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

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


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

Philanthropists pledge $5 billion to save threatened species 

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

More bad news for our Southern Residents.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Janet Marx

 janetmarx_76@msn.com

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Undersea Photographer’s show open in Port Townsend – PDN

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


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

Undersea photographer’s show open in Port Townsend

The Cotton Tote Crisis – NY Times

Here’s hoping that this article will have you turning down any more cotton totes if you already have lots of them. Another of our unintended consequences of trying to do right without thinking through the problem to the end. We can still choose to say no instead of just collect more and more of these things.

B.C. Sea Stars approaching extinction?

Seems hard to fathom, that we may be losing the entire species.

A new study published by the Royal Society said sea stars are getting close to extinction as waters along the west coast. Sea stars in the waters off British Columbia that died off in the billions about a decade ago are not recovering as expected, an expert says. Hina Alam reports. (The Canadian Press)

Expert says B.C. sea stars melting away because of wasting disease

Taking the Temperature of Salmon -Salish Sea Currents

Good overview of one of the most critical issues facing recovery of endangered salmon. Rising temperatures in streams.

In the Puget Sound region, elevated stream temperatures are believed to be one of the great downfalls for salmon, especially in areas where streamside vegetation has been removed by farming, forestry or development.

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/taking-temperature-salmon

First-ever water shortage declared on the Colorado River, triggering water cuts for some states in the West – WA Post

While we watch as the megadrought blankets the west this should be a wake up call to those of us up here on the Peninsula that managing our water resources for the next ten years is likely to be a guessing game. Will the snows come again as expected? If not, how will it affect the flows in the rivers we rely on for our drinking water?

Right now, there has been discussions between the Port Townsend Mill and the City, on renewing a long term lease for the right to use our drinking water source for the mill manufacturing, as they have done for a century. My suggestion? Go for a 10 year lease and revisit it then. We seem to be ok for the immediate future. But 10 years from now it could be a very different situation.

22-year drought — the region’s most severe in more than a millennium — and climate change have made that fundamental problem worse. The alpine snowpack that feeds the river has been diminishing and was melting earlier this year. Parched soil soaks up much of it before it even enters rivers and streams. Extreme heat evaporates water in Lake Mead and other reservoirs more quickly and causes evaporation from plants.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/08/16/colorado-river-water-cuts-drought/

Hydrogen Fuel may not be the salvation we have been told.

New studies show the dangers in betting on hydrogen fuel. By the way, who has been promoting it’s use? The oil and gas industry, of course.

www.nytimes.com/2021/08/12/climate/hydrogen-fuel-natural-gas-pollution.html

Secretary of Interior visits Quinault Indian Nation to deliver support for moving them to higher ground.

It’s great to see our first Native American Secretary of the Interior visit a local tribe to reinforce the issue of the U.N. Climate Change report, which is a grim warning to all of us that time is running out to do dramatic changes to save ourselves from truly catastrophic climate change. The Quinault are on the front lines, as this story points out.

The visit, Haaland’s first to Washington state since her appointment to the Biden Administration, coincided with the release of a dire report from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, predicting global havoc due to human-caused climate warming.

Lynda Mapes, Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/this-tribe-has-lived-on-the-coast-of-washington-for-thousands-of-years-now-climate-change-is-forcing-it-uphill/

Cooke Aquaculture Secures Permit to Stock Risky Washington Fish Farm

From the Wild Fish Conservancy. Reproduced in it’s entirety.

Cooke Aquaculture Secures Permit to Stock Risky Washington Fish Farm
For Immediate Release, August 6, 2021


SEATTLE— Despite ongoing litigation and timing questions regarding the lease for the facility, the Washington
Department of Fish and Wildlife has granted fish farming giant Cooke Aquaculture a permit to stock its Hope Island
facility in-water net pens with steelhead.


A group of conservation groups challenged the initial permits for stocking steelhead in Cooke’s net-pens, and that
challenge will be heard by the Supreme Court of Washington in September. Fish farms can degrade water quality,
introduce disease to native fish populations and threaten imperiled animals like the Southern Resident orcas.
But the new permit, signed August 5 by the department, will allow for 365,000 steelhead to be transported and placed
in Cooke’s facility off Hope Island in south Puget Sound before the court’s decision.


“We feel blindsided by this fast-moving process, which could cause major environmental damage,” said Sophia
Ressler, Washington wildlife attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The stocking of this facility has the
potential to contaminate our waters and threaten the species that are so dear to our Puget Sound ecosystem.”
The lease for the facility expires in March 2022. Based on Cooke’s own timeline, this is long before the rearing of the
365,000 steelhead at this facility would be complete. Without a valid lease for this farm beyond that deadline, Cooke
would be required to remove these fish and relocate them.

