road east of Ludlow.

The OFC wrote a letter to county commissioners stating:”…. request your assistance on how best to approach the BOCC on a timber sale of concern, the Beaver Valley Sorts sale near Port Ludlow, and I believe in your district. The sale has been recommended by the DNR staff to the Board of Natural Resources and will be on the BNR agenda April 5th [https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/em_bc_bnr_agenda_04052022.pdf ].  OFCO is very concerned that this sale contains unique plant associations remaining in our area, is an important sequester of carbon and provides resiliency in the face of climate change, and contains stands that DNR is required to conserve under the multi species Habitat Conservation Plan.”

The county commissioners then issued a letter to DNR on April 4th stating:

April 4, 2022
To: Commissioner Hilary Franz
Deputy Supervisor Angus Brodie
Board of Natural Resources
From: Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners
RE: Beaver Valley Sorts timber harvest
Commissioner, Mr. Brodie and Board Members,
The Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners( BOCC) appreciates your partnership in managing
Washington State’ s resource lands for the many benefits they convey, and we recognize the
complexity that presents in your policy- and decision- making.
We are writing to ask you to not approve and defer the Beaver Valley Sorts timber sale before the Board
on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. We ask this given the other, important work that DNR is engaged in
which will ultimately inform this sale and others like it in the future. Specifically, we would like to
delay this sale for the following reasons:
Jefferson County highly values the myriad ecosystem functions that our forests serve, especially carbon
sequestration as we see the impacts of climate change accelerating. We implore DNR and the Board of
Natural Resources to finalize a calculation of sequestered and emitted carbon to use in analysis of all
future timber sales and harvests.
(emphasis mine)
The Trust Land Transfer proviso work group is currently working to provide pathways for communities
like ours to identify the trust lands most suitable for harvest and those better suited to conservation.
We would like to see the outcomes of their work before any harvest commences on diverse, mature
forests such those in the Beaver Valley Sorts units.
While these are specific concerns related to the Beaver Valley Sorts timber sale, they are indicative of
broader, structural and existential concerns that we have about how our State’ s trust lands are held
and managed. Simply put, funding schools, libraries, emergency services and other essential
services with industrial forest practices is outdated and needs to be reconsidered.
We recognize forestry as an important economic and cultural driver in the state of Washington, but see
enormous opportunity for innovation in how state- owned lands are managed. Whether it is variable
retention harvest, or the selling of carbon credits, or development of specialty forestry products,
alternatives to clear-cutting exist. Jefferson County will gladly partner with DNR in exploring new
and alternative forest practices that don’ t pit funding of essential services with protecting our
environment. That is a zero- sum game in which nobody wins.

As this letter was being delivered, Commissioner Franz decided to temporarily pull the Beaver Valley Sorts and push it’s sale further into the summer. But it is not off the table to be sold.

Franz simultaneously was meeting with a select group of environmental orgs and Tribes from the south and east sides of the Sound. On April 4th DNR announced:

DNR to Announce First-of-its-Kind Carbon Project on State Trust Lands

Project will preserve thousands of acres of Western Washington’s most ecologically valuable forests, offset carbon emissions, and generate millions of dollars in revenue for schools and counties throughout the state

OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz will unveil a historic carbon project on state trust lands on Wednesday morning that will offset hundreds of thousands of metric tons of emissions by protecting thousands of acres of Western Washington’s most ecologically valuable forests.

Franz will be joined by Tribal leaders, environmental advocates, and carbon market industry experts to discuss the unprecedented approach DNR is undertaking and potential to reset, and serve as a model for, carbon markets throughout the country.

Project areas in Whatcom, Thurston, King, and Grays Harbor counties will be used to sequester carbon and generate revenue for state trust land beneficiaries through carbon markets.

DNR media release

Mysteriously missing from this decision, was any inclusion of Jefferson County forest lands. The question is “why?”

