Group sues US over inaction to protect threatened species – OPB

Another day, another environmental lawsuit over the former administrations attacks on environmental protections. We’ll be seeing these for some time to come. 

Decisions by the Trump administration to withhold endangered-species protections for the northern spotted owl, monarch butterflies and other imperiled wildlife and plants could be set aside. That’s the goal of a conservation group’s lawsuit Thursday, challenging inaction on petitions to extend Endangered Species Act protections for several species that warranted them. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

https://www.opb.org/article/2021/04/02/group-sues-us-over-inaction-to-protect-threatened-species/

Washington’s Crabby New Resident

Good overview of the current situation on the fight against the latest invasive species, the Green Crab. 

Researchers, tribes and volunteers work to fight the rising tide of European green crabs on Washington shores.
Morgan MacIntryre reports. (The Planet Magazine)

https://theplanetmagazine.net/washingtons-crabby-new-resident-a669170b819e

Amid climate crisis, a proposal to save Washington state forests for carbon storage, not logging – Seattle Times

This is a good idea. Glad that Franz is in this role. She is doing a great job of looking into new ways to envision the public forestlands. 

_____________________________________________

Hilary Franz, state commissioner of public lands, is kicking off an examination over the next three to four months of all older forests on DNR lands west of the Cascades not already in conservation status — about 10,000 acres –to evaluate alternative uses to logging, including biodiversity, carbon storage, water quality and recreation. Lynda Mapes reports. (Seattle Times)

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/amid-climate-crisis-a-proposal-to-save-washington-state-forests-for-carbon-storage-not-logging/

The Status Quo and the Environment

As we grind along through the seemingly futile re-engineering of the environment we now control, it is easy to wonder if any of the normal activities we engage in are really making any difference.Are the tens of thousands of hours spent in meetings about the environment really helping? Well maybe they are, but those meetings have become part of the “status quo” of environmental protection. We have an emerging “status quo” of environment organizations that exist to restore the destroyed ecosystems that we have created that work alongside the same industries that destroy it in many cases. These organizations all do good work, but they seem to be part of this new status quo. Are any of them really standing up anymore to fight the destruction in the first place? They don’t seem to be. Old organizations like People for Puget Sound who did have been subsumed into Washington Environmental Council, an organization that appears to exist simply to fight for “east side of the Sound” issues. I guess that’s where the money is. The new status quo is to go where the grants are, and don’t make waves or you’ll be branded a ‘radical’. A few organizations, run by radicals, are fighting back, and usually winning in courts, where the status quo has to uphold it’s political decision-making in front of a judge who has a dim view of the efforts by government agencies to hide their hand in glove work with industry above their duty to protect our environment. The ‘radicals’ are ones I prefer to give my donations to, since they are actually working to stop the problem before it becomes one. I don’t want to give money to an organization that tells me to my face that they can’t “prioritize” the issues of the Olympic Peninsula at any price. And frankly, I love to see the radicals messing with the smug high priced legal teams of the status quo in open court battle. Why? Because the radicals seem to find, over and over again, that industries that want to ‘work with us’ are many times lying through their teeth. Recent court rulings against the Army Corps of Engineers and the industries that sided with them in court are a prime example.

The status quo also is that this Democratic run state is ok with converting our public beaches into aquaculture farms with no debate on where the end is going to be on this land grab. It’s also for letting the military use our public beaches and waterways, with known and documented kills of our wild animals when they train our military. The same military that seems to hold us who pay their salaries in contempt, continues to be demonstrably unable to protect us from a small group of fanatics overrunning our seat of power. It’s like they never heard of the Maginot Line in military school. We let the military fly over our quietest places, not because they really need to in that exact locale, but because they have made it the “status quo”. People who question it, as the old jazz song by Les McCann and Eddie Harris “Compared to What” goes, “have one doubt and they call it treason.” The list of what we have come to accept as status quo is a long one.

And yet the Puget Sound Partnership sees a continued worsening of the environment measurements, across the broad spectrum of their monitoring. So is the status quo working for us?

