Navy training proposal met with concern – Go Skagit.com

This is a never ending issue. Our Jefferson County Port Commissioners never seem to take this as a serious threat undermining our local parks. Once granted, it is unlikely ever to be “undone.” I’m glad to see the State Parks Commission taking it seriously.

“The public is very reluctant for you to have access to our parks,” Danenberg said. “There’s a creepiness factor that even if you’re never seen, we know it’s happening and it’s making the public uncomfortable.”

Navy training proposal met with concern | Local News | goskagit.com

Tires, Roads and Rain Gardens – Hakai Magazine

We have covered the issues of road runoff before, in articles done from the University of Washington research on Hwy 520. Now more science weighs in about runoff from car tires, recycled tires and the use of rain gardens to mitigate the issue. Also, Jefferson County has been actively trialing rain gardens, sometimes to the amusement of the public. This is another example of rain gardens possibly coming to the rescue.


A stealthy source of pollution leaves the highway in astonishing amounts and heads to sea, toxic chemicals and all. Laura Trethewey reports. (Hakai Magazine)

When Rubber Hits the Road—and Washes Away

Tracking the destructive environmental fury of the loser in the White House

As we reach the end of the most determined anti-environmental politician seen since the 1890s, his fury, like the remains of a Louisiana coastal town after the passing of hurricane, is only seen in retrospective. During the storm of his insane reign, doing the bidding of only his own warped mind, and cheered on by racists, industrialists and fools the likes of which we have not seen since the millions who fawned over Adolph Hitler before he brought them all to ruin, Trump attempted, on his own but with the help of toadies and tools of the oil and gas industry, to undo regulations that were instituted by a Republican President with bi-partisan support in the 1970s and many since. Tagging along were a who’s who of other businesses, including some right in our backyard that went to Washington and spent tens of thousands lobbying to try and court favor to eliminate local control of regulations that help to stop or slow their conversion of public beaches to monoculture aqua-industry. Given this flood of money and influence for the shareholders, all we could do was hunker down, hope it wouldn’t wash us all out to sea, comforting each other with music, food and hope as we sat around the night fire.

Now, the students and environmentalists around the country (and world) are coming out from hiding and tallying the President’s path through our most vulnerable people and places. It’s not pretty. But all was not lost. As we know, he lost an election that would have looked right at home in the most corrupt right wing banana republic, complete with lunatic fringe conspiracy theories and inept lawyers making claims for which their law school teachers would have not only flunked them, but thrown them out of school for advocating a coup d’etat in our ever fragile democracy. Their thinly veiled racist arguments (in only targeting votes from mainly African American dominated cities) was angrily thrown out by judges, some put in power by Trump. His path of legislative destruction of our environmental laws was only slowed by a small cadre of environmental lawyers and organizations who fought tooth and nail with support from their donors. Some they won, some they lost and some are still in litigation.

First and foremost, there is the ongoing tally of his rollback of hard fought environmental regulations in this country. To be clear, these regulations helped Republicans and Democrats alike to have cleaner water, more ducks to hunt and more control over the destruction that industry was doing to our land, air and waters. They allowed any citizen to attempt to slow the process that greed and the never ending quarterly profits demanded from our ever shrinking places that we try and protect from the corporate unending need to consume on behalf of shareholders, or really, just the skewed salaries of upper management. That Republicans laughed and clapped for photo ops as they watched them be removed is testament to their insanity. Who was he representing? It was perfectly clear.

The Harvard’s School of Environmental Law, has had an Environmental and Energy Law program that has been tracking the regulatory rollback of the mad man in the White House. They have a web site where you can go and see for yourself how bad it’s been.

But we did stop him in places. Lawsuits are still working their ways through the courts, and it will take support from a new Justice Department to continue to fight them. Don’t count on it. Projects like Pebble Mine are likely dead for now.

Stooges that Trump put in place in all levels of government will need to be washed out, which is not easy. But seeing them will be. They will be the ones doing their best to do nothing in their roles.

Science will return, as it always does after a bout of religious and political insanity. Even 1200 years of the Catholic Church running and ruining Europe couldn’t stop science from coming back and shining the light going forward.

Canada recovered a great deal from the destructive environmental fury of the bumbling and inept Steven Harper. And when your Canadian friends and family try and lord it over you at the next gathering, remind them that Trump only lasted one 4 year term. Ask them if they remember how long Harper and his goon-squad ran their science. (It was nine long years). Ask them what they were doing while scientists in Harper’s government threw a hundred years of science into trash bins at major government research centers (or carried them home to hide until he was gone) because of deep cuts that essentially ended historical record management. Yes, that really happened.

