Event: Forest Defense is Climate Defense – Port Townsend 9-17

Please join Center for Sustainable EconomyCenter for Responsible Forestry, and the Emergency Conservation Committee PNW on September 17th, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM at the Port Townsend Community Center (right next to Farmers Market)  for a panel discussion on the climate impacts of industrial logging activities and what decision makers at the federal, state, and local level can do to scale up climate smart alternatives that represent a win-win-win for climate, communities, and workers. More information about the event can be found here. Please share the event on Facebook here. The panel will feature former Commissioner of Public Lands (2009-2017) Peter Goldmark, Dr. John Talberth, and Jessica Randall speaking about the scientific and economic case for protecting Olympic forests for their climate benefits and what strategies are in play to accomplish that goal. A lively discussion will follow, so please be prepared to share ideas on what you think needs to happen. See you then!

Four years after Tahlequah’s journey, the legal and ethical debates over orca protection continue to evolve

Salish Sea Currents looks back and forward on the game changing plight of Tahlequah, the mother who lost her young orca.

It has been four summers since a mother orca’s dramatic vigil brought worldwide attention to the plight of Puget Sound’s southern resident killer whales. A recent gathering of legal experts, conservationists, and academic scholars looked at how perceptions of the whales have changed since then and whether laws and policies should reflect new thinking about ethical responsibilities to orcas and other animals. Sarah DeWeerdt reports. (Salish Sea Currents)

Salish Sea Currents

EVENT: Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Our Climate 

Sierra Club North Olympic Group’s June Presentation (Online only)
Dr. Chad T. Hanson Research Ecologist and Author Thursday, June 16, 7PM  

RSVP:  https://act.sierraclub.org/events/details?formcampaignid=7013q000002GriJAAS

Natural fires are as essential as sun and rain in fire-adapted forests, but as humans encroach on wild spaces, fear, arrogance, and greed have shaped the way that people view these regenerative events and have given rise to misinformation. The peril that these myths pose to forests is profound—affecting whole habitats and the wildlife that depend on them. The exploitation of these carbon dioxide-absorbing ecosystems also threatens humanity’s chance of overcoming the climate crisis. 

Dr. Chad Hanson will address these issues and suggest a better, science-based, and more hopeful path forward, as he discusses in his new book, 

Smokescreen: Debunking Wildfire Myths to Save Our Forests and Our Climate 

https://www.kentuckypress.com/9780813181073/smokescreen/

Dr. Hanson is a research ecologist and the director of the John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute, located in Big Bear City, California, and has a Ph.D. in ecology with a research focus on fire ecology in conifer forest ecosystems. He has published dozens of peer-reviewed studies on forest and fire ecology and is also the co-editor and co-author of the 2015 book, The Ecological Importance of Mixed-Severity Fires: Nature’s Phoenix.

Whale Trail Spring Gathering 2022 

The Whale Trail runs through the Strait, with viewing locations along the way. Perhaps you might be interested in attending this event. I don’t believe it’s online. In person only. It is in West Seattle, so those on the West side of the Sound could take a ferry and walk, bike or bus to the event.


Welcome Spring with special guests Rachel Aronson (Quiet Sound), researcher Mark Sears and Whale Trail Director Donna Sandstrom on March 24, 7 p.m., in West Seattle. Rachel will introduce us to Quiet Sound, a new program to protect whales by reducing noise and disturbance from large vessel like tankers, container ships and ferries. Mark will share photos from recent field research, including encounters with southern resident orcas. Donna will recap news around The Whale Trail, including upcoming events to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Springer’s rescue! Attendance limited; masks optional but recommended. Register here. 

2022 NW Toxic Communities Summit -3/26

UW SRP and the NW Toxic Communities Coalition are excited to announce the 2022 NW Toxic Communities Summit on Saturday, March 26, 9 am–4 pm PST.

This year’s theme is “Together We Can – Scientists and Advocates Working Together for Environmental Health” – speakers include Joel Clement (Harvard University), Robert Martin (former EPA Ombudsman), Jill Witowski Heaps (Earthjustice), Rhonda Kaetzal (ATSDR), Millie Piazza (WA Dept of Ecology), and Denise Trabbic-Pointer (Sierra Club).  

Please see attached poster and REGISTER HERE.

Science center to open shop in PT

While this story is behind a paywall, worth noting that the Port Townsend Marine Science Center is finally opening their downtown location. Go check it out!

The Port Townsend Marine Science Center will open its doors to the public Friday to show off the completion of the first phase of the nonprofit organization’s move from Fort Worden State Park to downtown. About 50 people attended a crisp outdoor ceremony Wednesday that highlighted the center’s 40-year anniversary and its pledge for conservation and marine stewardship. Brian McLean reports.