Frankly, no. But we seem to not be at the tipping point, despite the pleas of ‘radicals’ whom we love, like Greta Thurnberg. On the Federal level, President Biden has put in place a woman who just may be the answer to the “status quo” at the Department of the Interior. Representative Deb Haaland is Native American, a citizen of Laguna Pueblo, the first to head the Interior department. She brings a radically new perspective to the department. Will she make a real difference? It remains to be seen, but I am hopeful. Rarely do Native Americans not bring a fresh perspective to government. But they aren’t always on the side of radical change.

I was reading an editorial tonight in Harper’s Magazine, the Easy Chair editorial by Hari Kunzru, on “Another World is Possible”. His article was about the radical issue of defunding the police. Is it so radical, he asked, given the behavior of many police departments and the massive industry built up to incarcerate mostly people of color? But what caught my eye was a quote, used in that context, that easily could be used here. I paraphrase only a bit.

“From the outsider’s perspective, the status quo does not seem like a delicately balanced organism that would be damaged by radical intervention, but an aberration that should be consigned to history…difficult as it may be to accept, the reformist perspective-that is, the belief that change will come about through a few politically palatable reforms-is the truly utopian one. Realism demands acceptance of the complex relationships between these problems…If you grow up in a culture that does something a certain way, it can seem not just normal, but natural…It can sometimes be difficult to picture an alternative.”

Harper’s Magazine, March 2021 Page 7

All radicals that have effected change were unwilling to accept reformist efforts. MLK, Gandhi, Billy Frank Jr. They demanded radical change. Who is willing to fill their shoes today? With the little time left us before the effects of our ignorance overwhelms our ecosystems, I suggest that radical ideas come to the front, and we really start talking about solutions that can solve problems rather than pretend the status quo is going to fix them.

Winding down Puget Sound’s 2020 targets, as approved shellfish acreage keeps going up – PSI

A good look at the state of shellfish bed recovery over the last 10 years, as measured by the Puget Sound Partnership. This is one indicator that seems to be going in a positive direction. Of course, the goal of this is to promote the conversion of public beaches into industrial aquaculture, so it’s a mixed bag. Some day we’ll see a real discussion in the public sphere about how many acres we are going to convert to industrial aquaculture before they are all turned into off limit farms for the profit of a few large aquaculture organizations. Good reporting from the Puget Sound Institute. Worth reading.

The never ending Spotted Owl saga

Once again, after the Trump Administration tried to roll-back the laws protecting the last remaining old growth on the Olympic Peninsula, the Biden Administration will take a look at whether science played any role at all. Likely not. Even if it goes through, it won’t bring back the one log trucks that helped wipe out virtually all of the habitat for old growth species. That ship sailed with the passage of shipping whole logs to Japan in the late 1970s, and that was about the time the last one log truck ran on the Peninsula.. Long before the Spotted Owl was the issue. Blame it on the desire to cut every last old growth for profit. The Spotted Owl issue was simply a logical outcome of wiping out the forests that they depend on.


The U.S. Interior Department is delaying and reviewing the Trump administration’s last-minute roll-back of federal protections for the imperiled northern spotted owl, which called for slashing protections from millions of acres of Northwest forests. On Jan. 15, just days before leaving office, the Trump administration published a final rule revising Endangered Species Act protections for the northern spotted owl. The rule lifted critical-habitat protections for the bird from 3.4 million acres in Oregon, Washington and California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s had proposed a far more modest revision, seeking to remove critical habitat status from a little over 200,000 acres in 15 counties in Oregon. Monica Samayoa reports. (OPB)

OPB

Biden administration will reconsider northern spotted owl forest protection rollbacks

Mission Blue and SR³ brings Hope Spot to Salish Sea

Interesting new marine hospital comes to the Pacific NW with the help of a number of non-profits from here. The head of this project appears to be Dr. Sylvia Earle one of the legends of Marine Science and environmental education. All good news.


For Immediate Release
SALISH SEA DECLARED A HOPE SPOT IN CELEBRATION OF NEW MARINE ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Executive Director and Veterinary Nurse Casey Mclean examines an elephant seal’s vital signs. NOAA Permit 18786

SEATTLE – February 17 – The Salish Sea has been declared a Hope Spot by international nonprofit Mission Blue in recognition of SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) and their partners’ conservation goals to protect the local marine biodiversity. SR³ is kicking off their celebration as the Hope Spot Champions with the opening of a new marine animal hospital in Des Moines, Wash., coming soon.

