EVENT! Great Rivers of the West

This is a great idea for winter fun inside! Never had a chance to float one of the great rivers of the west? Now you have no excuse! You don’t even have to get wet, and you can decide which one you want to do for real! Oh, by the way, it helps a great organization too. Since the image below doesn’t have live links, go to westernrivers.org to sign up.

Court of Appeals Backs Environmentalists: Federal Greenlight of Industrial Shellfish Aquaculture Unlawful

This is the most significant court ruling in decades and likely changes everything about shellfish aquaculture in the Salish Sea. It’s importance cannot be overstated. This blog has covered the trial over the last two years. We have been astonished at the brazen lack of science applied and found during discovery of the Army Corp. of Engineers. The time has come to start applying real science to the selling off of our beaches and virgin bays, converting them to commercial aquaculture farms with no real debate or discussion on “where will this all end”. The creation of this lawsuit was a ‘hail Mary” pass by the environmental groups that brought the suit. If they had lost, likely all future attempts at stopping this insanity would have failed. Congratulations to both the lawyers at the Center for Food Safety and the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat for their efforts. This is a win for all of us.

Today, the 3-judge appellate panel unanimously agreed with the District Court, holding that the Corps failed to support its approval of NWP 48, violating the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Describing the Corps’ reasoning as “illogical,” the Court focused on its failure to analyze the admitted cumulative impacts of adding industrial-scale shellfish aquaculture to an already-impaired environment, and its reliance on a “limited scientific study” to justify a much broader determination of minimal impacts.

https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/6264/court-of-appeals-backs-environmentalists-federal-greenlight-of-industrial-shellfish-aquaculture-unlawful

2021 State Legislative Update on Environment Issues

Rather than try to do this myself, the Puget Sound Partnership is tracking all the bills. Here’s there public PowerPoint on them.

https://pspwa.app.box.com/s/wagot10sy95a4fixrhioberup485mqza

Weather or Not from Al Latham

Our monthly report from Al Latham here in Jefferson County. Always a fun and interesting read! 

_______________________________________

Greetings and happy La Nina spring from http://www.cocorahs.org station WA-JF-1 located 5.1 miles south of the Chimacum metropolis.

As Mark Twain said “In spring I have counted 136
kinds of weather inside of 24 hours”…   That pretty well describes the past March.

We recorded 2.42″ rain here with 3.8″ average.
For the water year so far we accumulated 23.84″ with 25.2″ being our average.

La Nina means cooler/wetter winter/spring.  It has
definitely been cooler around here but we haven’t experience more
rainfall – except for January of course, but that’s ancient history.

According to http://www.cliffmass.blogspot.com “Most of western Washington, Oregon, California, and the southwest states were more than 2F cooler than normal.   Chilling statistics”.
NOAA Climate Prediction Center is forecasting cooler
temps for the next 3 months but they are on the fence about weather it will be wetter, drier or normal rain wise.
So that’s it for now – enjoy whatever weather we get, but don’t put those tomatoes out too soon!  Al
 
“April’s air stirs in
Willow leaves…a butterfly
Floats and balances”         Basho
 
What do you call it when you get mugged on the vernal equinox?
The first robbin of spring!
 
When all the world appears to be in tumult, and
nature itself is feeling the assault of climate change, the seasons
retain their essential rhythm.
Yes, fall gives us a premonition of winter,
but the, winter, will be forced to relent,
once again
to the new beginnings of soft greens, longer light, and the sweet air of spring!      Madeline M. Kunin

Group sues US over inaction to protect threatened species – OPB

Another day, another environmental lawsuit over the former administrations attacks on environmental protections. We’ll be seeing these for some time to come. 

