Northwest Straits MRC Conference Begins

NWSTRAITS 2019 Collage 1

The Northwest Straits Commission, which since 1998 has run the nationally-recognized conservation initiative, the Northwest Straits Marine Conservation Initiative has opened it’s 2019 conference. The conference brings together scientists and  community volunteers in seven counties in northwest Washington. Due to space limitations it was a limited audience but they will be publishing Powerpoints & Audio taping of many of these sessions.

During this conference, the participants get to share their expertise and projects, restoring and educating county citizens and politicians  in their local locales.

The conference attendees will participate in field trips, roundtable worksessions, PCHO3230

The Northwest Straits Initiative’s unique and innovative approach combines sound science and ecosystem perspective together with citizen energy and entrepreneurship to improve efforts to save Puget Sound.

This was the agenda.

Friday, November 15  
9:30 AM – 10:30 AM Field trip: Howarth Park (optional)
Hosted by the Snohomish MRC, led by Bob Hillman
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Northwest Straits 101 (optional)

Dr. Lucas Hart, Director, Northwest Straits Commission

Don Hunger, Executive Director, Northwest Straits Foundation

12:30 PM – 1:00 PM Welcome and opening remarks

Alan Clark, Chair, Northwest Straits Commission

Anne Murphy, President, Northwest Straits Foundation

Sarah Brown, Chair, Snohomish MRC
Executive Dave Somers, Snohomish County

1:00 PM – 2:30 PM Tying it all together: the impact of our collective actions

Dr. Tessa Francis, Puget Sound Institute

Dr. Ron Thom, Northwest Straits Commission

Dr. Tom Mumford, Marine Agronomics

Moderator: Dana Oster, Northwest Straits Commission staff

2:30 PM – 3:00 PM Room check-in and break
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM Musings on habitat loss and restoration in Puget Sound

Dr. Tish Conway-Cranos, WA Dept. of Fish and Wildlife

Moderator: Lisa Kaufman, Northwest Straits Foundation staff

 
4:00 PM – 4:15 PM Lessons learned from painting Fishes of the Salish Sea

Ray Troll, Artist

4:15 PM – 4:30 PM Remarks from Senator Liz Lovelett
Introduced by Tom Cowan, Northwest Straits Commission
4:30 PM  
 
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM Reception and networking

Podcast: OCTOPOD – Open Communications for The Ocean

Raye Evrard and Allie Brown

 

Book signing: Cruisin’ the Fossil Coastline
Dr. Kirk Johnson and Ray Troll

 
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM Dinner and Keynote Speaker

Welcome – Chairman Shawn Yanity, Stillaguamish Tribe of Indians

Environmental Leadership Award

Deep Time and the Salish Sea
Dr. Kirk Johnson, Sant Director, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

 

 

 

Saturday, November 16

Location: Courtyard by Marriott Ballroom

 
8:45 AM – 9:00 AM Tying it all together – summary results

Dr. Tessa Francis, Puget Sound Institute

 
9:00 AM – 10:30 AM Building community connections

Cheryl Lowe, Jefferson MRC staff

Rebecca Benjamin, North Olympic Salmon Coalition

Dr. Julia Parrish, UW Coastal Observation & Seabird Survey Team

Moderator: Sasha Horst, Northwest Straits Commission staff

10:30 AM – 10:40 AM Remarks from Representative Debra Lekanoff
Introduced by Tom Cowan, Northwest Straits Commission
 
10:40AM – 10:50 AM Break
 
10:50 AM – 11:50 AM Climate change and the blue carbon revolution

Dr. John Rybczyk, Western Washington University
Moderator: Dr. Ron Thom, Northwest Straits Commission

11:50 AM – 12:00 PM Remarks from US Representative Suzan DelBene

Introduced by Christina Koons, San Juan MRC and Northwest Straits Commission

12:00 PM – 1:15 PM Lunch – buffet
1:15 PM – 2:15 PM Transboundary cooperation in killer whale conservation

Dr. Rob Williams, Oceans Initiative

Moderator: Ginny Broadhurst, Salish Sea Institute

Day 2: continued on next page
2:15 PM – 2:45 PM MRC Awards

Presented by:

Nan McKay, Northwest Straits Commission/Foundation

Anne Murphy, President, Northwest Straits Foundation

 
2:45 PM – 3:00 PM Closing announcements
 

 

 

 

More concerns raised on 5G technology

You may be aware of the coming conversion of cell phones to a new technology called, “5G”. This next generation of our current (4G, 3G) has created a wide range of controversy, with those who are against wide scale deployment being painted as ‘tin hat’ lunatics in some quarters, or simply dismissed. I for one, always come down on the side of science, real science, peer reviewed by other scientists in the field and science that is able to be replicated in the lab. I have been standing back and waiting to form an opinion on the topic, while assuming that if 4G has been relatively benign (and that is also debatable given the sea of cancer that we are currently swimming in), that 5G should be not all that much worse.