Connecting the waters between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, Canada, the Salish Sea is bursting with iconic and beloved creatures like the endangered Southern Resident killer whales and humpback whales. As the original inhabitants of the sea, these mammals called the region home thousands of years before human beings walked to draw borders between countries, build ports, and develop commercial fishing to feed the rest of the two-legged world. Today, man’s impact on the ocean has created increasing threats for marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest.



Dr. Sylvia Earle, Founder of Mission Blue, says, “The Salish Sea holds immensely important biodiversity. This body of water has provided the residents of Seattle up to Vancouver with vital natural resources for millennia. We must act now if we want to protect the ocean and its inhabitants from the destructive effects of human interference. I want to thank SR³ and their partners for their important work in marine animal research and rehabilitation – it’s so important that people are aware of the creatures that they share the ocean with. If the whales, seals and dolphins aren’t healthy, humans won’t be healthy, either.”

Casey Mclean, Hope Spot Champion and Executive Director of SR³, explains how marine animals serve as important indicators of ocean health and of environmental changes that can impact humans. She elaborates, “From warming ocean waters to entanglements, marine animals are increasingly suffering.” She continues, “Without a specialized marine wildlife hospital in the region, many sick and injured animals are left without hope for survival. It also limits our ability to gain insights that would drive protections for many more animals.”

From injured seals to entangled whales, SR³ works to ensure that struggling marine animals receive the expert help they need. Their SeaLife Rescue Center – the first marine wildlife specialty hospital in the Pacific Northwest – is opening soon. As a community-supported nonprofit, SR³ relies on donations from individuals who wish to invest in the health of their blue backyard.

The Salish Sea is home to some of the largest and longest-lived marine species on Earth, including the North Pacific giant octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini), the giant Pacific chiton (Cryptochiton stelleri), the largest barnacle (Balanus nubilus), plumose anemone (Metridium senile), the largest sea anemone, cabezon, lion’s mane jellyfish, and 25 species of rockfish that have life spans of 50-200 years.

Protecting the animals of the Salish Sea will benefit the entire ecosystem – regardless of human boundaries. New conservation policies and activities can draw attention to the many rivers and streams that feed into the sea that are in desperate need of habitat restoration and protection.

Cristina Mittermeier, internationally acclaimed wildlife photographer, Managing Director and Co-founder at SeaLegacy, describes SeaLegacy’s work as a Hope Spot partner. “If we want to live in a healthy and abundant Salish Sea, we must first imagine what that looks like. With images and stories, SeaLegacy is inviting us to imagine a different balance between business and nature. If we can ignite an imagined future in which orcas are thriving, fish populations are revered, coastal communities re-engineer their economies to sustain tourism instead of squandering our finite resources, and the knowledge and rights of the First Nations of this land are honored, then I am sure we can turn the hope encapsulated in the idea of this Hope Spot, into a reality we can gift the next generation.”


Mclean elaborates, “By teaching people how their everyday actions are connected to local marine health – and ultimately their own health – we can make the Pacific Northwest a safer and healthier home for marine animals – and for all of us!”
        
“We live, work and play near and in these waters and recognize that the region is on the brink of something incredible. We can achieve a resilient, sustainable, and healthy Salish Sea by bringing together diverse voices, building a movement around a shared ocean ethic, and by igniting hope,” said Dr. Erin Meyer, Director of Conservation Programs and Partnerships at the Seattle Aquarium. “Designating the Salish Sea as a Mission Blue Hope Spot connects us to communities around the world who are working together to catalyze positive change.” 
        
As SR3 delivers emergency response for sick, injured or entangled marine animals, they collect critical data in the process that helps drive broader protections. For instance, as they work to free entangled whales, responders also learn how they became entangled and work closely with fishermen and government agencies to develop ways to prevent entanglements in the future. Using drones to conduct scientific research, SR³ collects important health data that informs protections for dwindling populations such as the critically endangered Southern Resident killer whales.