So it’s time to roll up the sleeves and dive back into the work. This blog will attempt to chronicle the next wave of changes for us here on the Peninsula, so far from the centers of power. The good news, if there is some, is that we have solid Democrat representatives, proven to work for positive changes in our county, state and White House. President Biden and his crew has the opportunity to rewrite rules better than before. But he only has three years before the next election unfolds, when the next wave of fanatical right wing morally bankrupt politicians come oozing out of Fox News and Parlor to attempt to overthrow what’s left of our democracy. He’ll have lots of people in Washington and elsewhere trying to stop him. His honeymoon will last one night and that will be it. Good news? He’s spent a lifetime working that system. Sometimes experience and old age counts. In fact, it always does. There’s a reason native peoples honor their elders. They carry hard earned knowledge. Right now, local knowledge of the swamps of Washington D.C. counts a lot.

Rome wasn’t built in a day it’s been said, but Greece’s democracy, that ours was modeled after, fell after a pandemic and a war. The master of history, the first war correspondent and the best, Thucydides, witnessed its fall. He wrote words 2400 years ago that could have been written yesterday.

“To fit in with the change of events, words, too, had to change their usual meanings. What used to be described as a thoughtless act of aggression was now regarded as the courage one would expect to find in a party member. …any idea of moderation was just a an attempt to disguise one’s unmanly character…fanatical enthusiasm was the mark of a real man, and to plot against an enemy behind his back was perfectly legitimate self defense…If an opponent made a reasonable speech, the party in power, far from giving it a generous reception, took every precaution to see it had no practical effect.”

Alright. Take some time to celebrate the election, get through December hunkered down and healthy, wear the damn mask, and then in January, it’s time to clean up after the hurricane. There’s work to do.

Al Bergstein – Editor and Publisher

Translation of Thucydides from the Penguin Classics “History of the Peloponnesian War” Translated by Rex Warner.

To help save orcas, pause whale watching – Opinion at Crosscut

Donna Sandstrom and Tim Ragen give their take on a proposal to possibly protect Orca from excessive noise and harassment. This is a highly contested idea by the whale watching industry and this represents one sides point of view. Read it, do some research and make up your own mind. You can have a say online at the Zoom link noted below.


Suspending commercial whale-watching boats can help southern resident killer whales avoid extinction. Opinion by Donna Sandstrom and Tim Ragen (Crosscut) And, if you like to watch:Sentinels of Silence? Whale Watching, Noise, and the Orca   Ecosong (10/22/20) And, to have a say: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Public Hearing on Commercial Whale Watching, Dec. 4, 11:15 a.m. via Zoom

To help save orcas, pause whale watching

Quiet Sound underwater noise reduction program could soon slow ships, protect Orcas -KNKX

The British Columbia pilot program in this was a success. Glad to see that we are going to try this soon. A common sense approach to fixing part of the problems plaguing the Orca population.


Underwater noise from ship traffic is one of the major threats to Puget Sound’s endangered Southern Resident orcas. It can interfere with the whales’ ability to communicate, navigate by echolocation and find the increasingly scarce salmon they prefer. A recommendation from the orca recovery task force convened by Gov. Jay Inslee in 2018-19 is to reduce noise and disturbance from large vessels. Work is underway to develop a program called “Quiet Sound,” which will alert ships to the presence of whales so they can re-route or slow down. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Quiet Sound underwater noise reduction program could soon slow ships, protect orcas

Steelhead Farm Proposal Appealed to the State Supreme Court – Skagit Valley Herald

Now the battle against fish farming in Puget Sound moves to the State Supreme Court.


Environmental groups are taking their fight against Cooke Aquaculture’s proposal to transition from farming Atlantic salmon to steelhead to the state Supreme Court. The groups appealed Monday a Nov. 6 decision by King County Superior Court Judge Johanna Bender that upheld a permit issued by the state Department of Fish & Wildlife to allow such farms in area waters. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Steelhead farm proposal appealed to state Supreme Court

New online magazine focuses on the stories behind Puget Sound recovery efforts -PSI

If you are interested in these issues, here’s another source of news. They have done a nice job on this website. Hard to believe it’s taken the Puget Sound Partnership this long to do something like this! But better late than never!