With a letter in hand and years of work between Jefferson County and Ms. Franz (who has attended the Jefferson County Democratic Fish Fry numerous times), she appears to have ignored any opportunity to work with the county to protect its forests in this carbon project. Questions remain: Why were those counties chosen and not anything from Jefferson County? Why was their no discussion between DNR and Jefferson County Commissioners before making this announcement? Why was the Beaver Valley Sorts sale taken off the table just as this announcement was happening and pushed to mid-summer?

In a scathing editorial in the Seattle Times, Former DNR Commissioner Peter Goldmark and Mary Jean Ryan, a member of the board of the Center for Responsible Forestry and served as chair and as a member of the Washington State Board of Education from 2006-2014, stated this:

While creating a small carbon reserve with a few thousand acres of older forests is crucial to begin climate mitigation in state forests, this action is in stark contrast to DNR’s timber harvest plans. Under current state policy, older forests are being clear-cut at an alarming rate. (emphasis mine) Over the next year, the DNR has plans to log more than 5,000 acres of older forests that have similar characteristics to those identified for the carbon reserve. Since there are many younger plantations of trees available for harvest on DNR-managed lands, this choice to preferentially log older forests undermines the very goals and values expressed by Commissioner Hilary Franz on April 6. This glaring contradiction should be resolved. The DNR and the Board of Natural Resources should take swift action to abandon the plan to clear-cut these valuable older forests.

… Thankfully, communities from Bellingham to Olympia and to the Olympic Peninsula are mobilizing and organizing to save these treasured forests. We strongly believe that these forests should be conserved and not logged. We reject the idea that the state needs to log these forests to pay for important public services.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/save-washingtons-legacy-forests-to-save-ourselves/

Meanwhile:

Goldmark and others said they were surprised by the policy because Conservation Northwest, the Washington Environmental Council and other plaintiffs have taken a lawsuit all the way to the State Supreme Court to argue the DNR has the authority to consider values beyond dollars when determining management of state lands not only for trust beneficiaries, but for all the people of Washington. A decision on the case is expected any time.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/wa-to-preserve-10000-acres-of-trees-to-sell-as-carbon-credits-to-polluters/

Why the sudden decision on the eve of a lawsuit by environmental groups that are well respected? Politics?

Commissioner Franz has in the past used Jefferson County for fundraising for her campaigns. There are persistent rumors of her possibly mounting a campaign for governor. Her recent fundraising during a year when she is not running for office is interesting in light of these rumors. Her haphazard approach to this issue seems to be attempting to burnish her creds as environmentalist while angering some of her former supporters. That no discussions were held by the Commissioner with those who’s support she usually is asking for when raising funds, is puzzling in the least.

The Olympic Peninsula Environmental News will continue to follow this very confusing story.

Gussman to receive land trusts outstanding honor – PDN

Local photographer/filmmaker John Gussman (who’s work has been featured in this blog) is about to be honored for his work. Couldn’t be a better choice. Congratulations to John.


The North Olympic Land Trust’s spotlight this year falls on a photographer and videographer accustomed to putting the spotlight on the beauty of the North Olympic Peninsula and documenting the community’s conservation efforts. The land trust will honor the efforts of John Gussman, along with award-winning author Dr. Robert Michael Pyle, at the organization’s 14th annual Conservation Breakfast, slated for 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. April 22, online. Michael Dashiell reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Gussman to receive Land Trust’s ‘Out Standing’ honor

Human elements: How otters can help recover imperiled ecosystems – Crosscut

Interesting article on otters.


[Dr. Shawn Larson], the curator of conservation research at the Seattle Aquarium, has studied sea otters for 27 years. She’s fascinated by the unique properties that allow them to survive in ice cold waters and how they can help recover some of the sea’s most imperiled ecosystems. Sarah Hoffman and Beatriz Costa Lima report. (Crosscut)

Human Elements: How otterscan help recover imperiled ecosystems

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