SR³ and their partners believe that improving the health of the Salish Sea will require a hands-on approach from all angles. Their goals for the Hope Spot also include to deepen working relationships with local tribal entities, create a place of union between the many non-government organizations (NGOs) working to protect the life within the Salish Sea, and increasing public action for the support of legislation that impacts the Salish Sea and its inhabitants. In order to ignite the public’s response, they’re working to educate residents within the Salish Sea watershed about how its protection is critical for human health.

The Salish Sea Hope Spot partner organizations include Pacific Mammal ResearchWhale and Dolphin ConservationSeaLegacySeattle AquariumMarine Conservation InstituteOcean WiseEarth Law CenterSea SmartCoextinction FoundationPNW ProtectorsUnited and Free.

Despite the decimation of its species, the inundation of pollution from poorly planned development, and elimination of some critical habitats, the Salish Sea has survived. 

“All is not lost,” stresses Mclean. “This ecosystem is still alive. It is resilient, and we have the opportunity to restore it. Our lives and livelihoods depend on it.”


About SR³ – SeaLife Response, Rehabilitation, and Research (SR³) rescues and protects marine wildlife in the Pacific Northwest. With a marine wildlife ambulance, response vessel, and specialized veterinary staff, SR³ fills a unique role in the West Coast’s marine mammal stranding network. The organization’s expert first responders stand ready to deploy every day to ensure suffering marine animals receive the expert care they so urgently need. SR³ also works to address the root cause of marine animal health issues through scientific research projects. A major focus of this program is the endangered Southern Resident killer whales, using drones to collect health data that inform conservation actions important to their survival. The organization will open the region’s first marine wildlife specialty hospital early this year. www.sr3.org

About Mission Blue – Mission Blue inspires action to explore and protect the ocean. Led by legendary oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue is uniting a global coalition to inspire an upwelling of public awareness, access and support for a worldwide network of marine protected areas – Hope Spots. Under Dr. Earle’s leadership, the Mission Blue team implements communications campaigns that elevate Hope Spots to the world stage through documentaries, social media, traditional media and innovative tools like Esri ArcGIS. www.mission-blue.org

Please contact Casey Mclean, SR³ Executive Director at casey@sr3.org or (425) 346-9798 for high resolution images, interviews or more information.

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— 

 EMILY CRAWFORD Founder / LUMINOSITY PR
 Pronouns: she/her/hers 206.880.3977 / Emily@LuminosityPR.com
 www.LuminosityPR.com

EVENT: WDFW hosts online meeting to hear public input on fish passage and screening rule

February 16, 2021
Contact: 
Gabrielle Stilwater, fishpassagerules@dfw.wa.gov

WDFW hosts online meeting to hear public input on fish passage and screening rule

OLYMPIA — The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is working to create new rules surrounding fish passage and screening improvement work. The public is invited to an online meeting on Thursday, Feb. 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. to learn more about the topic and provide input. No registration is required to attend.

The rulemaking effort is rooted in recommendations from Gov. Inslee’s Southern Resident Orca Task Force. In 2018, the task force published its report identifying lack of prey as a key threat to Southern Resident Orcas. Recommendation three of the report endorsed agencies to apply and enforce laws that protect salmon habitat.

The task force specifically noted that WDFW should develop rules to fully implement Chapter 77.57 Revised Code of Washington (RCW), better known as the fishways, flow, and screening statutes.  

“Barriers that block fish from swimming upstream or fish movement instream, such as deteriorating culverts, outdated bridges, and diversion dams undermine the state’s salmon recovery efforts and impact other aquatic species,” said Margen Carlson, Habitat Program Director at WDFW. “We want to help landowners protect fish by creating rules that provide clear guidance.”

WDFW has drafted the first version of rules for comment. For more information, visit wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/habitat-recovery/fish-passage/rule-making.

People with limited internet access can call the Habitat Program at 360-902-2534 to learn how to participate by phone and request print materials.