Decisions by the Trump administration to withhold endangered-species protections for the northern spotted owl, monarch butterflies and other imperiled wildlife and plants could be set aside. That’s the goal of a conservation group’s lawsuit Thursday, challenging inaction on petitions to extend Endangered Species Act protections for several species that warranted them. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

https://www.opb.org/article/2021/04/02/group-sues-us-over-inaction-to-protect-threatened-species/

Conservationists sue to save spotted owl logging protections -AP

So we are back in court again. The never ending battle by the timber industry to cut the last of the old growth on the Olympic Peninsula continues. Got news for the industry, overturning the protection of the Spotted Owl, which was impacted by rampant clear cutting of the Peninsula for raw logs to send to Japan and China is not going to save your jobs. The last “one log truck” left a mill in the early 70s, long before the Spotted Owl issue was decided. 

Environmental groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to preserve protections for 3.4 million acres (1.4 million hectares) of northern spotted owl habitat from the US-Canada border to northern California, the latest salvo in a legal battle over logging in federal old-growth forests that are key nesting grounds for the imperiled species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service cut the amount of protected federal old-growth forest by one-third in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration, a move that was cheered by the timber industry. Gillian Flaccus reports. (Associated Press)

https://www.opb.org/article/2021/03/24/conservationists-sue-to-save-spotted-owl-logging-protections/

Washington’s Crabby New Resident

Good overview of the current situation on the fight against the latest invasive species, the Green Crab. 

Researchers, tribes and volunteers work to fight the rising tide of European green crabs on Washington shores.
Morgan MacIntryre reports. (The Planet Magazine)

https://theplanetmagazine.net/washingtons-crabby-new-resident-a669170b819e

Crosscut tracks bills in current session – Crosscut

A good look at the bills that matter being tracked by Crosscut. 

The bills we’re tracking in the 2021 Washington state Legislature
Pandemic relief, climate change, police accountability, taxes and more — here’s what we’re watching halfway into the session. Mohammed Kloub reports. (Crosscut)

https://crosscut.com/politics/2021/03/bills-were-tracking-2021-washington-state-legislature

Amid climate crisis, a proposal to save Washington state forests for carbon storage, not logging – Seattle Times

This is a good idea. Glad that Franz is in this role. She is doing a great job of looking into new ways to envision the public forestlands. 

_____________________________________________

Hilary Franz, state commissioner of public lands, is kicking off an examination over the next three to four months of all older forests on DNR lands west of the Cascades not already in conservation status — about 10,000 acres –to evaluate alternative uses to logging, including biodiversity, carbon storage, water quality and recreation. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/amid-climate-crisis-a-proposal-to-save-washington-state-forests-for-carbon-storage-not-logging/

Local group opposes military use of state parks

The group “No Park Warfare” has organized to oppose the state allowing the Navy to use state parks as military training sites. Count me in as this is another expansion of the never ending reach of the military here in our area. Have we ever been asked to vote on this? Nope. All done through a board of non-elected officials who apparently ignored thousands of emails in coming to their decision. 

 

“S.O.S. WA STATE PARKS ALERT!
Fellow Park Lovers,
We are challenging the
recent State Parks Commission decision to allow Navy SEAL covert
training in our coastal Washington State Parks.
We are a group of everyday citizens who believe we can stop this horrible plan if we all pull together right now. 
Read & Sign our Citizens’ Complaint Letter Here.
Please sign before March 31 when we will submit this letter.

The letter can be found at:

https://noparkwarfare.wordpress.com/

NW scientist taps into personalities, diets to help sunflower sea stars shine again – KNKX

In December, sunflower sea stars were declared critically endangered by an international union of scientists…But there is hope. Pockets of healthy populations of sunflower sea stars still exist in parts of the Salish Sea. And a scientist working at the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor Labs on San Juan Island is pioneering new techniques to breed them in captivity. Bellamy Pailthorp reports. (KNKX)