However, recently, voices have been raised that are impossible to ignore. In Scientific American’s blog on Oct 17, 2019, a key researcher with significant credibility, Joel Moskowitz, put forward a very credible arguement about why we citizens should be concerned about this technology.

His article, entitled, “We have no reason to believe that 5G is safe”, and subtitled, “The technology is coming , but contrary to what some people say, there could be health risks,” is an appeal to take seriously the over 500 studies that found health risks of radio frequency radiation (RFR).

Citing this large body of research, more than 240 scientists who have published peer-reviewed research on the biologic and health effects of nonionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) signed the International EMF Scientist Appeal, which calls for stronger exposure limits.

According to Mr. Moskowitz, the FDA, with no formal risk assessment done, has approved the technology. He concludes by stating:

Instead, we should support the recommendations of the 250 scientists and medical doctors who signed the 5G Appeal that calls for an immediate moratorium on the deployment of 5G and demand that our government fund the research needed to adopt biologically based exposure limits that protect our health and safety.

Also, no less than the ex-president of Microsoft Canada, Frank Clegg, has recently also come out strongly endorsing a moratorium on 5G.

To be clear, Mr. Clegg’s opinion on this is his, and not that of Microsoft. Also, Mr. Moskowitz’ article is an opinion piece in the Scientific American blog, not the main magazine. It is not the editors of the magazine endorsing the point of view. They are individuals commenting on the growing body of evidence that there could be a problem if we deploy this in wide spread use, covering virtually all people in developed countries, from birth to death.

It is stated, and many including myself believe, that modern society has seen a growing number of brain tumors since the advent of the cellular phone. However, it’s not easy to pin it to one specific cause. I have heard medical researchers state that with an aging population, that may be a given. But I have also heard many extremely intelligent people argue that there are real concerns. They often are dismissed.

However, those looking at rounding up data on the subject should also be heard. As stated in a Forbes article by science writer Jeffery Kabat, recently, “Many epidemiological studies, show little evidence of an association.” His research using PubMed and Google, clearly shows that there is a variety of ways to understand the data on brain cancers, which in themselves are a rare form of cancer, and that there is not a consensus by brain tumor specialists that there has been an increase in brain cancers over the last decades. Some cancers have been recategorized into other categories, skewing the numbers of that category and appearing as if there has been huge increases.

5G is not a foregone conclusion. But the time to ask our legislators for a halt to deployment and additional significant research is here, now. The push by business to demand this deployment and belittle the concerns is very hard to fight. While I am not yet totally convinced there is a real threat, I am concerned enough to ask for a moratorium while a wide range of independent scientists look into this further. Having lost my best friend to brain cancer (and he was a voracious cell phone user for two decades), I cannot just sit back and accept industry and government assurances (especially given the behavior of the current government in regards to research results) that there will be no harm.

How Guilty Should You Feel About Flying? NY Times

This helps clarify things. The status quo is unacceptable.

Our climate just can’t tolerate widespread frequent flying,” said Dan Rutherford, who directs the council’s aviation program. “At some level we need to figure out, collectively, which flights are necessary, and which are luxuries.”

www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/10/17/climate/flying-shame-emissions.html

Mr. Rogers and teaching kids about climate change

While this blog publishes a lot of articles that can be  quite depressing when placed in context, I feel a need to make sure that we here on the Peninsula get the big picture. You the reader can edit them out yourself. However, there is  discussion I’ve heard about being positive, especially for younger audiences, tailoring the message. That is a good idea. Greta Thurnberg is championing waking up the teens. But as she said, she suffered from depression when coming to grips with it. No one in her family or school apparently understood how to communicate the message to her.

This article in Grist, below, and also the recent documentary film about Fred Rogers (not the Tom Hanks movie) are worth considering.