(Peninsula Daily News)

EVENT: Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Schedule

The premiere conference on the science of the Salish Sea.


Check out the program schedule for the three-day virtual conference Apr. 16, 27, 28. Registration deadline April 20.

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference schedule

Event: Feb 2-Salmon on the Elwha since dam removal

Excellent talk happening tomorrow, Thursday February 3 at 12:30pm on how salmon have fared following dam removal on the Elwha River!Join the presentation HERE:  https://bit.ly/3rPBGUB

The Northwest Spotted-Owl Wars: No Happily Ever After – CrossCut

NW Environmental writer Dan Chasen puts together a good look at the Spotted Owl controversy and what is in store for the endangered bird.

So, where does this leave us? The most prominent environmental battle of the late 20th century; the most ambitious ecosystem management plan ever attempted; the most acres of critical habitat for a listed species; the only environmental conflict that has been the subject of a conference led by the President and attended by a good deal of the Cabinet; a species in a steep, scientifically-acknowledged and widely-reported decline — even with all those factors the FWS can’t find time to boost its status from “threatened” to “endangered?” This is bizarre. But hardly surprising.

https://www.postalley.org/2021/12/17/the-northwest-spotted-owl-wars-no-happily-ever-after/

Postscripts 2021: Jerry Franklin is still standing up and speaking out for our old-growth forests – Seattle Times

The venerable professor from the U.W.is still hard at work promoting the science of old growth and second growth forests. Don’t know who he is? Follow the link below to the summary article and then follow the links in the article to read his writings.

Franklin was among the first to discover the unique ecological value of old-growth trees and forest ecosystems. He also was among a team of scientists whose work led to the protection of old growth on federal land in Washington, Oregon and Northern California through the implementation of the Northwest Forest Plan in 1994.

https://www.seattletimes.com/pacific-nw-magazine/postscripts-2021-jerry-franklin-is-still-standing-up-and-speaking-out-for-our-old-growth-forests/

Event: 2022 Environmental Lobby Day

WHEN: January 25th, 26th and 27th

WHERE: ONLINE

https://www.facebook.com/events/223059966492649/?active_tab=discussion

Join the 350 WA Network, Our Climate, Re-Sources, Climate Reality Project, Environmental Priorities Coalition and hundreds of activists to push for key environmental health and justice legislation in 2022. During lobby days, you will team up with other activists from your district to speak up for the environmental health and justice and gain the skills to be a persuasive constituent. You’ll have the opportunity to attend online issue briefings, learn how to lobby, hear from environmental champions, and meet virtually with your elected officials to advance important environmental legislation. Stay tuned for more details and pre-register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZItce…
Email kat@wcvoters.org with questions

EVENT: “We Are Puget Sound” Photo Exhibit at PTMSC

Washington Environmental Council is partnering with the Port Townsend Marine Science Center to bring this exhibit to the north Olympic Peninsula community. The We Are Puget Sound traveling photo exhibit will be on display at the Marine Science Center’s Flagship store in downtown Port Townsend from December 18, 2021 through February 2022.

The photo series explores people, places, and wildlife through extraordinary images, describes human connections in the past and present, and showcases community members engaged in remarkable efforts that benefit Puget Sound and all of us.  

The in-person photo exhibit will inspire and engage people on the Olympic Peninsula to join together and preserve this vital ecosystem and the livelihoods they support by focusing on one action each month from the campaign’s 10 Things You Can Do for Puget Sound.

The exhibit highlights 18 striking images from the book We Are Puget Sound: Discovering and Recovering the Salish Sea (Braided River, 2019). It also features work from  13 regional photographers showcasing individuals who are working to find meaningful solutions to protect the Puget Sound’s waters, wildlife, and the human health and economic prosperity this region supports.

2022 Puget Sound Budget

The Puget Sound Partnership (PSP) has released an initial budget for Puget Sound Restoration projects in 2022. These are the prioritized projects in total that will get funding from the PSP. There are a number of projects underway or awaiting funding to address dozens of root causes of the shape of the Sound. Habitat restoration, removing culverts, restoring streams, toxic reductions, monitoring projects, hatchery enhancements, helping farmers better farm for sustainability, education to foster better decisions by the public, the list is huge. When critics discuss restoring Puget Sound, they often look at the issue from only one lens (i.e. hatchery funding, etc.). This budget is looking at the 360 degree view of all that is currently on the table for restoration projects.