Job Opening: District Manager Clallam County Conservation District

Job Announcement
District Manager

Open Until Filled – application reviews begin April 6

The Clallam Conservation District (District), an organization dedicated to the conservation and restoration of
natural resources, is seeking to fill their District Manager position. This is a half- to full-time, at-will, exempt,
non-union position. The Manager manages the operations of the District and performs executive level
leadership, personnel, administrative and management work. The Manager assists and supports the District
Board of Supervisors with the planning, directing and reviewing of all District activities. The Manager
implements policies and procedures in the areas of human resources, risk management, facilities
management, technical services, general operations, financial services and public relations to meet the
District mission. The Manager acts on behalf of and reports to the Board of Supervisors.
The Manager will work to provide consistent authority, direction and supervision of staff. The Manager
requires skills not only in managing employees, but also in relating with community volunteers, local
government officials, business and corporate representatives, and service providers. The Manager must have a
high level of knowledge, skills and abilities in:
a) human relations, organizational behavior, and management principles and practices (e.g., planning,
organizing, directing, motivating, decision making, and prioritizing to promote District mission);
b) analysis and policy development;
c) communication (verbal and written);
d) originating and implementing a broad range of proposed programs and initiatives that start as a
vision or concept;
e) negotiating various levels of participation by business leaders in partnerships with the District;
f) creating a high level of support and participation by state and local government officials, community
leaders and the public.
Strong applicants will also have a thorough understanding of natural resource programs and conservation
practices.

Wage and Salary Range
$30.81 to $46.87 per hour. Compensation will be awarded based on education, experience, and demonstrated
capabilities.

For complete job description, more information about the Clallam Conservation District, or to apply for this
position please follow this link or contact the District by phone at 360-775-3747×4 or emailemployment@clallamcd.org.

Clean fuel legislation could be blocked again by one WA Democrat – Investigate West

The power of the oil industry continues to contaminate our state legislators, even with Dems in control. Can they push this through, around the objections of a Democrat who apparently doesn’t get the issue of climate change yet? 

“The annual push in Olympia to promote electric vehicles and biofuels at the expense of gasoline and “dinosaur” diesel has again failed to woo a key senator who killed the bill twice before. But whether that will matter this time is an open question…This year’s bill, House Bill 1091, cleared the state House of Representatives, 52-46, and passed a Senate committee hearing Tuesday morning. While boosters celebrate the bill’s progress, it may yet land before the Senate Transportation Committee — the place where the idea stalled in 2019 and 2020. The Transportation Committee chairman, Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, declined to put the legislation up for a vote both years, and still isn’t smitten with it. “Levi Pulkkinen reports. (InvestigateWest)

The future is arriving, and it’s not cheap

This New York Times article documents the increasingly difficult position coastal communities are being put in as man-made climate change heats the planet and raises the oceans. One can continue to pretend that it’s not happening, that it’s all a hoax, but it’s very real to these people in North Carolina.

www.nytimes.com/2021/03/14/climate/outer-banks-tax-climate-change.html

Endangered predators and endangered prey: Seasonal diet of Southern Resident killer whales – PLOS One

New research out regarding Southern Resident killer whales and their needs for chinook. Very good research here, based on scat samples over long periods of time.

Abstract

Understanding diet is critical for conservation of endangered predators. Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW) (Orcinus orca) are an endangered population occurring primarily along the outer coast and inland waters of Washington and British Columbia. Insufficient prey has been identified as a factor limiting their recovery, so a clear understanding of their seasonal diet is a high conservation priority. Previous studies have shown that their summer diet in inland waters consists primarily of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), despite that species’ rarity compared to some other salmonids. During other times of the year, when occurrence patterns include other portions of their range, their diet remains largely unknown. To address this data gap, we collected feces and prey remains from October to May 2004–2017 in both the Salish Sea and outer coast waters. Using visual and genetic species identification for prey remains and genetic approaches for fecal samples, we characterized the diet of the SRKWs in fall, winter, and spring. Chinook salmon were identified as an important prey item year-round, averaging ~50% of their diet in the fall, increasing to 70–80% in the mid-winter/early spring, and increasing to nearly 100% in the spring. Other salmon species and non-salmonid fishes, also made substantial dietary contributions. The relatively high species diversity in winter suggested a possible lack of Chinook salmon, probably due to seasonally lower densities, based on SRKW’s proclivity to selectively consume this species in other seasons. A wide diversity of Chinook salmon stocks were consumed, many of which are also at risk. Although outer coast Chinook samples included 14 stocks, four rivers systems accounted for over 90% of samples, predominantly the Columbia River. Increasing the abundance of Chinook salmon stocks that inhabit the whales’ winter range may be an effective conservation strategy for this population.