Although fish passage and screening requirements for new construction has been codified through Hydraulic Project Approval (HPA) rules, rulemaking for fish passage and screening will focus on compliance standards used for current and future fish passage and screening improvement projects, such as climate adapted water crossings. New rules are anticipated to go into effect in 2022.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Court of Appeals Backs Environmentalists: Federal Greenlight of Industrial Shellfish Aquaculture Unlawful

This is the most significant court ruling in decades and likely changes everything about shellfish aquaculture in the Salish Sea. It’s importance cannot be overstated. This blog has covered the trial over the last two years. We have been astonished at the brazen lack of science applied and found during discovery of the Army Corp. of Engineers. The time has come to start applying real science to the selling off of our beaches and virgin bays, converting them to commercial aquaculture farms with no real debate or discussion on “where will this all end”. The creation of this lawsuit was a ‘hail Mary” pass by the environmental groups that brought the suit. If they had lost, likely all future attempts at stopping this insanity would have failed. Congratulations to both the lawyers at the Center for Food Safety and the Coalition To Protect Puget Sound Habitat for their efforts. This is a win for all of us.

Today, the 3-judge appellate panel unanimously agreed with the District Court, holding that the Corps failed to support its approval of NWP 48, violating the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. Describing the Corps’ reasoning as “illogical,” the Court focused on its failure to analyze the admitted cumulative impacts of adding industrial-scale shellfish aquaculture to an already-impaired environment, and its reliance on a “limited scientific study” to justify a much broader determination of minimal impacts.

https://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/press-releases/6264/court-of-appeals-backs-environmentalists-federal-greenlight-of-industrial-shellfish-aquaculture-unlawful

Federal Judge George Boldt issues historic ruling affirming Native American treaty fishing rights on February 12, 1974

On this day, history for both the NW Tribes and all Tribes across this country changed for the better. One of the most important rulings in the history of U.S.< > Tribal relations, no matter which side of this you may have been on. For the Tribes, it showed that the legal system could work for them. For non-natives, it showed that their dominance of the fisheries and other resources was over and that “honoring the treaties” was a not just a hollow phrase. Nothing would be the same again. It also represents the only way forward if we are going to continue to build a coalition that can effectively restore the salmon runs. The Tribes have been the most effective partners in doing this work, as shown by the Jamestown, Elwa and Port Gamble S’Klallam peoples. We raise our hands in thanks for this day. We have little time left to save the runs, and the small incremental progress being made needs to accelerate.



On February 12, 1974, Federal Judge George Boldt (1903-1984) issues an historic ruling reaffirming the rights of Washington’s Indian tribes to fish in accustomed places. The “Boldt Decision” allocates 50 percent of the annual catch to treaty tribes, which enrages other fishermen. At the same time Judge Boldt denies landless tribes — among them the Samish, Snoqualmie, Steilacoom, and Duwamish — federal recognition and treaty rights. Western Washington tribes had been assured the right to fish at “usual and accustomed grounds and stations” by Federal treaties signed in 1854 and 1855, but during the next 50 years Euro-American immigrants — armed with larger boats, modern technology, and the regulatory muscle of the state — gradually displaced them. The campaign to reassert Native American fishing rights began in 1964 with “fish-ins” on the Puyallup River led by Robert Satiacum (1929-1991) and Billy Frank Jr. (1931-2014), who defied Washington state attempts to regulate their fishing. (History Link)

Federal Judge George Boldt issues historic ruling affirming Native American treaty fishing rights on February 12, 1974

Democrats urge investigation into removal of owl protections – KNKX

In badminton the thing you hit to the opponent is called the “shuttlecock”. In the game of “blame something for the destruction of Northwest virgin forests and the subsequent loss of the old fashioned timber industry” the shuttlecock has been the indicator species, the Spotted Owl. It’s again back in play this year.

The Trump administration took the side of the rural timber industry, who has blamed the Spotted Owl on their industry’s decline, despite huge amounts of evidence to the contrary (i.e. starting with no real limits on old growth logging for the last 100 years until it was too late, the advent of the chain saw and other high yield mechanical harvesting starting in the 1940s, and the real death knell, the decision of Congress in the 1970s to allow raw logs to be shipped to Japan), the industry continues to believe that if only we allowed this indicator species to die off, we could return to the heyday of one log trucks plying highway 101. That idea flies in the face of the reality that less than 1% of old growth forest in the Pacific NW still exists. So what is the fight about, really?