Each year, the Puget Sound Partnership develops a prioritized list of state agency budget requests related to Puget Sound recovery. The Partnership shares this list with the Office of Financial Management, relevant legislative committee members and staff, and our partners. As the Governor and legislators release their respective budget proposals, the Partnership updates information about the Puget Sound Budget to reflect the most recent information.

https://psp.wa.gov/puget-sound-budget.php
To interact with this chart, go to https://psp.wa.gov/puget-sound-budget.php

Pat Neal’s Alternative Universe of Salmon Restoration

An Alternative Universe (NASA)

The following letter (edited to 250 words) was sent to the PDN this morning.

It was dismaying to see the PDN give column space today to the opinions of Pat Neal and his alternative universe of salmon restoration. If I read it right, he offers nothing but criticism of what he calls “The Salmon Restoration Industry” and no actual concrete proposals other than “build and fund more hatcheries” as if this will somehow fix the slow extinction of salmon in our region. It’s so easy to ignore the decades of science, funding and citizen involvement that has brought us to this point of restoration, as well as ignoring the habitat destruction that all of us contributed to over the last 100 years. I guess it’s easy to stand on the river and pretend hatcheries will fix everything.

Virtually all scientists agree on an “All H” method of salmon restoration. This means addressing Habitat, Hydro (dams, rivers, lakes),Hatcheries and Harvest. Increase and restore habitat. Monitor and manage river flows, well densities, fix hydropower issues, or perhaps tear down dams. Increase hatchery size and type. And manage harvest to save runs. The current “salmon restoration industry” as Neal so derisively puts it, has been established *because* of the need to address all four of these issues. If it’s failing, maybe it’s from something other than ongoing support. Like needing even more funding which is substantial but nowhere near enough. Perhaps more enforcement of the regulations on the books. Well, the list of what could be done goes on and on. Easy to pick your favorite solution and say “if only”.

Hatcheries have been given far more importance in budgets over the last 10 years, including large increases proposed by the Governor in his 2019 and 2021 budgets at the behest of sports fishermen and tribes (2020/21 had cuts to everything due to the Pandemic). This despite mounting scientific evidence that hatcheries produce fish that compete for food with wild stock and reduce genetic diversity. Salmon for fishermen and not for whales or the ecosystem at large. Neal uses hatchery numbers from 1961 to supposedly show that these hatchery fish were the reasons we had such a huge amount of salmon in our waters. Given the survival rate of hatchery fish it seems absurd to draw a conclusion like that. It ignores that we had dramatically fewer people, a climate under some semblance of stability, and had yet to finish destroying virtually all old growth forests between here and Juneau. But the signs of impending doom were clear to those that wanted to look.

Neal’s use of the Dungeness River as an example is perfect. It is a perfect example of not understanding history. For my 2010 movie “Voices of the Strait” I interviewed fishermen who were on the Dungeness in the 40s, 50s and 60s and their stories all were the same: they understood but had no way to stop the unrestrained destruction of habitat that they witnessed, including the cutting of irrigation channels into the Dungeness during peak salmon return seasons, leaving millions of fish to die without spawning. They had no environmental vocabulary to describe it,as we do now. They just all said, “what a waste”.The diking of the Dungeness only helped to kill the river by accelerating the river flow and wiping out locations where the fish spawned. It was done for the benefit of farmers and homeowners, not salmon. The late Port Angeles angler Dick Goin actually documented the losses in his unpublished “Roll Call of the Lost” counts of the loss of fish on all our rivers. I have a copy if anyone is interested. He saw it in real time. The hatcheries Neal describes were created to *fix* that problem, and yet the science shows it’s not nearly enough and they are failing to produce significant results. For instance, we now know by scat analysis what Orcas actually eat and it’s not hatchery salmon but fish from the Fraser and Columbia.

Additionally, charter fishermen who I interviewed described to me in vivid detail that there were no limits on sports fishing up until the 1960s, despite their pleas to Fish & Wildlife to not waste the fish. The sports fishermen from Seattle would come out, catch 30 to 40 fish in a day and leave with a few in their coolers. The charter fishermen couldn’t hire enough kids to clean the fish so they would just throw them back in the Strait when the guys from the east side of the Sound left. They knew this was wrong but had no power to stop it and no storage for the fish. Limits on salmon were finally put in, too little too late. Now we are at place where shutting down the season appears as the only way to protect the runs from complete destruction.

Habitat restoration has been funded due to the efforts of the Tribes, the Counties, the Cities, the State, the Feds, sports and commercial fishermen and hundreds of other people who have *volunteered* their time to work on this. They sit in interminably long, boring meetings trying to come to consensus. They debate long lists of priorities. There is not the money for all of the priorities. The results of their work may take decades to show up in any significant numbers. It is like a giant puzzle with the pieces fitting together and finally, near the end, painting a bigger picture.