Read the whole research paper here.

Endangered predators and endangered prey: Seasonal diet of Southern Resident killer whales (plos.org)

Great web site for tracking state legislative bills

Recently I stumbled on this web site for tracking bills and the legislators that are backing them. Check it out.

Legiscan https://legiscan.com/WA/

New Challenge to Navy EIS by COER

The Whidbey Island group “citizens of the ebey’s reserve” (COER)   is continuing it’s challenge to the Navy Environmental Impact Statements (EIS). These rubber stamp items never seem to be anything more than a bureaucratic formality rather than a serious opportunity for the public to challenge Navy demands to our waters and air.


The 60-Day Letter 

Threats to Northwest Washington
The United States military is waging a war on Americans and the living environments that are located next to their military installations. Civilians, communities, and the natural environment including the entire Puget Sound estuary have become casualties of that war. In Northwest Washington, the communities and waters—known as the Salish Sea—surrounding the Olympic Peninsula, San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands, and Puget Sound are under assault by the Navy…including iconic and endangered species such as the Marbled Murrelet and the Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) and decreasing numbers of salmon. 

Northwest Washington communities have partnered with the military to do their part for national security. In 2018, the Department of Defense (DoD) announced its decision to vastly expand the Navy’s Growler jet program and electronic warfare training over Whidbey Island, the San Juan Islands, and the Olympic Peninsula. The impacts of more jets flying more often include deafening noise, poisoned air, land and water, livelihoods in jeopardy, and harm to threatened species in Northwest Washington. In making its decision, military leadership ignored the objections of citizens, organizations, elected officials, and public agencies. 

Because few public processes exist to ensure citizen input on military issues, SDA and its member groups (together representing 25,000 Washingtonians) have joined forces to seek a balance between the needs of the military and the needs of impacted communities. SDA encourages economic diversification and defends policies and institutions designed to preserve our land, air, water, and wildlife. 

COER, a founding group member of the Sound Defense Alliance has initiated legal action against the Navy’s Final Environmental Impact Statement, as well as other legal challenges over the past 8 years, including the attached 60-day Notice of Intent to Sue under the Endangered Species Act. 

The attached 60-day notice alerts government agencies of their violation of Section 7 of the ESA for failing to reinitiate formal consultations with regard to the NWTT SEIS and the Growler EIS.  These agencies have a duty to reinitiate consultation when “new information reveals effects of [their] action that may affect listed species or critical habitat in a manner or to an extent not previously considered.” 50 C.F.R. § 402.16(a)(2).  The duty to reinitiate Section 7 consultation in this case is triggered by Kuehne’s new scientific findings on Growler noise under water.  

These projects cannot legally go forward without new biological opinions that consider the effects of Growler noise radiating great distances in all directions from the air-water interface.  Moreover, the new biological opinions must analyze the effects of Growler noise deep underwater in conjunction with the effects of vast and increasing man-made noise affecting the underwater environment and the marine fauna that live and breed there. 

Listed government agencies have 60 days in which to consider COER’s notice and to reinitiate consultation in these projects before COER can file suit under the ESA.  

COER has offered to meet and confer with the agencies as to the violations noticed.