Eight Democratic lawmakers called Tuesday for an investigation into “potential scientific meddling” by the Trump administration in its rule to remove critical habitat protections for the imperiled northern spotted owl in the Pacific Northwest.

KNKX.ORG

Read the latest Spotted Owl badminton game overview and all it’s sordid details, here.

https://www.knkx.org/post/democrats-urge-investigation-removal-owl-protections

Washington State Parks commission approves scaled-back proposal for Navy SEALs training – Seattle Times

All Posts

The outcome was never in doubt. It never is. Our state parks are being turned into military training facilities and there is no way to stop it. It doesn’t matter if it’s up to the Democrats or the Republicans. Who thought this was a good idea? It seems to be a show by the military of raw arrogance “we can do it and they won’t stop us.” It is a never ending story of a grab for more of our waters, our beaches and our tax payer monies for protection that becomes less effective by every year. We are unable to effectively protect our assets on our computers from a torrid of hacking. And as we saw at the Capital, the real enemies we have to fear are the people right here among us who have bought, hook line and sinker, that when they lose an election, when they don’t get their way, that it is grounds for revolution, violence and mayhem.

Want to complain to the Governor and your state representatives? Start with our State Parks and Recreation commissioner, Jessica Logan, who’s comment was was worthy of the best of George Orwell’s famous doublespeak. “At no time will the Navy’s use of State parks supplant or displace the public. The public always has a priority.” Right. Sure. Thank you to Ken Bounds, Sophia Danenberg and Diana Perez for at least trying to stop this.

Here’s how they voted, so you can take action to try and get rid of the Commissioners who supported this next time their terms are up:

Motion by Mark O. Brown to approve the staff recommendation as proposed in the Requested
Action above. Second by Michael Latimer. All those in favor: Michael Latimer (term expires in 2024), Steve Milner, Cindy Whaley (term recently expired, up for renewal?), and Mark O. Brown (2022). All those opposed: Ken Bounds, Sophia Danenberg and Diana Perez. Motion passes 4 to 3.

Amendment to the motion by Commissioner Milner: In consideration of how these park supporters feel and their concerns for diminished spiritual, philosophical and emotional attachment to the parks, I move to amend staff’s recommendation to add to the criteria and conditions set forth in Appendix #2 permit issuance is restricted to the time period when daytime visitors would normally not be permitted in the park per WAC 352.32.050. Nine months after the issuance of the first permit the Director will present to the commission a detailed report on permitted naval activity including interactions and issues arising involving park visitors and navy personnel, park visitors and park staff and comments to public information materials posted in
the parks and bring forth any recommendations for policy changes if warranted.

Second by Cindy Whaley. All those in favor: Michael Latimer, Steve Milner, Cindy Whaley, Mark O.
Brown, and Sophia Danenberg. All those opposed: Ken Bounds and Diana Perez. Amendment
passes 5 to 2.


A state commission has approved the Navy’s use of up to 17 Washington state parks for after-dark stealth training of SEAL teams. The 4-3 vote approves the training over the next five years. The Navy had sought to use up to 28 state parks for up to 48 hours at a stretch to enable special operation SEAL teams to make shoreline landings, then conduct surveillance of other military personnel dressed in plain clothes. Hal Bernton reports, (Seattle Times)

Washington state parks commission approves scaled-back proposal for Navy SEALs training 

Puget Sound Partnership proposing “Desired Outcomes” for ongoing ecosystem recovery – PSI

New from the Partnership, which is tasked with recovery of Puget Sound. Recovery is not going well. So they are tuning their goal setting. Probably a good thing. But reading the following from the article I worry about the words, “reduce the ongoing costs of recovery”. This comes across as another change of direction that is more worried about costs than results. But I hope I’m wrong.