Pat ignores the history of international fishing fleets with gear so good they could laugh about who would catch the last fish, as one old timer who fished with them told me. Pat ignores our own logging for raw logs right here on the Peninsula to ship to Japan in the 70s & 80s, wiping out entire ecosystems of salmon runs for the quick profit of the few. He ignores that we clearcut over 90% of old growth forests until the Feds put an end to it due to documented losses of species, like salmon and birds. He ignores the enormous build out of suburbs & exurbs around Puget Sound most with little or no efforts back then to protect fish. I watched that happen myself, seeing subdivisions on the East side of Lake Washington build right down to the banks of streams and small lakes. Or ignoring 100 years of culverts put into roads for our benefit that cut off salmon from returning to spawn. And the armoring of shorelines around Puget Sound that is still going on. And of course ignoring a warming climate that could make all these efforts go for naught. All of it nibbling away at the habitat and the fish until there wasn’t enough left. And of course, there was the Boldt Decision, used for propaganda purposes to demonize the very people who have done the most to attempt the restoration. Love them or hate them, they haven’t sat idly by while the fish vanish. They are at the table, working to save them using the best available science today.

Will the efforts to restore runs succeed? We don’t know yet, but some runs on the Elwha are returning, just not yet the chinook in any numbers. As are some runs on Jimmy Come Lately Creek and others. It costs a lot of time, people and money to fix 100 years of destruction.

No one I’ve talked to or read in the last 20 years who is seriously working on this issue, other than Pat Neal, thinks simply making more hatchery fish is some kind of solution. Pat, you have a lot of passion, how about working to help solve the problems rather than ignore the scientists and anglers who have been in the trenches fighting to reverse this ? Your passion might be useful if you are willing to listen and learn.

Shore Friendly Living – Vegetation Management Webinar for Shoreline Landowners

Ever wonder how native plants can strengthen a shoreline? The Northwest Straits Foundation presented Ben Alexander of Sound Native Plants sharing his extensive knowledge of use of native vegetation for shoreline and habitat improvement. In this virtual workshop, Ben covered a range of topics including soil structures, root strength and the role of shoreline vegetation. Ben also provided details on removal of invasive species and restoration methods with native plant species. A recording of the webinar is available on the Northwest Straits Foundation’s YouTube channel. 

Contact Lisa Kaufman, Northwest Straits Foundation Nearshore Program Manager for more information: kaufman@nwstraitsfoundation.org

What could you eat 500 years ago in the Pacific Northwest? Seattle Times & Spokesman-Review

What would your meal look like long before Europeans arrived here? An interesting quick read on the native plants and animals that were staples for those that lived off this land for thousands of years. Who catches eels out of our rivers anymore? When did you last eat Camas?

Camas photo by Jim Choate

The mechanized system of food production has churned over recent centuries, but when the land was occupied only by Indigenous people whose ties to the land had deep roots, the Pacific Northwest served an abundance of helpful herbs, fragrant flowers, fat-rich fish and vital vegetables that could easily make a feast.

The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.

Read the rest of the story at:

https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/what-could-you-eat-in-500-years-ago-in-the-pacific-northwest/

EVENT: Shore Friendly Living workshop OCT 21

These folks put on good events and have been very successful in helping shoreline land owners properly manage their vegetation to protect the shores.


Effective management of vegetation on marine shorelines can make the difference in slowing erosion, reducing stormwater runoff, and improving nearshore habitat for salmon, forage fish, and Orcas.We invite you to join our free “Shore Friendly Living” virtual workshop series on Thursday, October 21st from 6:00-8:00pm to learn the benefits of using native vegetation for slope stability and habitat from Ben Alexander of Sound Native Plants. Some additional topics Ben will cover include: soil composition and drainage, removing invasive plant species, native plant selection, and planting techniques for bluffs and shoreline properties.Click below to register for the workshop. A link to the Zoom invitation will be sent following registration. 
Register now!
To learn more about Shore Friendly Living and how to be a good steward to these habitats we all value as residents of the Salish Sea, check out our website. You can also sign up for a free site visit with a coastal professional.
Website

Undersea Photographer’s show open in Port Townsend – PDN

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


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

Undersea photographer’s show open in Port Townsend

The Cotton Tote Crisis – NY Times

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

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes – The Narwhale

An interesting interview with one of the scientists who early on figured out the differences between a “forest” and a “tree farm”.


From eating dirt as a child to discovering the mycorrhizal network below the forest floor, Simard has spent her entire career trying to find answers about how forests work; now, armed with those answers, she’s calling for change. Matt Simmons report. (The Narwhal)

Finding the Mother Tree: ecologist Suzanne Simard offers solutions to B.C.’s forest woes

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