Citizens of the Ebey’s Reserve (COER) is represented by Bricklin & Newman, LLP, attorneys at law, 1424 Fourth Avenue, Ste. 500, Seattle, WA 98101, telephone 206.264.8600.  

For more information on COER: search “citizens of the ebey’s reserve” on Facebook; or visit citizensofebeysreserve.com/

Scramble to re-issue permits for area shellfish farms underway following lawsuit -Skagit Valley Herald

The State is working to grant updated operating permits after the fiasco of the Army Corps of Engineers losing a major lawsuit last year under appeal. It will be interesting to see how, since the judge found that the existing permits had not taken long term harm ot the environment into consideration, as to how the state will not get sued again since I don’t understand at this point what they changed about determining long term environmental damage. More to follow on this.

Shellfish farms in the state and the agencies that issue them operating permits are scrambling to complete farm-by-farm paperwork following litigation over whether a former permitting system ensured adequate protections for the marine environment…State Department of Ecology spokesperson Curt Hart said the agency has received 446 applications for shellfish farm permits and has issued public notices for decisions on about 150 of them under Clean Water Act requirements. A public notice was issued this week for one of 16 applications for shellfish growers in Skagit County. Kimberly Cauvel reports. (Skagit Valley Herald)

Scramble to re-issue permits for area shellfish farms underway following lawsuit 

The Status Quo and the Environment

As we grind along through the seemingly futile re-engineering of the environment we now control, it is easy to wonder if any of the normal activities we engage in are really making any difference.Are the tens of thousands of hours spent in meetings about the environment really helping? Well maybe they are, but those meetings have become part of the “status quo” of environmental protection. We have an emerging “status quo” of environment organizations that exist to restore the destroyed ecosystems that we have created that work alongside the same industries that destroy it in many cases. These organizations all do good work, but they seem to be part of this new status quo. Are any of them really standing up anymore to fight the destruction in the first place? They don’t seem to be. Old organizations like People for Puget Sound who did have been subsumed into Washington Environmental Council, an organization that appears to exist simply to fight for “east side of the Sound” issues. I guess that’s where the money is. The new status quo is to go where the grants are, and don’t make waves or you’ll be branded a ‘radical’. A few organizations, run by radicals, are fighting back, and usually winning in courts, where the status quo has to uphold it’s political decision-making in front of a judge who has a dim view of the efforts by government agencies to hide their hand in glove work with industry above their duty to protect our environment. The ‘radicals’ are ones I prefer to give my donations to, since they are actually working to stop the problem before it becomes one. I don’t want to give money to an organization that tells me to my face that they can’t “prioritize” the issues of the Olympic Peninsula at any price. And frankly, I love to see the radicals messing with the smug high priced legal teams of the status quo in open court battle. Why? Because the radicals seem to find, over and over again, that industries that want to ‘work with us’ are many times lying through their teeth. Recent court rulings against the Army Corps of Engineers and the industries that sided with them in court are a prime example.

The status quo also is that this Democratic run state is ok with converting our public beaches into aquaculture farms with no debate on where the end is going to be on this land grab. It’s also for letting the military use our public beaches and waterways, with known and documented kills of our wild animals when they train our military. The same military that seems to hold us who pay their salaries in contempt, continues to be demonstrably unable to protect us from a small group of fanatics overrunning our seat of power. It’s like they never heard of the Maginot Line in military school. We let the military fly over our quietest places, not because they really need to in that exact locale, but because they have made it the “status quo”. People who question it, as the old jazz song by Les McCann and Eddie Harris “Compared to What” goes, “have one doubt and they call it treason.” The list of what we have come to accept as status quo is a long one.

And yet the Puget Sound Partnership sees a continued worsening of the environment measurements, across the broad spectrum of their monitoring. So is the status quo working for us?