The Partnership has been a mixed bag over the years. It has mainly been an organization helping large scale projects find the funding and political support they need, narrowing the group attending to what seems to be project managers and government officials. They have always lacked a serious budget to educate the population about the issues that need to change to fix the Sound. It has been underfunded to achieve the goals that it was created to solve. Many of its’ most useful pieces oddly are the monitoring it does to help identify baselines which illustrate it’s lack of progress. Certainly an agency like this is needed, but many of us wonder just how useful this particular version is to the people spending vast amounts of volunteer time attending it’s meetings. So many people have shown up with good intentions only to fade away because of what’s perceived as a lack of progress and inability to really help them achieve their goals. Could there be a better way to achieve the goals of Puget Sound Recovery? As someone who has attended many of their meetings and closely monitored their efforts since they day they were formed, I’m not being critical so much as asking the question, “when will we see real progress at saving the species at risk, and making the Sound more “swimmable, fishable and healthy?” When will we see real efforts at educating the public about this, rather than just assume that everyone is on board for making the hard choices to fix the Sound? The sad reality seems to have been that the deeper we dig into the science, the more monumental are the problems. A good case in point is the finding that road runoff may be a major contributor to the decline of salmon in the Sound. That is not an easy thing to fix quickly. . The declining populations of salmon won’t wait on a bunch of meetings to survive or not. When the Partnership set goals in 2007 to 2010, (and reset them and reset them) they were simple. Do we really need to take time to re-calibrate when the answers have been pretty clear from the beginning? Educate the public for buy in. Identify the projects needed, fund them, measure the results. Recalibrate. The goal should not be to reduce the cost of ongoing recovery. That may be impossible. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to reverse the decline. If we saw runs of salmon returning in ever increasing numbers, we would be cheering the Partnership on. But we aren’t seeing the fish after 13 years of concentrated efforts. In fact, a recent report I reported on just in the last month discussed that we are losing the battle. What is the Partnership going to do to solve that issue?

If planners can agree on these general directions, the next step will be to develop individual strategies to improve the ecosystem in ways that improve the efficiency and reduce the ongoing costs of recovery. The final step is to identify individual actions in line with the strategies.



Puget Sound Action Agenda, often referred to as Puget Sound Partnership’s blueprint for ecological recovery, continues to evolve. The next Action Agenda — scheduled to go into effect a year from now — will incorporate an expanded long-range vision for Puget Sound, complete with broad-based strategies, not just near-term actions. “Desired Outcomes,” the first major component of the next Action Agenda, will be unveiled…(Thursday) before the Ecosystem Coordination Board, the wide-ranging, 27-member committee that advises the Leadership Council in its recovery oversight and strategic planning. A live video of the discussion can been viewed online, as described in the meeting agenda. “Desired Outcomes are statements that describe what we intend to accomplish — the positive change we want to see in Puget Sound,” states a fact sheet describing the next Action Agenda update. The idea is that near-term actions proposed over four years should fit into a larger vision leading to “transformational change and bold progress toward Puget Sound recovery.” Chris Dunagan reports. (Puget Sound Institute)

Puget Sound Partnership proposing ‘Desired Outcomes’ for ongoing ecosystem recovery

State Senator Van de Wege introduces bill to ban seabed mining.

This idea is a good start to protect the seabed from mining efforts and I’m glad to see Senator Van de Wege getting ahead of this issue before it becomes a problem.Too often in the past we have allowed bad environmental practices to go on until science shows us the error of our ways. This bill is working off the science done elsewhere so we don’t have to repeat the same mistakes.

It’s unclear at this point as to who will be opposing this bill. But it will be worth following to see who shows up to testify against it. It’s slated to go to a public committee meeting on 26 January.

Press Release from State Senator Van de Wege.


Dear friends and neighbors,

It’s great when we enact laws to correct or eliminate activities that are causing harm. What’s even better is when we can address a problem before it even becomes a problem.

That’s the goal of my legislation to ban seabed mining, a growing industry that ravages natural habitat to extract minerals and deposits from the ocean floor. Simply put, seabed mining sucks up the ocean floor to capture metals, minerals and gemstones. This gouges the seabed, creating plumes of sediment that resettle in surrounding areas and can smother deep sea vents. The threat to marine life is obvious — locally we could see serious disruption to crabbing, fishing and shellfish. But the risks extend as well to scientific progress — some of these species are uniquely adapted to the lack of sunlight and intense pressure of deep water, and might prove critical to the research and development of medicines, protective gear and other applications.

