Commerce Department proposes tripling the U.S. Aquaculture industry

This could have major impacts on the amount of Puget Sound shorelines converted into vast geoduck farms. Also the use of floating pens of seaweed etc. could be included in this. While we love to see aquaculture where appropriate, the scale of geoduck farms springing up all over the South Sound in particular has drawn criticism and lawsuits from homeowners and environmentalists alike. There has never been a public debate over how much is enough when it comes to conversion of our shorelines into industrial seafood farms. Now is a good time to consider this.

But in a presentation at a Commerce Department “Vision Setting Summit” this month, Rear Adm. Timothy Gallaudet, the agency’s acting administrator, suggested a change to that mission statement, as well as a new emphasis on tripling the size of the U.S. aquaculture industry within a decade and moving to “reduce the seafood trade deficit.”

Ocean science agency chief floats removing ‘climate’ from mission statement and focusing on trade deficit

Chinook Salmon season begins Monday in Puget Sound – KING

Get your rods and reels ready.

Chinook salmon season is always fun and exciting for anglers, but there are rules to follow to help sustain the population. This year the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is giving recreational anglers fewer opportunities to fish for Chinook in both the Columbia River and ocean waters compared to recent years. Tribal fisheries also face more restrictions to protect the salmon. Nonetheless, anglers will be out in full force during the season and can catch and keep hatchery chinook. In certain areas, (Marine Areas 9 and 10), anglers can keep one hatchery Chinook. Michelle Li reports. (KING)

Chinook Salmon season begins Monday in Puget Sound

Getting out there…

By Al Bergstein. All photos are copyrighted, and require permission to reuse. Thanks.
Bedwell Harbor Evening

A moment of Zen

I just finished a couple of weeks of getting outside again with friends. Getting out there was something I got hooked on early. Boy Scouts and a trip to back of beyond in the Quetico Superior Lake Boundary Waters. Countless books from the library on exploring. I never made the goals I set back then, but in many ways am still living them.

We started by rafting on the Grande Ronde in Eastern Oregon and ended with a sail to Campbell River from Port Townsend including a few stops in Desolation Sound.

It once again reinforces my basic belief that no matter where you go, at their core, most people are good folks, wanting to do the best to protect the wild and the scenic. While there is a resource extraction industry that our current administration wishes to give total run of doing what they want with the wild, there is also a huge industry that makes it’s living on recreation. It can’t be either or, it has to be a middle way, not an ultimatum.

On the Grande Ronde and around it,  a network of businesses supply the river rafting and fly fishing crowds. Even though we left the put-in with at least a dozen other boats, there were still lots of places to camp, and the feeling of being in the wilderness was quite complete. There was very little trace of anyone else having been there before us, though we knew there had been thousands. Good work folks.

grand ronde putin

Grande Ronde put in

Grande Ronde

On Admiralty Inlet, though, we twice had to capture birthday balloons that had left their parties and ended up floating around where wild creatures could eat them or get entangled in them. The folks letting the balloons loose likely never imagined that they were turning them into ocean garbage.  At the same time we were retrieving the lost balloons, a sailboat racing team on their way to Hawaii in a very competitive race lowered their sails and took the time to free a turtle they passed entangled in human ocean debris. In both cases, it was people stopping their forward motion for just a few minutes to do a small thing to save our ever diminishing wild resources. Read to the end of the story on the sea turtle to get the dramatic punchline.

Along the way to Dodd Narrows, we passed orcas breaching and spy hopping. We were drenched in a torrential downpour in Dodd Narrows. We saw a whale (likely Minke) feeding off our beam in the middle of the Strait of Georgia and more orcas crashing and splashing nearer to Powell River. We were tricked by the sea numerous times, thinking we saw something that was a tug boat, no, a lighthouse, no a tug, and in the end, a lighthouse in the middle of 600 feet of water. The top of a mountain sticking out of the middle of the Strait of Georgia.

We had an exhilarating downwind run with a pulsating following sea for hours from Naniamo to Hornby, as fine a day as I’ve ever had under sail. After arriving at Hornby, we helped two young power boaters get their boats safely to the dock, and for our efforts they rewarded us with fresh salmon they caught that afternoon. We played music for some of our neighbors on  the dock, including Debbie Bowles and her husband Marc. Debbie is an outstanding illustrator it turns out. Here’s two of her pieces of work, with her permission.

cr=w 1200,h 750,a cc

cr=w 1200,h 750,a cc

 

All serendipity. Would have never happened unless we put ourselves there, purposely.