Frankly, no. But we seem to not be at the tipping point, despite the pleas of ‘radicals’ whom we love, like Greta Thurnberg. On the Federal level, President Biden has put in place a woman who just may be the answer to the “status quo” at the Department of the Interior. Representative Deb Haaland is Native American, a citizen of Laguna Pueblo, the first to head the Interior department. She brings a radically new perspective to the department. Will she make a real difference? It remains to be seen, but I am hopeful. Rarely do Native Americans not bring a fresh perspective to government. But they aren’t always on the side of radical change.

I was reading an editorial tonight in Harper’s Magazine, the Easy Chair editorial by Hari Kunzru, on “Another World is Possible”. His article was about the radical issue of defunding the police. Is it so radical, he asked, given the behavior of many police departments and the massive industry built up to incarcerate mostly people of color? But what caught my eye was a quote, used in that context, that easily could be used here. I paraphrase only a bit.

“From the outsider’s perspective, the status quo does not seem like a delicately balanced organism that would be damaged by radical intervention, but an aberration that should be consigned to history…difficult as it may be to accept, the reformist perspective-that is, the belief that change will come about through a few politically palatable reforms-is the truly utopian one. Realism demands acceptance of the complex relationships between these problems…If you grow up in a culture that does something a certain way, it can seem not just normal, but natural…It can sometimes be difficult to picture an alternative.”

Harper’s Magazine, March 2021 Page 7

All radicals that have effected change were unwilling to accept reformist efforts. MLK, Gandhi, Billy Frank Jr. They demanded radical change. Who is willing to fill their shoes today? With the little time left us before the effects of our ignorance overwhelms our ecosystems, I suggest that radical ideas come to the front, and we really start talking about solutions that can solve problems rather than pretend the status quo is going to fix them.

Winding down Puget Sound’s 2020 targets, as approved shellfish acreage keeps going up – PSI

A good look at the state of shellfish bed recovery over the last 10 years, as measured by the Puget Sound Partnership. This is one indicator that seems to be going in a positive direction. Of course, the goal of this is to promote the conversion of public beaches into industrial aquaculture, so it’s a mixed bag. Some day we’ll see a real discussion in the public sphere about how many acres we are going to convert to industrial aquaculture before they are all turned into off limit farms for the profit of a few large aquaculture organizations. Good reporting from the Puget Sound Institute. Worth reading.

The never ending Spotted Owl saga

Once again, after the Trump Administration tried to roll-back the laws protecting the last remaining old growth on the Olympic Peninsula, the Biden Administration will take a look at whether science played any role at all. Likely not. Even if it goes through, it won’t bring back the one log trucks that helped wipe out virtually all of the habitat for old growth species. That ship sailed with the passage of shipping whole logs to Japan in the late 1970s, and that was about the time the last one log truck ran on the Peninsula.. Long before the Spotted Owl was the issue. Blame it on the desire to cut every last old growth for profit. The Spotted Owl issue was simply a logical outcome of wiping out the forests that they depend on.


The U.S. Interior Department is delaying and reviewing the Trump administration’s last-minute roll-back of federal protections for the imperiled northern spotted owl, which called for slashing protections from millions of acres of Northwest forests. On Jan. 15, just days before leaving office, the Trump administration published a final rule revising Endangered Species Act protections for the northern spotted owl. The rule lifted critical-habitat protections for the bird from 3.4 million acres in Oregon, Washington and California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s had proposed a far more modest revision, seeking to remove critical habitat status from a little over 200,000 acres in 15 counties in Oregon. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

OPB

Biden administration will reconsider northern spotted owl forest protection rollbacks

Texas and the lessons of deregulation

As millions of people freezing at home in the dark without electricity and potable water continues in first world Texas, there is one thing that Texas is not having a shortage of, and that’s political hot air about who and what is to blame for this fiasco.

The grid failure has nothing to do with the move to solar or wind energy, which makes up less than 10% of the energy generated in Texas. However that’s become the whipping boy of Republican politicians and right wing media. How about looking at the deregulation of this industry, which happened to avoid government regulation? Anyone sitting in the dark now down there think that was a good idea? Do you now understand what regulation helps to protect against? Might there be even more interest in solar and wind if your neighbors have power because they invested in it and you didn’t?