So far, seabed mining has not been practiced in our state — and Senate Bill 5145 will ensure that it never is. The legislation would prohibit our state Department of Natural Resources from issuing permits or leases for mining on state-owned aquatic lands along our coast from Cape Flattery south to our state’s southern border, as well as in Grays Harbor, Willapa Bay, and the Columbia River downstream from the Longview bridge. The bill will be heard Tuesday by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.

NW Salmon “Teetering on the brink of extinction” – KNKX

More evidence that we are not doing enough, and perhaps we are doing the wrong things. More science is needed, and more enforcement of rules protecting habitat and species. Time is about up. We have gone in one generation from vast schools of the finest protein source imaginable to zero.


Washington’s salmon are “teetering on the brink of extinction,” according to a new report. It says the state must change how it’s responding to climate change and the growing number of people in Washington. Washington’s State of Salmon in Watersheds report says time is running out for the Northwest’s iconic fish. The report, which is issued every two years, shows a trend of warming waters and habitat degradation is causing trouble for its salmon runs. Ten of the 14 threatened or endangered salmon and steelhead runs in the state are not getting any better. Of those, five are “in crisis.” Courtney Flatt and Bellamy Pailthorp report. (KNKX)

Report lays out bleak picture of Northwest salmon ‘teetering on the brink of extinction’

Two forest parcels taken off bidding sheet – PDN

Good news this week from the DNR and the NW Watershed Institute.

Eighty acres of Jefferson County forest land will not be sold to the highest bidder, said Peter Bahls of the Northwest Watershed Institute.

That had been the state Department of Natural Resources plan.

REPAIRS OF BULKHEADS, DOCKS AND OTHER STRUCTURES NOW INVOLVE HABITAT ASSESSMENT – PSI

This is a huge change to the proposal, hopefully for the good. However, in reading this article I find that it may cause more problems than it solves. While I applaud the idea, the implementation seems problematic. I urge those of you interested in seeing this implemented or those seeing issues with the implementation to attend this meeting. Now is the time to tweak the process so that it helps people do the right thing.

NOAA Fisheries will hold online public workshops on Jan. 26 and Jan. 28 to explain the conservation calculator that the agency developed to assess the value of nearshore habitat. Both workshops will run from 9 to 11 a.m. Details will be posted on the webpage Puget Sound Nearshore Habitat Conservation Calculator.

Sea otter reintroduction to more of the Pacific Coast gets a nudge from Congress – KNKX

Some good environmental news! Tom Banse writes about the successful efforts to get money inserted into the newly passed budget to help continue the reintroduction of sea otters to the west coast. Info on Washington counts of sea otters also in this story.

“I’m very pleased. This is very timely,” Bailey said in an interview. “It will definitely help U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service develop a strategic approach for how best to conserve and protect sea otters on the Pacific Coast.”

https://www.knkx.org/post/sea-otter-reintroduction-more-pacific-coast-gets-nudge-congress

How Trump tried, but largely failed, to derail America’s top climate report – NY Times

More fallout of the destructive force of Hurricane Trump. In this instance, scientists managed to hold off his flunkies from essentially gutting the report. As he leaves we can only look forward to rebuilding this nation’s science credibility world wide. Why is this important? Because the output of this report guides decision making for years to come.

EPA Finalizes rule to limit science behind public health standards – WA Post

As the Trump Administration burns all it’s bridges behind them in a scorched earth environmental policy, the latest outrage is the long anticipated culling of real science behind future decisions to protect our food, water or air. Or perhaps you would rather ignore the findings of scientists that don’t agree with your company’s toxic product. Wonder how they will do it? Read the article referenced below. The Biden administration will have it’s work cut out for it reversing these disastrous acts.


The Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a rule to limit what research it can use to craft public health protections, a move opponents argue is aimed at crippling the agency’s ability to more aggressively regulate the nation’s air and water. The “Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science” rule, which the administration began pursuing early in President Trump’s term, would require researchers to disclose the raw data involved in their public health studies before the agency could rely upon their conclusions. It will apply this new set of standards to “dose-response studies,” which evaluate how much a person’s exposure to a substance increases the risk of harm. Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis report. (Washington Post)

EPA finalizes rule to limit science behind public health safeguards

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