Desolation Sound is still there, in all it’s glory. The site of two young paddle-boarders we passed, with guitar on one of their backs and full packs strapped to the boards heading off into the wilderness shows that you don’t need an expensive boat to go do something you’ll never forget.

We sailed through coves with people living on floating shacks, their sailboats tied alongside. Trudged for hours to find a decent meal, just because we wanted a change from the boat food for a night while in harbor.

We trolled the junk stores of Campbell River. After swapping the boat for my car, so my friend’s partner could join him, I stopped by the Campbell River museum and saw an outstanding exhibit of native masks and narratives on their story.  It was the first time I really understood how the masks were used in ceremony and storytelling. The exhibet that describes how the tribes lost 90% of their people to disease and other factors is amazing.

Lastly, as the Black Ball “Coho” crossed the Strait of Juan de Fuca on a picture perfect sunset, we were treated to spouting whales in the near distance.

Work is how we get ourselves out there. It’s means not the ends. The wild is what’s left of a world that once dominated us and fed us. Now we increasing think we dominate it, or so some of our so called ‘leaders’ think.  Tell that to our neighbors in Puerto Rico, or any of  dozens of other places around the globe. As the planet heats up and the poles melt we may find we have made a deal with a devil that was not what we bargained for. For thousands of years, here in the Northwest salmon were a free food that sustained humans and wild systems alike. Native nations are right in worshiping the fish.  What more could you ask for than a constant supply of high quality protein swimming by your front porch almost all year?  We have squandered that and are now struggling to save what’s left. There are hard decisions needing to be made. This week, Canada imposed a 200 meter distance to keep boaters away from Orcas with up to a $100K Cdn fine for violators. It’s causing huge backlash and no one really knows if it’s going to help. But it’s only a small symbol of the hard decisions that we as a society will have to make to actually save ourselves, let alone our planet’s current ecosystem.  And if we fail, the planet will heal itself again without us, as it has over hundreds of millions of years. Just float down the Grand Canyon to get a sense of scale and how easily we can find ourselves as fossils in layers in the rock.

We can’t change what’s happening, we can only develop the tools to cope with it. As most of humanity always has. It’s part of what gives me a small amount of hope.

So do it. Get out there. Recharge. And when you come back, get back in the fight. There is more at stake than ever.

Paddleboarders in Desolation Sound

Paddleboarders with guitar and packs head into Desolation Sound.

 

 

 

Analysis of Marine Debris – NOAA

Many of us are concerned about the amount of marine debris found on shorelines of the Pacific and Atlantic. But how big a problem is it, really? NOAA and Ocean  Conservancy have undertaken two surveys and the data has finally been released. What c an you do? Stop using plastics as much as possible. Be sure to get any you use into the trash or recycle. Avoid using balloons on the beaches. Teach your kids to put this stuff in the trash. Pack it out. Leave no trace.

An_analysis_of_marine_debris_in_the_US_SUMMARY_508

This project summary details the results of a rigorous analysis of the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project (MDMAP) dataset and the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup dataset. This study was funded by the NOAA Marine Debris Program and led by the Ocean Conservancy (OC) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) of Australia. This project used a statistical model to identify geographic patterns and trends in marine debris distribution, assess marine debris management actions, and produce recommendations to improve marine debris monitoring protocols in the US. From this in-depth analysis, it was estimated that there are between 20 million and 1.8 billion marine debris items along the shoreline of the continental United States at any given moment, given that debris is constantly being deposited onto and washed off the shoreline. Findings from OC’s dataset indicated high marine debris loads, or hotspots, on the shorelines of Texas, the Gulf States, California, and the Mid-Atlantic states. Analysis of NOAA’s data showed that container deposit legislation for plastic bottles in Hawaii, Oregon, and California was effective in reducing the amount of plastic bottles found on the shorelines of those states. For more results, check out the project summary and/or full report.

Whale strandings off Washington-Oregon coast highest in nearly 2 decades – Seattle Times

Not good news for our ocean friends. This on top of the massive strandings of a few years ago that littered the coast from California to Alaska with whale carcasses.

Sixteen gray and humpback whales have been reported stranded off Washington and Oregon since April 3, the largest number in nearly two decades.