Texas has the only deregulated energy market in the United States. According to a simple Internet search, “One of the reasons why all of these plants are offline is because the Texas power grid is largely deregulated and privatized. As the Texas Tribune laid out in 2011, the state isolated its power grid from that of the rest of the nation because it didn’t want it to be subject to federal regulation.” That led to under investment in upgrading the grid, as profits sank due to competition.

In fact, for those savvy and wealthy enough to implement off the grid solar and wind power generation, two things that Texas has in abundance free, they would be sitting in a warm room right now.

No fake news here. Virtually all the scientists on the planet agree that we are creating unpredictable weather because of fossil fuel use. The Arctic has been heating much faster than the rest of the planet. Now that heat is apparently pushing the polar vortex south. This is just the early phases of what is to come as we refuse to implement radical change across the globe to minimize global warming. The time for half measures is over. It’s time to prepare for a most unpredictable next phase.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if heating the planet through fossil fuels leads to a mini ice age like Europe experienced from 1300 to 1850?

Welcome to the future.

Mission Blue and SR³ brings Hope Spot to Salish Sea

Interesting new marine hospital comes to the Pacific NW with the help of a number of non-profits from here. The head of this project appears to be Dr. Sylvia Earle one of the legends of Marine Science and environmental education. All good news.


For Immediate Release
SALISH SEA DECLARED A HOPE SPOT IN CELEBRATION OF NEW MARINE ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Executive Director and Veterinary Nurse Casey Mclean examines an elephant seal’s vital signs. NOAA Permit 18786

SEATTLE – February 17 – The Salish Sea has been declared a Hope Spot by international nonprofit Mission Blue in recognition of SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) and their partners’ conservation goals to protect the local marine biodiversity. SR³ is kicking off their celebration as the Hope Spot Champions with the opening of a new marine animal hospital in Des Moines, Wash., coming soon.

Connecting the waters between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada, the Salish Sea is bursting with iconic and beloved creatures like the endangered Southern Resident killer whales and humpback whales. As the original inhabitants of the sea, these mammals called the region home thousands of years before human beings walked to draw borders between countries, build ports, and develop commercial fishing to feed the rest of the two-legged world. Today, man’s impact on the ocean has created increasing threats for marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.



Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “The Salish Sea holds immensely important biodiversity. This body of water has provided the residents of Seattle up to Vancouver with vital natural resources for millennia. We must act now if we want to protect the ocean and its inhabitants from the destructive effects of human interference. I want to thank SR³ and their partners for their important work in marine animal research and rehabilitation – it’s so important that people are aware of the creatures that they share the ocean with. If the whales, seals and dolphins aren’t healthy, humans won’t be healthy, either.”

Casey Mclean, Hope Spot Champion and Executive Director of SR³, explains how marine animals serve as important indicators of ocean health and of environmental changes that can impact humans. She elaborates, “From warming ocean waters to entanglements, marine animals are increasingly suffering.” She continues, “Without a specialized marine wildlife hospital in the region, many sick and injured animals are left without hope for survival. It also limits our ability to gain insights that would drive protections for many more animals.”

From injured seals to entangled whales, SR³ works to ensure that struggling marine animals receive the expert help they need. Their SeaLife Rescue Center – the first marine wildlife specialty hospital in the Pacific Northwest – is opening soon. As a community-supported nonprofit, SR³ relies on donations from individuals who wish to invest in the health of their blue backyard.

The Salish Sea is home to some of the largest and longest-lived marine species on Earth, including the North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), the giant Pacific chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri), the largest barnacle (Balanus nubilus), plumose anemone (Metridium senile), the largest sea anemone, cabezon, lion’s mane jellyfish, and 25 species of rockfish that have life spans of 50-200 years.