“Right now, Washington’s highest court is deciding whether Cooke Aquaculture’s new project should have ever been
approved. Before the end of the year, the court could invalidate every permit granted to Cooke and require the
comprehensive environmental review demanded by Tribal Nations, elected officials and thousands of members of the
public,” said Kurt Beardslee of Wild Fish Conservancy. “This decision to approve the transport of fish into Puget
Sound net pens while the court’s decision is pending is fundamentally reckless and further demonstrates an alarming
pattern of state agencies putting the wishes of a billion-dollar industry ahead of wild salmon recovery, tribal treaty
rights and the public’s best interest.”

“The state failed the public and our imperiled wild fish when it granted these permits and allowing stocking to go
forward while our case is pending at the Washington Supreme Court is the epitome of irresponsible,” said Amy van
Saun, a senior attorney with the Center for Food Safety. “Industrial fish farming is not in the public interest.”
“We are dismayed to see the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife again greenlighting Cooke’s plans to
industrially farm steelhead in Puget Sound,” said Hallie Templeton, senior oceans campaigner and deputy legal
director at Friends of the Earth. “That this permit has been issued before oral arguments in our appeal over the
agency’s aquaculture permit is a slap in the face to all Washingtonians and the wildlife who depend on a clean and safe
Puget Sound.”

Background

Following a catastrophic failure at one of Cooke’s facilities in 2017, Washington state passed a law phasing out all
Atlantic salmon net-pen aquaculture by 2022. The permits issued by the Department of Fish and Wildlife allow Cooke
to continue operating its net pens, which are placed directly into Puget Sound waters, by growing steelhead instead of
Atlantic salmon.

During a public comment period in fall 2019, thousands of Washington citizens and organizations filed comments
with the state agency, overwhelmingly calling for the proposal to be stopped and urging the state to draft a new
“environmental impact statement” on open-water aquaculture net pens.
Instead the state wildlife department issued a permit that relied on a cursory analysis and “mitigated determination of
non significance.” The calls for deeper scrutiny came from environmental advocates, commercial fishers and anglers,
legislators, other state agencies and at least five tribal governments from the lands around Puget Sound.
Washington is the only state on the Pacific coast that permits these facilities. At the beginning of 2020, Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced plans to transition all open-water industrial aquaculture in British Columbia
to land-based facilities by 2025.

The conservation groups that brought this challenge are represented by Kampmeier & Knutsen, PLLC and by
attorneys at the Center for Food Safety and Center for Biological Diversity.
Additional Information:
• Open Brief (filed 2-11-20)
• More Information on the Lawsuit (press release 11-23-20)
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. http://www.biologicaldiversity.org Wild Fish Conservancy is a nonprofit conservation ecology organization headquartered in Washington State and 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: http://www.wildfishconservancy.org
Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture, including aquaculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and a healthy, resilient environment.
Friends of the Earth fights to create a more healthy and just world. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, ensuring the food we eat and products we use are safe and sustainable, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who
live and work near them

New study of studies highlights cell phone risk of brain cancer

An online publication of a long term look at studies of cellular use and it’s possible correlation to brain cancer was published recently. There is apparently increasing evidence that long term use of cell phones pressed against the ear may be statistically significant. While only one data point, I have had a couple of friends who died of brain tumors and were long term heavy cell phone users. On the other hand, I have used cell phones heavily since their introduction and have not yet encountered any cancer. But here’s some suggestions from the authors of the study.

Use texts, a phone’s speaker, or wired headphones. Keeping a smartphone 10 inches (25cm) from your body instead of one-tenth of an inch reduces your radiation exposure to 1/10,000th as much as when it’s pressed against your head. When moving about, store your phone in a bag or purse. If you must carry a phone in your pocket, temporarily turn on airplane mode, which disables the transceiver and sends your incoming calls to voicemail.

Cellular Phone Use and Risk of Tumors: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

ABSTRACT

According to estimates from the International Telecommunication Union, the number of worldwide mobile cellular subscriptions increased from 68.0 per 100 inhabitants in 2009 to 108.0 per 100 inhabitants in 2019 [1]. With the increasing use of cellular phones, concerns have arisen over the carcinogenic effects of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) emitted from cellular phones [2]. Since 1999, observational epidemiologic studies, specifically case-control studies have reported inconsistent findings on the association between cellular phone use and tumor risk, and several meta-analyses [3,4,5,6] of case-control studies on this topic have been published before 2011.


Among these studies, Myung et al.’s meta-analysis [5] of 23 case-control studies concluded that mobile phone use was associated with an increased tumor risk in high quality studies and studies conducted by a specific research group, and that long-term mobile phone use of 10 or more years increased the risk of tumors regardless of methodological quality or research group. Similarly, Khurana et al. also reported that cellular phone use of 10 or more years doubled the risk of brain tumors in 11 epidemiologic studies [6].