“Making Waves,” https://makingwaves.psp.wa.gov/ a new online magazine from the Puget Sound Partnership, promises to bring us the stories behind the many efforts to protect and restore the Puget Sound ecosystem. Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

New online magazine focuses on the stories behind Puget Sound recovery efforts

“Three Seconds” #Film4Climate Winner

The grand prize winner of #Film4Climate. A powerful 4 minutes from Prince Ea and Spencer Sharp. Pass it on. Will there be a fourth second?

To see all the winning entries.

https://www.connect4climate.org/article/film4climate-competition-winners-announced

And more of the organization that brought this to you. Connect4Climate.org

The Challenge. Our network. Your Community.

Communicate change and accelerate real-world solutions through partnerships, competitions, events, and knowledge sharing.

  Take on climate change. Ending extreme poverty is impossible without tackling climate change. Now is the time to face the defining challenge of our generation.

  Collaborate for impact. Forge creative partnerships to advance solutions and bring new audiences into the climate change movement. Share experiences and knowledge.

  Communicate for action. Join an ever-growing community. Hear how others are taking on climate change and inspire by sharing your own stories. Contribute online and in person to grow the climate movement. Contribute by adding your voice to our community, and add your climate change content to our Connect4Climate Facebook Knowledge Group and our Facebook Student Group.

  Get involved. Play your part in the global climate change movement by sharing your experiences, resources, and knowledge. Have your say. Talk to us about developing innovative campaigns that will inspire, enthuse and reach new audiences.

  Go social. Contribute to our blogs and post on our Facebook page. Tweet your thoughts and ideas. Taken some good pictures or video? Upload on Instagram, Vimeo or YouTube, then tag us to let us know.

The long nightmare is over

For four years we have watched as an incompetent, angry man has wreaked havoc with politics in this country. Beyond bringing out the worse in many Americans, who continued to vote for him in record numbers, he has also caused the most environmental harm to them, his voters.

This blog reports on the environment, and Trump has decimated his voters over and over again by his lack of understanding, sympathy and ability to do things to help them as they struggle with an ever warming planet.

As I have reported here in the past, analysis of the 2016 election by the New York Times, and my comparison of where the California, Oregon and Washington wildfires were the worse, showed clearly that Trump dominated counties in the three states were the hardest hit by wildfires.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the south coast of the U.S. along with our
“protectorate” of Puerto Rico, has been devastated by a series of hurricanes. Trump’s incompetent administration has done almost nothing to help the people of those places after the fact, with minimal engagement and FEMA support. His angry diatribes against the leaders of Puerto Rico have done nothing but angered the voters there.

I and many others that care about the environment are gratified that we again have a leader that will lead by science and by example.

Closer to home, here in Jefferson County, a long time environmental leader was defeated in her bid to become a Jefferson County Commissioner. Lorna Smith conceded defeat to Heidi Eisenhower, a community activist with Non-profit or Non Governmental Organizational (NGO) roots. While we know that Ms. Eisenhower has stated a commitment to the environment, we will watch and see if she has the political will and ability to deliver. The lack of an ability of the Jefferson County Commissioners to reign in Joe D’Amico’s plans for an outdoor firing range and paramilitary training facility, passing the buck to the County Planning Commission (of which Lorna was a member), was one reason that this blog supported Ms. Smith’s campaign. To remind readers, the Planning Commission got the job done. We support politicians who can deliver on promises.

In additional good news, all our Democratic candidates on the Peninsula won re-election, along with the head of DNR and the Governor as well. This bodes well for positive steps being taken and Federal funding to help achieve our goals.

Biden plans immediate flurry of executive orders to reverse Trump policies – Washington Post

In a stunning set of announcements President Elect – Joe Biden’s team has announced that he will waste no time reversing the worse of President Trump’s dictates. The message on the environment is clear, “The U.S. is back and we care about the environment.” Now, we go on the offense rather than the defense. The interesting thing will be whether or not he has the ability, like LBJ, to get the Senate to come to the table to get things done.

Out of the announcement is the following, much hoped for statement.

Without congressional cooperation, however, Biden has said that he plans to immediately reverse Trump’s rollback of 100 public health and environmental rules that the Obama administration had in place.

Washington Post

Washington Post Story link here.

What 13,000 wildfires teach us about Washington forests – Crosscut

A deep dive into data from the Department of Natural Resources reveals some scary trends and surprising findings.

