Briefing: Legislative Priorities Lobby Days

From the newly named Washington Conservation Action organization.

Join us at Washington Conservation Action for our first, action-packed virtual briefing of 2023! 

What: Insider Briefing: Legislative Priorities, Lobby Days & our New Brand
When: Friday, February 10th, 1-2PM
How to Join: Via Zoom 

RSVP here to receive Zoom meeting link and login details 

As of January 1st, our former organizations Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters have joined forces to become Washington Conservation Action! We’ll kick off this briefing with a short update from Communications Director Zachary Pullin, who will share the latest about our new name and brand and answer your questions. From that point, we’ll dive right in and provide you with an insider peek on the work at hand.

With the 2023 legislative session in full swing, our Government Affairs Director, Darcy Nonemacher, will talk about our priorities in this long legislative session, how they build on previous environmental wins in the last few sessions and share her insights. Then they’ll provide an overview and sneak peek of Environmental Lobby Days 2023, which will be held on February 14-16th. They’ll share why this annual coming together of activists and advocates concerned about Washington’s environment is so important, provide a preview into the online sessions we’ll be offering, and offer thoughts on why you should get involved. Zachary, Darcy and I are excited to give you the inside scoop, so please join us! 

Kat  
Kat Holmes (she/her) 
Field Director
Washington Conservation Action
Washington Environmental Council and Washington Conservation Voters are now Washington Conservation Action.

Event: Northern Elephant Seals in the Pacific Northwest virtual program

Northern Elephant Seals in the Pacific Northwest virtual program on January 25th@7pm

Registration: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/northern-elephant-seals-in-the-pacific-northwest-tickets-483953085707

Please join the Friends of Fort Flagler to learn more about Northern elephant seal natural history and distribution. We will also discuss common causes of stranding in Northern elephant seals, field assessments and our recent hospital cases.

Presenters:

Casey Mclean has over 12 years’ experience working with marine animals, and is the Executive Director of SR3, Washington’s first dedicated marine animal hospital.  SR3 is a nonprofit organization that focuses on response, rehabilitation and research of local marine wildlife. The hospital opened the summer of 2021 and immediately started helping harbor seals. is fall they will be opening a marine animal hospital in the Des Moines marina, just south of Seattle. To learn more about SR3, visit https://www.sealifer3.org/

Michelle Rivard is the veterinarian for SR3.  Dr. Michelle Rivard is an aquatic animal veterinarian focused on clinical medicine, pathology, and health of free-ranging marine mammals. In her role at SR³, Michelle provides medical management and care of stranded aquatic wildlife, performs postmortem examinations, and participates in ongoing research projects.  Michelle attended veterinary school at Michigan State University. 

Friends of Fort Flagler is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoring, preserving and protecting the natural and historic resources of Fort Flagler State Park. Please support our state park by becoming a member, volunteering or donating to our organization. To learn more, visithttps://friendsoffortflagler.org/.

Ken Balcomb walks on

“It is not enough to have compassion. You must act.” Tenzin Gyatso 14th Dalai Lama

Incredibly sad news this morning that Ken Balcomb, the founder and senior scientist of the Center for Whale Research has passed. His influence on the protection of orcas in the Pacific Northwest cannot be underestimated. He was a giant in the world of whale research and environmental protection. While others may choose to work only on restoration, he was involved in restoration and protection. He didn’t just have compassion for the orca. He acted on it. All too few these days are really acting for protection of our natural world. Ken’s life is an example for all of us.

He will be missed.

Rather than write an obit, here is where you can read about his life and career.

kcb | CWR (whaleresearch.com)

What you should know about Industrial Raised Shellfish Aquaculture: An overview

Kristina Sinclair gave a presentation to the Protect the Peninsula’s Future’s (PPF) meeting last night. I share her presentation with you with her permission. The questions that this presentation raises are many. What is the limit to these operations on our beaches? How much of the Sound and Hood Canal do we the people of this State want to see turned into the images in this presentation? Since 2000 the State has engaged in a promotion of commercial geoduck aquaculture for the profit of a small number of companies selling almost entirely to China. Do we want this to continue unabated? Can we expect local state and federal legislators who receive significant political contributions from these businesses to make changes on our behalf? Without considerable public outcry this will continue. Watch this slideshow, look at the map and you make up your mind.


Kristina Sinclair is an Associate Attorney at the Center for Food Safety (CFS), where she focuses on environmental cases challenging industrial agriculture, including commercial shellfish.