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/crime/whale-strandings-off-washington-coast-highest-in-nearly-2-decades/

Don’t let politicians kill conservation’s bank account – High Country News

We find ourselves once again trying to save a very valuable resource to many smaller rural communities, the Land and Water Conservation Fund. Last year we also fought this battle. So please take a moment to read what this about, and send a letter to your representative asking to remember to save  it.

If you are under 50, you grew up in a country with city parks, zoos, tennis courts and basketball courts funded by the Land and Water Conservation Fund. If you camp, boat, hunt and fish, you probably use boat ramps and wildlife habitat secured with its money. The fund’s money has supported projects in 99 percent of counties in the United States.

https://www.hcn.org/articles/opinion-dont-let-politicians-kill-the-land-water-conservation-fund?utm_source=wcn1&utm_medium=email

UPDATE FROM REPRESENTATIVE DEREK KILMER:

I wrote to Rep. Kilmer this morning and received the following email reply:

Thank you for contacting me about the importance of supporting conservation of our lands and waters. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me.

Like you, one of the reasons I enjoy living in our region is because I value the richness of our environment. There wasn’t a summer of my childhood that didn’t involve going hiking in the Olympics or fishing with my dad and my brothers. Those experiences had a profound effect on me, and instilled in me the belief that these treasures are our birthright. We owe it to the generations that have come before and those that will come after – including to my two little girls – to protect the home that’s been left in our care.

One of the ways the federal government supports these efforts is through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.  Congress created the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in 1964. It preserves, develops, and ensures access to outdoor recreation areas and facilities. It provides matching grants to help states leverage their own funds to provide outdoor recreation facilities for their communities. For example, through LCWF grants, the City of Bremerton enhanced Blueberry Park and protected seven acres of wetlands. In Port Angeles, the fund contributed to building a new playground in Shane Park (the park where I played soccer – and lost a lot of games – as a kid). I support this grant program that has helped our region and people across Washington state to enjoy fun, safe recreational facilities and preserve and protect public lands.

Rep. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.) introduced H.R. 502, to permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund. I support this legislation and am proud to be a cosponsor. I feel strongly that this program should be made permanent and should be fully funded.

Since its introduction,the bill has been referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources where it awaits further action. I am hopeful that the Committee will hold a hearing on it soon so that we can learn more about the importance of the work funded by the LWCF.

Please know that as a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, I will continue to be a vocal advocate for the conservation of our lands and waters. We’ve got a lot of work to do to advance these important priorities.

I encourage you to continue to share your views with me on this topic or any other issue. Thank you for reaching out. It is an honor to serve as your representative.

 

DNR Proposes Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area

In an effort to protect some of the last remaining high quality lowland shorelines on the east side of the Hood Canal, the State Department of Natural Resources has proposed creation of a new conservation area. This was done in discussion with the Trust for Public Land, The Great Peninsula Conservancy and the Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group. Those of you who have driven the North Shore road, from around the south end of the Canal from Belfair, will remember that as you start north from the SW point you encounter a beautiful estuary that is very lightly inhabited. That’s Dewatto Bay.

The state will eventually offer fair market value to landowners if this goes through. However there is no requirement that landowners sell. The state has used this kind of process to secure land for perpetuity in other locations including here on the Olympic Peninsula.

The proposed Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA) seeks protection for approximately five miles of Hood Canal shoreline, including Dewatto Bay and Little Dewatto Bay. The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), along with our partners at the Trust for Public Land, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, and Great Peninsula Conservancy, are proposing a 1,700 acre NRCA to ensure conservation of important Hood Canal features for enjoyment by future generations: Lowland forests, high-functioning riparian areas, and vital nearshore and estuary habitat for fish and wildlife.

DNR manages NRCAs for conservation, wildlife habitat and low-impact recreation uses. An NRCA designation does not change local land-use zoning, permitted land uses, or development code requirements, and it imposes no new restrictions on landowners.

The Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will conducted two public information meetings on June 26th and June 28th in Dewatto and Belfair concerning the proposal of the Dewatto Natural Resources Conservation Area (NRCA). Staff from DNR’s natural areas program will hold a public hearing and a public comment period later this summer to provide information and receive testimony on the proposed boundary.

View the Proposed Dewatto NRCA Factsheet and Proposed Dewatto NRCA Boundary Map.

For more information, contact

Katie Woolsey

Natural Areas Manager

206-375-3558

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