Crosscut took a deep dive into these 13,452 fire records to highlight some numbers that help put this year into context and tell the broader story of our state’s fires. 

https://crosscut.com/environment/2020/11/what-13000-wildfires-teach-us-about-washington-forests

U.S. Leaving Paris Agreement – ABC

Yes, the largest polluter of greenhouse gases is walking away from offering any global leadership as many of it’s citizens are turned into climate refugees in California, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Louisiana, Florida, Alabama and more. Beyond the fact that the U.S. is continuing to help doom all of the planet to a nightmarish future, the first people most hurt from from the 2016 Presidential election is that they are more likely to be Republicans that voted for Trump. (that statement based on reviewing New York Times data maps of the districts voting records vs where the fires covered). Still, people in these same areas voted again for Trump and their own worse outcomes. The good news? Economics drive behavior as much as anything. Solar power is getting cheaper and more widespread. Devices become more power efficient. Insurance companies are forcing people to make better decisions about their future homes and many more communities are working on creating better building standards and zoning restrictions. It won’t be enough to stop the tide, but it could help mitigate the pain. If Biden can win, at least we will go back to a President that can do something rather than nothing. Congress will still be deadlocked, but some small progress will be reinstated. Cross your fingers. The future is watching.


The U.S. is set to officially withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement on Wednesday, three years after President Donald Trump announced his intent to remove the country from participating in the global forum to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The historic accord seeks to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, the value that climate scientists have determined will have disastrous consequences if exceeded. Trump has assailed the agreement as economically detrimental and claimed it could cost the country 2.5 million jobs by 2025. He also said it gave other major emitters, such as China, a free pass. Julia Jacobo reports. (ABC)

The US is leaving the Paris Agreement: How that will affect the global mission to affect climate change r

Trump to strip protections from Tongass National Forest, one of the biggest intact temperate rainforests Seattle Times

And so it continues, the rolling back of environmental protection in some of our most critical remaining habitat. Vote Democratic and for Biden to end this madness.

President Donald Trump will open up more than half of Alaska’s Tongass National Forest to logging and other forms of development, according to a notice posted Wednesday, stripping protections that had safeguarded one of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforests for nearly two decades.

Logging in Alaska costs U.S. taxpayers millions each year, because of a long-standing federal mandate that companies profit from any timber sale. This means the Forest Service often covers harvesters’ costs, including road building. According to a Taxpayer for Common Sense analysis of the Forest Service’s accounts, the Tongass timber program has lost roughly $1.7 billion over the last 40 years.

Seattle Times

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/nation/trump-to-strip-protections-from-tongass-national-forest-among-worlds-biggest-intact-temperate-rainforests/

More on ‘murder hornets’ from local entomologist.

I’ve known Norm Baker for the last decade. He always has thoughtful information to share. While this is a comment in another post, I wanted to break it out to share more fully.


I am trained as an entomologist and am aware of the murder hornet and have been for many years. If this hornet becomes established and, that is quite likely, it will be a problem because of anaphylactic shock from the sting. When a hornet or yellowjacket or paper wasp sting, it isn’t a single injection. It is more like five or six injections in a very short row to get the maximum benefit or pain. Anaphylactic shock will be a matter of public safety and it may be necessary to broaden the purview of public safety a bit. I say this because being trained as an entomologist, I have seen two people go into anaphylactic shock after years, many years of working with insects and suddenly becoming susceptible to the sting or other insect protein. In one case, a 50-year-old woman researcher in the lab next to mine at U of M, had a cockroach run up her arm and she developed tiny red marks where the animal ran. A couple of months later, a cockroach escaped a culture cage, she grabbed it and put it back in. 20 minutes later she went into anaphylactic shock and if the lab technician and a couple of students had not been present, she would have died. In another case, a 55-year-old man who had worked with honeybees is entire professional life was so used to being stung, he simply ignored them. Unfortunately, he and a student were in the field and he got that one sting too many and started gasping for breath. If his graduate student had not been there, he would have died. Data on anaphylactic shock from insect stings, shows that 90% of the time, it looks like the person suffered a heart attack.

I read over the paper on where the Asian giant hornet can be expected to live and it is most of the Pacific Northwest. I can also tell from the eradication efforts by the Department of Agriculture, that all of their efforts still do not tell us if it is possible to control this animal. The problem is the fall dispersal of those queen hornets. They go into a kind of hibernation and in the spring, set up housekeeping very quickly and build a nest very quickly. My experience as an entomologist says this will eventually be a low level problem here in Clallam County. But, it will also take some training for EMTs and I can just about guarantee some of you police people are going to get involved indirectly because of the anaphylactic shock.