Based on evaluation of the available literature including experimental animal studies and epidemiological studies in humans, in 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO)/International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified radiofrequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMFs) associated with cellular phone use as possibly carcinogenic to humans [7]. Recently, an advisory group of 29 scientists recommended that IARC prioritize a new review of the carcinogenicity of RF-EMF by 2024 due to mechanistic evidence of the carcinogenicity of cell phone radiation published since 2011 [8].
Although many case-control studies and several meta-analyses have been published regarding the association between cellular phone use and tumor risk, the findings remain inconsistent.

Conclusions


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between cellular phone use and tumor risk using a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies according to various factors including differences in response rates between cases and controls, use of blinding at interview for ascertainment of exposure, methodological quality, funding sources, type of case-control study, malignancy of tumor, and dose–response relationship.

In sum, the updated comprehensive meta-analysis of case-control studies found significant evidence linking cellular phone use to increased tumor risk, especially among cell phone users with cumulative cell phone use of 1000 or more hours in their lifetime (which corresponds to about 17 min per day over 10 years), and especially among studies that employed high quality methods. Further quality prospective studies providing higher level of evidence than case-control studies are warranted to confirm our findings. (emphasis by Olyopen.com)

https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/17/21/8079/htm#B7-ijerph-17-08079

A more “consumer friendly” wrap up of this can be found at AskWoody.com, a tech magazine.

How extreme is this year’s extreme weather? Here’s a closer look – AP

An analysis of the spread of extreme heat as we sit back and do nothing to stop the climate catastrophe moving across the globe like a shroud. Canada had over 230 fires burning in B.C. alone last month. We are in for a very rough ride, and at the present, it seems the Olympic Peninsula is holding it’s own. There’s no telling how long it will be before we are also impacted.

As the world staggers through another summer of extreme weather, experts are noticing something different: 2021’s onslaught is hitting harder and in places that have been spared global warming’s wrath in the past. Wealthy countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany and Belgium are joining poorer and more vulnerable nations on a growing list of extreme weather events that scientists say have some connection to human-caused climate change. (Associated Press)

How extreme is this year’s extreme weather? Here’s a closer look

Judge hears lawsuit over fish farms: Skagit Valley Herald

The battle over fish farming in Puget Sound is not over yet.

Whether Cooke Aquaculture’s plan to raise native steelhead at fish farms in Puget Sound is a simple business transition or a complex threat to the marine ecosystem is being debated in King County Superior Court. Judge Johanna Bender heard testimony Thursday over Zoom in a lawsuit environment groups brought against the state Department of Fish & Wildlife for granting a permit to the seafood company to raise steelhead. The environment groups — Wild Fish Conservancy, Center for Biological Diversity, Center for Food Safety and Friends of the Earth — contend Fish & Wildlife did not meet the requirements of SEPA, the State Environmental Policy Act, before issuing a mitigated determination of non-significance for Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to move into the production of steelhead following a state-mandated phase-out of non-native Atlantic salmon. The state Office of the Attorney General and Cooke Aquaculture disagree. Kimberly Cauvel report. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Judge hears lawsuit over fish farms

Some B.C. restaurants remove wild salmon from menu in response to declining stocks – CBC


This is an interesting idea. I know that master chef Tom Douglas still supports having wild salmon in his restaurants as a way to keep the fishermen (and women) employed and keeping the wild cycle in play. It is worth remembering that certain stocks are being closed or only open for a day or two. I assume we will see more of this in the near future.

The Naramata Inn in the Okanagan has temporarily removed wild salmon from its summer menu, a decision chef Ned Bell said he made in an effort to allow salmon populations to recover. “It is a species that needs all the love we can give it.” Bell, who is a former Ocean Wise executive chef, said that it’s a temporary measure and he looks forward to bringing salmon back on his menu and supporting community fisheries again. The Vancouver-based Ocean Wise Conservation Association rates the sustainability of seafood so that consumers can avoid eating species that are over-fished or in decline. Michelle Gomez reports. (CBC)

Some B.C. restaurants remove wild salmon from menu in response to declining stocks

Biotoxins in shellfish lead to closure at Discovery Bay – Peninsula Daily News

Following on a recent post about the effects of the recent heatwave, here’s more economic and enviromental effects. Yes, global warming is costing all of us. Discovery Bay is home to a number of commercial geoduck operations as well as recreational shellfish harvesting.

Discovery Bay is closed to shellfish harvesting due to high levels of marine biotoxins discovered in the water. Shellfish samples taken from Discovery Bay were found to contain elevated levels of the marine biotoxin that causes diarrhetic shellfish poisoning, resulting in the state Department of Health closing the beaches around the bay for all shellfish harvesting, Jefferson County Environmental Health said in a press release. Zach Jablonski reports. (Peninsula Daily News)

Read the whole story here:

Biotoxins in shellfish lead to closure at Discovery Bay

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