Kristina earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. While in law school, Kristina was an Articles Editor for the California Law Review. She also participated in the Environmental Law Clinic, served on the steering committee for Students for Economic and Environmental Justice, and worked as a teaching assistant for Appellate Advocacy. Upon graduation, she received recognition for her pro bono work and a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law.

Since joining CFS, Kristina has been working on a lawsuit challenging highly disruptive industrial shellfish operations in Washington. In this case, CFS and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound allege that the U.S. Army Corps (USACE) failed to properly consider the potential risks before reissuing the nationwide permit for commercial shellfish activities in January 2021, in violation of the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Endangered Species Act. In addition, USACE has authorized over 400 commercial shellfish operations without any public notice or environment review. Consequently, these operations have significant adverse effects on Washington’s local environment and wildlife.  In this presentation Kristina provides an overview of USACE’s shellfish permitting requirements, as well as the ongoing litigation challenging USACE’s unlawful shellfish permitting actions. She also shares some insights from this legal work and potential opportunities for future advocacy.  

  • Background on USACE’s Permitting Requirements
  • History of USACE’s Unlawful Permitting Actions in Washington
  • Previous Case
  • Current Case
  • Future Opportunities

Interactive map of Industrial Shellfish Aquaculture in Puget Sound & Hood Canal.

Below is the PDF of the Slideshow. It is over 4MBs so it might load slow on a slow link.

A Stark Assessment

Photos from around the world by New York Times photographers. Got friends or family who don’t believe Climate Change is real? Send them this set of photos.

Our Changing World: The Climate Crisis in Pictures – The New York Times (nytimes.com)

EVENT: Join Protect the Peninsula’s Future for its 49th Year Celebration (Virtual) 

The PPF has been spearheading environmental challenges to the most difficult problems we have faced: a nuclear power plant on Miller Peninsula, Northern Tier pipeline that would have gone in right off Protection Island, and more recently, the ever-growing industrial shellfish industry and their often illegally permitted farms, as proven in a court case against the Army Corps of Engineers.

Thursday, November 17, 7:00 PM        RSVP to PPF@olympus.net to receive the Zoom connection*

Our featured speaker this year is Kristina Sinclair, Associate Attorney at the Center for Food Safety

Topic: “What You Should Know About Industrial Raised Shellfish

*Space is limited to 100.

Kristina Sinclair is an Associate Attorney at the Center for Food Safety (CFS), where she focuses on environmental cases challenging industrial agriculture, including commercial shellfish.

Kristina earned her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law. While in law school, Kristina was an Articles Editor for the California Law Review. She also participated in the Environmental Law Clinic, served on the steering committee for Students for Economic and Environmental Justice, and worked as a teaching assistant for Appellate Advocacy. Upon graduation, she received recognition for her pro bono work and a Certificate of Specialization in Environmental Law.

Webinar: Since joining CFS, Kristina has been working on a lawsuit challenging highly disruptive industrial shellfish operations in Washington. In this case, CFS and Coalition to Protect Puget Sound allege that the U.S. Army Corps (USACE) failed to properly consider the potential risks before reissuing the nationwide permit for commercial shellfish activities in January 2021, in violation of the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, and Endangered Species Act. In addition, USACE has authorized over 400 commercial shellfish operations without any public notice or environment review. Consequently, these operations have significant adverse, effects on Washington’s local environment and wildlife.  In this webinar, Kristina will provide an overview of USACE’s shellfish permitting requirements, as well as the ongoing litigation challenging USACE’s unlawful shellfish permitting actions. She will also share some insights from this legal work and potential opportunities for future advocacy.  

  • Background on USACE’s Permitting Requirements
  • History of USACE’s Unlawful Permitting Actions in Washington
  • Previous Case
  • Current Case
  • Future Opportunities

Event: Birding in the Park: Fort Flagler

Birding and nature tours are now being held on the 4th Saturday of each month. Wear sturdy footwear and dress for changeable weather. bring binoculars and your own water.

Registration: Please send Bev an email, subject: Birdwatching Walk to Bevybirds53@gmail.com and she will plan directly with you. Please note this program is dependent on good weather.

Presenter: Beverly McNeil, Admiralty Audubon trip leader and photographer, has been conducting bird walks at Fort Flagler. Beverly’s photographs are displayed at the Port Townsend Gallery: http://porttownsendgallery.com/artists/beverly-mcneil/.

Friends of Fort Flagler is a non-profit organization dedicated to the restoring, preserving and protecting the natural and historic resources of Fort Flagler State Park. Please support our state park by becoming a member, volunteering or donating to our organization. To learn more, visit https://friendsoffortflagler.org/.

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
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