Protecting the animals of the Salish Sea will benefit the entire ecosystem – regardless of human boundaries. New conservation policies and activities can draw attention to the many rivers and streams that feed into the sea that are in desperate need of habitat restoration and protection.

Cristina Mittermeier, internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, Managing Director and Co-founder at SeaLegacy, describes SeaLegacy’s work as a Hope Spot partner. “If we want to live in a healthy and abundant Salish Sea, we must first imagine what that looks like. With images and stories, SeaLegacy is inviting us to imagine a different balance between business and nature. If we can ignite an imagined future in which orcas are thriving, fish populations are revered, coastal communities re-engineer their economies to sustain tourism instead of squandering our finite resources, and the knowledge and rights of the First Nations of this land are honored, then I am sure we can turn the hope encapsulated in the idea of this Hope Spot, into a reality we can gift the next generation.”


Mclean elaborates, “By teaching people how their everyday actions are connected to local marine health – and ultimately their own health – we can make the Pacific Northwest a safer and healthier home for marine animals – and for all of us!”
        
“We live, work and play near and in these waters and recognize that the region is on the brink of something incredible. We can achieve a resilient, sustainable, and healthy Salish Sea by bringing together diverse voices, building a movement around a shared ocean ethic, and by igniting hope,” said Dr. Erin Meyer, Director of Conservation Programs and Partnerships at the Seattle Aquarium. “Designating the Salish Sea as a Mission Blue Hope Spot connects us to communities around the world who are working together to catalyze positive change.” 
        
As SR3 delivers emergency response for sick, injured or entangled marine animals, they collect critical data in the process that helps drive broader protections. For instance, as they work to free entangled whales, responders also learn how they became entangled and work closely with fishermen and government agencies to develop ways to prevent entanglements in the future. Using drones to conduct scientific research, SR³ collects important health data that informs protections for dwindling populations such as the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

SR³ and their partners believe that improving the health of the Salish Sea will require a hands-on approach from all angles. Their goals for the Hope Spot also include to deepen working relationships with local tribal entities, create a place of union between the many non-government organizations (NGOs) working to protect the life within the Salish Sea, and increasing public action for the support of legislation that impacts the Salish Sea and its inhabitants. In order to ignite the public’s response, they’re working to educate residents within the Salish Sea watershed about how its protection is critical for human health.

The Salish Sea Hope Spot partner organizations include Pacific Mammal ResearchWhale and Dolphin ConservationSeaLegacySeattle AquariumMarine Conservation InstituteOcean WiseEarth Law CenterSea SmartCoextinction FoundationPNW ProtectorsUnited and Free.

Despite the decimation of its species, the inundation of pollution from poorly planned development, and elimination of some critical habitats, the Salish Sea has survived. 

“All is not lost,” stresses Mclean. “This ecosystem is still alive. It is resilient, and we have the opportunity to restore it. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it.”


About SR³ – SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) rescues and protects marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. With a marine wildlife ambulance, response vessel, and specialized veterinary staff, SR³ fills a unique role in the West Coast’s marine mammal stranding network. The organization’s expert first responders stand ready to deploy every day to ensure suffering marine animals receive the expert care they so urgently need. SR³ also works to address the root cause of marine animal health issues through scientific research projects. A major focus of this program is the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, using drones to collect health data that inform conservation actions important to their survival. The organization will open the region’s first marine wildlife specialty hospital early this year. www.sr3.org

About Mission Blue – Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Esri ArcGIS. www.mission-blue.org

Please contact Casey Mclean, SR³ Executive Director at casey@sr3.org or (425) 346-9798 for high resolution images, interviews or more information.

###
— 

 EMILY CRAWFORD Founder / LUMINOSITY PR
 Pronouns: she/her/hers 206.880.3977 / Emily@LuminosityPR.com
 www.LuminosityPR.com

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: