Another ‘Sexualized Culture’ Investigation At Fish And Wildlife Leads To Firings -NW News Network

This is a scandal of epic proportions.  Be prepared for the fallout on this to decimate WDFW. This apparently goes far beyond one fish hatchery.
Four Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife employees were fired this month after an investigation found an “extremely sexualized culture” at a fish hatchery on the Columbia River. One woman who worked at the hatchery told investigators she sought a seasonal job elsewhere to escape the “constant, daily sexual banter.” The misconduct at the Wells Hatchery near Pateros in Okanogan County follows a 2015 report that found a sexual climate among some members of the executive management team at Fish and Wildlife headquarters in Olympia. Austin Jenkins reports. (NW News Network)

http://knkx.org/post/another-sexualized-culture-investigation-fish-and-wildlife-leads-firings

Three in five vessels honour Port of Vancouver go-slow request to protect killer whales- Vancouver Sun

More good news.

Almost 60 per cent of ocean-going vessels are so far honouring a request by the Port of Vancouver to go slow in critical habitat of endangered southern resident killer whales in the Salish Sea, according to preliminary statistics for the program’s first week of operation. “We’re very encouraged, after week one, with those participation rates,” Orla Robinson, manager of the port’s Enhancing Cetacean Habitat and Observation program, said in an interview. “They’re pretty impressive.” …. The port is asking ships this summer to voluntarily slow to 11 knots — up to about a 40-per-cent reduction — when transiting Haro Strait to reduce noise levels for the killer whales. Larry Pynn reports. (Vancouver Sun)

Three in five vessels honour Port of Vancouver go-slow request to protect killer whales

Northwest Scientists Make The Case For Spilling More Water Over Dams – Earthfix

On Wednesday, dozens of scientists made their case for spilling more water over dams in the Columbia River Basin. In a letter sent to Northwest lawmakers in Congress, they outlined and “reaffirmed” scientific evidence that more spill is critical to protecting threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead. Earlier this year, U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon ordered Columbia River dam managers to spill more water by 2018 to help fish protected under the Endangered Species Act. But several Northwest lawmakers are aiming to block that order with a bill they’ve introduced in Congress. Spilling more water over dams reduces the amount of hydropower produced and raises the price of electricity. Cassandra Profita reports. (OPB/EarthFix)

http://www.opb.org/news/article/northwest-scientist-spill-water-dam-letter-congress-2017/

CENTER FOR FOOD SAFETY SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO PROTECT WASHINGTON’S COASTAL WATERS

Well, this is going to be interesting.

Portland, OR—Today, Center for Food Safety (CFS) filed a federal lawsuit to stop the Trump administration, through its U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), from greenlighting a massive expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture in Washington state coastal waters. Industrial aquaculture already threatens Washington’s iconic and invaluable shorelines and bays, which are home to numerous marine species, including endangered salmon. However, the new 2017 permit issued by the Trump administration and now challenged in this case would allow an enormous expansion of the $100-million-dollar-a-year Washington state aquaculture industry, without any marine wildlife or water quality protections for these unique and sensitive ecosystems.

“The Corps’ mission is to protect public waters from harmful environmental impacts, but this permit violates that mission and federal law,” said Amy van Saun, CFS staff attorney, based out of its Pacific Northwest office. “The Corps cannot allow unbridled industrial aquaculture at the expense of Washington’s wildlife and residents. We will hold them accountable to the law and reverse this dangerous approval.”

The permit in question would allow shellfish aquaculture acreage to double to an estimated 72,300 acres, or a third of all Washington shorelines, including critical spawning and feeding grounds for forage fish, invertebrates like Dungeness crab, finfish like salmon and green sturgeon, and birds. Many of these species rely on eelgrass and other aquatic vegetation, and eelgrass helps to mitigate the effects of climate change on oceans. Industrial shellfish aquaculture is known to reduce or eliminate eelgrass, including though the use of pesticides. Yet the new permit has no restrictions on pesticide use, and the agency refused to even examine the impacts of pesticide use on shellfish beds and the surrounding tidal habitat.

“Unlike other pollutants, pesticides kill living organisms by design so are inherently dangerous. They are known to move around in the environment, especially in water, and harm non-target species,” said Dr. Marti Crouch, Ph.D, consulting scientist for CFS.

Neither does the permit restrict the enormous use of plastics by the industry, like the 42,000 PVC tubes per acre covered in plastic netting used to grow geoducks (a type of clam grown almost exclusively for the luxury export market). Netting can trap and entangle wildlife, while the plastics breakdown into microplastics that are hazardous to marine organisms, including the very shellfish being grown for human consumption.

Ignoring these impacts, the Corps’ new permit provides no protections for eelgrass, forage fish, and other species. Mirroring the lack of transparency in the Trump administration in many other contexts, the assessment was secret until after the final decision and even then, failed to explain how the agency would mitigate the permit’s harmful impacts.

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. Federal Court for the Western District of Washington, argues that the Trump administration violated numerous foundational environmental laws when it approved the Washington state permit, including the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Administrative Procedure Act. In addition, on June 21, 2017, CFS also separately filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue because the approval also violated the Endangered Species Act.

This is not the first time the Corps’ unlawful shellfish permitting has been challenged in court. In 2015, another public interest group petitioned the Corps to stop using the previous version of the current permit and then sued, claiming that the Corps failed to examine or prevent the ongoing and expanding harm to the Puget Sound ecosystem caused by the rapid expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture.

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About Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety’s mission is to empower people, support farmers, and protect the earth from the harmful impacts of industrial agriculture. Through groundbreaking legal, scientific, and grassroots action, we protect and promote your right to safe food and the environment. Please join our more than 900,000 advocates across the country at www.centerforfoodsafety.org. Twitter: @CFSTrueFood@CFS_Press

Per the opening of the lawsuit.

Washington State is home to unique and invaluable coastal ecosystems that are threatened by the unchecked expansion of industrial shellfish aquaculture. This lawsuit challenges the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) issuance of Nationwide Permit (NWP) 48 in Washington State without considering or fully disclosing the environmental impacts of its approval, an approval which greenlights a massive expansion of shellfish aquaculture with entirely inadequate protections. The Corps has a duty to protect public waters from cumulatively adverse impacts, but it has violated its environmental protection mission by issuing 2017 NWP 48 in Washington.

An excellent overview of the state of the salmon in Puget Sound

Chris Dunagan is one of the best reporters in the Pacific NW covering the Salish Sea. Here’s a great overview of the state of the salmon.

Are we making progress on salmon recovery?

In recent decades, hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent to restore habitat for Puget Sound salmon. In this article, we look at how scientists are gauging their progress. Are environmental conditions improving or getting worse? The answer may depend on where you look and who you ask. Chris Dunagan reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

https://www.eopugetsound.org/magazine/is/salmon-recovery

Some Tuna Can Carry Up To 36 Times The Toxic Chemicals Of Others. Here’s Why – NPR

At my age I’m not going to waste time being concerned about how much pollutants I am consuming (I spent my youth running behind mosquito foggers, so I feel lucky to be alive!). But for those of you pregnant and nursing, along with any of you raising small children, this should be a big yellow flag, and I would consider monitoring your intake of tuna.

We have allowed the planet’s oceans to turn into our cesspools under the deluded notion that “the solution to pollution is dilution” (pun intended). We show no intention of slowing this slide. Now a new study shows that some places, oddly North American coastal areas, are polluting our natural food sources worse than other places, like the Indian Ocean. The samples from the North East Pacific Ocean were taking off California, not the Gulf of Alaska. So, this is a new thing to ask about at the fish store. Be sure to buy your fish from someone who can tell you when and where it was caught. A real fish monger is an educational resource.

A new study may prompt hand wringing among you tuna poke and sushi lovers. When it comes to pollutant levels, researchers now say where your tuna was caught matters. In a first-of-its-kind global study, scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego analyzed 117 yellowfin tuna taken from 12 locations worldwide, measuring the contaminant levels of each. They found yellowfin tuna caught closer to more industrialized locations off North America and Europe can carry 36 times more pollutants — including pesticides, flame retardants and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) — than the same species caught in more remote locations, like in the West Pacific Ocean. Clare Leschin-Hoar reports. (NPR)

http://kuow.org/post/some-tuna-can-carry-36-times-toxins-others-heres-why

Northwest farmers urge Trump administration to sidestep salmon protection rules – AP

Ah yes, some of the folks in Eastern Washington and Idaho, people who’s livelihood was created by the tax payer funded dam projects that irrigated the dry eastern side of our state are back wanting the Feds to kill off the remaining runs of salmon for their short term benefits. These people, who have continued to complain for decades about the intrusion of the very government that created the dams and their farms, now wants it’s help again. This time to overrule the laws that protect our remaining runs of salmon. One of the big supporters of these folks has been Rush Limbaugh, among other radical right wing folks. You can bet your bottom dollar that if this committee ever comes to fruition, there will be not a single environmental representative on it.

A group that represents farmers is calling the costs of saving imperiled salmon in the largest river system in the Pacific Northwest unsustainable and is turning to the Trump administration to sidestep endangered species laws. The Columbia-Snake River Irrigators Association wants the government to convene a Cabinet-level committee with the power to allow exemptions to the Endangered Species Act. Known as the “God squad” because its decisions can lead to extinctions of threatened wildlife, it has only gathered three times — the last 25 years ago during a controversy over spotted owl habitat in the Northwest. Keith Ridler reports. (Associated Press)

http://www.seattletimes.com/business/trump-administration-urged-to-avoid-salmon-protection-rules/

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