A lot of press time is devoted to the devastating effects of these hornets on bee colonies. What I have not seen is the use of a screen “excluder” that prevents the hornets from entering a beehive simply because they are much larger in size. It will simply be a matter of time before the nations beekeepers learn how to handle this hornet around their hives. The real concern here is anaphylactic shock that is passed off as a heart attack when no help is present and someone is stung.

But, there is more to the murder hornet then people really realize in this country.

For example take a look at this article; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/world/asia/murder-hornet-japan.html

Or even Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asian_giant_hornet

Norm Baker, PhD

Crews vacuum “murder hornets” out of nest in Washington state – AP

I know many have been keeping tabs on this story. Here’s the latest.


Heavily protected crews in Washington state worked Saturday to destroy the first nest of so-called murder hornets discovered in the United States…The nest found near the Canadian border in Blaine is about the size of a basketball and contained an estimated 100 to 200 hornets, according to scientists who announced the find Friday…The tree will be cut down to extract newborn hornets and learn if any queens have left the hive already, scientists said. Officials suspect more nests may be in the area and will keep searching. A news briefing was planned Monday on the status of the nest. (Associated Press)

Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of nest in Washington state 

Support Lorna Smith for Jefferson Co District 2 County Commissioner

We are extremely lucky to have two very capable women running for District 2 in the County Commissioner race. While both 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 spent 8 years on the Jefferson County Conservation Futures Committee and Planning Commission, protecting thousands of acres of farm and forest lands. 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 had a 25-year career as a Snohomish County lands use manager.  In that role she worked in planning, transportation, public works and budgeting.

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.

Lorna combines a strong administrative and fiscal management background with passion, persistence and a respect for science and nature.

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

VOTE.

Millions have been spent on orca recovery: Is it working? – Everett Herald


And a follow up to the previous story, this is a good layman’s overview of the issue of salmon and orca recovery. It focus’ on Snohomish County but also discusses Sound wide issues. Notice, no mention of hatcheries here. It’s about habitat recovery. This article appears to have come out from under the paywall at this point.

Restoring destroyed salmon habitat is the key to regaining Southern Resident killer whale numbers. Julia-Grace Sanders reports. (Everett Herald)

Everett Herald

Millions have been spent on orca recovery: Is it working?

Controversy flares up over proposed policy revisions for state salmon hatcheries -PSI

This is a never ending story, because neither the Tribes, the sports & commercial fisheries, nor the politicians of any stripe are willing to entertain what is needed, which is an elimination of most hatcheries. Why? Because science has proven they don’t work. We have had hatcheries since at least the 1940s and they have not helped produce more wild salmon, nor added significantly to anything but sports fishing and farmed at a huge cost to taxpayers. (The exception to this is to protect almost extinct runs for tribal subsistence which is a valid concern for cultural survival of our Tribes. )We once had monstrous runs of wild (and free) fish for anyone to eat that would simply go out and catch them. They provided for lower income people in times of need. We have squandered that resource for many reasons, and have infected many of them with virus’ transmitted through farmed fish. We have spent vast resources trying to produce significant runs in hatcheries. None of this has worked. The science says to end hatcheries, but the political football of this issue just won’t let it go away. The future looks like we will lose our wild salmon in favor of robo-fish, farmed and produced simply for human and animal consumption. We do this at our peril. Just look at what one virus, picine reovirus (https://raincoastresearch.org/salmon-farm-impacts/viruses/piscine-reovirus/) has done to farmed fish stocks around the world.

So with that preamble, here’s today’s story>

A state policy revision that could boost salmon production at fish hatcheries in Washington state has raised red flags among scientists and environmental groups worried about potential damage to wild salmon runs.


The proposed hatchery policy, under review by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, could derail a 20-year effort to implement critical hatchery reforms, opponents argue. Major concerns revolve around threats to the future of wild salmon populations — including declines in genetic diversity and increasing competition from large numbers of hatchery fish. At the same time, a variety of sport and commercial fishing groups have thrown their support to increased hatchery production, saying that policies to protect wild salmon have reduced fishing opportunities while doing little to save wild salmon. Christopher Dunagan writes. (Puget Sound Institute)

Controversy flares up over proposed policy revisions for state salmon hatcheries

Murder Hornet Nest, First in U.S., Is Found in Washington State – NY Times

Scientists have found the hive and should be destroying it today. It is a triumph of science over hope to be able to use micro tracking devices to locate what could be a disastrous invasive species.

Orcas for Biden!

Local Jefferson county Democrat Jes Schumacher getting out the vote.
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