My goal, when talking to anyone about climate change, is to establish rapport that

  • It is here and happening now, not something coming in the future. Younger audiences can be told how we are the beginning of weather changes that they will continue to see as they grow up. And that they can do things, to help make the changes go better.
  • Focus on what people can do. Children like being included. Pick up trash on the beach, don’t throw bags in the water, etc. Small things build their ability to understand larger things later.
  • Ask adults what they think they can do that could make a difference. Fly less? Drive less? Become more politically active?

Fred Rogers was a master of communicating hard news to children. In fact, as the movie states, “He was radical”. His taking on issues of assassination, death, violence and divorce, were well thought out and researched in advance. I recommend this movie to anyone that teaches young children. If you never really gave Mr. Rogers any thought, this will be an eye opener.

Grist also just published the following article.

Life as an outdoor educator might seem like it’s all fun and games — romping around outside, playing games, looking at bugs — until it comes to talking to 9-year-olds about climate change.

“They want to talk about it, but it can be hard sometimes,” Ian Schooley said with a laugh. He spent four years teaching visiting fourth and fifth graders at the Pacific Science Center’s Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center about the wetland ecosystems just outside of Seattle. Wetlands are a unique habitat that filters water, sucks up carbon dioxide, and protects our coasts — but the triple threat of sea-level rise, pollution, and development is putting them at risk.

When teaching kids about climate change, don’t be a downer

Extreme Weather Displaced a Record 7 Million in First Half of 2019 – NY Times

An interesting article by the New York Times documenting how many people have been displaced by climate change related weather in the first half of this year alone. The only question left to ask is, who’s next?

www.nytimes.com/2019/09/12/climate/extreme-weather-displacement.html

Monthly Rain Report from Center Valley

Al Latham always has a good take on the weather. He’s our local weatherman down in Center Valley.
Greetings Earthlings – here’s the  July rainfall report from www.cocorahs.org station WA-JF-1, located 5.1 miles south of beautiful downtown Chimacum.
Rainfall/precipitation/whatever for July was 1.42″ with 0.09″ the average here.  Though the rain came in small amounts it was comforting to get some moisture this time of year.
Not good for those trying to make hay – some unexpected rain with hay down created some losses for the hay makers.  Unusual for July.
The water year (Oct1 – Sept30) so far has accumulated 25.9″ with the average being 32.5″ so we’re still well below the average and with little chance of making up the difference before end of Sept.
   You may wonder what is meant by “average” rainfall.  It takes 30 years of records to come up with an average.   “The reason behind choosing the 30 years is to represent the climatic condition of that place. Here, to note, climate is the average condition of weather over a considerable length of time, that doesn’t have much variation. In climatic studies we generally take this length of time as 30 years (or sometime 35 years).”   Here at Station WA-JF-1 we have records dating back to 1981 so we have enough data to determine an average for this location.
   NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s guesstimate for what we have in store for us weather wise for Aug – Oct is warmer than “normal” with an equal chance of wetter, drier or average rainfall.  Not sure what how they define “normal” when it comes to weather…..
    That’s it for this report.    Al

Scientific study on issues of intertidal structures that cross water

This 2017 scientific study on the issues of intertidal structures just was sent to us. Worth listing her for future reference.  Thinking about the Hood Canal Bridge here, among others.

Executive Summary
For hundreds of years, people have built water crossing structures to enable the transportation of people, livestock, vehicles, and materials across rivers and other bodies of water. These structures have often created barriers to fish passage, an issue which has recently drawn intense scrutiny due to concerns over impacts to anadromous fish. While much work has focused on the impacts of freshwater crossing structures, inter-tidal structures have received less attention. This may be due to the importance of passage for adult anadromous fish in freshwater, and that bidirectional flows in intertidal environments complicate interpretation of structures as barriers. Intertidal water crossing structures likely have adverse impacts on juvenile life stages of fish due not only to impacts to passage, but also to impacts to estuarine habitats extensively used by these species as rearing environments. Examining the impacts of intertidal water crossing structures only through the lens of fish passage therefore misses key aspects to how these structures can affect fish.
In this report we review literature on intertidal water crossing structures and how they affect fish that depend on intertidal habitats for passage during migration or for extended rearing during early life stages. Our findings are important for establishing fish passage criteria, providing design guidelines, and identifying key data gaps for future research of intertidal water crossing structures.

 

greene-et-al.-2017-review-on-intertidal-water-crossing-structures-and-fish-1

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